Friday, October 11, 2013


A few observations on the healthcare debate-

I really should read the ACA legislation, because it seems that an awful lot of people are still accusing others of not having done so. Its three thousand pages long, which seems like a lot until I look at the Robert Jordan books that line my library shelves- 16 books totalling (by my estimate) about 10,000 pages of voluntary reading. I'm pretty certain I could get through it, given enough determination. Anyone else done this yet?

Lacking that, I have to rely on what politicians are saying about it, which is not a good way to get at the truth. However, using my best judgement, logic, and powers of observation, I have filtered a few key points. The ACA does NOT provide free healthcare for the American people, despite the protestations that it does. So all those people who are insisting that it does would seem to be A) mistaken or B) lying. In the spirit of fairness, it is apparent to me that a few people are lying to the populace and a large number of people are, unfortunately, believing them. What the ACA does do, on the other hand, is channel an incredible amount of money into the capacious pockets of a very small group of people who, incidentally, are frequently cast as the villains in this theatre. The ACA isn't busting the stranglehold of greedy and capricious insurance executives- it is REINFORCING IT.

The next observation is that the people in opposition to the ACA seem to be objecting to all the wrong aspects of it, and those in support seem to be using all the wrong reasons to support it. Quite honestly, the Republican Party should be lauding its efforts to encourage people to work with the private insurance industry, while the Democratic Party should be furious that it forces (and I mean that, the act REQUIRES, under a huge tax penalty) one to give money to billionaires. Welcome to topsy turvy world.

Now an observation in the hyperbole. First, its not the President's personal playground. Yes, he supported it, but the man wasn't a legislator when it was passed, so BY DEFINITION its not his legislation. Calling it Obamacare gives him far too much credit while simultaneously cheapening efforts to alter or end it, by short-circuiting any logic and turning the entire argument into an ad hominem attack. Its called the Affordable Care Act- it really doesn't matter if it does what its name says, for the sake of accuracy, use its real name. Second, its not going to be the single most devastating thing thats ever happened, and to say so makes one sound shrill and alarmist. If a person makes a dozen good, solid arguments and then ends with, "This will cause the dead to rise from the grave hungering for brains at midnight tonight!" And that last part never happens, they just shot ALL their arguments in the foot. Now, on the other side, everyone out there that gets all dreamy eyed over the ACA- I really do think you are being lied to, and when you parrot back those lies with your breathy voice, it makes us pragmatists feel like we're living in Brave New World. Its creepy, and does not help your cause. This is not the vast humanitarian effort you seem to think it is.

Now, I may just a wild-eyed optimist, but I still thnk there is room for truth and logic in debate, and compromise, but that faith is fading day by day. So, if we could all step up and get a few facts in order, we could still hammer out a useful result from this furnace of disaster. It may be we are out of time for that, but I really hope not.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On Shutdown

Life is still veerrrryyy busy, so this will be a brief note, followed by another period of reflection.

By reports, the shut down this morning at the stroke of twelve (no word yet on who is finding the glass slipper) and some confusion exists as to the what and why. My observation? Group 1 decided not to compromise on their belief and dedication to Cause A, despite repeated threats from Group X. As both groups would only accept a full accounting of their demands, no agreement could be reached. Please, fill in the placeholders in your own time; we don't want spoilers in the comments. In fact, although I have never been interested in filtering conversation, I intend to MadLib any comments made referencing real people or parties, for my own entertainment.

As to the results- I fully expect that this shutdown will remarkably resemble the sequester cuts of earlier this year (partially because we are, in fact, in the throes of the very same debate) in that there will be basically no changes made in the operation of the federal government with the sole exception of making any contact with the gneral population as painful as possible. This will be seized upon by both guilty parties. The intent, of course, will be to encourage the population to contact their elected officials and respectfully request that they swallow their oath and make us comfy again. Since this is being done by both parties, I predict little gain in that regard. What I DO expect s a lot of confused, angry people arriving at the gates of National Parks and Monuments. Some of them will probably subsequently sneak in anyway.

In conclusion, Congress has once again placed a splinter squarely in our eye, fully expecting that we will thank them not only for removing it later, but thank them for putting it there in the first place.