Monday, January 31, 2011

Keen on debating the U.S. Court’s ruling on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Reform Law?

Nobody can say supporters of the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010 shy away from robust debate(s) over the current U.S. Courts ruling regarding the constitutionality of the Law. Contrary, supporters of this law are ready to go into the trenches to stand firmly behind the law. Frankly, supporters of the law are saying: Jose, this law is not going anywhere! While the deficiency in the law is seen from the perspective of constitutionality; and, individuals and state governments that have taken the federal government to court on the constitutionality of the law, marketing the law to the public and the courts, as an extreme product that tramples on the rights of the individual citizen. Believers in the law are saying striking down this law is going to do more of a disservice to Americans than the cost of the litigation that will be involved in getting the law ultimately before the the Supreme Court. In addition, believers in the law have a hunch that the naysayers are mischievous and probably have an axe to grind with the President for political reasons; and, their acrimony over this law, is politically driven, and hardly made on the merits of the law.

Now, talking about the litigations over the law. There is about an even and delicate consensus among the rulings so far, with half of the judges that have heard arguments over the constitutionality of the law, ruling in favor of the argument and another half ruling against the same. Many lawmakers and observers of the courts are absolutely convinced that the ultimate adjudication of the constitutionality of the law, as passed in 2010, will end up at the United States Supreme Court, someday. Many interest groups in state governments, attorney generals offices, political parties and lobbyist firms are modestly agreeing that until the Nine-member U.S. Supreme Courts hear this case, no one for sure can rest on his or her oars on the constitutional survival of the law. However, no one needs to doubt that when all is said and done, most parts of the law as it stands will remain, even after the Supreme Court hears the case sometime in the future. The blog today goes into the terrain of questioning the ruling from a federal Judge, in the state of Florida, not out of malice but for a better understanding of the Judge's ruling.

U.S. District Judge Robert Vinson did not bend over backward on the issue of severability as he declared that since one part of the law is unconstitutional; all the law must be unconstitutional. Ruling on the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the judge declares: “I must conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system.” While a similar ruling was handed down by an earlier district court judge in a different state, the ruling from Florida contends, unlike the earlier ruling, that: "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void." This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.” These were Judge Vision’s words. In a like manner as if arguing with himself, the Judge added: "At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled 'The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act'." This last statement makes some of us contend: Judge Vision, could you please make up your mind, so we know where the constitution stands via your ruling; or, do we have to get another constitutional team of lawyers and judges to interpret your ruling for the average layman?

It is the position of the supporters of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 that Judges hearing challenges to the law, be as specific as possible in their rulings and circumspect enough in their interpretation of the Constitution vis-a-vis the viability of the law so the public do not consider them as activist judges in the long fight over why Americans deserve portable health care insurance or the associated provisions in the passed health care reform law. It is either the ruling is specific enough for the public to articulate where the constitution stands or where the judge defaults, or is direct enough to understand the argument of the ruling judge, regarding the position he or she is taking regarding the constitutionality of the law.

Popular media references on the judgment handed down on the constitutionality of the affordable health care law, emphasize too much negativity; and occasionally, have made it difficult for the average Joe six packs to understand what the judges are saying: are they ruling the patient protection and affordable care act constitutional or unconstitutional? If so, what are the parameters in the constitution that the Judges are laying their ruling on? It looks as if some Judges, at least those who have ruled on the cases brought before them, have ruled in ways that is likely to impact the law; either in terms of having congress make substantive changes to provisions of the law or, tweak some provisions in the law so it meets the constitutional threshold or completely junk the law to appease the naysayers and Republicans. We will also like answer to the question: how about those provisions of the law that have gone into effect and which must patients already benefiting adequately from the law and who are attesting to the benefits, necessity and relevance of the law in lifting millions of Americans out of health care poverty? Are the current courts' rulings jeopardizing the sanctity of the law or threatening some or all its contents; including provisions that have gone into effect?

Critical to the effort of the Democratic Lawmakers who have helped us passed the law is the conviction of the constitutionality of the congress to pass a law that impact interstate commerce, just as the affordable health care reform law is, and have debated many of the provisions of the law, looking at many of its pitfalls before passing the law last year. In any event that there are some inadequacy in the law, constructive amendments to change components of the law that seem to have crossed the line or failed to meet the argument of constitutionality would have been more appropriate rather than the current: pull-it-down bandwagon from the mischievous undertakers of the critics of the law; and, our suspicion, the Republican oligarchs! The provisions in the law are well clarified and for close to twelve months, republican lawmakers were virtually begged during the debates to indicate their preferences or reservations. Unfortunately, they all refused for their party political reasons; a few of which are contestable and some, actually ludicrous!

Republicans failed to give any support to the provisions of the act as it was being debated. They counterbalanced, run down and bad-mouthed efforts by Democrats during the debates and failed to offer alternative suggestions or recommendations on the issue of constitutionality of the law. Their current strategic arrangement to go to the courts to achieve what they could not achieve democratically within the walls of congress. The antagonist of the law in congress and public want to exploit the expatiation power sharing in the Democratic state to pull down a law that is beneficial to many and which has attempted to alleviate the burden of explaining to insurance executives why you will like to obtain health care insurance when you have a pre-existing health condition. The affordable health care reform law guarantees the people's right to health care insurance, even when they are currently with some ailments; this has been estimated to be in the neighborhood of one-third of the working population in the country. Republicans and those who have brought the numerous cases against the passing of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010, owes Americans answers: Why do Republicans always have to resort to the courts to achieve what they cannot obtain by popular vote or congressional debates?

The sweeping health care reform law championed by Democrats and their leader, which for now looks contentious, has been dragged to the courts because Republican self-interest groups want to take the country back to a situation where over 45 million Americans were without health care insurance. These selfish lawmakers want to take us back to the Jim-crow era of health-care system! They will like the courts to throw the law out and make all of us take the beating by paying to care for the uninsured in our hospital emergency rooms. If you think the ‘Jim-crow era’ health care system is rather humorous; or a grand and outrageous classification of the past health care system, can anyone answer for me why only the minorities and the poor Caucasians that suffered disproportionately under the previous health care system? The corollary to this question is: why it that the Rich are able to get whatever health care they want, including preference in the line for organ donation, while the poor, underprivileged are often left in the sun to dry out? The Republicans are putting considerable pressures on the courts to decide in their favor, they are not seeking to amend the law where they perceived there is need for such amendments; rather, they are seeking the complete abrogation of the law. This is pure selfishness and Americans of good faith and favor must stand up against this human atrocity.

Unto the Supreme Court we go and may the better person win! By denying Americans a good health care system, where the poor and the rich could be on similar footing for the type of care and insurance coverage, the naysayers should not expect loyalty from a deprived nation. The disaffection for the critics of the health care law is real; and the disaffection for the political party and members seeking to overturn of the law is infinitive. The poor in our nation are dissatisfied with the type of situation where they cannot carry health care insurance that is good enough to get the type of care their physician is recommending. Pretty much what the Affordable Health Care Reform Law of 2010 does, is to listen to this outcry. The naysayers consistently maintain that the affordable health care reform law is unconstitutional; however, is their persistent attack on the promulgation of a law that tends to the needs of over 45 million Americans constitutional? Is there a negotiable arrangement where the objectionable provisions in the law are amended, rather than having us have to completely abrogate the law? These are important questions for all of us as we proceed in this long and arduous journey of ensuring that Americans do not continue to suffer the pain of a broken health care system.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama’s State of the Union Address: The myth of the Republican Consensus

It should not be a surprise that Republicans do not hold one thought regarding the State of the Union Address from President Obama. It is difficult to place Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gestures as he delivers the Republican Response to the State of the Union in the Virginia House of Delegates' chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., next to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) response or to the blistering and anger-filled delusional response of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) of the Tea Party. Each of these republican's response has very strong ties to the old party maĆ®tre: cut taxes, cut spending and their newly found loathsome diatribe: the affordable health care law of 2010. The response from Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is probably motivated by aspiration for the oval office, Representative Ryan’s response from perceived love for the Republican party principles in his home state of Wisconsin; and that of Representative Bachmann, on the pursuit of extremism in a world of civility and reachable truce. Today's blog explores why Republicans have more than one official rebuttal to the President's state of the union address.

The different motivation and contradictory response to President Obama’s speech from Republicans indicate that all representative spokespersons from the Republican Party do not have a common goal or ambition to see that the problem of unemployment is addressed with the urgency it deserves; or, understand the Role of a President in austere times like this and what the goal of his speech must be if we are to move the nation ahead or wake it up from the economic doldrums. While the Tea Party are offering ideas strictly associated with their principles, sometimes considered as extremist, and other two Republican spokespersons are offering responses that are altruistic in the current economic dispensation, it is hard if not completely difficult to place the beef of the Republicans Party with the President’s leadership and administration. One may be suspicious that the Republicans are generally nursing the ambition of unseating President Obama and that is why they are vehemently challenging his leadership, when for all intense and purposes, the nation needs a vision to help us deal with our plundered economy and huge national debt, a dead or dying housing market and consequential impacts on our quality of life.

The three republicans spokespersons are somehow conflicting in the way they perceive what the 2011 State of the Union Address is and how best to share the intricate vision to bring about progressive changes in the status of the nation, politically, economically and psychologically. If Tea Party faction of the Republican Party does not share a wiliness to engage with Democrats and is pursuing separate and extreme values relative to their counterparts within the Republicans Party, then definitely Houston…. Republicans have a Problem! This nation needs to heal from a sluggish economy, cutting taxes singularly will not create enough jobs in a 9.6% unemployment environment; neither will blistering statements from Republicans spur economic growth or strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs. We went through this route under President Reagan and got nowhere. It will not be wise to keep our head in the sand like an ostrich by pursuing failed public policies. We need our economy to grow and that means every hand on deck!

The moderate Republicans are desperate to understand what their fringe party members want, however, because they are lacking in credibility, Americans are unable to appreciate their agenda in all the speeches offered as rebuttal to the State of the nation’s address from President Obama. Do we want to promote entrepreneurship and innovation at the expenses of the vulnerable members of our society; or, do we want to get rid of essential regulations to allow for increased pollution and destruction of our habitat or because Republicans are so much sold to the corporate interests, or what?

In the absence of a coordinated and reflective response from Republicans, the logic of the Tea Party blistering response is lost in the noise that comes with it and the mainstream response from Republicans start to look much like a political strategic dialogue to unseat probably the most articulate and reflective President we’ve had in the past decade. To unseat Obama, Republicans must convince the nation that the loonies in the Tea Party are not the best that the Republicans can offer. They will have to convince us that Twittering knee-jerk response to a one-hour speech by a President will actually reduce unemployment, cut Medicaid costs and offer a better health care reform law than the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010. Similarly, those Republican aspiring for the Whitehouse must be bold enough to offer workable solution(s) to a cyclical problem that has beset our economic system.

Many Americans watching the President Speech saw a pragmatic advocacy mixed with appeals to the best in American ideals. A few probably wished his words can get our family members and friends back to work right away. My wife acknowledges that the President gave a smart and funny speech. However, things do not work that way and we understand. That is why we probably took the optimistic and above-the-frame or ground stance that President Obama has sought in his 2011 State of the Union Address. In case Republicans, especially the Tea Party members, miss the President’s points in the State of the Union Address, here in a nutshell:

• Tax incentives for entrepreneurs and small businesses to encourage jobs creation;
• Eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars currently given away to oil companies and the rich in tax deferment;
• Put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, ensuring that the investments are paid for, by attracting private investors;
• Consolidate the federal bureaucracy and force government to “live within its means”;
• Reaffirmation of the progressive agenda, including the health care reform and the repeal of the don’t ask and don’t tell laws;
• Cutting domestic budget to the tune of 12% by freezing discretionary spending;
• Acknowledging the place of teachers in nation building;
• Freezing spending for five years to allow us catch up with the run-away deficit; and
• Recognition of American ingenuity and market place.

For sake of efficiency, President Obama would like to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government agencies. The President will like to cut domestic spending which can only represent 12% of our budget, a realistic strategy which the President personally accepted is not going to be enough to address our huge budget deficit. Some critics argue that President Obama has not shifted from the big government, big taxes, and big spending approach to governance; however, they fail to realize the macro-economic principles, when the private sector is refusing to invest, government has the obligation to infuse spending in the short-run to increase or ginger business activities. When there are slacks in private sector investments, the nation is better off, in the short run, having the government spend or invest to encourage business activities and look forward to some improvement in business activities that will create jobs. Other critics maintain that freezing spending for five years would only make a tittering economy fall backwards further. There is hardly any prove to the last suspicion; however, if we do not get serious about halting our pace of deficit, we may end up going a begging from our Chinese creditors.

Ironically, Republicans can find something they will agree with the President: getting hold of our run-away deficit! However, maybe the Republicans should agree among themselves, what route the nation must now take to address the few shortcomings of the President’s speech.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joint Resolution of Supporters of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010

On strictly party line vote today, the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 was repealed with 245-189 vote spread in the United States House of Representative. As if celebrating a World Series football match, Republicans were calling for multiple proposed changes to the law, including the elimination of a requirement for individuals to purchase coverage, limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and other additional changes to the law as passed last year. There were so many promises from Republicans to repeal and replace the law; yet, their emphasis was more on the repeal rather than replace, as it seems Republicans have no genuine alternative for all the benefits in the law that has been celebrated by many Americans as ground breaking and responsive to both the young and old. Yet, Republicans still have bone to pick with the law. Quite an insatiable bunch, you’ll say? Republicans are still panting and screaming even after the vote.

Hopefully, you’ll think, Republican Party’s furor over the Health care Law of 2010 would subside consequent to the Republican triumph in the 245-189 Vote to Repeal the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 in the United States House of Representative. Those of us who are in support of the law and who understand what a fruitless effort the Republican furor has been, would like to congratulate every member of the House that voted to repeal a law that covers the early screening of women for early signs of ovarian and breast cancers, stroke, leukemia, Diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. American men who have been privileged to stand a chance of receiving early warning screening for cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension and obesity, prostate cancer, hernia and other high risk diseases that send over two million American men to their early graves, would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to Republican lawmakers who have led the crusade and welcome the same wishes for them and their households.

For the 432,709 females who died from cardiovascular diseases and 269,819 females who died of Cancer diseases in 2006, their families and friends would like to thank the Republicans for leading the crusade to deny early warning screening for those they left behind, which the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 has provided opportunity. The Affordable Health Care Law provided for screening and early detection of symptoms that could send needy Americans to their graves early. Men and women with preexisting condition, a little over 109 million Americans applaud the Republicans for their tactical strategies and grand standing to repeal the Law. Fortunately, supporters of this law have strong allies in the Administration and Senate of the United States to ensure that this Republican assault would remain a mirage for a very long time.

The Affordable Health Care Law passed in 2010 was in fact mostly, close to seventy-five percent, the handiwork of Republicans. From various versions and debates over the years, the provisions in the law have been combinations of well-thought out health care reform provision by both parties stalwarts to emancipate Americans from the claws of health poverty. Lawmakers from both aisle of congress had worked together over several congressional sessions under both Republican and Democratic Presidencies to provide a framework for reforming the American Health Care system; although most meaningful and result-oriented efforts had come under a Democratic Party Whitehouse.

In 1994, when the Clinton Administration attempted effort to reform the health system and fix the leaking challenges surrounding the American Health Care System, Republicans actually sought close to seventy-five percent of the provisions as their preferred input, input now essentially heralded into Law by the Democrats in 2010, as their own alternative and preference. While there was heavy acrimony over the passing of the law last year, the unique fact is that Republicans had embraced and embodied many of the provisions in the current law. For Republicans to now wake up and refer this law as a Job killing law, says so much about the rank and file of Republicans and probably confirms the dis-ingenuousness of this group of lawmakers. Their vote today, is a lethal confirmation that Republicans are nothing but politicians without a compass, philosophy, and commitment to progress in the area of health care policy and law.

Vulnerability of Americans to the Republicans shire:
The 245-189 vote to repeal the law, essentially guarantees that children below the age of twenty-six , who could remain on their parent’s insurance under the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010, would no longer have this privilege. Youths, who are known to be in the high risk groups for ailments that are very expensive to treat and which are associated with high energy and risk activities associated with dynamic youthful groups, can now say, we are relegated back to a life-time of limit for treatment costs for our ailments. Thanks to Republicans, by their campaign fulfillment pledge, American youths can now consider themselves second class citizens in the most prosperous nation on earth.

According to some Republicans, America is not Europe and here we have choices, which the Affordable Health Care Law is criticized for denying us. The limited nature of the type of care that our senior citizens would now have to endure because of the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010, points directly to the insensitivity of Republicans to the potential abuse of our seniors. Seniors with fixed income, who are on Medicare, will now have to churn out more of their limited fixed income to attend to the Medicare do-nut hole that was going to completely eclipse 2015 because of the passing of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010.

The safety net for shortage in Medicare prescription coverage, which the affordable Health Care Law was about to take care of, is about to be a thing of the past, if the act being paraded in congress ever become law. In short, many of our senior citizens who have worked hard throughout their lives and who for reason of biology, do not have the strength and energy to continue earning huge income, are now held captives by Republicans. Republicans can now go on record as a political group that guarantees health poverty for 45 million Americans without health care insurance and another six million senior citizens grappling with the Medicare ‘Do-Nut’ hole palaver, before the advent of the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010.

2011 Congressional Debate to Repeal the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010:
In the ensuing congressional debate on Monday, after the mayhem of last week when one of the lawmakers was nearly sent to her grave, opponents of the Affordable Health Care Law, all Republicans, could still not convince more than half the nation that they have an alternative bill that will substitute the law they were about to repeal. According to their leaders, the repeal of this law was a campaign promise. This was more than funny; and reminded me of kids insisting that they won a bet that is about to liberate the whole world! And, once you think about it, you are likely to appreciate the conflict in the Republican's assertions: Republicans are campaigning through the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Law, to pull the rug under over 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance because they promised their political campaign donors they could do as much!

Attempts by well meaning Democrats through well constructed debate points to dissuade Republicans from chasing the mirage in the attempt to repeal the law, was hardly headed. Republicans worked hard to be heard, they worked hard to voice opposition to a law that is already doing good for millions. They worked hard to deny the dream of a better body and soul for the underprivileged and yet, want America to believe that they are a party that cares about the welfare of the common folk. The repeal act that was passed in the House of Representatives was immediately declared dead on arrival in Senate. Gladly too, the President has promised to Veto the passed act, if it reaches his desk. In six simple words: republicans are losers on this one!

In light of all these shenanigans, knowing so well that the 245 congressional lawmakers who voted to repeal the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010 are honorable men and women, who would not want a subsidized government health care system, it behooves all these people to denounce their current health care subsidy provided by the US government to lawmakers in congress. After all, if all other Americans do not deserve a subsidized health care system, no lawmaker should be benefiting from anything like that. As decent people, we call on every lawmaker who voted to repeal the Affordable Health Care law, to reject the health care coverage provided to him or her under the congressional provisions for healthcare coverage for congressmen. To fail to do this, to question the call for lawmakers to denounce and get out of the government sponsored health care coverage for congressional lawmakers, is to be dishonest, disloyal and unworthy of the office that they each occupy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebration of Life: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Environment

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Very few men and women had made their mark on the issue of the Environment and Economics. One man that did, was the Right Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. It was no secret that Dr. King was concerned about workplace safety, the environment and economic inequality that still persist today. If Dr. King woke up tonight, he will still find many of his works uncompleted and still in need of the attention of the greatest nation and finest Democracy that mankind has ever known.

Somehow, in between when Reverend King went home to be with the good Lord and now, we were able to accomplish so much on race relation, just as the preacher had surmised; but not on the environment. Did the preacher expect his children to live and play around polluted waters, air and land? Probably not. This is why we have to get back to the issue of protecting our environment and preserving our waters, soil and air, among others for generations to come.

I hope all God's children have not lost faith with the preacher's dream; and, are listening to him from the catacomb of oblivion. Today, we celebrate the life of Dr. King and are still failing him on the issue of our environment. Can we keep the faith? Can we hope for a better and new day for our environment? This is what the the right Reverend would have wanted!

Goodnight, and God's Speed.

Christopher Adekoya

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can we coach Civility in political discuss?

The confusion and tragedy of last weekend has created a powerful fellowship behind the call for civility in political discuss. The call for civility had come from the President, leaders of both major political parties, lawmakers, governors, mayors, sheriffs, police and the clergies. Many Americans see this as a green light for constructive debate on all public policy issues. Is this really feasible or is this just a wishful thinking?

The main area of concern for this type of bandwagon or reflexive call is that it has a tendency to fizzle out after a while. Politicians and the public go into a cocoon mode immediately after calls to bring civility to discussions from leaders in the public eye. Unfortunately, politics by its general nature is contentious; just as civility comes to public discuss, there comes issues that cannot wait to stir emotions in debaters of political issues. Politicians and the public are often searching to protect their turfs or interest(s); or, are often seeking ways to present their position on public issues, that does not portray them as disingenuous, insensitive or plainly foolish. Most of the bravado you saw among politicians and the public at large in the past two years over much legislation and debates of bills come out of the usual nature of the business of politics. Could we have a better or much more civil debate on political policies? Yes, but hardly has this been in the past hundred years. Can we be the first generation of Americans to bulk the trend? Maybe, but this wishful thinking is a long shot.

The difficulty of debating issues is found in the true art of debating: there are groups in support and others against the issue(s). The realities of debates are the myriad of emotions and contentions from both parties in a debate. People are generally not interested in bearing the burden of any public policy alone, they want it to be a shared burden or pluralistic; and sometimes, or occasionally, a few who are willing to have a shared burden hardly have the pulpit to present their case and are most drowned out by opposition voices. The dichotomy of a docile crowd as against the proactive or bullies, if you may, creates the challenge of incivility. How about a debate over if America should continue the war in Iraq or Afghanistan? How about the atmosphere in the country or congress during the debates over the civil rights bill in 1964? Could these bills or issues be debated in civility or will incivility be considered a way that will prevent the interest groups from winning opponents over? Could being civil guarantee that sponsors of a bill will win followership or allow the accomplishment of the initial goal of the bill’s sponsors? No one will ever know and that is why we must continue to have this debate over civility and incivility in public policy debates.

While it is feasible to have a public debate environment that is not so much acrimonious, the possibility of repeating such a civility for a longer time is very difficult, especially now with the multiple outlets of news and a 24/7 talking head atmosphere. What the fellowship and calls this week are seeking seem rather unattainable, especially when the stakes are so high that some opposing views in debates have sometimes been termed as toxic or caustic. In support of demand for civility, the blog today wants to contemplate if it is possible to coach civility to politicians, lawmakers and the media, who are main actors in national debates that impact public policies. Additionally, the objective of the blog today is based on an assumption that the current atmosphere of public policy debates has become too toxic and hardly beneficial for constructive and useful deliberations over public policy.

There are wide variations in the atmosphere of debates over public issues among national, state or local politicians, lawmakers and the media. Essentially, a debate at the national level tends to take a bigger air time and media or higher bully pulpit. Local politicians debating issues like where the water districts should end or where a crosswalk may go, hardly receives the type of media or emotions among politicians debating these issues. However, consider debates over an issue as ending a foreign war, health care or financial reforms on a national stage and you get the type of acrimony or toxicity that everyone is now saying is hardly in the interest of the nation and its people, or the politicians in the middle of the acrimony.

Now, how about coaching civility in public discuss to lawmakers or everyone that is in the public arena or in City Halls, States Assembly and the Capitol Hill? Effort as this must consider the context of impending debates in these venues of political power or public discuss. For this purpose, we will highlight three methods that can assist a government or agency seeking to develop civil cultures among our lawmakers and politicians as they ponder over the bills and laws in making:

 Coaching that facilitate self reflection and personal assessments:

Whether it is an internally generated or written bill by lawmakers, or one that was mid-wife by lobby groups, organizations, associations, networks, or paid hired hands, a lawmaker must be able to see himself or herself and their constituencies in the position of those who will directly be impacted by the bill if passed into law; or, where those in the receiving end will be if the bill actually passes. The lawmaker must start a self-discovery process of finding out where he or she stands on the issue and attempt to build both a support and probably not so antagonistic position to the impending bill, while still making his or her crucial points towards the debate over the bill.

Conversations on either phase, in support or against, by the politician, must take the maturity of impugning not the prejudice of the individual lawmaker, but the welfare of the public or state. Listed conversation positions must be neutral enough to be perceived or termed, as closely civil or civil, in public forums. The contextual understanding of the provisions in a bill or proposed public policy will afford the lawmaker the opportunity to articulate a more constructive stance that may perceived as or termed as, civil enough for public arena, even among those that are vehemently against the bill.

 Coaching that facilitate application of the law in the context of other existing laws:
When lawmakers consider upcoming bills, it is probably in relation to other existing laws on the book or public polices. Lawmakers debating upcoming bills must build on strengths, sometimes weaknesses, and opportunities associated with the existing laws and prevent radical change or transformations that will call attention of opponents, to the extent that they want to stand up in a radical way, at least in relation to what civility in public discuss, is expected to take. The most meaningful way they proceed to accomplish this, is by understanding and appreciating the position of supporters and opponents of the bill; and, in many cases the behavioral interactions among those advancing the bill, i.e. the sponsors, and the extent of possible antagonism from opponent group(s). This process is not often splendid but it is probably the best approach to achieve civility without loosing ground with your position.

To prevent chaos, which is often associated with incivility in debates, the lawmakers must not seek to dominate the debate or impact the discussion to an extent that those who are apprehensive about the proposed bill find themselves overwhelmed by the way the provisions of the bill is being touted or how the proposers are honking down on any form of opposition to the bill. For example, if the lawmaker sees the proposers of the bill are attempting to dominate the debate over the bill, he or she may want to articulate a later reaction or a well-thought out vocal response that will not be construed as being too over handed, in whatever position he or she chooses. Instead of suggesting positions that seem too uncompromising to the proposers or opponents of the bill, the position of the discussant lawmaker must be middle way; call it centrist in modern day political discuss. Instead of leading the discussion with radical rhetoric that makes either group in the political aisle uncomfortable or infuriated, the debating lawmaker may want to stimulate discussion from all possible opposition groups to facilitate a much amenable or centrist position; a position hardly considered as radical, aggressive or uncivil.

 Coaching that facilitate Language use Evaluation:
It is important that a lawmaker, public or media person evaluate the use of language, including the history and origin of a word or term before using them in a debate. It behooves the user of a language, to understand the intricate nature of using a word or term in the context of a debate or argument. If the use of a word or term will not add anything new or good, or make a substantial difference to a debate, it is in the best interest of the lawmaker, public or media person, to refrain from using it. Using a word or term in a public discuss without understanding or appreciating the origin of the word or term, can actually boomerang in the face of the user. For example, a politician seeking to absolve herself of the controversy of last week fracas, ended up using a term, that by all intense and purpose, created a sense of insensitivity and or insensibility to the concerns of a minority group. Rather than absolve the politician of any responsibility for the fracas in the Tucson, Arizona parking lot, the politician added another insult to an ebbing injury in the history and lives of the minority group. An outstanding ignorance in use of language, term or words, in any context of public debate can show insensitivity, even if done in ignorance.

Ask any seasoned debater: Are you better off using a term you are not sure of, just to fill the void in a debate or not? A resounding response will be, never! The lawmaker needs to evaluate how a term reinforces his or her argument in a debate before proceeding. Using a term could offer opportunities to focus on other previously insignificant issues which may end up derailing a good argument. When in doubt ask questions regarding the use of term or language in the context of the issue or a bill being moved through congress. Refining language use, defining the problem in the context of those that will be directly impacted and offering suggestion without offending is not only wise, it is prudent for a politician seeking to be civil in public discuss. Using some terms and language may caricature a very serious issue or create a hostile environment even for the communicator in public arena. Refining language used in a public debate not only ensure that the issue of insensitivity is taken care of, it offer the debater an additional ethos that he understands where the group about to bear the burden of a bill to be passed is coming from and where they are probably seeking to reach.

Politician must attempt to engage the public directly without offending them cautiously for public discuss to be seen as civil. The implication of a use of a term in the context of the issue being discussed will offer the audience the benefit of seeing the lawmaker as self-assessing, even on issues that he or she has deep preferences. Incorporating and adjusting the use of terms or words in a public discuss have the additional benefit of portraying the debating lawmaker as arguably grounded in the discussions at hand and open to amend where doubts or misunderstanding is apparent.

The current call for civility in public discuss is commendable. In a time of crisis like what we had last week, it shows that our leaders are cautious and understand the need for civility in the current national debates. It is also appreciated that political leaders from the two major parties saw the need to address this very hot issue in American politics of today. Whether it is possible to coach civility is another issue that this blog have only scratched its surface. What we now need is leaders in all levels of our government articulating the importance of civility in public arena and discuss, especially in our halls of government. The current antagonisms, criticisms and probably extreme radicalism you find in the length and breath of public discuss, do no one any good; rather, it gives everyone of us a bad name or rap: who of us will like to take the responsibility of having Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on an hospital bed from a gun shot because of our incivility in the use of language?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Analytical Perspectives of Some of the fifteen Recommendations from the Presidential Commission on BP Oil Spill II

D) Create an independent agency charged with ensuring companies share information about best practice in terms of worker safety and environmental controls:

This is probably contestable. We will all agree that adding another layer of bureaucracy would only create an additional burden for budget costs in a contracting economy. The performance of the defunct Mineral Management Services, was so deplorable just before its dissolution, it was arguable an agency that was a revolving door for members in the oil and gas industry, until when there was another available oil and gas executive position in the private sector to fill. The problem became so appalling that the monitoring agency only remained in name, in practice it was a toothless bull-dog. It was not only difficult to monitor violations in oil and gas drilling activities, it became too cumbersome to ensure that each company in the industry was in compliance with related laws. Necessary information from oil and gas companies going into offshore drilling at depth considered too risky were hardly secure and bearing decisions that were meant to ensure that executives at oil and gas companies were in compliance, were either not stringent enough or were ignored with the implicit consent of the regulatory agency. At the height of the British Petroleum Oil spill, the defunct Mineral Management Service was criticized for allowing insiders in the oil and gas industry to play a role in writing safety and environmental rules for offshore drilling. The agency was broken into three and renamed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement. Adding another independent agency to manage worker safety and environmental control is unnecessary. One of the three agencies already created from the Mineral Management Services can handle the worker safety and environmental control issues.

Further, following the BP oil spill it was difficult to understand who was in charge of managing the mess, because there were too many hands in the pot of soup. Congressional hearing may be organized to fine tune some of the mandates given to the three new regulatory agencies, but not an additional one. The task of strengthening oversight necessarily does not get better with another bureaucracy. What the lawmakers may want to prevent is having the revolving door between the regulatory agencies and the industry echelon. There were criticisms that the old Minerals Management Services had a former director named President of the National Oceans Industries Association. This must be a ‘no-no’ policy written in black and white into the law. We cannot have a former director of a regulatory agency moving into the private sector in the same industry he was expected to have had an oversight, with respect to the regulatory affairs. This type of indifference that permeated the defunct Minerals Management Services made it difficult to ascertain where the problem for the explosion was from and who should have monitored or noticed the problem before it became an issue on April 20, 2010. Imagine, Randall Luthi promising policies favorable to offshore energy industry, immediately after leaving the directorship of Minerals Management Services. This was comparatively an executive officer in the public sector moving into the private sector and promising heaven and earth to the industry he was supposed to have regulatory oversight jurisdiction.

E) Give Regulatory Agency up to 60 days before issuing out approval for oil drilling licenses:

For the purpose of accountability, it will be meaningful if the bid process for leases and intent to enter contract with multiple site project managers are scrutinized with an eagle eye by the regulatory agency staff. To do a good job of this, Regulatory agencies must be given enough time. I will recommend ninety days in place of 60-day recommendation from the commission. If building contractors in my city have to wait for 180 days sometimes to get approval for a building permit and before the City issues an approval, I do not see what is out of place in recommending a 90-day window of assessment for qualification for an oil and gas drilling licenses. The Regulatory agency must be in possession of all documents regarding companies that are going to sub-lease contracts on off-shore drilling platforms, including ensuring that each is properly licensed to carry out the impending operation on oil rigs and or platforms. The application for license must also provide all the names of the major officers that will be engaged on the project; and, if one quits, oil and gas companies must be directed to report replacement and changes within five-working days. There must just be a new way to regulate and govern process completions in off-shore oil drilling.

Everyone and contractor that will be impacted by regulatory agencies’ provisions must be listed; including guidelines of service on the off-shore drilling contracts, purchase, supplies and maintenance of equipment on the rigs, well specified. While we knew who was managing the BP oil rig, the issue of who was responsible to turn off- the blow-out preventer became an issue during the Macondo well disaster. We cannot afford to have that anymore. There must be a publication of notice of functions and duties of each contractor on a project and these publications distributed or placed in a conspicuous board, where everyone working or accessing the rig can easily see it. An electronic circulation of this information must be added to all emails moving between project supervisors and across companies' departments participating in the extraction of oil and gas on a rig. There must also be a periodic alert sent out every 72 hours, informing everyone about the status of the progress on a rig and the impending process to be completed. The dearth of information regarding the activities on the Macondo well was blamed for the failure of the blow-out preventer to shut down in an emergency because there were some delayed response in the heat of the explosion.

Decisions with respect to issuing out approval for oil drilling licenses are recommended to be made in 90 day, not 60 days as recommended. The lapse time between opening of a bid and issuing oil drilling licenses, must be such that regulators have enough time to turn every stone and claims in a bid. Now, there are industry insiders who would cry foul, asking that continuance must not be made for more than 30 days, except with consent of the oil companies; however, this is the same issue we just went through that landed us in a mess with British Petroleum. Any applicant for an oil and gas drilling licenses must appreciate that it is not only ability to perform or size of the oil and gas company that matter; rather prior compliance with regulatory agencies guidelines on safety and industry standards are just ass essential to the new process of issuing lease licenses. Regulatory agencies must have the capacity and ability of a company to manage a platform or rig under difficult conditions or terrain, the performance of subcontractors of similar size and magnitude of work, previous project work and complexity with respect to workplace safety, ability to perform specific project phases in accordance with engineering specifications and provisions of the regulatory agencies, must now become part of the license issuing process.

F) Establish better communication among federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Coast Guard to help improve exploration leases awards to any oil company:

This recommendation cannot be over-emphasized. How much communication, inter and intra, agencies and contractors, are so important that we can all agree that the absence of this type of fluid communication has either delayed inspections on project sites for regulatory compliance with workplace safety and other additional issues. From the time of receipt of an application for license to the end, selected firms performance on prior drilling projects must be shared freely and urgently among the regulatory agencies. Evaluation of a statement of qualification and performance data on file or submitted regarding a proposed drilling project must be readily available to any member of the three regulatory agencies, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Safety and Health Administration. Discussions with representative of submitting oil and Gas Company for licenses must be based on approved and established criteria and should be specified in the guidelines for submitting applications for drilling licenses. Applicants must be made responsible to account for any deviations and necessary precautions in case of failures to share important information with multiple regulatory agencies.

The essence of fluid communications among regulatory agencies are better appreciated, when you consider that the approval for a license might undergo so many steps and stages of evaluations and the stages of each evaluation process embodies useful information that may allow other federal agency to determine complete compliance with the mandate provisions which they are responsible for. Preservation of site and workers during accidental explosions may not seem to be important to the oil and gas company seeking drilling licenses, but it is probably important to the Office of Safety and Health Administration.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Analytical Perspectives of Some of the fifteen Recommendations from the Presidential Commission on BP Oil Spill

The severest damage to the Gulf of Mexico from the BP oil spill will probably never be known. The twists and turns of findings by oceanographers, marine scientists and microbiologist of BP oil spill signify devastating experience for marine life and habitat in the Gulf; and, it will probably take a while before we arrive at a consensus as to how much effort will be needed to return the marine habitat to its previous status, even among scientists.

Policymakers and lawmakers in congress are probably finding it difficult to develop a complete understanding of the threshold needed in marine law tweaking essential to make oil and gas companies change their way in the exploration of oil and gas, offshore. The British Petroleum offshore spill, the largest in US history, created an atmosphere of mistrust and sometimes misunderstanding of how laws on books have failed to meet the advancements in exploration technology and attendant accidents; and, how weaknesses in the enforcement of industrial safety regulations have given too much leeway to oil and gas companies exploring offshore. There were poignant criticisms of the long history of neglect and oversight in off-shore drilling and how this has contributed to the explosion and spill at the Macondo well. Enter the Presidential Commission on May 21, 2010 to help us find out what actually caused the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; and, provide recommendations for change or a new direction for the industry.

This week, the seven member commission unanimously endorsed fifteen separate recommendations in their released report. Among the recommendations from the Commission were: 1) Raise liability cap on offshore spills from the current $75 million to a higher threshold; 2) Commit 80% of the fines levied under the Clean Water Act from the BP oil spill to restoration of fisheries and shorelines in the Gulf Coast; 3) Toughen safety regulations for deep water oil drilling and require companies to demonstrate that they can deal with the risk associated with the well or depth of drilling; 4) Create an independent agency charged with ensuring companies share information about best practice in terms of worker safety and environmental controls; 5) Give Regulatory Agency up to 60 days before issuing out approval for oil drilling licenses; and 6) Establish better communication among federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Coast Guard to help improve exploration leases awards to any oil company. As many congressional lawmakers are about to act on the commission’s recommendations, this blog attempts to analyze the potential impact of these recommendations on offshore oil drilling and make some additional observations.

A. Raise Liability Cap from $75 million

The potential consequence of this recommendation is the possible increase in insurance premiums that oil and gas companies in high activity area will have to pay as they engage in increased oil and gas exploration activities offshore. Oil companies will have to fork out more money in insurance premiums if they want to engage in riskier exploration at depths hitherto unattenuated. Insurance companies underwriting exploration projects will want to have more information regarding why an oil and gas company has chosen to drill in riskier terrain or geology. The downside of this recommendation is, while huge companies in the industry may not bat an eye on the liability cap, smaller players will find they are out of luck in exploring at greater depths. Further, a few smaller oil companies may find this requirements financially inconveniencing; however, if they have to do business in an environment that will ensure that public safety is not compromised, they may want to take a second look before committing to huge projects that has potential of resulting in a spill. Lawmakers adopting this recommendation would likely inform oil and gas companies that, the huge damage to the Macondo well was minor compared to the environmental destruction and marine habitat degradation that came out of BP oil spill. This is in addition to loss of lives, money, the nation's psyche and regulatory agency re-organization from the BP oil spill experience. There is also good argument that inability of oil companies to immediately determine the extent of oil spill and in the case of the BP experience, the underestimated volume of oil gushing out of Macondo well in the first four weeks, will definitely justify raising the liability cost from seventy-five million dollars; an amount that is agreeably insufficient in case of a huge oil spill like that of British Petroleum. Documentation of marine habit damage and environmental destruction in the coming years will espouse the justification for parting with the current liability limit.

B. Commit 80% of the fines levied under the Clean Water Act from the BP oil spill to restoration of fisheries and shorelines in the Gulf Coast

Companies in the oil and gas industry have done really well for themselves and there are few doubts that they would do better in the coming decades. We have just gone through everything that is imaginable in the case of the BP oil spill. We’ve attempted to find a penalty worthy of the attention of the oil companies’ executives, or ones that will deter anyone from violating the Clean water Act with impunity. Despite a commitment to over 20 billion dollars for the Macondo well spill, British Petroleum still reported better quarterly profits. Although a company like British Petroleum may feel uncomfortable with this recommendation; it must now endeavor to do a better job regarding adherence to industrial safety regulations for its own good and that of the industry. Some of us who are industry observers believe that not only will the Gulf Coast and residents be served well by this recommendation, the 80% threshold of fines will be cautionary for risk taking oil and gas companies that are charting to nearly everywhere, underneath and overland, to seek the black gold. That the fines from British Petroleum debacle is to be spent on restoring marine life in the Gulf Coast is a learning and reflective experience for all.

The central question for lawmakers now is to ask, how did the commission come to this particular recommendation threshold? Was this in response to the clamor from the affected parties or residents of the Gulf Coast? Was it out of a genuine articulation of the size of damage and the required restoration cost to make the environment whole again? Was it in the existing provisions in the law of the land regarding the Clean Water Act or associated Laws that impact environmental sanctity? The extent of damage to an environment from an oil spill may dictate a higher percentage of levies to be committed to rectify damage. Thus recommendations articulated with a number of technical and economic factors are better justifiable, than if it was done with a fiat. While the industry as a whole may not want to question this recommendation, British Petroleum would find that it will hardly receive any sympathy from objective lawmakers. The question for lawmakers is, would the 80% threshold be laying a precedence in the correction to fisheries and shorelines damage?

C. Toughen safety regulations for deep water oil drilling and require companies to demonstrate that they can deal with the risk associated with the well or depth of drilling

Although the industry has hardly appreciated the essence of tougher safety regulations in light of the BP oil spill experience, with some of them insisting that the laws on the books are sufficient enough and they just need to be enforced. It seems appropriate to talk in terms of the changes in drilling technologies that has brought other consideration for public safety in the adoption of new ways and means for drilling for oil and gas offshore. The whole industry must be prepared at these critical moment for new adjustments in safety regulations, in light of the changing environment of risks and uncertainties in exploring for gas and oil.

Recommendations are called for a prototype of the LEAP design, Learning Experience and Performance Design model, in tweaking the safety regulations. This model is built on the premise that the oil and gas companies' efforts should be first and foremost, to enable any of their members involved in a dastardly accident of a huge oil and gas spill, to be in a position to manage the size of spill from past experience and learning of other companies (i.e. ExxonMobile and British Petroleum; and, to commit sufficient money and necessary manpower to effectively address the impact of the spill without the Federal Government stepping in to bail out the recalcitrant offender. This model breaks down the experience of oil and gas spill into three phases: before, during and after events surrounding past spills. That is, whatever learning that may have come out of ExxonMobile and BP oil spill, the industry has as a whole must has the responsibility and onus to read and understood catalog of all events and activities, both technical and non-technical, that are associated with the spill and managing the aftermath effect of the spill. Any oil company finding itself in the middle of a disastrous spill should first look at what ensued after the spill and work its way backward.

Information on the impacts of representative spills must be well understood and articulated at prior, during and after the spill to be able to understand what led to the spill, what happened during the spill, what were the consequential impact of the spill. If the oil companies understand and appreciate the after-accident impact events, they probably be more cautious, in designing, building and working on an exploration project or platform that is probably suited for a deeper depth drill or a complexity terrain or geology from where the prospecting is commencing. Would this dramatically lessen the chances of an oil spill or a huge disaster? The catalog of experience and information regarding the issues in the spill and the aftermath of the spill will create better tools for understanding risks associated with a number of offshore drilling and how to better combat the numerous after-shock events that seemed to have defeated British Petroleum and ExxonMobile in their misfortunes.

Once associated probabilities of engaging in large scale oil drilling or exploration are well understood and articulated, including what may result from an accidental explosion and the associated fines and probably the public disdain, oil companies are probably going to design an accidental oil spill-proof platforms or project; and, where they are unable, they would at least minimize the after-shock-accidental impact experience for both workers on the rigs and their management(s). For years, the oil and gas regulatory agencies have not only failed to enforce the regulations on the book, some of them hardly understood the implication of their failures and why so many people have called for the dismantling of the old and dysfunctional agency responsible for the task, the Mineral Management Services.

The LEAP model offers both the industry and the regulatory agency, real time understanding of the challenges associated with huge oil spills and the human sufferings and discomforts that often would ensue, when laws on the books regarding workplace safety, are ignored or unenforced. In addition, the model offers a combination of appreciation of the contribution of experience in accumulating knowledge of how to manage huge spills, articulate past failures of oil companies that have been in bad disasters and using such knowledge to prevent any further havoc in the industry. Supplementing oil and gas drilling knowledge with consequence of accidental explosions and spill experience information, will probably make many in the industry, take all necessary precautions to prevent huge accidents and explosion; and, associated deaths of workers.

Lawmakers must never negotiate on this particular recommendation. It is about time that the executives in oil and gas companies sit up and own-up to their past negligence with respect to regulatory safety violations. The huge oil and gas companies in the industry seem to value profits more than the challenges of having to deal with the unexpected accidental events surrounding huge explorations. The obvious failure of BP and its insistence to to workers on the Macondo well to complete the project on time, probably precipitated this accident; and since we now know that, there is hardly any reason for the lawmakers to compromise on stricter regulations on how oil and gas companies prospect for the black gold, offshore and onshore. The dramatic impact of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast is an indication that we need a firmer hand in managing how safety regulations are written and enforced in the industry.

The blog tomorrow will address the other three recommendations:
D) Create an independent agency charged with ensuring companies share information about best practice in terms of worker safety and environmental controls;
E) Give Regulatory Agency up to 60 days before issuing out approval for oil drilling licenses; and
F) Establish better communication among federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Coast Guard to help improve exploration leases awards to any oil company.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Virtuous Politician: Chastity or Homicide in Sarah’s Text?

If the clarion call of a right winger in an election campaign implores other right wingers to act or re-commit to dangerous and destructive acts, calls that can easily be misconstrued as a bait to act rather than conform or lay down arms for the safety of the fraternity, the denial of the clarion call cannot provide assurance to the fraternity at large that the initiator of the clarion call hardly meant ill or encouraged any ill-lucid right winger to perpetrate mayhem. In a lamentation of surrogates of the right wing philosophy, the mayhem of the sixth day of the week, eighth day of the first month in the year 2011, must be seen in the context of poor discuss between citizens of the metropolis, and nothing more. It must and cannot be associated with the clarion call of the Tea Party favorite politician. The metropolis wants to give the right wingers the benefit of doubt. Tonight's blog is just an intellectual exercise to help college students work on their literature essays.

Here is Sarah’s text infinitesimal: Commonsense conservatives and lovers of America don’t retreat, instead RELOAD!” The confession of faith is hardly evident, you’ll say? However, Chastity or Homicide may be interpreted from Sarah’s text by both lucid and ill-lucid Portmann. To the ill-lucid, the current metropolis politics is haunting and inconvenient, especially for the right wing fraternity. Anything but chastity of the conservative values must be rejected; and, the pillar of the state must be called to question, if need be to preserve the hegemony of the right. Homicide may be wrong to majority of the Portmann; however, if one of the disciple of the right wing philosophy finds it less haunting, let him or her foray to the marketplace and administer the gun to one of the kingsmakers, guardian of the law of the land and guests. Could the marketplace have averted this mayhem? Men and women who protect the vessels of the State have their reservations, but say, there is hope.

In the mind of the right winger, no outsider may be admitted into the fraternity of the thrown or its echelon; and, the rise of one of the politerate to power is not only unsettling, it is probably a cause for concern among the fraternity of the conservatives. The clarion call to take back the seat of the throne to the metropolis from the son of the politerate seems to be in order for the right wing, even if the clarion call seems to be unsettling and has the tendency to encourage mayhem; a reality that the right wing wants us to now sweep under the carpet, because of the outcry from the metropolis to the senseless massacre of innocent souls on a Tuscon, Arizona parking lot.

The right wing politician’s clarion call may be innocently circulated, but its impact on the ill-lucid may be strikingly similar to Armageddon. The allure of right wing philosophy including some of the extremists' flair that have recently deluded some of their rank and files, seems to serve as opiate to the sons and daughters of the touchstone. Their commitment to what is now known as an unspeakable act, has now come to be a thing of concern to the wise men and women among them. In addition to shedding light on the confusion that took place on the sixth day of the week, eight day of the month, exchanges among the politerate and the kingmakers from all political persuasion in the past three days, signify an anxiety among the right-wingers; an anxiety and trepidation that has come to be associated with their flavor of politics. The possible consequence of their past messages and the fall-out from one of their mentee's action in the sunny marketplace in Arizona has now become a question of concern to many of their backbenchers.

Some national fraternal member of the right wing feel uncomfortable for the moment, but have often identified with the exuberance embodied in Sarah’s text, an exuberance that may explode in the face of the right wing fraternity if ever one of the kingmakers in the cross-fire who is fighting for her life, ever passes away. Sarah’s assertion or other surrogates conviction in the hypothesis that Sarah’s text never called for misbehavior fails to appreciate or understand the psyche of the deranged minds or the echoes of words that were designed to “mobilize” the base.

Mob dynamics are viewed as inconsequential when adopted against the enemy; however, the victim of the catastrophe before sunset in that Arizona parking lot is not an enemy, she is one of the kingmakers, she is the daughter of an enviable family and a spouse of one of the heroes of the metropolis. That is why the question: where does the right go from here? The current theater provides a famished right wing fraternity cause for reflection as they now subscribe to the need to tone down the rhetoric. The ring-wing political fraternity brand may be spending their time in spinning the message and weaving illusion to reality; however, the upright will remain fearless and the devious fearful of tomorrow. Let Sarah’s text speak for itself, the truth is constant!

Before I go, a community of right wing philosophy inductees may attempt to live out the spirit of the words of Sarah’s text rather than the strings of syntaxes that may weave together love among the metropolis. If language does not make people do unspeakable things, what else would have led a man to take gun and mow down innocent souls? Maybe we will never know. The nagging question now is, why did it have to get to this, before truce was called? Probably implicit in Sarah's text is the rhetoric of an immoral action, probably not homicide? However, Sarah's text embodies some insinuation that is unsettling and one that is hardly associated with chastity as a topic in the politics of the metropolis.

From the word 'RELOAD' in Sarah's text, is a perception of violence, hate, prejudice, and inconsistencies which have now partly been blamed for Saturday's mayhem. This is why, all the right-wingers are proactively fighting the association of the events in that Arizona marketplace with Sarah's text. Yes, the right-wingers have great power, and their power can impact the lucid and the ill-lucid minds in the metropolis, dangerously, if uncurtailed. After the news about the disaster on Saturday subsides, the question is: Would Sarah have learned her lessons, or could another ill-lucid mind draw his or her locus from Sarah’s text? Let us all hope the right wingers have not baptized more members of their fraternity into the emotion contained in Sarah’s text!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson, Arizona: Revisiting laws that allow twisted minds and extremists among us to obtain firearms?

Wailing and crying filled the parking lot of a Safeway store in Tucson yesterday afternoon. There were pains and sorrows written all in the air as one of the extreme members of our society went on a shooting spree, plucking down six innocent citizens and maiming for life another fourteen. Yet, Americans are arguing about the need for controlling gun sales, they are arguing about the freedom to bear arms, they are doubting if anyone should be associating extremist speeches from politicians and extreme groups that are splintered all over the nation, with what happened yesterday. The blog today attempts to visit the traumatic events of Saturday in the parking lot of a Tucson grocery store that have led to the deaths of innocent people.

Words are like eggs, once broken, they are hard to retract. Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, the Democratic Representative to congress from Tucson, who is still fighting for her life, was close to being assassinated, for doing what she is best at doing: listening to members of her constituent. Ms. Gifford, who lost one of her bright staff members in the rampage, a 30-year old, was reported to be the main target of the shooting. When her dad was asked who hated her child enough to want to assassinate her, his response: “everyone in the Tea Party.” Three-term Congresswoman Gifford fought a bitter re-election campaign last November and triumphed, in spite of the Tea Party challenge. In a press conference, the straight talking but emotional Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, attempted to downplay any current danger to the community and lawmakers, but added the following: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous….And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” Isn’t this interesting?

Walk around the makeshift memorial before the hospital where the injured are receiving treatment and around the parking lot where mayhem ran loose, courtesy of twenty-two year old Jared Lee Loughner, an extreme member of our society who took it upon himself to assassinate a U.S. Federal Judge and five others, including an innocent nine year old, and you smell the pains and pangs of death. When you watch the media, especially the cable television outlet report this unfortunate incident, your eyes get misty and you ask the question: Why? Why all this chaos? Is it for the sake of the welfare of the people, an ideology, a law, a party affiliation or extremism? Why has all this happened? What has moved this man to unleash horror on Tucson and innocent families? Why are bent minds allowed to own guns? Why are politicians, who for lack of better words are opportunistic, allowed to lead the debate of issues that affect the state and the welfare of ordinary people?

I went to late night school and probably missed a lot in my understanding of the English Language Composition; however, anytime I read the following comment from a politician: “Commonsense conservatives and lovers of American don’t retreat, instead RELOAD!” I become nervous. This type of vitriolic can do more harm than good; and, as Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona, a man who has been in law enforcement for more than 40-years puts it, it is time to tune down the hate rhetoric around the nation. It is time to get back to civility and stop spreading rumors and hate! The type of words coming out of some extreme right politicians' mouth has probably made it possible for a demented mind like the rampage shooter to take an action that has led to regret for many, including innocent members of our society, who could hardly care about what type of politics anyone plays or leans toward. This is why the misadventure of Saturday is very regrettable, both for politicians in the right and left of political spectrum, including community leaders across the country.

There was consternation that Congresswoman Gifford’s vote for the health care law landed her in the face book imagery page of one of the Tea Party’s favorite politicians, where she advertised the shot congresswoman as a politician to go after in the last midterm election. This fact and other associated furor regarding what a democratic government stands for, may actually distort the perception of a twisted mind. There is information indicating that the attempted assassin and alleged murderer had written to the congresswoman in the past three years, including some communications that are considered non-threatening. There is no attempt to indicate that the favorite Tea Party politician, who entered a map on her web page riddled with crosshairs targeting Democrats in vulnerable congressional districts, including the attempted assassinated Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s is to blame for Mr. Loughner’s rampage, however, you wonder if this could not have contributed?

The resemblance of a thing is not the thing itself. No one can surely rule out or rule in a connection. However, maybe it is time to re-visit the vitreous comments going around the nation. Imagine a WEB entry in the last 24 hours regarding the attempted assassination of Representative Gifford: 1) “I’m sure Gifford’s felt the Devil biting her ass. She’s cheated him for now, but someday she will be his bride (VOX 863)”; and 2) “Liberals are many times more hateful and rabid then conservatives - don't believe me? (Xmansv)” These types of hateful and violent speeches resonate with members of the Tea Party and make many people in civil society, nervous. Could comments as these on switchboards excite blurred minded people like Jared Lee Loughner and encourage them to unleash the type of mayhem that took place in the Tucson, Arizona parking lot yesterday? Your guess is as good as mine.

There are extremists, centrists and liberals among us. The chances that an extremist, centrist or liberal would commit mayhem like what we saw yesterday in Tucson is probably equal for the three groups. The overall number of homicides committed by mentally ill people can only be determined or shown by candid statistics from the FBI, local policies office or government agencies tracking such information, including the US Census Board, Department of Commerce. Even with that, we may not be able to make completely error-proof statements as to why the twisted among us resort to violence to show their displeasure. The chances of us experiencing the mayhem of yesterday may not be totally attributed to the comments made by a people from a particular political or philosophical affiliation. What is essential now is that our lawmakers look into laws and policies, Federal and State that will permanently correct the chances of anyone who is twisted and may cause mayhem, from being in possession of a firearm. The fact that Mr. Loughner has been identified as mentally ill should have prevented him from being able to buy a firearm. Only by confronting the failures of the laws and policies on books, that have made it possible for the mentally sick to obtain firearms, would we be able to save ourselves, the type of grief Mr. Loughner had brought on the nation. We cannot ignore a system that is flawed, which continues to make it possible for anyone to buy guns and ammunition as they please, and pretend that homicides from the mentally sick around our nation will decline.