I had this recent tete-a-tete with my well-to-do uncle, prompted by one of his somewhat frequent e-mail blasts from crazyburbia. Here, if you dare to delve below the orange navel, is the 3 part correspondence:
My uncle's commentary: "If this law (entitlement) goes unimpeded, it (medicine, the economy and politics) will never be the same in the United States."
And here is the body of text my uncle, as he does so often, forwarded from some nutbag or other... well, from one Brett Hinkey (in this case), Deputy Director, Member Relations, Freedom Partners to be exact:
(Caution and admission: there is, undoubtedly, a lot of standard pap to follow in this segment, and I myself did not bother to read it carefully. I have seen too many of my uncles missives. Rather, I have been listening to Ted Cruz recite Dr. Suess, and absorbing and mulling the disingenuous statements of the Republicants getting all the air time on C-Spam and elsewhere recently. I felt and feel confident that there is nothing there that is not righty talking points. But I include it for continuity's sake. Please feel free to skip down a bit. I am marking the end of this segment with a string of asterisks... like this ******)As you may know, next Tuesday marks an important date in the efforts to impose Obamacare. That’s when insurance exchanges -- some run by state governments and some by the feds – are scheduled to go live for the first time.
In recent months, various independent organizations supported by this network have waged a far-reaching campaign to help Americans understand Obamacare’s negative consequences and hold those responsible for its passage accountable. This is one of the issue-based strategies we’re executing in pursuit of our larger, shared priorities to create a free and prosperous country.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among many other outlets, have all run stories in recent days discussing the critical role these organizations -- such as Generation Opportunity and Americans for Prosperity -- are playing at this important time.
The LA Times’ front page declared on Saturday, “Hollywood plays key role for health law.” Why? Because in order to work, proponents need to convince millions of people -- especially the young and healthy -- to sign up for expensive coverage through the exchanges.
On Sunday, the New York Times laid out the stakes: “If too few people enroll, the centerpiece of the president’s Affordable Care Act could collapse.”
As you know, Obamacare is not just fiscally unsustainable, it threatens to undermine the quality and innovation of our health care system. Democrat Senator Max Baucus, a leading author of Obamacare, has even warned its implementation could be a “train wreck.”
As the LA Times noted, Obamacare supporters have the help of Hollywood. This will be particularly important with young people. To reach this group, last week Generation Opportunity launched a series of edgy web videos. They were part of an “Opt Out” campaign featuring a “creepy Uncle Sam.” The videos and their message -- “Don’t let government play doctor” -- quickly went viral, with over 2.6 million views in the first 48 hours.
You can watch one of Generation Opportunity’s videos by clicking here, but please note that the ads are intended for a specific audience -- 18-29 year olds -- and aren’t for everyone.
Americans for Prosperity has also played a central role, with dozens of community townhalls, thousands of activist calls to legislators (Americans for Prosperity now has more than 2.3 million members in all 50 states) and four significant TV buys in key states. You can watch their most-recent ad by clicking here. In it, Tricia, a two-time cancer survivor, warns of the negative impact of Obamacare. These ads were complemented by a large web presence, including ObamacareRiskFactors.com and JustExempt.me.
In the coming days, we’ll try to keep you informed of developments -- including the enormous public relations push from the White House and its allies -- ahead of the insurance exchanges opening next week. We’ll also update you on developments in Washington related to Obamacare and a potential government shutdown.
As always, your feedback on all these efforts would be much appreciated, as well as your guidance on how we can best keep you informed.
Deputy Director, Member Relations
I responded to my uncle:
"There's an old adage that goes: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I have a very hard time believing that there will be anything change-wise from the AHCA ("Obamacare") like the unwelcome changes we went through after the establishment of the Homeland Security Act, and that really didn't change all that much outside of airports.
"I sure like the idea of civic involvement though! How about we all petition the State and Fed for the ending of the outrageous, unjust and incalculably costly "Drug War"? ;>]"
To which my uncle responded:
"Doesn’t compare. Big Government is NOT the answer. They can’t do ANYTHING right. They will control a quarter of the eco=nomy if this goest through and the corruption will be at epidemic levels and our health care will diminish terribly.
"Now, go smoke a dubie…." (His mistakes uncorrected)
Humph... And my long-winded retort?
"Okay... First of all, it is spelled "Doobie"! I beg that you please respect the language; after all, I believe the French insist upon it.
"Now, doobie smoked, I do agree with you that there is no comparison.
"On the one hand we're talking about millions of otherwise innocent human beings, many of whom might be productive, hard-working citizens (myself included... twice in the last 34 years) who are imprisoned, at great risk to their futures and even their well-being and their lives... for possession of a natural plant. While on the other hand we have a health care system wherein virtually no one goes without care when needed. Of course, based on money and class some Americans may get the very best health care available in the whole world, while other Americans may only get care that, while still better than it would be in most parts of the world, is definitely less dependable, more risky and less convenient than the health care available to America's wealthy.
"On the one hand we have a long foreseeable future in which it is so unlikely that you, or I, or anyone we know, or for that matter almost anyone in the whole country will have to suffer disease and illness without being able to get access to health care... this is, of course, assuming that there have not occurred any nuclear wars, or explosions of super volcanos (in which case all bets are off)... but again, it is so unlikely that ordinary citizens, much less wealthy ones, will not be able to get health care when they need it as to be worthy of an assessment of 0%. Yet, on the other hand, we have a 50+ year history of social damage, international mayhem, dangerous black markets, corrupt law enforcement and court systems, and dangerous and finally overwhelmed penal systems, the last three all focused on "reducing drug use" (wink, wink, hardee har har), and over all that time drug use has only increased. Somehow not surprisingly, though drug use has increased over the last fifty years, the nation has not failed in the way hysteria-inducing reefer-madness purveyors have long wanted for us to be convinced would have had too happen if we didn't go to war to stop recreational drug use (which, recreational drug use that is, has only been going on for 10,000 years or more).
"On the one hand, tens of thousands, and probably millions of innocent people in America and all over the globe have died because of our drug policies over the last 50+ years, and they still are dying because of them. Millions and millions of harmless Americans have had their freedom revoked and their futures damaged due to unjust incarceration, thanks to an unsound, unjust and dangerous set of policies that we should have seen through even as it was beginning (though, technically, we were not born yet). And on the other hand we have whiny, over-paid politicians, who commonly flat out lie and cheat, telling us that Obamacare is responsible for job loss and all kinds of other social ills. These liars - and they are liars, else they are simply stupid (most are not that stupid though) - are not interested in everybody being able to get heath care. They are only interested in the welfare of those donors who pay them money, and in their own pensions and benefits.
"I truly do agree with you Dave that the smallest possible government is the best possible government. I believe that 100%, and can and do argue to that point whenever I get the chance. People need health care. Obamacare is an attempt to make the process better. It may fail; it may succeed; but no one I submit (certainly not you nor I), no one can know what this law is ultimately going to do... can't do it, it's way too complicated. But anyone can see what would happen if the drug war were ended... we would have smaller government, by far.
"Now, if drug policy reform is something that you cannot see as being important, so be it. How about guns? 13 people shot up in a park in Chicago yesterday? Listen, I am not in favor of gun control laws. But I am in favor of executing those who use guns in the commission of crimes... only, guess what? The American "justice" system spends 80% of it's time on the drug war and other non-violent matters, so it cannot effectively investigate, prosecute, sentence and jail or execute truly violent offenders. Too much big government.
"I recently ran into a kindly old doctor wearing a t-shirt that read: Hillary 2016. So, as I am often wont to do, I prodded him a bit as to his politics. Basically he said that he had just learned that the CEO of a health provider he has to work with took home a billion dollars last year. I suspected this was hyperbole, and later, with a quick check on the internet the highest paid CEO I could find made a mere $131 million dollars in 2012. He runs a Pharmaceutical firm. The doctor indicated that this level of pay to a corporate executive bothered him greatly. My feelings are simpatico. Not that I hold a grudge against the CEO personally. It's just that I see it as dangerously threatening to the economy when too much wealth accumulates in too few hands. And all indicators indicate that this is where we are, where we have been heading for some 33 years since the advent of Reaganomics, and where we seem destined to continue to go until the biggest of all bubbles bursts and we suffer the kind of chaotic aftermath like they did on the 1930s... the last time the wealth disparity between the working class and the wealthy class were this far apart.
"Albeit somewhat informally, I have been thinking about and studying economics and law as voraciously as I have been able for most of my adult life. I look forward to expanding the dialog on these subjects, through writing and in fora that might take place any time, any where. But I feel inclined to insist upon the use of facts rather than notions in the process. I am not seeing anything much I can recognize as being facts in the arguments of the Republicans, the so-called "conservatives" (which I argue they really are not). But I believe it is fair to say that I have learned and do know many of the relevant facts related to American drug policy, and the American justice system. And I am eager and ready to parley about it, the sooner the better. If only we weren't all so darned busy!
"I love my poor brothers and sisters, and I love my wealthy brothers and sisters. I hope and aim to see how much it might be possible to do in trying to be of service to all of them as best I can. Up until now it has been mostly decorating apparel, playing music, and trying to keep myself in shape so as to be able to try and learn what I can about these weighty subjects. But I think that is changing for me now. I have begun to act, and will, I believe, be more and more acting to become more vocal and active in pursuit of participation in what I hope and trust will be meaningful dialogs and fora. And I do trust and hope that I will be able to count on you to try and understand what I am on about (as they say in Britain) and to reach out with any and all questions, or evidence in support of your positions, especially when I may say things that might seem incorrect to you.
"Meantime, the cute stuff is great too. The funky clock was a good one.
"Peace and cheers!"
And that is it. I guess that now I can look forward to being at the top of the rec list for three or four weeks... (milk shoots out his nose). But no, I do hope that I may get to be a part of the efforts out there that are working to bring greater understanding, relative sanity and basic fairness to our important social systems.