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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Why It's Important For The Private Sector To Start Cracking Down To Get More People Vaccinated Against COVID-19

It's fairly easy to understand that no one wants any kind of government mandate for the public to get vaccinated here in America, as it would be decried as tyranny. That being said, there's nothing to say why the private sector can't be doing more to step up and bring this into play. In some cases it has, such as in San Francisco, where private businesses were pressing the city to require proof of vaccination in order to access their premises.

Other big companies, such as some airlines and big box stores are starting to mandate that their employees be vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs. This is good, as it will mean that the virus will have fewer bodies to spread to. The other main reason they're doing it is for the financial benefit it brings. The cost for treating unvaccinated employees is enormous. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average cost for treating the unvaccinated is $20,000.00 per individual. Since the private sector has no interest in paying that much for treating its workforce, it's in its interest to crack down on its workers. The more it does this, the more money it'll save we the taxpayers.

Here's the thing, employers are allowed to do this under federal law. No, it actually does not violate HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) for them to do so, either; contrary to what some may think. Provided that their mandates don't discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs or underlying disabilities, it's 100% legal.

For customers, it's the same dynamic. It's also 100% legal for businesses to require their customers to show proof of vaccination in order to receive services. And as stated before, while the government can't directly make people get the vaccine or show proof of vaccination, the private sector can.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Joe Manchin Should Quit Wasting Time Negotiating With Republicans

I'll be fair to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) by highlighting his attempts at brokering some kind of bipartisan alternatives of the For The People Act & John Lewis Voting Rights Act with the Senate Republicans, but there comes a point where it becomes an exercise in futility. Mitch McConnell has signaled more than once that his conference won't negotiate at all. Their whole attention is set towards recapturing their lost trifacta in 2024, and the only way to do that is to set up the conditions for Donald Trump's comeback.

The Republicans are lining themselves up to shoot down Manchin's proposal despite its more modest approach than what was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month. They're keenly aware of the effect the proposal will have on them in federal elections in 2022 and beyond.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Tell Your Republican Senator To Pass The Bill Creating A Commission For 1/6 Insurrection

 January 6 was the worst attack on our system of government since the Civil War, and we need to look into how it was allowed to happen. The Republicans' refusal to create a commission to look into the matter is a dereliction of duty on their end. The insurrection of that day had allowed a violent movement to become a bigger threat than it should have been. If you're living in a state that is represented by 1 or 2 Republicans in the Senate, contact them asap and threaten to forcibly retire them if they don't vote to pass the bill to create the commission charged with figuring out what the heck went wrong on 01/06/2021 with regards to Capitol security.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

We Need To Pass The For The People Act

 The For the People Act is the best means of combating the Republicans' vote suppression schemes prior to the 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections, and it needs to pass as soon as possible. Besides putting the Republicans in their place, the act is also what America needs to maintain its democratic system of governance. Think about having a 232-year-old democratic system collapse and become a new normal of violence by a faction that's so hell-bent on suppressing your voices just to keep power. The thought of that is too terrifying to think of. If you live in a state/district represented by a Republican, call/email them, or hit them up on social media, and tell them to get behind the bill and pass it asap.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Donald Trump''s Continued Hold On The Republican Party

It shouldn't be lost on anyone that Donald Trump us still pulling the strings behind the Republican Party's descent into fascism. This is why Republicans in Congress are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that no commission is set up for investigating the 01/06/2021 attack on the Capitol. Having the commission up and running means that some of them are likely going to be implicated in the attack's prior planning. It'll also illustrate that some figures in the Republicans' congressional leadership had also been in communication with then outgoing Trump about effectively executing the uprising.

Seeing both Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell squirm at the bill's passage in the House of Representatives indicates that they likely know something in how the attempted coup was allowed to happen in the first place. So be sure to watch this pair and their seconds-in-command in the coming days as these 2 are clearly trying to cover up any potential involvement of both themselves and anyone else in their respective conferences. They're also the gateway to Trump himself (who's doing everything he can think of to keep himself out of prison), who's leading the base to force those Republicans in power to be part of his cover up effort.

Don't think that Trump isn't aware of his deteriorating legal situation, or the fact that he's likely going to be in prison, because he definitely is. If a commission is set up by Congress to investigate the uprising of 01/06, it might illustrate his level of involvement in addition to the congressional Republicans' leadership's knowledge of the event's commencement and when they knew about it.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

New Exploding War Between Israel & Palestine

This recent violence between Israel and the Palestinian paramilitary organization Hamas is very worrying. It's as if Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist allies have found a new justification to eradicate the Palestinian people in their entirety. Before we get to that though, let's clear something up: Israel, like all nations, does have the right to defend itself against would-be aggressors. However, under Netanyahu's leadership, Israel's response has once again become overkill.

The goal looks to be collective punishment of the Palestinians for standing up to several illegal Israeli settler landgrabs in the 4-5 months prior to the recent outbreak in violence. Instead of blocking action on Israel's overreaction, America should put its foot down and tell it to end its landgrabs for good. This is what's fueling it, and Joe Biden, as America's president, has the clout to do so right now. He (Biden) shouldn't bother listening to AIPAC (which, for the record, is the domestic mouthpiece for Likud in America) with its lectures about how any criticism of Israeli policy is anti-Semitic/anti-Semitism. The 2 are not interrelated, despite what AIPAC says to the contrary. In fact, they're very different from each other.

The Palestinians need a voice at the table, and America would be in a position to facilitate that if it would quit buying into the lie that Israel is the aggrieved victim in this saga when it's very clear that it's the actual aggressor. It's also time for America to quit dragging its proverbial feet in engaging in some tough love on Israel; clearly laying out the law by saying that using the Holocaust to justify genocide and apartheid is wrong. This rings especially true given how modern Israel was born in the wake of the Nazis' nearly successful attempt to exterminate Europe's own Jewish population during WWII. It's not helping Israel's cause in becoming a non-pariah on the world stage.

Republicans Have Just Shot Themselves In The Foot

It's incredibly obvious that the Republican Party doesn't know what it's doing post-Trump, or where it's headed. The fact that the party is lashing out at its own elected officials is enough to demonstrate this point. That's especially true in Liz Cheney's case when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed her out of her leadership position as Conference chair.

Cheney has been doing America a real service by not going along with the Republican lie that Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump last year. However, we can't lose sight of the fact that her father, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, had a hand in creating the conditions that allowed his (Trump's) presidency to happen in the first place.

By sidelining the "reasonable" voices in their ranks, the Republicans are alienating moderate voters whose votes they'll need if they want to regain congressional control (full or partial) in next year's midterm election. And at the rate they're going racing towards MAGA-world, that's unlikely to happen. Centrist voters understand what MAGA is now, and they want none of it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Why Neo-McCarthyism And Russophobia Are Still Threats To Watch Out For

Neo-McCarthyism is still a problem in this day and age, especially when we start calling those who disagree with us Russian puppets. Look, America was founded on the principle that we don't all have to agree on everything, and that our political discourse is the contest of ideas and their effective implementation. But in all honesty though, we need to not be calling each other Russian puppets and bots. And I still think in this day and age that it's incredibly dangerous to be bashing Russia for political advantage. Doing this plays to the narrators who say that Russia is the cause of our problems and that it should be wiped off the face of the map; that it's the very existential threat to our way of life. 

First off, that premise is so laughably false on its own merits. Here's how: Russia doesn't have anything to gain from antagonizing us, or our allies; nor does it have anything to gain from breaking America up. The Russians are not stupid, they understand full well that the breakup of America would bring a level of chaos that is substantially bigger than what their nation went through following the Soviet Union's breakup in 1991.

Secondly, what do the Russians have to gain by trying to remake our country in their image? Nothing, other than making the point that if we don't want them interfering in our domestic politics, don't do so in theirs. If you think about it, it has credence. They understand full well that trying to remake us in their own image won't get them anywhere as they've tried doing it without any success. To russify us is an exercise in futility, just like it is for us with americanizing them.

Finally, the Russians understand that atagonizing us is a dangerous game for them to play. They know full well what we'll do in retaliation and that we can pull off a retaliatory strike much faster than they can. The Russians are aware of the fact that not only will we hit back faster and harder, we'll also go the extra step of forcibly pacifiying them by remaking them in our image. How do they know this? Our doing so with Japan at the conclusion of WWII. When we did this with the Japanese, we went the extra step of creating a constitution that prohibits them waging war unless it's done in self-defense. For the Russians this would be the ultimate catastrophy as they'll have to deal with the humiliation of being occupied by a foreign power while they're being rebuilt.

In terms of the neo-McCarthyists, we need to make clear to them that they don't get the only say in how we conduct our relations with the Russians or how we're supposed to view them. If anything, their anti-Russia hysteria will only breed a return of occasionally violent russophobia (fear or hatred of Russians as a people). And yeah, it's happened during the red scares of the early-to-mid 20th Century.

I can tell you from first-hand knowledge from dating a Russian lady, most of them are not mean and/or violent brutes with no manners or morals. Most of them are actually very friendly and willing to help you out when you need it. Can they get aggressive? Sure, but that's only when you spook them or piss them off. If anything, they're loyal to a fault. As for manners, they have them, they're just somewhat different from what we think of them as. For example, and this is no joke, the phrase "Feed me" to Russians is a polite request. Honesty is generally not an issue as they're people who will tell it as it is. Like us, they consider directness to be a display of honesty. Last of all, no, most Russian girls and women are not sex kittens! Russians for the most part stick to the traditional view that sex out of wedlock is immoral and reflects poorly on the family as a whole.

I can keep going on with that mini-side lecture, but the point is that they're not like they're made out to be. The next time you hear someone spouting off russophobic comments, take that as a sign that they don't know anyone who's Russian or that they've never been around Russians.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Christopher Steele's Dossier - What I Got Wrong About It

 I know that I wrote a piece a few years ago about how Christopher Steele having lied about Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election; about it working on Donald Trump's behalf. I need to come clean and say that I was wrong, dead wrong. Steele was by no means a puppet for the Ukrainians, or for that matter the Clinton 2016 campaign, to tar both Trump and Russia in a neo-McCarthyist manner. When the intel community used his dossier and kept coming to him for additional information, it meant they considered him a credible source for Russia's activities. It turned out that Robert Mueller's investigation was able to use the information Steele provided to convict several figures in Trump's orbit and disprove the Trump Administration's lies about the Trump 2016 campaign's involvement.

Russia did apparently have some sex videos that it could use to blackmail Trump, but not even those would have mustered a yawn. People would be disgusted to see them, but not thoroughly outraged. Sex scandals have been common in our electoral politics since the 1990s, which means they largely don't pass the smell test for qualifying as a scandal at this point; that is unless there's some other egregious factor involved. I think what does get lost in all of this though is that, while certainly compromised, Trump still had more leverage on the Russians to blackmail them with. Don't forget, he was 1 of the Russian elites' primary vehicles into the U.S. economy starting in the 1980s. What also gets lost in the noise, which I bought into, is the extent to which Bill Barr had been less than forthcoming about Trump's involvement.

Barr's complete disregard for proper procedure and truth gave Trump a sense of impunity. By falsely declaring that Trump was cleared of any Obstruction of Justice charges and then going to great lengths to hide the fact that it was a lie fed into Trump's false narrative that he was innocent the entire time. A federal judge for the D.C. district court ruled earlier today that the Justice Department had to publicly release a memorandum with Barr's false evidence. Whether that happens or not isn't the question to be asking, the question we should be asking ourselves is what did Barr have to gain in keeping that memo hidden; and moreover, what his intent was, too. Should there be a criminal element to this, he needs to be held accountable.

Barr's actions also played right into the contents of Steele's dossier; just like Trump's. Steele warned us that something was amiss with Trump 2016, and many on the left and right (including the author of this blog) ignored it. And to all my readers, I can't apologize enough for that. From now on, I'll try to be more judicious in verifying sources before spouting off like I did back during Trump's term in office. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Joe Biden's 100-Day Mark Speech

Joe Biden's 100th day in office will be on April 30, and it's good to see the progress we've made thus far. 200 million shots of the COVID19 vaccines in American arms is good, but we need to make sure that Americans are getting fully vaccinated as quickly as possible. Biden is right to be pushing for a more ambitious program of big government spending that is sorely needed. Americans who aren't wealthy are getting badly squeezed financially and they need relief. Child care, preschool, college tuition, etc. Pretty much any big expense you can think of is eligible for the previous short list of goods and/or services that most Americans eithr can't easily, or at all, afford. Biden is right that it's well past time for Corporate America and the wealthiest Americans to start paying their fair share of taxes, especially when many have paid nothing due to various loopholes in the tax codes. Tax cheating is keeping our country from functioning at all, and it needs to quit.

Another relief to hear from Biden is that he plans to wind down the war in Afghanistan so that we can start bringing our troops home from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. At least that's his goal. Just to be clear, it's going to take some careful calculations by high command to pull this off; and we all know how risk-adverse they are. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing; it's just how they're trained to think. Minimize risk as much as possible so that it doesn't give the enemy an advantage, and at the same time, cover our own asses in case something goes sideways. Here's the thing about the top military brass, many of them are among the smartest people we'll hear about. That being said, it's good to know that the troops are finally going to start coming home.

The fact is that we've gotten quite a bit done under Biden's leadership so far. Much more so than during Barack Obama's first 100 days in office. It's not that Obama did nothing, he did quite a bit, but other than dealing with the banks and auto companies, his list of accomplishments was not as big. I will admit this right now, I was wrong about Biden's not being able to get anything done. I was wrong to underestimate him, he's been a lot more effective at getting progressive policies through than the previous 2 (Obama and Bill Clinton) put together.

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