Setting aside Sunday mornings for my personal blog seemed like a good idea at the time, but I may have to re-think if I want to keep things ticking over here.

For one thing, most of Leinster’s home matches are on Saturdays, which means in turn means I have a few pints, which in turn means I don’t feel like being creative the following morning.

For another, with all the writing & editing & such I have to do for the website during the week, other online thing get left to one side.  For example…I get invites all the time to play rugby tipping games like SuperBru but although the invitees can be forgiven for assuming I’d be well up to the task, I’m such a competitive person that I just can’t enter those comps without taking a fair amount of time to make my proper choices so more often than not I decline.

Most of all I don’t get the chance to write long emails any more, and when my mother contacted me on Friday night asking me to explain the recent US government shutdown. I had to set aside my Sunday morning writing time to doing it.  So to kill two birds with one stone, I will replicate my email to stand as my latest post on this blog, as I reckon it suits the topic.

***

As I see it, Pres Obama has attempted to roll out his Affordable Care Act
since Day 1 of his presidency, while the Republicans, who of course largely
represent the money behind the pharmaceutical giants, HMOs etc, have done
absolutely everything in their power to resist. This power is limited in
the executive branch but with their media arm Fox News trash-talking the
president 24/7 and their making full use of filibuster rules in the Senate,
on top of their majority in the House, they were still able to do quite a
bit of damage.

Pres Obama being the conciliatory chap he is has offered compromise after
compromise and when he finally did manage to push through the bill into law,
almost 5 years and one re-election later, it was considerably watered down.
Think this was going to stop the GOP? Nah. Fox News kept the “Obamacare
bad” mantra going, and in Congress the only question was where they saw the
line when it came their resistance. I think October 1 2013 was the day the
act was to officially become law, covering up to something like 3million
previosuly uninsured Americans (not sure of the figure but thanks to the
watering down it was less than originally intended).

So clearly on orders from their fat-cat overlords the Republican
congressfolk, fronted by House Maj leader John Boehner but led mostly by the
uber-wacko “Tea Party”, took the federal budget hostage hoping Obama would
blink. All of a sudden the saga was resembling a plot-line from The West
Wing, and thankfully Obama stood strong much as the fictional President
Bartlet had.

All this time the 24-hour news media were loving it, painting the government
shutdown as some kind of “armageddon”. Of course it wasn’t pretty when it
happened, but luckily Obama saw it as worthwhile to show up his opponents’
shenanigans. The GOP’s PR tactics were laughable, staging “mock meetings”
for the press sitting at a table with empty chairs on the other side trying
to make it look as though it was Obama who wasn’t willing to compromise.

Eventually they had to back down and re-open the government services and it
hit the Republicans hard, and from what I’m hearing it seems they’re
allowing the Tea Party take the bulk of the fall-out so ironically they
could find themselves tossed overboard. However, just how hard it will hit
them at the ballot box remains to be seen because the congressfolk they had
to the forefront on this issue are mostly in safe conservative (often
gerry-mandered) districts and with a year until the mid-terms there’s more
than enough time for the Democrats to make their own mess to even things up
once more.

Now I could have a lot of this wrong but I reckon I have the gist. And I
don’t think President Obama is a saint by any means, but when it comes to
this particular issue he did himself proud IMO. Of course now we have the
whole Obamacare “online registration SNAFU” saga which doesn’t help matters
but from what I understand when Massachusetts rolled out the same system
(ironically under Romney) they had similar teething troubles in the early
days.

it was actually good to write about something other than rugby for a change!
Hope it filled you in. I watch pretty much every episode of both The Daily
Show & Colbert Report and recently added The Rachel Maddow Show (which is
available as a free podcast by the way) so although it may have what the GOP
call a “liberal elite media bias” it still gives a good idea of what’s going
on.

Jeff

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