Mar 302012

This is my response to an email I received, purported to be a letter from a black American and member of the Tea Party. It expounded all the Tea Party rhetoric about Obama trying to destroy America by taking away our freedom via the Affordable Healthcare Act. My email was quite a rant and I felt it concise enough to not limit it to a single person so I included it here.

John, I am not going to defend Obama. There are countless things he has done that are infuriating to me and that are certainly not in "the people's best interest." To say that he is against freedom, is true. But not in the way the GOP and Tea Partiers complain about. It's not about healthcare it's about the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.

The Patriot Act is used to invade our privacy, tap our phones, use sophisticated software for reading our emails, and follow and spy on certain groups of people: Muslims, environmentalists, peace activists, and many other groups who would dare to exercise their constitutionally protected right to assemble and voice their opposition to policies of the government. All this without a warrant or having to establish anything like the old outdated idea of probable cause. Plus, the President seems to think he has the right to have a kill list and to unilaterally decide that someone deserves to die. No matter if they're US citizens. No matter if they aren't an actual combatant. He has yet to disclose the process of deciding who qualifies for execution or who else is on the list.

The NDAA authorizes the military to have a role in domestic law enforcement. What a disaster waiting to happen. If you thought some of the police violence against the Occupy movement was out of line (like pepper spraying students calmly sitting across a sidewalk), just wait. Think Kent State. The NDAA authorizes grabbing people off the street and detaining them indefinitely ("until the end of hostilities") without any charges or legal rights. They have already been doing this in other countries for years. The NDAA makes it possible here in the U.S.

You know the old saying: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Maybe Obama won't have folks disappeared off our streets. Even if he complies with his signing statement (questionable constitutionally), imagine a future President with policies like Santorum, with his radical views derived from his association with the Opus Dei cult of the Catholic Church. He wouldn't have to have Roe v Wade overturned. Just include the so called "infanticide" of removing a mass of undifferentiated cells from a womb as an act of terrorism and send law enforcement out to snatch the perpetrator off the street. He has already stated that he doesn't support abortion even if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest or if the woman's life is at risk. Additionally, any politician that supports the status quo could easily see protesters or environmentalists as a terrorist threat. The FBI has already taken action against peaceful activists that identifies some of these groups as potential terrorist threats.

As for the Republicans, they have the same corporate masters as Obama. Unique to the GOP is that they talk about protecting our freedom while they pass laws requiring women to subject themselves to medically unnecessary, invasive procedures. They are just so damn sure that women are too stupid to understand the "moral and spiritual" consequences of their actions and they want to educate them and shame them into making a different choice. To add insult to injury the woman is often required to pay out-of-pocket for the unnecessary and unwanted procedure. Freedom? Did someone say our freedom is under attack?

The whole lot of them (Republicrats) have got us into and kept us in never-ending wars that make their friends obscene amounts of money and then scream that we need to cut everything from education to medicare, and still there's nothing left for repairing our aging infrastructure. There are cities and towns that are drastically cutting or even eliminating their police force. They take our tax dollars and spend it on the military, with much of it going to corporations that are either overcharging us for hardware or with no-bid contracts to do what the military used to do for themselves but cheaper. We spend nearly as much as the rest of the world combined on "defense."

Then the GOP blocks Obama's (weak) jobs bill. God forbid the economy should show any signs of improvement with the election coming. So they pass their own JOBS Act. But it's not a serious jobs bill. It is an acronym for "Jumpstart Our Business Startups." It give tax breaks to "small" businesses. But the bill describes a business that qualifies for tax breaks as having capital up to $1 billion. $1 billion. Maddeningly, it has received bi-partisan support and Obama has said he'll sign it. It is just a scam with a name that will appeal to the average American who doesn't have time or the interest to look deeper into matters. They listen to that hateful blowhard on the radio or Faux News.

Obama isn't a commie or even a socialist. He is to the right of many GOP favorites from back before the time when the religious fascists and greedy corporations held sway, like Richard Nixon. Nixon was more of a liberal than Obama. Obama is a corporatist to his core and supports the discredited theory of unfettered free market capitalism and the total bullshit that is trickle down economics. What George H. W. Bush called voodoo economics.

As for the healthcare debate, I don't much care for the healthcare plan. But it seems to me that the mandate is very much like states requiring drivers to buy car insurance. Then we have to carry proof of it in our car at all times. BUT, when you need it, you're damn glad to have it, and damn glad that the guy who bumps into you has it (or that you carry uninsured motorist protection). All the rhetoric fed to the the tea party and average Americans is only to get people worked up. A question of freedom? How can we as a people be truly free when 50 million of our neighbors are uninsured and consequently have very limited access to healthcare? Estimates of deaths caused by lack of health insurance and access to healthcare range from 27,000 to nearly 50,000 every year. The majority of bankruptcies have a medical crisis at the core. Even some of the victims actually are insured but it doesn't save them from going broke to save their sick kid.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney promoted a healthcare plan that the mandate is based on. In fact, it was a Republican idea. Now of course, all the Republicans hate it because Obama supports it, including Romney. As President, he would kill the healthcare act. Then he'd end federal funding for planned parenthood. What a great idea. Take away the place that millions of women go for cancer screenings. Often it is the only time a woman will visit a doctor all year. No federal dollars go toward abortions which is only a minute fraction of what Planned Parenthood does anyway. 

My opinion is that healthcare should lose the profit motive. Yep, all the greedy corporate marauders need to figure out some other way to screw American citizens. We have the most expensive healthcare in the world. What exactly do we get for our hard earned dough? We all like to talk about our super duper high tech health care system. American exceptionalism and all. We've been propagandized and most of us actually believe this crap. But the truth is far different. We are ranked 30th in the world for infant mortality. We are in great company… between Poland and Slovakia. Cuba has fewer infant deaths than us and they have universal healthcare for all.

In fact, most of the countries that do better than us have universal health coverage. Why don't we? All the other advanced industrialized nations have it and even some not so advanced. It's not because the time waiting for care would be increased. It's not because it would be more expensive, it wouldn't. It's not because the government isn't capable of administering a single payer insurance plan, they already are, and with less administrative costs than the private companies. It's because our for-profit healthcare industry is greedily doing whatever they can, moral or immoral to generate more profits and satisfy shareholders and the rapacious corporate officers that run them. It's because they have an army of lobbyists to make backroom deals with a willing collection of complicit politicians.

One more thing. The idea that the media has a liberal bias is nothing more than propaganda. With the exception of MSNBC which does have a bunch of left leaning semi-progressive talk show hosts. The media isn't liberal or on the left and it isn't conservative in the true sense of the word or on the right (I don't include Faux News here, as I consider them the propaganda department of the GOP). All of the major media networks are owned by big multi-national corporations with a very specific agenda.

Think about it, why would a company that among other things are part of and profit from the military industrial complex ever have a talking head that says anything against these vile wars? And they don't. In the run-up to the Iraq Invasion, the pro-war experts interviewed, out-numbered the anti-war experts 10 to 1 (a conservative estimate). Not because there were fewer anti-war people but because the corporations that own the main stream media have an agenda for profiteering at the expense of our kids' lives, the lives of countless individuals from the mideast. Specifically, Arabs and our economy, and of course for easy access to oil.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq there was an anti-war protest in Washington, DC. The "liberal" media gave it no coverage. Over 100,000 people got out on the street to tell everyone that the war was a mistake. Most people knew nothing about it so all we heard were people in favor of the invasion. Not a single reporter investigated the reasons we were given for why we had to invade Iraq. We were lied to and no major media outlet did a damn thing to find out or to call out the people doing the lying. In the meantime, Halliburton made billions and Cheney refused to divest or sever his ties to them. Is it any wonder why they were given no-bid contracts and not held to account for the $8 billion they lost. Do you recall how quickly the story about the $8 billion disappeared from the news cycle? 

Free market crony capitalism will always seek the most profitable undertaking and the sociopaths that run them don't give a rat's ass who gets hurt. The news shows don't often disclose it but many if not most of the experts you see interviewed are either from right wing think tanks or former military or government. They all have ties to the people that are trying to sell us on the issue or funded by the likes of the Koch brothers or both. The Kochs are conservatives with a John Bircher point of view on social issues, but they have one over-riding goal. To pass laws favorable to big business and the oil industry in particular or reverse unfavorable ones. This singular intent takes priority over any other consideration. Worker safety, the environment or even the the health of our country doesn't play even a supporting role in their script.

The oil industry, the defense contractors, big Pharma, the banking and investment and insurance companies don't just limit themselves to campaign contributions. They provide templates of legislation through an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council for lawmakers to put their name on and introduce. Additionally, most of our esteemed "representatives" get inside info to trade on while they are in office and a high paying job or become a highly paid lobbyist or consultant. They are wealthy when they enter politics and wealthier when they get out and wealthier still down the road.

Ok, I have vented enough. I just get so ticked when people pass around misleading stuff. Some people still believe that Obama is a Muslim and that he wasn't born in America. An idea doesn't gain legitimacy because ONE black guy who claims to be a Tea Party republican says things that feeds into the right wing paranoia and propaganda. It also doesn't gain legitimacy by repeating it over and over. The fact that if we hear things repeated enough times we tend to believe them has not been lost on the political spin machine. If said repeatedly by a "news source" or several sources makes it all the more convincing. Often, it just isn't true or at least very skewed. The name of this phenomenon is the "echo chamber." I saw a video of 20 to 30 short clips with various newscasts on different stations saying the same words in their report… seriously, in most cases verbatim or nearly so. This is backed up by emails that are circulated across the Internet, spouting the same misinformation.

Whew, sorry about this rant. You had the misfortune to send me something political at just the right moment. Count yourself just plain unlucky, lol. Thanks for taking the time to read it.