Saturday, September 1, 2012

President Obama and 2012 Election

I've been thinking about what it means to have reasonable expectations, of ourselves and the people we know and love and yes, of our president.  About three and a half years ago he came into office.  His skills, a really good communicator, sincere and hard working.  And he cared about all of us.  He cared about our country.  He was thrown into a eddy of swirling financial disaster and told to swim.  He was advised by many people and chose to make some decisions based on what seemed reasonable.  Some of those things he got right. 

Buying back clunkers, gas guzzlers and giving credit to people who bought cars with good gas mileage helped a lot of middle income and poor people so they could get to work.  Then he gave incentives to car manufacturers to retool their factories and make vehicles that gave better gas mileage. 

He put people back to work on infra-structure of towns, cities and roads and bridges.  I have seen conintuous work being done on highways and roads and sewer systems and pipes on mains streets and small streets. 

He started to put in place regulations so banks could rip people off with fraudulent and misleading loan practices and bank charges.  Everyone I knew was suffering from bank fees and couldn't change it.  And while I think it was wrong to bail out the crooks that stole all our wealth from us and put it in off shore accounts somewhere, give the guy a little credit.  He was thrown into this snake pit as soon as he took office.

Then there was the war in Iraq, which he worked very hard on getting us out of with as much support as we could give so they would hopefully be able to stand on their own and he got us the hell out of there.  It was a horrible war for all kinds of people and for all kinds of reasons.  He tried to bring some reason into the situation.  He got Osama and exposed Pakistan's role in hiding him.  But history tells us we have also done terrible things like this after WWII.  Our government brought doctors and others who were doing unspeakable things to people, experimenting on them and experimenting with genetics and germ warfare and many set up shop right here in this country in the pharmaceutical industry and genetics industry.  We brought some here to find out about their interrogation techniques and many wound up in the underbelly of our spy,  espionage and war industry. Watch and the movie, "Motorcycle Diaries," and when you get to the end, wait for it and you will be ashamed of what our country has done - behind our backs as well.  Reagon and Bush Sr. and North know all about it.

And now we finally have some healthcare.  So if someone who is poor and raising a family or all on their own and they have a lump in their breast or they need to get their colon checked for possible cancer or get proper care if they might be having a stroke or heart attack they get proper care.  I have experienced this difference first hand.  And people can't be turned down from being insured because they have a pre-existing condition.  And for the first time a person who is suffering from an injury that was covered in a settlement and the insurance company doesn't pay for medical expenses they are supposed to cover, a branch of medicare makes sure that they pay for it and not the taxpayers.  And believe me that is HUGE!

We have a public insurance option where people can get the coverage they want without paying any additional money for insurance.  And we have small fees for everyone in the form of a tax for everyone who is uninsured and working two 33 hour a week jobs because the people or companies they work for either can't afford to provide insurance for a full time employee or they choose not to and stash their profits in their own coffers.  That is also HUGE!!!  Slave labor in exchange for medical care and then only if you don't have a serious disease was a change we the people needed.  So why have the republicans fought so hard to take away.  Why?

I just got an invoice from the new Medicare Claims Department that is going after the insurance company that was supposed to cover my medical expenses that are related to my brain injury and other injuries from a serious car accident.  I was in the passenger front seat with my seatbelt on when someone came speeding into our lane and hit us headon.  The amount medicare paid because the insurance company didn't was nearly $80,000.  So let's see, figure how many people have been in car accidents or work accidents and how many of those had settlements with insurance companies and then figure how many of those insurance claims that were left.... ignored....  until people either died or gave up and got medicare because they were broke from taking care of their own medical bills. 

It is common knowledge that you have to have an attorney to get these claims paid for by the insurance company after the settlement is final.  And attorneys don't want to deal with the paperwork if there isn't a settlement in the works. It was such a common practice that when I tried to see a doctor after my accident they asked me three questions.  The first was the reason for an appointment, the second was did I have insurance and the third was what kind of insurance, car insurance?  And then I heard that the doctor wasn't taking any new patients.  Click.  I had a brain injury.  A broken back and many other injuries that took nearly two years before I got to the specialists who helped me.  Why did it take so long?  Why would it be in the insurance companies best interest not to take care of my health sooner rather than later? 

Because the longer it took to get my specific injuries documented the more they could say, well... its been so long, how can anyone say this was because of the accident?  And then the doctors wouldn't get paid and it has been documented tons - do some research on your own... that doctors and medical staff were being pressured to go along and write ambiguous reports because well, they couldn't say for sure if this injury was caused by the accident and that is how they had to play the game in order to get paid.

Now figure out all of those people, for decades, who went without the care they were supposed to get.  Who suffered pain they didn't have to suffer.  I am one.  Just one of many.  And then ask yourself, why?  Well, do some research and figure out how much money the insurance companies have given to republicans and how many lobbiests representing the insurance companies are at work in Washington DC and then you do the math and figure it out.

The insurance companies have been responsible for putting a tremendous burden on the tax payers and all they had to do was say and do absolutely nothing and go on denying claims over and over again.  And that's just one wee little bit of - at the very least - a conflict of interest between the powers-that-be and those who are running interference between them and regular folks who are getting screwed by the system.  Why slam Obama so hard?  When he has been working so hard for us.  For all of us.  Taxpayers shouldn't be picking up the tab for the legal obligations of insurance companies.  And people shouldn't be suffering needlessly when they are supposed to be taken care of by an insurance company.  But they do.

Are there policies that I don't agree with?  Yes.  Are there some Obama doesn't agree with either?  I'll bet there are.  But this is a democracy, not a fascist government.  And this means he has to work very hard with a republican party that has done everything they can to prevent him from accomplishing anything.  Is there any difference between the democrats and republicans?  Yes.  Civil rights, people's rights to health care, vet's rights to good medical and psychological care and help getting jobs and job training when they return home and women's rights and gay rights.  Time and again they have made steps forward to an inclusive type of governing that uses more common sense figuring out how to approach problem solving during exceptionally challenging times than others who use superstition and religion to shield them from facing the very real mess we have made on this precious planet. 

So when you are thinking about not voting - think about the strides we have made.  Do we have more to do?  Yes.  Absolutely.  President Obama is one of the hardest working presidents I have seen in my lifetime. Mrs. Obama has made a real difference on educating people about the foods they eat and making sure kids get healthy food to choose from in their schools.  They have created an awareness about this issue and a dialog that has reached just about every home and lunch room in America.  Does a big shot with Monsanto belong at the head of the FDA?  Fk no.  Are there policies I don't agree with?  Yes.  I don't believe we should invest one more cent in nuclear energy.  I believe we should only pursuit forms of energy that work with the planet and don't pollute it.

I think we should legalize pot and limit gambling and protect people from loan sharks; I don't care if they have a store front or operate out of a back alley or wear four piece suits on Wall Street or call themselves investment bankers. We need regulations to prevent predatory practices from feeding on the hardworking people who are scatching out a living so they can take care of their loved ones.   The ones that Bush Jr., and many of the same reps who were on board when Bush Sr. was in office; threw out the window, which led our country and many other countries into financial disasters.

I believe we should make huge cuts in military spending.  We need to heed the lessons of history and not make the same mistakes Ghenghis Khan and Napoleon and Constantinople and Alexander the Great and Hilter made.  Throwing most of our resources into destructive means to survive and thrive in the future is an error in judgment - big time. 

I believe the National Guard should be just that.  Trained to rescue and help our own people here and that they should never be sent involuntarily into a war anywhere. 

I believe the government has NO place making decisions about birth control or what people choose; be it terminating a pregnancy or taking a morning after pill or going to sleep gracefully when they have a terminal illness, in the company of friends or family.  I believe those are personal decisions and ones most of us take very seriously.  I believe birth control should be offered freely.  And I think it should be encouraged when people can't afford to take care of their own children and the taxpayer is paying for their livelihood.  I believe there should be incentives and education about this issue and that people ultimately need to be allowed to make their own choices about these issues. 

I believe we should put everybody to work cleaning up the mess we have made here, environmentally.  And we should spend more time teaching our children how to resolve conflicts instead of resorting to violence to get their own way.  And I believe no corporate officer should ever have a place on any board where checks and balances are in place to prevent an abuse of power with an industry they have worked for - Ever. 

I don't believe we should ever bailout anybody.  Pensions should be untouchable and no money should be moved off shore or into another country as a form of investment with pension or retirement investment money - ever.  I believe if you sell it here you should pay taxes on it here.  And if you make it here and do so in an environmentally sound way, you should get nice big deductions for being responsible.

I believe that all people deserve the right to due process of law and a fair trial and a definite consequence where the punishment fits the crime.  I believe we should show mercy and I absolutely believe that people should never be held indefinitely for crimes they haven't been convicted of commiting.  Ever.

I believe if we do all of these things we will easily be able to afford to fund college and trade school education and health care for our citizens.  And I believe if we do all of these things our society will be healthier.  It is easy to say.  It is very hard to make the changes it would take to ensure these things are done.  It has always been this way though.  On every continent and in every era.  To change our priorities and our focus - that's the tough part.  Some try to do this with brain washing.  I think if we are going to survive and thrive we will need to get to the point when we are aware of our own decisions and we make better ones because we are better informed and we get it.

So keep in mind, its just been three and a half years.  The stakes are so high right now.  I see so many signs that are troubling.  I have been studying history all of my life.  I have interviewed holocaust survivors and death camp liberators and WWII vets and survivors of recent wars and these times we are in could be so much worse.  We all have our own part to play in our own communities.  Watching a game is always easier then getting in and taking the hard hits.  Then taking the losses and getting back up again.  Then getting involved in our own communities.  We can all make a difference and we can do this by building a better world and not destroying any further the one we depend on for our survival.

Obama is a man and I believe he is a good and hard working man and he is trying to do what is best for all of us.  He is not a messiah. 

For me, not voting is not an option.  We fought too hard for too many years for that right.  It is too precious.  If enough of us do it, we do make a difference.  If enough of us get involved we do make a difference.  Not in one day.  But little by little we make a difference.  I know this is true because I have seen this and experienced this in my own life time.  And because my parents and grandparents shared many stories about the many rises and falls of our own country. 

Roller coaster rides are fun at a theme park but nobody likes all of this stress and tension just trying to live day to day.  We need the entire government coming to work and focusing on how we are going to approach solving the problems we are facing today.  There is no need for companies and government and people and unions to fight each other.  Not when we all have some insight of value to bring to the table, to be considered and weighed and then worked on until it makes good common sense.  Why is that so hard?  Because too many people still don't understand that they are not the center of the universe.  Too many people only care about what they can get out of their time here.  Jesus said trying to reach pigs who are only interested in rutting around and filling their own bellies is like throwing pearls before the swine.  They'll just trod on it and eat it and shit it out without ever looking up.  But we are capable of looking up. 

We can turn off hate TV and take a walk and get rid of the things we don't need and start to make things here again.  We are all still here.  We need to step up and do what we can, to the best of our ability.  We need to respect each other and throw away all of this cruelty and hateful language that accomplishes nothing and only drives a wedge between us. Or not.  We can keep shitting all over the planet and only care about how to fill our own bellies, our own coffers and not care about each other.  We have gotten pretty good at it.  But does this way of life give our lives meaning?  Does it give us peace of mind?  Does it bring us one step closer to coming up with any real ideas that will help us to clean up the pollution our industries have made or help us to  find other ways that are not destructive to the planet to fuel our need for energy? 

How long do you think we will last if we continue on this way?  We could keep having wars and killing and trying to control everything but it hasn't worked thus far.  So maybe, just maybe it is time to open our minds and consider working together and cooperating and being open to making less and doing more and arguing and defending our positions less and listening more in order to make this world a better place, for all of us. 

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