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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has developed a mythical status. So it might be difficult to imagine FDR getting stern criticism from both sides of the aisle. But at one point in his presidency, this was indeed the case. When he signed the cornerstone of the New Deal–Social Security–into law, The Right Wing called him communist. The Left Wing, of the opinion that it did not do enough, accused FDR of being a cop-out.
President Barack Obama is currently facing the same critiques FDR faced in the 1940’s . “This is socialism,” screams the right wing. “It doesn’t go far enough,” says the left wing. President Obama has received criticism from both sides of the aisle since the passage of The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). The president has been the target not just of mere civil criticism; he’s been the victim of egregious invective:
The magnitude, intensity, and obsession of rightist hatred of the president is unprecedented in the history of American politics because it has poisoned the ability of Republican leaders in Congress to work in good faith with a twice-elected American president … No American president should ever have to defend his Christianity and Americanism.
Bedowsky, Brent “The GOP’s Obama Problem” The Hill (2 April 13)
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president who attempted to promulgate national health insurance. His cousin FDR tried twice and failed both times. Truman tried passing a single universal comprehensive health care plan. Obama’s mere suggestion of such a Truman-like system unleashed the right wing attack dogs barking their favorite word: “Communist! Communist!” President Truman while fighting the Cold War against the Soviets, introduced the single universal comprehensive health plan. The Clinton Administration also tried a form of Universal Health Insurance and failed.
This battle was 100 years in the making. Our most revered presidents failed to pass this historic piece of legislation: TR, FDR, and Truman. President Obama, cognizant of the need for health care reform and the government’s responsibility to protect American lives, achieved a remarkable legislative victory by signing The Affordable Health Care Act into law.
The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) has been overlooked and overshadowed by the propagation of egregious lies, i.e., Obama is going to appoint death panels and kill Grandma.
I think most Americans believe in the that health care is a right associated with the right to life. I doubt there are many people out there who believe that we ought to let a person die of treatable cancer because the 3 part- time jobs he works does not offer insurance to part-time employees (although at a Republican Presidential Debate in Texas, when the candidates were asked whether a man without insurance should be left to die, a number of people yelled, “Let him die!”)
This is not how we treat our fellow citizens. We do not allow a mother to die to because her insurance company claims that her breast cancer is a pre-existing condition. Finally we elected a president with the courage and fortitude to battle a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry with billions of dollars to spend on lobbying efforts, commercials, and public relations.
Yet your President stood up to these organizations of iniquity and said, “No, I represent the American people not you. And we are going to stop you from allowing more Americans to die just so you can continue to hand out billion dollar parachutes to people whose job it is to figure out how to get out of paying the medical treatment of a dying American.”
The insurance companies could not intimidate or “buy off” President Obama. And of course they threatened him: they poured money into the Scott Brown Campaign in Massacusetts hoping to take away the Democratic super-majority. If we kept that super-majority, it would have forced these nefarious insurance companies to actually take a lesson in what capitalism is really all about: competition (How is it that America’s fascist movement, known as The Tea Party thinks that a competitive market economy is socialism? But, then again, look at the source). Insurance would have had to compete across state lines; they would have had to compete with a government program. The cost of health care would have dropped precipitously.
Despite Brown’s election, President Obama still pulled it off. He was able to end the corrupt business practices of health insurance companies: no more pre-existing condition refusals; an increase in preventative medicine; now kids can remain on their parents plan until after college; and 30 million more people are insured. In the long-run people will live longer healthier lives.
But this could of course all be a Pyrrhic victory now that The Koch Brothers’ in-house corporate attorney put our democratic-republic on its back with Citizens United.
(To be continued)
By Paul J Adams Jr
The first three paragraph’s of the following is a comment I left for a friend who does not think very highly of union folks. He uses these tired arguments that there are no need for unions and that we are lazy (which is laughable):
“Well, my honorable, good friend. I’m still confused. Maybe a personal story will demonstrate the suffering of what is left of the working-class/the lower middle-class. Since you are a good friend, and an honorable friend, I will try to remain rational, and only let emotion seep through when I talk about my mother who passed back in ’08. My mother wanted a better life for me. She cleaned houses on the weekends. That’s right, she spent the weekends on the floors of wealthy people in their Victorian-styled homes scrubbing away, cleaning toilets, cleaning the mess left by spoiled children who were using modems for the internet before I even knew what it was: the “haves and the have nots.” Throughout the week she worked at the Brigham and Women at the night-time telecommunications. Often times, I would have to stay at her co-workers houses, and I was always so scared–I wanted to be in my own bed. But I understood that my beautiful, hard-working Mom was doing what she had to do for us. She was stronger in spirit than most men I have met in my life-time. She was able to put herself through nursing school as a single-mother. She believed in her heart that the American Dream is out there if you work hard enough. And she achieved it. Do you honestly believe that you somehow ever worked hard than my mother (after all, my friend, you advised “us working-folk” to work harder), who besides working her full-time job, took jobs at places like the Marion Manor to pay the bills–particular my High School tuition.
I get a kick out of people (I do not mean you my friend) who were handed everything in life, but yet they have the audacity to call a union woman like my mom lazy. She was the site rep. for the MNA. And you know what they fought for?–-the patient. Quality care can only be given if there is a proper ratio between nurse and patient. Wow!–-What a selfish act.
My father was the president of his union, and cleaned out the corruption in his local. I hope that more union presidents decide to do the same. His legacy consists of protecting the average worker from upper-management (who seem to think they sit on monarchical thrones) firing arbitrarily without good reason. He saved people’s jobs. And at the same time he saved every cent he got paid to so that I got the best education I could get.” [end of comment to my honorable friend, but please read on]
This is what the union does, and this is why unions are still needed. I emulate my mother and father for their selflessness and empathy. Two virtues that go hand-and-hand with progressivism–screw it! I will use that word that conservative think tanks have made dirty: “liberalism”.
The Koch Brothers have a plan to wipe out unions. It is a master plan. This is not a conspiracy theory. The Kochs had their own general counsel argue in favor of Citizens’ United: A poison fatal to our fragile democratic-republic that emanates from the Supreme Court. The poison will strip us of our ability to have a fair campaign process. Corporations can open up war chests and flood money into battleground states. The Koch Brothers have already started doing this. The Koch brothers plan to wipe out unions. They funded Governor Walker’s campaign. His first act was to screw the middle-class by pretty much wiping out unions by taking away their right to collective bargaining (there is also a law in the works that will result in a 7 day work week in Wisconsin). And that is the ultimate consequence of our “Koch problem.” Why begin to wipe out unions?–they are the biggest donators to Democratic candidates–especially progressive candidates.
These parasites are infecting our electoral process and thus our legislative process. Why has Congress refused to work with President Obama? While John Boehner may be the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Republican Party in the House (only in name), he has no control over the 51 congressman that used Tea Party funds to win their seats. In reality, the leader of the Tea Party caucus are the Koch Brothers. As ideologues their far-right agenda is more important to them than the health of our democratic-republic. And there are plenty of examples: the debt ceiling debate (A debate that should not be debated at all); they were willing to sacrifice the full faith and credit of the United States’ obligation to pay back its loans. Ideologues will inflict damage and hurt to others to get what they want. Their allegiance is to their ideology, and their ideological leaders: The Kochs. Let me add this parenthetical thought: can you name other groups who choose their extreme ideological tenets over the value of human life? Millions would have suffered if The United States didn’t pay its bills. It would have destroyed the economy. And you know who would suffer?–people like my mother and father (who selflessly spent their life fighting for others due to their sense of compassion and empathy), my elderly neighbor, working-class people in general. Unions are all the protection that these very hard-working men and women have.
So to my friend who thinks union men and women to be lazy; Go work as a laborer for a week–you’ll be begging to get back to you comfy corporate office. The Middle-Class is the backbone of this country. Whenever the middle-class thrives, this country thrives. It is time, right now, to start fighting back!
Rap has become a genre associated with the degradation of women, the embracing of violence, and the celebration of avarice. “Money, power, respect is all you need in life”: these are the lyrics to a song by the LOX. These lyrics are the glorification of anti-social behavior. This is the message that is being delivered to our impressionable children (susceptible adults as well). However, are not these lyrics only a reflection of mainstream society? We live in a society in which we glorify those who have become wealthy, especially those who have become wealthy through completely immoral behavior. Many idolize characters from their favorite gangster movie, e.g., Scarface, The Godfather, Casino.
A segment of mainstream society also emulates the CEO’s of Wall Street who are corrupt and morally bankrupt. Are not some of these the same CEO’s who issued bad loans knowing that it would lead to a severe economic downturn? Even more egregious, they bet against the US economy knowing it would fail.
My point is that rap culture is greatly influenced by our own morally bankrupted culture. It must be said that there are rap artists out there whose lyrics warn us of our moral devolution, and the dangers of an unbridled, so-called “capitalistic” society.
From Jamaica, Queens there my favorite rap artist, Pharoahe Monche who says:
External gratification is not happiness eternal Interject, intellect, intercept, internet
a slave majority where 5% benefit
PhotoShop amateurs, retouched photography
Pornography, sodomy, child labour economy
His message is spot on. I hope the folks that read this check him out.
Rap has been hijacked by our consumerist, morally bankrupted, pseudo-capitalistic society. But there are rebels in rap just like you and me.