Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

3 Videos That Explain the Government Shutdown

Yesterday, after Congress failed to pass a new budget (or a continuing resolution to give them more time to work out a budget), the federal government was shutdown. But what does that mean? It means that government services deemed “non-eseential” were closed until Congress passes a bill to allow them to re-open and some 800,000 government employees are currently not working.

VlogBrother Hank Green (the other VlogBrother is NYT Bestelling author John Green) posted a video yesterday that more clearly explains what it means when your government shuts down, what services are effected, and the deeper root of this problem:

But why is the government shutting done? 

To answer that question we turn to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D)  from Massachusetts. On Monday, September 30, Senator Warren gave a speech on the Senate floor about her disbelief of the current situation. “[The shutdown] is a last gasp of hope for those that can’t deal with the reality of this democracy,” is a quote from Warren’s speech that you have probably seen plastered all over your Facebook pages. Senator Warren drops even more knowledge about the Tea Party contingent of the House of Representatives forcing this shut down as a way to gut the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) in the full version of the speech below:

Wait, this is about Obamacare? Didn’t the Supreme Court already say it was constitutional? 

They did. The Affordable Care Act has been through all the proper steps to become a law – passed by the House and Congress, singed by the President and declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. It has checked off all the verses in that infamous School of Rock video we all had to watch in Civics class. And Obamacare is exempt from the government shutdown so it still went into effect yesterday, October 1, making the entire situation even more infuriatingly pointless.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to make a joke when explaining the reality is too baffling. Jon Stewart may have made the best metaphor possible on Monday night’s “The Daily Show” with a new segment “Rockin’ Shutdown Eve.”

In essence, politicians are playing chicken with the paychecks of almost 1 million government workers at stake. They have suspended vital services to underprivileged children and the elderly to bargain for their ideological ideals rather than by their desire to do what is best for this country, and that is unacceptable.

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, supporter of the Affordable Care Act or not, we can all agree that politicians need to stop holding America hostage for their own agendas – and that goes for both sides. We the people elected Congress to represent and work for us, and they need to do better. That’s really what you need to know about the government shutdown.

What do you think of the shutdown? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Deepak Chopra: The Supreme Court Dodges a Bullet?

Now that the dust is settling around the Supreme Court’s decision upholding national health care, it’s possible that the justices saved themselves as well as the Affordable Care Act. Before the decision was rendered, the court’s standing with the public had reached a low point.  But more importantly, there is the lingering toxicity of the Bush v. Gore decision, which for millions of people represents five conservative judges stealing a presidential election, just as the Citizens United ruling seems like a ham-fisted way to deliver billions of dollars of super-PAC money to right-wing causes.

The health care decision brought the conservative wing of the court back from the edge. It seemed that Chief Justice Roberts in particular had risen to the bench in sheep’s clothing. In his confirmation hearings he was all affable mildness and repeated his allegiance to the principle of showing respect for past precedents. Roberts then went on to install not just the most highly politicized Supreme Court since the Roosevelt era but one that overturned more lower court rulings, along with past Supreme Court rulings, than any other in history. The constant right-wing complaint that liberal judges legislate from the bench was a stalking horse so that the Roberts court could hand down rulings that consistently favor the police over the rights of defendants, corporations over individuals, and reactionaries over progressives. The appearance of a fixed and stubborn agenda was becoming stronger with every session.

The health care ruling indicated that Roberts may not have been entirely fooling Congress and the public in his confirmation testimony.  The dissent in the case, which included swing voter Justice Kennedy, would have been outrageous if it had carried the day. The dissenters totally denied Congress’s right to pass national health, using arguments about the commerce clause of the Constitution that were blatantly a paper mask for their personal political views. They simply wanted to say no to health care reform, the way that in Roosevelt’s time some hidebound conservative justices wanted to say no to the New Deal and before that no to civil rights.

In particular, one argument delivered by Kennedy is ominous. He and the other dissenters held that the federal government cannot impose its will on private conduct and states’ rights. This is strict constructionism carried to frightening, if not crazy, lengths, because it upholds private conduct that would deny rights to minorities and women, – isn’t racial prejudice and gender bias private conduct? It would allow Southern states to turn their backs on lynching – isn’t that a state’s right?  The Civil War was fought to prove that the federal government is obliged to overrule prejudice, just as the Progressive era proved that corporations cannot willy-nilly abuse workers. The fact that the right wing wants to overturn history is unconscionable. This is part of a bigger agenda by the three ultra-conservative justices, to dismantle any interpretation of the Constitution post 1791, when the Bill of Rights was added to the original document.

Their legal reasoning is a sham, as any informed citizen can easily discover without being a lawyer or Constitutional expert. Why should the Bill of Rights, which made additions to the Constitution (i.e., progressive improvements) be holy writ while later social reforms are considered unconstitutional? Why should the Roberts court permit itself to throw out precedent while claiming that their predecessors were wrong to do the same? Ultimately, every society has a right to change.  It is self-contradictory to deny us this right when America was founded upon the desire of the founding fathers to bring about a revolutionary change in the first place — what else is the Declaration of Independence?

To a citizen observing the twisted logic of the right-wing justices and their obvious social agenda, it is baffling that educated minds like Roberts and Alito could align themselves with cranks like Scalia and Thomas, who have no legal distinction and were chosen strictly to adhere to an ideology. The right likes to rebuff progressivism by calling it, too, an ideology. It isn’t.  To fight for individual rights, free speech, social equality, the protection of minorities, fair taxation and the equitable distribution of income, etc. is a major historical force, now over two hundred years old, upon which all advanced democracies are based. Opposing this trend is reactionary. That held true when the right tried to kill Social Security in the Thirties and Medicare in the Sixties. It is just as true today when they try to kill national health care. Every other advanced country in the world offers affordable medical care to all its citizens. The fact that the right wing opposes such reforms in America is nothing to boast about or mount a crusade over — it’s a moral shame.

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...