American History


American History&Politics04 Jul 2012 05:21 pm

The Affordable Healthcare aka Obamacare Debate

There’s been a lot of noise from some people who do not want affordable healthcare, in the form of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.  There are outcries such as “Get your hands off my healthcare!” which to me would only make sense if you were a CEO or shareholder of a crooked insurance company enjoying the benefits of gouging powerless little guys.  Of all the noise from this group, its unclear exactly what they are complaining about.  I’ve heard the complaint that the bill is too large and too detailed.  Well, sorry folks, there are many complicated problems that cannot be solved with a bumpersticker.  A space program that took us to the moon and back numerous times could not be calculated on the back of an envelope.  People who are employed are familiar with receiving healthcare benefits, and most employers assist in paying health care coverage.  So, these people would likely not even be affected by Obamacare.  So, where’s the rub?  It seems as though the dissonant voices are those who simply do not like anything our current President Obama and his administration does.

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American History&Politics05 Jun 2007 07:14 am

Iraq Study GroupOn a May 24th Press Conference at the White House Rose Garden, President Bush referred to the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report. When pressed if he was talking about a post-surge Plan B, Bush answered: “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so that would be a Plan B-H.”

While George the Second may be a slow reader – the report came out last December – it is encouraging that he is taking some of its well distilled knowledge more seriously. The report stated in plain black and white that “staying the course” in Iraq was not working and that sustained increases in U.S. troop levels “would not solve the fundamental causes of violence in Iraq.”

The “B-H Plan” is an interesting read, with many important, well thought out recommendations, among them:

Recommendation 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. (Recently contradicted by the White House’s Tony Snow and Robert Gates when comparing Iraq to a “Korea model.”)

Recommendation 13: There must be renewed and sustained commitment by the U.S. to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. (An effort basically ignored, if not undermined by U.S.-Israeli rhetoric.)

Establishing peace talks between Israel and Palestine has been ignored since Clinton left office. The B-H Report states, “The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

And so it is impossible to ignore, Israel is the key. Forty years after the June 1967 Six Day War in which Israel captured Arab land, the dispute continues with no end in sight.

Amnesty International ReportAmnesty International has published a report, “Enduring Occupation: Palestinians under seige in the West Bank,” addressing this central problem in greater detail.

Diplomacy in the Middle East is apparently too difficult for the current White House administration. The tone of the current Presidential debates is for setting the bar higher on a new and improved U.S. foreign policy… at least that’s the talk. Shrub’s policies of ignorance and postponement will come to an end. If it were only sooner – innocent people are suffering.

Support Amnesty International

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American History&Book Review&Media02 Jan 2007 10:31 am

9/11 Report: Graphic AdapationTwo experienced veterans of Marvel and DC Comics, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon have produced a graphic adaptation of the 2005 9/11 Commission Report, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.

It appears to be a careful study, although not all agree on the controversial subject matter, for example the blog AboveTopSecret.com pokes fun at the graphic novel.

The Slate has the first chapter of the book online. More illustrations and reviews are on Amazon . There is an interview with the co-authors on NPR.

The two action superhero editors know a good story when they see one.

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American History&Politics08 Nov 2006 06:21 am

Polical Cartoon

No more “stay the course.” The American people voted yesterday to clean up the corrupt, unaccountable GOP Congressional war machine mess. In search of diversion, Republicans turned their attention to Britney Spears divorce of Kevin Federline. It’s a relief to see the American system still works. This is a vote for a movement towards government accountability and a more peaceful world.

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American History&Media&Personal10 Sep 2006 03:00 pm

Lakota Chief Sitting BullA couple of days ago I got on the BART and sat down next to a big guy who was reading the paper. All of a sudden he says loudly in my direction, “Remember what?!”

He seemed a little angry, and I looked at the speaker. He appeared to be a middle aged native American Indian, wearing a red bandana headband over his long hair. He had a kind of tough, beaten up face with a little bit of mustache and beard. He wore a jacket that had various tribal patches and emblems on it.

“Remember what?” I repeated back to him.

“9-11… what was that?” He said, obviously playing games with my head. His newspaper had a big story about never forgetting 9-11.

I mumbled something like, “Yeah, that’s what they’re writing about this week, you know.”

I went back to my reading as he spoke about his people migrating here over the Bering Strait, losing their land and ending up in jail. He mentioned being in jail himself and doing sweat lodges with Archie Fire Lame Deer.

“Look at all the disease and death in Africa these days,” I offered to the red man. “It seems like most of the world’s problems are due to overpopulation. Do you really think the tribal native American lifestyle could have lasted?”

That didn’t seem to cheer him, and he sat quietly brooding. He got up for his stop and as he exited the train, he called out to the passengers, “All you foreigners have a nice day!”

I guess you might say he’s been anti-immigration for a long time.

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American History&Politics04 Jul 2006 12:57 pm

Declaration of Independence

America was born in a revolutionary spirit, and that spirit lives on today, thanks to the freedoms established by our forefathers. The Declaration of Independence was one of many steps taken by the insurgent Thirteen Colonies against the occupying British forces of government.

Today’s journalists and bloggers see parallels to what appears as a reversal of roles. An excellent article by Marie Coco: King George Dethroned covers how the U. S. Surpreme Court has “given us back the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and that document’s recounting of “usurpations’’ by King George III of England—a historic bill of particulars with stunning relevance today.” This refers to their decision that the “war on terror” detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have a right to bring their grievances before American courts. This basic human right of the imprisoned extends far back into Western history’s 1305 usage of habaes corpus.

And so, many Americans every day are redeclaring their rights in the face of threats to our freedoms of the press, searches and seizure, and the U. S. Constitution. Fine examples questioning the White House’s interpretation of Constitutional law can be read in Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s A July Fourth Declaration and Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article about David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff and legal advisor.

These are divisive times within America. We must lead by example from within, at home. That should be a good enough start. There is no need to spread our “Manifest Destiny” in the belief that God The Almighty has chosen the U.S.A. to supervise the globe, except maybe Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. If there are other nations or religions who happen to think the same way, then does that make them wrong and us right? Probably both tribes are wrong. I don’t buy into the unchosen versus chosen people ideology, and I declare my independence to say so. Have a good day!

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American History&Movie TV DVD Review23 Mar 2006 07:45 am

Russ Feingold on The Daily Show

Here is video and coverage of Senator Russ Feingold‘s refreshingly clear stance on his proposal to censure President Bush.

Perhaps Americans’ vast knowledge of The Simpsons and American Idol trivia over their own Constitutional rights, has clouded our memory of Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights which includes our right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

So America needs a Simpsons show where Bart recites parts of the Constitution and Russ Feingold makes an appearance. Go man, go!

American History&Money&Movie TV DVD Review13 Mar 2006 09:06 pm

Hellfire missile
When writing a previous review of John Ford’s classic World War II propaganda films, Why We Fight, I was not aware that another newer film Why We Fight was in the works. Well, this has been a season for remakes, why not documentaries too?

The earlier WWII Why We Fight was designed as a nudge to a neutral inward looking United States, whereas the new Why We Fight covers the now well established American military industrial complex. Might as well face it, never mind oil… these days we’re addicted to war.

Some may justify their jobs in the defense business sector; it’s good for the U.S. G.N.P., stock market, ya-da ya-da. As far as I can tell, the Iraq War has been nothing more than a three year economic stimulus package engineered by the Bush administration. Taken a look at a Halliburton stock chart since March 2003 lately? Back in Nixon’s day there was aversion to ending the Vietnam War, because it would hurt the job market with too many baby boomers coming home and competing for a piece of the great American Dream Pie. Chances are we won’t work our way out of this habit until it all blows up in our collective Old Glory faces.

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