Monday, January 16, 2006

Wiretaps/War Hypocrites/PersonaHealthcareStory

(P1) Philosophical

Of Bush, Wiretaps, & Benjamin Franklin

"...there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talkin about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." - George W. Bush

(for immediate release - Office of the Press Secretary - April 20, 2004 - Buffalo, NY)

Had there been even a milligram of truth to the preceding, the following words of Benjamin Franklin would still pertain:

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

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(P2) Political

Who Are The Chicken Hawks?

As a Vietnam Veteran, I thought my readers might be interested in seeing this revealing list of politicians and pundits who did and didn't serve in the military. While I don't necessarily subscribe to the concept that veterans are any better than non-veterans, I do believe you'll find it revealing that those most anxious to send U.S. troops into Iraq combat have never been in the military themselves. They also tend to say "no more spending" but, when it comes to oil and Iraq, they want not only our youth to be their cannon fodder, but also appear on the road to spending a trillion dollars on this adventure by 2010.

Some Democrats Who Served:

Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71. * David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72. Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72. * Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade. * Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam. * Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII. * John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts. * Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea. * Max Cleland: Captain, army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,Vietnam Paraplegic from war injuries. * Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53. * Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74. * Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91. * Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons. * Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit. * Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart. * Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V. * Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star. * Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57 * Chuck Robb: Vietnam * George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII. * Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy. * Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953 * John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters. * John Murtha (35 years in the Marines and Marine Reserves, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts - Vietnam).

Republicans who did not serve at all or avoided combat:

Dick Cheney: (Several deferments, the last by marriage). * Dennis Hastert: * Tom De Lay: * Roy Blunt: * Bill Frist: * Mitch McConnell: * Rick Santorum: * Trent Lott: * John Ashcroft: (Seven deferments to teach business). * Jeb Bush: * Karl Rove: * Saxby Chambliss: (Bad knee. This is the man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism). * Paul Wolfowitz: * Vin Weber: * Richard Perle: * Douglas Feith: * Eliot Abrams: * Richard Shelby: * Jon! Kyl: * Tim Hutchison: * Christopher Cox: * Newt Gingrich: * Don Rumsfeld: (served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor. No combat experience) * Ronald Reagan:(due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role making movies). * B-1 Bob Dornan: (Intentionally enlisted after fighting was over in Korea). * Phil Gramm: * Dana Rohrabacher: * John M McHugh: * JC Watts: * Jack Kemp: (Knee problem, although he continued in the NFL for 8 years as quarterback) * Dan Quayle: (Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard). * Rudy Giuliani: * George Pataki: * Spencer Abraham: * John Engler: * Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer. * Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base. And.... * George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard duty; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.

Right Wing Pundits, Preachers & Icons who DID NOT serve:

* Sean Hannity: * Rush Limbaugh: (did not serve (4-F with a pilonidal cyst.) * Bill O'Reilly: * Michael Savage: * George Will: * Chris Matthews: * Paul Gigot: * Bill Bennett: * Pat Buchanan: * John Wayne: * Bill Kristol: * Kenneth Starr: * Antonin Scalia: * Clarence Thomas: * Ralph Reed: * Michael Medved: * Ted Nugent: (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)

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(P3) Poetical

A Very Personal Story Followed by a Poem

This is a very personal account of how arbitrary political grandstanding can affect individuals. In this case my 91-year-old parents, John and Anne Coletti long ago elected to have their Medicare go directly to Kaiser Permanente's Senior Advantage Program. This covered them fully for all healthcare. They also pay a relatively small monthly premium. When George W. Bush decided to go after a few votes by pretending to create a program of Medicare drug coverage ( a program virtually everyone saw through as being grossly inadequate, confusing, problematic, and a deception), virtually everyone over 65 was thrown into a tailspin from the poorly planned implementation. You all have read about this.

In Anne and John's case, they suddenly were disenrolled from Kaiser. I spent well over a week attempting to figure out what was going on. It turns out that Dad had an old virtually unused healthplan as a New York City retiree. As a result of Bush's "plan", that healthplan automatically enrolled Dad and Mom in something called Part D, and the "fun" began. The Medicare computer picked this up and "spoke" with the Kaiser computer. Apparently, Medicare recipients cannot belong to 2 plans. The NY plan pre-dated the California one, even though Anne and John have belonged to Kaiser for 20 years.

The first notice received from Kaiser was confusing saying that, after being disenrolled, they were again enrolled. We'd received no notice of disenrollment. So, I called Kaiser and discovered that lots of people were also calling. Ultimately, I learned they, in fact were disenrolled, had to do a number of written statements (which I did for them), drop the NY Programs which I discovered how to do, and see what happened. Finally, I worked it out that I was told they had nothing further to worry about. (I should mention here that, during this entire process, Mom was IN the hospital). So I took it on faith that all was well until Dad received written notice that he and Mom were 2 months in arrears on their monthly payments to Kaiser.

Back to the phones. "They are on automatic bank deductions, what's going on?" Well, when they were "disenrolled," the automatic payments were automatically stopped. Suffice to say, I got that all going again, and all appears to be well with the Kaiser world again.

Question: "What happens with 91-year-old people who don't have a son who can take care of all of this for them?" What is the role of government? Doesn't the constituion express an interest (at least implied) in the health, happiness, and welfare of its citizens? Is mine a merely "rhetorical" question?

I found the following beautiful poem and work of music that, for me at least, pertains:

So Did You Die of History

o did you die of history,
Each innocent of dogma dead,
Purloined to play in some fool's head
The drama of his destiny.
Even in your hapless herds,
Miracles to men unmoved,
Being loved as you were loved,
Even thus, you were but words.
Reason seeks what reason knows.
Each alone must bridge the gulf,
Loving all as if oneself,
Else blood with reason endless flows.
Vanquished, you must still live on,
Each murdered soul a monument,
Nor what you mean be what you meant,
The private to the public gone,
Held long as letters carved in stone.

Music: Fugue in C# Minor
By Dimitri Shostakovich. Sequenced by
J. Marques.

Please Post Your Comments Here about any of the above and/or Read the Comments of Others. You can sign in as "blogger" or "other" but add your name to your text. Or email me at We need your feedback.


Anonymous said...

Ah the politics of it all

Anonymous said...

Rush Limbaugh is watching!!!

Anonymous said...

Benjamin Franklin also said, "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." Our current president has been working very, very hard.


Duncan said...

I'm calling my 94-year-old mother right now to see if her plans are in place. My brother-in-law looks after all that for her, but he or she may not be aware of a problem. Glad to hear you got your folks' sorted out.

As to Bush and wiretaps, I think they just got a faulty chip.(See "The Manchurian Candidate")

Now, as to the list of vets and non-vets, my journalism background insists on balance and fairness. What's missing here is a list of the non-vet Dems and vet Repubs and others. Also, some folks didn't do active duty (or inactive)because they didn't have to. Would you and I have served active time if we hadn't had to? For me, no. I am proud of my service, proud I did three volunteered years when I could have done two, proud I did a good job and guilty that I didn't volunteer for Nam. But had it not been for the draft, I would not have volunteered at all. So, I don't look negatively on someone who has not served in the military, unless they pulled some kind of shenanigans to avoid the draft (which Cheney is accused of doing). Let's face it, John Kennedy was a decorated WWII vet and he started the whole Viet Nam debacle in the first place. Had he lived he may have not let it get out of hand, but we'll never know. I think Harry Truman was a vet, whether combat or not I don't know, but he dropped the A-bomb...twice. Anyway, I think you get my drift.

Edward Coletti said...

Thanks, Duncan. I fully understand. However, lately, I began recalling that, during junior or senior year at Georgetown, my most conservative classmates were withdrawing from ROTC. Perhaps they saw the war coming and escalating. Perhaps they did not want to "waste" time during their early money making years. Perhaps both. I have no quarrel with any of that, but those classmates got out of military service. I'm sure others avoided the draft through connections. My real concern is with those who did that and then went on to send kids into a hell of which they had no concept.

Duncan said...

Can't agree more, Eddie. Anyone who purposely avoided the draft, in other words, made efforts to create situations that made them exempt, and later were/are in positions to make war for others are not your good people. In fact, people who make or instigate war are not good people, period.