Archive for policy

The Three Stooges, McCain, Graham and Barrasso Commit Treason In Israel

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three stooges

Secretary of State John Kerry has just wrapped extensive three day talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding a foundation for peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. These were authorized, official talks, ordained by the individual countries themselves.

Reuters:

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Israelis and Palestinians were making some progress in peace talks, though there was still a chance no accord would be reached.

This all  comes despite anti peace talks carried on unofficially by three warmongers, Senators McCain, Graham and Barrasso from the United States who UNOFFICIALLY crashed the peace talks and tried to submarine and sabotage the progress made by the US Secretary of State. The three GOP stooges willfully and intentionally undermined the official work of the US Secretary of State. Under a broad interpretation of their mission, that borders on treason.

Mondoweiss:

How often does a U.S. Senate delegation visit a foreign country, during a visit of a high ranking State Department official in order to make their opposition to the official U.S. position known?  Has it ever happened before?  And does the fact that we are talking about Israel make it OK?

The answer is this has never been done before and that it's not okay. We have a President. He sets foreign policy. Not the three stooges.

These three US Senators had no official business in Israel. Their unofficial purpose was strictly political, to interfere with any progress Sec. Kerry could make. Their interests are in keeping war-like conditions going in the Middle East to justify their lobbyists' interests in that region.

The Middle East is a complex situation. And working toward a solution in bits and pieces is the only way to go. There will be no grand peace without making smaller concessions on each side. So the US has gone to its strongest ally in the region, Israel, to begin the progress. While McCain, Graham and Barrasso stir the pot of hostilities and fear, claiming the biggest issue is Syria, the three stooges forget that we're already in talks with Syria -- talk that have resulted in continuing destruction of chemical warfare agents.

Kerry's doing Obama's bidding. And Obama sets our foreign policy. These three out of touch senators are helping destroy any potential progress. Interfering in the President's official policy making, damaging our standing and giving aid and comfort to the enemy is treason. These stooges better watch their step. Our national security is fragile enough without unauthorized interference. And seeing the three stooges behind bars pounding rocks was one of my favorite episodes. Maybe it's time to do a reboot.

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Senate 'Blue Slip' May Get the Pink Slip

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pink slip

There are times when it pays to heed a warning. The Senate is no exception.

For the past two years, Harry Reid has pleaded with the Republicans in the Senate not to abuse the filibuster rule, forcing 60 votes to get approval of presidential nominations to bench seats and as federal department heads. Over and over again, the Majority leader warned that abuse of the filibuster would lead to the 'nuclear option.'

The obstinate party of 'no' called the Democrats perceived bluff and they got themselves 'bitch slapped" as a result.

They brought it on themselves. You would hope they've learned lesson. We'll see.

The latest huffing and puffing, posturing  from the GOP Senators, is the Blue Slip rule. If you haven't heard of it, here's how it's explained on Wikipedia:

Both senators from a nominee's state are sent a blue slip in which they may submit a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a nominee. They may also choose not to return a blue slip. The Senate Judiciary Committee takes blue slips into consideration when deciding whether or not to recommend that the Senate confirm a nominee.

So just like the Hastert Rule in the House, it's generally followed BUT NOT BINDING. It's nothing more than a pocket rule, not a law. It's simply a method of doing business.

Once again the Republican senators, led by their leader, Mitch McConnell, are looking for ways of gumming up the government rather than to make it work smoothly -- as a political talking point to advance their public standing. They're threatening to use the Blue Slip procedure to hold up the President's nominations to the court. And once again, Harry Reid is warning them that the Blue Slip procedure will be adhered to only so long as it's not abused. That is called a warning.

Time will tell. The Blue Slips will be distributed to the appropriate senators as nominations are announced. If the GOP-ers act reasonably, then everything will stay the same. But if they capriciously abuse this "courtesy," the next step is they get bitch slapped again. The gentleman's agreement won't be enforced. Any change to the Blue Slip procedure would be up to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. He's not going to be tolerant very long.

Senator Patrick Leahy

Hopefully the Senate Republicans and their obstructionism will subside. If they want to be taken seriously they'll remember another old adage, "Once bitten, twice shy."

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Is Divorce Cheaper For Obamacare

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Divorce and Consent green cover 2

Years ago I wrote a movie for Warner Brothers called Divorce and Consent. It was about a married couple who for tax purposes, decide to take advantage of the tax loophole which allowed them to save about $20,000 in taxes by being divorced. In this romantic comedy, they use the money to take a Christmas Caribbean vacation with plans to return after the first of the year and remarrying. Finding themselves suddenly single and at a romantic tropical resort, the once again single and date-able couple, find their love being tested.

Maybe it's time to dust off that script and make a few changes -- like Reagan to Obama as President, and Federal tax loopholes to Obamacare loopholes. The rest seems to be pretty much the same.

Oh, BTW, the reason this picture didn't get completed is that the studio and the director didn't see eye to eye. And when they finally came to an agreement, the tax loophole had been fixed, and thus the picture lost its true foundation.

The foundation is back according to this story as reported in MailOnline.

divorce and consent couple

Nona Willis-Aronowitz, 29 and Aaron Cassara, 32 got married in 2009 because Aaron needed health insurance. Four years later they might divorce because of Obamacare.

The Brooklyn couple, recently featured on a CBS News segment, would not qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act because they make a combined income of more than $62,0000.Those costs include monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs for things like copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

But if the couple were to divorce, Nona and Aaron could save hundreds of dollars each month on healthcare related costs. That's because if they divorce and live together they could earn over $90,000 and still qualify for Obamacare subsidies.

So, if this story holds water, and it probably does, there are certain issues that need to be addressed.

If you saw my post last week, Reverse Obamacare Horror Story, one woman found that with her subsidies, she was only going to pay $1.11/month for family coverage -- so there's lot's of anomalies. But the point is that it's interesting that this young Brooklyn couple and this Black mother of three would not only find some sort of anomalies in the system, but that they were on the system at all. So the conclusion I'm seeing that the site, battered and bruised as it may be, does work and people are looking into getting coverage. That saves everyone money. Even if it shows other types of subsidy issues, the law is working and people are signing up. We can tackle the subsidy loop holes along the way. Getting people to signed up is the important part.

Wait a minute, come to think of it, I hope they don't plug those subsidy loop holes too soon. First I've gotta get my agent to call Warners and see if he can get them re-interested in Divorce and Consent.

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The Times And Words Have Changed

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Etymology -- the study of word origins.  It's interesting how word usages have changed over the years and new phrases, words or expressions have come into colloquial usage out of the old. Cool. Chill. Psyched'. These are words which meant something totally different than when they were initially used.

As quickly as some come in, others go out, Sputnik, bee's knees, cat's meow. Try using those on a Millennial and see how much head scratching goes on.

Technology has added to our vocabularies as well: snail mail, USB, Tweet.We communicate in shorthand too. Who hasn't used TTYL,  NSFW, ROFL? NE1?

I'm working on a screenplay that is a period piece, from the '60s. So, I needed to immerse myself in a bit a research about words and slang of the time. And there were a lot of words used there that if I used them today, Laffy would surely get on my case and caution me to be careful. That word or phrase might offend. And she would be right. But sometimes knowing how something came into being allows you to understand why today they're PI (Politically Incorrect - Thank you Bill Maher) and maybe 50 years ago that term wasn't considered offensive.

So I thought I'd share some basic etymology with you, from my research for the upcoming film. I have to thank Huffpo for bringing some of these to me.

Ghetto:

Whether referring to a person or to a lifestyle, using "ghetto" as an adjective is meant to indicate "low class," and along with it, obvious racist origins. Aware or not, the user is essentially implying that minorities are low class.

Peanut Gallery:

A home for hecklers," usually used in a joking manner -- what comedian hasn't asked an unruly audience to keep it down in the peanut gallery?) Formerly though it referred to the upper balconies where African-American people sat in in segregated theaters.

Hip hip hooray:

Boy, I hadn't seen this one coming. It's derived from the German "hep hep," which was originally a shepherds' herding cry, so the origin itself was not racially charged. However, during the Holocaust, German citizens began using it as a rallying cry while hunting for Jewish people in the ghettoes. (see,that word ghetto again, but this time as a noun.)

Call a spade a spade:

It just depends on the era in which you used this. The phrase, essentially meaning "to explicitly call something by its rightful name," entered the English language way back in 1542, (no, I can't remember what day or month) and initially had absolutely no racial connotation whatsoever (that I do remember).

It wasn't until the late 1920s that "spade" changed from referring to the gardening tool to being a slur towards African-Americans (its first public appearance as such was in Claude McKay's 1928 book "Home to Harlem").

He Gypped Me:

The word "gyp" now means "to cheat or swindle." It is essentially a condensing of the word "gypsies," who throughout history have been stereotyped as a group that cheats and swindles people.

And finally one I'm sure I used as a kid and surely would not use the same way now:

Gay:

A common utterance to indicate someone was light, breezy, fun and exciting. Though it may still mean that to some from older generations, it, like Virginia Slims, has come a long way, baby.

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