Ted Cruz’s ‘Obamacare’ Poll: The results are in!

March 31, 2014

I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing on religion, and not much on politics. And so today I thought I’d check in with how the Republican war on affordable care is going over in the States. Leading the Koch-funded attack on affordable healthcare, Senator Cruz took to his Facebook page last week to conduct a quick poll:

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– The results – after 5 years of a clearly designed Tea Party policy of misinformation – were seemingly not quite what he was hoping for:

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And then there’s more:

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And then there’s a few more:

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And not forgetting these:

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Followed swiftly by these:

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Oh and these:

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And a few more:

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Last one I’ll post, because there’s about 40,000 more YES comments, and that’s particularly difficult to fit on a single blog:

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– The ‘YES’ votes are endless. See for yourself. The result of Senator Cruz’s poll were not what he was hoping to read. Two things are clear: Firstly, Senator Cruz really needs to rethink his social media strategy. Secondly, and most importantly, the Affordable Care Act has withstood five years of Republican misinformation and the most absurd end of World predictions (including the reintroduction of Feudalism, systematic genocide, and the US becoming an Islamic Caliphate outpost), and is beginning to change lives for the better. It is a legacy that the light of history will undoubtedly judge the President positively for.

Today is deadline day for sign ups. If you still haven’t signed up, you can do so easily on healthcare.gov, or call a toll free number: 1-800-318-2596 for advice and support. Don’t believe the misinformation, sign up, enjoy affordable healthcare for you and your family.


A list of things Obamacare leads to…

November 11, 2013

A few months ago I wrote on the absurdities that conservatives tend to invoke when they’re losing an argument that they’ve staked their reputations on. Back then, it was gay marriage. The list of terrible, World ending catastrophes that same-sex marriage was going to inevitably lead to, according to conservatives, was extensive and staggering. But now they’ve moved on to a new subject. And so I thought I’d present a comprehensive list of the most outlandish and absurd suggestions that US conservatives have decided are the product of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act:

  • A Communist takeover of government and the end of the Catholic Church in the US. Here.
  • Following the path of Hitler (you know, the guy who killed 6,000,000 Jewish people in gas chambers, and tried to establish a “racially pure” empire) and Stalin. here.
  • Worse than Watergate. Here.
  • Worse thing since slavery. Here.
  • Armageddon. Here.
  • President Obama killing a variety of old people. Here.
  • Kids having secret abortions at school ‘sex clinic’. Here.
  • The most dangerous piece of legislation EVER passed. Here.
  • President Obama starting a race war. Here.
  • The death of all prosperity. Here.
  • Mandatory microchips implanted into all Americans. Here.
  • The destruction of the institution of marriage. Here.
  • The work of Satan seeking to destroy freedom. Here.
  • Obamacare causes cancer. Here.
  • The reintroduction of Feudalism. Here
  • The Government murdering people based on how productive they are, and children with Down Syndrome being judged by a panel on whether he or she can live or die. Here.
  • Conservatives sent to concentration camps. Here.
  • The US becoming a leading outpost of an Islamic Caliphate. Here.
  • Health insurance companies going along with the Affordable Care Act, are no different to Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps. Here.
  • Systematic genocide. Here.
  • As destructive to personal liberty as runaway slaves being forced to go back to their masters. here.
  • A racist tax against white people. Here.
  • Worse than the Boston bombing. Here.
  • A gay man going to prison because he has no money, and is forced to play roulette, because of Obamacare. Here.
  • Schools preparing children to accept Death Panels. Here.

    Naturally none of them mention the exact part of the bill that lead to their outlandish claim.

    When I began this, I didn’t expect the list to be as long as it eventually turned out to be. We are apparently a generation that is gifted with access to information and fact on a level no previous generation has enjoyed. And yet, it seems that facts and reasoned debate are often drowned out by a deafening constant screech of absurdity that creates an atmosphere in which Michelle Bachmann and Ted Cruz are trusted with political power. They represent nothing more than a comprehensive failure of education and access to accurate information in order to form rational and well rounded democratic decisions. What a waste of a wonderful gift.


  • Bush White House paid for universal health care in Iraq.

    October 15, 2013

    In 2011, ex-Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson announced his intention to run for the vacated Senate Seat for Wisconsin in 2012. During the campaign, Thompson told a Tea Party gathering:

    “who better than me, that’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs that do away with Medicaid and Medicare?”

    – Thompson’s inherent desire to ‘do away with’ essential government-run healthcare services was echoed in his earlier campaign press release in which he reads:

    “I intend to continue the fight for a fiscally responsible, market-based approach to reforming our health care system that will improve both access and the quality of care.”

    – Thompson is committed to healthcare as a market. To Thompson, the health of individuals is a commodity. The government cannot provide any meaningful provision of health care according to Thompson. So imagine my surprise when it turns out that in 2004, Thompson was the Bush administration’s top health care official as they signed off on a US funded $950mn universal healthcare plan…. for Iraq.

    Following the war, and with redevelopment in mind, the US was instrumental in the framing and passing of the Iraqi Constitution in 2005. The US Institute of Peace reported:

    “From the time the Leadership Council [this was a group developed outside of the National Assembly made up of senior Iraqi leaders from all sides in order to fast track negotiations] was formed, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad attended meetings regularly, and U.S. Embassy officials were engaged in less-than-subtle efforts to accelerate a final constitution. Several of the early meetings of the Leadership Council took place at the U.S. Embassy. By August 10, the United States was strongly expressing its views on substantive constitutional issues to reach fast compromises that resembled the terms of the TAL… On August 12, in efforts to accelerate the drafting process, the U.S. Embassy circulated its own draft constitution in English”

    – At every stage, the Iraq Constitution was under scrutiny by the US. Nothing was overlooked. And so, along with the funding for a universal health care system, Article 31 of the Iraq Constitution states:

    “Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions. “

    “Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics,or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.”

    – This article and the establishing of a fundamental right to state-funded healthcare in 2005 to run alongside a well regulated private market, could only have been made possible by the funds allocated by the Bush administration to establish a universal health care system, supported by Republicans in Congress.

    One of those Republican Congressman who spoke on the floor of the House in 2004, defending the Bush Administration’s $950mn universal healthcare project in Iraq was ex-Congressman Duncan L.Hunter. Hunter said:

    “It is hugely important that we provide this infrastructure, this basic health care need to the Iraqi people”.

    – It’s essential to note this, because in 2009, after his tenure in Congress was over, when asked about the Affordable Care Act in the US, the same Duncan Hunter said:

    “Well listen, this is an attempt to socialize our country. And it is one that is attempted at what the architects of socialism and Marxism would view as being a “soft exposure” in the American fabric. That is, people are obviously concerned about health care. It is important to them, and they are concerned about having security with respect to health care. The problem is government healthcare doesn’t provide security. And in most of the cases we see around the world, it provides instead a system that is largely dysfunctional and provides inadequate care.”

    – By his own standards, Hunter worked to create a ‘socialised’, ‘Marxist’, ‘dysfunctional’, and ‘inadequate’ health care system in another country, paid for by US dollars.

    Where was Ted Cruz – the foe of any government interference in health care – you might ask? Well, at that time, Cruz was Solicitor General for the state of Texas, and instead of choosing to fight US funding for universal health care in Iraq, he was busy insisting that the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol was in fact Constitutional. So now you know; to stop Ted Cruz threatening the health care of the Nation’s most vulnerable people, and closing down the government… just tell him the Ten Commandments on state buildings are unconstitutional. You’ll never hear from him again.

    With Ted Cruz and fellow Republicans either fully supporting universal health care in Iraq paid for by the US taxpayer, or just entirely silent on the issue, Democrats were raising concerns. In fact, one of the few who raised objections to the project was the then Democrat Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan. On the Senate floor in April 2004, Dorgan suggested the Iraqi government should perhaps securitise future production of Iraqi oil in order to raise funds for reconstruction:

    “It is their job, not the job of American taxpayers to have a program for housing, health care, jobs, and highways in Iraq. That ought not be the burden of the American taxpayer.”

    Another Democrat to raise his concerns, was Tim Ryan (D-OH). On the House floor in 2005, Ryan said:

    “So we are cutting health care, increasing premiums, increasing co-pays, and yet we have created a Welfare system in Iraq.”

    – So whilst Democrats were raising concerns about a US tax payer funded universal healthcare system for Iraq…. Republicans were eerily silent whilst they accepted it without question.

    We should also not forget that whilst the funds provided free training for doctors and nurses in Iraq (rightly so), it coincided with a $278mn cut to the Health Professionals Training Program in the US, and a $93mn cut to community access programs, that same year.

    This was happening whilst the number of US citizens uninsured rose from 38.4 million when Clinton left office, to 46.3 million by the end of Bush’s term. Not one Republican Senator of House Representative threatened government, or default on the nation’s debt over the government funded establishment of universal health care for Iraq.

    A Republican White House, with Republican Congressional support oversaw the framing of the Iraq Constitution that included universal health care as a fundamental human right, provided by the state, and initially funded by $950mn of US taxpayer money, and defended by a Tea Party favourite who now wishes to dismantle all state funded health care provisions.


    Painting Congress Blue 2014: Focus on Candidates V.

    October 12, 2013

    Florida's 19th Congressional District Race. April Freeman

    At the time of writing the first four in my series of articles on Republican House incumbents and their Democratic rivals for the House in 2014, it seemed that for Democrats to pick up the necessary seventeen seats was going to require a significant political disaster by the Republican Party. If the most recent Gallup poll is anything to go by, it is apparent that the Republican Party may have inflicted a wound upon themselves that they might not recover from in 2014.

    Florida’s 19th Congressional District:
    Florida’s 19th is currently represented by Tea Party favourite, Republican Trey Radel. On his Facebook page, Radel posted this:

    Trey Radel misleading Kentucky Obamacare Stats
    – As part of his maniacal effort to defund the Affordable Care Act regardless of the courts or the outcome of elections, Radel is happy to use any PR tactic possible to drum up support for his failing cause. I say that, because the claim in the picture above omits crucial information: The claim relates to a story put out by Fox (obviously) of the Mangione family of four in Kentucky whose monthly premium apparently rises from $333 a month to $965 a month, from private insurer Humana, a few weeks before Kynect (the healthcare exchange) opened. What the story doesn’t tell you, is just who Andrew Mangione – the father – actually is. As it turns out, there is quite the conflict of interest with this story: Andrew Mangione is:

    “…the Vice President, Government Relations, for AMAC. Andy’s career spans the medical device, pharmaceutical and managed care sectors of health care. He has held senior and executive sales positions with organizations including Humana, Inc., Pfizer, Inc. and Invacare Corporation. Andy serves as the lead legislative and government contact in Washington, DC for AMAC, and is also responsible for national grassroots outreach and developing strategic relationships. Andy earned a B.A. in Management from Malone University and his Master of Business Administration from Lake Erie College.”

    – Not only did he hold senior/executive position in his insurance company, the website that he is now the Vice President of Government Relations for, has spent almost all its energy – prior to his appearance on Fox – fighting the Affordable Care Act. This man is one big agenda, so it is predictable that both Fox and Trey Radel decided not to mention his credentials. And $300 a month for a family of four? That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most pay. Nevertheless, The New Yorker argues that under the new rules, the Mangione family might actually benefit.

    So with that in mind, it is no shock to discover that despite moderate Republicans taking to the airwaves to pin the blame for government shutdown at the door of the Republican Party and its small group of extremists, Radel has decided that those extremists are in the right. Radel told CNN:

    “This entire place is failing the American people”.

    – He’s right. When a Freedom Works memo (The Freedom Works Website lists Radel as a signee of Sen. Mike Lee’s letter to use the CR to defund Obamacare) demands a willingness on the part of the Republicans the group funds, to use the threat of shutdown and its implications to win a policy battle that the Republicans couldn’t win via the usual electoral process, that is a massive democratic failure. One that Thomas Jefferson noted was a threat to the American system of governance:

    “I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

    – But this isn’t what Radel meant. Radel thoroughly disagrees with Jefferson. He seemingly had no issue with the fact that an agreement had already been reached on funding the government, an agreement that hugely favoured Republican demands, only to be reneged on by House Republicans whose corporate backers weren’t happy enough, who now demand the complete defunding of a law they couldn’t repeal through the natural democratic process. Instead, he says:

    “The adults need to come to the table, as Republicans are asking…”

    – The typical spin, to deflect attention from the fact that they caused this. He then goes on to blame the Affordable Care Act for all the nation’s woes. Later in the same interview, and without a hint of irony, Radel says:

    “When you hear the President say he isn’t going to negotiate…. I’m sorry but this is democracy.”

    – Here, Radel, like fellow Tea Party members, has apparently redefined the word ‘democracy’. I am struggling to understand how it is possible to lose the Presidency twice, to lose the Senate, to lose the popular vote for the House, to lose a Supreme Court case, to watch your ratings plummet, when 21 of your own House members are willing to vote to reopen government, and still think that by shutting down the government until you get your way, that the path you have chosen represents “democracy”.

    It is presumably also “democracy” in action when, at 10pm on September 30th, House Republicans voted to amend House rules, by taking away the right of every member of the House of Representatives to bring a clean CR vote to the House floor, and to bestow that right to Eric Cantor only, to ensure a shutdown went ahead.

    According to opensecrets.org, Trey Radel’s 9th biggest donor, is Koch Industries. How surprising. His number one donor is “Every Republican Is Crucial PAC”. This particular PAC is the 2nd biggest donor to the 20 or so dissident Republicans in the House. They are instrumental in propping up support for those who have used the threat of shutdown unless their demands are met. And Radel is doing their bidding. In 2012, his website read:

    “Our country has prided itself on freedom and liberty. Regulations like ObamaCare not only place severe restrictions on our freedom and choice but also threaten the economic livelihood of this country. ObamaCare in particular essentially forces individuals to buy a private product just because they are American. This is another example of the government excessively interfering in the lives of private citizens. This law is not only costly, but will also cause great inefficiencies in the medical industry, and have negative ripples throughout the economy. On Trey’s first day in office, Trey would offer a bill to repeal all parts ObamaCare (regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision).”

    – The phrase ‘regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision’ should be enough to shock anyone who appreciates the system of American governance, as should the Tea Party section of the Republican Party’s complete lack of respect for the outcome of elections that don’t go their way. It is quite incomprehensible, and very anti-democratic. Let’s not be under any illusions. Trey Radel is one of the small group of Republicans responsible for the government shutdown, and backed by very wealthy donors.

    Trey Radel – a man who genuinely believes that Public Enemy’s track ‘Fight the Power’ reflects the message of Tea Party Republicans – is so concerned about the health and wellbeing of his constituents, that he voted ‘NO’ on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act. Not only does women’s health and rights not concern Radel, but he also voted ‘NO’ on the Sandy Relief Fund and voted in favour of cutting SNAP. I can find no redeeming feature of Radel’s incumbency, it appears to have been a year of making life as difficult for the most vulnerable as possible. Florida’s 19th can do better than that.

    The Democratic challenger to Radel, is April Freeman. Freeman’s website identifies exactly what Florida’s 19th District is currently lacking:

    “Real people, honest and intelligent leadership, hard working and caring public servants, and more independent women.”

    – Honest, intelligence, caring and independent women. Those are the words all progressives would use to describe exactly what the House of Representatives requires more than anything at the moment.

    Freeman has impressive credentials to back up the tagline on her website. She was awarded “2005 Business Woman of the Year” by the Business Advisory Council at a White House Dinner; she is the founder of a company that works for no profit to highlight the lives and memory of gifted individuals who died too soon as a result of mental illnesses, and she’s currently obtaining her law degree. Intelligence, and caring, are two traits that Congress desperately requires, and desperately lacks at the moment.

    Freeman is right to highlight that voter suppression is a dangerous re-introduction to the democratic landscape, and must be a priority to secure fundamental political rights regardless of race, or wealth. Freeman sets out her position to deal with it:

    THE PLAN – Educate local voters in a grassroots effort so they are taught the importance of the early vote & vote by mail in order to relieve the immediate issue of excessive wait times on election days.
    THE RESOLUTION – Support Legislation that would make it illegal for the wait time to exceed 1 hour during Federal elections.

    Whilst 30 years of anti-union, pro-market fundamentalist rhetoric and policy has seemingly lead to very little other than stagnating wages, poverty increases, recession, and jobs off-shored to the detriment of the lives of real human beings, April Freeman recognises the need to rebalance the scale:

    “We need a steady growing economy in SW Florida thus relieving our sole dependence on seasonal residents.
    THE PLAN – Support Unions to bring secure jobs with benefits while strengthening collective bargaining ability in order to build our local economy.
    THE RESOLUTION – Introduce and Support Legislation that will give tax incentives to small business and corporations in right to work states for merging with unions to provide a living wage and benefits, while penalizing for outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.”

    – Freeman’s plans put people right at the centre of policy, and that’s a breath of fresh air for Congress.

    If you value women’s rights, ending violence against women, LGBT rights, the right to vote, economic growth and fairness, campaign finance reform, Protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Veterans issues; then there is absolutely no reason to vote Trey Radel, he fails miserably on all of those issues.

    The Democratic base in Florida’s 19th has to grow if April Freeman is to pose a serious challenge to Trey Radel. But with the public at large placing the blame for shutdown on Tea Party Republicans like Radel, there will not be a more perfect time for Freeman and Democrats in Florida to grow that base. Freeman certainly has a chance to turn Florida’s 19th blue in 2014.

    Vote April Freeman for Florida’s 19th Congressional District in 2012.

    See here for FD’s focus on Florida’s 2nd, and Illinois’ 13th Congressional Districts.
    See here for FD’s focus on West Virginia’s 2nd, and Colorado’s 6th Congressional Districts.
    See here for FD’s focus on California’s 1st, and California’s 25th Congressional Districts.
    See here for FD’s focus on Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District.


    Obamacare: The new myths in town!

    October 10, 2013

    Understanding the Affordable Care Act

    As it slowly becomes evident that death panels – with President Obama dressed as the grim reaper in a Che Guevara t-shirt – just aren’t going to happen; as it slowly becomes clear that there will be no ‘forced home inspections’; when all evidence points to full time work not at all destroyed in socialist flames by the Affordable Care Act… then it becomes predictable that new myths begin to take shape. New poorly constructed, desperate myths that nonetheless go unanswered attach themselves to the general ‘understanding’ of the Affordable Care Act, and so are given time to fester in the collective mind of the United States. There are two new myths in particular that are so easy to discredit, that this will likely be my shortest article in a very long time.

    Healthcare.gov costs the taxpayer $634mn!!
    One new myth that has sprung up and instantly perpetuated by Tea Party writers this week, is that Healthcare.gov has cost $634 million to build. $634,320,919 to be exact. In fact, it’s been reported by news agencies around the World. News Max reported it as fact. The Daily Mail here in the UK reported it, and the story also appears on the ironically named “Examiner”. If they’d have lived up to their name, they’d soon realise that the story is in fact, false.

    According to usaspending, the figure of $634,320,919 to CGI, Inc, was paid over a period of five years – between 2008 and 2013 – for 114 different transactions. One of those contracts was Healthcare.gov worth $93.7 million when originally won. There is no mention on whether the cost was over or under budget on that one transaction. But the fact remains, Healthcare.gov did not cost $634,320,919.

    The Tea Party website referenced above perhaps gives us a glimpse of just why they’re beginning to invent new rumours, backed by weak research, in order to undermine a law that – coupled with the shutdown and an ever decreasing Republican polling number (they are now polling 1% lower than the percentage of Americans who believe in Bigfoot) – could very well lead to a Democrat House elected in 2014. It is desperation:

    “Unlike some Americans, I actually want the Obamacare exchanges to succeed. I’ve given the state-specific options a try (there are 15 of them, including Washington D.C.’s) and they seem to greatly simplify the process of buying healthcare. And the rates do appear to come in far lower than what many people without health insurance from an employer have had to bear until now. It’s not government-run healthcare. There are no death panels. And, from what I can tell, the world will not end if more people have health insurance – quite the opposite, in fact.
    What I cannot stand is a nation that has vast technological resources in its citizenry spending $600 million of our collective money to slap together a product that, thus far, has only managed to waste people’s precious minutes.”

    – Here, they admit that under the Affordable Care Act rates are far lower, it isn’t government-run, there are no death panels, and it is working to help people. All of a sudden, they’re fine with all of that, and they laugh the myths off as almost whimsical (despite spending three years insisting that those Obamacare myths would burn America to the ground), but now it’s the cost of the website that they’re truly opposed to, having spent….. no time whatsoever concerned about it until yesterday.

    Less than 10 people have signed up for Obamacare!
    Yesterday, Buck McKeon (R-CALIF) told CNN that he’d heard rumours (always good to be thorough in your research) that fewer than 10 people had signed up for Obamacare. He’d read it somewhere. And so on that basis, he thought he’d tell the entire Nation, regardless of how true that claim was. Predictably, much like the Healthcare.gov cost rumour, this one is also completely false.

    As of Wednesday, Kentucky, Maryland and Washington State released data showing that over 16,000 had so far signed up. Connecticut has 1,426 applications, New York officials report 40,000 have signed up. 16,311 had completed applications, and another 27,305 have partially completed applications in McKeon’s own state of California.

    In fact, Washington State, despite having a lot of glitches on roll out day for its Washington Health Plan Finder marketplace, the state had 9,452 sign up rather quickly, with a further 10,497 submitted applications but not yet enrolled. 20,000 in less than a week.

    Now, maths has never been a particularly strong point of mine, but I am quite sure, after conducting lengthy sums, that we can conclude that more than 9 people have signed up on the healthcare exchanges so far. And they still have five months and three weeks to sign up. Republicans appears to be shocked that 30,000,000 didn’t all sign up on day one. It’s an odd planet they inhabit.

    So you see, whenever a new Obamacare myth surfaces, instantly posted on ‘reputable’ media outlets, and is left unchallenged, it grows misplaced anger and fear which inevitably leads to genuine concern among certain sections of the US population who simply do not see any reason to doubt six or seven media outlets seemingly confirming what their Representatives are saying, and suddenly, Ted Cruz is elected and the government is shut down. It stems entirely, from misrepresentations and completely invented logic. The shutdown is therefore a product of misplaced fear, constructed by a constant stream of right winged opportunists. And with polls showing a Republican slide into oblivion, there is only one thing to say: Congratulations GOP… you built that.


    Ashamed to be a Republican.

    October 3, 2013

    “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”
    – Greg Walden (R-OR) on the government shutdown.

    The BBC’s Washington Correspondent told BBC News yesterday that having spoken to a Republican Senator it is clear that at least 100 Republican Representatives believe their Party has is being held hostage by a Tea Party sect of extremists. As the Republican shutdown of government continues, and places heavy strain on a fragile economy, more and more Republicans in Congress are unhappy at the direction and the hostage tactics of their Tea Party colleagues. But it isn’t just in Congress that an incredibly undemocratic Tea Party is alienating Republicans. Their base support is also becoming increasingly angry with the direction of their Party, and they are taking to Twitter to register their disapproval:

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    – The Republican Party’s share of the vote in the Senate & the House dropped in 2012, so much so that they managed to hold the House because of gerrymandering after losing the popular vote. So when proud Republicans in 2013 begin not only to note their disapproval at a particular shift in Party mentality, but are actually ashamed and embarrassed by the tactics of their Party, that drop in the share of the vote could prove to be the nail in the coffin come 2014.


    The Republican Individual Mandate: A forgotten history.

    October 2, 2013

    The President signs the Affordable Care Act into law. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author:  Pete Souza.

    The President signs the Affordable Care Act into law.
    Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Author: Pete Souza.

    A brief timeline of Republicans and the individual mandate:

    1960s: President Kennedy subtly hints at universal healthcare for America. Republicans don’t know how to react.
    1970s: Republican President Nixon offers market based solution and employer mandate.
    1980s: Republican think tank comes up with individual mandate.
    1990s: Democrats offer ‘HillaryCare’ a step on the path to universal healthcare.
    1990s: Republicans respond by sponsoring market-based Acts with individual mandate attached.
    1990s: Republicans propose individual mandate, to prevent government-run healthcare.
    2000s: Republicans create individual mandate system in Massachusetts.
    2010s: Democrats throw out universal healthcare goal, adopt Republican individual mandate idea.
    2010s: Republicans forget that it was their idea for decades, and decide it’s actually Marxist.

    Through all the misinformation and misleading arguments against the Affordable Care Act, one of the most prominent is the conservative assurance that the individual mandate represents ‘government compulsion’ and so is the death of liberty. With this in mind, it would then seem natural to believe that the Affordable Care Act was conceived in a room of shadowy Marxists, waving an American flag upon which the 50 stars of Old Glory replaced by a hammer and sickle, thinking up devious ways to enslave the American people to the will of the big bad government. And conservatives – in the most over-dramatic fashion possible, are sure of that synopsis:

    obama1
    – Despite ridiculous comparisons to Stalin, slavery, and Nazis, the history of the idea of an individual mandate is in fact a conservative conception.

    Born close to the border between England and Wales, Stuart Butler emigrated to the US in 1975 and has slowly worked his way up the ranks of the conservative Think Tank ‘The Heritage Foundation’, and is currently the foundation’s Director of the Center for Policy Innovation. In 1981, Butler gave a speech on healthcare in the United States, in it he says:

    “We would include a mandate in our proposal–not a mandate on employers, but a mandate on heads of households–to obtain at least a basic package of health insurance for themselves and their families. That would have to include, by federal law, a catastrophic provision in the form of a stop loss for a family’s total health outlays. It would have to include all members of the family, and it might also include certain very specific services, such as preventive care, well baby visits, and other items.”

    – Here we have for the first time, an influential right winged think tank proposing ‘government compulsion’ within the healthcare market. This idea was pushed an alternative to universal healthcare, which of course was then described as ‘government compulsion’ whilst the individual mandate promoted as a reasonable market-driven solution. Republicans today complaining that the President is not compromising appear to not understand that Obamacare absolutely is the compromise.

    Conservatives including the Heritage Foundation today claim they changed their position in the early 90s and were now against the mandate. This isn’t exactly the case. They were against inclusion of the mandate in a Democratic authored Bill, not because they suddenly disagreed with the principle of an individual mandate, but because of the projected cost of the Democrat plan. We know that Butler was not against the idea of an individual mandate in principle, because in 2003 he told Congress:

    “The obligations on individuals does not have to be a “hard” mandate, in the sense that failure to obtain coverage would be illegal. It could be a “soft” mandate, meaning that failure to obtain coverage could result in the loss of tax benefits and other government entitlements.”

    – Are Republicans in 2013 willing to suggest that the Director of the Center for Policy Innovation at a leading conservative think tank, is advocating ‘Marxist’ forced government interference, with his 25 year support for an individual mandate?

    In 1991, Mark Pauly – the lead author of a Health Affairs paper – wrote a paper for President Bush insisting that an individual mandate to purchase private health insurance was an effective way to keep government from nationalising healthcare. The individual mandate, in other words, was an anti-socialist principle in 1991. Pauly says:

    “I was involved in developing a plan for the George H.W. Bush administration. I wasn’t a member of the administration, but part of a team of academics who believe the administration needed good proposals to look at. We did it because we were concerned about the specter of single payer insurance, which isn’t market-oriented, and we didn’t think was a good idea. One feature was the individual mandate.”

    – So, all through the ’80s, ’90s, and early 00’s, Republicans and conservatives were touting an individual mandate for purchasing private health insurance, as a conservative principle designed to derail nationalised healthcare.

    In 2011 Tea Party favourite Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) referred to an individual mandate as:

    “…the unconstitutional employee mandate.”

    – Leaving aside the fact that the Supreme Court upheld the mandate, back in 1993 Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was a co-sponsor of a Healthcare Bill introduced by Republicans, that included an individual mandate. He fully supported it, along with current Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and Richard Lugar (R-Ind). Senator Grassley is currently on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and supported Ted Cruz’s miserable attempts to defund The Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate, twenty years after he proposed and supported a similar Act. Senator Lugar (co-sponsor of the 1993 Act that included the individual mandate) is responsible for pushing Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to question the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Both Senators support an individual mandate when Republicans propose it so much so that they co-sponsor it…. they’re then anti-individual mandate when Democrats compromise and propose it.

    Instead of registering outrage at the ‘Marxist’ government compulsion involved in mandating individuals to purchase private health insurance (the strangest understanding of the concept of Marxism I’ve yet come across), Mitt Romney when governor of Massachusetts embraced it whole-heartedly. In 2006 the state of Massachusetts passed ‘An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care’. Dubbed ‘Romneycare’, chapter 58 requires that all citizens of Massachusetts purchase health insurance coverage. Before signing the Act into law, Governor Romney vetoes eight provisions in the Act. Predictably, he vetoed providing dental help to the most vulnerable on Medicaid, and particularly heartlessly, he vetoed providing State funded care for legal immigrants with disabilities. What Romney didn’t veto, was the individual mandate. He seems to have been perfectly fine with that section. But don’t accept my word for it, here is what Romney himself had to say in 2006:

    “With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.”

    And as a conservative idea, it seems to have worked. Conservatives should be proud. It’s a good idea. The Urban Institute released a report in 2010, that noted 98.1% of residents were insured, compared with 83% nationwide. 99.8% of children were now covered. 99.6% of seniors now covered. In 2011, the National Bureau of Economic research released a report noting that:

    “…health care reform in Massachusetts led to better overall self-assessed health and improvements in several determinants of overall health, including physical health, mental health, functional limitations, joint disorders, body mass index, and moderate physical activity.”

    – It works. Democrats adopted a Republican idea that works.

    But it isn’t just the individual mandate that began life as a conservative idea. Let’s not forget that the employer mandate was first accepted by a Republican President. In 1974 President Nixon stood in front of Congress and offered his idea for comprehensive healthcare reform. He stated:

    “Every employer would be required to offer all full-time employees the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan.”

    – Every employer. The Democrat President in 2012 has watered down this conservative proposal, and mandated that in 2015, only employers with over 50 employees provide health insurance for their workers, with the first 30 employees exempt. This is a major difference from what conservatives were offering with employer mandated health reform. Would Republicans be willing to accept that President Nixon was more ‘Marxist’ and anti-business, than President Obama? I suspect not.

    It’s worth noting that Kennedy and the 1960s Democrats first argued the case for universal healthcare in the US. The UK had created the NHS after World War II during the wonderful Prime Ministerial reign of Clement Atlee. The NHS is a national treasure today. President Kennedy stood in front of an audience at Madison Square Garden and argued the case for a National Health Service in the US. Since then, Republicans have focused on reacting to Democrats on health care. First, they reacted by offering a market based solution that included an individual mandate to counter universal health care. For this, they also at times argued for an employer mandate. And now, the react by opposing Democrats, and previous generations of Republicans, but offer nothing new. The Republicans represent opposition to the President whatever he says or does, badly masked as a practical alternative.

    It seems that for the majority of the past half a century, pre-Tea Party Republicans understood that healthcare is not a commodity like any other. That it isn’t based on choice in the first place. It is a necessity, and represents a product that can be the difference between life and death, and so it must be treated differently, focusing on the human aspect rather than the profit aspect first and foremost. Republicans in the past have understood that. Whilst universal healthcare is the ideal, it is still far away from being released in the US, and so until then Obamacare is a good, practical alternative that was first conceived by thinking Republicans, and that works well. We mustn’t be under the impression that Republicans oppose Democrats on health reform for any practical reason – after all they’ve offered no alternative – other than their traditional aimless opposition to Democrats on health reform, even if it was their own idea in the first place.


    The Tea Party: A Disdain for Democracy.

    October 1, 2013

    “We’re very excited Rep. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”
    – Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on the prospect of government shut down.

    Just stop for a brief moment and reflect on the democratic process we sometimes take for granted. Reflect on how one section of one party in one House of Congress has conceived that to be “American” in the 21st Century means to entirely ignore the fact that you lost the Presidency twice, you lost the Senate, you lost the popular vote for the House, you lost the Supreme Court ruling, and yet you’re still willing to threaten the stability of not just the US economy, but economies across the World, for the sake of an ideology that isn’t even remotely popular enough to win anything of significance through the proper democratic process. Reflect on how serious the situation is, that the President had to sign emergency legislation to fund the military. Reflect on how House Democrats and moderate House Republicans are willing to pass a a budget without a threatening attachment. Reflect on how that one section, of one party, in one House of Congress holds the lives of millions of uninsured people, including children, in the palm of its hand whilst it plays a relentless game of undermining the President for no other real purpose. Reflect on how their programme for change was rejected in the legislature, and executive elections, and judicial branch. Reflect on how instead of producing new ideas to present to the public having lost on their last platform, they arrogantly move to tell the American people; accept our previously rejected programme of change, or we will close down your government. But we’ll continue to take our salaries that you pay us, and when it all collapses, we’ll blame you for not giving into our unelectable demands & threats.

    How on Earth is this an American, Constitutional, or Democratic system of values?

    If you don’t like a law, that’s fine. You now have two steps.
    Step 1. Come up with a new platform, new ideas, and win elections.
    Step 2. Change the law.
    But the rules of the democracy (or Republic; whatever euphemism they choose to attempt to justify this shutdown) under which you live imply that you cannot move to step 2, without passing step 1. To do so, is to show a thorough disregard and disdain for the consent of the governed, for the framework upon which your system of government was created, and a disrespect for the office you represent. To move to step 2, without achieving step 1, is as close to dictatorial as one gets within a democratic framework.

    It seems more and more obvious that a one year delay is simply a stall for time, before the mid-terms. For the Affordable Care Act to come into force, and to work as it is supposed to work (which it will), to help millions of people including children access affordable care would be a nightmare situation for the far right of the Republican Party, because they’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time creating horror myths that simply wont come true, and they will have to answer for that. It is therefore essential for Republicans that the ACA not be allowed to work, even if it means closing down the government and threatening the economy over. And so human beings are treated as unimportant, disposable, and secondary to the political aims of one section of one party in one House of Congress who could not win by traditional democratic means. It is not just contempt for the most vulnerable; for children with pre-existing conditions; for women whom paid far more than men for the same coverage under the old system; It is a Confederate-esque contempt for the democratic framework that enables their existence in the first place and especially if that democratic framework provides results unfavourable them. It is that contempt that is absolutely impossible to justify.


    Those times the GOP didn’t threaten government shutdown.

    September 28, 2013

    Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Keith Ellison from Minneapolis, USA.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Author: Keith Ellison from Minneapolis, USA.


    It is becoming increasingly obvious that Republicans simply do not like to lose. They cannot abide it. They lost the Senate, they lost the popular vote for the House of Representatives, and with Obamacare a big part of the 2012 Presidential election… they lost that too. Their record in the White House since the turn of the century was horrendous, Red States tend to be the highest for poverty and the uninsured, and yet they still demand to be taken as a credible alternative to a President who is shrinking the deficit the fastest since World War II, and helping those with pre-existing conditions get coverage. It is difficult for Republicans to accept that the Democratic President has achieved more in just four years, than the Republican Party has achieved in decades.

    So, what in the past, hasn’t made the Republican Party decide they wish to close down government? Well:

    The Republicans didn’t threaten to close down government, for the massive Bush deficit:
    In 2001, the CBO announced that the Clinton surplus of $280 billion would lead to a surplus of $5.9tn by 2011. After 8 years of Bush, that number was actually -$6tn. Two wars, massive failed tax cuts and a recession later – all of which, Tea Party Republicans appear to have been asleep throughout – and most (over 60%) believe the deficit is growing under Obama. In fact, the deficit is shrinking under Obama, and pretty rapidly. Down 37.6% for the first 10 months of the fiscal year. Look at all of those deficit years. All Republican. Except for since 2008, with the deficit falling rapidly, under a Democrat.

    screen shot 2013-01-20 at 5.48.24 am
    – Can you imagine how Republicans would have reacted had the Party that inherited the deficit in ’92, and again in ’08 been Republican? The President would be hailed as a great success. The saviour of the US economy from the dark days that came before.

    Republicans didn’t feel the need to register their disgust at the President’s indifference to Osama Bin Laden:
    Can you imagine the outrage across Republican America if six months after the biggest terrorist attack on US soil, in which thousands of Americans died, the President on National TV, tells the country that when it comes to Osama Bin Laden:

    “I don’t know where he is and you know I don’t spend that much time on him really”.

    – Can you imagine the outrage if President Obama had said that? If President Obama had said of Benghazi: “You know, I just don’t spend much time on it really” Fox – after visibly exploding with fury live on TV – would spend days discussing just how much President Obama must hate America. Twitter would be a gathering of Americans with Eagles as their profile picture, demanding impeachment for anti-American hate. Can you imagine the Republican reaction, if ten years after the previous President not spending much time catching the man responsible for 3000 American deaths, a Republican President was the Commander-in-Chief when Osama Bin Laden is tracked down and caught? He would be hailed as the saviour of the economy, and the man who brought justice for 9/11. Instead, they are charging President Obama with weakness, over his incredible diplomacy tactic with Iran and Syria.

    The Republicans had absolutely no problem with warrantless wiretapping & The Patriot Act:
    Can you imagine the storm of shit that would be kicked up had warrantless wiretapping, and The Patriot Act been an Act conceived by the Obama Administration? I shudder to think how many comparisons to Orwell’s 1984 we would be presented with. Badly Photoshopped images of Obama as Stalin would flood social media. How did Republicans react when The Patriot Act was conceived and then passed by Republicans? With complete indifference.

    Republicans didn’t threaten government shut down for Republican mistreating of veterans:
    If you voted Bush in 2004, whilst displaying a “We support our troops!” bumper sticker, perhaps it’s time to rethink your allegiances; If President Obama’s healthcare plan involved cuts to veterans care, I can say with some degree of certainty that the reaction from Republicans would range from “He hates American soldiers! Impeach NOW!” to… “He’s letting the Terrorists win! It’s a conspiracy!”. And yet, had the Republicans returned to power in 2008, the budget for Veterans care – at the precise time most were coming home from Iraq & Afghanistan – was intended to be slashed. Due to previous cuts to Veterans affairs, centers were closing down, and queues for care became over burdensome due to those cuts. The Administration proposed further cuts. According to the “VA Health Care Funding Alert,” Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Press Release, January 31, 2003; 200,000 veterans were having to wait over six months for a medical visit, due to health care shortages. Can you imagine the Republican response if ‘Obamacare’ included a section dedicated to making it far more difficult for veterans to get healthcare? Ted Cruz would have had a lot more to talk about in his speech that included absolutely nothing of interest.

    Well, according to a study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Obamacare will enable 630,000 uninsured veterans to qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, and an extra 520,000 veterans qualify for subsidised health insurance coverage.

    This comes at the same time as Republicans in Congress voted to throw 170,000 veterans off of food stamps, with their horrific cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years. Essentially, they created the deficit with two wars, and now they wish to turn their backs on those who fought the wars, by making the most vulnerable of veterans pay for it.
    Republicans failed veterans, the Obama administration is putting that right.

    Republicans had no problem with the President sitting idly by as New Orleans drowned:
    I imagine that had the President reacted to Hurricane Sandy in New York, as his predecessor reacted to New Orleans after Katrina certain right winged media outlets would be insisting on playing video after video of lower Manhattan drowning as the President does nothing. Select Committees would pop up after right winged calls for immediate inquiries into the negligence of the President and his lack of care for American lives. The banging of the impeachment drum would be deafening. What happened when Bush completely mishandled the aftermath of Katrina, with a lack of preparation, emergency aid and reconstruction….. Republicans said nothing.

    Republicans registered no anger at the joy the Bush administration took from outsourcing jobs abroad.

    “I think outsourcing is a growing phenomenon, but it’s something that we should realize is probably a plus for the economy in the long run”.

    – I’d imagine the response would include Tea Party protestations daily about how the President is wilfully killing the American Middle Class, like a crazy out of control Marxist.

    Republicans didn’t and still don’t have a problem with growing numbers of uninsured children:
    We all know how Republicans feel about ‘Obamacare’. I think there is a distinct possibility that their main problem with the health reforms, are that they involve the words ‘Obama’ & ‘care’. The former being a figure of hate regardless of what he says and does, and the latter being a concept that has eluded Republicans for generations. We should perhaps begin referring to the period between 2001 and 2008, as ‘BushPoverty’ (and if we’re in Texas, we may call it CruzPoverty, given his horrendous record). It’s a phrase Republicans can get on board with, because they remained particularly silent when the Census Bureau report noted that when Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million… but when Bush left office, not only had median incomes fallen, the deficit risen, and poverty spiked, but the number of uninsured people in the US rose to 46.3 million. A 20.6% increase. That’s the record of a Party that now insist we consider them to be the rightful authorities on healthcare in America. Can you imagine how Republicans would have reacted if under a Democratic President, in just 8 years the number of uninsured rose by 20%, poverty spiked, and the median income plummeted? ……. Actually, they’d probably hail it a success.
    BushPoverty.

    Republicans didn’t threaten to shut down government over: A misleading argument taking the country to war, the massive deficit incurred because of the misleading arguments taking the country to war, a $6tn deficit, the hailing of outsourcing jobs to be great for the country, the drowning of New Orleans, impoverishing veterans, the worst job creation record in decades, the flippant dismissal of attempts to track down the World’s most wanted terrorist responsible for thousands of American lives lost, the Patriot Act, the 20% increase in those living without insurance, the drop in median incomes, the rise in child poverty.

    Republicans do threaten to shut down government over: Insurance for kids with pre-existing conditions.
    Good job Republicans. Good job.


    Ted Cruz: One Man Death Panel.

    September 25, 2013

    Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Ted Cruz  Uploaded by AlbertHerring).

    Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Author: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Ted Cruz Uploaded by AlbertHerring).

    It’s been a strange week to view US politics. The Tea Party; a group that consists of about five men, waving Confederate flags, and insisting that anything slightly Left of Mussolini is a communist plot, seem to be holding their party, and the country to ransom.

    Like most nights Canadian born (which strangely, birthers seem not too fussed with) Ted Cruz spends not filibustering anything, he spent last night, not filibustering anything, but performing a filibuster anyway. After vowing to stand and talk until he couldn’t talk any more (though taking a break after an hour) he’s doing the same thing today. And when he’s asleep tonight, he will also not be filibustering anything in much the same way, though he wont have the distinct enjoyment he gets from the sound of his own voice. Like their redefinition of the word ‘Marxist’, The Republicans have redefined the word ‘filibuster’ to mean; speaking aimlessly for quite a long time. And the more he speaks, the more myths he throws to be knocked out of the park, like the World’s worst pitcher. Incidentally, I deal with debunking three Obamacare myths here.

    It is indeed ironic for a Party apparently calling itself “Republican” to be attempting to close down the entire Government despite losing the Presidential election twice in a row, losing the Senate, losing the popular vote for the House, and their share of the vote falling for both legislature elections. A minority sect, of a minority Party appears to believe it rules the Country. How un-democratic, and how tyrannus.

    Whilst Cruz compared his ‘struggle’ to prevent millions of children from being insured, and women from accessing preventative care, to the sruggle to beat the Nazis, and the struggle for American Independence, we must ask; What are Ted “Mr Over Dramatic” Cruz’s credentials when it comes to the health and well being of Americans? Well, as it turns out, not so good.

    Ted Cruz & Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week:
    In March this year Cruz registered his opposition to the ceremonial, routine Senate resolution commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. The excuse pushed by his staff was:

    “The Senator, like many of his colleagues, will not grant consent to call up and pass a resolution or bill at the last minute without time for review,”

    – The time given, was just under 48 hours. Two days. So, given Cruz’s complaint, we’d expect the Bill for this routine Senate resolution to have far too many words for a Senator and his staff to read over in just 48 hours? Well, no. House Resolution 95 has less than 700 words. Actually, when you take out the introductory paragraph and focus on the substance, it comes to 568 words. That’s a little over 150 words more than you’ve currently read of this article so far.
    So if we put aside that ridiculous excuse from Cruz’s staff, and look at the Bill, we may be able to see the real issue Cruz has with accepting it. And it doesn’t take long before we reach:

    “(6) recognizes and reaffirms the Nation’s commitment to ending multiple sclerosis by promoting awareness about people that are affected with multiple sclerosis and by promoting new education programs, supporting research, and expanding access to medical treatment.”

    – This might go some way to explaining why Politico referenced a Democratic staffer who told them that the reason Ted Cruz opposed the MS Bill, was:

    “He was unhappy with a clause in the resolution describing the purpose of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition.”

    – Could it have been the clause that seeks to help expand access to medical treatment for those with Multiple Sclerosis? Judging by his current behaviour, I’d find it difficult to pinpoint another clause in the Bill that he might have issues with.

    Ted Cruz & Hurricane Sandy:
    Ted Cruz rightfully demanded Federal aid in the aftermath of the West Fertilizer Company explosion in West Texas in April. Though he failed to accept that weak regulations lead to this plant running for years without a pollution permit; thus leading to Cruz having to ask the taxpayer to bail out failed deregulation policies and the irresponsibility of a private company. This came six months after the same Ted Cruz announced his opposition to the Sandy Relief Fund. His excuse was disastrous:

    “Two thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.”

    – This isn’t exactly true. Short term aid or “emergency” aid accounts for 40% of the money spent. The rest was indeed for longer term relief. I see no problem with that. For example, $5.3 was set aside for funding projects “related to reducing risk of damage from future disasters.” For that, Cruz voted against all funding for Sandy relief, including emergency food supplies. This is not a man who cares about people.
    Other Republicans stood against the relief fund for the victims of the superstorm, because it was a Bill ‘laden with pork’. What Republicans didn’t like to tell people, is that the ‘pork’ was actually aimed at winning over Republicans, in Red States, with funds for Red States, to ensure a filibuster proof bill, as pointed out by Rick Ungar writing in Forbes. This is the result of Republican derailing attempts at every possible turn, to the point where even relief for victims of a horror storm, aren’t enough to warrant help according to Republicans. Interestingly, the relief fund for the West Texas explosion, didn’t require bribing Blue States to ensure its funding.

    Ted Cruz & Mental Health:
    When it comes to mental health, Cruz is astonishingly inconsistent with his underlying values. When it comes to a database of gun owners, Cruz is quite clear:

    “I don’t think the Federal Government has any business having a list of law abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”

    – Law abiding citizens being the key phrase to this, because when asked about the database, Cruz called for the strengthening of a Federal ‘list’ of law abiding citizens who wish to own guns, who happen to have mental health issues:

    “Right now a lot of states, a lot of local jurisdictions, are not reporting criminal convictions, not reporting mental health barriers to ownership. And so the federal database is not nearly as good as it should be. That would be a common-sense improvement.”

    – We can deduce from these two quotes, that Cruz believes ‘law abiding’ does not apply to anyone with a mental health issue.

    Ted Cruz & Uninsured Children in his own State:
    According to the 2012 American Community Survey, Ted Cruz’s State of Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the entire Country. But even more horrifically, is that whilst Ted Cruz works to block a Bill that will cover millions more children…. his own State has the highest number of uninsured children in the Country. A status quo that Ted Cruz is currently fighting to protect, in what can only be deemed to be a bid for the White House in 2016. More than 852,000 Texas children did not have health insurance in 2012. As Senator, what is Ted Cruz doing to put an immediate stop to this tragedy? Did Cruz use his fake-filibuster to argue for higher rates of employer-sponsored coverage? No. Did he use his fake-filibuster to talk at all about the tragedy of uninsured children in his own state? No. Did he even spend any of the 18 hour fake-filibuster to offer an alternative plan to cover those in desperate need of coverage? No. Instead he read Dr.Seuss (who, ironically, was very liberal, and very Democrat). Cruz should be ashamed of his record, ashamed of the state of Texas for its unacceptable treatment of children, and for offering nothing to correct it.

    Ted Cruz & Violence Against Women:
    Of the 100 Senators, Ted Cruz was only one of eight who voted No on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act. On voting No, Cruz issued this statement:

    “He (Senator Cruz) voted against this federal law because stopping and punishing violent criminals is primarily a state responsibility, and the federal government does not need to be dictating state criminal law.”

    – Cruz here defining his objection to the Federal Government meddling in State’s affairs. And yet, Cruz openly supports the Federal Government defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Like most Tea Party Republicans, he abhors ‘big government’ when it doesn’t meet his set of values, and fully endorses big government when it’s aimed at gay people. So when it comes to the VAWA opposition, we of course get a subtle answer from Cruz (he’s setting himself up for a Presidential run, afterall), but we get a much more candid answer from less ambitious members of Congress like the horrendously ignorant and bigoted Steve Stockman, who registered his opposition to the VAWA in a way we all know that Cruz agrees with:

    “This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

    – Ted Cruz similar announced his arrival on the homophobic scene by opposing ex-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s attendance at a gay pride march. Cruz said:

    “When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that’s a statement and it’s not a statement I agree with.”

    – What statement is he making? That it’s absolutely fine to be gay, and open about it? That gay people are citizens whose rights are not to be decided upon by dictatorial, Republican men? What does Cruz object to here?

    When a Party loses the Presidency, loses the Senate, loses the popular vote for the House, I’d suggest being a little more humble, accepting that the American people don’t want you controlling anything, and stop trying to hold the entire Country to ransom for the sake of one man’s egotistical attempts to set himself up for a Presidential run in 2016. And when that Presidential run is more important to that man, than a generation of vulnerable, uninsured children…. it’s time to question who you choose to elect to positions of power.


    The Republican Party: Wealth before Health.

    September 20, 2013

    Earlier this month a booth at the Kentucky State Fair offered people the chance to sign up to ‘Kynect’ the new healthcare coverage facility for Kentucky. It was an incredibly popular booth, with one Republican gentleman who was told he would qualify for tax credits to purchase insurance, commenting:

    “This beats Obamacare, I hope.”

    – What he didn’t realise, due to all the misinformation and complete myths invented by the Republicans over the past two years…. Kynect is a part of ‘Obamacare’.

    Today, very wealthy, insured Republicans in the House voted to make certain that the most vulnerable, uninsured, struggling people – including children – cannot get access to affordable healthcare. They voted to ensure that women cannot get access to preventative care. These are the same Republicans who also voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and against Veterans jobs bills, but voted to continue tax breaks for big oil. This is the Republican Party in the 21st Century.

    After the House vote, Speaker John Boehner said:

    “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare”.

    – John Boehner, heroically defending democratic accountability. Well, not so much. If he is to insist that he cares deeply for the will of the American people, he should perhaps take a look at how those people voted in 2012:

    For the Presidency 2012:
    Democrats: 65,915,796
    Republicans: 60,933,500

    For the House 2012:
    Democrats: 60,252,696
    Republicans: 58,541,130
    Republican vote down by 4.8%

    For the Senate 2012:
    Democrats: 49,998,693
    Republicans: 39,130,984
    Republican vote down by 7.3%

    – In each case, the American people did not want the Republicans to have the power that they currently have. So perhaps the Speaker of the House should pay attention to his own logic, and stop wielding undemocratic power. If your Party lost the popular vote for the two branches of elected power… be a little humble, rather than trying to control the entire country. The only reason the government will be shut down, is if one Party that did not win the popular vote for any branch of power continues its spree of blackmail.

    According to a Harvard Study in 2009, 45,000 annual deaths are connected to a lack of healthcare coverage. It further notes that lack of insurance now kills more people than kidney disease. Today, Republicans voted to ensure the apparently very important freedom to lose everything you have if you get cancer, and then to die bankrupt. Republican supporters are out in force hailing their victory:

    Untitled-1

    There are two Tea Party-esque contentions that appear in most anti-Obamcare arguments. Firstly, that the Affordable Care Act is inherently “Marxist”, and secondly, the Affordable Care Act is government compulsion and therefore, tyrannical. Both are supremely over dramatic, that you begin to wonder who takes it seriously. Especially given that the Affordable Care Act is based largely on a Republican law implemented (and working great) in Massachusetts. Myths have been invented by the Republicans, that are easily discredited. I discredit three Affordable Care Act myths here. All completely over-dramatic and over simplified. But, given that the House is currently controlled by the most over-dramatic faction of one Party (but still didn’t win the popular vote), it must be taken seriously.

    It is the first time I have heard the making certain that people purchase Capitalist health insurance, from Capitalists, with money that will go to Capitalist hospitals and corporations, described as Marxist. I can say with much confidence that Marx might have disagreed with this contention a little. Unless I missed the part where the Affordable Care Act calls for worker control of the means of production and distribution, the end of the wage system, and abolition of private property, and profit…. it isn’t Marxism.
    The Founders recognised the importance of a healthy population, and the role government can play in ensuring that. By Tea Party logic, The Congress of 1798, under the Presidency of John Adams were Marxists. That particular Congress & President signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” Article 1 referring to the private owners of ships and vessels:

    “..and he shall pay, to the said collector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every seaman so employed ; which sum he is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.”

    – This act created government run hospitals for privately employed sailors, paid for by a mandatory (compulsory, or “Marxist” if you’re a member of the Tea Party) tax on sailors. Not only do we have one Founder – the President – signing off on a government run healthcare program, but another Founder, Thomas Jefferson was President of the Senate at this point, and so we can reasonably assume that both Jefferson and Adams had no problem with government running healthcare programs, paid for by a mandatory tax, that sailors had no choice but to pay.

    The second contention has a little more to it, though is still wildly off the mark and deeply flawed in its premise. The contention being, that Obamacare is government compulsion, and that regardless of the context, government compulsion is “tyranny”. This would of course mean that any form of government interference is ‘tyranny’; medicare, public funded schools, public funded roads, public funded police & fire. All of which paid for, whether the individual wishes to or not. Will Republicans be insisting that these are also “Marxist” in need of defunding? What about the Advanced Technology Program, and other taxpayer funded programs to subsidise business? Will Republicans be voting to repeal these?

    The Federal agency; Export-Import Bank loaned $2.5 billion to General Electric at a time when the company reduced the size of its workforce by over 200,000 American jobs, and shipped more abroad. The same is true of General Motors. And of course, thanks to tax breaks for big oil, those companies can afford to fund the vote of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who unsurprisingly votes in their favour every time. See here. Did taxpayers get a say on this? No. Has this Republican House voted to end any sort of Corporate welfare? No. They are instead completely focused on ensuring the women cannot access preventative care, that children with pre-existing conditions continue to be left to suffer.

    Curiously, one Republican who objects to the ‘compulsion’ element of the Affordable Care Act, is Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker. This, despite the fact that Walker signed into law a Bill that forces a woman who wishes to have an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound, for no medical purpose, whether she wants it or not. The Republicans; keep government out of everything…. except a woman’s virgina, obviously.

    A program should be judged on its effectiveness, and its results. Is Obamacare compulsion? Yes. But so is government in general, so is Social Security, so is Medicare, so is fire protection, defence spending, policing, public schools and roads. There is no reason why healthcare should not be considered a protection in much the same way as fire and police. Context is required for each situation. Simply yelling “compulsion!” isn’t good enough.

    Prior to the Affordable Care Act, the system disincentivised those less wealthy, but who wished to start their own business, through fear of losing health coverage. It just wasn’t worth the risk. The tyranny of health insurance. But now, according to the Urban Institute, those wishing to leave their work and start a business have far more incentive, and freedom to do so, because the Affordable Care Act will offer coverage starting in October that just didn’t exist before, and so far more people will have the incentive to self-employment, and wont be victimised for pre-existing conditions. It is already having a positive effect in Massachusetts. This is freedom enhancing, it is good for the economy, and the complete antithesis of Marxism.

    Secondly, when the ‘choice’ is between ill health, or bankruptcy and poverty, it isn’t a choice. It is insurance company mandated poverty. Healthcare is not a commodity on a level equal to for example, a TV or phones or lemonade. Health is vital, it transcends economic and political systems, and is a necessity, not a luxury. If the government required you to buy a TV on threat of punishment, perhaps the case for “tyranny” may be a little stronger. What is far more tyrannical, is the influence of the compulsion for profit at the expense of the life of the person. What is more tyrannical, is the exclusion of vulnerable children from insurance, if it cuts into an insurance company’s profitability. There is no choice for those uninsured. Those children don’t have a choice. Those with pre-existing conditions didn’t have a choice. They aren’t choosing to remain uninsured and highly vulnerable, in the same way that someone has a choice between a Samsung phone, and a Sony phone. There are no benefits to being uninsured. It isn’t a free choice, it is putting your life completely at the mercy of financial circumstance. To pass it off as choice, or freedom, is incredibly insensitive to the struggles of those who suffered from being uninsured.

    In lieu of a national healthcare system (which we in the UK are incredibly lucky to enjoy) Health insurance companies have a duty, far beyond private companies that make TVs or cars or guitars, to ensure the most affordable and satisfactory care possible; especially when it involves the most vulnerable including children and those with pre-existing conditions. They hold the lives of people in their company wallets. It is this duty that health insurers did not care too much for. It is a tyranny of profit.

    It is the tyranny of profit in a sector that it should not be involved in. That tyranny of profit lead to horrendous insurance company abuses & the exclusion of those with pre-existing conditions. The tyranny of profit lead to companies ensuring they squeezed ordinary people for as much money as possible and offered very little coverage in return. The tyranny of profit lead to 60% of bankruptcies attributed to healthcare costs. The tyranny of profit meant that people suffered and died, because they could not afford insurance. The tyranny of profit lead to insurance companies denying children care…. children. The tyranny of profit ensured that on average insurance companies charged women 50% more than men for the same level of coverage. The tyranny of profit ensured insurance companies were not required to provide preventative care. The tyranny of profit lead to multiple family members suddenly seeing empty bank accounts, loss of homes, loss of hope, just to carry on being alive. And this isn’t compulsion to you? If a person cannot afford health insurance…. they have no choice if they suddenly get sick or injured. This isn’t a choice between what TV to own, this is a choice between suffering physically, or bankruptcy and poverty. That isn’t an acceptable choice. The tyranny of profit ensured this. Those 48 million uninsured did not choose to be uninsured. It wasn’t a well balanced, reasonably arrived at decision, it was compulsion. The tyranny already well established. The Affordable Care Act goes someway to addressing those inherent tyrannical flaws within the system; like prohibiting the truly vile practice of excluding children with pre-existing conditions. It has much further to go, until a universal healthcare system ensures coverage for all regardless of wealth; the mark of a civilised, decent, and caring society cannot be met by the tyranny of profit in a sector it doesn’t belong.

    The President must step up and show leadership, because when it becomes clear that one extreme section of one Party is focussed entirely on attacking the President regardless of the outcome for Americans across the country; when that one extreme faction is willing to place the health of vulnerable children into the line of fire and smile whilst they watch the Country burn… the President is in a strong position to fight back.

    The Republican Party did not win the Presidency, they did not win the Senate, they lost the popular vote for the House, they have no problem with corporate welfare, and they now vote not only to defund the Affordable Care Act, but to shut down government, unless their unelected demands are met. This undemocratic blackmail bought and owned by big business, is far more tyrannical than anything the Democrats could conceive.

    The Republican Party: Of the Rich, By the Rich, For the Rich.


    Debunking Republican ‘Obamacare’ Myths.

    August 28, 2013

    The President signs the Affordable Care Act into law. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author:  Pete Souza.

    The President signs the Affordable Care Act into law.
    Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Author: Pete Souza.


    In between wasting time and money attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act every second of every day in the House, the Republican Party is rather adept at ‘Obamacare’ myth invention. It is as if an entire industry has grown up around the creation of Republican over-dramatic myths, from the early days screaming about ‘death panels’ to myths that provisions in the Act will allow forced home inspections, there have been many in between. And they tend to be pleasingly simple to disprove. Here are three recent GOP Affordable Care Act myths:

    Forced Home Inspections.
    The ‘forced home inspection’ myth is a particularly new and creative attack on the Affordable Care Act, that swept the blogosphere a couple of weeks back. Republicans on Twitter raged that this was definitely the end of liberty as we know it. The trouble is, it’s a complete fabrication.

    The myth stems from South Carolina State Rep. Rick Quinn, at a state House subcommittee meeting back in March. Quinn said:

    One of the things we can do … in terms of … preventing state employees from trying to enforce aspects of this law…for example, the forced home inspections that I’ve heard about.”

    – This quote then made its way onto numerous blogs, and spread like wildfire. The facts though, do not support the quote. The aspect of the law that Rick Quinn refers to, is actually a state voluntary service providing home visits for new and expectant mothers. It is not in anyway involuntary. The use of the word ‘forced’ makes it appear violent, as if the President has troops waiting to invade your house. It is actually a law to provide a better service, and improve the health of the most vulnerable families. It could not be clearer. Article 7a of Section 2951 – Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation Programs – states:

    “The participation of each eligible family in the program is voluntary”

    – Rick Quinn is wrong. He appears to have tried to cover his inability to investigate for himself the allegations that he wildly spreads with the phrase “…that i’ve heard about”. That isn’t good enough. It’s the abandonment of reason, for the sake of presenting a false narrative for ideological purposes. It’s misleading, and thoroughly disingenuous.

    Members of Congress can opt-out of Affordable Care Act:
    Ted Cruz, the wonderkid of the Republican Party right now, is learning the ropes rather quickly. Cruz stood in front of the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa at the beginning of August, and said:

    “President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception. And he did it because Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who passed this thing came begging and said, ‘Please, please, please let us out of Obamacare.’ This thing ain’t working.”

    – Much like the ‘forced home inspections’ line, this too, is a myth. Here is what that particular aspect of the law states:

    “Notwithstanding any other provision of law … the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).”

    – There is nothing in this law that allows Congress to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act. Members of Congress are now treated to the same exchanges as small businesses and those who have no insurance. If you are to claim to opt-out for Congressmen, you must also claim an opt-out for small businesses and the uninsured.
    Secondly, Cruz claimed that the ‘opt-out’ that doesn’t exist, was passed because Senate Democrats insisted that plan wasn’t working. That also, is not true.
    The law quoted above, is actually a clarification, on an amendment proposed by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who argued that:

    “members of Congress should get the same coverage that we are coming up with for everyone else.

    – And that’s exactly what will happen, by January 2014.

    Full-Time Work Destroyed by The Affordable Care Act:
    According to the GOP website, 8,200,000 Americans are:

    “Unable To Find Full-Time Work Partly Due To ObamaCare.”

    – This is a wild distortion of the facts. The figures they quote from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is actually the number of those in part time work, looking for full time work. There is no mention of the Affordable Care Act. The Bureau never claim this figure has anything to do with ObamaCare. In fact, as FactCheck point out, the 8.2 million number is actually part of a fluctuating, yet downward trend in those working part-time, looking for full-time work:

    Part-Time-Workers-488x355
    – This is exactly as we’d expect to see, during a period of economic recovery following a deep recession.
    Republicans have been touting this figure of 8.2 million, and “soaring” numbers of part-time workers forced to do so because of the provisions of Obamacare, for well over a year, and it is based on absolutely nothing of any substance.

    I once watched John McCain tell a hall full of people in the run up to the 2008 Presidential election, that the British National Health Service refused to treat patients over the age of 75. This was the same week that my 83 year old grandmother here in the UK, was being treated by the National Health Service. Now, either McCain blatantly lied, or my grandma was younger than she claimed. Whilst I remember her cheating at Monopoly once, I’m not sure she could sustain a lie about her age for so many years.

    When the complaints of Politicians toward a particular Act become more and more frenzied and over-dramatic, chances are, they aren’t being entirely honest. It is worth double checking every claim made by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, before accepting the complaint as genuine. It is also worth noting that whilst the Republicans spend an unaffordable amount of time and money attempting to repeal an Act signed into law and upheld by the Supreme Court, they are voting to ensure millions of the most vulnerable people – including children – remain uninsured and defenseless.


    Historical healthcare

    March 22, 2010

    Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available.
    Winston Churchill

    OH MY GOD Churchill was a communist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Or not. Actually, definitely not. Unless you’re a conservative American. If Obama had said what Churchill said, Glenn Beck’s head would have exploded live on TV.

    Historic day for America. Obama’s healthcare plan passed. Which means more than 30,000,000 more Americans will be insured; insurance companies will no longer be able to oppressively discriminate on any basis, and best of all; Republican and conservative Americans hate it. They seem unable to differentiate between slightly left of centre beneficial policies, and Stalinist Communism.
    Obama was absolutely correct when he subtly digged at the Republicans for their appalling use of fear tactics to attempt to win this argument. They should be ashamed of themselves. They, in my eyes, are comparable to those who opposed the Civil Rights Act in ’64.
    Obama said:

    “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”

    Whilst the Republicans continue to complain about the evils of Socialist medical care, I thought i’d sing it’s praises.
    We in the UK have a National Health Service. It is a single payer system. It is government run. It would, in short, make Glenn Beck’s face explode in rage.
    According to the World Health Organisation:

  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST life expectancy (m/f):77/81
  • The US’s free market haven life expectancy(m/f): 75/80
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 6
  • The US’s free market haven Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 8
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 98/61
  • The US’s free market haven Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 137/80
  • The UK’s EVIL SOCIALIST overall World Health standing:18th
  • The US’s free market haven overall standing:36th

    In short, whilst Republicans keep complaining about how awful Socialist medicine is……… we in the UK will continue to enjoy it, whilst living longer.

    For a World superpower that basis itself on freedom, I’m not sure how they can justify being so terrible in the healthcare rankings. The US even ranks below Singapore for infant mortality. That’s appalling. But, apparently allowing more children to die than 35 other countries, is far more Constitutional (as is sending the living children to war on the basis of a lie, when they’re older), than giving them a better healthcare program safety net. In fact, half of all personal bankruptcies in the USA are believed to be partly the result of ridiculously extortionate healthcare costs.

    Republicans and the Tea Party movement is simply a movement to protect the profits of American insurance companies. To fight against a bill that prevents insurance companies from turning down insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions, and cancelling insurance when people get ill, on the ideological basis that the new bill is “big evil socialist government” is pathetic. I cannot believe insurance companies have been allowed to get away with their utterly immoral practices for so long.

    In fact, I watched Republican John McCain tell a room full of people live on Fox News that the British NHS refuses to treat patients over 75. The extent of this ridiculous lie was rendered even more ingenious given that on that very same day, my 83 year old grand mother was being treated on the NHS after having a heart attack. They saved her life. The irony of John McCain’s position is, most of my family, if we lived under the current US healthcare system, would not be able to afford healthcare, and the rich conservative and Republican anti-socialised medicine brigade would have no problem denying us care.

    To deny people the right to healthcare whilst you yourself can afford it, in my opinion, is no different to me blocking the road when an ambulance needs to get past. I’m fine and healthy. I paid taxes that went to fix that road. So fuck them!!! That’s the attitude. The “individualist” attitude plaguing the West. The Republican attitude. Today, it was defeated. My face is one of complete smugness today.

    McCain today argued that the bill promoted big government. I’d argue that is irrelevant. Our British NHS has survived for sixty years, and whilst it has it’s issues, it is better than the American system. Big government or small government is not the issue. It is the equivalent of approaching an uninsured suffering child and saying “We wont help you, because, erm, well, BIG GOVERNMENT!!!!” Perhaps an injection of big business to curb the excesses of big insurance and big business, is not such a bad thing. I fully support it.

    My only issue, is that the bill doesn’t go far enough. After eight years of Republican misery, the fact that anyone actually pays any attention to those lunatics amazes me. President Obama didn’t seem strong enough. He allowed Republicans to populate their lies and fear tactics; the same tactics they used for the war on terror. It has to stop. The Republicans are an international laughing stock. And yet, their usual cry of “SOCIALISM!!! HIGH TAXES!!! BIG GOVERNMENT!!! COMMMUUUUNIIISSSM!!!! NO STIMULUS!!!!!” against anything slightly left of Reagan, seems to generate sympathy in America. The rest of us look on in amazement. Today, that horrendous and selfish tactic lost.

    I look forward to watching the psychotic Glenn Beck tell everyone America is now Soviet Russia.