Frightful Flaring Force

Erica Werner, an AP “writer” in an undated article from Washington writes “Senate Republicans forced Democrats to vote in favor of cutting billions from providers of home care of old people as partisan debate flared Saturday during a rare weekend session on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.”

Well, I have no doubt she certainly wrote it. Though I do not know if she is a reporter, investigator, fact checker or question asker. She writes. So do I. But what does it mean? What is she saying? This being the Santa Claus season, with global warmed snow fresh in our minds, let’s go clause by clause through the mush. It is wondrous what one can divine and learn from just one sentence in our Advocate. Like Meyer and Landry, whom I talked about a few days ago, I shall have a “laser focus” on the “big picture” and not bother with the “mundane details.” Like them, too, I shall not worry about the money next year, just focus on what we are building today.

Senate Republicans forced Democrats >> Forced? The Democrats have said repeatedly that they want to craft a bill that all agree on. How can you force yourself to consider exactly what you have said you wanted to do all along? And what sort of force? Was it violence? Did they strap down the Democrats and make them listen and debate? Did some Republican slip in a few pages that surprised the Democrats? Was it holding their breath until they turned blue? Or did the Republicans under Senate rules merely propose something for debate and vote? Did they ask? Plead? Demand? And one would think that with any legislation that a vote on each provision singularly or collectively would need to be taken. After all, in order to “overhaul” something each and every part must be considered. And likewise, each and every thing must be voted on. Did Ms. Werner perhaps think that the Democrats were merely going to promulgate, annunce, declare or decree? A vote had to be taken. That’s their jobs, Ms. Werner: To Vote.

So, ah, perhaps, under the rules, Senators of one party brought up legislation to be considered and the other party had to vote on it too, since they all vote together. And how on earth were the Democrats supposed to get the legislation passed if not bringing the substance of the matter to a vote. Or was a decree to be made? The Democrat’s legislation has the cuts. All the Republicans did was say, “OK, let’s vote on this section proposed by you guys.” This is “forced.”? Brutal indeed.

to vote in favor of cutting billions >> How many billions? Wouldn’t that be news we could use? Did not Ms. Werner find out with her inquistive journalistic mind? Should not our Advocate have asked Ms. Werner to find out? They did hire her, or buy her article, or somehow get permission to use it on their front page. She does mention “more than $400 billion in cuts” a bit later in the piece. Since the Democrats proposed the cuts and wanted to vote for them as part of their overhaul how exactly did the Republicans “force” them to vote in favor of what they proposed? What, were they going to hide such a massive change in the whole package, somewhere on page 1534 of the bill or something?

And how many more than $400 billion? Think of the word economy if she merely said “$432 billion” or whatever it was. No, we get with great precision “more than.” Yes, well, a billion or two here and there is certainly more, though pocket change perhaps among the trillions. Yet still, the cuts passed, in a mostly partisan vote no less. So shouldn’t Ms. Werner have written “Democrats vote in favor of their plan to cut billions despite Republican opposition.”? That’s what happened actually.

from providers of home care of old people >> Well, I think taking money from such providers would indeed be partisan, since grandpa does have his defenders. For if you are FOR keeping such monies it strikes me that you are FOR home care for old people. But if you want to TAKE money FROM the old folks, well then, that is something you should explain, and expect a few people to disagree with that. Taking money from old people would, I think, arouse some indignation in a number of defenders of old people. Or at least defenders of the status quo whether it was good for seniors at all. Though, such things needs apparent overhaul. And, by the way, are we not going to pay for provision of home care to old people? That doesn’t exactly sound like it will benefit old people.

as partisan debate flared >> “Flared” ? Did anyone have incediary devices there are on the floor of our senate? Were harsh words uttered? Were sarcastic jabs and dares thrown? And in our post-partisan days proclaimed by Newsweek’s “We are All Socialists Now! — in our bi-partisan and non-partisan times proclaimed by Obama, in our great spirit of cooperation for hope and change, how on earth did partisan debate flare up? And since our Senate is known as the “world’s greatest debate club,” and “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” and other such high names, isn’t there supposed to be debate? No, debate “flared.” Oh my. Partisan – meaning I’d guess, that well, some people don’t quite think we are as socialist as some would proclaim. Nor that cutting money to grandma is a good idea, either.

But what exactly is partisan debate? Our 100 say, to a one, that they are “for the people” and “on our side.” With less than defended Greece against the Persians, one wonders of the movie potential. OK, they are for us, perhaps as Tiny Tim would say: each and every one. Now, in such a complex thing as a health care overhaul for 300 Million of us, surely there should be … what? No differences of opinion among a mere 100 so that debate might not “flare” up and no one is “forced” to debate a certain part of the complex issue which they themselves proposed? Can’t wait to see how 300,000,000 come to agreement on this one.

However, given that it is the job of each and every senator to consider each and every aspect of each and every law and to take into account each and every consideration by each and every senator how on earth can any debate be partisan? I would expect the senators of my fair state, Landrieu the Democrat and Vitter the Republican, to have a “partisan” debate about what is best for the 4.5 million people in Louisiana.

Now, if our daring duo cannot come to agreement as to whether old people should or should not be provided with billions for home care, because one feels that his constituents might not like the proposals of hers wouldn’t it seem more rational to create a flexible system so that the 4.5 million that Landrieu represents get what they want and the 4.5 million of Vitters get what they want? It’s the same 4.5 million, of course. And that just makes it more logical that the whole overhaul should not be in the hands of 100, many from parts of the country far away with different circumstances, and who have never been to our swamp. Why, considering that 40% or so of Louisiana is African-American, who have different health care needs than the 95% of Iowa who are European-Americans it would seem that a one size fits all plan might not be a good idea. Surely there is no way to put it all into the sausage, is there? But perhaps, because Vitter and Landrieu, being opposing partisans, cannot come to a conclusion, then I suppose that they should not go to the Senate on the weekends at all. Their votes would cancel each other out, after all. But if Landrieu voted for the cuts, and Vitter against, that does mean that Landrieu is saying to Vitter’s 4.5 million people, “too bad folks, I’m for taking the money away from what you have long expected.” Nice.

Not to mention that if Landrieu is FOR giving the money in some other way, well, that’s a great game of taking away money called Program A and giving the money in Program B to achieve the exact same result of home care for the elderly. Which seems hardly something to be upset or partisan about, and no need to flare or force, nor even a very urgent reason to overhaul it at all. Why, there you go, the overhaul is so complete that the name of the providing agency is changed but the service is exactly the same. I cannot believe that the needs of old people for home care is any more or less on Friday, before the rare weekend forced flare up of partisanship, than it will be on Monday, when the Senate is in session during their normal hours of its flaring and forcing partisan sessions.

during a rare weekend session >> So important is this legislation, so much debate and consideration needed, so large is the issue, so complex the bill, so many pages of legalese to consider, that it is well and good that they are meeting at such a rare time as a weekend. Many of us citizens meet on weekends to discuss the issues among us, why shouldn’t the Senate? Still, so rare is it for this particular piece of important legislation that, why, just a week or so ago, there late on a Saturday night, while Americans were on their dates and perhaps putting off worrying about the bills they have to pay, which they don’t write but receive, the Senate was debating on whether to debate the issue.

One would hope, perhaps, that the Senate would be going through every one of those 2000 pages and seeing exactly what was in them. Which would take many a weekend indeed, especially considering all their other pressing business for the people. Not to mention that careful consideration of how it might affect the lives of 300,000,000 people would require a weekend or two. And I can think of few things that are more easily solved by the decisions of 100 people for 300,000,000 people than health care. Such is the knowledge and wisdom of these 100. But shouldn’t Ms. Werner have written, “For the second time in the health care debate the Senate held a weekend session.”? Or better: “Senators usually avoid working on weekends on the exceedingly complex issue.” For 100 people to make decisions for so many, one would hope that weekend sessions would not be so rare at all.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. >> Did not Werner know that the president offered no plan, no overhaul, no ideas? What he offered was “hope and change” and then punted the ball to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and any other wily Democrat hanging around, like Max Baucus, to come up with a plan, and to all just work it out themselves. Obama asked only that this urgent legislation get to his desk as soon as the 100 could do so, even if they didn’t read the bill nor if all the pages were written. Not only that, throughout the campaign Obama said that he wanted to have a non-partisan concensus of some sort or another. He wanted every one to be on the same page. He wanted to reach across the aisle and be the American president not just the Democratic president. Nobel (sic) goals all. Peace in our times and good will towards all men. But he offered no plan. It is even confusing amongst all the partisans about what to call it. Health care overhaul, reform, the Baucus bill, the Reid bill, the Senate bill, the House bill, Pelosi’s bill. On and on come the proffered names. Some call it Obamacare. Some call it socialism, or government take over of health care. Some use pejorative names. Some call it unsavory names. I’ll stick to the “formal” ones here. Still, not a one of them is Obama’s health care overhaul. And, given that our 100 seem to disagree on most things, to now lament about the partisan flare up is worrying about the barn door long after the horse went to pasture to do its business.

She’s a writer all right, but of such expository and obliquely partisan mush in just her opening sentence that I could not read the rest.

Perhaps she should have just quoted Benjamin Franklin, a founding father if there is one, who said in 1791: “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while Congress is in session.” And I have a feeling that Ben knew a bit more about how it was supposed to work than our current senators or Ms. Werner.


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