Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cruel And Inhuman Punishment

Got Justice?
You're kidding, right? Antonin Scalia actually said he didn't read the 2,700 page ACA. He said his clerks could do that. One of the most important pieces of legislature of our time, and he says he didn't do his homework, and invokes the 8th amendment as a joke. I find it interesting that 40 million people can go without healthcare, and that isn't cruel or inhuman. They can go to the emergency room, that they can't pay for, so health insurance rates go up, but that is ok, just don't take away our freedom. Freedom to be sick, to be in pain, to go without. Just keep your hands off my medicare.
No one has been arrested for the Trayvon Martin murder, Maybe his parents and the prosecutor should invoke the 8th amendment. It is cruel and inhuman to chase down a 17 year old, armed with an iced tea and a cellphone, and shoot him, for wearing a hoodie, and then get away with it.
$50,000 for the family members of the 17Afghan men, women and children, allegedly gunned down by Sgt. Robert Bales, who had too many tours of duty in a country we should have never made war on.
Millions of people out of work (with no healthcare) as a result of the financial meltdown of 2008, no bankers were arrested for that travesty either. Millions foreclosed on or underwater on their mortgages, thanks once again, to fraud perpetrated by the banks. I guess the millions of people forced out of their homes doesn't come under cruel and inhuman 8th amendment violations. Or does it? Maybe Justice Scalia has a good idea there. Maybe we should start prosecuting the banks, the healthcare industry, the lobbyists, Congress, the Senate, pepper spraying cops, (is there anyone left?) utilizing the 8th amendment.
  • The "essential predicate" is "that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity," especially torture.
  • "A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion."
  • "A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society."
  • "A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary."
Is being sick and in pain, not able to pay for a doctor or a surgery, or qualify for medicare and not able to afford health insurance cruel? Inhuman?
Was the financial crisis of 2008  a severe punishment inflicted in an arbitrary fashion on millions of citizens in this country? Was it patently unnecessary? Was it rejected throughout society?
Is the murder of Trayvon Martin a severe punishment rejected throughout society?
Pepper spraying Occupy Wall Street protestors seems to me patently unnecessary.
What is the 8th amendment for exactly? It seems that there is little or no justice for criminal acts that have been perpetrated on Americans.
It seems that there is no end to the list and no justice either.
 Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are Clarence Thomas And Antonin Scalia BFF'S?

Look who's sitting next to each other!
If Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare didn't take away our individual freedoms, how will the ACA? Will we call the individual mandate a penalty or tax? If you call it a tax, is it constitutional? Like the payroll tax for Social Security?
There are two justices on the supreme court to watch. Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. They will probably stay with a conservative agenda and vote against the individual mandate. One thing I like to keep in mind is that all Supreme Court justices have health insurance through the government and have for some time and have no idea what it's like to have to deal with private sector benefits and the sky high deductibles that you may be forced to take to keep down your insurance payments.
The United States is ranked 49th in life expectancy. Germany, Sweden, Finland, U.K., France are way ahead of us. This does not seem to enter into the conversation, plenty of people assume we're number 1! Because, isn't the United States always # 1? But we aren't that exceptional when it comes to healthcare.
Justice Ginsberg made some comments about Social Security. I couldn't imagine trying to get a program like Social Security passed today. And Social Security is very popular. When the Social Security program was created, that was constitutional.
She asked if "the only permissible form of subsidizing healthcare was through a taxpayer funded government program."
We already have a taxpayer funded government healthcare program, medicare and medicaid. If that was utilized as our single payer option, that would be easy and it's already in place.
This seems to be a collective issue, as medicare and medicaid is a collective solution to the problem of the elderly and indigent having access to healthcare. We need a solution for the uninsured who are falling through the cracks and can't afford healthcare or don't qualify for medicaid. The only part of the ACA that is being questioned is the individual mandate. And that legislation is over a thousand pages long. What I find the most distressing about this is the almost willful ignorance of people complaining that they like their healthcare and don't want to change it. Which the ACA does not do, it's only for the people without healthcare. If these ignorant people are out there voting, that is really scary. They don't bother to educate themselves, or are just too stupid. Ignorance can be remedied with education, but you can't fix stupid.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Affordable Care Act, Penalty Or Tax?

It seems that so far, the supreme court argument is centered on whether the individual mandate, in the ACA is a tax or a penalty, or maybe a tax penalty.
Conservative groups and supporters of the tea party, are vehemently against the ACA. But interestingly enough, they do want women to be forced to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds before they undergo an abortion and explain to their bosses why they are using birth control, in order to avoid abortions and trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
The individual mandate seems to be a code word for taking away individual freedoms, which is really weird to me. It's okay to be a debt slave to the banks or to the insurance company. And it's just too bad if you have a catastrophic illness that bankrupts you, or you can't pay your student loan, because you can't get a job. And if you do get a job, it's part time because employers don't want to provide expensive healthcare benefits. Thank god for my individual freedom of being too poor to afford healthcare, yet not destitute enough to qualify for medicaid. The healthcare industry makes up almost a third of our economy, that's right, it's an industry. Other developed countries have a single payer system or national healthcare system that covers all of their citizens. But the socialist healthcare boogeyman terrifies conservatives.  Because it terrifies healthcare lobbyists. I think it's interesting that Clarence Thomas had nothing to say yesterday, he is one of the most conservative justices on the bench. He will probably lean toward the individual mandate of go ahead and die in the street. Conservatives say that "we can't afford Obamacare" and  "keep your hands off of our healthcare". But we CAN afford for the uninsured to go to emergency rooms for everything from abscesses from people having no access to dental care, to a common cold that morphed into pneumonia because they could not afford to see a doctor. One way or another, everyone is going to pay. That seems like a very big penalty for us all.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stand Your Ground, Not Chase Someone Down

A Weapon Or A Confectionery?
How else would you react to a 17 year old boy wearing a hoodie with an iced tea in his hand and a bag of Skittles? First you ask him what he is doing, after stalking him in an SUV. (Something Ted Bundy used to do)
 George Zimmerman, a 28 year old cop wannabe, killed Trayvon Martin and that is a fact. Here are some more facts;
  • George Zimmerman was arrested for assaulting a police officer when he was 21 years old. If only he was prosecuted. A felony conviction would have prevented him from buying a gun.
  • 28 pages of dialog from Mr. Zimmerman's 46 calls to 911 over 6 years. For everything from " a male driving without headlights" to a "yellow speed bike doing wheelies"
  • Was told specifically, not to carry a weapon, not to approach anyone, and not to patrol on neighborhood watch.
  • In 2008 he expressed interest in becoming a police officer and spent 4 months taking some classes at a local Sheriffs Department. He also took law enforcement classes at Seminole State College.
  • Was requested by a 911 dispatcher to stop following Trayvon Martin.
The probable reasons for Mr. Zimmerman not being arrested was that he was well known by the police department, the SYG law, which can also be used as a chase someone down law, and plain old generic racism. Now he is in hiding, he told a friend he thought this would all "blow over". If he did say that, it's pretty astonishing that taking a human life is sort of an inconvenience to Mr. Zimmerman. Something that would just conveniently go away. He also had to know what was legal in a situation like this, since he had classes with a sheriff's department and at Seminole State. Stalking someone, asking them what they are doing, were both out of his jurisdiction, since he is not a police officer. Walking down the street is everyone's right in this country. You would think that someone who called 911 46 times would be looked at as some sort of nuisance. But I guess not, when your father is a judicial magistrate. Where did he get such a state of entitlement and paranoia? This is just a guess, but he sounds like he's mentally ill. Ted Bundy used to masquerade as a police officer. Did Trayvon Martin think Zimmerman was some kind of pervert and try to run away? Sad to say, this self appointed cop still hasn't been arrested. The only good thing to come out of this is that the murder of Trayvon Martin has gained national traction. Hopefully something will be done and there will be justice for his family. Just the thought, that a child wearing a hoodie and coming back home after buying some snacks, could be shot for no reason other than someone was having some kind of racist paranoid delusion. That this man wasn't thought of as some kind of loose cannon by the local police force is amazing. There is so much failure from the people in law enforcement, the people who are supposed to serve and protect. There seems to be no protection for hoodie wearing, black young men in this country.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Graveyard Of Empires

War, what is it good for? Not even oil.
The news of the massacre in Afghanistan really didn't surprise me.
Why Robert Bales? And Why now? This attack occurred last Sunday, and there are still no charges against the Staff Sargent, but plenty of speculation. Our government is now suddenly concerned that Sargent Bales may have had PTSD issues. After FOUR tours of duty, and the partial loss of his foot. According to what I have read he bought a $280,000 home in Washington state, and was having trouble keeping up with the mortgage payments. It's really too bad he didn't go batshit on Bank of America, but I digress.
The Afghan villagers are saying that there is no way one man could have carried out this atrocity. Witnesses have said that the murders occurred in three houses in two different neighborhoods and no one man could have dragged the bodies back to one room and set them on fire.
There is speculation that Sargent Bales is taking the fall for allowing a situation to get out of hand, that he and his men had been drinking and things got ugly. Our government may be putting out the insane lone gunman story. It's like a flashback of the massacre at My-Lai in Vietnam, and it is probably a likelier story. Obviously there were no high level people in firing range and we have drones to do that now anyway, so it probably wasn't an undercover mission gone wild.
Here's some interesting statistics; in 2011 the China National Petroleum Corp. signed a contract with Afghanistan for their oil (they have about 1.6 billion barrels). The China Metallurgical Group got the copper mine and probably the other minerals too. So "W"'s oil war back-fired. Like everything else he did.
The Afghans want us out of their country, after this atrocity, I see no reason to delay. That no one looked at the history of war in that country and the loss of life over centuries is astonishing. What other outcome could there possibly be but failure and continued suffering. Because of Bales we should bail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goldman-Sach's Needs A Warning Label

Greg Smith, former  director of Goldman-Sachs wrote an open resignation letter   Which unfortunately, isn't much of a surprise. Included in this letter was the naming of Goldman-Sachs clients as "muppets", as if they were lovable, happy-go-lucky, puppets. But it's not easy being green. The environment at GS is "toxic and destructive" as the "interests of the clients continue to be sidelined". According to Mr. Smith GS has lost it's "secret sauce". Mr. Smith also wrote that his colleagues were overtly talking about "ripping their clients off". Suddenly, Mr. Smith has a crisis of conscience and wants to come clean about GS's treatment of it's clients?
   I wonder how much money Greg Smith has made from ripping off  his clients?                                      
 Why suddenly feel guilty now? Goldman-Sach's was bailed out in  2008 to 2009 to the tune of $782 billion. Guess that was okay. Hank Paulson  was "head of the fed" then. (Also a former employee of GS). Mark Patterson is Chief of Staff for Timothy Geithner, another former employee of GS. President Obama in 2006 raised the most money for his campaign from Goldman-Sachs. I guess the Federal Reserve could be an episode of Sesame Street. Why can't they get "The Count" to help? Basically what I've learned from Mr. Smith's letter is, financial institutions exist to rip their clients off. (Like that's new?) That he was also doing the same thing. Not only that but, their are no consequences for stealing from their clients. Mr. Smith's confession proves to me that there is no honor among thieves.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Government By Fox News, For Fox News

"I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war. Never mind whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked later on, whether he told the truth or not." George Bush didn't say this. Adolf Hitler did.
There is a war on truth and no politician is interested in anything but telling people what they want to hear to get elected.
Rick Santorum accused President Obama of once saying he wants everyone to go to college. Which was never Obama's intentions in any of his speeches. Romney said the President gave the auto industry to the UAW, without any support for his claim. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is up for re-election. He has repeatedly said that government spending won't create jobs. Yet he filibusters any cuts to Utah military bases. The President said in his State Of The Union address that "the Taliban had been broken" yet the war continues, with no hope of being won. That's just scratching the surface, there are so many lies being told, I didn't have time to read them all. It was exhausting. But it seems like the politicians never get tired of lying.
This week Olympia Snowe announced plans to retire. Everyone was saddened that this supposed "moderate" was leaving. She voted against the $447 billion jobs bill in Oct. 2011. Also MBNA Bank Of America was one of her biggest contributors. She's no paragon of virtue, but the last thing we need in the war on women is to lose one of the few we have.
The thing about lies is they are not that hard to detect. (now that we have the internet) But the American people's passivity is amazing to me. Politicians will tell their constituents what they want to hear, and in turn people vote for their own self interest, even though they know they are voting for someone who lies to them.
This seems like a very dangerous time to me. With a propaganda machine, owned by corporations and a population who want to believe in an "us versus them" mentality. As long as they get theirs. They are lulled into some kind of belief that all is right with their world. The unemployed deserve to lose their jobs, people on assistance are lazy, a committee of politicians can decide on women's health issue without any women on the panel. The one that is barred from testifying is called a slut, by a man with a drug habit and four divorces.
Hitler was elected to office during a time of economic depression, he wanted to take away the power of trade unions. He also talked about the redistribution of wealth. Less than 10% of the people in Germany  voted for him. But it's pretty safe to say they all watched the things he was doing and did nothing.
 It makes me wonder, who will be the next "undesirables"? Immigrants? Muslims? Women? The poor? The unemployed? The elderly?
We need people who run for office to be honest. There needs to be accountability for those who don't. No wonder there are so many apathetic people disengaged from the political process who don't vote, which makes me fear that history will repeat itself.