Day: March 19, 2012

Two Year Anniversary Of Health Care Law, And Oral Arguments On Case Next Week In Supreme Court

The Affordable Care Act, the Obama Health Care legislation, hits its two year anniversary this week, and next week, the US Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of the legislation, seen as the landmark case of the past decade by many, and as the crucial issue that will have a dramatic effect either way on the upcoming Presidential Election of 2012.

The Obama Health Care law has allowed young people to remain on their parents’ health insurance to age 26; has prevented pre-existing conditions from being used to deny health care; and has cut down the “donut hole” for senior citizens in relation to their prescription costs.

Many other reforms must wait until 2014, assuming that the Supreme Court does not declare the whole act unconstitutional.

There is furious action to try to destroy the signature legislation that really defines the Obama Presidency, a law that took a full year to pass, and that was passed on party lines, which is actually not at all unusual in history.

Some federal judges have upheld the legislation, while others have challenged it, and it will be argued by both sides over three days for the unusually long total period of six hours, showing just how significant this case is!

As it seems now, the four “liberal” Justices–Bill Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, and Barack Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—will support the legislation.

For it to survive in one piece, at least one of the five “conservative” Justices would have to join the four liberal appointees of Clinton and Obama.

Anthony Kennedy, usually the swing vote, and usually joining the liberals on about one third of the cases before the Court, is thought to be a good bet, but not a guarantee.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is very aware of the significance of this case for the Court and for his reputation, is thought to join in the majority, but again no certainty.

Ironically, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who one would think would be opposed, has indicated in other cases as hints that he just might support the legislation.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito is thought less likely to support the legislation, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is thought to be the one certain, guaranteed vote against the health care legislation.

The argument for the legislation is the application of the commerce clause of the Constitution, which has been utilized over and over again by the US Supreme Court in the past, adding to the powers of the federal government. This was the same controversy with the Social Security Act, with a conservative oriented Supreme Court in the 1930s, and that legislation was upheld.

The argument against is based on opposition to the so called “mandate” that all citizens MUST obtain health insurance coverage by 2014, or face a fine.

What the critics fail to address is that when someone does not have health insurance and ends up needing medical care, he or she ends up in the emergency room, and all of us have to pay for the health care provided. Is it proper that some have no health care coverage and gain medical aid, and the rest of us have to pay for our health care, and also for those who are irresponsible enough to avoid paying for care that he or she knows he or she can gain for free?

This is the crux of the matter, and it is hoped and believed that a majority of the Supreme Court will end up backing the Health Care law, with a prediction by many of at least 5-4, but even possibly 6-3, or 7-2, or even 8-1.

A victory by more than 5-4 would be a real endorsement of the health care legislation, while a 5-4 defeat would be a major blow to 50 million citizens who benefit from the legislation.

In either case, this decision, when it is announced in June, will have a transformative effect on our nation, and on the Presidential Election of 2012. We will all wait with “baited breath” for the result!

Tragic Anniversary: Nine Years Since Iraq War Began, As Doubts About Afghanistan War Abound!

Nine years ago today, based on false and misleading evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction possessed by Saddam Hussein of Iraq, the US and allied nations went to war in Iraq.

The effects for the American military have been massive:

4,408 killed in action
31,922 wounded in action

Several hundred or more have lost limbs or part of their skull, and at least one out of four soldiers serving in Iraq have had brain injuries and mental and emotional problems, better known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, from their military service.

In the ongoing Afghanistan War, the number killed stands at 1,912, and wounded close to 10,000, with several hundred severely wounded.

So together in the past decade, about 6,300 American soldiers have been killed, and about 42,000 wounded, with close to 1,000 severely wounded, and again one out of four soldiers affected by PTSD, including Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who killed sixteen Afghan civilians last week, a tragedy for the victims, but also for him and his family, and for America.

These sobering statistics, separate from the loss of life of hundreds of thousands of civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan, requires our serious consideration that it is time to say the War on Terror has been won overseas, with the death of three fourths of the Al Qaeda leadership, and the elimination last May of Osama Bin Laden.

It is time to come home, and to heal our veterans,. at any cost, rather than continue spending $100 billion a year or more in an area we cannot make democratic and western style. Out of Afghanistan as soon as possible is an urgency!

Wisconsin Moves Toward Recall Election Of Governor Scott Walker: La Follette Progressivism’s Return!

The state of Wisconsin, the home of the great Progressive Republican leader Robert La Follette, Sr a century ago, is on the way to a recall election against Conservative Republican Governor Scott Walker, who has worked to destroy public sector unions in the Badger State, and has taken other actions in league with the Republican legislature to harm education and other social services, areas Wisconsin has always been a leader among the states of the Union.

Wisconsin introduced the recall method, and it has succeeded in bringing about much more support in voter signatures than anyone would have ever imagined, and the date for the primaries for Governor and other state offices is May 8, followed by the election of either Walker or his Democratic opponent on June 5.

The former Dane County Executive (Madison), Kathleen Falk, is favored to be the Democratic nominee, although she is being challenged in the Democratic primary by the former Democratic opponent of Scott Walker in 2010, Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, as well as other possible challengers.

The important thing is for the Democrats, progressives, and the labor movement in Wisconsin to remain united, and take advantage of the opportunity to recall Governor Walker and other Republicans in the state legislature, due to this rare and unique “second chance” given the people of Wisconsin, something almost never available in most states, and rarely successful in American history.

The only successful times were in North Dakota in 1921 and in California in 2003. Governor Lynn Frazier in North Dakota and Governor Gray Davis in California have been the only Governors successfully recalled, but neither had abused their position nor had been so confrontational and belligerent as Scott Walker has been.

If there was ever a time for a wholesale removal of political leaders in the legislature and the Governorship, it is NOW in Wisconsin. We will be cheering on the effort, hoping for a successful result on June 5!