Points of Color



Opening Quote

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.”

Tony Robbins is a popularand influential motivational speaker and coach (whose clients have included such renowned individuals as Princess Diana, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and former Soviet political leader, MIkhail Gorbachev.) He has published a number of self-help titles including, Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.l He is controversial for both his self-promotion and his theories, which manifest themselves in “firewalk” seminars in which participants demonstrate their control over their environment by walking barefoot over red-hot coals.


On January 6, The New York Times covered the House passage of a bill repealing Obamacare. The piece included a few comments by Democratic House members who spoke to the purely political nature of the legislation. But what was lacking–throughout the entire mainstream media conflation–was a resounding denunciation of the Republican Party which demonstrated anew that it is more concerned with political theater and ideological correctness than in fulfilling their Constitutional roles.
Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer noted that 62 similar anti-Obamacare bills already had been ratified by the House. But the news was that this was the first time that the Senate too had voted to repeal. The bill was sent on to the White House, where, on Friday, January 8, President Obama vetoed it just as the Republicans knew he would. Steinhauer had commented that “Republicans do not have sufficient votes to override the president,” so this whole exercise was yet another futile gesture in a nation crying out for genuine governance.
Why is there an absence of rigorous media condemnation of Republican initiatives solely motivated by ideology? Anyone not brain-dead is aware of the endless list of problems confronting the U.S. Yet many of these critical challenges to our way of life continue to grow in complexity and danger precisely beause of GOP inaction and obstruction–such as the lack of a plan to repair the nation’s infrastructure.
Steinhauer’s article was quick to describe a rising popular dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act, when, in fact, the law reflects the pretzel-like logic that demanded that the provision of health care insurance continue to be profit-driven. The OECD reports that the U.S. spends 17.7% of its GDP on healthcare while the national average within the organization is only 9.3%. Analysis by the Commonwealth Fund shows how little the nation gets for its attachment to private-sector metrics: “[T]he U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of peformance….Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries…the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity.”
The Times article also did not mention how 20 Red States, desperate to harm both the ACA and President Obama himself, refused to expand Medicaid as permitted by the Supreme Court affirmation of Obamacare. Thus, enrolling as many citizens as possible in health insurance, was a critical aspect of the cost-cutting intention of Obamacare, and it has been subverted by the GOP. In those self-destructivae states that did not expand Medicaid, sick people continue to flock to emergency rooms for expensive treatment rather than receiving health insurance that would provide better care a much lower prices. NPR estimates that states refusing to expand Medicaid “saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.”
Why does the GOP get a free ride on its destructive, obstructive stance that ensures that we are a nation in decline rather than one striving to cope with all the challenges it faces? In 2012, political commentators Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published a book entitled It’s Even Worse Than It Looks that squarely placed the blame for American legislative gridlock on the GOP. The work received widespread coverage, but it is as if the nation is all suffering from Jason Bourne’s amnesia. Nothing has changed. The GOP, especially in a presidential election year, is willing to hold the nation hostage to the small number of core Republican voters in a few key primary states. These fanatics are far to the right of the general population. It does not matter if the nation rolls dangerously on the storm-tossed waves of a thousand challenges. However, one might expect more truth from those in the mainstream media. There is no “fairness doctrine” issue here. By passing on legislation with the certain knowledge of a veto, it’s solely the GOP that continues to spin its wheels and waste yet more time. The pain citizens experience living in a society kidnapped by income inequality will not be alleviated if the GOP continues to abort any and all legislation its most reactionary elements oppose.
[NOTE: This piece is an example of a writer’s error. It was intended to be submitted as a “Letter to the Editor” of The Times, but then I discovered that my wordcount was six times what is specified by The Times.]


The Voyager–not the Enterprise.
I add my vote as a committed Star Trek person who has seen every iteration at this point that Voyager is as good as any of the series. In fact, with its female captain, chief engineer and Seven of Nine, the show had a new feel to it. I found the doctor a bit tiresome, although the concept of a hologram developing new skills and interests was a good a story arc as Data’s. Neelix grew on me. Seven of Nine was not merely T&A; she was brilliant and extraordinarily competent at virtually every task she attempted. The Astrometrics Lab was her creation and soon Voyager could not function without it. This was a show of misfits; Lt. Paris, for example, came from a penal colony, many crew members were formerly in the Maquis resistance, and there was a non-conformity that fit the fact that the ship was in uncharted space for the Federation. This was the Borg’s home turf, as well as Species 8472. Dynasties rose and fell with Voyager buffetted by the turbulence. Kate Mulgrew was a good captain–as brave as any, as wise, and she enjoyed mentoring. I could have watched another 100 episodes.
[NOTE: This is the review of Star Trek Voyager I posted on Netflix.]


Symbols is the title of a artwork poster I created that incorporates many of the political and other symbols which enable us to navigate life. A print is in my Etsy.com shop.
“Symbols”–and more than 20 other works– can be ordered as a high quality print at my Etsy.com shop.
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