Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fall Season

Hi kids. Uncle Randy checking in once again. Happy Fall to all. Fall always reminds me of fresh starts and new beginnings. This rapid weather change, however, makes me believe that we are going to pay for that reasonably mild summer we experienced in Memphis. Which reminds me, I hope everyone gets their flu shot this year, that is, if you don't believe that the vaccine is a secret government conspiracy to make you sick enough to wish you had health insurance. In that case, you're in luck. Obamacare is due to kick-in on October 1st, and as I predicted in these pages, we are already seeing the formerly infallible insurance companies running competing advertisements for affordable policies. That's different already. For someone like me, who went without health insurance for a decade because of the dreaded "pre-existing condition," the Affordable Care Act is a long awaited remedy. For a person who receives all their information from Fox News and right-wing websites, it's the worst thing to hit America since the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

With only days before the law takes effect, the Republicans are scrambling around like cockroaches, attempting anything and everything to derail or delay Obamacare. The Tea Party led House Republicans passed a bill to alot money to run the government, without funding Obamacare, technically a violation of the law. If the Tea Party began telling the American people to stop paying their income taxes, or to ignore the speed limit, wouldn't they be aiding and abetting the commission of a crime? The Koch brothers have been running television ads that show a creepy looking Uncle Sam with a wicked smile preparing to perform a gynecological exam on an unsuspecting young woman. The grotesquery is supposed to convince younger people to opt-out of Obamacare. This is where you younger folks come in. I understand that the Affordable Care Act is unpopular and that the right-wing hysteria has had its effect, but all the bill does is deliver thirty million new customers to the health insurance industry. The problem isn't Obamacare, it's the health insurance scam that the medical/pharmaceutical complex forced upon us in the first place. Now that we're all in this together, the first step out of this trap is to at least make health insurance affordable and available to everyone.

The health care act allows a young person to remain on their parents' insurance until age twenty-six. I know you're feeling great now, but when you start getting close to thirty, things begin to happen. You may be fit enough to play on a Park Commission basketball team, until you're diving for a loose ball and get your teeth knocked out, which actually happened to a friend of mine. Another friend was a teammate in a softball league until he tore out his knee sliding into home. You'll be happy you have health care on these occasions, not to mention actual illnesses that require a doctor's care. So, young people's participation is necessary to make the law effective, despite the Koch brothers' efforts to convince them otherwise. Obamacare is the settled law of the land, yet the House bill to defund the  act allows the "loyal opposition" to kick their forty-second attempt at killing the law over to the Senate, where it stands no chance of passing, but every chance of becoming the partisan, political spectacle of the fall season. All eyes will be on the man Sarah Palin refers to as "Tea Party Ted,"- Texas Senator Tom, I mean Ted Cruz. The first term senator, whose naked presidential ambitions are embarrassing, has vowed to do "everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including a promise to filibuster any spending bill that does not defund the health care law. Majority Leader Harry Reid, doing his Don Corleone impression, responded, "Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead."

Ted Cruz is living proof that a degree from Harvard ain't what it used to be. He may possess a rich intellect, but he displays poor judgement. That leftist rag Wall Street Journal called Cruz's idea of using the continuing resolution to defund Obamacare as "crazy." Sen. John McCain said it was a "bad idea." Before "Tea Party Ted" was to appear on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said he was "stunned" to receive opposition research on the Senator, "from other Republicans." Cruz, the neo-Joe McCarthy, has labelled Social Security a "ponzi scheme," and said that "Sharia law is an enormous problem in this country." Oh yeah, he voted against the Violence Against Women Act too. Even his fellow conservatives despise him. Outspoken Rep. Peter King of New York said, "He should stay in the Senate, keep quiet. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can't, he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn't listen to him." Harry Reid will merely strip any language about defunding Obamacare from the spending bill and send it back to the House. Then it's up to "Crying John" Boehner to either find the votes to pass the Senate bill and prevent a government shutdown, or stand with the Tea Party and go down with the ship. If you recall, the last government shutdown was a disaster which led to the fellating of President Clinton. The deadline is September 30, and if you think this is exciting, just wait until next month's self-inflicted crisis over the damned debt ceiling, when the Tea Party lunatics attempt to delay the implementation of Obamacare for another year. I'm not a lawyer, but I watch a lot of television. Isn't this legal grounds for obstruction of justice?


Monday, September 09, 2013

Bombing For Peace

That clever Barack Obama with his Kenyan, colonialist, socialist tactics. I see what he's doing. He's using an old cold-war Manchurian mind-control trick he learned in an Indonesian madrassa when he was in training to take over the world. Obama is using the ancient technique of turning someones greatest desires against them, in this case the back-bench Republicans, who would love nothing more than to see the election of 2008 declared unconstitutional and Obama deported. Like using reverse psychology on a child, the Svengali president is using the irrational, frothing hatred of the Tea Party Republicans against the very idea of a Barack Obama in order to obtain his genuine goals. Look at the record. This man distinguished himself in the Illinois Senate by declaring against the Bush Iraq War resolution when other Democrats were too timid. He came into office vowing to end that same Iraq War, and he has. Troops in Afghanistan are loading up the trucks for a trip back down the old Khyber Pass, getting the hell out of hell. Obama doesn't want war in Syria. He's a pacifist who pals around with people like William Ayers, the peace terrorist. This whole "getting congressional approval for a military strike" is a sham. Obama's a peacenick. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize. If he tells this Congress he wants health, they'll vote for sickness. If he says he wants war, they'll give him peace.

It's not as if President Assad is the first lunatic to use chemical weapons. I can still hear echos of George W. Bush sputtering in exasperation, "but he gassed the Kurds," in reference to Saddam Hussein. That wasn't a sufficient reason to invade Iraq then, and it's not reason enough to invade Syria now. The President has assured us that no such thing would ever take place- no "boots on the ground," in the current politspeak. The problem is that the trust factor of the American people in their elected leaders has been so eroded by the Bush lies, they are hesitant to provide that trust to anyone again. Obama cites Bill Clinton's successes in Bosnia and Kosovo, where a bombing campaign ended a brutal dictator's reign and stopped a genocidal Serb forces' terror. Folks that can still remember that far back may also recall Mr. Clinton's response to the Al Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa. When Clinton lobbed a couple of Cruise missiles into terrorist bases in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical weapons plant in the Sudan, he was in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and his opponents claimed the strikes were just a diversion from the ongoing testimony of the sordid details from his sex life- "Wag the Dog," they called it, after the popular Dustin Hoffman movie.

Bashar al Assad was hoped to be a more enlightened leader than his dad, Hafez al Assad, who ruled Syria by violently suppressing dissent. Bashar is an Opthamologist who lived in London for awhile and even once made a statement praising democracy, yet he's just proven himself to be a more efficient killer than his father. The pictures coming out of Syria of victims of chemical attacks are undeniably heartbreaking and are deserving of a response. Where's the Muslim Brotherhood when you need them? Syria is surrounded by states capable of attacking their weapons cache, so why does the U.S. have to do it? In 2007, Israel made a secretive air strike against a partially constructed nuclear reactor deep within the Syrian desert. Because the operation was subject to a news blackout, tensions in the region remained unchanged- and what was the ferocious Syrian retaliation? Syria complained that Israeli jets had violated their airspace. If Israel felt threatened by Syria's chemical weapons today, would they not act again? There are atrocities committed around the world every day. Although the U.S. claims the moral authority, we no longer have the wherewithal to be the international dispenser of justice. I can still recall DuPont manufactured chemical weapons called Agent Orange and Napalm that were used on civilian populations in Vietnam. They were classified as defoliants, but they killed just the same. Which, among the angry nations of the world, should have decided what our punishment would have been, and who would have delivered it?

Obama's caution is understandable. When he ordered missile strikes against Libyan air defenses for murdering anti-Gaddafi protesters in March 2011, his objective was achieved, but it led to Benghazi. If he's looking for a precedent, all he need do is look to the Republican hero, John Wayne- I mean Ronald Reagan. In 1986, in response to a bombing in West Berlin by a terrorist group based in Libya, Reagan ordered the strafing of Muammar Gaddafi's personal residence. The result was the expulsion of the terrorists from Libyan soil. There's never been a war that the Republicans weren't willing to join, yet suddenly, usually hawkish conservatives are sounding like John Lennon. Tea Party heroes like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have led the opposition to any proposed action, while old guard Republicans like John McCain and John Boehner favor strikes. Obama stepped into his own trap with this "red-line" stuff, and it was wise to leave it up to a Congress that would refuse him ice water in the desert. Rand Paul said, "No on wants to go into Syria," despite the president's assurances that we were not "going in" anywhere. Yet there are always those unintended consequences.

As of this writing, the president has not yet addressed the nation, but it's beginning to look like public, as well as congressional, sentiment is turning against him. And as we grow closer to hostilities, the Tea Party is accusing Obama of "wagging the dog," to detract from their singular pursuit of the Fox News created Benghazi scandal, and for taking up precious time that could be spent attempting to disassemble Obamacare. The chemical attacks in the Damascus suburbs are an outrage to humanity- just the sort of thing for which the United Nations was formed to address. If they refuse to act, the fleet's already there. We're the nation that killed the whole Hussein family, what's another missile or two between murderous tyrants? The president could accept an alliance with France just to drive critics like Donald Rumsfeld nuts. But Obama doesn't want to go to war. If he wanted to end the massacre of civilians in Syria, he could fire a targeted Cruise or Tomahawk, or whatever missile is the latest thing, and send it right up Bashar's Assad. Problem solved- or as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson put it, "It's better to apologise than to ask permission."