Hey Republicans! Cram this!

For weeks now, Republicans have been chanting their new talking point; that Democrats are trying to cram health care reform down our throats.  They say that we should just “throw out the current bills and start over with a clean sheet of paper.  If you buy that, I think I can find some mortgage-based credit default swaps to sell you.

Democrats have been making a case for the need for health care reform since the 1930s.  We have millions without health care coverage and tens of thousands die each year as a result.   And those numbers are climbing as rapidly as insurance company premiums.  But Republicans are in no hurry to see health care reform pass.  They’d like to delay it.  Indeed, Republicans controlled the White House and maintained substantial majorities in both houses of Congress until 3 years ago.  The need for reform was no less apparent then.  Yet, in 6 years of Republican majorities, they never once tried to reform any part of the health insurance industry.  There was no talk of tort reform.  No talk of preventing insurance companies from dropping patients whenever they want.  No talk of helping patients with pre-existing conditions.  And the only reason Republicans are concerned with those issues now is that they want to prevent Democrats from dictating to the industry that donates so much money to Republican election campaigns.

The truth is Democrats aren’t cramming health care reform down Americans’ throats.  They’re cramming it down the throats of the Republicans who have spent decades trying to block it. 

Health care reform has already passed.  It passed the House with a large majority and a very similar bill passed the Senate with 60 votes.  The only thing remaining is for the two houses to come to some agreement on the few details that are different in the two versions.  That’s hardly “cramming” it through.

Moreover, prior to the votes, Democrats engaged Republicans in crafting the bills.  House Republicans offered dozens of amendments that were included in the House version.  And despite their majority in the Senate, Democrats let 3 Senators from each party craft the bill.  Yet despite all of their amendments and input, not a single Republican voted for the bill.  In fact, they even verbally attacked their own amendments! 

It’s apparent that Republicans don’t want to address the problems in our health care system.  They merely want to protect the large health corporations and block any form of Democratic accomplishment. 

It’s time for Democrats to ignore the Republican protests and get the bill to the President’s desk for his signature.

Cheney, Version 1.0

Long before Richard (The Dick) Cheney wrote A Plan for A New American Century, which called for the use of the United States’ unparalleled military might to ensure even greater economic power, there was another Republican who believed in the manifest destiny of white Christian Americans.  He, too, subverted the U.S. Constitution in order to meddle in the affairs of other nations.  And, like Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz, Pearl and the other neo-cons, he felt that it was the destiny, indeed the duty, of white Christian Americans to bring civilization to the rest of the world.

That man’s name was President Theodore Roosevelt. 

In reading James Bradley’s book, The Imperial Cruise, one cannot escape the fact that Roosevelt was a racist war criminal of the first order.  In addition, one cannot ignore the parallels with our previous administration and their religious conservative followers. 

Like Cheney/Bush, Roosevelt manufactured wars, questioned the patriotism of those who challenged his policies, annointed thugs to act as his surrogates, and water-boarded those who refused to submit to his will.  And, like Cheney/Bush, Roosevelt’s policies resulted in the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers and millions of non-white, non-Christian foreigners.  Moreover, it’s clear that his ill-conceived meddling in foreign affairs led directly to the Spanish-American War, WWII, the Korean War and, likely, the Vietnam War. 

Caring American citizens should be watchful that the past administration’s follies don’t have similar results.