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Obama Melts Ice Cream Cone

Obama by La Criatura on Flickr The Commons

A recent ludicrous editorial in The Oklahoman basically arguing against providing health care to impoverished people through Medicaid used a report to make a point and then bashed the same report.

Believe this part of the report. Ignore this other part. That’s some stellar argumentation there. (Wait. If this part of the report is wrong then . . . oh never mind. It’s The Oklahoman.)

The Sunday editorial, using the “O” word, is titled “Obama tactics reveal Medicaid expansion danger,” and it’s a solid example of exactly why the newspaper’s commentary has no credibility just in terms of basic logic. That’s not even to mention its crass, suffocating right-wing ideology, which I believe is one of the reasons for the newspaper’s continuing financial demise.

So the seemingly big point of the editorial is that the federal government—i.e. “President Barack Obama”—has “threatened” to stop funding “uncompensated care pools” in some states for uninsured patients unless those states expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Those states being “threatened” personally by Obama don’t include Oklahoma so one has to wonder what the big point is anyway, but then the editorial makes its big move.

See, Oklahoma is one of those states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the ACA because, as the editorial claims, it would eventually cost the state $850 million, according to a Leavitt Partners report. The report by the Utah-based firm also argued the expansion would add $400 million to the economy, but all that’s nonsense to The Oklahoman.

Here’s the key paragraph:

Somehow citizens are supposed to believe that if government takes $1 from taxpayers and spends it, then it will have greater economic impact than if that $1 was spent by taxpayers. Obviously such claims are bogus, which is why the Leavitt report’s estimate of an $850 million state cost should be taken seriously while purported “savings” can be ignored as accounting fiction.

I hate to even use the clichéd term “cherry picking,” but then I’m writing about a clichéd newspaper that publishes clichéd editorials supported by a clichéd ideology that’s dying on the vine, on its last gasp, kaput, finito, going, going, gone. This editorial is the picking of cherries at its most exquisite.

Let me clear this up. Somehow citizens get two ice cream cones for $1 but then one of them melts. This isn’t right. Obama made that ice cream cone melt by shooting laser beams from his eyes while wearing his “O” cape. It’s an ice cream cone fiction. Believe that the lime sherbet ice cream cone melted but that the orange sherbet ice cream cone didn’t. Get it?

My point is that it doesn't matter where that $1 is coming from that's going into the economy in terms of basic mathematics. Also, shouldn't The Oklahoman be in favor of the federal government spending less money on health care? It contradicts itself.

The bottom line is that The Oklahoman editorial board, which is pretty much a local propaganda division for the Republican Party, could care less about poor people. The newspaper’s editorial writers apparently want to live in a world where fellow citizens suffer, and they will dispense with logic and morality to make sure that happens here.

Fallin Disregards EPA Rules

Calfing Glacier - Global Warming? By Len “Doc” Radin

Gov. Mary Fallin’s so-called “executive order” last week that informs the federal government Oklahoma will not comply with Environmental Protection Agency rules is yet another example of how she and her fellow Republicans disregard the environment here.

Our planet is facing a major crisis because of global warming caused by manmade carbon emissions. Rising sea levels due to the melting of planet’s ice caps already threaten some coastal communities, but here in land-locked Oklahoma we don’t care, right?

At issue are new EPA rules that seek to curb the carbon emissions at coal-fired energy plants in Oklahoma and elsewhere. These rules, supported by the federal Clean Air Act, aim to cut carbon emissions from energy plants 30 percent by 2030. The rules are hardly draconian and would help the planet, and we do live on a “planet,” not just in Oklahoma.

Here’s part of Fallin’s Obama-bashing statement about the her actions:

President Obama and the EPA are fighting a politically charged war against utility consumers across the country. While the environmental benefits of these regulations will be minimal, the economic devastation of these overreaching and unrealistic regulations will be very real. The order I signed today makes it clear the state of Oklahoma has no intention of implementing new regulations that run directly contrary to the interests of our citizens and our state. We will continue to stand up for Oklahoma families and businesses by fighting this overreach and bad policy in court.

How is disregarding environmental devastation not standing up for Oklahoma families? Fallin’s statement seems backwards to me. The idea that utility rates will soar because of the new rules isn’t feasible because government heavily regulates energy plants, which is a good thing. If rates do skyrocket, it will be because regulators and lawmakers here let that happen, not because we have a cleaner planet.

Fallin’s order also asks Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to “take such action as is necessary to enforce the rights of the State of Oklahoma and its citizens from such federal actions as may impact the freedoms of its people.” In other words, sue the federal government again and again, which is Pruitt’s trademark.

Oklahoma’s ongoing war with the federal government during the Obama era has done nothing for this state in real, tangible terms. It has only cost taxpayers money because of senseless and theatrical lawsuits.

All this anti-federal government nonsense might make some people here feel good momentarily, but it’s dumb and makes the state look bad to the rest of the world. Let’s hope we can restore some sense of reality to our state government here in the future.

Bill Defends Religious Bigotry

Rainbow Architecture by Sue.Ann, on Flickr

The so-called “religious freedom” legislation law signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin may not mean much in the real world but it’s historically abhorrent.

The law essentially means nothing. It allows ministers to refuse to marry people if they don’t want to because of their religious beliefs. This is already the case.

The law, of course, is about same-sex marriage, which is now legal in Oklahoma because of a federal court ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court, as we all know, is getting ready to decide if same-marriage, now legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia, should be the law of the land. Let’s hope the court rules against discrimination and legalizes same-sex marriage everywhere in the nation. I think it will.

This was Fallin’s rather blank and generic statement about House Bill 1007:

This bill makes it clear that the government can never compel our religious leaders or houses of worship to act in violation of their faith where marriage is concerned. I am proud to join our Legislature in taking a strong stand in defense of religious liberty and the freedoms awarded to all American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

No, there’s not a lot of gay-bashing in that statement, but it’s obvious the bill is a backlash to the growing cultural acceptance and tolerance of same-sex marriage. Oklahoma lawmakers and Fallin, as usual, are historically wrong on this social issue. It will make them look foolish and hateful in the future when same-sex marriages are performed in most, if not all, mainstream churches. That time is coming faster that many of us could even imagine 10 or so years ago.

There’s simply no rational legal argument against same-sex marriage as the arguments before the high court this week have shown. The only arguments against same-sex marriage are basically religious in nature and have nothing to do with licensing and regulation. There are plenty of ordained ministers who will marry same-sex couples here in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

This petty bill signed by Fallin does nothing constructive. It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money. Same-sex marriage is here to stay. Discrimination is always wrong and hateful. Passing a law codifying discrimination may make bigots feel good momentarily, but history will not be kind to them. Surely, Fallin, now in her second term as governor, knows that on some level. Maybe not.

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