Sunday, February 26, 2012

MEN - Republicans will hurt you, too!

The current flap over health care insurance in this country centers, primarily, on women's health care.  But make no mistake about it: men will be affected, too.

Sen. Roy Blunt - Republican from Missouri -  tacked an amendment on to the Transportation Authorization Bill (boy, that's an appropriate place to put a health care amendment, isn't it?) which would allow any employer to refuse to insure contraception or any other health service for any moral reason.  

Read part of that again:  "any other health service."  If you're a man, you might want to  think about what that means to you, especially since "moral reason" is not defined in the bill and you can bet employers that pay part of their employees' insurance costs could well decide that money is a good enough moral reason ... hey, corporations are people, doncha know?

So ...let's look at what your employer could decide NOT to include in health care coverage.  One, of course, is contraception: there goes your vasectomy coverage.  Wipe out birth control pills or IUDs ... now, that should scare the dickens out of you unless you want to be held legally and financially responsible for all the babies you help create!

Your employer could have a moral objection to depression screening or STD screening.  Or even screening and medical treatment for Type 2 diabetes because of a moral objection to an "unhealthy" lifestyle.  

Under the Blunt amendment, your employer could even eliminate heart disease screening and treatment because of moral objections to the way you live your life - diet, lack of exercise, overweight.  How about treatment for skin cancer if your employer objects to your activities in the sun?  Sen. John McCain of Arizona should be concerned about this but you know darn well he won't be - he's already had his medical treatment for skin cancer!

Or what about screening for prostate issues?  Prostatitis can be caused by an injury (playing football) or the bacteria can even be spread through sexual activity.  So, once again ... your employer could deny coverage for prostate issues due to moral objection to your lifestyle.

My question:  do you REALLY want the government and your profit-seeking employer deciding your health care coverage based on religious or moral views?  REALLY?

If so, then you deserve what you get - and, trust me, you'll get more than you bargained for - and none of what you need.

Update 3/4/12:  The U.S. Senate defeated the Blunt amendment.  But the House has a similar measure and you can bet that will pass with flying colors.  The battle is NOT over.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Human sacrifice!

This past October, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 358, commonly known as the "Protect Life Act."  Or at least that's what the Republicans call it.  Women are calling it the "Let Women Die Act" and that's exactly what it will do should it become law.

H.R. 358 prevents women from paying for health insurance with abortion coverage with their own money. In addition, this bill overturns years and years of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion. It would allow insurance companies, medical facilities, doctors, or technicians who oppose abortion to simply let a woman die rather than give her a life-saving abortion.

This seems pretty simple to me:  it's called human sacrifice.  Republicans in the U.S. Congress (and in several state legislatures now considering the same measure) are quite willing to let a living, breathing, talking, walking, feeling, thinking woman die ... to save a fetus that may - or may not - be able to survive outside the womb.

Rick Santorum supports this bill and would like to see it become law in every state in the nation.  That's rather remarkable since his wife, Karen, had a problem pregnancy in 1996 - and she's still alive because of an abortion.  As Santorum told NPR's Terry Gross in a 2004 interview, his wife had to have surgery during the 19th week of her pregnancy. After the surgery, Karen suffered an extreme infection and the source of the infection was the fetus.  Doctors told Santorum unless the source of the infection was removed, Karen would die. He was also told the fetus could not survive outside the womb.

There are two different stories about what happened next.  According to the NPR interview, Santorum's wife went into labor as a result of the antibiotics, then doctors gave her a drug that further induced labor - yes, an abortion.  But now some professionals (who, by the way, did not treat Mrs. Santorum) say the abortion was spontaneous.

Either way ... if Santorum and other GOP fanatics have their way, there will be other Karen Santorums - and their lives will be sacrificed.  That's exactly what Rick Santorum wants:  a ban on all abortions with NO exceptions whatsoever.  And that's what H.R. 358 mandates:  NO exceptions.

I'd like to know how many men would agree to watch their wives, daughters, sisters, girlfriends die instead of receiving a life-saving abortion.  It's one thing to say you're against abortion.  Go ahead ... beat your chest and bloviate all you want about the "sanctity of life."  But when it comes right down to it and you're in a hospital room with a woman you love who will die without an abortion ... just what will you do?

It's time to end this lunacy.  We know the GOP is pandering to its right-wing religious base.  Maybe they are okay with the idea of human sacrifice.  I'm not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No GOP vote for me - NOT ONE!

Disclaimer right off the bat:  I am not a registered Republican - or a registered Democrat.  I'm actually registered as a Libertarian. Libertarians, generally, stand for personal freedom and less government intervention.  That's me.

But I have to be realistic. Until Democrats and Republicans (who make state election laws and don't want anymore competition) make it possible for Libertarians to actually get on the ballots and participate in debates, the chances of a Libertarian winning are small.  So ... I'm basically an  Independent.

Every election, I go to the polls and vote for the candidate I feel will do the best job. He or she may (or may not) mirror my opinons, but at least I have voted my conscience based on what I know.  Trust me: I research the candidates!

This year is different.  

I will NOT vote for one Republican candidate - for ANY office.  I will not throw my support to a party that has been hijacked by the Tea Baggers and the religious right. I will not throw my support to a party that has declared a very obvious war on women.  And trust me ... if the war on women succeeds, then men will be affected,  too.  

You think I'm making all this up?  DO YOUR RESEARCH!  Find out what Congress wants to do and take a look at the proposed (and already passed) legislation in states around the country.  I'm not going to do your work for you; if you can't research this yourself, you should stay home on election day.  You stay home and I'll go vote.

And not one vote will go for a Republican.  Not one.  My vote will count. Even if my candidate doesn't win, my vote will send a message to whatever GOP candidate might win:  You do NOT have a mandate.

Take a look at what the GOP-controlled Congress has done since gaining control in 2010: not a damn thing.  You want more of the same for the next several years?

Am I swinging at windmills?  I don't think so.  I am doing what our Founding Fathers intended:  I am participating in the political process.  Isn't it time you do the same thing?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another assault on birth control!

It just never ends, does it?  Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican (of course) from Florida, figured the Senate needs to get in on the contraception act.  So ... he's introduced a bill that could wipe health insurance coverage for millions of women.  Here's the key part of the bill Marco The Man has introduced:

What this means is that any employer can decide not to include birth control coverage in the company's insurance plans - if the employer has religious objection to birth control.  Rubio calls his bill the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act."  

Folks ... you best start saving your greenbacks. You could be paying $3,000 or more every year OUT OF YOUR POCKET for birth control pills if Rubio and the rest of his GOP cronies are successful.  Oh ... and guys ... your insurance won't cover a vasectomy, either

Give me Barry Goldwater any time!

Well ... isn't he special?  I'm referring to Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.  He took it upon himself to judge presidential candidates according to their spiritual views and he "questions" whether President Obama is a Christian.  Graham "thinks" Newt Gingrich is a Christian and he's sure Rick Santorum is the real thing.  And Mitt Romney?  Graham was pretty evasive, saying most Christians wouldn't see Mormonism as being Christian at all.

My question is this:  who the heck is Franklin Graham to judge anyone's spiritual beliefs?  And why are the media giving him any attention at all?

Give me Barry Goldwater any time!  Here are Mr. Conservative's views on the subject!

"On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism'."

Right on, Barry!  I wonder what the Franklin Grahams and Rick Santorums would say if they heard the Senator speak right now.  They would probably call him a heathen and try to convert him. And he would throw them right out of his office.

Girl Scouts - radical organization?

     Bob Morris (the smiling guy on the left)  says he will no longer allow his daughters to be part of the Girl Scouts.  From the Associated Press:

"... Morris said he found online allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, encourage sex and allow transgender females to join. He also wrote that the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president should give lawmakers pause before they endorse the Girl Scouts."

     For the record, I find all of his comments offensive.  But, hey ... he probably doesn't think much of my comments, either.

     Morris (a Republican Indiana lawmaker) doesn't know when to shut up.  He also says the Girl Scout role models are all communists, feminists or lesbians.  This drivel, of course, forces the Girls Scouts to respond.  Diane Tipton is president of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and she is quoted in the Washington Post:

"The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on abortion or birth control, and these topics are not part of the Girl Scout program or our materials. We believe these matters are best discussed by girls with their families.”

     Good 'ole Bobby is the only Indiana lawmaker who refuses to sign a resolution that commemorates the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary.  Way to go, guy!  I'm kind of surprised, though ... maybe he should embrace the Girl Scouts and tell those girls they shouldn't sell those Thin Mints at all; they should use them as birth control!  Just put them between your knees ...

    Oops ... the chocolate would melt.  My bad!

Monday, February 20, 2012

No war on women? WRONG!

If you haven't seen this, be sure to watch!  Senator Patty Murray talks about the Republican war on women.  You may not be aware of all of it!  The GOP campaigned on jobs, the economy and individual rights.  But what was the FIRST bill introduced in the House?

Senator Murry on the Senate floor

I certainly wish Patty Murray represented Arizona!

Insurance covers sex stuff for men!

     Well ... with all the flap about President Obama's health insurance plan - specifically that insurance companies must include coverage for contraception with no co-pay - it might be nice to know if that same insurance covers sex stuff for men.
     Just a word to the GOP members of Congress (that's assuming any of them give a rat's patoot): men do get a sexy boost from insurance companies for a variety of services!  And, guess what ... some are federally funded!
     Example: In most cases insurance companies pick up the tab for drugs like Viagra.  That, by the way, costs $15/pill.
     Example:  Vasectomies ... aren't those for men who really don't want to procreate?  Guess what - this procedure is usually covered by health insurance and the cost is $500-$1,000.  Hmmm ... does the Catholic Church have a problem with this?  I don't recall any discussion regarding contraception for men ... do you?
     Example:  Penile implants ... wow ... if Viagra doesn't work, get the implant!  The cost is $10,000-$20,000 and is often covered by insurance.  Granted, erectile dysfunction can be caused by real medical conditions, but ... come on ... if a man wants a penile implant just to have some fun (and not to procreate), shouldn't the Catholic Church be up in arms about that, too?
     My point is this: if churches and Republican congressmen are going to wail about their moral and religious opposition to contraception for women, shouldn't we expect the same regarding sexual services for men?  If a man's sperm isn't going swimming with the intent of procreation, then the above services should face the same scrutiny as female contraception.  That, of course, would include all single men and those who are married to women who cannot conceive.  To do otherwise would, most certainly, validate the theory that the GOP is waging a war on women.

Note: Some of the information for this post comes from an article for "The Raw Story" written by Megan Carpenter.

Why blog? I don't have time for this!

I'm convinced that communication is the key to every successful endeavor. Words and thoughts do matter and can be used for good or ... well ... not so good. Throughout history, we've seen what words and thoughts have achieved - and destroyed.

Today, I see words like "equality" and "freedom" and "rights" being bandied about in state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and on the campaign trail.  What I'm not seeing is a real discussion by the electorate.  What do those words mean to us?

I have opinions and ideas and I'm willing to stand right out on the limb and share them.  I hope you will join me.  Perhaps together we can make some sense of the insanity that is now so pervasive.

I won't be blogging every day - no time for that.  But when something strikes my fancy - or makes me angry as hell - I'll share it with you.  So batten down the hatches because I think 2012 is going to be one very interesting ride!