Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Parade of the Idiots

In the wake of the SCOTUS ruling that upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, the parade of the (Republican) idiots has predictable started. It's hard to keep track of what everybody said, but I think it was Marco Rubio from Florida who said that if your state doesn't provide subsidized health care you can move to one that does. (And I suppose you can bill Sen. Rubio for the expenses.) I mean, really... Only an imbecile would make a technically factually accurate statement that shows a complete lack of empathy for the fate of millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck.

Incidentally, guys like Rubio should realize that they give their creationist beliefs a bad name: there appears to be nothing intelligently designed in an ignorant, heartless, power-hungry Republican politician.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chief Corporate Justice Roberts Saves ACA's Ass.

I expected no less: The corporate-friendly court found a way to preserve the ton of money that will flow into the coffers of health insurers starting in 2014. Remember, no cost controls. So everybody "wins", but in particular CIGNA, AETNA, UHC, etc. do.

Explain This

Libertarians, Republicans, and heartless curmudgeons need to explain to me why it is not acceptable to have a society in which some people are "wards of the state" but it is perfectly fine for people to be chained to their employer(s).

Case in point:
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans file bankruptcy because they cannot afford their medical bills. Thousands more are locked into jobs their [sic] hate because they cannot risk losing their employer-provided health insurance while they have a preexisting condition. (Ian Millhiser posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Jun 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm)
So: It is socialism, hence unacceptable, for the State to provide health care services to residents who pay taxes (presumably for the privilege of maintaining the most bloated military in the world). It is the triumph of liberty when people are turned into indentured servants, chained to their employer(s) because they have medical conditions which would be too costly to manage without the benefit of health insurance provided by a corporation that enjoys rates unknown and unavailable to individuals

This is the philosophy of those, like Mitt Romney, who advise everyone to go and create a business, be successful, while failing to mention that it's often the self-starters who are barred by prohibitive costs from participating in the health insurance market. (And imagine what kind of idiot it takes to propose a society where everybody should pursue the ambition of being a tycoon or small business owner: Who would work for these entrepreneurs? No one, because according to idiots like candidate Romney we should all strive to be independent business people. Oh, and corporations are people.)

May a giant dick fall from the sky and jail-rape these idiots. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It Won't Matter Anyway

In about 12 hours we are going to find out whether the right-wing Supreme Court of the United States is going to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, either the whole mess of it or only the individual mandate clause. It won't matter, not that much anyway.

The currently-sitting Supreme Court is remarkable only for the adherence to ideology of many of its Justices. But regardless of ideology, the Nine are all smart people. They know that if the law is declared unconstitutional, many will decry a judicial coup d'etat. That would be bad for politics. In a functioning democracy, the appearance of fairness is essential to the preservation of the system. If the Supreme Court issued a ruling that according to most impartial constitutional scholars is untenable, how long will it be before even the illusion of fairness is shattered and people rise against the system, which incidentally is working better and better for the rich and powerful? Besides, the Supreme Court has a pretty well-established history of deference toward Congress (or so I hear), and chances that it will pit its judgment so overtly against the will of Congress are slim (but don't underestimate the power of ideology). There is no need for the Court to expose its partisanship so blatantly.  

Since the Citizens United ruling, money has ruled our elections in ways that would have been unthinkable only 2 years ago. Almost invariably, the candidate who has raised the most money has won the election (or the recall election, in the case of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin), and chances are that sooner or later we will again have a fully Republican Congress and a Republican president in the White House. Once that happens, the Republican Party will be able to do its donors' dirty laundry without the need for the Supreme Court to further tarnish its already compromised reputation. 

That's why tomorrow's ruling matters little. Republicans (and too many Democrats) don't care if people are healthy or sick, dead or alive; they only care about protecting the interests of the corporations. So if the Affordable Care Act stands, they will just find a way to make it as costly for individuals as they can. With the added advantage that the law's name will offer perfect cover for the fact that their goal is to gouge every last penny and drop of blood from the people of the USA. And if it is struck down, well, too bad, but they will make lemonade with lemons.
In spite of its name, the Affordable Care Act doesn't guarantee real affordability, only make-believe affordability. As I explained in another post, affordability is not an absolute concept. If you have unlimited discretionary income, everything is affordable. If you live paycheck to paycheck, what percentage of that paycheck should go to "affordable" health care? 5%? 10%? 15%? 

My employer covers about 50% of my medical insurance, so I end up paying only 5% of my salary toward coverage for my wife and myself. But there's a catch: If I decided to quit, or if my employment were terminated, COBRA would only cover me for 18 months at a cost I could not afford. (There is no way I could afford a payment of several hundred dollars a month, in addition to my other bills.) Moreover, since I suffer from two chronic conditions, and need medication and regular doctor visits for each of them, I can't really take the gamble of changing employers because of pre-existing condition clauses. True, the ACA would make denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions unlawful, but it does not set an "affordable" limit on the premium  an insurance company may impose for covering me. In essence, pre-existing conditions are only a thing of the past as far as the letter of the law goes; but the reality is that the spirit of the law makes no provision for affordability of coverage. 

Think about it: Even if the predominantly right-wing court decided to let the law stand, their main constituency (corporations, which have been consistent winners with the Roberts Court) cannot lose. If the law is struck down, things go back to as they were before the bill was signed into law by President Obama, which is bad for common folk. If the law is allowed to stand, insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals win because they get 30 million new customers as the individual mandate becomes the law of the land in 2014, and because there are no meaningful cost controls in the law. And the Supreme Court could appear to have taken no stand in the matter, which is the opposite of what they have done ever since the Bush v Gore ruling in 2000.

As always, it's a win-win for the corporate sponsors of our Republic-in-name-only. What the Supreme Court announces on Thursday won't matter. Not that much anyway.

Good News

Young Americans are losing...

Their loss, everybody's gain.

Monday, June 25, 2012

America Is Too Young To Die? WTF?!?

"If you are desperately concerned about the fate of America, and believe Obama is undermining our Constitutional Republic through his authoritarianism, please, for God's sake, pray and contribute to the Romney campaign.

America is too young die."

Really, Doug, get a hold of yourself. These pleas reek of paranoia. Oh, yes, I'd like some money, too. Wanna contribute to The Daily Fuel? Jeebus!

Scattered Thoughts

Thoughts are scattered because life is a bit of a mess these days. Hence the long, long silence between posts.

However, here are a few considerations that are interesting to me:

- In the mouths of certain conservative politicians and Supreme Court Justices, the phrase "States Right" is a gigantic piece of bullshit. Read the following post on the topic, States' rights only count when we feel like it, by Hunter on Daily Kos. (And since I am not writing much these days, make a note to yourselves to follow Hunter's posts on the Daily Kos with devotion: They are goldmines of wisdom dressed with the right amounts of humor and disbelief.)

- Douglas Groothuis's blog on electing Mitt Romney is the expected ragbag of misinformed opinions, laden with hatred and deprived of true substance. When I visit it I don't know whether I should laugh at him or cry at the thought of the harm he is doing to the minds of the people who read him with devotion (but maybe if you see wisdom in Groothuis's political views your mind has already passed the point of no return).

- You should try to adjust your goals in life around what you are passionate about. In other words, do what you are passionate about and build a lifestyle that will allow you to continue doing it, cutting superfluous habits if necessary. If you do the opposite, i.e. pick a career based on what its earnings will  enable you to afford, you are doomed to fall into a life of misery sooner or later.

Copyright 2004-2012