, , , , ,

The Slave Ship, Joseph Mallord William Turner: This painting depicts the deadly Middle Passage, where ships carrying hundreds of slaves crossed the Atlantic from Africa to the Americas. With foul conditions and often few provisions, many slaves died and were thrown overboard (1840). (Photo Credit: Burstein Collection/CORBIS)
Source: http://www.history.com/topics/slavery/photos

Joseph Mallord William Turner: RA (baptised 14 May 1775 – 19 December 1851) 

“Blackmail is an act, often a crime, involving unjustified threats to make a gain or cause loss to another unless a demand is met. It may be defined as coercion involving threats of physical harm, threat of criminal prosecution, or threats for the purposes of taking the person’s money or property. It is the name of a statutory offence in the United States of America, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Victoria, Australia, and has been used as a convenient way of referring to other offences, but was not a term of art in English law before 1968.”

“Blackmail is the use of threats to prevent another from engaging in a lawful occupation and writing libelous letters or letters that provoke a breach of the peace, as well as use of intimidation for purposes of collecting an unpaid debt. Some US states distinguish the offenses by requiring that blackmail be in writing.”  (See Blackmail, Wikipedia.)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, signed into law on 23 March 2010, and implemented on 1st October 2013.  It will be expensive, but if the cost is shared among all citizens, it will be affordable.  Besides, health care does not have to be as expensive as it is.

As I wrote in my last post, some members of Congress, hardline Republicans, are now threatening their government in an attempt to postpone the implementation of the already implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA).  They seem to feel that by shutting down the government and refusing to raise the debt ceiling they may persuade President Obama and his administration to delay the implementation of the long-awaited and long-overdue Affordable Care Act.  It could fizzle out, to the detriment of the American people.

There is money in the United States

Although the US incurred a huge debt waging war in the Middle-East, there is a great deal of money in the US.  However, it is not in the public purse, but in the hands of individuals who do not want to pay their fair share of taxes.  If these individuals were willing to pay their fair share of taxes, little, if anything, would prevent the US from providing its citizens with better social programmes.  Moreover, the debt might be paid earlier than expected.

Raising the debt ceiling: “conditional”

Given that this debt was incurred during a Republican administration, it would seem reasonable for members of the Republican Party to help eliminate it.  But that is not the path they have chosen.  Raising the debt ceiling has become conditional upon postponing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which, as I have already mentioned, would jeopardize its being implemented in the foreseeable future.  Why make raising the debt ceiling contingent upon delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?  The Obama administration is being bullied, which is not acceptable.

I have been pondering this crisis.  Raising the debt limit does not pose a problem, not in the short-term.  But posturing on the part of the Republican “suicide caucus”[i] in Congress could trigger a financial crisis that would dwarf the recession that bedevilled the US and the world in 2008.  Instability or perceived instability can destroy an economy.

The US has defaulted on paying debts before (see NY Times).  However, paying one’s debts remains an obligation.  (See Debt, Wikipedia.)  China will not wait.  The US lost its triple A rating during the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011.  Now, the dollar itself might suffer.  To my knowledge, the US dollar is still the reserve currency, or was that yesterday?

I believe that by insisting on the Obama administration delaying the implementation of the already implemented Affordable Care Act, the “suicide caucus” is not negotiating.  On the contrary, it is threatening.  As a result, the US economy, not to mention other economies, could sink faster than the Titanic.

Could it be… no!

I was about to suggest that hardline Republicans may be embarrassing a political opponent on the basis of ethnicity.  President Obama is a man of colour and voter purge attempts are leading one to suspect racism.  But I now realize that I must be wrong.  At any rate, I want to be wrong, but may be stating the truth.  I would like to think that most Americans are not racists, but too many still are.  The Blacks in America did not have the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, introduced by US President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  It is therefore a relatively recent event.

However, there is a perturbing video on the internet.  Click on http://pro.stansberryresearch.com/1308EOACANEH/PPSIPA11/?h=true. Under a picture of former President Bill Clinton, there is a video and, above it, one can read “The End of Barack Obama.”  This video is truly disquieting and it has been seen by millions of people.

President Obama as Scapegoat

Therefore, my neighbours to the south are being held hostage, and so are its trading-partners, for reasons that are dishonourable.  Again, China will not wait.  Two words sum up Barack Obama’s presidency: obstructionism and scapegoating on the part of extremist members of the Republican Party.  They want to pin a fault, this time a default, on President Obama and are going to great lenghts to achieve their goal.  The crisis could end today.  In fact, it need never have arisen.

Meanwhile in Canada

Canada has comprehensive social programmes.  My former neighbour, the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen (born 1921), is their architect.  This mission was entrusted to him by Prime Minister Lester B Pearson (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972), a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  Lester B Pearson introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, etc.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24365018 (debt ceiling)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24388669 (shutdown headache: Boehner)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24433182 (John Boehner’s ambition)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24426881 (China tells US to avoid debt crisis)
http://pro.stansberryresearch.com/1308EOACANEH/PPSIPA11/?h=true (The End of Barack Obama)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/29/bill-clinton-gop-government-shutdown-obamacare_n_4012148.html (GOP ‘Begging For America To Fail,’ Bill Clinton)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/government-shutdown-international_n_4039527.html (laughing stock)


[i] Anthony Zurcher BBC News, Washington


“This is the most recent example of the ongoing problem Mr Boehner has controlling the Republican caucus, especially a rebellious faction hailing from solidly conservative, mostly rural areas across the country.

They’ve been called the “suicide caucus” in reference to their disregard for their party’s survival. In national security debates, immigration reform, disaster relief, defence authorisations, and even agriculture funding, Mr Boehner has found his position undermined by these rebellious legislators.

But these representatives reflect the will of the voters who sent them to Washington, a decidedly different demographic than America at large.

This has forced Mr Boehner to operate more like the tolerant head of a coalition government than an iron-fisted speaker of a past era, who could make or break a politician’s career at will.”


Nat ‘King’ Cole sings “Blue moon”       
American-Flag_Flat_© Micheline Walker
October 7, 2013 
The American Flag
(Photo credit:  Wikipedia)