Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
Voters don't learn from Republican blunders
Hopefully by the time you read this, the Fox-Republican-Tea Party will have released its American hostages, reopened the people's government, and honored the full faith and credit of the United States by agreeing to pay our bills. I'm not optimistic. Even if the anarchists in the House majority and their minority allies in the Senate agree to only a short-term continuation of funding, they will create another crisis within a few months.
Anarchists, of course, do not believe in government, so the current government shutdown should be no surprise. Since the GOP nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964, nearly the entire party has been systematically taken over by people who campaign against the government. Right now, our federal agencies are not able to prevent our food from being contaminated, keep our national parks open, pay our veterans what they are owed, etc.
Conservative columnist David Brooks and others have referred to those seeking a shutdown of the government over the issue of defunding Obamacare as being kamikazes. Kamikazes were Japanese pilots during the last days of World War II who believed their emperor Hirohito was a god and were willing to die for him. Those fanatics were issued enough gasoline to get to their targets but not enough to get home. They used their bodies and planes as missiles against the Allies.
If Mr. Brooks and others also think that the fanatics who have taken over the Fox-Republican-Tea Party are leading the GOP to suicide in future elections, I have to disagree. The GOP may show no understanding of the lessons of history in general, but they do remember their own history of the past 30 years. After the Iran-Contra affair in which the Reagan administration secretly and illegally sold missiles to Iran, the Republicans still won the next presidential election in 1988. Even after Newt Gingrich (Khan) and his Republican hordes shut down the government in 1995-96 and then impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, they still maintained a majority in the House until 2007. Consequently, they are convinced that no matter how irresponsibly and viciously they perform, the voters are unlikely to hold them accountable — and I agree: Anyone who voted for them in the first place will do it again.
Nevertheless, the current fanatics are indeed kamikazes. In 1945, it was almost impossible for our soldiers and sailors to overpower or outmaneuver an enemy that was determined to die and would just keep coming. The same is true about today's right-wing extremists in Congress. They are sociopaths who know what they want, are determined to have their way, and don't care how many innocent people get hurt as a result. If they've been outvoted on legislation in Congress, outvoted on the Supreme Court, and outvoted in the presidential election, then democracy itself must be sacrificed. They will hold the nation hostage until they get their way.
The lead kamikaze pilot in Congress is Ted Cruz, the anarchist junior senator from Texas. He reminds me of another outrageous Republican junior senator from the early 1950s, Joe McCarthy from Wisconsin. Physically, they even look alike. They also sound alike: Slightly raising taxes on the very wealthy to pay for Obamacare will lead to the end of American civilization as we know it; communists within our government will destroy the nation! Their motives appear to be similar as well, savoring the publicity and being the center of attention more than anything else — mostly just a game to them, with a sociopathic disregard for the consequences of their actions.
McCarthy merely wanted to maintain his Senate seat, so he lied about having a list of known communists in the state department, won re-election, and was content with having a subcommittee to pursue his malicious communist witch-hunt. On the other hand, Cruz, representing the rich-are-Taxed-Enough-Already (TEA) Party, is believed to have aspirations for the GOP nomination for the presidency! Fortunately, that's unlikely. Traditionally, since WWII, the Republican Party has reserved its vice-presidential nominations for its never-ending succession of lunatic fringes. Ike got stuck with Richard Nixon, Nixon picked Spiro Agnew, the elder Bush chose Danny Quayle, W. Bush wanted Dick Cheney, McCain went with Sarah Palin, and Romney selected Paul Ryan. Sadly, that's a scary lot for any party to place within a heartbeat from the presidency!
For a nation that's expected to be a world leader, we're really in an embarrassing and dangerous situation. How do you use facts, reason and logic, justice, and common sense against kamikazes, anarchists, and sociopaths?
Open letter to Arkansas's congressmen
In order to get subsidized coverage and avoid fines, Arkansans in need of health insurance must buy it through the online Marketplace run by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the three-year old Affordable Care Act, the Marketplace was scheduled to be opened on Oct. 1.
My wife has been trying, without success, to access the Marketplace portal since Oct. 5. Beyond giving the standard response about "glitches," customer service workers at the Marketplace call center are at a loss for what to do. The press has been full of stories like this.
Neither my wife nor I understand why free health care is not considered a fundamental right. While the ACA is merely a species of for-profit health insurance, I guess having "affordable" coverage is safer than having none at all.
The Marketplace is NOT open for business! It's impossible to see what the Marketplace offers!
Why wasn't the Marketplace up and running on Oct. 1? When are the "glitches" going to be resolved? Will people who cannot access the Marketplace be fined on their 2013 income taxes if the "glitches" persist past the mid-December deadline to enroll? And why isn't the entire matter openly and clearly discussed? As working Americans, we deserve answers to these questions.
Government-subsidized healthcare, which most developed societies have in some form, should be a national security priority.
Even if they opposed a certain bill approved by a majority of their colleagues and signed into law by the president, all members of Congress must facilitate the implementation of services for the benefit of their constituents. That is, if reelection, credibility and civic duty are priorities.
Please do not regurgitate the usual rhetoric because Americans have had their fill of it. And please do not misinterpret what I am writing as an endorsement of fiscal austerity. For a generation now, Americans have been living through the catastrophic effects of an unfettered "free market." Simply put, a law has been passed and must be implemented (even the majority of the Supreme Court, including conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld key provisions of the ACA over one year ago).
Please investigate this miscarriage of justice and wasteful mismanagement of public funds. Americans simply want the truth; let the chips fall where they may.
Anthony B. Newkirk
North Little Rock
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