Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Here's my question for your representative

. . .and actually, because of the topic at hand, EVERY Congressperson should have a knowledgeable answer to this question--but you shouldn't hold your breath:

What is going to happen to the military's health program if ObamaCare becomes law?

I ask this because as we speak, there's a large population of military members putting their lives on the line every day in some God-forsaken hellhole, far away from their loved ones, fighting a war to which there is no grand strategy and, according to the President himself, no goal of victory.

And part of the reason why that young soldier or Marine, airman or even sailor is in the uniform and in the numerous hellish places our fighting men and women walk is because of the military's health care plan. It's called Tricare, and for all the bashing it receives in certain quarters, it is continuously cited as one of the best retention tools for the services.

For depth: Tricare is the health system offered to military dependents and retirees (and their families). The uniformed member gets care through his or her service--I think they all have their own doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals, and most bases have a military treatment facility--although for some specialty services, the member might get referred out of the service. And in one of the "types" of Tricare, dependents and retirees also get to use military facilities, with referrals to specialists when necessary. But a large population of those covered by Tricare are enrolled in a service very similar to an HMO--paid for mostly by Uncle Sam (there are copays, and for retirees there are premiums, but at a great bargain to equal care in the "civilian" sector). The money to pay for that coverage is part of the DoD budget.

So here's my rhetorical question: IF ObamaCare passes and a huge influx of cash goes from our pockets into HHS to provide for a "public option", what are the chances that Tricare will remain with DoD? I know, I know, the President himself has said that health care for the military isn't going to be downgraded at all under his plans. And such assurances should be good enough for me, right? Well, maybe. . .but I think his explanations are long on intention, and short on specifics.

Specifically, I want to know if Obama intends to keep Tricare in the realm of the DoD budget? If so, why? It occurs to me that such a thing would be an unnecessary overlap--bureaucracy at its worst. In the article I link to immediately above, the President offers that Secretary of Defense Gates "will talk to you about the degree to which his budget is being sucked up by health care inflation"; in such an environment, why wouldn't there be a push to drive this bill out of DoD and into HHS?

Which leads me to my next question: if the intent is to put the money--and therefore CONTROL--for the military's health system into a Department other than Defense, when is that little tidbit of information going to hit the streets?

The fighting men and women of our military ask for so little from this country. They might not even cry foul if their loved ones and predecessors get "dumped" into the public plan. . .but that should be a conversation held out in the open TODAY.

Make your Congressman or Congresswoman have that conversation.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

How is this not bigger news?

I know there's a lot going on in this country right now, and it's hard to keep it all straight. Still, I think there ought to be room to make sure our Secretary of State's sympathies to dispel of U.S. sovereignty in the world's legal stage ought to merit SOME coverage.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What we're up against

Many a strategist has written that in order to defeat an enemy, you must first identify it.

That is the most important "next step" to the anti-health insurance reform movement taking form in a good portion of this country.

Because as I sit here watching and reading about these town halls, where intelligent questions are being asked in intelligent manners and where emotion is obviously present in surplus, I'm wondering how it is that the Congresscritters aren't "getting" that the game has changed?

Here's what I've arrived at: the game has changed. But not in the way us protesters think it has changed.

We are becoming vocal because we think a strong show of non-support for the health insurance initiatives will help convince our representatives to seriously consider their options, lest they be seen as untrustworthy by their constituents.

Such a fear used to mean something.

Today. . .not so much.

Today, our Congresspeople don't fear us more than they fear the administration. And THAT is what we are up against.

Let's face it, this administration--for all its bumbles--has been remarkably successful with their agenda. Stimulus plan? Check. Control over major production sectors of the economy? Check. Maintain total control over mass media outlets? Check. Stare Congress in the eye and make them cave? Check Check Check. (Think F-22 and the second go-around for Cash 4 Clunkers) Heck, even the stock market is going like gangbusters and unemployment almost unfathomably moved in the right direction in July (if you believe the numbers. I don't, but that's not a point for discussion here) And did I see a poll the other day that showed a vast majority of respondents found his performance on foreign affairs to be acceptable? That kind of support for a man who has done nothing but apologize for our country while standing on the wrong side of freedom time and again? For all the dissatisfaction that you and I might feel, I'm pretty sure the President isn't losing sleep at night.

This administration has advocated actions and positions that most people don't think are possible in mainstream America. How on earth can an administration cease a prosecution on criminals engaging in electoral intimidation and NOT have that be the #1 story until course is reversed? Elections are the heart of democracy, and once they lose legitimacy--once the idea that we are all given a say in the process, free of fear or reprisal for voting our conscience--the democracy isn't far from ending. And yet, our DoJ stopped the prosecution of guilty (by default) criminals who engaged in this activity. And I'm sure you're just sick and tired of hearing about this. . .right? (Don't worry, I'll forgive you if you aren't aware of what I'm saying--most people aren't)

And Congress has taken notice of these actions by the White House. Those "moderates" that hold the key to stopping Obamacare, Limit and Tax and every other bit of the left's wish list are probably as sensitive to the shenanigans taking place in the West Wing as are the most conspiratorial of right wingers.

Now, you MUST understand the great truth about all of the elected officials that work in DC: once they show up in the Capitol, their sole purpose in life is to get re-elected.

Spare me the charges of cynicism because that statement above is the absolute truth. . .and in fact, it's a necessary evil of the system. If these folks didn't care about re-election, heaven only knows the stuff that might get passed into law. (Actually, I think we're finding out almost every day just what DOES happen when people don't worry about re-election)

Sure, these critters will tell you, it's great to win elections because your constituents vote you back into office. . .but that's not the ONLY way to win elections.

It is, however, the only way to win an election in THIS political climate if THIS White House doesn't have your back. And if you, Mr. Congressperson, only have one avenue at your avail to get back into office, well, that's like only having a 50/50 chance of succeeding. But if you cozy up with the administration--especially an administration that has anti-democracy resources at its fingertips like this one does--you run a might better chance than 50/50. Friends of Obama will not go down--not while he has the means to keep them in office.

And the critters know that. And that is why I fear all the town halls and all the letters and phone calls in the world won't matter: they are a weapon from a bygone era, when our representatives understood that they answer to the people.

The enemy, my friends, is not these Representatives. Granted, they are tools, and a good number of them are about as admirable as my shower scum--but they are not the enemy.

The enemy is the fear the administration CAN put into play to get Congress to bend to Obama's whim.

So how to combat that? I have one word for you: influence. We need to fight the war on influence.

The administration uses the specter of ACORN, SEIU, etc. and their possible influence at the ballot box as a weapon.

We need to get those weapons off the playing field.

Every person who was turned away from a town hall because of SEIU needs to sue them.

Every person who was physically assaulted at the hands of SEIU goons needs to sue them. In fact, every person who plans on going to a town hall and finds out that SEIU has advertised it, too, needs to seek a block against SEIU's presence at the event--you know, for fear of a physical confrontation that is an established MOU for these guys. After all, it's not the anti-reform movement that broadcast a "hit them twice as hard" message.

Every person who lives in a state where ACORN likely participated in voter fraud needs to sue them.

Let's get their organizations so tied up with litigation that they can't promise to pay their "volunteers" anymore.

And, by the way, let's be sure to make headlines with these actions.

If nothing else, we'll highlight the problem with our current tort system. . .and maybe THAT will turn on some lightbulbs about possible fixes for the current health care problems.

Bear in mind: this is not a PR war. Who cares what the headlines say or how these activities are editorialized.

This is a war to permanently cripple some of the shadiest yet most prominent players on the administration's team. It won't be pretty. . .but it is absolutely necessary.

And soon.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What "social prudence" has given Conservatives

I'm sure that anybody that is a certain age has heard the "rules" regarding social interaction that tell you not to discuss politics and religion.

Well, as I look at the landscape around me, where the left has grabbed control of political discussions (not out of merit, but because they have the termerity to "go there" time after time when those of us on the right won't) AND tried to make people defensive about their religious beliefs, I'm calling foul on those rules.

I will no longer be hesitant to engage in discussions about what I believe--social "norms" be damned.

Of course, this places a huge burden on me. If I'm going to engage with any hope of pursuasion, I must be a knowledgeable, tactful defender of my beliefs. And to be honest, I don't know which will be more difficult: getting "smart" on the topics, or showing tolerance to those who present me these opportunities--so ridiculous has the tenor of "debate" in this country become.

Regardless, no longer will I stand to be in a room where someone speaks (what I consider to be) lunacy and not challenge that person.

Part of the reason why conservatives have been marginalized over time is because we have kept ourselves on the sidelines at the lower levels of society, where the presence of "real" people might be pursuasive.

We cannot do that and hope to survive. Which is why the Tea Party movement is such a big deal--albeit just a start. Now WE must take the conviction of those parties held amongst friends and be willing to discuss our views among those who see differently than us.

Societal "norms" have this country on the verge of stripping "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance (as a nice two-fer illustration of the progressive movement of this country), among other bits of lunacy.

And I, for one, will not go quietly into that goodnight.

My, how long ago it was

You know, for a candidate who ran in part on a message that America was seen as too arrogant to most of the world, I can't help but chuckle at the HUGE disconnect between those concerns and the visual takeaways from Cash 4 Clunkers.

I'm here to tell you as a somewhat privileged traveler of this world for the last 2 decades: the vast majority of cars that are going to be rendered unuseable by this program would be serious upgrades to the roads in just about every country in South America, good chunks of Europe, all of Africa, and to the developing countries in Asia. In fact, about the only place that could PHYSICALLY handle the dimensions of a typical American car that will not look quizzically at the senseless destruction of these vehicles is the capital centers of the Middle East.

Ironic, that.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Add some sanity to YOUR health care debate

This post from Hugh Hewitt's readership is the inspiration for this post.

I urge everybody--EVERYBODY--to do the following in the next couple weeks:

Talk to YOUR Doctor. If you have one.

Talk to YOUR Health Care Insurer. If you have one.

And if you lack those resources, I encourage you to read the bill yourself. Seriously, this is that important, and you can find it by clicking here.

Ask that person/company the questions that will affect YOU the most, i.e. "Will I still be able to use you and ALL the services I've come to expect from you if the Health Care reform passes?" If you have an unfortunate family history, ask about the major procedures that have been used on your family members with an eye towards "will that be available to me in the future under this reform?"

In short, personalize the health care debate. Don't listen to a President who himself admits he doesn't know what the current legislation contains but who is more than willing to subscribe nefarious intentions to doctors performing surgeries; don't listen to a Speaker of the House who has seriously gone around the bend in her public demonization of the insurance companies. Don't listen to Washington, DC, PERIOD.

How this reform will affect the politicians should be of little concern to you. However, how this legislation will affect YOU and YOUR FAMILY should be of great concern to you.

So you better ask--bring the debate to your own kitchen table, if you will.

And I'm telling you this right now: if you can't have a good conversation with your doctor/company, you should seriously consider getting a new provider. This bill IS THEIR LIVELIHOOD, and if they are serious about their work they should be able to talk about this inside and out. If they aren't willing to talk to you about it, either they're fools or they don't want to be honest with you--either way, you can do better.

And if what the provider tells you things that you don't like hearing--WHICH SHOULD INCLUDE if they honestly can't tell you what the affects of this bill will mean on your care---then the next conversation you have should be with your Representative AND BOTH SENATORS, urging them to stop this health care reform attempt.

Every one of us needs to use what's available to us now--i.e. CHOICE--before it disappears.