Thursday, September 03, 2009

Government 101: Democrats, Republicans, and Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III

As Obama and the House and Senate are set to return to their jobs after the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, a few thoughts came to my mind in regards as to what troubles our nation.

President Obama, after defeating John McCain took his victory as a mandate for all things Obama.

Many Democrats in the House and Senate saw his victory as an exclamation point on the gains that they had made in Congress during the 2006 and 2008 elections, and in concert with President Obama decided to remake America in their image.

The Republicans?

They want to do nothing…well, other than to instill images of Death Panels, terrorist attacks, and gay married people running amok, into the minds of paranoid Americans.

As soon as Obama assumed office, Congress passed the ginormous stimulus plan in order to feed some financial lithium to an American economy on the edge of deep depression.

I get that.

It was an expensive proposition, but I think that in 9-12 months, the benefits of the stimulus package will begin to pay off for our economy, and even the job numbers, which typically lag behind an economic upswing, will see considerable improvement.

But, after that…

Obama decided to reform our health care system…As our nation’s health care costs are exploding, eating up 1/6th of our economy, and millions go uninsured, it is an admirable goal.

Cost containment, portability, and affordability are issues that must be dealt with.

However, Obama and the Democrats should have limited their reformation of health care to those three health care issues. What’s not to like about those goals? Nothing.

But noooooo, they had to go and push for a complete overhaul while Americans are already nervous about the economy. Boneheads.

On the other side of the aisle?
Republicans want nothing done on this issue, because even those three issues smack of a slap in the face to the free market system and are fascistic, Stalinistic, and any other fearful “istic” phrase they can think of.

The Dems went a bridge too far, and the Republicans want no bridges built at all. Unless, of course, it’s a bridge to nowhere.

On top of that?

The Dems and the Obama administration are pushing for a new energy program, torture investigations, and a dozen other agenda items including repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

Seriously, the Dems should have kept it simple until the economy turned around and people weren’t bombarded by proposals of change upon change while many Americans are unsure if their job or house will be there tomorrow.

Dems, you should have listened to the Richard Dreyfuss character from “What About Bob” and said to yourselves, “baby steps.”

Republicans, you need to get off your asses and offer counter-proposals…

Quit thinking that change is not needed and saying much like Voltaire’s character, Pangloss from Candide, “This is the best of all possible worlds.”

It’s not. And, I’m sure your tea baggers and town hall meeting naybobs don’t know who the hell Voltaire is anyway.

When I think of our government lately, I think of M*A*S*H. I remember Charles Winchester saying after his first session of surgery saying, “I do one thing. I do it very well, and then I move on.”

Either Hawkeye or BJ replies by saying something like, “Charles, this is meatball surgery. You patch them up and send them on.”

The meatball surgery idea is fine when you are close to a war front, because the wounded in M*A*S*H were sent on to an Evac hospital to be fully healed.

This nation has no Evac hospital. We need to focus on one thing at a time, do it very well, and then move on.

Of course, while Winchester had the right idea as to how to do something, Hawkeye had the right perspective.

Hawkeye was concerned about the patient, Winchester was more concerned about his own reputation.

America is the patient and needs a doctor like Hawkeye AND Winchester without the reputation and reelection seeking habit of Charles...

I doubt that that can happen...
Maybe it was Plato who was right…We need a Philosopher King. We need an Enlightened Absolutist.

What he have now, sure as hell isn’t working.



katherine. said...

I agree our government is stretched too thin...and those who govern aren't getting anything done.

It isn't working....
and it makes our Country weak.

If we don't turn around soon, someone is going to try and take advantage of our weakness.

katherine. said...

On a side note....another weblog I read is Ken Levine...although he is currently sashaying around with the boys in blue...he wrote on MASH, Simpsons, Raymond, Frazier...and a bunch more.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: I know of Mr. Levine and I'll check it out. As for our weakness?

Whenever there is a political vacuum, something has to fill it. History shows that it's usually a strongarm type of government. Cheers Kat!!

Jeni said...

Some very good analogies in this post. Really enjoyed/appreciated reading your thoughts on this stuff. Most certainly, the officials in charge need to get off their duffs and do something -but take the time to do it right too!

Matt-Man said...

Jeni: Why thank ya. I think patience and thoughtfulness are oft times lost virtues. Cheers Jeni!!

Micky-T said...

Patience my ass.

Somebody blow something up to get this country's head out of it's asshole!
Congress DOES have their heads firmly planted deep into the neather regions of our ass.

Andy said...

As Charles once said on MASH "Winchesters don't sweat, we perspire and secondly, we don't perspire." I think that sums it up.

Matt-Man said...

Micky: Passion and patience can go hand in hand. Sometimes the bomb one wants to detonate requires a longer fuse. Cheers Mick!!

Andy: Ha. Your monumental genius is so fucking sublime. Cheers Anj!!

Karen said...

Those of us who are anti-big government are hyper-sensitive to all these attempted changes.

It is a scary time, but will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Matt-Man said...

Karen: I think there are very few true anti-Big Government types. Many of those who you reference have no problem having the govt say who can marry, denying the right to have an abortion, and are just ducky with govt wiretapping.

While there are a handful of true anti-govt folks most people don't mind govt. control; differing sides merely argue over what things are to be controlled. Cheers!!

Dianne said...

You're a smart cookie Matty and you've written a calm and thoughtful post

Me - sick to death of this crap. The Republicans can go fuck themselves, I suggest they all go serve in the Mid East
Big Corporations should all be investigated (by economists, NOT politicians) and then regulated
Pussy Dems should all be forced to do landscaping and stand on line at a clinic

And Obama, as you said a few posts back, should get his groove on and grow his balls back

Matt-Man said...

Dianne: Thanks Sexy, and I agree with ya.

I think the biggest thing is that Obama gets his groove back and steps in to this mess and act like the adult breaking up a fight among children.

Case in point...He wanted to Health Care. I dig that. However, the Dems hijacked his agenda with a myriad of different proposals that, right or wrong, have no chance of flying with a large segment of Americans.

The GOPers not wanting any change, have invoked the Big Brother, Death Panel, rhetoric and labeled it a fight against Obamacare.

There is no Obama-Care, and that's part of the problem. From the outset Obama should have clearly defined what he wanted in a HC reform bill.

He didn't and it's costing him, and those who have no coverage. Cheers Di!!

Dana said...

I live in Karen's world ... and I don't want the government saying who can marry (especially since marriage is a religious ceremony that offers cultural benefits), denying the right to have an abortion, or have access to willy-nilly wiretapping ... so there!


Matt-Man said...

Dana: Well bully for you, but I know damn well that I can easily summon others who while they claim that they are opposed to govt. control have nary a problem with those things. Cheers Dana!!

Michele said...

You said a whole lot of things here, Matty. But, what it all boils down to is trying to play well with others. And to stop thinking about whether you are Republican or Democrat and starting thinking about what is good for the country. Seems pretty straight forward to me.

Jay said...

It's really depressing that we've come to a point in our government where we can't even come up with some basic changes to help 50 million Americans who are uninsured. All because both parties are in power to protect corporate special interests from the people, rather than the other way around. And, because the "family values party" puts politics ahead of doing the right thing to help people who are in desperate need.

And I'm sick and tired of all the anti-big government shit. Anyone who voted for McCain and Sarah "Governor of the biggest welfare state in America" Palin, voted for big government republicans. Those two love big government programs as much as anyone.

katherine. said...

Wellllll….I am anti big government…because I believe every time we pile on another law we lose a little bit more freedom.

I am for same sex unions…and different sex unions. If you are going to give rights to same sex domestic partnerships you best be giving the exact same rights to opposite sex domestic partnerships.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Actually choose. And it’s a women’s choice…men really have very little business being part of this discussion.

Wire tapping in extreme circumstances with cause only. Truth be known…the majority of “listening in” on American citizens is not being done by the American government. Wireless as it were.

I believe that citizens who register to vote a specific party should get to decide on their if they join the military. Forced conscription as punishment for voting in a specific manner is hatemongering….if not simply lunacy.

Dictating specific compensation for individuals with special talent…or who have tremendous work ethic is merely ordinary people attempting to limit extraordinary people. Some of whom are jealous and angry at their own inadequacies. Some of whom are just leeches on society. Just because a person can’t or won’t doesn’t mean they can dictate to others.

Matt-Man said...

Jay: I agree with everything you just said. In fact, quit echoing my thoughts. I'm sick of it ; )~.

And what you said about "family value" voters always cracks me up. "I believe in family values, the teachings of Christ, and go to church, but Godammit don't fuck with my health care and don't spend tax dollars helping others."

Ha. Cheers Jay!!

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Laws aren't necessarily bad. What is bad is when some people will say, "Do you really want another law? Do you want government intrusion?" It can be a scare tactic.

We used to have wiretapping with cause and a court order but that was changed under the Patriot Act. Seems to me lots of people were fine with the change.

Many of them said, "Let them tap me; I have nothing to hide." Fuck that.

I agree with most of what you say but you lost me on the conscription thing. Cheers Kat!!

katherine. said...

The Patriot Act stepped over the line for me...and from what I understand many others...I didn't get a vote on that...did you?

Like so many other laws shoved down our throat and up our ass only 545 people got a vote.

I actually want to "hide" the personal private details of my life.

I was referring to the comment you agreed with that all Republicans should fuck them selves and serve in the middle east.

katherine. said...

I do believe there should be health care provisions for that portion of the 50 million uninsured citizens who need the help.

I do not believe the other 250 million should be punished for making the choices that result in adequate heath care coverage.

I do not believe we should provide heath care to able bodied people who just want a free ride.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: caught me one thing. Not all Republicans, in my mind, I was thinking of hawks who have never served and are quick to send others to war. A Thousand Pardons.

As for the many others thinking the Patriot Act was over the line? I don't recall many who are right of center thinking it was a bad thing. I listen to right wing talk radio hosts, their listeneers and read columnists daily who thought it was imperative that we had that.

The thing is the 535 folks who voted for it, including many Dems voted for it because it was post 9/11 and didn't want to appear "Un-American". It's in actuality, VERY Un-American.

I enjoy laying out my personal's liberating. Cheers Kat!!

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Who the hell is being punished by some of the major proposals that are floating around? Cheers!!

VE said...

I fear for the future. They ended MASH on top, you know.

Matt-Man said...

VE: Ha. I was trying to think of a funny response but can't. While I don't sit in a corner and rub worry balls together, I fear as well. Cheers VE!!

katherine. said...

@VE...sometimes I like ending on top.

katherine. said...

The people who will be punished are those who have excellent health care coverage...Blue Cross for example...where their employer pays all or the large majority of their premium...and typically a portion of their spouse's and children's premiums.

I will give you the original vote on the Patriot Act was a rally to be "american" I do NOT believe the subsequent votes to prolong were.

I don't really think that the majority of republicans consider the right wing talk radio hosts and columnists actually speak for the majority of the republicans. If they did...they would be elected to office themselves.

katherine. said...

I gotta run...but personally...I think what this country really needs is to figure out a way to go to the popular vote and dump the electoral college. I don't feel strongly enough about it to do anything....yet...but it is where we need to head.

We need to figure out how to inspire more of our citizens to actually vote.

In last years presidential election:

69.5 million voted for Obama
59.9 million voted for McCain
1.7 million voted for someone else

74.9 MILLION adult citizens of the United States didn't bother to vote

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Let me get this out of the way first...I have long held and written about the fact that we as a nation are lacksadaisical when it comes to voting and challenging others. That aside...

Now...If a person likes their health care coverage why would it change? Because there is a public option?

If an employer decides to go with such, why should the insured have a beef with the government? It's not mandatory. The beef if any, should be with the employer who decided to save a few bucks.

The public option cuts both ways...If a person decides to have a more expensive private health care plan, no one would stop them from doing so.

What's the big deal? Cheers Kat!!

katherine. said...

I know you have...on the voting thing...sometimes I just fly off on a tangent ...

The punishment has to do with the various proposals on how to pay for the “Public Option” as there are FOUR bills in the House and a fifth bill in the Senate.

The people who have “a more expensive private health care plan,” should not have to pay more of their own money for that healthcare to support those who are going on to the “public option” plan.

Those who currently have an employer supplied healthcare plan should not be taxed on those benefits. Those employers who pay all or a portion of healthcare for their employees should not be taxed any different…or have any fee levied…to pay for healthcare for people who do NOT work for their company.

And I am tired of hearing the whining about corporate healthcare plans being so unfair. IF healthcare is so damned important to a person than they need to go work for corporation….or a government entity or a college/university which has employer provided benefits… a truck for the teamsters. If they have no skills or no intelligence or whatever seems to be holding them back…then they can be a landscaper or a custodian or whatever at Microsoft or Google or Coca Cola or on Wall Street and get the same employer paid healthcare benefits as management does….and for LESS out of pocket than the upper level hierarchy.

If a person doesn’t live in an area where there are those types of employers…and they want to have those types of employer paid healthcare benefits…then they need to MOVE. If they are not willing to move…or work for that type of employer…then healthcare is not that big of a priority to them is it?

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Wow...I am kinda surprised at your response.

You say that if a person should have health care they should go and get job. I believe everyone should try to find a job but not every job provides health care.

Schmoop and I have no health care. Many employers provide no health care, but that's no big deal. That's the way it is, but I do find it funny you mention the Teamsters...

How the hell many Teamsters died, lost everything, and or otherwise were fucked around to earn that health care let alone a living wage? Plenty...and plenty of janitors, carpenters, and nursing home workers.

And, I know of no places around here where the hierarchy pays more for their health care than employees do. Unless, of course, you're talking about how we employ representatives, pay for their health care, and some get no reciprocation. Cheers!!

Schmoop said...

First of all, I want health care for everyone. But...I don't have it, Matt doesn't have it. Guess what? I DON'T GIVE A FUCKING SHIT!!!

I would rather have the troops home from fucking Iraq, and from fucking Afgaganistan! Wouldn't you?

I am so sick of listening to all of the politics of the world. Does anyone know, how hard it is to get a job?

I don't know where you live, but here in O fucking Hio, it's real hard. I voted for the O-Man, and I have faith that his policies will come to fruition. I pray for that.

Starrlight said...

I process some 3000 group contracts per year. Very few cover any of the dependent premiums anymore. Frankly that type of coverage just does not exist outside of what we in the business call jumbo groups - usually union and or state employee groups.

The long and the short of it is that we are the dumbest fucking country on the planet for not providing universal coverage. I should know, I work in the system.

If we went to a single pay system, my job would most likely go away. Guess what? I'd be ok with that because I think we have a social contract with each other.

Kat - you ARE paying for those people who "just want a free ride" already. It's called the inflation of insurance premiums, the move to higher co payment and deductibles, pre existing condition clauses etc etc etc.

Frankly it's a cop out to be against universal health care because you are against free loaders. There are not that many of them. What there are a LOT of is hardworking uninsured or under insured people who would benefit from it. They FAR outnumber the freeloaders. And freeloaders are always gonna exist.

Allow me to quote a rather fine article from Matt Taibbi-
"Let's start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It's become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment — a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn't be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn't work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it's a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they're sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that's the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won't get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America"

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Really you must quit. You are an enabler because you take the time to type shit I haven't the patience for, and I appreciate your insight.

I'll tell you of these days if you ever have a day off, I will post a commentary and you can just respond for me.

One thing you didn't mention because it never came up...

I love the argument made, "Do you really want what type of care you get determined by a by a government bureaucrat?"

Aren't those decisions already being made within the confines of private insurers by Doctor Usual and Nurse Customary?

katherine. said...

First...I do think there should be Healthcare…affordable healthcare options available for people…such as Mateo and Schmoop…who work for small business employers.

Second...there are FIVE bills proposed. FIVE. Some provisions in these bills are excellent...some are totally bullshit.

I believe Obama is gonna tell us what his healthcare proposal is in the next few days.

Matt: No - I was saying people who bemoan about people who work for large entities with health care benefits have choices. Maybe not the easiest choice or endeavor. But I don’t think one can expect the local beauty shop to provide their employees with the same medical benefits as IBM.

Absolutely many Teamsters and other union workers fought and lost for the benefits they have today. Absolutely. All the more reason not to take away what they fought for.

I don’t know Ohio. But here many corporations and state entities (such as University of California ) have sliding scale medical benefit premiums based on annual income. The more you make…the more you pay for your benefits.

And yes…in many (if not in most places) it is very VERY difficult to find work.

However the people who have employment and those companies that do provide medical benefits should not bear the cost to pay for the healthcare of those who don’t.

Schmoop…if I thought any health benefit option...ANY option…would result in Peace on Earth…I would be all for it. This is a little close to home. The Teamster’s son leaves in ten days for Afghanistan. This is his second deployment. Healthcare has nothing to do with his (or our other family member's) service. Trading a healthcare debate for bringing the troops home isn’t an option.

While all the talk of politics may get a bit much…and sicken many… isn’t that the chosen subject of many of Matt’s posts…including this one…no?

Starr: I’m not talking about what already exists…increased costs…higher co-ops et cetera.

I'm sure you've seen the industry and government breakdown of the 47 million. Many already qualify for healthcare...and have not taken advantage of it.

I am objecting to implementing additional income taxes on those people who do receive benefits. I am objecting to the provision in one of the proposed bills…that would require fees to a mid level employer with private healthcare…to the extent and with the intent…to force the employer to switch to the public option. If the country needs to increase the income tax across the board…equal percentage so that everyone can be covered…fine. But don’t punish those who already have it.

The insurance industry has fucked this country in FAR more areas than healthcare. Beyond the costs and circumstances’ of litigation…. Insurance companies are out of control.

Single Payer is not going to happen at this time in this country. I think that is reality. I am not saying it wouldn’t work...or shouldn’t be considered. I am saying it will not happen at this time.

Starrlight said...

Of course there are people who qualify for health care. But just because your company offers health care does not mean that you can cough up the 900+ a month to cover your family. I am not joking...imagine 450 bucks out of your paycheck to cover your family. I work for an insurance company and I pay 175 a month for my insurance. And I can not afford to get all of my exams done because the 20% I have to pay breaks my bank.

As to taxing those of us with benefits I am fine with them taxing the millionaires. If that seems unfair then group health care in general has to be seen as unfair.

Because group health care premiums are based upon a Per Member Per Month risk pool calculation. The thought being that the young and healthy in the pool pay help the older and sicker to get the care they need without going bankrupt. Because someday we are all going to be old and sick. Kinda like Social Security. Or Medicare.

So yeah if they want to tax people earning 500k a year or more, have the fuck at it. They can afford CPA's to find them loopholes. And if they don't like "socialized medicine" they can put their money where their mouth is and not use any other socialized institutions we have in the country. Like the police, the fire and all of our highways. Fuck them in other words.

Starrlight said...

I should add that personlly I am totally for a flat sales tax. That way the illegals, the dealers and the criminals all get to pay taxes too. And I think that would go a long damn way towards fixing our country.

And HELL YES on the popular vote. The electoral college is a shell game.

katherine. said...

I am referring to the provision to tax the market value of the healthcare people receive from their employer...even if they make $25,000 a year.

I am referring to the provision to fine a small a three station beauty shop where the employees pay for their own employer offer benefits.

I'm not talking about the "two comma kids" or the fortune five hundred. I'm talking about the little guys.

Flat Sales tax won't work...people will buy stuff from Canada and Mexico...flat income tax I could totally get behind.

Starrlight said...

The problem with income tax is the people who don't file them.

Oh yeah people will buy from other countries. But not that many and not enough to not make it worth it. This country is way too lazy and way to into instant gratification for that to truly impact it. Hell the McDonalds receipts alone would be astounding.

Can you tell I am hungry? Straight to Mickey Ds went my mind.

katherine. said...

under the new government health care plan Mickey D's will be forced out of business as it will be deemed a leading cause of so many unhealthy Americans.


Starrlight said...

If the gov plan goes that route they will only be copying For Profit out there as is. There are already plans that have premiums and/or employer contribution based on "life style choices."

Can't tag that one on The Man, I'm afraid.

And I know it's bad for me but dammit...the fries!!

Matt-Man said...

Wow...So many words and arguments. I dig it. I will say this...If you have a HMO you already have a single payer thing going on. I don't know why single payer became a bad phrase. Cheers!!

Starrlight said...

HMO's are going the way of the Dodo. Well true HMO's like Kaiser (my former employer) are at least. PPO (Preferred Provider Orgs) are where it is at no. People just did not like that whole narrow service area crap.

I still want fries.

The Teamster said...

wow....what a debate....but we should ask ourselves.

do we really want what's best for the entire country or do we want what's best for ME?

I am a ME me...

When we vote for our congressmen, do we vote for how they vote on national issues or do we vote for them for keeping our local military base open or how many pork belly projects he/she brings into our local economy?

To be honest with everyone, I'd really like affordable health care for everyone in the country....Just don't tax my health insurance to pay for it. I myself and those before me have negotiated, walked picket lines and fought for our benefits.

and thanks Katherine for the kudo's on "Dr. Yank" (my son)

Matt-Man said...

Teamster: Well said however...I find it highly disturbing that you call your son, "Dr. Yank". Cheers!!

The Teamster said...

there is a good explaination for that last name is nick name for years has been "Yank" (since there are about a dozen Dave's at work. I even sign my freight bills that I pick up and deliver "Yank"..

My oldest son became "Big Yank" and his younger brother became "Dr. Yank"..

It's been an interesting nick name throughout the years...

enjoy your day off..

Matt-Man said...

Teamster: Ha. Well here's to you and your entire family of um...yankers. Cheers!!

Clay Perry said...

i say scrap the whole lot, set a limit of two terms on all elected officials from local to state to federal, getting rid of career politicians... put the fair tax in place and make fuel for cars out of kudzu..

Matt-Man said...

Clay: Ha. Very good. I'm not in favor of term limits however. I think that concept only adds to voter apathy. Cheers Clay!!

Clay Perry said...

i tend to think that a true citizen govt would make the special interest groups drill themselves into the ground via spinning round and round trying to figure out who to throw money at to get things passed that would benefit their bottom line.