Marshall in the Middle

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Politics Will Prevent 800,000 From Getting Health Insurance.......

 Of course, none of them are Congressmen.

By Chuck Marshall

My state representative;  Larry Metz 

     With a heavy heart I must write a scathing critique of our leaders here in Florida.  You  see,  I had high hopes about a month ago regarding our Congressmen.   I had written and left a phone message with my representative Larry Metz from District 32 here in Florida and he actually called me back !  We had a great conversation and I must say I was impressed with his composure and willingness to discuss the biggest issue our state faces today;  the reluctance of the Florida House of Representatives to take money from the federal government to expand medicaid and issue health insurance to  800,000 "working poor" Floridians.   I submitted to him that this was all about Obamacare and their rabid hatred of the health care program that President Obama rammed down the throat of the US  Congress back in 2010.  He protested that, "No, this is about the way the Federal government was poised to take more control of the medicaid program in Florida and that it would become a very expensive problem for Florida if the Feds ever walk away."  I was willing to accept that argument and even wrote a letter to the Orlando Sentinel (they they printed !) commenting that an excited columnist was being overly critical and hysterical regarding this issue.  

    Congressmen Metz seemed very sympathetic to my outrage over the partisan politics that has been playing out in Washington but he assured me that in Tallahassee there is no such brinkmanship and that both parties often socialize and even eat together (gasp!).   He was well spoken and seemed intelligent and I was willing to consider his argument contrary to my assumptions.   Lately, it has occurred to me though that  the Feds have never walked away  from Social Security.  There is no reason to think they'll walk away from this program.  They will squander money and run this program poorly, but that goes without saying.  When is that not true of a federal program?  The state of Florida cannot fix that fact.  The approach they are taking will effectively take federal tax money (that  Floridians pay!)  and send it to other states.  How is that helping the citizens of Florida?

      So,  after hearing both sides  I have come to the conclusion that this IS--at the end of the day-- all about politics and --as I had originally suspected-- it IS because of their hatred for Obamacare and perhaps even President Obama himself.   Religious leaders, local leaders, business leaders, newspapers, hospitals, doctors have all pleaded with our House of Representatives to join the Senate and form an agreement  to take the money and live with the strings attached so 800,000 of our fellow citizens can stay at work and still afford health insurance.  They have absolutely refused.  It makes no sense.

    I would venture to say that these Congressmen see themselves as stalwarts to "free enterprise" but our medical care system is not based on free enterprise.  It is an oligopoly of pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies,  and medical conglomerates.   They  have a platoon of lobbyists in Washington, DC manipulating the prices and markets of our medical system.   The economics of supply and demand for products and services is non-existent in the medical field and it is farcical to pretend that it is.   That being said,  I plead with any citizen of Florida that reads this blog;  call your congressman and insist they see reason by coming together with the senate (which already has a plan- written by Republicans !) to pass the legislation necessary to see this through.   The Affordable Care Act (with all its flaws)  is the law of the land now, and there is no reason to refuse help from Washington, DC other than to inflate the egos of bombastic,  right wing, fully insured Republican Congressmen.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Role of Government...... to Enforce Manners ?

By Chuck Marshall

Miss Manners

     The title of this blog "Marshall in the Middle"  implies  my belief in a more moderate political angle (and a moderate approach to many things in life, but that's another topic).   I usually see both sides of issues and I feel I usually understand "why" the right or left feels and act as they do.  That being said, I do tend to have ideas that I think are much more pragmatic than other people which leans my core ideas of what the government should and should not be doing towards the right.   I just feel things usually work better without the government involved in the challenging issues of the day.   Case in point;  the responsibilities of the courts to uphold "fairness" in business activities.   Much of this spins from all the recent controversy involved in the state laws  that seem to allow a business to refuse service to a homosexual citizen.   

     If I ran a business, such as restaurant, I would welcome anyone who came in- as long as they behave themselves, are respectful of other customers, and they pay their bill.  To me, this is just good manners and the right thing to do (and - as luck would have it- is congruent to my morals as an active Christian man).  Does that mean everybody else in the world needs to judge "proper" behavior the same way as I do ?  Of course not !  That's why we have different businesses and we should all be free to go where we're comfortable.   If  I, a heterosexual white man, went to a business run by a gay man and they refused me service because I was straight I would be very insulted and outraged, however I'm not sure that's the government's problem.  Why do I need the government to fix the narrow mindedness and insulting habits of this one situation?   Word of mouth and my not returning to the business would hurt them and eventually they would probably go out of business anyway.  The problem solves itself.  

     This is not to say that government involvement has never been necessary.  In the south of 50 years ago a black person could not sit at the lunch counter of a Walgreens drugstore or even enter certain businesses.    That was an off-shoot of great bigotry and the horrific slave owning history of the south.  That situation required government action at that point in time, but as is often the case,  I'm not sure  laws enforcing business to allow everyone into their establishment are still necessary. Wouldn't word of  mouth from a bigoted business eventually sink them today?  Bad manners are bad manners and they will eventually cause the failure of the narrow minded, bigoted business.  

     In public places the law of the land should be to shield anyone from being refused access.  This includes corporations, ie  publicly traded companies (Walgreens, McDonalds, etc...) because by their very name they are a part of the public realm and all existing laws are warranted.  But do all "private" businesses have to be legislated and ordered to allow and serve customers they don't want ?   Isn't it their right to have bad manners and suffer the consequences that come with that?  The left always sees the government as the answer to a problem.,, but I seriously do not think that laws can make us all be  nice to each other.   Manners just as many other issues in life are better left to each citizen to decide.  Much of all this reminds me of George Orwell's novel "1984" where the government had such control over people that you couldn't even "think" things that were contrary to government edicts.  I sincerely care about all people and do my best to be fair in all situations but I can't agree with people who believe the government should be "fixing" us of our "bad thoughts".   Leave people alone and let them make their own mistakes.  Government action rarely is necessary to "fix" bad thoughts.  Hateful, bigoted, angry thoughts usually circle back around to fix the "thinker" as a natural consequence and often serves to teach the "thinker" a lesson or two. Such is the way of the Universe not Washington, DC.  The government brings conflict and lawsuits, and angry citizens and simmers distrust and dislike between people because it is simply not effective at controlling human behavior. Controlling private businesses in such a manner is not, in my humble opinion, the role of the government.    

Monday, March 30, 2015

We Deserve Better Than This


By Chuck Marshall

   I've been watching the situation with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl these days and there sure is a lot of controversy over his departure from the Army.  Should it be an honorable discharge  or dishonorable discharge ?  Should he be handed a check for $300k in lost wages or should he be cut off from any government aid for the rest of his life ?  Should he be convicted of desertion?  This is a decision I am glad I would not have to make,  On the one hand you're rewarding him for deserting his post (which nobody disputes is what he did).  He put his platoon in danger looking for him when he deserted.  On the other hand, the guy has been through so much, shouldn't we just forgive his misjudgment and let bygones be bygones.... give him his honorable discharge and be done with it?   I don't have  the answer to this question, but this is a decision for the military courtroom not public opinion.

     With any situation like this, we have to learn something.  I've concluded that our President is not a good negotiator.   Why would you trade 5 Taliban fighters for a soldier that deserted his post?  Why would you bring him home and parade his parents  through the rose garden and have your National Security Advisor trumpet him as a "man of distinction" when he's nothing of the sort?   I see the entire thing as  a charade.  This was a "safe" call for Obama because it was a low- risk negotiation and he thought he'd come out looking great for saving one of our soldiers.  It was worth it to him to give away more than he got because he needed the headlines as he hearkened back to the days of capturing and killing Osama Bin Laden.  He forgot, once again, that he is  not a King and that most thinking people would openly critique his tactics.  These are the actions of an inexperienced executive.  I don't see that he has learned much in his 6 years as President.  He hasn't learned to negotiate with our enemies and I'm concerned that this very much includes Iran.  He also hasn't learned to negotiate with  Congress which has cost all of us dearly as the legislative branch of our government has been totally inept and ineffective.  This is part of the job of the President to not just negotiate with Congress but to also lead them to some extent with common goals.  How often has Obama spoken directly to the American people to encourage us or to lead us or to embolden us to speak to our Congressmen about any given situation?   He makes a great speech, but ringing oratory is not the solitary distinction of a great leader.

      So that's what we have today.  A poor negotiator who is not developed much past  his days as a community organizer.  We see the leadership vacancy in all three branches of government, but most especially in the White House.  This has cost us dearly.   I've said it before and I'll say it again; Barack Obama is not qualified to be President of the United States.  We must come up with a better process of selecting our leaders.  We deserve better than this.

In My Humble Opinion.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Solutions Elude Political Parties

By Chuck Marshall

As is common in this blog I have to come out and criticize either party for their lack of ideas and solutions.  I do sometimes wonder  if good ideas elude them  because it doesn't behoove them to have ideas.   Recently the Republicans had a stand off with the Democrats and President Obama's "Immigration Reform" which they believe to be "overreaching".  In agreement with them, Obama himself explained many times in the last several years that he would not issue an executive order regarding immigration reform because that would have to come from the legislative branch of government.    But I don't understand 'nor has it been clarified to me what it  is the Republican right wing wishes to do ?  Do they really want to ship all these illegals right back to their home countries?

Instead of proposing a reasonable plan to fix the situation and perhaps offer up legislation that might be agreeable to the President, the GOP decides to try and turn this in to another "anti-Obama" issue and  proceeds to  nearly force a closure of the department of Homeland Security.  Speaker of the House "Boehner" very wisely took the high road and made peace with the Democrats in order to broker a deal that the President wouldn't veto.  Still, they push the country's safety to the edge over their ridiculous partisan political games.    A wise Republican  led congress would see the opportunity to offer other solutions that would help to solve the problem of illegal immigration and leave the legalities of what President Obama has done to the courts.  That's what courts do, folks.  

This is what you get when you load up the government with expert "politicians" not leaders.  Slick lawyers and future lobbyists who are very skilled at making themselves look good during campaigns but they are not good  at leading our country and offering solutions to  very real problems.  Their solution is to do something "anti-Obama" because they can ring that bell in the next round of elections soothing the anger of their constituents and thus securing themselves another term in Congress, and perhaps even more importantly,  securing themselves a "juicy plumb" of a job on K street as a seven figure lobbyist.

In my humble opinion.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Who's on a high horse ?

By Charles "Chuck" E. Marshall

    At the national prayer breakfast President Obama is quoted as saying the following regarding the sins of religion and in particular Christianity;  "Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ".  This to a group, that I would assume was largely Christian. 

     I have too often left Obama alone in this blog,  I don't know if it's respect for the office or that I simply feel like he gets too much criticism as it is.  This episode has really shaken me.  I can't believe the leader of our country would make comments comparing what was done in the name of Christ over 1000 years ago to ISIS of today.  ISIS who roasts people alive and chops heads off of innocent people and murders whole villages because they don't think the right way.... TODAY !  They are the enemy, they are the Nazis of the modern world and our leader back-handedly defends their position as just another radical sect of a religion, no different from slave owners of the old south.  There he stood like a bombastic college professor -not the President of the United States- babbling an academic point  as a guest speaker to this group focused on prayer.  There he stood scolding them that "hey, you're not so special......remember what your type did back in the 900's ?".  Huh ?  In one account I read that you could feel the air being sucked out of the room.  "You're welcome", right Mr. President?  Not only was it  rude, boorish, arrogant and condescending but it was behavior unbecoming to the President of the United States.

       Any relationship that ISIS has to the Islamic faith is the stuff of their own twisted fantasy.  To give them any credit as being similar to our own religion's troubled and contradictory history  gives them -at some level- a bit of leniency and understanding.  As if they really do have justification under Islamic faith.   You don't understand or rationalize with people like that.... you kill them before they kill you,   Europe tried to understand and placate the Nazis before WWII by walking through and entertaining the logic of their actions as if they would eventually come to their senses and stop their murdering ways if you looked at it all from their perspective.    There is no reason and there is no basis for the actions of ISIS.  They are butchering, raping, murdering psychopaths...... plain and simple.  Why does Obama want to paint this as anything else ?

In my humble opinion.....