Tag Archives: Court system

Fearing No Shots Across The Bow

It is very likely that in the next week, either on Monday or Thursday, the SCOTUS will release two important decisions relating to marriage equality in this country.  We are facing many crises of freedom right now, from Orwellian privacy invasion of individuals, to infringements on the press freedoms we like to believe exist in this country, to killing of American citizens without trial (or even charges), and so on, but much of America simply doesn’t care about those issues.

Marriage equality though, it seems some people still care about.  Enough that 30 states took the extraordinary steps over the last few years to actually prohibit same-gender marriages, and another 7 prohibit them by law.  Additionally, of course, we still have the “Defense of Marriage Act” on the books at the federal level.

I have written about this before, and I am not going to get deeply into the reasoning here.  (Cliff notes version: There is no moral or constitutional justification to deny a marriage to any consenting adult to any other consenting adult.  No religious authority should be required to give their sanction to it, but that is an entirely separate matter.)

What is of interest right now is that the right is, again, mouthing off about how they are above the law.  As is so often the case, they’re already screaming that no matter what the decision from the Supreme Court, they’re not going to be bound by it, unless they like it.

Now, let’s stop for a moment, because to a small degree, they have a fair point.  That is how a democracy, or even a representative republic, which we are supposed to be, is theoretically supposed to work.  If we do not like the laws, then we can work to change them.  So, that part would be reasonable.  However, what they’re saying is not, “If the decision is against us, then we must change the law.” which is essentially what many said following the ridiculous Citizens United decision.  (Not that it has led to a successful change, but that is still what many are saying today.)  No, what they are saying is quite flatly,

As Christians united together in defense of marriage, we pray that this will not happen. But, make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross.

As I, and many others, are reading this, it is both a veiled threat of the kind that is common from the right, that alludes to a revolution, and a statement that “we” will not enforce your ruling.  It is true, as they point out in their letter, that the courts have no enforcement mechanism, but instead must rely on the executive branch for that.  If they are more than just talk this time around, we may be forced into a situation where we find out if more people are in support of what is right and the rule of law, which in this case are the same thing, or in support of hate and bigotry.

The rest of the letter is the same standard tripe that these people have been trotting out over and over again.  It lacks any more merit this time around than it had the last half a million times that it was paraded around.  It is full of fallacies and bigotry.  Half-truths and bald-faced lies.

I suspect that as with most utterances from the right, it is a lot of hot air.  They talk a lot and have almost no spine to actually back it up.  Except that lately, they seem to be starting to feast on themselves.  We will see what the SCOTUS rules, and then we will proceed from there.  Because yes, no matter how they rule, this issue will not be over.  I know that, and everyone should.  If the SCOTUS rules correctly in favor of equality, then the right will be weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth and then trying to find ways to overturn it.  If they do not, then the equal rights movement will continue to fight for ways to fix that error.  The Dred Scott decision had to be reversed, and it took time.  I hope this is not a similar situation, but if it is, we will eventually do it.

Because that is what is right and good.

This may well end up like Roe v Wade, though.  Producing another cause for the right to protest for the next half-century.  We may wind up with picket lines at weddings, and counter protestors in front of churches to protect the wedding party.  And, sadly, I wouldn’t put it past a few extremists on the right to start killing ministers and pastors performing weddings, because that is what history has shown us the right wing in this country is capable of producing, despite the vast majority of them being a bunch of blow-hards with no real intellects.  We already have too many in the LGBQT community that are suffering violence for no reason other than who they are, or more accurately, the insecurity and bigotry of who others are.


Surprised? No. Outraged? Yes!

Let me begin with a question.  It is a simple question.  We’ll come back to the context in a moment.  In all seriousness.

Why are you surprised?  Or, perhaps, better, why would anyone be surprised?

The Guardian newspaper this week, using leaked documents, “revealed” the existence of “PRISM” – a broad program to collect “so-called meta data on your telephone calls.”  The article goes further to claim that the NSA also has direct backdoor access to the servers of major tech companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple) which between them own the vast majority of all online communications between e-mail, video, and chat.

Again, why would anyone be surprised?  This is really not news.  The specifics of it might be new, but we have known about the existence of this program for years.  I don’t think the public knew the name of the program, or had seen that nifty logo.  The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court was set up in the mid-1970s.  The PATRIOT Act was approved by near unanimous consent (357 to 66 in the House and 98 to 1 in the Senate) and signed into law by George W Bush on 10/25/2001.  It was introduced on 10/23.  So, in less than 48 hours it went from concept to law.  It was then renewed in 2006, and again in 2011 by the current POTUS.  It is these two laws which provide the broad foundations for the program, however, there are many, many other laws which have been passed that have aided and abetted the development of these programs.

Again, why are you surprised?  In 1979, the Supreme Court upheld this kind of invasion of privacy.  They found in the Smith v Maryland case, that collecting, what was called at the time the “pen register” (that is the time equivalent of the meta data), was legal.  This is the modern, technologically equivalent program.  When it goes further into the courts, they will uphold it.

The NSA has been involved in this kind of snooping and has been caught at it before.  We know this.  It isn’t new.  In 2005, the EFF filed a lawsuit against AT&T for illegally cooperating with the NSA to facilitate these actions.  If you read this article, or remember from the time period, you will note that the defense from the administration is almost precisely the same.

In 2006, one of the sitting FISA judges quit the appointment and others urged congress to give the FISA court a direct role in overseeing the wiretapping program.

“The administration defends the eavesdropping program, saying it is only targeting communications to and from suspected terrorists, that government lawyers review the program every 45 days and that Congress authorized the president to track down 9/11 co-conspirators, thereby giving the president the ability to bypass wiretapping laws.”

In 2009, the director of the National Cybersecurity Center resigned, and blamed the NSA’s “pwer grab” as a threat to “our democratic process.

In 2001, William Binney resigned from the NSA  after more than 30 years, including time as director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, and started blowing the whistle, warning about the size and scope of the NSA’s surveillance program.

This is not tin foil hat conspiracy theory territory.  This is you can only be surprised if you weren’t paying attention.  This is, “If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention” territory.

For most of the last 60 years there has been talk of Project ECHELON.  Not just in tin foil hat, conspiracist circles where we can laugh at it, but also in the halls of government, with official investigations.  There have been actual investigations and acknowledgements of its existence with accompanying refusals to discuss its full expanse.  Sound familiar?

Many in our governments, around the world, took Orwell’s 1984 not as a warning, but as a guidebook, just as many right wingers took Ayn Rand’s work not as a poorly written morality play, but as the writings of a prophetess.

Now, as I said, there is no reason that anyone should be surprised.  However, that does not mean that we should not be outraged, nor does it suggest that we should accept it.  I hope that this will be the moment that people will awake and arise.  I do not expect it, but I do hope for it.  Perhaps we will remember and live up to the words of at least one of the “Founding Fatherstm


Check Please

Tax season has officially begun.  W-2s had to be sent out by January 31st.  The IRS began accepting e-filed returns on the 30th.

Let the whining begin.  The weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  The woe is me that always comes when most people are asked to fulfill the responsibilities that correspond to the possession and exercise of rights.  Especially in a society that is all about, “What can you do for me?”

Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.

This is taken from what is typically considered one of the greatest inauguration speeches, and one of the finest speeches ever given, period, and yet, this concept is so foreign to Americans today.  Today this would have so many screaming, “Socialist!  Communist!” even though most of those would have no idea what those words even mean.

When President Kennedy said them at the beginning of his term, he was rallying the country together following a contentious presidential race during the Cold War, and yet it was a time that was less divided that we now find ourselves, in many ways.  It was a time when we still had something that resembled a liberal base in America.  And, it was a time when, while people may not have liked it, they at least didn’t consistently shirk their responsibilities quite so much as they do now.

Can you imagine what FAUX News, Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh would have to say if the POTUS were to use that line in a speech?  If he were to say that echoing Kennedy, it would be bad enough, but try to imagine the reaction, if Kennedy had never said it, and Obama were the first president to say it.  I can imagine drowning in a sea of the foam coming from their mouths.

One of the defining features of the shift to the right over the last 40 years is a decline in personal responsibility.  We see it in so many ways.  When Kennedy gave the aforementioned speech, the top marginal tax rate was 91%.  It had been since 1946.  Unlike modern conservatives, when the conservatives of the past took us to war, they actually paid for it instead of borrowing “against our children’s future” to borrow a phrase, and then blaming the black guy, oops, I mean the next guy.  You see, when we started to gear up for WWII, the tax rates started to go up.  I’ll spare you the full re-cap of the tax rates, as I’ve written on that previously, and you can read more about that here, if you would like.

The real point is this; it’s time to pay up.  We want the benefits of a society that includes the safety and benefits of a “civilized society” provided by decent roads (we’ll ignore the disintegrating infrastructure, for now), police and fire safety, public water, electricity, food inspections, courts, and the list goes on and on.  But, so many of us are looking to someone else to foot the bill.  Okay, so that’s not entirely unreasonable.  No one wants to pay more than their share, but if we’re going to live in this shared society, then we all have to be willing to pay at least our share.

It is just the same as jury duty.  If we want to have a functioning and reasonable jury system where, again to steal a phrase from the currently raging gun argument (I won’t call it a debate because that would imply more civility than most of it has), one is to be “judged by 12 rather than carried by 6”, then there has to be those 12 to serve.  Yet, the vast majority of people bitch and moan and look for every excuse possible to get out of jury duty if they receive the summons.  “Oh, I can’t do that!”  Really?  So, it’s just not important enough to you?  Granted, that too needs to be revised.

Of course, these things are tied together in another way.  That is, financially.  I really do understand the working stiff who can’t afford to take the day off of work, because his or her job isn’t going to pay them for not being there, and the jury pay is a ridiculous amount.  Typically, it isn’t even enough to pay for the parking, much less enough to make up for the loss of pay for going.  Unless you are fortunate enough to work for a company that does compensate for jury time, then that is a legitimate issue.  It is one that should be made up for by the state.  We can afford to pay our legislators, most of whom are worth millions, hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, but we can’t afford to compensate our jurors at even minimum wage for a job that is at least as important?  No, in part, we can’t because we do not have the money for it.  In part, we do not have the money for it because we do not collect sufficient taxes, and thus, we come back around to what is important.

Push The Lemmings Off The Cliff

The so-called “fiscal cliff” came and went and a bogus deal was reached, as many of us knew it would be.  A tiny increase in taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year was passed while these rest of us “get to keep” a tax break.  Meanwhile, we continue to have the same problems in the country that we’ve had for years.  They remain wholly unaddressed.  Does anyone remember the last time that our “leaders” discussed education?  How about real attempts to address mental health issues such as support for the families and care for the patients?  When is the last time you heard anything positive coming out of NIH about AIDS research, or anything else for that matter?  Remember the space program that we, as a nation, allowed to die?  Remember the unemployment rate that is sitting at 7.8% nationally, according to the December report, but will likely go back up when the seasonal jobs go away?  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

US Constitution, Amendment 14, section 4

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.{emphasis added}

Let me translate and shorten that for you.  “Once congress has approved, and the President has signed, the budget, we pay it, period.”

Now, what does that mean?  What it means, in effect, is that the political kabuki theater of the debt ceiling is nothing more than a show put on to scare and confuse.  The constitution supersedes any and all laws in the country.  Whether you like that or not, it is the fact.  As a result, regardless, of what congress does, or doesn’t do, the Treasury department is required to pay the debt.  America, canNOT default on its debt.  What it is not required to continue doing is paying the new spending.  That is why the silly memes that go around “Why does the president always threaten to stop Social Security checks and paychecks to the military?” make so little sense.  As with so many internet memes, they are made and spread by people who either don’t understand, don’t care to understand, or are intentionally using people who fall into the first categories in order to confuse and abuse you.  While SS checks ought not stop because those are debts owed, checks to employees of the government would stop for just that very reason, they are new spending.

Oh, but it does get better.  You see, part of this the reason that you never heard about this until recently is that it was an act that was never put on for you before.  It isn’t that you weren’t paying attention, or that you’ve forgotten.  It just wasn’t done.  This, too, you can thank the far right wing for.  No, really.  Not even conspiracy theorists are needed to make these things up.  These are just simply the facts.  You see, until the Repugnicrats, under Newt Gringrich, suspended the standard practice of simultaneously passing a budget and making any necessary raises to the debt limit in one vote, this political hostage taking couldn’t take place.  They couldn’t play these games with our economy, our money and our lives.  So, the Repugnicrats create the game, then, while their guy is in office, they pass the raises as though it’s no big deal, matter of normal business.  Suddenly, their opposition takes office, and it’s the end of the world, the sky is falling, all hell is breaking loose, cats and dogs sleeping together…

The US has had debt from our very outset.  We incurred over $75 million in debt during the Revolution.  We had no debt ceiling until 1917.  The whole point of the debt ceiling was to give more flexibility during World War I.  It was meant to be a constraint, but more than that, it was meant to give a semi-open check.  Prior to that, congress authorized any necessary borrowing at the same time that they authorized the budget.  The debt ceiling was intended to allow for additional borrowing in case of need, up to a specified limit.  It’s like saying, you need to go grocery shopping, but you don’t know how much it’s going to be, so here, take $300.  Now, congress is using it in a truly irresponsible way to authorize spending that they know will exceed the debt ceiling, and then trying to use that as a negotiating tool.  What congress is doing now is akin to saying, spend $600 on groceries, spend $500 on new tires, spend $300 on new clothes, but don’t spend more then $1000.  Then, when the government runs out of money and comes back and says, “Please authorize us to borrow the rest”, then the Republicans are saying, “Well, we could, but first we need you to kiss our ass.”

Guess what, boys and girls.  Their debt ceiling is likely unconstitutional and certainly unnecessary.  There is a constitutional argument to be made that the act of approving the budget, approves the borrowing itself, via the 14th amendment.  As such, the debt ceiling law is unnecessary, and its application to prohibit previously authorized spending  would be unconstitutional.  Any conflict between a law and the constitution, as you will recall, means the law must be discarded.  The only way to resolve that, of course, is for the courts to decide.  The only way for that to happen is for the law to be challenged, and the only way for that to happen is for the center right to show some testicular fortitude and call them out on this.  Just as I had advocated for going over the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the New Year and though we are just about two months away, I am telling you now, you should be telling your friends, your family, call your Senators, your Representatives, and your President.  Tell them, “Just say, ‘Do it’.  Raise the debt ceiling or don’t.  It doesn’t matter, but pay the bills, and keep on chugging.  Ignore the idiot Repugnicrats.  Let’s get this issue behind us, and if necessary, we’ll settle it in the courts.”

Let us be proactive about this one.  Make no mistakes, the far right is already gearing up for this one.  How do you want to play it?  As victim?  Or, are you finally ready to take the little toads by their throat and say, “No!  Enough is enough!!  Get out of my house!”?  Which will it be?  You do, in fact, have the power.  Each and every one of you.

I love my country, and I am tired of the word “patriot” being used as cover by those who would destroy it and all that we have worked to build.  They have been too successful over the last 40 years.  It is well nigh past time we fight back.  It is long past the time we continue what our fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters started before us.  It is time the anger and strength of the left came back.  Not with violence, because that is really not the path of the liberal.  That is the path of the conservative fear mongers.  Those who are too afraid to stand on their own two feet.  It is time to stand up, look those who are chipping away at what is good in the eye and say, “No! Stand aside!”  It is time to repair that damage.  Heal what can be healed.  Build what new is needed, and move forward.

Assault and Sanity

I am an open and proud liberal.  I don’t think that any one would mistake me for anything else.  Sadly though, all too many people who call themselves liberal in this country are actually not.  That’s right, I’m calling you out.  You know who you are.  If you are a whole hearted supporter of Obama and think that he’s just the greatest thing since sliced cheese, then you are not a liberal.  Chances are pretty good you actually fall in the center, possibly center left (but more likely center right) of the political spectrum.  If you were an Obama supporter by default, there is a chance you may be a liberal.  I may or may not know you personally, so I won’t judge you.  I will, however, tell you those facts.

What this means, right now, is that sometimes my views may be shocking to some.  Even to some who consider themselves liberals.  That’s okay.  I suspect that today may be one of those days where some of you learn something you didn’t realize after reading along for the last year, and for those readers who have known me personally, may not have realized before.  This is also a deeply personal topic for me.

NEWS FLASH!  Not all “gun nuts” are conservatives.  Nor are all gun owners.  Nor are all constitutionalists.  Nor even all 2nd Amendment supporters.

Shocking, isn’t it?  You whackos on the right do not have a lock on the guns.  You only have a lock on the ridiculous arguments in relation to them.

My father has a friend who is an environmental attorney.  He is also a hunter, and a liberal.  He and another friend of his have taken such grief from the conservitard hunters that they also know at the hunting shop that they had shirts made up to commemorate their, “Pinko Commie Hunting Club”.

I, honestly, did not want to get involved in this debate this time around, in spite of its importance.  I was really sick of it.  However, I find that it is not something that I am able to sit back and not be involved in.  You see, it is simply too important and the idiots on both sides of this argument are being too stubborn to even listen to each other.  They are each taking the, “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts” position.  I find myself, again, in the “A pox on both your houses” seat.

We’re going to have to draw some distinctions here, in order to make any sense at all.

As a matter of principle I maintain that the 2nd Amendment serves two purposes – first, to provide for individual self-protection and second, to provide for defense against the government.  The former has some merit still, both from a practical and a principled stand point.  (We’ll come back to the pit falls.)  I firmly believe from a principle view that our government should not have access to any weapon that we as individuals do not also have access to.  Yes.  FROM the perspective of principle that does include nuclear weapons.  The principle is, if we as a culture, manifest through our government decide we do not want our individual citizens to have those weapons, then we as as culture manifest through our government should not have them.  (This is the same principle as we should be applying in dealing with our foreign relations, by the way.  If we do not want other nations to have nuclear weapons, then we should not have them.  It is a very, very simple principle.  Honor and integrity matter!)

However, as a practical matter, I have had to rethink this.  I do not like that.  In fact, I despise it.  I hate compromising my principles.  I have realized at various times in my life that I have had to.  Such as when I’ve had to compromise my moral principles and shop at Wal-Mart because the prices were lower, thus sacrificing my moral principles to my economic needs.  And, this is another example.  Having to sacrifice my philosophical principles to the practical needs.  I recognize that the principle I have just outlined, while I do believe it, is impractical at the individual level.  (It should still be practiced at the national level, and would then be de facto practiced at the individual level.)

Yay!! It’s over! Oh, wait…

Ah, isn’t that cute?  Kittens!  Yay!  It’s over!

Unpack your kittehs!

Except, it’s never really over!

One of the great sources of frustration to non-Christians is the compartmentalization of the respectable, honorable and decent teachings of that religion from the daily lives of so many.  We see that they go to church on Sunday and maybe Wednesday, and then the rest of the week, they lie, cheat, steal, molest children, commit rapes, murder, and all sorts of mayhem that are completely divorced from their supposed beliefs.  While some of this is certainly attributable to “being human”, there is a pattern of behavior that is not.  It is not my purpose or the purpose of this space to attack any religion or to draw out the laundry list of supporting evidence for this.  The point is that we, as a country, tend to do the same thing with our politics.

We allow it to go unwatched for long periods of time, and as we do, we get more and more distressing government in place.  When the cat’s away, the mice will play, no?  We pay attention only at times of crises or around elections.  Do we remember last January when the SOPA/PIPA fight came up and there was an internet blackout?  As I wrote the following week, it is an ongoing battle, not a one day action.  The same is true of all politics.

Okay, so the Presidential preference poll took place on November 6th.  Fantastic!  You went out and voted?  Bravo!  Brava!  I am proud of you!  I thank you for being a responsible and contributing member of our society.  You are part of less than 50% of the eligible voting population with any claim to being patriotic, in my eyes. My eldest son participated in his first.  We also had Senators, Congressmen, state legislators, judges, county officials, city officials, state constitutional amendments, county referenda, etc.  The Presidential election wasn’t the only one on the ballot.  It was only the most highly publicized.

Did your guy win?  Congratulations.  He was marginally better than the likely alternative.  Mine didn’t, but I knew he wouldn’t.  He was completely ignored by the press.  That is a crucial factor in the election process.  In fact, all of the alternate candidates were effectively shut out of the process by the media.  When the most well known of the bunch, Jill Stein, attempted to attend one of the main presidential debates, she was arrested, you really have significant issues in this country.

Politics is not something that we can engage in at election time and then disengage from the rest of the time.  My son said to me the same thing that many people have said, “I don’t feel like I should really vote because I’m not educated enough on all of the issues.”  During the lead up to the election he took one of the “Who is your candidate?” online tests.  It told him that Jill Stein was his candidate.  As we were discussing it, he told me that there were many questions that he didn’t answer because he either didn’t care or didn’t know about the issues.  I wonder how many people did the same.

I also discussed this same test with another friend.  In that case though, he had taken the test after researching candidates for himself.  He was given a different result than the conclusion he had reached for himself.  He was questioning himself.  I suggested that rather than questioning his own research and conclusions, perhaps he should question the website, its conclusions and possible bias.

In both cases, they were making efforts to educate themselves, which is more than a lot of people can say!!  Too many people simply vote based on party lines, without any thought.

We cannot just cram for the election as though it were a high school test.  This is something we have to stay at least a bit more than peripherally on top off all the time.  Constantly there are issues going on that will impact our daily lives to smaller or larger degrees.  What those things are will vary from moment to moment, but they are constant.  The biggest in the news right now is the so-called “Fiscal Cliff”.  That is the impending sequestration that was agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 2, 2011.  How will it be resolved?  Will a deal be reached?  Will the Republicans continue to hold the middle class hostage in order to continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us?  Do you care?  Are you paying attention?


In loco vennum

Was it a critical decision?  I’m not really certain about that in the big picture.  And, by big picture, I mean long term.  Why?  Because in the long term, everything can change.  The Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision issued on January 21, 2010 which undid nearly a century of settled law, the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868 which overturned the Dred Scott v Sanford decision of 1857 (probably the worst SCOTUS decision of ALL TIME), and Brown v Board of Education in 1954 had to overturn the precedent of Plessy v Ferguson from 1896, amongst others.  The doctrine of stare decisis is less and less meaningful as we become more and more politicized at every branch and level of society, and as we become less and less educated.  So, yes, though I promised to pick up on last week’s column, the SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act and the ensuing madness has prompted me to deviate from that.  Next week, will see the promised second part of the education column.  However, I do see a very strong connection.  Many of the arguments that are being thrown around are being put out by people who simply have no education about the facts.  They do not have a clue what they are talking about.  They are also over-reacting.

First, let us clear up a few things.

One, I am not a big fan of the ACA.  It is better than nothing, but it barely qualifies as progress.  The first thing that must always be said about it is that every single piece of it originated from the right.  This is not in the same sense that I have been trying to drive home for a few years now and, that others have started to echo, that there is no visible left in America.  This is, if you accept what Faux News and the rest of the mainstream media defines as the left and right in American politics, every piece of the ACA originated from the right and then was adopted by the “left”.  After it was adopted by the “left”, and thus should have had “bi-partisan” support, then it was attacked by the “right”.  This is the ridiculousness of the game being played by the far right wing in this country.  This is why there are those, even on the far right, who are finally starting to admit that in the media’s attempt to be fair, they are being dishonest.  In the attempt to give each “side” equal recognition, they are committing a lie that each side is equally valid.  The individual mandate, for example, which was the focus of so much right wing ire, was the brain child of the Heritage Foundation, as so clearly explained here by Peter Ferrara who at the time was the “John M. Olin Distinguished Fellow in Political Economy” at said Foundation.  It was an answer to Clinton’s attempts to move the health care system forward, but to do it on the worker’s backs instead of at the expense of the employer.

The point is that it is not an over-reach by the left.  Not even if we let “the left” be defined by the mainstream media.  It was passed through by the Democrats, yes.  But, it is a Republican bill through and through.

Second, the damn thing is really complicated and there are some good parts in it that will benefit many Americans – allowing younger Americans to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, preventing insurance companies from refusing to insure due to pre-existing conditions, and removal of lifetime benefit caps, for example.  Being such a complicated law, it affects pretty much everyone top to bottom, and one source of reasonably accurate information is here.  Most of the law does not, however, go into effect until 2014.  By then, the infighting of the Republicans and the Democrats may have killed off parts of it, to the point where it may be pointless.  In fact, that was likely the very reason it was pushed out to 2014 in the first place.  (Much like the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and its recommendations were set far enough out so that the the sequestering would never actually take place.  The congress would have time to act and make sure of that.  It is all a dog and pony show.  Neither the ruling members of Democrats nor the Republicans are serious about keeping their promises to actually accomplish anything positive for the country.  They are both in favor of serving their highest paying contributors and staying in power.  Any appearance of serving the rest of us is only an illusion created in the interest of staying in power.)

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