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Happy Holidays? Let’s hope they’re better than the run-up…

7:38 am in Uncategorized by GregoriusU

121217-frednbert-happy-holidays
Bert was not thrilled with being decorated for the holidays…(For the anime-impaired, “Kawaii” means “cute”.)

I was all set to write a nice silly piece about Mitch McConnell, AKA Yertle the Turtle, managing to outsmart himself into filibustering his own legislation. Then the Sandy Hook school massacre took place…

According to the Small Arms Survey of 2007, there were 88.8 guns per 100 persons in the United States. That’s a disputed estimate, but according to the FBI, there were over 137 million background checks performed for gun purchases between 1999 and 2011. The population of the U.S. is 314,953,000 (as of 12/1/2012). We’re beyond the tipping point. Even if we were to ban the sale of guns outright, we could still go on shooting each other unabated for the next century.

We are constantly told after each of these “incidents” that it is “too soon” to discuss what should be done about them. Too soon? With those statistics, it’s probably too late! What has to be done? I don’t know–I’m not smart enough to figure out the answer. But damn, something has to be done.

You know what I want for Christmas–I’d like one year without any shooting massacres. Especially of school children. Who weren’t old enough to have anyone hate them. I grieve with their families and friends, and with the families and friends of the teachers and principal who tried to protect them.

May all my readers have happier holidays, whatever holidays you celebrate. Even if you don’t celebrate any, may you have nice “days off” while everyone else is in church, or being forced to endure the relatives discussing the dreary events of the family for the past year. Intravenous Caffeine will be on winter hiatus and will return on January 21.

Greg Uchrin is a satirist, cartoonist and professional cynic in Alexandria VA. This diary is cross-posted to his blog Intravenous Caffeine, the post-Bush era successor to HAIL DUBYUS.

Health Care Reform–Anorexic Shock?

7:08 am in Health care by GregoriusU

Hoo-Hah! Public Option, Public Option!

Let’s start off by saying that Joe Liebermann is such a jackass. There, that feels good, doesn’t it? Practically on the very day that the Congressional Budget Office projects that not only will Health Care Reform with the public option not increase the deficit, it will lower it, Joe Liebermann says he will join the filibuster because of his concern that it will increase the deficit. This is the same Joe Liebermann who as a young senator supported abolishing the filibuster, but now that he is older and wiser, realizes that it’s the only way a dedicated minority can tie the federal government in knots. I say "dedicated minority" since that excludes the Democratic Party, which is constitutionally incapable of agreeing with itself. And since Joe caucuses with the Democrats but votes with the Republicans–he calls it independence, other call it "being a quisling"–he wants the dedicated minority to be able to screw things up as much as possible.

Suffice it to say, however, that since Joe Liebermann has been flirting with the Republican Party, he probably can’t read anymore–otherwise, he’d never have made such an asinine criticism. But, you know, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Is the "public option" something worth all the effort that’s been put into it? According to that same CBO report, the public option is only going to affect 2% of all Americans…by 2019, up to 6 million people will make use of that long and hard fought for provision. Now 6 million people is nothing to sneeze at–except when you compare it to the most probable 2020 population of just over 300 million people. And that’s 10 years down the road. The public option won’t even kick in until 2013. Hell, most of the baby boomers with be on Medicare by then. *I* will be on Medicare by then! Moreover, the public option isn’t going to be free–it will have a price sticker roughly equivalent to private health insurance. I say roughly because it’s going to be a little bit higher–we don’t want it to actually compete with private health insurance! We want that industry to stay healthy, even if it starves the middle class! That’s kind of like eating nutritious meals so our tapeworm doesn’t get malnutrition. And furthermore–everyone will have to have health insurance or pay a fine! The poor will get a subsidy so they can afford to buy it, but we’re talking about an enforced expansion of the health insurance customer base. You would think the health insurance companies will be pleased by this. Nosireebob! They’re too busy griping about not being able to drop customers because they have expensive conditions. If that profit margin goes down, they’ll have to raise rates to protect their executive bonuses! About the only good thing about the public option as it now stands is that it has backdoored a tax on the top 1%. But not to worry–they’ll soon find a way out of THAT!

The question is, with all the stuff negotiated away to achieve this public option goal, is the final result what we bargained for? I mean, we gave away our ace-in-the-hole, single payer health care, what the people of this country both need and deserve, even before negotiations started. Since then, it’s been like Chico and Groucho negotiating a contract, stripping aways clauses until all we have left is the sanity clause–and as we all know, there ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause! In the efforts to get something that could be called a "public option", have the various committees thrown away so much substance that all that is left is skimpier than a stripper’s bikini? Kucinich’s state-by-state single payer option got tossed because it was too meaty and might have jeopardized passage of the program, but it’s altogether possible the program is going to die of anorexic shock all on its own. Some people say that something is better than nothing, but we really have to ask ourselves if we are not actually condemning ourselves to another ten or more years of slow strangulation by the parasitical health insurance industry just so we can say that we achieved "something"?

I don’t know–as they say on cable innuendo news, I’m just asking–but I’ve reached the end of my column, so let’s end up with something we can all agree on… Joe Liebermann is such a jackass!


Greg Uchrin is a satirist, cartoonist and professional cynic in Alexandria VA. This diary is cross-posted to his blog Intravenous Caffeine, the post-Bush era successor to HAIL DUBYUS!