Post 404: Election Day in Nebraska

Today is the primary election day in Nebraska. Unlike most years, there must be a half dozen candidates for each office, and most are Republicans of various stripes.

The state is conservative, the candidates tend to be, at minimum, very conservative, and it brings on curious charges against fellow candidates who slip a little from the orthodoxy of conservatism.

For example, a PAC with no Nebraska connection ominously reports one Republican candidate for US Senator donated to Democrats running for office! The horror! Implied, maybe he’ll also actually work with Democrats as co-partners in governance of America, too, if elected. Wow!


And he says he always will vote to raise the debt limit. You know, Congress votes to spend money, but the debt ceiling or limit is the amount the US Treasury is authorized to raise to pay for what the US Congress already voted to spend. Remember the Senator Ted Cruz US Government shutdown? That was what that was about.

He also thinks the Affordable Care Act has some good qualities. (Always called Obamacare in this state, where many drink the Kool-Aid of birtherism and don’t accept the legitimacy of the President’s administration.) As someone with a pre-existing health issue, I would have benefited from ACA had it become law a few years earlier than it did, so I’m inclined to agree.

In the commercial, the candidate, for the reasons above, is accused of that ultimate sin in this state: Liberalism! (His general positions seem fairly conservative to me, not that different from the herd.)

So far, I don’t have any favorites.

Dear Senator Johanns

Here I go again. The hearing yesterday with Kathleen Sebelius was bad enough, but then I get this message from my senator, Mike Johanns:

Senator Mike Johanns - He gets some hosannas for responding to letters in a timely and complete way.

Senator Mike Johanns – He gets some hosannas for responding to letters in a timely and complete way.

Senator Johanns e-Update
October 30, 2013

Like many Nebraskans, I am fed up with the failures and misinformation associated with Obamacare and its exchanges. The American people deserve better from their government, and someone must be held accountable.

Today, I cosponsored several pieces of legislation to address some of the problems surrounding Obamacare and to hold Health and Human Services (HHS) accountable to the public by providing much needed transparency.

The first piece of legislation removes the Obamacare mandates that require insurance companies to discontinue or dramatically change many existing health care plans. Reports recently surfaced that the health care plans of millions of Americans will be cancelled in the coming months because of Obamacare. This comes on the heels of admissions from supporters of the law that they knew their repeated promises that Americans could keep their current plans under Obamacare were false. Forcing millions of Americans to give up the current health care plans they actually like is unfair to hard-working families who were promised otherwise by the President and supporters of Obamacare. This bill ensures this broken promise is actually kept.

The second piece of legislation holds the Administration accountable for providing better information about the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges by requiring HHS to submit weekly reports on the website to the American people. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius today testified before a House committee, and when asked by my colleague Rep. Lee Terry whether she would authorize the release of certain information to the public, she responded, “No sir,” claiming the information was not reliable enough. I’m concerned, in truth, it has more to do with concealing the depth of failure.

For more information on allowing individuals to keep their health care plans, click HERE. For more information on forcing HHS to be more transparent, click HERE.


Not that I'm finger pointing or anything, Senator...!

Not that I’m finger pointing or anything, Senator…!

Dear me! After all the efforts Republicans made to stop, destroy, discredit, defund, and debunk “Obamacare” (Affordable Care Act), I won’t stand for such nonsense from my Senator. So I wrote him back:

Dear Senator Johanns:

Please excuse me for being snarky, but what the heck were that 16 day Republican-precipitated governmental shutdown (24 billion dollar hit to GDP, was it? Threat of an adjustment down in our credit rating? Who knows how much HUMAN suffering for lack of pay or certainty?) and those 44 votes to wipe out ACA in the House all about but to make sure the ACA would fail…and NOW you and your fellow Republicans are all concerned because it didn’t start up without a flaw?

I’m sorry, but those big Republican crocodile tears and faux outrage that the policy your party worked so hard to destroy all of a sudden has you so concerned and worried.*

This is the sort of bull that lead me to change my voter registration from Republican to uncommitted after McConnell’s infamous remark about working to make sure the President would be a one term president.

I’m not really thrilled with either party at this point, but the Democrats seem slightly more sincere about this issue than you do.



* NOTE TO BLOG READERS: Who knows where I was headed with that sentence? It’ll stop the reader in his tracks to try to figure it out, perhaps. Or not. I think this is one way I could have ended it:
…don’t work on me.

The link below is to a story about a woman whose insurance policy was cancelled as a result of the changes brought about by the ACA. It has a surprise ending, for those totally hooked on the Fox News version of the “truth”:

Remember: salvation

“Morning Joe”

I make the mistake of starting my day with “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. “Joe” is Joe Scarborough, an articulate former Congressman who’s inclined to talk over his guests and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski. There are times I’d like to reach through the television screen and choke him!

He does, however, represent a rational conservatism, whether I agree with him on many topics or not. I feel I can listen to what he has to say and hear a legitimate conservative point of view, not some Ted Cruz anarchist crap.

Mika and Joe

Mika and Joe

Recently, for whatever reasons, he seems not to be there on set as much or else he participates in the first segment from some location other than the studio from which “Morning Joe” originates.

On the days Joe isn’t there, hosts and guests speak in complete sentences, try not to step on each other’s points by talking over each other. There is no loud talk, no interruptions of the news when Mika reads it, no need to reach through the screen to choke somebody. You know who!

One needs to hear all sides of an argument, not just the ones that match one's closely held prejudices....that's where Joe comes in.

One needs to hear all sides of an argument, not just the ones that match one’s closely held prejudices….that’s where Joe comes in.

To my amazement, Mika actually is articulate, is a great moderator of the discussions, and she smiles! On days Joe’s in studio talking over her, she frequently doesn’t get to complete a thought, and she has a nearly show-long scowl on her face… even though she is close enough to reach over and choke Joe in person, something I sit there urging her to do since I can’t reach through the television set.

On days Joe appears from another studio, he participates, of course, because he is articulate and has fully formed opinions on the news of the day. Not to say he’s infallible, of course, but he, at least, isn’t an ideologue like so many on Fox News are. (I find Shep Smith and Chris Wallace usually are watchable, professional journalists; the rest leave me reaching through the television set to choke them…!)

Also, on the days Joe appears from another studio, he is less likely to step on other people’s comments by talking over them. Those days are more meaningful, as I actually can hear what everyone says – I have total deafness in my right rear, and some hearing loss in my left, so this over-talking makes listening difficult to impossible. On those days, though Joe is more subdued, I actually like him. Closed Captioning helps, but isn’t the whole answer for me.

I note that Joe Scarborough is my conservative of choice because he presents an argument rather than proclaims an opinion as a fact. You might call him the Chris Matthews of Conservativism. (Cheap shot! Cheap shot! I love you, too, Chris! But you do walk over other people’s comments.)

Where I live, in Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District, people sent to Congress tend always to be Republicans who get around 70% or more of the popular vote. The district isn't red, it's screeching scarlet!

Where I live, in Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, people sent to Congress tend always to be Republicans who get around 70% or more of the popular vote. The district isn’t red, it’s screeching scarlet!

I also note that I watch most of the MSNBC political and news programs in the afternoon and evening. They tend to be liberal, as charged, though they are honest about their biases, unlike Fox, where they routinely parade Republican Party propaganda as news, with the exception (in my opinion) of Chris Wallace and Shep Smith.

All I ask of newscasters and pundits: honest arguments based on credible facts. That and a desire for Joe to shut up and listen more to Mika and his guests rather than risk me reaching through the television set to choke him!

I didn’t intend to write a review of a television show today or get political. It occurred to me, however, during today’s dose of “Morning Joe”, that a lot of my upset about the Obamacare defunding/debt ceiling mess originates with this start to my day. That and the fact that Joe Scarborough irritates me when he talks over guests before my morning joe kicks in.


Incidentally, it was reported on the news that 26% of all Texans are without health insurance. What about that Senator Cruz? Wouldn’t working to correct deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act make more sense to your constituents than you working to deny them access to some form of affordable health insurance?

Just asking, sir. Maybe you’d even look presidential if you worked for the people instead of self-aggrandizement. Nevermind. It’s too late for you now.