More Equal Than Others

Updated 8/3/09 –

Now that Congress has postponed voting on the 1018-page monstrosity of a health-insurance plan until after the August recess, maybe, just maybe, our public servants will actually read the damn thing. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking…

Representative John Conyers (D-MI) stated, “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” President Obama, when questioned about a provision in the bill stated, “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”

And our politicians wonder why we, the American citizen, hold them in low regard. We expect them to do the jobs that they were elected to, but they constantly refuse to act in the public’s best interest.

From a post written way back in 2005:

In case any of you didn’t know, a typical politician’s primary job is not to serve the people who elected him. His primary job is to get himself (or herself) elected or re-elected. Second is to reward all those contributors that gave $$ to help him get elected. Third is to get as many perks & benefits as he can while he is in office. Last on the list is the common person like you & I.

So perhaps it is no surprise that Congress has a vastly superior health care plan than what the majority of people have in this country, and definitely better than what Congress is trying to pass for the rest of us. From suite101.com:

As soon as members of Congress are sworn in, they may participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). The program offers an assortment of health plans from which to choose, including fee-for-service, point-of-service, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). In addition, Congress members can also insure their spouses and their dependents.

Not only does Congress get to choose from a wide range of plans, but there’s no waiting period. Unlike many Americans who must struggle against precondition clauses or are even denied coverage because of those preconditions, Senators and Representatives are covered no matter what – effective immediately.

And here’s the best part. The government pays up to 75 percent of the premium. That government, of course, is funded by taxpayers, the same taxpayers who often cannot afford health care themselves.

And the Congressional perks don’t stop with the FEHBP. According to the article “Health care as good as Congress gets,” by John Barry, a staff writer for the St. Petersburg Times, “Members of Congress have their own pharmacy, right in the Capitol. They also have a team of doctors, technicians and nurses standing by in case something busts in a filibuster. They can get a physical exam, an X-ray or an electrocardiogram, without leaving work.”

And from Mike’s America comes this little jewel:

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee that would have required Members of Congress to enroll immediately in the government-run health plan that would be established under the Democratic bill. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) offered an amendment to put his committee on the record in support of enrolling Members of Congress in the government-run plan as well. While the Wilson amendment was approved by voice vote in the Education & Labor Committee, the Heller amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.

Contrast this with the details slowly leaking out from the proposed health-care bill touted by Obama and the House Democrats, and the following graphic from IBD Editorials Cartoon Page makes a whole lot of sense of what we are in for:

Take a Number

Now does anyone think that Senator Ted Kennedy would have received the treatment for his brain tumor under the plan that Congress is proposing for the American people?  Of course not!  He’s a Senator!

This all reminds me of the line from “Animal Farm”:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Why do I feel like Boxer all of a sudden?

Reverse Racism

I guess I just can’t get away from commenting further on the Professor Gates arrest for disorderly conduct, and President Obama’s “acting stupidly” comment.  Perhaps this incident offends my sense of fair play, the idea of “innocent before proven guilty,” or the thought that a highly educated professor at one of the nations most respected institutions feels the need to accuse a police officer investigating a possible break in at his residence of racism.  One does wonder if alcohol was involved, but I digress…

Always on Watch has an excellent post of the incident (here), and a video from a Pastor Manning (below).  Viewing the video is probably better than any comment that I could make other than people of color should listen to the Pastor and understand how foolish they are when accusing others of racism:

Let’s consider this statement from an earlier post:

His [Dr. Martin Luther King] vision looked for the Negro people to stand side by side with the White people as equals, and to get there by self-sufficiency, not by a government mandate. He wanted his people to rise up to their potential, to stand on their own two feet, not by some law or subsidy. Patronage of the Negro was not his vision, but to join the human race as equals to any other ethnic group, to enjoy the fruits of hard labor through equal opportunity, and not through quotas. It is truly a travesty that his own people have hindered this vision instead of completing it.

Do the constant complaints of racism where there is none really achieve this goal?  No, they do not.  What the baseless accusations do is deepen the chasm between all people, and hinder any civility that our society is trying to accomplish.

This is what our wonderful, politically-correct, non-confrontational society has borne – the apparent elevation of one group over another.  All by one word that both offends and puts everyone on the defense.  And this is why I believe hate crimes such as an accusation of racism is not beneficial to anyone.  It gets in the way by presuming beliefs are more important than the facts of the potential crime or dispute.  So now it is an emotional or thought crime, not an actual one.

Starting to sound like 1984 or Minority Report all over again…

Morgan Freeman has a solution to the racism problem:

Is it really that simple?  That only depends on if the hate-mongers among us, of all colors, decide to decease & desist from the useless rhetoric that divides instead of uniting.  From the same past post – try this instead:

Stop the politicking and fundraisers, and turn your attention to changing the attitudes of the people you claim to represent. Aid them in finding solutions instead of assigning blame. Support getting the able-bodied off of Welfare, and find jobs, educational opportunities, and other positions that will improve their standard of living. Recognize the rapper/drug culture for what it is, a self-destructive blight upon your people, and kill it. Instill in these same people self-respect and self-control, the understanding of tolerance, and the fruits of social change will be forthcoming. You, the self-appointed leaders of your race/community must first demonstrate leadership before any positive changes can even be expected to occur.

Unfortunately, highlighting perceived inequalities, slights, and making inflammatory speeches is where these “leaders” garner attention, power, and yes, money.

Are there idiots out there that are racists and cause harm on the basis of skin color?  Yes, there are.  That cannot be denied.  But calling every incident between people of different ethnicities racially motivated detracts from any problems and becomes a problem in of itself.  Thus, the actual problem gets lost in the shuffle.  Which kind of begs the question:

Why can’t we all get along?

What A Week!

This past week has been more than interesting, both on personal and professional levels.  Then we have the national political stage, but first things first.

First off, I’ve got a sick kitty.  We thought we had everything taken care of, but he’s now back under the weather, and for the next couple of weeks, will be spending time in the laundry room while he is being treated.  I always hate to see a pet sick.  (Thanks, Always On Watch, for your support.)

Next, I’ve had three phone interviews for jobs this past week.  But I didn’t pass any of them.  This is telling me a couple of things.  The first is that there are jobs out there.  The second is that if you are not the perfect candidate, i.e., fit the job qualifications & requirements perfectly, you will not be hired.  Companies are being very picky with who they hire – there is a large population of job seekers out there, and companies can afford to find the “perfect” candidate. 

But there is also another trend – contract work.  One of the last interviews was for contract work out of state for a 6 to 12 month assignment.  I have been seeing more an more contract positions being listed on job search sites.  Companies do not want to be burdened with providing benefits to full-time employees, so the alternative is to hire contract workers and skip the benefit route altogether.

So much for my life at the moment…

On the national stage, I simply cannot believe that our President would get involved in any way, shape, or form, with what I would term a misdemeanor offense.  I am referring, of course, the incident involving a Harvard professor and a police sergeant.  On national TV, admitting that he didn’t know all the facts in the case, and he still stated that the police “acted stupidly.”  Excuse me?  Just because that the professor was Black and the officer was White does not mean that the police were automatically wrong, racist, or “acted stupidly.”

I’m not going to comment further on the case other than the above.  I do understand that the police sergeant had his microphone keyed and that there is a recording of the incident.  It will be interesting to see if that tape ever surfaces.

But I think that the person acting stupidly was the President because he commented on an incident that he didn’t know the facts of, and quite frankly, should not have touched the subject at all.

Sorry, Mr. President, I’ll call them like I see them – you goofed, and “acted stupidly.”

What A Difference 40 Years Makes…

Forty years ago today, the United States of America landed two men on the Moon.  To say that it was the crowning achievement of what a peaceful application of technology can achieve is a grossly understated description of the accomplishment of a nation.  This moment, I believe, was the greatest technological advance ever made that was not associated with war.  While many may argue that we were indeed in a “Cold War” with our ideological enemies at the time, it cannot be argued that the advances made in this effort benefited humans around the world.

We, as Americans, citizens of the United States, were able to stand upon the world stage in 1969 and declare ourselves and our country proud of the accomplishment.  We knew who we were, what we stood for, and could state that this is what our country could accomplish once we set our minds to the task.  We had the freedom to accomplish whatever goals we set before ourselves, and not follow any one else’s lead in achieving those goals.  We stood for what a free society could achieve

What a difference forty years makes…

Our free society is now following in the footsteps of Socialist-leaning Europe despite the warnings blaring from that continent.  Our national policies are now bordering on appeasement of our enemies and snubbing of our allies.  Our economic engines, manufacturing and innovation, are under attack from abroad without any restrictions or reciprocal agreements with other nations for parity.  Last, our government is taking steps to exert more and more control over the individual citizens’ lives all in the name of making things better for us in the midst of an economic crisis largely created by the government itself.

Our national image has also changed.  We are no longer respected by our friends nor feared by our enemies, and quite frankly, have lost our position as a nation to be reckoned with.  Our Country is no longer considered a leader of the world, but just another country that must be put in its place by the rest of the world.  Yes, the world is a different place today than the good-vs-evil of years ago.  But the world is no less dangerous than what it was – only the names of the players have changed.  But our national image has virtually been destroyed.

Our nation has become a nation of followers, from everything from adopting a nationalized healthcare system to combating “global warming” to equating our country to the many countries ruled by despots, dictators, and warlords.  Our elected leaders apologize and genuflect themselves to other countries where no such action is warranted nor is expected.  Our national identity is in crisis, and our leaders, who should be the country’s biggest cheerleaders, have become the biggest critics and copycats.

Yes, we can piss, moan, and bitch about what the “good old days” were really like, and pick faults from all eras of our country’s history and assign blame, but that will not make things any better. Neither will angry ranting (unless, there is a method to the madness) until we realize where the fault really lies.  You won’t like the answer…

The fault lies with us, the American citizen, who seems to squander their vote every election cycle.  We vote on charisma, promises, and what the government vis-a-vis the politician can do for us instead of their qualifications and what is right for the country.  All one has to do to look at the current state of affairs and all the proof of the preceding statement is there for all to see.  Promises of hope, change, and transparency have dissolved into hopelessness for millions, change for the worse, and impenetrable walls with no end in the foreseeable future.  Yes, we got what we elected, and we are the worse off for it.

Our nation has lost its way.  Short of a Second American Revolution, you, the American Citizen, must contact your elected representatives at the Local, State, and Federal levels and express your opinion on what your duly-elected representative must do to restore this country to its rightful standing in the world.  You do not need to wait for the next election to make your views known. 

This is your right, paid by the blood of our armed forces, pledged by the Founders of this Country, and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.  Use it.