Thursday, January 24, 2013

NCAA investigation of Miami destroys credibility and legality of Penn State sanctions.

Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA has put out a statement regarding the investigation into the Miami Hurricanes that the NCAA has " found a very severe case of improper conduct" committed by NCAA investigators during their investigation of the Miami Hurricane football program.

The "severe case of improper conduct", according to NCAA president Mark Emmert, was that the NCAA "improperly obtained information through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA".

This admission and clear hypocrisy by Mark Emmert, all but assures that the law suit filed by the state of Pennsylvania against the NCAA seeking to dismiss the sanctions the NCAA imposed on Penn State in the wake of the criminal activity of Jerry Sandusky will almost certainly succeed.

It is ironic that Emmert considers information obtained through a proceeding that did not involve the NCAA "a severe case of improper conduct" by its investigators and yet every sanction against Penn State was leveled as a result of the corrupt Freeh Report, a proceeding, to quote Emmert, " that did not involve the NCAA".

That all the sanctions against Penn State were based solely on the Freeh Report, a report that has been discredited and demolished by people with actual investigative and legal knowledge and rife with evidence of dishonesty,intimidation, misrepresentation, subterfuge and smear tactics by Freeh substantiated by statements from witnesses interviewed by Freeh that was more pervasive than anything seen in a major investigation outside of the smearing of the innocent Richard Jewell as the Olympic Bomber in 1996, a smear campaign also orchestrated by then FBI director Louis Freeh, completely invalidates the NCAA sanctions against Penn State even on its own terms.

Except for a self serving, incompetent and in many cases, a cowardly and dishonest news media, and those without the brain power to question anything in the media, (of which there are clearly many) there was nothing rational or legal about the NCAA's sanctions against Penn State in the first place, since at the very least the NCAA was guilty of, in the words of ESPN reporter Dana O'Neill, "going outside the rule book to punish Penn State".

The clear illegality of the Penn State sanctions now contrasted with the developments at Miami and  the admissions by Emmert and his double standard,also  makes the quick acceptance of the sanctions by the current Penn State president and Board of Trustees, not just suspect in terms of justice and common sense, not just a clear dereliction of their responsibility for doing what was in the best interests of the university,its faculty, students and alumni, but it is also suspect in raising the question of whether there were members of the Board of Trustees as well as the current president, who had something sinister to hide and that was the reason behind the almost whiplash acceptance of the sanctions.  It was left to Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett to sort out the absurdity of the sanctions and sue the NCAA.

Anyone following the events at Penn State closely knows that their Board of Trustees were too interested in "moving on"  as quickly as possible as their chairperson, Karen Peetz, kept repeating every time their decisions were challenged or there was any dissent or questioning of their decisions or motives surfaced. These questions were universally dismissed and ignored. Possibly for good reason from their point of view assuming they had something to hide. Because it is the preposterous degree of the sanctions as well as any sanctions themselves that makes the acceptance by the Board reek of cronyism, collusion, cover-up and dishonest motives.

First, the sanctions against the football program made no sense. The people who were being punished, the current members of the football team,  were eight years old and in the 3rd grade at the time Sandusky was engaging in the activity for which he was convicted and sent to prison. Other students at Penn State were also affected by the sanctions both in the form of the fines levied and loss of revenue from bowl games in terms of how that affects academic opportunities and scholarships, and they too were also about eight years old at the time of Sandusky's activities.

Secondly, all the sanctions went beyond the bounds of the NCAA's own rules and their authority as anyone familiar with their rules know, and this was echoed by one of Freeh's own investigators in an interview with the Chronicle For Higher Education.

The only authority the NCAA has to sanction anyone for anything  is if the NCAA found violations and rules that were broken and which gave a competitive advantage to those who broke the rules. There were no NCAA rules broken in the Sandusky matter and there was nothing even remotely connected to Sandusky's abuse of boys from Second Mile that gave anyone a competitive advantage in a collegiate athletic contest or for that matter even related to Penn State's athletic program other than Sandusky had once been a coach there.

Even the lone accusation of sexual misconduct and abuse against Sandusky that allegedly took place in a Penn State shower was dismissed and deemed not credible by a jury and, while it was the accusation that set off the media frenzy, it was one of three counts for which  Sandusky was acquitted.

 Regarding Curley the athletic director and Schultz, VP of Business and Finance and overseer of Penn State police, there has been no legal finding regarding pending charges of perjury and they have the legal presumption of innocence before trial and would be irrelevant  in any case regarding grounds for sanctioning Penn State. Even if Curley or Schultz were serial killers, there would be no basis for the NCAA to punish the Penn State football team or impose fines or any sanctions at all since it would have nothing to do with rules within the NCAA's jurisdiction and nothing about the charges against either that could relate to Penn State gaining an unfair competitive advantage.

Emmert's vacating of Paterno's victories between 1998 and 2010 is also both a legal and moral joke on which there are no grounds and no basis. The idea that Joe Paterno had some competitive  advantage in violation of any NCAA rules during that time is an argument the NCAA wont even try to defend and that sanction will no doubt be vacated by a judge as well for being baseless and outside the purview of the NCAA. As far as the other nonsense Paterno was accused of by both the media and Freeh, there is still to this day not a shred of proof to substantiate any of it and a mountain of proof to rebut it. It was Paterno's name, his accomplishments and his name alone that drew all the focus and attention and purely for self serving reasons.

For now,the statements coming from Mark Emmert and the NCAA regarding the investigation into the Miami Hurricanes all but insures the law suit filed against the NCAA by Governor Tom Corbett and the state of Pennsylvania to vacate the NCAA sanctions against Penn State will succeed since all the information the NCAA used to levy the sanctions were based on a proceeding in Emmert's own words, "that  did not involve the NCAA" - namely the Freeh Report.

Further it exposes the dishonesty, hypocrisy, hysteria and rush to judgement that prevailed during the height of the frenzy surrounding Penn State and Sandusky which only became a frenzy because of the name, accomplishments and stature of Joe Paterno, which everyone from Sean Gregory at Time, almost everyone at ESPN, CNN and most media outlets and the NCAA themselves, used like vultures to ring cash registers, try and elevate their own statures, and who. cared most about what was in it for them. (There have been no front page full page pictures in the Philadelphia Daily News of the priests currently on trial in Philadelphia for years of child sexual abuse with the word "Shame". Or the monsignor serving 6 years in prison for covering it up).

It must be remembered that the current NCAA investigation of Miami is being conducted solely by NCAA investigators to determine violations of NCAA rules which in turn will determine sanctions. In the case of Penn State, there was no NCAA investigation of any kind. None. It relied solely on the Freeh Report. There was none because Emmert and the NCAA knew there was nothing involving NCAA rules and Penn State or anything related that was within their purview. Yet, more interested in jumping on a bandwagon, they violated their own rules, their own jurisdiction and imposed Draconian sanctions that the Penn State Board of Trustees and president accepted without blinking an eye.

It  remains to be seen once all the current legal proceedings have run their course and the sanctions are vacated, whether the Paterno family, Penn State alumni or anyone else adversely affected will ring some cash registers of their own and sue both the NCAA, the Penn State Board of Trustees, and  the current president of Penn State for gross negligence in accepting the NCAA's illegal sanctions and even Freeh himself for defamation, libel and investigative misconduct. If that happens then the record will have finally been set straight.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How many NRA executives does it take to screw in a light bulb?

 Wayne LaPierre, when he gave the official NRA response to the Newtown murders said, " I call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation and do it now".

That was the sound of La Pierre standing on a chair holding a light bulb while five NRA executives rotated the chair.

There have been many reactions and responses to the Newtown shootings in the last month and one of the unintended results is that it has turned the NRA into a joke, a laughable organization run by right wing clowns and lunatics who seem to want to take any idiotic action possible just to avoid being  inconvenienced by more controls or laws or bans on certain kinds of weapons that would make the citizenry safer.

The NRA has a membership of a little over 4 million. How many of them support LaPierre and the NRA leadership and how many are embarrassed by him there is no way to really know. But his "idea" of congress appropriating money to put armed police officers in every school in the country shows how low, dishonest and nonsensical he and the NRA leadership are. And when you have the conservative, Republican leaning New York Daily News calling you crazy and calling the NRA vile, you know that except for the most spineless members of congress that allow themselves to be intimidated, you've lost the argument , you've lost  all credibility and you've lost the war.

First,even if congress wanted to pass a law requiring armed police in all schools in the country, it would be unconstitutional (given what former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger called the NRA's "fraud" over the second amendment, recommending something unconstitutional isn't a surprise) since the federal government has nothing to say and no jurisdiction over local school districts and how they operate. Which proves LaPierre's "call on congress" aside from being as the Daily News called it,  "crazy", wasn't even sincere.

But it does show what their values are, values not shared by a majority of Americans.  Let's say putting those cops in schools was possible. Who is supposed to pay for it? In LaPierre's foggy world every tax payer in the country is supposed to pay higher taxes so some gun owners can have 30 round clips, not be subjected to additional background checks and not have military weapons banned? What makes more sense, ban 30 round clips and assault weapons and expand background checks or spend $5-10 billion, paid for by raising taxes  to put cops in every school?

What do you think would happen if Obama said, "great idea. Lets put armed guards in every school. And to pay for it we are going to add an armed guard tax and surcharge which would double the price of  every firearm sold and all ammunition with the addtional tax money  going to implement the NRA's idea."

You would hear the gagging by LaPierre and the NRA  from New York to LA.

How stupid the NRA can be was evidenced by an idiotic commercial that criticized Obama calling him "an elitist and a hypocrite" because his children have Secret Service protection while he rejected LaPierre's hypocrisy and stupidity in his armed guard in schools idea.( How LaPierre thinks armed guards in schools that would have helped at the Aurora movie theater where 70 people were shot, he doesnt say). Even Republicans are trashing the NRA for the commercial, not only for dragging Obama's kids into a political debate but also because the Obama daughters Secret Service protection is required by law and has nothing to do with elitism or hypocrisy or even choice. On the other hand, some people might call it elitism when an organization like the NRA wants 300 million to pay the price for the ability of 4 million to own firearms.

How many NRA executives does it take to screw in a light bulb? LaPierre to stand on the chair and hold the bulb while the rest of the NRA leadership turn the chair. Only given the positions of LaPierre and the NRA, it wouldn't be a light bulb getting screwed, it would be the country.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New York's new assault weapons ban exposes false 2nd amendment claims.

New York State has been the first to act and pass more gun control legislation since the shootings at Newtown.

While there is expanded background checks and other measures, the biggest is the outright ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, not just for rifles but handguns and pistols as well.

The outright ban on these weapons means, obviously, they will no longer be sold in New York. But additionally, for those who already own these weapons, the law is now going to require current owners to register the weapons with the state. Since the weapons are now banned, those currently owning them, while not having them confiscated will not be able to sell them privately to anyone in New York. And more extensive background checks including those related to mental health are now going to include private sales.

These laws essentially fly in the face of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the second amendment that said, for the first time in American history,and contradicting 224 years of previous  Supreme Court rulings, that the second amendment applied to individuals.

That this ruling was completely bogus as well as contrary to the amendment's intent, the intent of the Framers who created it, the words of the amendment itself, and 224 years of Supreme Court precedent is evident in the New York State legislature and governor Cuomo essentially ignoring the Roberts court ruling and passing the legislation they wanted.

Though gun laws and restrictions have typically been a local matter for state, city and town governments, the Federal government should immediately act to respect state law and pass legislation that makes it a federal crime to transport an assault weapon over state lines. While other states may act differently than New York and not ban these weapons, it should be incumbent on the federal government to make transporting these weapons over state lines a federal crime with harsh penalities -- 20 years would do nicely. This would insure the integrity of the law of any state that wants to ban these weapons as New York has.

The new law also bans magazine clips of more than 7 rounds, down from 10 rounds and substantially less than the 30 round clips that have done so much damage in mass shootings.

 An opponent of the law, Republican Kathleen Marchione, said the law "weakened the second amendment constitutonal freedom of every New Yorker". Unfortunately for her argument, you cant "weaken" a constitutional provision. It is iron clad and if someone wants to challenge these new laws and take them to court as being unconstitutional, including the NRA, they are welcome to try. But it's unlikely anyone will.

The NRA has weighed in and said they are "outraged" by what they call "the draconian laws" just enacted by New York State. Okay, so they are outraged. So what? The question is what are they going to do about it? There was not a word from the NRA about the recent Supreme Court decision and not a word about challenging the new New York laws based on their constitutionality. We'll see if the NRA is more than "outraged".  We'll see if they try and get these laws overturned. If not, they will prove again, emphatically that even the NRA knows better and won't push the idea that the second amendment applies to individuals. As former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon said repeatedly, the idea that the second amendment applies to the individual is "the biggest fraud, I repeat the word fraud, ever perpetrated by an interest group (the NRA) on the American people in my lifetime".

Marchione added one other statement which proves how wrong she and many Republicans are on the issue of assault weapons and gun safety. She tried to make the point as to why we didn't need tougher laws and why we didn't need a ban on assault weapons and very tough laws on gun owners who leave their guns accessbile to others.

Marchione said, “Law-abiding citizens who own guns are not our problem. Law-abiding citizens understand and know how to take care of their guns, not to be a danger to others.”

Tell that to the families of the victims at Newtown whose loved ones were killed by an assault weapon owned by a law abiding citizen who clearly did not understand how to take care of her gun and to make sure it was not a danger to others and left her weapon accessbile to her son who then took it, went to Sandy Hook Elementary school and used it for mass murder.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gun debate proves there is no 2nd amendment right to own a gun but common sense laws can solve the gun problem.

Since the school shootings in Newton, the debate about guns and laws and what to do about both have taken center stage. The NRA had agreed to be part of the talks headed by Vice President Biden and offer their point of view and just the other day, New York's

Governor Cuomo rolled out the strictest most comprehensive gun legislation in the country and the consensus is that all of it will pass the legislature.

What makes all this activity, soul searching, and debate about gun laws ironic, is, in it's own way it proves the obvious despite what people say publicly or what they think is right to say politically -- that the second amendment does not in any way guarantee anyone the right to own a gun and in fact has nothing whatsoever to do with individual gun ownership at all. It doesn't even imply it.

The proof whether they want to admit it or not, that everyone accepts this fact, is that there are debates about gun laws at all. Because if the second amendment really had anything to do with an individual right to own a gun, if it was truly a right guaranteed by the constitution, there wouldn't be any debates about gun laws at all because based on what the amendment says,  any law restricting any gun ownership in any way would be unconstitutional.

As pointed out here previously, there is no reading of the second amendment that can in any way be applied to individual gun ownership if one goes by the precise words of the amendment, it's meaning, and the clear intent of the Framers in terms of what the amendment was really all about. In fact in the context of the second amendment, and in the context of the english language, the word "arms" doesn't even mean guns. The word "arms" didnt mean guns at the time of the amendment's creation, didnt mean guns before the amendment's creation and doesnt mean guns to this day.  The word "arms" has never meant guns. "Arms"  has a very specific meaning and it means weapons of war - all military weapons of war,  and they are distinct from civilian firearms. Military weapons of war is what the word "arms" meant in 1789, it's what it meant in 789,  and its what it meant during the cold war when the "arms race" related, not to guns or which country had more people with guns in their closets,  but nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

That is something that goes over the head of someone like Alex Jones, whose appearance on Piers Morgan did more to re-enforce the need for psychological testing for gun ownership than anything Morgan could have said. Jones was the one who created a White House petition to have Piers Morgan deported for his stance on guns, something signed by a little more than 100,00 constitutional idiots like Jones who are so busy wailing about the second amendment they never read or don't care about the first.

The second amendment as debated and created by the framers of the constitution had nothing to do with civilian ownership of firearms. It never even came up in the debates. And as former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger, appointed by conservative Richard Nixon said, the idea that the second amendment relates to individual civilian gun ownership is "the biggest fraud, I repeat the word fraud, ever perpetrated by an interest group (the NRA) on the American people in my lifetime".

Every Supreme Court in the last 225 years agreed with this since every court since the court itself and the constitution was created had ruled that the second amendment does not relate to individual gun ownership. The one exception has been the politically motivated conservatives on the farcical Roberts court and an opinion written by Alito that would have had conservatives screaming for impeachment had a liberal court based a decision the same way.

If the second amendment did relate to individual gun ownership, there would be no debate on gun laws at all because there is a little thing in the amendment called the infringement clause which specifically says the right granted in the second amendment is unlimited and cannot be reduced, modified,impeded, altered, or changed in any way.

Being part of the debate, the NRA itself is acknowledging that any state, locality, city, village or the Federal government can write any gun laws they wish even if they don't come right out and say so. Actions as they say, speaks louder than words. And it is why the NRA takes an active role in elections and spends millions to try and elect officials sympathetic to their agenda. If they believed the second amendment applied to individuals they wouldn't have to spend a dime, would cite the infringement clause and say, wait a minute buster, any restrictions on gun ownership is unconstitutional. But even the NRA isn't going to push their luck with that argument  and they prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. But based on the ruling of the Roberts court, they could push the argument that all restrictive gun laws are unconstitutional. But they know that argument would go nowhere and would probably result in the Roberts court reversing or modifying itself at the first chance.

There are gun laws on the books right now in every town, village,city and state in the country that would be unconstitutional if the second amendment applied to individuals. And so most arguments about gun laws are only giving lip service to the second amendment. The NRA's contention that Biden's task force is only interested in attacks on the second amendment is just so much hot air since you can't "attack" a constitutional provision. Or pass a law negating it.

That aside, both gun owners and those on the other side keep missing the point on gun laws. Gun owners want no gun laws which is preposterous, and those on the other side often propose laws that have nothing to do with solving the real problem. And if you don't correctly define the problem you can never come up with the real solution.

Anyone looking at the available data involving gun violence can see the obvious. The problem isn't guns, its illegal guns. What is an illegal gun? It's any gun in the hands of a person who isn't the registered owner of that gun or someone who is in possession of a gun obtained fraudulently.The other obvious problem and the solution which is already being discussed is the banning of private ownership of 30 round clips, something that is already a certainty to pass in New York State.

 The first thing that needs to be done is to pass laws with severe penalities to substantially reduce illegal guns -- guns getting into the wrong hands and irresponsible gun owners who let it happen,intentionally or unintentionally, and people buying guns to illegally sell them to others.

 1. First, it should be a felony for anyone to be in possession of a gun for which they are not the legally registered owner.

2. There should be laws requiring gun owners to report any lost or stolen gun to law enforcement within 24 hours. And any gun owner who has two lost of stolen guns in a 3 year period should have their license or permit to own firearms revoked for at least 5 years and be forced to surrender all their firearms. They are clearly not responsible enough to own firearms.

3. Anyone not reporting a lost or stolen gun for the purposes of evading the penalties for not doing so should face a mandatory 3 years in jail and a lifetime forfeit of being able to own a firearm.

4. Any gun lost or stolen that is unreported and involved in the commission of a crime should charge the registered owner as an accessory before the fact on any crime committed with his or her gun including murder.

5. Because most guns used in the commission of crimes in New York for example, are purchased in Virginia which has lax gun laws and then  resold in alleys in New York, there should be laws that anyone purchasing a firearm living outside the state where the gun is purchased must have that gun shipped to the address on their drivers license at their own expense and may not take those firearms with them at the time of purchase. And limit the number of guns that can be bought out of state within a 30 day period to one.

This will cut down the use of phony ID's to purchase guns and also cut down on people buying firearms by the carload in one state and taking them to another state for re-sale to criminals.If someone tries to use a phony drivers license, it's easy to cross check the address and penalties for using phony ID's to purchase a firearm should be 10 years in prison.

6. Ban private ownership of 30 round clips. Allow those clips to be available at firing ranges where gun owners who want to use them for target practice can obtain them for use at the firing range and then turn them in when they leave. There is no reason for a gun owner who has firearms for hunting or self-defense to have 30 round clips. They have no value to a real hunter, and as for self-defense, if you cant stop an intruder with an 8 round clip you are a loser.

Make the private possession of 30 round clips a felony punishable by a mandatory 5 years in jail and make the illegal sale of these clips to an individual other than the legal owners of a firing range, also punishable by a hefty prison sentence.

These are laws that would, by acting as a deterrent,  cut down on the proliferation of illegal guns and guns falling into the hands of the wrong people, as well as imprisoning those trying to evade existing laws.  It would also force gun owners who were not responsible to make sure their guns are secured since the penalties if they should be used by anyone else would be severe, including prison time.  There were 3 cases in the last year where a child got his hands on a parents gun, took it to school and shot and killed a schoolmate by accident. Under the proposed law, that gun owner would be tried for second degree murder which is defined as "showing a depraved indifference to human life". Anyone leaving a loaded gun around where a child can get it, fits that description.

Laws that have sentences equal to or will surpass laws related to drug trafficing when it comes to buying or selling illegal guns or trying to obtain one illegally would also make the kind of trafficking  not worth the risk. No one is going to get rich selling illegal guns.  Laws that could include life in prison would make the reward negligable compared to the risk.

Banning 30 round clips would go a long way in saving lives by cutting down the ability to commit mass murder, and while yes, someone intent on committing such acts could do so with a hand gun, no one can say that banning the 30 round clips would not save lives.  Jared Loughner, the shooter of Gabriel Giffords and who killed six people,including a child  was stopped when he was jumped trying to reload after exhausting an 8 round clip.

 Laws have to be aimed at solving real problems, not exacting a pound of flesh. The problem by all statistical measure is not guns themselves in spite of the fact that the second amendment does not give anyone a constitutional right to own a gun,  but illegal guns and laws need to be passed to define what is an illegal gun and to reduce the possibility of guns falling into the wrong hands, unintentionally or intentionally. And those laws need to be harsh.

The gun used in the Newtown killings was legally owned and registered to the shooters mother. Had there been a law that had a harsh mandatory prison sentence if that gun fell into the hands of someone other than the registered owner for any reason, if that owner knew they could be held criminally responsible for any crime committed with their gun,  if that owner knew they faced mandatory prison time if someone else was caught in possession of that gun, its possible as a gun enthusiast  that she would have kept that gun under lock and key and it wouldnt have been accessible to anyone but her.

Just maybe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The true price of Obama's sell out of the public option is starting to be felt.

When Obama sold out the public option to the health insurance lobby because he didn't have the backbone, principles or conviction to stand up for it after promising the public option for more than a year, (then lying about it, saying he never campaigned for it) and instead pushed for a mishmash of a health care reform bill known as Obamacare, most Democratic senators who had publicly supported the public option (55 said they would vote for it)  called Obama's  healthcare bill when it was passed, "better than nothing". That's all they had to say after a year of political bloodletting, fighting, and what was supposed to be Obama's and the Democrats signature peice of legislation.
 "Better than nothing" is  what Tom Harkin called Obama's health care bill, and it's what Bernie Sanders called it, and what just about every Democrat in congress called it, including those in the House many of whom threatened to vote against it before Nancy Pelosi twisted their arms and beat them over the head to force them to give up their principles the way she did and vote for this mess (at one time Pelosi had called the public option " the centerpiece of healthcare reform")..

 One of the few Democratic voices who disagreed that it was better than nothing was Howard Dean. His view was that nothing was actually better than Obama's healthcare bill which he wanted to see junked. And a few months ago, before the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare, Dean said he hoped the law would be overturned so Democrats could start over again and do something worthwhile.

There was an immediate price to pay for Obama's capitulation and the first to pay  it were congressional Democrats who were wiped out of the House in the 2010 elections, suffering the biggest congressional loss of any party in 80 years, and lost seats in the senate (seats they since regained). To this day, there are those in the press and in congress who think they know politics who still haven't figured out it that it was the selling out the public option, something almost 60% of the public said they wanted and supported even after a year of Republican disinformation  which was the single biggest reason the Democrats suffered catastrophic losses in the House.

 But now there is a bigger price to pay, and this time the price is going to be paid, not by politicians, at least not now, but by most people.

Most of the mandatory provisions in Obama's healthcare law are aimed at insurance companies, provisions that prevent health insurers from turning down people because of pre-conditions,  or dropping people if they actually have to use their insurance too much. Worthy changes but changes in insurance that the public option would have easily fixed and at no cost to the public. But by changing the goal from healthcare reform to health insurance reform, insurance companies are  doing what anyone with 2c for a brain would have known they would do when Obamacare was passed -- they are raising rates to cover the cost of complying with the law and implementing the changes.
And in some cases, insurers are raising their rates by as much as 22%.

What Obama's healthcare law did to address this eventuality was to mandate that states require a review of any "excessive" increases in insurance rates. But , stupidly, Obama's law did not include the authority of these reviews to deny the increases.

Some states, like New York  have given their regulators the authority to deny increases but that is a result of the New York legislature taking action, not Obama's law. Most states and Obama's law itself, does not give regulators the authority to deny rate increases and so, as a law that had a stated goal of  keeping insurance premiums down, it is already a failure since health insurers, the very lobby Obama capitulated to in dropping the public option, now have carte blanche to raises rates as they see fit. And they are.

The public option would have accomplished the same things as Obamacare and much much more and insurance companies would have had to lower rates and offer similar benefits if they wanted to compete and keep customers. It would have been that or go out of business. That would have lowered healthcare costs all the way around since providers also would have had to lower rates and additionally, the public option would have given everyone access to healthcare, those who can afford insurance and those who can't.

 Instead we have an inadequate health care bill and the lie Obama tells that he "got health insurance for 32 million uninsured people". By mandating that people buy insurance, what Obama got was 32 million new customers for the insurance companies who are now raising rates by as much as 22% a year to pay for the additional cost of complying with  Obama's health care law. That's what's called going in circles.

Unlike the true wise man, Solomon, who as the bible story goes, offered to split the baby in order to find out the identity of the true mother, Obama always knows who the true mother is , and splits the baby anyway, giving half to one side and half to the other. As gruesome as the analogy is, its no less gruesome than Obama's policies which have always tried to give half to both sides and in the end gives neither side anything they wanted. If anything,Obama's splitting the baby kills the very thing that usually needs to be accomplished and no one gets what they want.. Then Obama and those around him wonder why both sides get disgusted with him and hold him in contempt though faux "progressive" still haven't wanted to face reality, admit the truth, and do something about it.

 They better start soon or Social Security and Medicare is next.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obama sends Democrats,their principles and sound policy over the cliff.

Once again, as he has done his entire political life, Obama ducked, sold out, and what's worse sold out when he didnt have to. Which is usually the case when Obama sells out. That is the upshot of the deal passed to avoid the mandatory tax increases of the so called fiscal cliff.

Most people, relieved there was some kind of deal, do not realize how bad the deal really is and that most of what's bad about it was avoidable and the result of Obama once again caving in for the same reasons he accomplished  nothing in 11 years of public office before running for president - he has no real  principles, no convictions,and  no backbone, not to mention nothing in the way of legislative or negotiating skills. Add to that no vision and that his word, as Republicans know, is etched in Jello-O, and you get the Obama presidency. And what happens when Obama has to make a decision.

Here is what's bad about Obama's sell out. As he did with the public healthcare option before he capitulated and sold that out, Obama said over and over again both while running for re-election and after his election, that he would refuse to accept any deal that didn't raise tax rates on income $250,000 and above. He promised it, he pledged it, he made the case for it, and he had an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting it including business leaders and the wealthy that would be most affected by the increase.

It wasn't a case of class warfare. It was just common sense given the irrationality of the Bush tax cuts in the first place the dire straits the economy is in and the deficit created by Republican economic policy which not only took the zero deficit and balanced budget they inherited in 2000, but,after blowing that, instituted polices that sent the country into the worst economic crisis since the Depression ( Bush and the Republicans became the first government in American history to take the country to war and cut taxes at the same time, thereby creating the deficits and spending $1 trillion on the Iraq war without paying for it).

These are the people and the policies that Obama seems to have a hard time repudiating and standing up against.

Yet, holding all the cards, ( though he either played them badly or not at all), after drawing a line in the sand at $250,000, a level needed to raise the kind of  revenues that would make a real difference in deficit reduction, Obama, inexplicably and without reason or a need, said, okay forget $250,000, how about $450,000? And for what?

The bill the senate passed would have passed had the level been $250,000. There were Republican senators who had already publicly supported the tax increases at that level.

So the senate bill the House eventually passed would have passed with the same votes and the same opposition at $250,000 as it did with $450,000. Except this is the result of Obama's unnecessaryattempts at capitulation:

The tax increase at $250,000 would have raised $1.6 trillion in revenue. That would have gone for significant deficit reduction. Instead, the tax increase at $450,000 will produce only $620 billion in revenue, only 40% of what Obama promised. Since the tax fight is now over, where will the rest of that money come from?  How will it be made up? It has to come from spending cuts. So Obama will now have to agree to an additional $1 trillion in spending cuts just to get to the level of deficit reduction that would have been accomplished had he stuck to the $250,000 figure he pledged.

There was certainly no choice for Democrats, moderates and liberals and sane people but to defeat Romney and the lunatic right in the last election.And the extreme right were not only defeated but repudiated.  But Obama is still Obama. And unless the Democrats in congress take the reins from Obama and set the agenda themselves and force Obama to go along, unless liberal groups like Move On, the PCCC and Democracy for America, groups who in many ways were responsible for getting this completely unqualified and duplicitous candidate nominated in 2008 in the first place, unless they stop sending out whining emails about how Obama is screwing them again and take their case to Democrats in congress and force congressional Democrats to take the reins from Obama, ( a very plausible goal since most of them will run for re-election while Obama won't), make sure they get the message that  the next time they let  Obama go over the cliff he is liable to take a lot of them with him.