9/21/2013

On the Latest in Our World: Brief Thoughts

As the Week-End Looms, finished a column earlier released to "Outsider Views" ...

In the United States, the House Republican Caucus was celebrating their latest achievement. They passed a continuing resolution that defunded "Obamacare". They have challenged the US Senate to pass it now. It is not going to pass. Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas, has committed to do whatever he needs to do to insure that Obamacare is defunded by blocking efforts to raise the debt ceiling of the US Government.

As I have assesed the debate, I have tried to see what alternative the Republicans have to what "Obamacare" has provided. With the advent of exchanges, more people will be able to buy more insurance--which is a boom for the insurance companies. Pre-Existing conditions for children is gone. Pre-Existing conditions for adults will go away as of January 1. Wellness is covered. Lifetime caps have been lifted. For the first time, some semblance of accountability has been put into place for insurance companies. It is not "single payer"--but it has been the first attempt at an incremental improvement in almost 100 years. Heritage Action, American Crossroads and all the others pushing for "Defund" are not coming out with solutions. What is their alternative? The US Government has released https://www.healthcare.gov that provides a broard overview of what is to be expected. There are challenges with the law. The Wall Street just reported about problems with software that is used to actually price the products in the exchanges. 


There are a lot of companies who are "rightsizing" their healthcare. IBM, for instance, is moving to health insurance exchanges. But the idea of defunding Obamacare to government funding (that has been cut dramatically already) and the US National Debt is just plain crazy. What I find gratifying is that Karl Rove, John McCain, Bob Cocker are noting how looney this idea is. When the Wall Street Journal notes how futile the campaign is, it shows the utter futility of it all. Yet, it appears that this is a fight they want to have even though there was an election held. What was gratifying was the courageous decision by the Federal Reserve to continue the monthly bond buying campaign to keep the economy humming. Some expressed "Shock"--but the Fed realizes that with the paralysis in Washington, there is no other "adult" in the room right now.  

Hopeful signs continue to eminate from Iran. I was quite gratified to see Dr. Rohani's editorial in the Washington Post on the eve of his trip to the UN General Assembly. The Foreign Minister, Dr. Zareef, is already in New York. Despite all the overtures, Ben Rhodes of the White House in Washington said that "more is needed". I remain hopeful as the UN General Assembly opens next week. Francois Hollande, the French President, will be meeting with Dr. Rohani. I have also been gratified when I made the rounds of the "Social Grid" as I saw reports of further political prisoner releases as discussions have continued between the impriosned leader of the Green Movement, Mr. Mousavi and the Secretary of the Iran Supreme National Security Council, Retired Admiral Shamkhani. I do realize and accept certain reservations that the noted Iranian Scholar Dr. Abbas Milani noted in his piece in the New Republic when he noted how he did not object to the appointment of the Justice Minister who had signed the order to execute some 4,000 opponents of the regime. But, the transformation has been nothing less than remarkable--and I hope to see further transformation over the ensuing days as Dr. Rohani comes to Washington.

As such diplomatic activity continues, I laughed at Professor Turley's latest column on his blog as he talked about US Senator Lindsay Graham seeking out authorization for a War against Iran. I have tried really hard to understand the current thinking of the Republican Party. I have to wonder what happened to the party that had Jacob Javits who marched with Dr. King, Dwight Eishonhower who had the courage to order the intergration of Schools in Arkansas and built the Highway system and Linclon who fought a war and yet created the continental railroad and began laying out the land grant colleges that has contributed so much to America's development today. I have to wonder why there is so much effort to destroy--with no effort to build. This beautifully crafted column by Professor Turley is available at : Really Long Link

There was also the interview with Pope Francis. What I found fascinating is how he noted that the moral edifice of the Church will crumble if the Church does not return to its' roots of Compassion, Mercy and Service. The interview is available @ Really Long LinkI also was quite fascinated to see his letter to Muslims at the end of Ramadan:



Some noted that US Political leaders need to really take their queue from Pope Francis.

As this week has shown, we do need to remember to learn, to reflect and to build. The question is whether we can overcome it all and live up to the admonitions from this great thinkers:

Take time to sharpen the saw.
Steven Covey

Take a course in good water and air;
and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own.
Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.
John Muir

If you paint in your mind a picture of
bright and happy expectations,
you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.
Norman Vincent Peale

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learning is the beginning of wealth.
Learning is the beginning of health.
Learning is the beginning of spirituality.
Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.
Jim Rohn

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