SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
VA or Private Care: Denied Care Is Always Bad Care and GOP to Blame for Both
May 26th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

These past few weeks, the biggest news (prior to a young douchebag with a history of mental problems being able to buy a gun and kill a half dozen classmates because no girl would date the creepy bastard) was that Administrators of the Arizona Veterans Administration had been cooking the books, intentionally deceiving the VA HQ, in order to win performance bonuses. Last March, Senate Republicans blocked a $24 Billion increase in funding for the VA that would have included the construction of twenty-seven new medical facilities to accommodate the over two million additional wounded vets suddenly thrust into an already stressed out VA hospital system thanks to Bush’s perpetual wars. On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen no less than FIFTY-ONE votes by the GOP-led House to “repeal ObamaCare” and Red state governors refusing federal funds to expand medicaid that would have provided health care to the poor. What do these things have in common? Republicans. The only problem with the VA is that people are prevented from seeing a doctor in a timely manner because Republicans refused to expand the program. Ditto for Medicaid AND the ObamaCare Exchanges. Note to GOP: ALL “health care”, be it in the private sector or government run, is bad WHEN YOU ARE DENIED ACCESS TO IT!

One of the reasons Mugsy’s Rap Sheet exists is… as our tagline points out… “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and indeed, that seems to be the new stock & trade of the GOP. Because I remember well how towards the end of the Bush Administration, news broke of deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. Media Matters reminded everyone last week of the “Walter Reed Scandal” that Salon broke in early 2007. Crumbling plaster, mold in patient rooms, roaches, you name it. And the response on the Right? “Scandal? What scandal?” BTW: Walter Reed is NOT a VA hospital. Your average vet can’t just call up and make an appointment there. It’s reserved for the “crem de’ la crem”: Top Brass and government officials. The reason given by the Bush Administration for the poor conditions at Walter Reed? It was scheduled for closure, and things just deteriorated rather than keep up the maintenance prior to that time (even though it was still serving patients.) The same hospital that first-term President Bush praised in a visit there in 2003, the jewel of the Military Hospital System, fell into disrepair just four short years later under a Republican president that sought to privatize the VA.

Oh yes, my friends. Just one month before the invasion of Iraq, with U.S. Troops in Afghanistan, President Bush proposed partially privatizing the VA, suggesting we “halt new enrollments” and charge existing non-active duty vets a “$250 a year enrollment fee“, plus co-pays… probably because he knew just how busy the VA was about to get and he didn’t want to pay for it. The backlash was swift and the GOP was… for lack of a better word… “shamed” into increasing funding for the VA… seeing as how it was their wars and all that were suddenly creating all those new Wounded Warriors.

The soaring cost of health care, putting it out of the reach of millions of Americans, is nothing new. What IS new is the fact that in BOTH systems (Public AND Private), Republican obstruction is to blame for that loss of access. Refusing to expand VA funding to accommodate the growing number of veterans means wait times for vets were bound to grow. And the refusal to expand Medicaid likewise means a denial of care for millions more. Meanwhile, Republican pundits are running around pointing at this VA cockup as an example of why they’ve been fighting so hard to repeal ObamaCare. Which is a bit like blaming electric-car fires for why we need to defund Amtrak.

Veterans that manage to get in to see their doctors and receive treatment actually have a very favorable opinion of the VA. In fact, VA hospitals are routinely rated among the best in patient satisfaction. Likewise, doctors and nurses like working for VA hospitals more than regular hospitals. As “OpEdNews” put it in 2007:

Many VA employees work there for idealistic reasons. One technician told me she got “fed up with the paperwork” in private sector medicine and switched to the VA to devote herself to caring for patients full-time.

Happy doctors. Happy patients. And GOP Bouncers at the door turning patients away because they don’t want to fully-fund an incredibly successful system that makes a mockery of everything they’ve been telling us about “government healthcare”. Same thing with ObamaCare. Millions now have insurance that couldn’t afford it before. The soaring rise in insurance rates has suddenly begun to slow for the first time in 30 years. And remember all that trouble with the “ObamaCare website” last October? The site kept crashing because too many people were forced to use it because their Republican governors had refused to create a State Exchange that would have lightened the burden on the Federal Exchange (what ever happened to the “states can do it better” position of the GOP?) No “Death Panels”, and just about every (if not every) “ObamaCare horror story” the GOP has tried to dig up has fallen apart. The only strategy left open to them: deny access by denying funding, and then point to the inevitable failures as PROOF they were right about them all along.

So on this Memorial Day when we are thinking about those who lost their life in service to our country, let us not forget those… both vets AND private citizens… who have died or are going to die as a result of a GOP working overtime to obstruct access to heath care.

Links of interest:

 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Must a President Be a Failure to Be a Success?
May 19th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

I was watching former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynn pollute my TV screen yesterday on Fox “news” Sunday, and I’m always struck by how stunningly self-UNaware Cheney is about the havoc his administration caused. Naturally, both Cheney’s blamed President Obama for America’s lack of credibility around the world, because he “drew a red line in Syria” (that wasn’t actually crossed), and apparently has nothing to do with the Bush Administration invading Iraq on false pretenses. And naturally, President Obama’s reluctance to send American troops into Syria or Ukraine has nothing to do with the fact we still haven’t finished the LAST war these numbnuts got us into yet couldn’t finish. Our military has been stretched to its near breaking point and the American people have no appetite to see us get involved in yet another war. But tell that to The Vader Family.

(More info on that corner photo. It’s Cheney’s memoir, “My Life” on the right. I snapped this photo with my cell phone at my local grocery store on 9/1/11, the same week the book was released. It was already marked down “40% off” and placed next to a copy of James Patterson’s “Kill Me”. Note: I live in Texas.)

The Bush-II Administration was mind-numbingly incompetent. Yet, President Bush’s approval ratings were never higher than immediately after 9/11… the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history, of which we now know they ignored numerous warnings from the CIA because they were too preoccupied planning the invasion of Iraq. President Clinton said something interesting last week regarding the foiled “Millennium Bomb Plot”, about how no president ever gets credit for the terrorist attacks they thwarted because no one ever knows about them. There’s nothing for people to “rally around”.

And this got me wondering about how when things appear to be going smoothly, no one takes notice or credits the Administration in charge. It’s only during times of upheaval, lurching from crisis-to-crisis that people seem to take notice of the ongoings of Washington. Must a President create & fail in managing multiple disasters before they look like a “Leader” and achieve high approval ratings?

On December 22, 2008, just days before leaving office, Cheney defended President Bush’s record on fighting terrorism. Strange thing though, he could just as easily have been talking about President Clinton’s record without changing a single word:

Let’s look at Bush’s REAL record: Ignored multiple warnings that might have prevented 9/11. Two Recessions. Katrina and the catastrophic consequences of putting a Horse Show director in charge of FEMA. Gas prices explode creating global Economic disaster. Stock Market lost nearly half it’s value (first decline since Hoover). National Debt doubled where it was previously shrinking. Iraq. Never got Bin Laden. The Patriot Act. Began the practice of widespread warrantless domestic wiretaps. A deregulated “credit ratings” industry that led to the biggest banking scandal & bailout in American history.

We already heard Cheney defend the Clinton record. What about Obama? No attacks on US soil. Period. Got Bin Laden. Ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan this year. A stable and growing economy with both the DOW and S&P 500 closing at record highs last week, NO Recessions. NO FEMA failures. First president to pass sweeping healthcare regulations mandating minimum basic care standards and a competitive market to keep insurance rates down. Housing sales are back on the rise. Created the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” to protect consumers from deceptive credit/banking practices.

In a way, President Clinton was a victim of his own success, making the job of president look so easy that even someone like George W. Bush could do it. I don’t think anything believes President Obama has had an easy time of it these past 5+ years, but he sure as heck doesn’t seem to be getting any credit for all the disasters that HAVEN’T taken place on his watch. (Note: the current “VA controversy” has more to do with GOP-underfunding and Bush’s wars dumping an additional two million wounded vets into an already stretched system. Local Administrators cooked the books precisely to deceive Washington, and Republicans want to fire Shinseki because he didn’t know he was being deceived.)
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
It’s Well-Past Time We Start Questioning Republican Patriotism
May 12th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

On Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, the day after President Obama’s reelection, I already knew what to expect for the next four years. I remembered quite well how Republicans flat-out lost their friggin’ minds after President Clinton was reelected to a second term and was already reminding people what happened the last time Republicans controlled Congress after a Democrat was reelected president. The GOP was going to spend the next four years doing nothing but looking for (read: “inventing”) scandals for which they could impeach President Obama, or at the very least, marring his place in history as a successful president.

By the time of President Clinton’s reelection, Republicans had spent the prior four years investigating/inventing scandals (everything from a land deal that took place before he became president where he actually LOST money, to the their cat’s Christmas Card List) trying to make the first Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson out to be a bigger crook than Richard Nixon (in 2005, after 30 years in office, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde openly admitted that the impeachment of President Clinton… the first Democratic president since LBJ, was possibly “payback for the [threatened] impeachment [and ultimate resignation] of [President] Nixon”) all in hopes of denying him a second term. But when they were blindsided by Clinton’s reelection, they knew the only way left to stop him from serving out his full second term was to “impeach” him. And the GOP Scandal Machine went into overdrive. But when the GOP lost seats in the House following the 1998 midterm election, the lame-duck Congress knew it only had two months to try and impeach President Clinton. So sure were they that all of America hated President Obama as much as they did, that they were once again blindsided when he beat Mitt Romney handily, leaving them with no choice but to start looking for a way to impeach him before he could complete his second term and his presidency go down in history as a successful one (dimming the GOP’s prospects in the future.) The GOP has done… quite literally… NOTHING since retaining the House in the 2012 mid-terms except attack the President and his Administration. I was told by Right-Wingers for the first seven years of the Bush Presidency that if I criticized the president, my “patriotism” was suspect and that I should “move back to France” (I’m not French.) Yet I’ve seen the GOP do nothing but attack this president, not only questioning HIS patriotism (remember the “flag pin” nonsense?) but even questioning his citizenship. And now it seems like we have a scandal-a-week as Republicans desperately grasp at straws trying to derail The President of the United States before he can serve out his full second term. Well, I for one am sick of it. They dared question MY patriotism when I dared protest President Bush sending this country into a second massive and wholly unnecessary war, called ME a traitor for daring to question the “Patriot Act”, calling me a “Communist” for believing every person should be able to afford health insurance… enough is enough. When do Democrats start questioning the patriotism of Republicans in congress that lurch from one made-up scandal to the next, openly admitting: “We’re probably one email away from Benghazi being an impeachable offense”.

That’s just how petty and partisan these Cretins are. Before President Clinton, only ONE president had EVER been impeached in all of U.S. history, Andrew Johnson, after he succeeded President Lincoln. That’s just how big a deal “impeachment” is… or was now that it looks like the GOP is going to attempt to impeach every Democratic president that dare win a second term.

The Bush Administration was an abject disaster. From not convening to even discuss terrorism until the week before 9/11 despite receiving some VERY specific warnings with titles like “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, almost THREE THOUSAND Americans were murdered ON U.S. SOIL. Can you just IMAGINE the Republican OUTRAGE if they learned President Obama had received advance warning of the attack in Benghazi where just FOUR brave Americans lost their lives? And besides 9/11, there were no fewer than THIRTEEN embassy/Consulate attacks under President Bush, killing SEVENTY-SEVEN Americans and injuring dozens more. How many Republican calls for an investigation did you hear? Not only did they not demand a single investigation, but YOU were branded “unpatriotic” for daring to criticize him.

If Democrats had tried to impeach Bush over any one of those embassy attacks… let alone 9/11… what do you think the response on the Right would have been?

The GOP has shown nothing but contempt for Democracy for the last five years. From their blatant war on voting rights by disenfranchising millions of legitimate voters among Democratic-leaning demographics (tell me what cutting early voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?), to Southern politicians openly threatening “secession” (which ironically didn’t stop noted tree-stump Texas Governor Rick Perry from wanting to run for president), these people HATE Democracy.

Republicans were quick to make a hero of free-loading Arizona cattle rancher Cliven Bundy who openly declared that he “didn’t recognize the existence [sic: legitimacy] of the United States government” and defended his secessionist movement when his militia friends took up sniper positions on a nearby bridge and aimed their weapons at the heads of Federal law enforcement officers.

House Majority Leader Boehner actually said about the Obama Administration last week: “They’ve not told them the truth about Benghazi, they have not told the truth about the IRS, they’ve not told the truth about Fast and Furious.” There have been no less than TWO extensive investigations of “Benghazi” already… one of them by Republicans themselves… that found NO EVIDENCE of any “stand down order” or refusal to send aid to the Embassy during the attack. And NOW their latest Talking Point appears to be, “Why were we even IN Benghazi in the first place?” Well, the consulate was there before the overthrow of Kadaffi, and needed even more following his death as the country was left rudderless. Can you just imagine the howls of protests on the Right if President Obama had abandoned Libya following the overthrow of Kadaffi, leaving it ripe for Iran or AQAP to seize control? And now they dare ask why we were “still there”?

There is the mind-numbingly stupid “IRS scandal” where Republicans actually believe the Obama White House was micro-managing the Cincinnati, Ohio IRS, telling them to single out “Conservative Groups” applying for tax-free status for extra scrutiny. Once you get past the ludicrousness of the Obama White House directing the Cincinnati IRS, there’s the problem of the fact the office also singled out Progressive organizations for extra scrutiny as well. Their answer for that? “Yeah, but not at the same rate!” So apparently, including a few Liberal groups in the list was just a smokescreen to hide their true goal of targeting Conservatives (none of whom were actually denied “tax-free” status… which to me is a bigger scandal.)

Then there’s “Fast & Furious”, the BATF code-name for the investigation of gun smuggling across the U.S. border into Mexico. The insane Conservative “scandal” here appears to be (pardon me if I get this wrong because I don’t speak Teanut) that the Obama Administration was “giving guns to Mexican terrorists” in some bizarre plot to stir up public outrage over gun violence and demand more laws restricting gun ownership… at least that’s what I think the imaginary scandal is because they rarely (if ever) actually spell out exactly what they believe the goal of Obama Administration supposedly was by “arming Mexican drug runners.”

Problem is, U.S. law restricting gun purchases contains a massive loophole left in place by pro-gun rights Republicans and defended vigorously by the NRA… preventing U.S. law enforcement from preventing “strawman” purchases of massive quantities of guns, who then go and sell then off to criminals that could never pass a background check. And that is why you rarely hear “Fast & Furious” mentioned very often any more, and when you do, is never more than the use of that particular phrase without ever going into detail about what exactly the Obama Administration supposedly did wrong. Ask the average outraged Republican what “Fast & Furious” is all about and I guarantee 99% of them will get it wrong (with the one lone right answer being “Obama”.) And wouldn’t it seem more likely that a rise in gun violence would INCREASE gun sales in the U.S. by fearful Americans? If “banning guns” is your goal, it seems like an incredibly ineffective solution with a major probability of having the exact opposite of their (supposed) desired effect.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the reoccurring theme here is that Republicans believe Democrats are every bit as petty and vindictive as they are. And they KNOW Democrats are doing all this because THAT’S WHAT THEY’D DO if they were in our position. So we MUST be doing everything they imagine us to be doing!

So I ask you, “what has the GOP done in the last 5 years other than obstruct everything this President has tried to do and invent scandals where none exist? They have NO record of accomplishment. They have done NOTHING to help President Obama create jobs, and when the latest jobs report shows surprising job growth, they are left with nothing but to look for the negative (Bush had staggeringly anemic “job growth” for most of his presidency, yet they cheered “52 months of consecutive job growth” until that whole “economic collapse” put the Global economy in a tailspin. Did you ever hear them ONCE talk about the “hidden bad news” behind those job numbers? Me neither.)

I’m sorry, but they questioned my patriotism for NINE years (from my asking questions about 9/11 to calling me a Commie for supporting ObamaCare). They impeached one president for purely partisan gain and are now talking about doing it again. Those same bastards who are openly hostile towards Democracy, our president, and the very “legitimacy” of the United States government, are still being treated like patriots? Like hell they are. These people are not “patriots”. They HATE America, and I say it’s well past time we start questioning THEIR patriotism the way they gleefully questioned ours.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
The Botched Execution and The Party of Life
May 5th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

Last Tuesday, the state of Oklahoma began the process of executing two death row inmates by “lethal injection”, which is no longer a simple matter. The original drug cocktail necessary to do the job is no longer made and actual doctors have been banned from taking part in executions… the kind of deadly combination one might actually want when administering the Death Penalty, but not if your goal is a quick & painless death. As you know by now, the execution in Oklahoma went horribly awry, and a parade of truly despicable people known collectively as “pro-life Republicans” were thrust before the cameras last week, either to defend the practice of State-sponsored executions, or to find the most incredibly offensive comparison they could think of to turn the focus off them and onto their political opponents.

Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry, the uber-Christian 2012 GOP presidential candidate that was cheered at one debate for executing prisoners via conveyor belt, and is so dumb he thinks wearing glasses will trick people into thinking he’s smart (kind of a “Clark Kent” for dullards), was invited on “Meet the Press” yesterday specifically to be asked if what happened in Oklahoma might change his thinking on his fevered use of the Death Penalty. Nope, of course not. But you already knew that. Then on the opposite end, we had Right-Wing bomb-thrower Laura Ingraham express her opposition to the Death Penalty by equating it with Abortion… because in Ingraham’s world, pregnant mothers are no different than Serial Killers. And while not related to the botched execution, fellow mental midget Congressman Jason Chaffetz (who frequents these Sunday shows despite speaking only in Talking Points with no real insight into any matter) actually said yesterday (in the same sentence no less) that, “I believe in peace through strength” and that if we had more war, we’d “see more peace” (sorry, no transcript yet and I can’t bear to watch the video again). Let that sink in for a moment. The world would be more peaceful if only the U.S. flexed its military might around the world more often. Just as incredible, no one ever asks Chaffetz what he means by that. Because, really, who cares? It’s such an inane talking point that the explanation doesn’t really matter. Chaffetz doesn’t really matter, so any follow-up is a waste of time anyway.

Another Right-Winger blasted “Lib’rulz” last week for criticizing the botched execution, claiming that they were taking the side of the sick & sadistic criminal and didn’t care about his victims. Outrage over this botched execution has NOTHING to do with the person being executed (you’ll notice that I haven’t, nor will I, mention his name) and everything to do with an imperfect government carrying out the most permanent of punishments that is fraught with error (117 people on Death Row… roughly 2%… have been exonerated since 1972) and applied wildly unequally among poor & minorities. But no matter, if you’re rich & white, it’s okay to support wars you’ll never fight, shut down government services you’ll never need, and cheer the use of a death penalty that no one would ever seek against you. And you can still feel good about yourself so long as there are “sluts” in the world that you can look down your nose at while you accuse them of “killing babies”.

I’ve always been somewhat bemused by the fact that the same “Pro-Life” crowd that thinks God is a Republican, is also pro-war (so long as it’s someone else doing the fighting & dying), pro-gun (unless that gun is in the hands of a black man) and pro-death penalty (for people, not corporations… which they think are people too.) One of the reasons I left the GOP over 30 years ago was the rampant unapologetic hypocrisy, latent (and sometimes overt) racism, disdain for the poor, and a mind-numbing pride in being outright stupid (or “common man” as they like to look at it). The reason so many people in college become Liberals is not because teachers are “indoctrinating students”, but because no one goes to college to stay stupid, and being an idiot in college is nothing to be proud of. That just left the Junior Fascists. Sorry dudes. No thanks. You’ll find me at the Young Democrats meeting across campus.

So how is it that the Party of Death is repeatedly brought on to these programs to judge the morality of their opponents? I’m really getting quite fed up with it all.

Postscript: On an unrelated note, after the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer, and eventual death of my cat, Lefty, a year ago, followed soon after by the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer and eventual death of my mother four weeks ago, last week, one of my remaining two cats became deathly ill from Salmonella tainted cat food (vomiting and bleeding from the eyes). I knew I’d have to quickly figure out what was wrong with her myself when the vet called and asked to have her tested for gastric cancer. I swear, I think these doctors/vets say “cancer” the moment they run out of ideas. I’m happy to say Knuckles is back home and recovering rapidly once I told the doctor what to treat her for. No discount on a $3,100 vet bill despite having to diagnose her myself. It’s bad enough we have to be our own doctors, now we have to be our own VETS too! – Mugsy

 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa