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Two Suggestions For Texas To Cut Red Tape And Unnecessary Regulations—Stop State-Mandated Rape And Stop Blocking Obamacare

The so-called Texas House Government Efficiency and Reform Committee has started a website called The Texas Red Tape Challenge.

Here is what the committee says it hopes to accomplish—

” Welcome to the House Government Efficiency and Reform Committee’s Texas Red Tape Challenge! Everyone is welcome to provide their ideas and recommendations on how to make Texas laws and regulations less burdensome. This Challenge also asks how state government can be changed for the better. Your thoughtful participation can help us cut the red tape in Texas!”

What this likely means is that you can go to this website and offer up ways for government regulations to be cut so that Texas citizens have even less protection from any number of abusive practices.

However,  I have two suggestions for the committee that would in fact protect Texans from overreaching state government and that would change state government for the better.

I suggest that women in Texas who wish to get a Constitutionally protected abortion should not be subjected to state-mandated rape in the form of the forced sonogram law.

What could be a more intrusive regulation than state-mandated rape?

I also suggest that the State of Texas stop blocking implementation of the health care reform that has been passed by Congress and been found to be Constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Health care reform–Obamacare–will help millions of Texans in the state with the highest percentage of uninsured persons in the nation. It will help the uninsured and those who are already insured.

Texas has been rated as last in the nation in the provision of health care.

For all the talk about from the right in recent years about adherence to the Constitution, there does not seem to be much respect for the Constitution from our Texas state government.

What we are seeing instead is adherence to the failed doctrine of states rights, and a revival of the Massive Resistance strategy of Southern state governments to the rightful powers of the federal government.

The State of Texas will regulate and block and obstruct until the cows come home in the name of states rights and resistance to the federal government.

On the other hand, the State of Texas will do as little as possible to address the most pressing and legitimate needs of everyday hard-working Texans.

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rick Perry’s States Rights Views Will Not Help You When You Cannot Get Health Care

Governor Rick Perry won’t be implementing ObamaCare in Texas.

From The Texas Tribune

“Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month, Gov. Rick Perry said in an early morning announcement. “I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab,” he said in a statement. “Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care.’ They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care. ….The governor will appear on Fox News at 10:30 a.m. to talk more about his decision.

Texas is first in the nation in the rate of uninsured persons and last in many measures of the provision of health care.

You would think that a so-called “pro-life” Governor would be glad for the chance to expand Medicaid to the working poor.

But Governor Perry and the extremist Texas Republican Party is more concerned with states rights/libertarian ideology than it is with helping people get health coverage from the health care reform that has been passed by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Read here for yourself what ObamaCare will do for everyday Americans. 

Extreme states rights views will not help you when you or a family member cannot get care.

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Last In The Provision Of Health Care—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers working for a better Texas.

With the round-up this week is the news that Texas is dead last in the provision of health care among the 50 states.

From the Austin American-Statesman-

” The 2011 State Snapshots report is based on 155 quality measures gathered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The measures include disease prevention efforts, deaths from various conditions as well as infant mortality and suicides, cancer treatment, and how well health care providers manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and patients with incurable conditions….Texas is weakest on measures of home health care but showed strengths in nursing home care, said the report, released this week. “

And yet for all this, the reaction of Governor Rick Perry and other Texas far-right extremists is nothing other than a states rights based massive resistance to the health care reform that has passed Congress and been approved by the Supreme Court.

The work of fighting for health care reform in Texas, and advocating for life over death in opposition to the brutality of the states rights/libertarian crowd, is our responsibility.

Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.

The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff disputed the notion that Rick Perry would be doing better than Mitt Romney if he were the GOP Presidential nominee.

BossKitty at TruthHugger wonders where all the constitutional scholars are, and why they are so silent, in Preamble to the US Constitution Violated.

While the Supreme Court delivered landmark case decisions earlier and later in the week, the two Texas Democrats battling for the nomination to the US Senate held a debate. They were overshadowed, as it turned out, for good reason. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs paid attention but really wishes he hadn’t. Continue reading

July 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Roberts Court Upholds Mitt Romney’s Individual Mandate—How Obamacare Will Help You

The Supreme Court, with George.W. Bush appointed Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion, has upheld Obamacare.

The individual mandate was upheld as constitutional. Obamacare was constructed in large part on the individual mandate model Mitt Romney used for health care reform when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Here is what Mr. Romney said 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…”

Above you see a picture of Governor Romney in Washington today.

Governor Romney is now opposed to what he not long ago very much supported.

Why would anybody believe anything he says?

Many people have legitimate concerns about the powers of government, but this law has now been maintained by a very conservative Chief Justice.

Tea Party anger will not help you when you cannot get care due to a pre-existing condition, or because you have reached a lifetime limit on your health insurance policy.

If you have so far opposed the law, please consider taking a new look at the law in light of the Supreme Court decision.

Here is the White House health care reform website.

Here are the real facts about what Obamacare will do for hard-working Americans—

  • Coverage for young adults. Young adults are allowed to remain on their parent’s plan until their 26th birthday. Up to 2.5 million young adults through age 26 have gained coverage on their parent’s plan.
  • Protection for seniors. The law ensures that we continue to protect seniors’ guaranteed Medicare benefits. In 2011, 32.5 million Medicare beneficiaries received free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries received a discount on their prescription drugs that averaged over $600.
  • Pre-existing condition coverage. About 50,000 uninsured people with pre-existing conditions have gained coverage through the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, including people with cancer, hemophilia, and other diseases that blocked them out of the health insurance system.
  • Patients’ Bill of Rights. The Patient’s Bill of Rights will put an end to some of the worst insurance abuses and puts consumers, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. For example, insurance companies will no longer be able to place lifetime limits on coverage, they will be required to cover preventive services like cancer screenings without a copay and they must spend more of your premium dollars on health care costs not administrative costs.
  • Lower costs for small businesses.  Tax credits for small businesses are making it easier for them to provide coverage to their workers. In 2011, 2 million workers in 360,000 firms benefitted from the small business health insurance tax credit.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Legal Lessons From Obamacare Decision

Today’s legal lesson from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision—

If large numbers of people go around shouting UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! as loudly as they can, as often as they can, in every place where they can, and for days and months on end—This still does not make what they are yelling about unconstitutional if in fact it is not unconstitutional.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Number Of Texans With Health Insurance Will Soar With Health Care Reform—It Was Mitt Romney’s Idea

The percentage of Texans with health insurance will sharply increase to 91% after President Obama’s Health Care Reform takes effect in 2014.

From the Houston Chronicle

“The percentage of Texans with health insurance will increase to 91 percent – up from 74 percent today – after the national health care law takes effect in 2014, the state’s Medicaid director told lawmakers….”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured Americans in all the nation. 

Here is the website for the Affordable Care Act.  Read for yourself what Health Care Reform will accomplish.

This issue will soon be debated before the Supreme Court.

Texas Governor Rick Perry hopes that–against the odds– the Court strikes down the whole Act or portions of the Act, so he can go on not caring when Texans die or go bankrupt from the absence of health coverage.

Will states rights issues decided by the Civil War help you when you or your family members are sick and have no coverage? Do you want to give up the provision of Health Care Reform that allows people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage?

Governor Perry and Texas Republicans running the show in Austin have had years to deal with this crisis. What have they done beyond attacking cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood so that even more Texans can get sick and die?

For all the Republican griping, what did President George W. Bush and Republicans in control of Congress for much of the last decade do to help more people get health coverage?

One Republican who did do something is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Governor Romney is a major architect of the individual mandate for health coverage that is also part of President Obama’s plan.

Don’t worry though–Governor Romney is pledging to repeal Health Care Reform should he be elected President.

Governor Romney enacted Health Care Reform before he repealed it.

The Affordable Care Act is a middle-of-the-road law based in part on Governor Romney’s Massachusetts plan. This law will help millions of people in Texas and all across the nation.

Top Texas political blogger Charles Kuffner has more on this important concern.

March 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Reform Was The Model For Federal Health Care Reform—What Did Romney Tell People To Get Elected In Liberal Massachusetts?

NBC News reports that the White House used the Massachusetts health law as the model for federal Health Care Reform, and that the Obama White House met with policy experts who helped write the Massachusetts law that was signed by then Governor Mitt Romney.

“Above–Governor Romney’s portrait as Governor of Massachusetts. Painted by Richard Whitney.)

From NBC

“Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as “Obamacare….. “The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts,” said Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney administration on health care and who attended five meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the president. “They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model.” Romney has forcefully defended the Massachusetts law he signed, but says he is adamantly against a “one-size-fits-all national health-care system” imposed on all 50 states. “I will repeal Obamacare,” he has said. “And on day one of my administration, I will grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.”

Federal Health Care reform will help millions of now uninsured Americans get access to health insurance.  It will stop insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and kicking you off coverage if you get sick. Having health insurance will allow people  to change jobs more freely, and will allow people to avoid bankruptcy if they get sick.

Read here for yourself what Health Care Reform is really about.

For Governor Romney to threaten to effectively repeal Health Care Reform that he helped bring about–and that will help millions of Americans—is just sick.

This is all simply about catering to extreme states rights views among the Republican primary electorate.

It is no surprise though. Republican primary voters get their kicks by cheering executions, cheering uninsured people dying, and booing gay Iraq combat veterans. 

I wonder if the Republican primary electorate is so caught up with anger that they fail to ask themselves what Mitt Romney must have told the people of Massachusetts to get himself elected in that liberal state. It can’t be what he is telling Republicans nationally in 2012.

Adherence to to extreme right-wing views by average working people will be of little comfort when you need health insurance, and when you need Social Security.

October 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Republican-Appointed Majority Federal Judicial Panel Finds In Favor Of Health Care Reform—A Victory For The Power Of The Federal Government Over The States

A federal court panel with a majority of Republican-appointed judges has found in favor of the constitutionality of Health Care Reform.

From CNN—

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled in favor of the Obama administration and Congress, ruling a key provision in the sweeping health care reform bill passed last year was constitutional. The “individual mandate” requiring nearly all Americans purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties — was challenged in federal courts by a large number of individuals and groups, saying people should not be forced to purcha a product like health insurance. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit panel disagreed. “We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause,” said the three-judge panel on Wednesday, in a 64-page opinion…A key part of the ruling was written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton — a President George W. Bush — appointee and considered a conservative on the court.

While there is still a long way to go in this matter, today’s ruling is a strong victory for Health Care Reform and for the supremacy of the federal government over the states.

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Millions Of Americans Would Lose Health Coverage Under Paul Ryan/Republican Budget—It Could Easily Be Any One Of Us

The non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation has reported that up to 44 million Americans could lose health coverage under the radical budget proposed by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

From Kaiser—

“This analysis projects the state-by-state impact of converting Medicaid into a block grant and eliminating the planned expansion of the program by repealing the health reform law, as called for under the House Budget Plan. It finds that the plan would trigger major reductions in Medicaid program spending that could result in significant enrollment decreases compared to current projections, a shift with big implications for states, hospitals and tens of millions of low-income Americans who likely would wind up uninsured.”

(Above–The Republicn health care plan–Everyday Americans will be shut out. Picture copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.) 

Who is secure in our changing economy? Almost anyone in our nation could suffer a job loss in the years ahead. This will be the case even after the economy is said to be recovered from the recession.

From the Los Angeles Times

“Hardest hit would be states, many in the South and West, that have not built up their healthcare safety nets in recent years. These states would have received a large influx of federal money in the healthcare law President Obama signed last year. In 2014, the law will make all Americans making less than 133% of the federal poverty level eligible for Medicaid.The House GOP plan, authored by Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would eliminate that expansion and also slash $750 billion in federal spending on Medicaid over the next decade. The plan was approved by the House last month, though it is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.”

No matter what political party you support—or if you are an independent—can you really trust the Tea Party/Republican Party when you are facing rough times even after years of hard work? Do you think ideological points from an Ayn Rand book will help you get treatment when you are sick? Will you have enough in a 401K to retire? What if the market collapses when it is time to retire?

People have an obligation to work if they are able. Work should pay off with a decent wage, the knowledge that you have coverage if you get sick, and that you will be able to retire and live decently at some point in your life.

The current Republican plans for our nation are so severe that working Americans will not be able to count on any of these things in return for the work they do each day.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Texas House Passes Tax Cut For Chewing Tobacco—I Am Not Making This Up

I am not making this up—As funds for education and vital state services in Texas are being slashed to the bone in the ongoing legislative session, the Republican-controlled  Texas House of Representatives has passed a tax cut for the purchase of chewing tobacco.

From the Austin American-Statesman

“Members of the Texas House on Wednesday approved a bill to lower a tax on Red Man and other brands of loose-leaf chewing tobacco. When Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland , laid out House Bill 2599, one freshman House member from Central Texas couldn’t believe his ears. “I just had to clarify. It’s cutting taxes to chewing tobacco?” a shocked Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, asked from the floor. Isaac was the only member to question the measure, which passed 83-53. “We just created an incentive for people to use cancer-causing products,” Isaac said after the bill was approved. “When we have the fiscal problems that we have, it’s wrong to be cutting taxes on products like chewing tobacco.”

(Above—Tobacco flower. Photo by William Rafti. Here are facts about the cultivation of tobacco.)   

Already, the Texas House is considering a tax break for the purchase of yachts.

Texas is first in the nation in percentage of people without health insurance. Texas is fighting the federal health care reform law which will expand coverage to millions of Americans.

Yet at the same time, Texas is considering making it more affordable for people to use chewing tobacco.

How any person of any ideological outlook can see this overall course of action as advisable.

Here is what the Mayo Clinic says about the use of chewing tobacco.

The Mayo Clinic does not think that using chewing tobacco is a very good idea.

My friend John Coby has written about this tobacco tax cut at his blog Bay Area Houston.

(Below–People have been chewing tobacco for a long time. They also have been getting sick from chewing tobacco for a long time. Here is a history of the use of tobacco.)  

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

President Obama To Visit Texas—How Will He Refrain From Laughing When Some Texans Demand More Federal Help?

President Obama will be Texas today.

The President is scheduled to visit El Paso and Austin.

(Above–President Obama at Texas A & M University in 2009. President Obama and Texans get along just fine–Unless some folks would claim that the photo is a fake.)   

Because the Johnson Space Center Houston was not awarded a retired space shuttle, and because the President has not declared a federal emergency over ongoing wildfires in Texas, some feel Mr. Obama does not like Texas.

This article on the President’s visit to Texas written by Maria Recio at McClatchy Newspapers has the following quote–

“You can almost make the case the administration has a vendetta against Texas,” said Republican Rep. Michael Burgess.

Congressman Burgess has also been going around talking about fictitious death panels as a part of Health Care Reform.

Why would anybody not like such a fine person?

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires—

“Current federal aid covers 75 percent of Texas’s costs for emergency response work, such as evacuations, equipment, field camps and meals for firefighters, police barricading and traffic control. The agency’s regional office in Denton continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Texas Forest Service and Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA officials say. In addition, firefighting teams from more than 30 states have provided state-to-state support for firefighting efforts in Texas.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked why parts tornado ravaged Alabama have been declared disaster zones while  Texas has not been so designated.

From our Governor—

“You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail…” 

What a decent Christian man.

If it is all about a political grudge, why should President Obama help Alabama anymore than he should assist Texas? Barack Obama won 39% of the vote in Alabama in 2008. He lost Texas with 44% of the vote.

The President is not going to win Alabama in 2012.

Here is the bottom line—

Rick Perry and Texas accepted many billions of dollars of Barack Obama approved federal stimulus dollars. 

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires.  Tea Party supporters and other Republicans and others are free to form a battalion citizen volunteers to help Texans deal with the problems presented by wildfires. To this point, though the fires have been going on for some weeks now, I’m not aware of any so-assembled  citizen-volunteers.

* The Lyndon B. Johnson  Space Center was a gift to Texas from a Texas politician who looked up to Franklin D. Roosevelt as a hero. You’d think that conservative Texans would be demanding that the federally operated  Space Center be removed from Texas as an intrusion upon our states rights and sense of self -reliance.

It is not that I view Barack Obama with an uncritical eye, it is just that opposition to him in some quarters of Texas is so extreme that you can’t but help to be glad to see the guy in the Lone Star State. You’ve got to appreciate him for the enemies he has made.

The bad news for Texans is that these enemies, maybe 20% of all Texans, are the people who vote in Republican primaries. This angry minority is doing great harm to public education and public health in Texas.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas Forced Sonogram Bill Is About The Power To Force A Woman To Do Something Against Her Will

The Texas State Senate has the votes to pass bill that forces women seeking an abortion to get a sonogram.

With Republicans in firm ontrol of the Texas House and with Governor Perry ready to sign the legislation, it seems that this bill will soon become law.

Here are facts on the bill from The Texas Tribune

“…..a doctor would have to describe to a woman the details of a sonogram hours before performing the abortion. The doctor would show the woman the sonogram and play the heartbeat audibly, unless the patient opts out. Even if the patient opts out, the doctor would have to describe the development of the fetus, including its dimensions. Women with fetal abnormalities, or who have been a victim of rape or incest, are given an exception.”

What if a woman refuses this procedure?  Will police officers be called to force her against her will to get this sonogram?

Texas libertarians appear to be silent on this issue of forced medical procedures on free citizens.

What medical procedures will the state force next on free people?

Many who oppose Healthcare Reform say it is wrong to force people to buy health insurance. Now these same conservatives in Texas want to force specific medical procedures on women.

Planned budget cuts in the Texas legislature are targeting education and healthcare.

People who are already here don’t matter so much.

This forced sonogram bill has as much to with abortion as rape has to do with sex.

This bill is about the power of government to make women do something against their will.

It is all about power over women and nothing to do with protecting life.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Houston-Based King Street Patriot Tea Party Cell Wins Ronald Reagan Award—Prize Is Well-Deserved

The so-called King Street Patriots have won the 2011 Ronald Reagan Award at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

(Above–Ronald Reagan in 1980 campaigning in South Carolina with Senator Strom Thrumond. Mr. Thurmond is seen here to the left of Mr. Reagan. Senator Thurmond was a 1948 Dixiecrat candidate for President.)

The King Street Patriots are a Tea Party cell based here in Houston.

CPAC is a national confederation of extreme conservative activists. At the 2011 meeting, libertarian Houston-area U.S. Representative Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll.

Rep. Paul is the libertarian who loves earmarks.

Consistent with the views of portions of the American right, Rep. Paul invited an economist with ties to group advocating southern secession to testify before the House committee he chairs.

In what way did the King Street Patriots (KSP) Tea Party cell reflect the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan?  Why did this group merit the award?

Did the King Street Patriots equal Ronald Reagan’s neglect of the AIDS crisis even as thousands died?

Well…even though the Tea Party position of repeal for Healthcare Reform would cause Americans to lose needed care and to die, this is not why KSP won the Reagan prize.

Did the King Street Patriots match the Gipper in doing to harm to our environment? Remember Mr. Reagan’s nature-hating Interior Secretary James Watt?

Well…even though the Tea Party had a part in electing a Republican leadership in Texas that has pursued environmental polices so bad that even conservative Oklahoma complained to the EPA about the bad air drifting over from Texas, this is not why the King Street folks took the Reagan award for 2011.

Did the King Street Patriots live up to Mr. Reagan’s legacy of making an important 1980 campaign appearance in Philadelphia, Mississippi—near the location of brutal crimes against Civil Rights workers in the 1960′s–and saying “I believe in states rights.”

You got it.

The King Street Patriots won the Reagan prize for their efforts against non-existent voter fraud in majority-minority Harris County, Texas.

As many Southern whites regress to the solid one-party politics of a shameful past, Republicans and allied Tea Party groups around the nation are working hard to put up obstacles to voting by likely Democratic voters.

With Harris County and Texas undergoing massive demographic change, Republicans are afraid that they will lose control of the county and the state.

As much as I don’t like what the so-called King Street Patriots are doing, they are doing things the law permits. We are not going to change the minds of people in these Tea Party cells. They have a right to act in any manner within the law no matter how offensive and wrong.

The real issue is for folks on our side of the aisle to meet the challenge and to make progress. Progress is always possible.

Voter registration drives of likely Democratic voters should be taking place year round. Lawyers should be in place to defend these registration efforts. Our fellow citizens need to know they will backed up when they go to vote.

Democratic elected officials, along with the civil rights and progressive groups, must work together with the same common purpose we often see on the right.  Everyday citizens must be invloved in doing the work of freedom.

It is up to each of as individuals to make the decision to work collectively for the causes we value.

*************************************************************************************************************

Some resources on the topic of voting—

Here is information on voting in Texas.

A new book on the subject of voter fraud is The Myth of Voter Fraud by Lori Minnite.

Here is a Green Party history of voting rights in the United States.

Here is the web home of the Harris County Democratic Party. Ask them what they are doing to make sure all people in Harris County are being allowed to vote.

And don’t forget–You are your own best resource for the change you want to see.

(Below–1867 drawing of newly freed black men voting. Women would not get the vote until 1920. And of course, near-total resistance to blacks voting went on well into the 1960′s.)

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Will Supreme Court Uphold Access To Health Care Or Will The Court Do Even More Damage To Our Nation?

Nobody knows in the end how the Supreme Court will rule on the Health Care Reform law.

(Above— The Supreme Court. Photo by UpstateNYer.)

Politico has an ideological neutral article on the prospects for the law.

From Politico—

“Chief Justice John Roberts “does not believe the Commerce Clause allows you to do everything and anything,” but he’s not “an adventurer” and therefore might not go so far as to strike down the mandate, according to Charles Fried, a former solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan who testified at Roberts’s confirmation hearings in 2005. “I think there’s a good chance it will be a 6-3 decision in favor of constitutionality,” said Fried, who voted for Barack Obama in 2008……”Other legal experts said all eyes will be on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the most likely swing vote if it really is a 5 to 4 decision. But the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the requirement for everyone to get health insurance starting in 2014 — is a complicated question that might not get decided along predictable ideological lines.”……”Conservative legal scholars say it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Roberts court declares that the Obama administration has taken the Commerce Clause too far. “They don’t have to make a stretch to do that. They can just say, `We’ve let the Commerce Clause stretch way beyond its text, and we’re not going to go any further,” said Dave Kopel, an adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at the University of Denver.”

Read here about the many benefits of the Health Care law. Do you want to go back to lifetime caps on policies and to when you could be kicked off your policy because you get sick? Do you want it to forever be the case that you can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

Of course, we know that in recent years the Supreme Court court has appointed a President in Bush V. Gore, and has significantly undermined democracy with the Citizens United case.

Both Bush V. Gore and Citizens United were decided by a 5-4 margin. In both these cases, Clarence Thomas was in the majority. “Justice” Thomas reached the Court by lying before the Senate and the nation about his conduct involving Anita Hill.

How long until many begin to question the Court’s basic legitimacy?

Hopefully, the Court won’t add denying people health care to the damage it has already done to our poltical and democratic process.

People in the center and on the left have the same option to organize and advocate as was made use of by Tea Party cells across the nation in the 2010 election.

Are we going to have a hopeful future in this country, or are we going to live in a nation where people will forever be denied health care because they can not afford it?

Is the Supreme Court going continue our national descent towards being a second-world nation ruled by an oligarchy, or can at least free citizens have the chance to live decent lives with access to health care?

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tea Party Agenda For Our Nation—Is This What You Want?

What does the so-called Tea Party stand for? What is the Tea Party agenda?

A recent blog post by Tea Party follower David Jennings at his Houston and Texas political blog Big Jolly Politics gives a clear sense of the ideologically extreme Tea Party agenda.

Mr. Jennings regularly attends and offers up observations from meetings of Tea Party cells. His most recent report from the Clear Lake Tea Party here in Houston gives a clear sense of a radical, unworkable, and often un-American Tea Party vision for our nation.

Reporting on a talk given the Clear Lake Tea Party member named Robert Gonzales, who Mr. Jennings describes as the “founder” of this local Tea Party cell, Mr. Jennings offers up a list Tea Party priorities for the days ahead.

Here are some of these Tea Party priorities as reported by Mr. Jennings—

* “Reject Obamacare.”

Repeal of Healthcare Reform will allow insurance companies  to once again toss people off coverage because they get sick, and will allow insurance companies to once again impose lifetime caps on policies. Is that what we want to go back to in our nation? Read about Healthcare Reform for yourself. It does a lot of good. For the extreme right in this nation, the issue is not the good points or the weak points of Healthcare Reform. Instead, it is all about political ideology and scoring political points no matter the merits of the program. You see the same with the reflexive far-right rejection to the idea of global warming.  No facts of any kind matter in the discussion. Ideology and anger are all that counts.

* ” Reinstate Judeo-Christian Values. ….Prayer back in schools and hanging the Ten Commandments in public buildings…”

People can pray anytime they want.  People can live true each and every day to the religious values they hold. Are these values so weak that they must be posted in every building? This would be little different from how an insecure and fearful totalitarian state posts propaganda in every classroom and in every possible location. Where is the confidence in ideas that Christians hold as eternal?  Does Christianity need government support? Can’t people find the truth for themselves rather than forcing one idea of truth on an ever-more diverse nation? What will stop a future government from posting anti-Christian messages in public buildings at some point?

* ” English as the official language….”

It sure would be intrusive of government to tell people how they should speak.  Will the declaration of an official language come with a language police? Will private business places that advertise to Spanish speaking customers or Chinese speaking customers be subject to fines or some type of official sanction?  Will people inform on others who are speaking the wrong language? We could set up a whole new language enforcement bureaucracy.

* “….Deport all illegal aliens, post the army along the border…”

How would we find all the undocumented people in this country? Raids into private business places and into private homes? Informants?  Does the Tea Party think they will just turn themselves in to the authorities?  Does the Tea Party think family and friends will just allow these people to plucked from their homes without a fight? If all undocumented people are being deported, what would they have to lose by fighting back? Do we really want the army employed for domestic purposes? Will the army take part in the raids to track down the so-called illegals? Once our country is cleansed of the illegals, what domestic mission will our army next be given? How about enforcing the payment of taxes? I think the army would be very useful for that purpose.

* “Repeal property taxes.”

Those three words are the extent of what Mr. Jennings wrote as the Tea Party goal on this subject. We already have no income taxes in Texas. Due to Republican mismanagement, Texas has a budget deficit of over $25 billion. Texas is nowhere near first in the quality of education we offer our children. How is “repeal property taxes” a serious idea in any respect?

* “ Reassert states rights under the 10th Amendment: Eliminate funding for EPA, education.”

It is worth noting that states rights is found in the Tea Party creed in the same place as is eliminating EPA and education funding. This is the states rights doctrine. It is about separating ourselves from the nation as a whole. Yet the air in Texas can be so bad that even the Republican State of Oklahoma has complained to the federal government. Being a bad neighbor can infringe on the rights of others. People in Houston know how bad the pollution was before stricter environmental regulations.

Do you think we should eliminate education funding? Kids who grow up in Texas are going to have to compete for jobs with kids from the rest of the nation and from around the world. Adherence to the lost cause of states rights will be cold comfort when you are breathing even more toxic air, and you are not educated well enough to get a job.

This radical Tea Party agenda is held by only a minority of Americans. But in mid-term elections with reduced turnout, a minority can easily carry the day. The same can be said for local elections that draw less attention than a Presidential election. The Tea Party is holding meetings and organizing.  Far-right ideas are held by some of the loudest voices in the 24 hour internet/cable news landscape.

It is the choice of every freedom loving American who values the future of our nation to either get involved in public affairs or, instead, to allow your life to be defined by others. Is the Tea Party/Republican Party plan outlined above what you want to see for  yourself, for your family, and for your nation?

Copyright 2011 Neil Aquino

January 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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