Friday, June 26, 2015

Historic Decisions and a New Generation.

We have seen three historic Supreme Court decisions during this week alone. One is King v. Burwell. The Supreme Court ruled that the tax subsidies in the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The tax subsidies provided insurance coverage to over 6 million Americans from across the nation. Chief Justice john Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that Congress has already established the tax subsidies to be available in all 50 states. He was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Justices Antoin Scalia along with Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito definitely opposed giving subsidies to people. To eliminate subsidies during this time will definitely cause millions of people to lose insurance, health care costs will increase and other problems will exist. The Republican candidates typically criticize the law. Everyone one of them offer no real solutions to the health care problem except for the total privatization of the entire health care industry without a public option and without a single payer system. That is their plan to be real. That is no real plan, but the status quo. It is ironic that the Affordable Care Act has parts in it that came from the pro-Republican Heritage foundation. The truth is that the ACA has strengths and weaknesses. The ACA guarantees coverage for everyone without tacking on higher premiums because of pre-existing medical conditions. It requires annual free preventive care health checks for those on Medicare. It allows young to be on their parent’s health care until their 20’s. There are many states with Medicaid expansion which has helped millions of Americans.

I have no problem with those parts of the law. The rise of health care costs is slowing (which came about before 2010. This is happening because of self-rationing as less utilization of health services come as more of health care is shifted to the individual). One issue in the law is that it empowers private insurance companies by mandating people to buy private insurance (or face a fine) while excluding a public option. There are still high administrative costs in our health system. Australia and Canada, where government medical insurance administrative fees are lower than 3 percent, similar to our Medicare. "It makes no sense," Kahn said, "to unnecessarily spend what amounts to $1,200 extra each year for every man, woman and child in the U.S. just to push papers around" as part of the billing and extraneous marketing functions of insurance companies. We have to return to a "focus on quality clinical care where the patient and health provider themselves consult directly about the best care available," Kahn emphasized, without jumping through hoops of complex and cumbersome financial restraints encoded in each policy. There are still more than 40 million people without any health care in America. That is why more and more doctors, activists, etc. want to establish Medicare for all or single payer health care, which I have no problem with. So, I celebrate the decision’s preservation of the subsidies since I don’t want people to be eliminated of health care, but the ACA is not the final goal. Universal health care is the final goal. Heath care is a human right.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was totally preserved by the Supreme Court too. The case was Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. the Inclusive Community Project, Inc. The decision was 5-4, which surprised people. The Court said that housing policies could be deemed discriminatory based on “disparate impact.” This means that plaintiffs could prove discrimination by showing that the impact of a housing policy was discriminatory, even if there was no conscious attempt to discriminate. Justice Kennedy said that discrimination must be opposed in American society whether overt or covert. . The court made clear that it is not enough simply to show a disparate impact. Plaintiffs have to prove there was a specific policy without a legitimate business purpose that created the disparity. There was the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision in support of same sex marriage in a 5-4 decision. The court said that there is a constitutional right to equal protection under the law and state were unable to withhold that right from people who want to have same-sex marriage. The USA is now the 21st country on Earth to allow same sex marriage in every jurisdiction. This issue has been emotional. There are people among both sides. Supporters of this ruling love it. Opponents of this ruling want marriage solely to be between a man and a woman. The future of America will certainly deal with both maintaining equal rights, and allowing people to have a diversity of views on many issues (being expressed peacefully. There is nothing wrong with religious freedom, but we don't need religious tyranny). People have the right to agree or disagree with this ruling. We live in a new generation.

Some people haven't learned the lessons of the Vietnam War (which killed millions, caused birth defects, and harmed the environment in SE Asia). The growth of the American Empire has grown inflation, increased unemployment, and stripped resources which could have been used to help society. Today, we have seen capitalistic exploitation and greed cripple many people's lives. We need not only independent political movements, but solutions that can help the masses of the people. The end of the Vietnam was a hard end. American troops continued to come home. On March 5, 1971, the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group. This was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, and on that date, the military force returned home to its former base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Paris Peace Accords was between America and the North Vietnamese (North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Le Duc Tho worked with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in order for the accords to come about). South Vietnamese President Thieu was skeptical of it, but he agreed signed it reluctantly. The deal with those U.S. military forces would withdraw from South Vietnam and prisoners would be exchanged. North Vietnam was allowed to continue to supply communist troops in the South, but only to the extent of replacing expending materiel. The communist leader expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. Saigon was given a surge of U.S. aid before the ceasefire went into effect. They began to roll back the Viet Cong. Then, the communists developed a new strategy to conquer Saigon. According to the memoirs of Tan Van Tra, this plan was mapped out in Hanoi on March 1973. Nixon implied that if the North Vietnamese violated the ceasefire, then he would militarily intervene with U.S. forces. That is why the U.S. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such of an intervention. In 1973, there was the oil crisis caused after the Yom Kippur War, so resources weren’t readily sent to South Vietnam and the South Vietnamese suffered as a product of these developments. The Viet Cong recaptured its territory lost during the dry season on January 1974. Gerald Ford being the new President on August of 1974 caused a heavily Democratic Congress to withhold financial aid to South Vietnam. At this time, Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. The U.S. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. Congress immediately voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. By December 1974, as Tra wanted, North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phouc Long Province. Phouc Binh fell in January 6, 1975. In 1975, the South Vietnamese had more military artillery than the North Vietnamese, but the oil crisis prevented them from using much of their forces. The North Vietnamese used General Dung in March 10, 1975 to execute Campaign 275. Gradually, the South Vietnamese surrendered and experienced defeat. Hue fell in March 25, 1975. On April, the final offensive against Saigon by the North Vietnamese came about. President Thieu of South Vietnam resigned and said that the USA betrayed South Vietnam. He criticized Kissinger for tricking him to sign the Paris Peace agreement. On April 30, 1975, NVA troops entered Saigon. They overcame resistance and captured key buildings and installations. Ford ordered Operation Frequent Wind to evaluate all Americans (which included U.S. Marines and some Vietnamese people who wanted to escape from the U.S. embassy in Saigon) from South Vietnam. Soon, the Viet Cong flag was raised above the gates of the Independence Palace in Saigon. President Doung Van Minh surrendered. The war was over.

Joe Morton is right to expose the motivation of those who want to genuflect and cling onto the Confederate flag (these people promote the lie that the flag is not about racism). These people are bigots. The Confederate flag was created by Confederate people, who wanted to maintain slavery and oppression against black people. It is an emblem of racism, white supremacy, secession, and hatred. This shouldn’t even be a debate. We pay taxes, so no Confederate flag should fly on State Capitol grounds at all. There is no ambiguity on this issue. Many Confederate documents readily say that slavery and maintaining racism were key motivations on why the Confederacy existed in the first place. Nathan Bedford Forrest killed black people under the Confederacy and that Confederate flag is not the US flag. The Confederacy lost. Even Alabama has taken down those racist flags from various locations. Change is not necessarily immediate. Yet, we have to work on our steps, so when our steps acuminate, they can led the path into the Promised Land. If America is to be free, then America must acknowledge its wicked past and its wicked present (along with using revolutionary efforts to rectify problems and end oppression). I saw the Confederate flag before in urban and rural places. I never had a good feeling looking at it. Over 150 years have passed after the end of the Civil War and we are still fighting for our freedom. Freedom also deals with education. A lot of people have a historically revisionist view of history whereby some sick people want to glamorize the antebellum period and the Confederacy. We have to set the record straight and mention the fact that the Confederacy including the antebellum period was filled with tyranny against our black people. In our generation, we deal with a diverse amount of issues from ecocide, foreign policy matters, domestic issues, and other subjects. Yet, we have the same goal, which is the liberation of humanity and we are part of one black family.
#Take it Down.

By Timothy

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