If there is a poster child for the utter insanity of Don't Ask Don't Tell, it's Lt Dan Choi. A decorated veteran of Iraq who recently came out of the closet. A military panel has recommended that he be discharged from the National Guard despite NO EVIDENCE THAT HIS SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE. And, Oh By The Way, he is an Arab linguist, somehting the military has a distinct sortage of. So we continue to pursue a utterly mindless policy based on old prejudices that most members of the military no longer care about and that have cost us the patriotic services of more than 12,000 patriotic Americans who wanted to do the PATRIOTIC thing and serve their country in the military. This is insanity beyond description. Don't Ask, Don't Tell IS HARMING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.
If there is a poster child for the utter insanity of Don't Ask Don't Tell, its Lt Dan Choi.
A decorated veteran of Iraq who recently came out of the closet.
A military panel has recommended that he be discharged from the National Guard despite NO EVIDENCE THAT HIS SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE.
And, Oh By The Way, he is an Arab linguist, something the military has a distinct shortage of.
So we continue to pursue a utterly mindless policy based on old prejudices that most members of the military no longer care about and that have cost us the patriotic services of more than 12,000 patriotic Americans who wanted to do the PATRIOTIC thing and serve their country in the military.
This is insanity beyond description.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell IS HARMING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.
Listening to the Sunday Talkies its clear, one of the biggest concerns that Republicans talk about when voicing opposition to having a public option is that IT WILL WORK TOO WELL. That so many people will chose this option that it will hurt the insurance industry. Some refer to it as the nose under the tent flap for Single Payer.
That's right!!! They oppose a public option, not because it won't work. Not because it will cost too much. Not because the government cannot possibly efficiently deliver health insurance.
They oppose it BECAUSE IT MIGHT WORK!!!
And, oh by the way, it might actually work to hold down health care costs across the board.
How horrible would it be if the government offered its citizens something that they want and that works and that helps to reduce costs???
Whose side are they on??
Clearly not on the side of all those people they think might chose the public option.
They are on the Insurance Company's side.
We have a health care crisis in this country and the Republicans demand is that we protect the profits of the insurance companies.
There is a huge debate underway in the halls of Congress over the future of the American Health care system. And despite large majorities in both Houses of Congress, the Democrats are loosing. Sometimes I despair for my party. Though it is clear to me that some form of Single Payer is far and away the best answer for this nation, that is an option that is not even being considered. Sigh The battle in Congress is largely over two issues. Including a public option and how to pay the $100 - $160B/year that this program will cost us. Despite several polls showing very widespread public acceptance for a Public Option and a strong majority who are willing to pay more taxes in order to finance this system, some Democrats (including the the Blue Dogs) are blocking a public option. Listening to the debate I hear Republicans (and some Democrats) mouthing the same old tired attacks on a public option. They ask if Americans want a bureaucrat standing between them and their doctors. The sad fact is that for most Americans there already is a bureaucrat standing between them and their doctors. The current bureaucrat works for an Insurance Company and that bureaucrats job is to protect the profits of the Insurance Company. I some how do not see that as any better than a bureaucrat who works for the US Government in the same role. In fact, since the Federal bureaucrat isn't focused on protecting any Insurance Company's profits, they might be more responsive to the needs of the patient and the decisions of the doctors. For years Republicans have stated as if it were a fact that private industry can always do things better than a government entity. Yet now they are publicly worried that many people might leave private insurance for the government run insurance program. Why would they do that if the private insurers could do a better job?? Just look at how well Medicare is managed and what its administrative overhead costs are compared to the inefficiencies and bloated salaries and administrative overhead costs of private insurers. There are some things governments can do well and this looks like it might be one of them. One of the elements of President Obama's proposal is a structure that studies medical methods and outcomes and costs and looks for ways to maximize positive outcomes while reducing costs. Though no one has proposed imposing the results of these studies on anybody, Republicans have twisted this into a government plan to ration care in some way. Its a lie but Republicans do seem to like their lies. One thing that is lost in the current rhetoric is that the current system is financially unsustainable. Its not just that Medicare will grow to consume the entire federal budget, its that private citizens and employers will no longer be able to afford to provide quality care. There is tremendous waste and duplication and conflict of interest in the current system. Administrative overhead consumes about 30% of every health care dollar. (as an aside, overhead in Medicare is far far lower at about 5%). We have well over 1000 insurance companies along with hundreds of thousands of providers of medical services. Yet with all that supposed competition duplication and waste and inefficiency and costs continue to rise far faster than inflation. Without at least a public option, it may not be possible to get control of costs and without getting control of costs the question of who pays the bills is almost meaningless. The current health care system in this country is a national disgrace. We have the best, most advanced, most successful health care in the world, if you can afford it. But we pay way too much for what we get. We pay 20%/person more than the second most expensive country and 50% more than the 3rd most expensive country and yet we have a shorter life expectancy that most industrialized nations, we have higher rates of infant mortality that any other industrialized nation, and we still have 50 million people in this country that do not have any health insurance at all. 62% of all Bankruptcies are partially or completely the result of medical bills and 2/3rds of those medical related bankruptcies involve people WHO HAVE health insurance. No other industrialized nation on earth would tolerate such an outrage. And Republicans (with some Democrats) don't seem to really want to change anything. We are facing a crisis. And it doesn't look like we are going in the right direction.
I was amused to watch the unveiling of Ronald Reagan's statue in the Capitol Rotunda. Republicans, in particular, were almost worshipful of President Reagan I thought that was a perfect illustration of where the Republican party is now. Reagan changed politics in America in fundamental ways, none of them good. He brought the concept that tax cuts by them selves were good into the public stage and Republicans have embraced that idiocy ever since. Tax Cuts unmatched by spending cuts DO NOT stimulate the economy long term. They have a clear short term stimulative affect, the same as increasing domestic spending (President Obama's stimulus package is a clear example). The problem with tax cuts it they tend to be permanent while spending increases tend to be temporary. Shrub got a supposedly temporary tax cut passed and then immediately started campaigning to make it permanent. Those tax cuts never paid for themselves. Reagan's tax cuts never paid for them selves. At least Reagan (and Bush 41) acknowledged that and put forward huge tax increases to keep the budget from going completely out of control. Shrub never got the idea that huge deficits are fundamentally bad for the economy long term. President Reagan famously said that government wasn't the solution, it was the problem. Another idiocy that has been enthusiastically embraced by the Republican party. That led to deregulating the S&L industry and the resulting S&L bailout. That led to the breakdown of barriers between commercial and investment banks and was a major contributor to the current near depression. Regulation is neither inherently good or bad. Its a tool. History has repeatedly demonstrated that unconstrained capitalism is destructive of society, the cycles of boom and bust hurt far more than they help. But, following Reagan, Republicans still believe in this silly mantra of deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Without thought or balance, just deregulate. President Reagan gave us Star Wars, a hole into which we have dumped hundreds of billions of wasted dollars that might succeed in protecting us from North Korea or Iran, but would be utterly useless in protecting us from a nation with more than 10 or 15 weapons. And would be completely useless in protecting us from the stolen nuc smuggled into this country in a shipping container. And that doesn't even get into Iran-Contra I know Republicans (and some Democrats) worship at Reagan's feet. But its time to stop Time for a rational reexamination of the Reagan legacy for the disaster it was. I do not believe that History will be kind to Reagan Nor should it be.