Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Republican Heathcare Plan Finally Revealed

Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida did some research and discovered what the Republican Party's real plan is for health care reform. This is the type of tactic that Republicans have been using effectively to kill reform. Representative Grayson should be congratulated for turning the tables with this somewhat hilarious yet poignant presentation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 Democrats Sellout On First Vote On Public Option Before Senate Finance Committee

Here are the Democratic sellout artists. The vote on the first amendment for a public option failed 15 to 8.

Baucus (MT)
Nelson (FL)
Lincoln (AR)
Carper (DE)
Conrad (ND)

Update: Senator Nelson of Florida and Carper of Deleware voted for the second version of the public option called the "level playing field option". It also failed by a vote of 13 to 10. Senator Cantwell of WA voted for both amendments for a public option.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Progressive Ad Takes On Max Baucus

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has a new ad that attacks Montana Senator Baucus healthcare reform sandbagging and his ties to the insurance industry. Call Senator Baucus's office and tell them you want the Senator to support the public option and stop sandbagging the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare bill.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Final Push This Weekend For Public Option Now Before Senate Finance Committee

Daily Kos has an excellent assessment of the life or death of the public option being considered by the the members of the Senate Finance Committee. A vote on the amendment that would include a public option in the committee's bill is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. The Daily Kos post gives a rundown on the key pro and con Senators and who's votes will be needed for the public option to survive. Also provided are links to email or to call key blue dog Democrats who have been against or noncommittal on the public option. The final battle for the public option is more likely to occur in the Senate when a bill reaches the floor then in the house.

In recent days polls have been indicating that most Americans support the idea of a public option, even in the districts of many of the Blue Dogs who are not now supporting it. So the next three days are critical. NOW IS THE TIME TO EMAIL AND CALL THESE SENATORS.

If an amendment is approved by the Senate Finance Committee it would mean that all the health reform bills being considered by the Congress, both House and Senate, would include a form of a public option. Making the likelihood of it being part of any final health reform bill excellent.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Will I-1033 Affect Washington's Economy?

Ask people in Colorado where a similar law had to be eventually repealed.

via" NO on I-1033

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Number Of Americans Who Believe In Higher Power But Have No Religious Affiliation Grows

It's not surprising to me that surveys show that the number of Americans who believe in a higher power but are rejecting organized religions has grown. I personally am amongst that group. I've had it with organized religion long ago. I don't think I need to go into a litany of reasons. All I would offer is look around and you'll find that most of the conflict in the world in this day and age is rooted in fanatic or near fanatic organized religious dogma. I'm not just referring to Muslim extremists in some far away cave, but also to the American Christian Right, who also reject reason and fact, and helped indirectly to promote war in places like Iraq.

Hopefully I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I also would add a caveat to the observation in that many organized religions provide hope and help to many who are in need. Both in a spiritual and corporal way. But quite often in my opinion organized religions involve themselves in areas of life in which they have no business, i.e. politics. They are so involved in converting people to their dogmatic causes and congregations that they fall into the thinking and trickery of thinking that their truth should be sold as the one and only truth or the only path to salvation.

The belief in Deism , which this new spiritual thinking is associated with is not new, but the interesting aspect is that it was thought to have been something that had enjoyed its peak in popularity long ago. In fact it was popular belief system with Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers of this county. Apparently this new group of people, known as "nones", is growing. It's currently estimated to represent about 15% of the US population. If true it represents a group that is larger then most of the major denominations of the well known American organized religions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Majority of Americans Support Public Option And The Myth Of Need For 60 Votes In Senate

Democracy for America's and Governor Howard Dean provide several surveys that show Americans support the public option. They also explain that 60 votes may not be necessary to pass reform. How does your Representatives and Senators stand on the pubic option? Click here to find out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FOX News Turns Jim McDermott Into Republican

Fox News turns ultra liberal Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7) into Republican when they think it will serve their purpose of misrepresenting who gets credit for unemployment insurance extension bill now being considered by congress.

via: crooks and liars

Monday, September 21, 2009

"You can't complain about healthcare reform if you're not willing to reform your own health"

Bill Maher can be rather snobby, rude and condescending sometimes, but more often then not he hits the nail right on the head with his non PC reflections on the issues. Maher is a master of saying things that need to be said in a rather uninhibited strait forward matter of fact way.

His new rule on healthcare reform "You can't complain about healthcare reform if you're not willing to reform your own health", is one of those times he points out the elephant in the room that none of our political leaders seems to be talking about when it comes to American health issues and healthcare reform. I think I hear more about this from talking heads on the right then on the left. Except maybe the ditto heads use it for an excuse for not reforming healthcare more then as what it really should be, a value added aspect of overall reform of the healthcare system and our eating habits.

Whether it's all the fat teabaggers mostly from down south who have the highest rates of obesity going because of overly fat diets and eating habits, smoking or the general lack of exercise in America generally, we are not a very healthy country period. I recently started smoking again even though I knew full well that not smoking is the number one way to prevent a number of major causes for eventual death. So forgive me for the pot calling the kettle black here. But, of course, I'm about to quit.

I work as a volunteer at the VA and one of the things you notice if you pay attention is the VA is very concerned about obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and diet. As one of the major health delivery systems in the country they realize by encouraging patients to live a healthier lifestyle they also keep the enormous cost of any eventual treatment down. Which makes them one of the most efficient delivery systems in the country.

Maher criticizes Obama for picking a "fat" surgeon general. Or for not getting out front on issues like taxing soft drinks. It would make sense to me if you tax booze and cigarettes then you should tax the shit out of all the other things that lead to obesity and health problems. Maybe the money raised could help pay the way for healthcare reform. Seems logical. But have you seen the laughable ads already being broadcast and paid for by the soda pop industry? How about getting rid of corn syrup for starters? Here's a transcript:

"Now, President Obama has identified most of the problems with the healthcare system, but there's one tiny issue he refuses to tackle. And that's our actual health. And since Americans can only be prodded into doing something with money, we need to tax crappy foods that make us sick -- like we do with cigarettes, and like we do with alcohol. And alcohol actually serves a useful function in society, in that it enables unattractive people to get laid, which is certainly more than I can say for Skittles.

Now, I'm not saying we tax all soda, but certainly any single serving of soda larger than a baby. If you don't know whether you burp it or it burps you, that's too big.

We need to make taking care of ourselves an issue of patriotism. And if you are someone who condemned Bush for not asking Americans to sacrifice for the war on terror, sorry, but the same must be said for Obama and healthcare.

The president has already made it clear, there'll be no "sin tax" on food on his watch. And at a time when it's important to set new standards for personal responsibility, he appointed a surgeon general who is fat". I'm sorry real fat. Certainly too heavy to be a surgeon general. You know, it's a role model thing. It would be like appointing a Secretary of the Treasury who didn't pay his taxes. Oh, he did? He did. My bad.

And get this: our new surgeon general, Regina Benjamin, had previously been a nutritional advisor to Burger King. Which sells something called an "Angry Whopper Triple" that has 1,300 calories and 91 grams of fat. The only advice a health expert should give Burger King is to stop selling food.

The nutritional adviser job was described as, get this, "promoting balanced diets and active lifestyle choices." And who better to do that than the folks who hand you meat and corn syrup through a car window?

You know, when you have a surgeon general who comes from Burger King, it's a message to lobbyists. And that message is: "Have it your way."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Evangelical Sub Culture And Racism Drive Wacko Right-Wing Protest?

I like Frank Schaeffer especially because he is highly disliked by right-wing nut-balls and teabaggers. Their hatred stems from his continuing exposure of what maybe really underlying the nut-job arguments and what is driving the increase in dingbatism within the Republican Party.

So the protesters really aren't interested in protesting an alleged bad policy. Their anger and philosophy is based in evangelical Christian end times, crank religious dogma, anti secular, pro life extremist movement beliefs mixed with lots of old school institutionalized racism. More often than not this philosophy rejects fact, science and reason and even, I would argue, the teachings of Jesus himself.

The Party Of No's Favorite Movie Trailer

Don't act, think, of do anything every. Because!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers Remembered

The stunningly beautiful Mary Travers of sixties folk revival hit group Peter Paul & Mary died Wednesday. The acoustic nature, harmonies and music may seem a bit corny to the uneducated but this group had a wide influence on the folk music renaissance and the success of contemporaries like Bob Dylan and many others. The idealism of the music and it's themes of social justice were at the heart of the coming social revolution.

5th CD Republican Kathy McMorris Promotes New Wingnut Claim "Disabled Kids Death Panels"

I grew up in Washington and it embarrasses me every time I think that no nothing a-holes like Cathy McMorris-Rogers and Doc Hastings are actually representing this state in Congress. My kids call me from back East and complain because they thought Washington was a blue state.

McMorris-Rogers jumps on Republican health reform bullshit spreader with this wack job like doozy. "Republicans warn of rationing for disabled children". Here's a taste.....
"McMorris-Rodgers could not point to any specific language in the legislation currently before Congress that would deny health care to disabled children, but she said she and the families were worried that a government-run health insurance plan would give power to a government bureaucrat who would be able to decide whether or not "certain procedures or certain devices" would be covered for individuals. The independent fact-checker PolitiFact wrote last month that there "is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person's 'level of productivity in society' to determine whether they are 'worthy' of health care."
Rachel Maddow had a segment about this story on her show on MSNBC tonight where McMorris is making an ass out of herself while standing on the steps of the nation's capitol doing a her version of a Michele Bachmann imitation attempting to spread this lie. Fact: Government run SCHIP and Medicaid programs provide health coverage for all children now. So I guess McMorris is against that since some bureaucrat is getting between the kids coverage and their doctor's right to send them before these new socialistic nazi kids death panels.

We Should Shapoopi The Health Care Debate Narrative

I think that Vern Fonk should be hired to do the ads for health care reform. The nearly always hilarious Fonk ads may appeal to the simple minded on the right by keeping it funny and yes, simple. Just close your eyes and imagine what Fonk could come up with to sell the public option or employer mandate.

My Letter To Senator Max Baucas

Dear Senator,

When your old and gray and no longer a Senator, I hope, and your sitting on your porch enjoying the sunset I hope this thought comes to you.

By your complete capitulation to the corporate powers in the health insurance industry you will literally be responsible for the deaths of many ordinary folks long before their time. Furthermore you will have literally taken bread out of the mouths of the children of working people all over this country. In addition, your actions will have helped destroy the trust that Americans should have in the process and justice of government.

Your a gutless tool of corporate America. All their money and favors are not going to change that, because you have decided that your ego and apparently your lust for power, money and your beloved Senate seat are more important to you than the general welfare of this nation or it's people. Your a disgusting phony who I will work to defeat in any election where your name is on the ballot even if I have to drive 1000 miles to do it.

In the end you will have to live with this personal failure on your conscience knowing that you have sold out the vary people who put you in power in the first place, including the weak, the powerless, and those without a voice who long for someone who will bring justice to them. As the President said, this is a moral issue, not some backroom corporate sham or deal like you apparently have made it.

After all these months of fighting for health reform, and after all your stalling only to benefit the powerful, you have deliver a bill that will actually do nothing to protect working people or make the insurance industry honest. In fact it will make them even more powerful and greedy. There's a Woody Guthrie song where the lyric goes. “some people rob your with a gun some people rob you with their pen”. You, of course are in the category of hold-up men who are doing the latter.

It's funny how these right wing and corporate types are always yelling for competition except when they are the ones who are expected to compete. Your bill does nothing really to control the cost of health insurance and its burden on American families. Instead it will make your allies in the insurance industry, who have apparently bought and sold you, even more embolden to rob, and yes, kill people. Don't try to put lipstick on this pig either, because you will fool no one really except the ignorant.

But you know what going on Max don’t you? Maybe not...

I will be sure to tell my children that if your bill or anything similar to it passes as health insurance reform that the blame for the sham and complete sellout should be directed at Montana Senator Max Baucus. Furthermore, I hope your branded with a reputation for failure and selling out working people for the rest of your life. If you came to my home I’d throw you out into the street with the rest of the rife-raft and con-men. You’ve disgrace your state, a state I’ll have you know where my grandmother was born and once had a history of caring about protecting the welfare of working class people. How times have changed.

In the final analysis it's not about you or your power or Montana or even your Senate seat after all Senator. It's about having the courage and backbone to do what's right when the political going gets tough. People like you are seldom remembered in history because really you stand for nothing except your own self-aggrandizement.

So thanks for nothing! Hope the millions in corporate contributions make you happy.

Daniel O'Brien
Vashon, WA

p.s. I urge you to also contact Senator Baucas by clicking here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Website: Bombard Baucus!

A simple way to access information for contacting health care reform obstructing Blue Dog Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee including Fax Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, and Ken Conrad.  Call their office today and tell them to stop blocking health reform and the public option. Tell you friends.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Robert Reich's Straight Forward Short Video Explaining The Public Option

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich's gives us a concise video where he explains the public option and a need for your involvement in the fight for reform NOW.  That would be right NOW.

My Blog Post That America Blog Editors Didn't Want You To See

The other day I wrote a blog post based on the premise that the blogosphere is somewhat overly gay-centric. The thinking is that many major gay bloggers are in a snit over the failure of Obama to move legislation dealing with gay civil rights forward quickly enough, and this bad feeling has spilled over into a general bashing of the President for anything they perceive as failure or lack of leadership by the White House on other major issues of the day. Apparently. an observation that Im not alone in wondering about after seeing this post on Open Left this morning.

I posted a comment on a America Blog story that was bashing the president one more time with a link to my blog story. My comments were subsequently removed and are now lost forever.  I believe it is because the people at America Blog didn't like what I was saying in the linked blog post not the comment itself because it didn't agree with their views or hit a little close to the heart. I realize that it's their blog and they can accept or delete whatever comments they wish. They accused me of bashing the editor John Araviosis and only posting a link to my blog to gain traffic. Two things I deny. I think it was rather heavy handed given that the thrust of my post and link was on point with their story and what could be their possible motivation for their continued slamming of Obama.

Update: Found the comment posted under my facebook username Ricky Cresciend'o that started the brouhaha:

"Ricky wrote a comment on AMERICAblog via DISQUS: "Mr. Aravosis could you please stop bashing the President. The has become more then just worthwhile or productive criticism. It actually helps Republicans and in the end you will get nothing accomplished that improves the situation. For more of my opinion about what's really going on here please reference:"

As you can see although my comments were blunt they were far from anything over the top in my opinion. My complaining has now got me blocked from posting any further comments..... on America Blog. I think I'll slit my wrists, not.

What If Everyones Wrong And Substantial Health Care Reform Is At Hand

The left is in a snit over the possibility of no public option. The right hopes the summer of teabagging the health care town halls has won the day. But what if both are completely wrong. What if substantial reform of health care is really on the doorstep and the overly partisan forces on both sides have only been yelling at each other from inside their respective echo chambers?

Monday, September 07, 2009

President Doesn't Back Off Public Option In Labor Day Speech

In spite of all the negative chatter about the President dumping the public option when it comes to health care reform. It didn't sound that way in his Labor Day speech at a Cincinnati Labor Day rally today. To quote the President, "I continue to believe that a public option within that basket of insurance choices will help improve quality and bring down costs".

Does The Gay-Centric Blogosphere Exist And Has It Had It With Obama?

Lately you can hardly find a major left leaning blog that’s not busy bashing President Obama. Whether it’s calling him a wuss for allowing the narrative on the Health care debate along with the so call public option to go off the rails or for his failing to immediately address and deal with LGBT community poster child issues of don’t ask don’t tell and gay marriage civil rights.

Only six months ago everyone on the left was totally ecstatic about the election results. It was the dawning of a new era of change. Maybe Obama raised our sights to high with his lofty rhetoric or made promises that in reality were not achievable even within his first term, given the unseen and now well known failures by the Democratic Party’s new control of Congress. Congress’s failures are not necessarily the responsibility of the President I would argue. So, In other words thank Senator Baucus and Harry Reid if the public option fails, don’t blame Obama.

America Blog’s openly gay John Araviosis was posting so much on gay issues, especially DADT and gay marriage civil rights, he had to create a separate blog just so the flagship blog would be actually reporting on anything else. Now a day doesn’t go by without Aravosis in someway slamming Obama as incompetent or worse. Why so much venom? There is something else going on here. It’s not politically correct and the elephant in the room and surely I will be thought of as a dick for saying this. But, is there a gay-centric bias prevalent in the lefty blogosphere and media, and is it fed up with Obama because of its disappointment with him over not addressing gay-centric political issues? Has this spilled over into a general tendency by these pundits to trash the President whenever the going gets tough on other major political initiatives?

By this I mean that often issues that involve gay rights appear to be getting more attention then other major issues of the day that are systemically more important when it comes to setting national priorities for change and for the continued vitality of our republic. Are LGBT civil rights issues, although vitality important, as important as many leading bloggers, pundits, and major media types think they are when compared to issues that more directly effect everybody else in society. If tomorrow you had the power to choose between health care reform and repealing don’t ask don’t tell, which would you choose? You can only pick one. Ending the war in Afghanistan or passing laws creating marital civil rights equality for gays?

These are in effect the types of priority battles that the President must choose to take on each day.

Dare I say that I believe what’s at the heart of this negativity is not so much disapproval or the lack of clarity coming from the White House on the major issues of the day. But, rather I think what’s at the heart of this disappointment is a gay-centric blogosphere and liberal media with a axe to grind. The sentiment and thinking I believe is based on a belief that because the President has not immediately and decisively moved gay civil rights issues to the head of the line, where the LGBT believe they belong, he is suddenly not the same Barack Obama they remember electing. Because of this thinking there is a tangible snit going on. There is the tendency to avoid looking at the bigger picture, and a backlash of negativity and even talk of a failed presidency, and this after only 9 months in office.

Gay bloggers, writers and media pundits are pissed about the lack of action on issues they hold dear and I think this is clouding much of their thinking about the President’s progress and priorities or lack of it in general. I think gay influence on the blogosphere and media is real and profound. I also think it’s good except when it effects your overall vision of the world and fails to realize that most of the world is not gay and arguable not seeing every issue based on the personal experience of being gay.

So is the President misguided for not championing major LGBT community issues and giving them top priority? It is not he alone that governs after all. He has an indecisive, muddled and Reid and Pelosi led Congress to convince and like someone said, “it’s like being Michael Jordan on a bad team”. So he must pick his battles carefully no matter how righteous the cause may seem to you personally. If anything the attacks should be aimed at the Congress not the White House. This nonsense of calling the president incompetent only emboldens the Republicans and weakens progressives in the end. As important as LGBT concerns about civil rights are they simply do not out weigh the need for other major initiatives in the long list of national priorities.

How soon we forget the past and how counterproductive this type of mind set becomes will be important in the immediate future in determining what type of government we get in the end under Barack Obama. Obama inherited a complete mess and here we are only 9 months down the road and people are acting like nothing has been accomplished. Much of this negativity I believe is centered in the above mention disappointment over the fact that Obama did not on his first day in office strike down all laws, and institutions that affront gay rights. A power he doesn’t really possess individually. You can also blame it on short-term memory loss and the all American spoiled need nowadays for instant gratification.

In the end I believe that gay civil rights issues will by address by the President to the general satisfaction of all those concerned about these inequities. His inability to do so now will be forgotten. In the mean time lets get our priorities strait and stop unfairly blaming him for everything that's wrong with the process.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Jackson Brown's Tribute to Harry Bridges

From the PBS special From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks. The story of Harry Bridges and the ILWU

My Ode To Labor Day Save The Economy By Buying Shit You Don't Really Need Made By Slave Labor

One of the major reasons we are in a protracted and recurring economic downturn is that we don't really make anything in this country anymore. All those union wage manufacturing jobs got shipped off to China, Mexico or some other free market third world country. Some American home grown capitalist who's commercial makes you all warm and fussy about being American and who use to make things here can now make even bigger and more scandalous profits on the backs of the powerless workers in the many sweat shops of the world, just to sell it back to you here in la la land. Along with the jobs goes the flow of capital to the corporate masters and governments of other countries while America is left swimming in debt.

It may not be as simple as just creating more manufacturing jobs again, though. As the Springsteen song Your Hometown says,"these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back". But working people can certainly demand better wages and working conditions which can give them more buying power which will increase consumer spending which will lift the economy. The labor movement can play a major role in the recover. That's why the proposals like The Employees Free Choice Act could be crucial in creating an atmosphere where workers can be on a level playing field with employers should they wish to join a union. Paul Krugman made this point in a open letter to the President in January citing approval of card check and real health care reform as crucial to a overall plan for economic recovery.

You don't see it that way I know. You think that it's neat that most of the wealth in this country is concentrated among a relatively small number of rich people. Leaving only the income crumbs for the rest of the workers who, by the way, produce that wealth in their be thankful you have a job, job. It's all the better that way to keep you from complaining about it. Thinking all the time that somehow your going to be the one that breaks the mold. Maybe that could happen if we realized they have more in common with the working class then chasing a delusional dream that I'm better then being just working class.

Rather snobbish and condescending I'd say. This of course flies in the face of the belief that either your a person who is working class and therefore the real salt of the earth one who makes their living with dignity and honor or a your a moron who has no initiative. Common corporate induced stereotypical propaganda themes. It's not enough to be contently producing wealth for oneself, your family and the boss. Isn't it a truism that material possessions have little to do with real happiness in an enlightened society. So what's the point in compiling lots of stuff anyway?

Making people think there's a simple or less effortless way to be happy is the key to the man keeping you in the everlasting mode to buy cheap shit that you don't really need that has a 9 out of 10 chance that it was made in China or Mexico by some poor stiff who's working for close to slave labor wages. The false belief is that there's no actual work involved, it's just a matter of finding the silver bullet short cut to a wonderful life that awaits for those without love handles or labor union membership.

Okay you go to Walmart, who's reputation for exploiting their workers is well documented, because you can't figure out that your caught up in the wasteland lifestyle that is an American in bred tendency of not giving a shit about the long term effect of your misguided consumerism or how it effects other workers in this world.

Still in that dead end job? That's the plan that someone forgot to explain to you when you bought hook line and sinker that American dream. Your in debt up to your eyebrows beholden to the credit card industry or your bank and looking for some way to forget. They've got you right where they want you. Broke, desperate, demoralized, and driven by fear. How much more of a capitalistic whore can you be? Shopping for cheap shit to get that temporary endorphin rush hoping it fills that empty spiritual hole in your freaking soul that you don't realize or deny even exists, and I'm not talking about the corrupt spirituality of organize religion here.

Well, at least if your going to work in a job you don't really like you deserve fair paid, real health insurance reform, better working conditions, a secure retirement and lots of time off to workout with your thigh master or to buy more unneeded crap. Maybe you should considering joining a union which may be the ticket to all that plus regaining your dignity while helping the economy and showing some solidarity with other workers in this world. Most of us are in the same boat after all.

Friday, September 04, 2009

O'Reilly The Ugly American Idiot Blowhard Trashes Amsterdam

Bill O'Reilly once again proves he's a moron. This is a common problem with many Americans. Being morons, they criticize European culture but have no direct experience gained by actually living or visiting there.

The truth is most European Union nations, and Canada next door, have social and government institutions that are superior to those provided in most of the US. Let's take crime rates, health care, environmental protection, education, a strong social safety net, and even the success of the so called nuclear family unit. I like the quote O'Reilly spouts, "the way they do statistics in the Netherlands is different", when one of the Fox News blond bimbo talking heads presents statistical feedback that he maybe fucking wrong.