Bipartisanship , It Does Exist – WIF Politics

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Bipartisan Votes –

The US Government

Isn’t So Divided

For the past few years the media has wanted to portray the American government as divided into Democrats and Republicans, a supposedly black and white dichotomy. The two parties supposedly can never be expected to cooperate, even though many will insist that the parties are functionally the same. This has predated the election of President Donald J. Trump, but his election has certainly supercharged how the conflict is framed.

Don’t you believe it. Many momentous bills have overwhelmingly passed the two chambers of Congress and have been signed by the president while barely attracting a blip of attention. Partisans on both sides of the party lines want to portray the situation with more conflict than there really is even while the majority of both parties cooperate away from the public eye.

10. Patient Right to Know Act

For years, pharmaceutical companies kept doctors and pharmacies from telling patients about more affordable medications through gag orders. The bill to stop these gag orders passed through the Senate with 98-2 votes on September 17, 2018. It was signed by President Trump on October 11.

As anyone with much experience dealing with contemporary healthcare costs knows, these are not trifling expenses. It’s estimated that doctors offering more affordable alternatives will save the public more than $135 million annually. Everyone is entitled to their opinions regarding how much regulation is necessary or productive, but this is a strong indication that there are bipartisan ways to deal with runaway healthcare expenses if we take the time to look for them.

9. VA Choice and Quality Employment Act

The Veterans Affairs office is one of the most heavily criticized services in the US government. With more than $180 billion in the annual budget, it’s one of the larger annual expenses. Yet few will argue that it’s not worth it, considering the sacrifices made by its ostensible beneficiaries. So it was that in 2017, an emergency allotment of six billion in funds was voted into law. The focus of the funding was to provide government-funded medical services to veterans.

A big part of the reason the effort didn’t become a larger news story was that it was signed on August 12, which meant that it was completely overshadowed in the public consciousness by the murder of Heather Hayer during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Few bills would be able to compete with that in the news cycle.

8. Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

The National Council on Aging reports that an estimated one in 10 people over the age of 60 has been a victim of elder abuse, and every year another five million suffer from it while roughly only one in every 14 actionable cases is reported. On October 18, 2017, this law was signed with the intention of greatly expanding the enforcement of laws that protect elders. The law required every state to designate an Elder Justice Coordinator that would serve the Bureau of Consumer Protection. It also requires the Department of Justice to make information regarding the investigations public.

Additionally, in what seems directly inspired by a plot in the critically-acclaimed AMC program Better Call Saul, there are increases for penalties regarding interstate fraud. Furthermore, interstate adult protective groups are allowed to operate. In total, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that enforcing this law will cost $21 million, which — if it has a significant impact on rates of elder abuse — seems like a real bargain.

7. Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act

As said earlier, the Department of Veterans Affairs is a very controversial organization. One of the controversies associated with it is that many veterans who should receive coverage or compensation are denied their services erroneously due to incompetent or corrupt decisions by staff members. On June 13, 2017, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass this law, which would increase fines and pension deductions for problem employees, and also stop them from receiving pay during the appeals process.

The inclusion of additional protections for whistleblowers was in large part inspired by the Wait List Scandal of 2014. It came to light that many veterans weren’t receiving medication and other benefits for as many as four months at a time, but that the delays weren’t being recorded or reported. Still, considering that there were a reported 49,000 vacancies in the Veterans Affairs offices at the time the bill was signed, a reluctance to fire employees for any reason is fairly understandable.

6. Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act

Between the heated controversy over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over Sioux land and what the famous American/Mexican border wall would mean in terms of dividing tribes such as the Tohono O’odham, Native American rights have been more prominent in the news in recent years. But there has been fairly recent good news for those tribes as well. On January 8, 2018, this bill was signed into law, even if it took most of the summer and all of Autumn of 2017 for it to make its way through Congress.

The law allocated 32,000 acres of federal land to three tribes in Oregon. Those were the Umpqua, Coos, and the Siuslaw. The US government does not have the best record when it comes to honoring land grants to tribes, but local leaders expressed that they were pleased with the arrangement.

5. Jobs for Our Heroes Act

As reported by Military Times in July 2018, more than 50% of US veterans have difficulty finding work after the end of their enlistments. There’s apparently not much that the US government feels they can do to change the minds of most employers, but there is one career field where it seems the government feels it can significantly expand employment opportunities for veterans. This bill, which was signed into law on January 8, 2018, has been intended to find veterans work as commercial drivers.

There are two primary ways the bill works to expedite this process. For one, it makes training with heavy machinery during enlistment valid as meeting the requirements for operating heavy civilian vehicles. It also makes health certification provided by VA medical professionals valid for health checks related to civilian driving jobs. Such is the sort of legal red tape that leaves it no wonder that some veterans have trouble finding employment in civilian life.

4. Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

For those unfamiliar with the term, an excise tax is a tax on a specific good or service. In the case of this law, which was signed on May 10, 2019, it would allow taxes collected on the sales of firearms to be used to buy the land for, and to maintain, shooting ranges, covering up to 90% of the expenses. As one of the bills sponsors, Rob Bishop from Utah, put it, gun ranges are becoming more necessary for proper gun safety training, “As this nation becomes more urbanized.”

Sounds like a bill that would have needed to be concocted by a Republican, right? Actually, no — one of the original sponsors of this bill was Representative Ron Kind. He’s a Democrat from Wisconsin’s Third District. Party lines are much less clearly delineated than it often seems.

3. Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act

For those who don’t know, Medicaid is a program where government on the state or federal level provides assistance to low income families in paying their medical bills. Recently, there seems considerable bipartisan interest in expanding it. For example, in the 2018 Midterm election three of the four states with ballot initiatives to increase funding for it passed it, even though the states in question (Idaho, Nebraska, Utah) generally vote conservative and thus would not usually support increasing funding for social programs.

So it was that on April 18, 2019 this bill to bolster Medicaid services was signed. The law increased penalties for companies that mis-classify their medications to receive more government reimbursement, specifically whether the drugs are “innovator” or “non-innovator.” It also provided more protections against medical bankruptcy for spouses, and parents with children who are suffering from conditions that require intensive treatment.

2. Water Infrastructure Improvement Act

Between calamities such as massive flooding in the Midwest in the spring of 2019 and ongoing lead-tainted water in communities nationwide such as Flint, Michigan, dealing with water has recently become a growing problem for the United States. Against this background, despite its un-glamorous nature, six cosponsors evenly divided between the parties attached themselves to this bill in December 2018. It was signed into law on January 14, 2019, a brisk process for any piece of legislation.

This act delegates to local municipalities plans for how to deal with storm water and wastewater. It establishes offices for an ombudsman to expedite the process for municipalities to meet full Environmental Protection Agency standards. There is also, under Section 5, an emphasis on the EPA being required to promote the implementation of natural (i.e. “green”) infrastructure process.

1. Natural Resources Management Act

Sometimes when an act is signed into law, it’s not so much a single bill as a bundle of them. When this act was signed into law on March 12, 2019, it was roughly 120 bills that ranged in focus from public land conservation to water management. Considering recent rumblings in the media that there would be drilling and mining in national park areas, it makes sense that the government would be inclined to demonstrate a commitment to environmental protection.

The most striking single aspect of the act was the setting aside of 1.3 million acres of land for federal protection, including from damage by dam construction. Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley alone had an extra 40,000 acres added, which in the former case makes a lot of sense considering the damage that national park suffered during the 2019 government shutdown. Hopefully we can look forward to more bipartisan environmental initiatives in the near future.


Bipartisanship , It Does Exist

WIF Politics

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #293

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #293

…I kept the whole incident a secret for the year it took to write the book. I never publicly proclaimed it as nonfiction, and that makes me a freaking Communist?…

red-channels2“I am being accused of what?” Carolyn Hanes has heard something that literally floors her.

“Like I was saying, Joe McCarthy claims that you are a Communist.”

“… Me and ten thousand of my closest friends. This is a bunch of crap, Stanley. What did I do to deserve this?”

Conspiracy in the Cactus was not exactly flattering to the United States military. You made them come off like a bunch of lying skunks.”

“If anything I wrote was inappropriate, you were my editor, you edited most of my books. What did I write that wasn’t true?”

“Nothing really, Lyn. But 490,000 people read that book as a piece of fiction. The other 10,000 took it at face value, knowing that what Constance Caraway and Ace Bannion dug up in New Mexico really happened. If the complete truth were ever to come out, I think the feds fear public panic and egg on their faces.”

I kept the whole incident a secret for the year it took to write the book. I never publicly proclaimed it as nonfiction, and that makes me a freaking Communist?

“You should be proud; you’re in some good company. He was going to go after George Orwell also.”

“He died in January, for crying out loud!”

“That Big Brother thing of his may have been construed as subversive.” Stan Rogers is trying to be protective of Harpers Publishing’s most profitable commodity. “Remember what happened to the Hollywood Ten.”

“Dalton Trumbo was a Party member. The only party I belong to is a book signing at Julie’s Gifts on Tennessee Street!”

“I’m here to tell you, Lyn, they are trying to get to old man Harper. I am the main reason Conspiracy in the Cactus went to print. Harper was leaning against publishing it, for some the same reason Joe McCarthy thinks that it is anti-government yellow journalism.”

Rogers fears a society that ignores the truth, in favor of lies. “How is your friend Bob Ford doing?”

          “He’s been out flying, I don’t know.”

          “He called here looking for you, before you got here. He was arrested for flying drugs into the country.”

          “What? That does it, Bob Ford running contraband? Bull bleep! Where is he?Image result for framed

          “He called from Miami.”

          “Well I’m glad you got around to telling me.”

          “I didn’t know how much you cared or what I had to tell you was that important.”

          “So now you know I care. Is that against the law too? You know, I’m really getting tired of being jerked around.” She gets up to leave.

          “Where are you going?”

          “I’m going to see if North Korea needs some help.”

          “Be careful who you say things like that to.” Stan Rogers is dead serious.

          “I’m on the next flight to Miami. Give my regards to the Old Man.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Conspiracy in the Cactus-001

Episode #293


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #229

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #229

… As the men of the Florida Panhandle arrange strange combinations of meat and condiment on their day-old bread, reality has set in…

Suffrage Part One-001

Just what was this riot that Alice Paul stands accused of sanctioning?

After the threat of the influenza had run its course, removing the stigma of human contact, especially public gatherings, Alice and her staunchest supporters began touring state capitols, hoping to influence legislators, the makers of law that would bring the rights of women up to snuff.

On a cool late winter day, one where if you are going to listen to a speech at an outdoor venue, you must really want to hear what is going to be said and hundreds do; dresses blowing in the northerly breezes, gloved hands clapping with every “sisters for equality” reference. There are a lot of households in Tallahassee that will be going without Saturday evening dinner and hundreds of men who are outraged at the audacity of their women. But this event had been touted for several weeks, so it is likely that these men thought the women’s movement, this National Woman’s Party, was just a lot of hot air, not about to amount to anything.

   As they arrange strange combinations of meat and condiment on their day-old bread, reality has set in.

“Where is our dignity, ladies? Are we doomed to be chained to the kitchen stove forever, only to have our hands go raw from dishwater or the never ending laundry? And then watch our men leave the house to go out and vote, only to come home half liquored up, ordering us around like servants.

“It is time——–no past time for the women of America to have equal rights!” Alice Paul is hardly a striking figure, somewhat ordinary, with a dark hair and complexion, dark eyes focused on her goal. But there is no denying her effectiveness as a speaker, able to arouse the sleeping spirit of the female gender, causing them to admit infuriation for the first time. “Let’s take our cause to the steps of Florida’s state legislature! It is time that the “good old boys club” learns that one half of their constituency is oppressed, but not powerless!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #229


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #228

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #228

…The right to vote on offices and issues that relate to women is important, particularly when one half of the population have no say in their own self-determination…

“Homage to Suffragette” by Bernard van Lierop

Meanwhile Caption-001

… Attorney James Ferrell is tackling a case that no other lawyer wants to get within an addendum of; woman’s suffrage in the South, a contradiction of terms in itself. On a campaign through the Panhandle, having served at the core of the movement in England, Alice Paul has been arrested for inciting a riot; not that a riot of women is a huge threat to mankind, but the protest marches that seem to follow her around the country have law enforcement on their ready, and in the South, that means, ‘Not in my town.’

  The right to vote on offices and issues that relate to women is important, particularly when one half of the population have no say in their own self-determination. Something has to be said, someone has to take a stand – something has to be done. And unpopular as it is, in an entrenchment of tradition, shaking the branches of a tree is the best way to reap the fruit.

And despite her stint in the Cinderella troupe, Phoebe Love has kept a close eye toward this matter, entreating advisor Ferrell not to allow this gross miscarriage of justice to languish in the Florida court system; even to the point that Mrs. Love funds Paul’s defense.

Now these are very strong terms for a woman who has been a stay-at-home wife for her forty year marriage, none of which she ever did not have a say on who, what, when, where, how, or why. A vote, on whether Woodrow Wilson should remain as President or be replaced by Charles Evans Hughes in the election of 1916 was not hers to have.

That is why women like Alice Paul place themselves at risk, utilizing shock tactics and not-so-subtly nudging society into noticing injustice. Men look at her with disdain, largely fearing what equal rights would do to their present tidy arrangement. And it is not like many women embrace her radical concepts.

Equal rights;

  1. Does that mean I will have get a job and trade my skirts in for overalls?
  2. Or fight in a war, how horrible?

Such is the misunderstanding, misinformation in this “miss and mrs.” issue.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #228


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When Intentions Do Not Match Results – WIF Government

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Government Programs

That Went

Horribly Wrong

(USA)

The government is necessary and most of the time they should be trusted — at least (and especially) your local government. You need police, firefighters, and even bureaucrats and tax collectors. However, sometimes the government makes it hard for people to trust them. Whether through malice, or just plain incompetence, sometimes the United States government‘s best laid plans and programs went horribly wrong, and caused massive damage… or even deaths. In today’s article, we will go over 10 programs or agencies that have caused serious and lasting harm.

10. Smokey The Bear Helped Create More Massive Wildfires

Smokey the Bear is one of the most well known mascots of all time, except instead of being the mascot for a major sports team, Smokey is the mascot for United States natural parks, and all of US wildlife and forests in general. Smokey was conceived by the United States government decades ago in order to spread awareness about the importance of putting out your fires, especially old campfires and the sparks from your cigarettes. His famous line “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” is catchy and known by many outside of States.

However, despite the best intentions of the government, Smokey the Bear has actually done a lot more harm than good at this point, and with how much death and destruction recent wildfires have caused, the entire thing is no laughing matter. Because the campaign worked a bit too well, people became so obsessed with putting out tiny brush fires — even natural ones — that not enough natural clearing was occurring. This meant that when a wildfire does start now, it usually has way too much fuel to help it keep moving, whereas otherwise it might have choked itself off because dry brush was regularly burned out naturally.

9. The Fast And Furious Scandal Ended Up Giving More Guns To The Cartels

Fast and the Furious was a scandal that caused a lot of damage to the Obama administration’s reputation, and especially to his attorney general Eric Holder. The federal government knows the cartels often come across the border, buy lots of guns, and then sneak them across the border again to use in wars with other drug dealers and even their own government. Now, the United States government has long tried to prevent this, but the Obama administration got another idea.

They figured that if they knew this reliably happened so much, instead of putting all efforts to stop it and get gun stores to be a bit more vigilant, they actually decided to pull a trick on the cartels. They allowed a whole bunch of gun sales, with the plan to track the guns so they could figure out where in Mexico (or elsewhere) they were ending up, and who ultimately was using them. Now, this could have led to valuable intelligence, and if they had managed to track the people down and get the guns back, it would have been a successful operation. Unfortunately, it became a scandal after it became public that the government had completely lost track of the guns, making the entire operation a complete waste that just made the cartels more powerful.

8. The War On Drugs Is A Colossal Failure And An Enormous Boondoggle

The war on drugs was started back in the Nixon era, and ramped-up to even more of a fevered pitch during the Reagan years. In fact, Nancy Reagan, the First Lady at the time, even made it her mission in life to go on a campaign against drugs, with her famous slogan, “Just say no.” (Something that basically never worked for any teenager under peer pressure… ever). The idea was that if we put enough government dollars into restrictive laws and prison sentences, cracked down hard on the gangs and on individual dealers, and went all out against the drugs as if we are actually at war, we would make a huge dent and get lots of people off drugs. However, the truth is that all the facts suggest that the “War on Drugs” was a colossal waste of time and money.

Despite all the arguably unfair prison sentences for small drug offenses, the bigger issue is simply that the program has not been effective. Even though an incredible amount of time and money has been spent, evidence shows that over the years, access to drugs has become cheaper, the cartels and drug dealers are making more money, more people are doing drugs, and the problem is actually getting worse. It doesn’t help that legal drugs like opioids helped create an entirely new black market for getting high and ruining your life.

7. The Housing Projects Cemented Segregation

All the way back in the FDR years, the United States of America saw a need for more low income housing for poor urban citizens — which is often code for black people. Now, there were a lot of ways this could be done, but the government did it really the wrong way entirely. Obviously, we don’t know for sure what their intentions were, but the effect was devastating for the black community, and helped codify segregation permanently into the very infrastructure of the United States.

The housing projects were all put in the same city blocks, and were closely packed together. They were not spread out within different zip codes throughout the big cities, as would make more sense, and none of them were built in slightly wealthier zones, to help uplift the poor people coming to live in the projects. Instead, they chose more run-down parts of the city, and closely packed the housing projects together.

Because cities’ tax revenues are based on the riches of its citizens, small cities that have a lot of housing projects tend to have very little money to fix anything, have nice schools, or even keep the city up. And because moving is so expensive, most people born in the projects will simply never get out.

6. Poisoning People During Prohibition

The prohibition era is a well known time from America’s history, and perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in modern history. It is well known that a huge new class of drug cartels spawned due to prohibition, and it didn’t even work. The federal government was annoyed that people kept finding ways to flout their decree, and wanted to force people to behave — or else. They devised a plan to teach people that alcohol WAS bad for them, even if they didn’t think so, and even if they had to put bad stuff in alcohol that wasn’t usually in it.

So, they figured if they poisoned a bunch of bootleg alcohol, people would get sick stop drinking due to the dangers. They poisoned a bunch of alcohol from industrial sources and denatured it, making it unsafe to drink; then, they just waited, knowing the bootleggers usually used those sources. Tens of thousands got sick and thousands died, at least according to most estimates. The government did not admit until later what they did, and it is hard to know for sure just how many hospital stays and deaths were caused by this irresponsible and deadly action by the United States government.

5. FEMA Keeps Failing At Basic Disaster Management Over And Over Again

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #185

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #185

…We are living in exciting and dangerous times, you young people who have been called to the care and healing of your fellow man…

Tufts School of Medicine

Tufts University graduates are encouraged to take in fluids and the Dean edits some of the pomp and circumstance, skipping past the salutatorian, a disappointed young woman from Maine, who was asked to introduce the main speaker, former President and recent unsuccessful “Bull Moose” candidate, Theodore Roosevelt.

(#26) responded readily to an inspiring letter sent by Willy and Amanda Campbell, with the help of the Loves. He is moved by the expressed feelings of former slaves, turned proud parents of a real doctor, keeping in mind everything Willy had gone through in Blountstown late in 1908 and his passion for the oppressed.

Roosevelt is very much a beloved figure, his impeccable character something to be admired and emulated by aspiring professionals. He has never been a doctor, but he is intimately familiar with the trade due to his rough and tumble lifestyle, not to mention a bullet to the chest before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, just nine months before.

  “We are living in exciting and dangerous times, you young people who have been called to the care and healing of your fellow man. Most of you will go to cities and towns in nearly every state in our proud union. Some of you will discover new medicines from the leaves of tropical plants. Others will put their life on the line to tend to wounded soldiers; you have my advanced gratitude.

“And then there is Alpha Omega Campbell and his Dad.” He motions for the revived subject to join him at the podium, along with Willy, from the rear. “From out the midst of the shadow of slavery comes one of the finest young men I have ever had the chance to meet. I am told, by his proud parents, Willy and Amanda that he is returning to the Tallahassee area to serve the needs of the Negro community.

 “Gentlemen and Ladies, these are true American heroes!” He gives them a mighty bear hug.

Judith Eastman makes this a true P-E J moment, a photographic record of a life-changing event; a world leader and a world changer.

The entire graduating class of 1913 rises and cheers, tossing their hats high into the air. They are joined in celebration by the entire plaissance of attenders.

“Bully!” shades of T.R. political rallies past.

Before euphoria takes complete control, A.O. cannot pass up the opportunity to thank the two people responsible for this day, mentors of possibilities and means, in that order. ”My fellow graduates, I know it’s a hot day,” he blushes, “as my lapse in balance can attest, but I will not let this occasion pass without introducing the two men who made the School of Medicine a reality for me, Doctor Siegfried Endlichoffer and Herbert Love!” Herbert stands, while helping Ziggy conquer rusty knees. “I dedicate my future patients to the Lord God Almighty and these men, his good and faithful servants.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #185


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #180

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #180

…Harv and Judith Pearson have changed places with a Blountstown family man, a worker in the Blountstown Granary with a wife and two children…

Company Town-001

The fall of 1908 contains a Presidential election, which would likely mean that Teddy Roosevelt would be re-elected, despite a country awakening from TaftWHdepression, but true to his word, he does not run for a third term. That speaks volumes for the man, going out while you are still on top.

The nation dips back into the state of Ohio for their president, an assassin’s bullet inserting a New Yorker in between. William Howard Taft will end a twelve year pipeline connection between Washington and Tallahassee. Even though Taft had been “Rough and Ready Teddy’s” Secretary of War and staunch tactical executor, he shares none of the friendships, only policies.

  But, a big but at that, Roosevelt will not leave office until March 9, 1909, four months and three days away. Until then, he will support his supporters, up to and past what is considered usual and customary.

Just like a million other Americans, he reads the Pearson-Eastman Journal faithfully and its December feature, sure enough, “Bigotry and Corruption/Beyond Emancipation and Above the Law”, has caught his eye.

Told in a way that can only come from an insider, having to live their lives in harmony with the rest of the community, Harv Pearson has changed places with a Blountstown family man, a worker in the Blountstown Granary with a wife and two children. Before you jump to conclusions, Judith plays the part of the wife and mother, who just happens to contract an extreme interest in photography. The middle-teen-aged children are the sole reality, looking at this charade as a change of pace, time away from parents who keep very much to themselves. Real Mom and Dad are treated to a honeymoon in New York, once considered an unnecessary luxury, before life got “Blountified”.

As in most undercover stories, these fifty-ish journalists need a physical transformation. Harv and Judith look young for their age, the former having more ground to make up, but becoming a lower class working couple proves to be most difficult.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #180


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