Money and Lies at the Heart of Republican Strategy in 2010

Nov 21 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

60 Plus Association Mailing

More disinformation than information has circled around President Obama’s healthcare reform bill thanks to the Republicans. These lies take many forms, from chain emails, YouTube videos, and of course, the mouths of Republican politicians and pundits. They delegitimize it by calling it, derisively, “Obamacare” in an effort to make it seem absurd. I mean, who would want health insurance, right? You would think it was the craziest idea in the world.

One of the rumors currently making the rounds – I know because my son’s nurse brought it up – is physician reimbursement. The story is that thanks to Obamacare, physicians will receive less medicare reimbursement, that this will be a disaster for seniors, that doctors will even drop their patients rather than be adequately compensated for their work.

This particular lie really took off in September of this year, leading up to the midterm elections. A conservative group, the 60 Plus Association (a supposedly non-partisan “seniors advocacy group”), attacked sixteen Democrats. Many of these Democrats were engaged in tight House races – the House Republicans ended up in control of. If you think Republicans won because dirty it’s because, well…the Republicans won dirty. They have been buying elections for over a century and they see no reason to drop a successful strategy.

As reported, “$5 million – from donors whose identities it doesn’t have to disclose – to run the ads saying the lawmakers “betrayed” their constituents by voting for the health care overhaul signed into law earlier this year.”

According to

  • Some of the ads say that the law means “seniors could lose their doctors” or that it “threatens seniors’ ability to keep their own doctor.” But what the ads are talking about here has nothing to do with the new health care law. Some doctors have said they may stop accepting Medicare patients because of scheduled payment cuts set in motion by a 1997 law, cuts that are unaffected by the new statute.
  • All of the ads say that the new law cuts $500 billion from Medicare. It’s true that the law would restrain future growth of the program, but this isn’t cutting from existing spending. And the amount is spread over 10 years, totaling about 7 percent of what Medicare was projected to cost over that decade.
  • Many of the ads feature seniors saying the law will “hurt the quality of our care.” But the law specifically forbids cuts in the basic package of Medicare benefits, and even adds some new features, such as wellness checkups. It also closes the “doughnut hole” gap in the prescription drug benefit.

But if any physicians drop their patients, it won’t be because of “Obamacare.” It will be because of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. analyzes the lie in detail (emphasis mine):

Although the ads cite an April report from the office of the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as support for this claim, that report actually discusses cuts the law makes in payments to other providers, such as hospitals and nursing homes – not doctors. The required cuts could make it difficult for some such providers to stay in business, the report says, “possibly jeopardizing access to care” from those institutions for seniors.

But that report and another CMS document issued in August also note that Congress has a habit of negating such cuts. In fact, the August report says with respect to the legislated payment cuts to hospitals and other such non-physician providers, “Congress is very likely to legislatively override or otherwise modify the reductions in the future to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to health care services.”

After all, the report notes, look what lawmakers have done to scheduled cuts to doctors’ pay that were mandated by the 1997 law: “Congress has overridden all of the scheduled reductions [for physicians] from 2003 to November 2010,” the report says. And for the hospitals and other providers covered by the new law: “Congress would presumably act to adjust Medicare payment rates as necessary” before the providers withdrew from the program.

“But,” asked the Washington Post, “how much did the health-care law passed this year have to do with Republicans winning back the House and gaining six seats in the Senate?” Their analysis provided several answers, from “yes” to “no” based on exit data and on the opinions of Democratic and Republican strategists

Did it work? Let’s take a look. Here are the folks who were targeted:

  • Rep. Paul Kanjorski, Pennsylvania; LOST
  • Rep. Chris Carney, Pennsylvania; LOST
  • Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Pennsylvania; LOST
  • Tim Bishop, New York; IN RECOUNT
  • Scott Murphy, New York; LOST
  • Alan Grayson, Florida; LOST
  • Allen Boyd, Florida; LOST
  • Suzanne Kosmas, Florida; LOST
  • Steve Kagen, Wisconsin; LOST
  • Ron Kind, Wisconsin; WON
  • John Boccieri in Ohio; LOST
  • Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona; LOST
  • Harry Mitchell, Arizona; LOST
  • Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona; WON
  • Joe Donnelly in Indiana; WON
  • Roy Herron, Tennessee; LOST

That’s sixteen candidates; only three of them have won – 18% if Tim Bishop loses. If Tim Bishop wins, 25%. The Republicans will have won 75% of races in which they made allegations of betrayal against Democratic candidates based on healthcare reform. It seems, in these races at least, healthcare reform may have been an issue.

The Republicans know they can’t win on the issues; they have to lie on the issues. They have to disenfranchise voting blocks who will present opposition to them. They have to buy elections by outspending – sometimes obscenely – Democratic candidates. Sharron Angle, for example, spent $97 per vote. Linda McMahan (wife of WWE owner Vince McMahon) spent $95 per vote and Meg Whitman in California spent $57 per vote (Linda McMahan spent an obscene $454 per vote in successful her primary race, Meg Whitman a more modest $64/vote). All three of them lost, ironically, which shows that even money has limitations when a candidate is obviously unfit.

It is when the money is spent on lies and disinformation that true damage is done, as in these sixteen races, and about this issue, healthcare reform. It’s a pity the Republicans won’t deal with the issues, either in political campaigning or when it’s over, but simply tell lies, repeating them over and over and spending millions to make sure you hear them, and to cast doubt, even if you don’t believe them. For a party that claims that “throwing money at a problem” won’t make it go away, the Republicans sure do like to throw money at a problem. Even worse for America, all too often, their pockets are deep enough to make it stick.

But do we need campaign finance reform? Nah, just like we don’t need healthcare reform.

6 responses so far

Republicans Talk and Hate and Offer no Solutions

Right now, the closest thing the Republicans seem to have to a real policy is orchestrating a win for Bristol on DWTS.

I don’t want to beat a dead dog, but I want to know what the Republican idea of foreign policy is. The Bush administration showed a clear and persistent disdain for diplomacy, preferring instead to simply invade other countries, and the Republicans seem to want to continue in this vein. The sabre-rattling continues unabated and every day seems to reveal another Republican demanding blood.

  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants to invade Iran
  • Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) opposes cuts in defense spending
  • Jon Kyl says Congress doesn’t have time to ratify the new START treaty
  • Michele Bachman (R-MN) says Obama is going to let Iran nuke Israel

Why aren’t these people talking about the economy, about lost jobs, or about tackling the deficit? Really the only thing they’ve had to say so far about the economy is that they want to ban earmarks, which amount to less than half of one percent of the federal budget. Military spending accounts for over 50%.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist here to figure out that something isn’t right. So let’s try to understand this:

  • Banning earmarks, 0.5% of the federal budget will fix the economy
  • Keeping or increasing military spending, which is more than 50% of the economy, won’t hurt the economy
  • And we might as well add keeping the tax breaks for the rich, which won’t hurt the economy either, somehow

No, it still doesn’t make sense, does it?

Come to think of it, I want to know what the Republican idea of domestic policy is. Do they have one of those either? It doesn’t seem so; no foreign policy ideas and no domestic policy ideas. Just…nothing. Nothing at all.

Oh, they’re against a lot of things. It would take more time than I have to list it all. But they don’t seem to have any solutions either on a global or on a local scale beyond a nihilistic denial of everything.

It’s a matter of very simple mathematics. You don’t even have to drag economics into it. It’s just that simple: to spend money you have to have money, or you create deficit spending. You owe money. Right? We all know that. We experience it every day with house payments, car payments, credit cards and any other kind of loan.

The only way to balance things out is to make more money, or to spend less money.

Is that so hard to understand? And money has to come from somewhere. The government isn’t a corporation. It gets money from taxes. That is the money the federal government has to spend. If the government cuts taxes, it has less money.

But the Republicans want to continue to spend money. They don’t want you to have healthcare, they don’t want you to have unemployment insurance or social security. But they do want to buy more guns, tanks, planes and missiles.

I may not be a rocket scientist but I don’t think a missile is going to do any of us a helluva lotta good.

So we are justified in asking: What the hell kind of policy is this?

You’d probably get a lot of dumb looks if you actually asked. Michele Bachman apparently didn’t have a clue that the Bush administration had engaged in diplomatic relations and even state visits with Iran’s president, the much loathed Ahmadinejad. At least, she didn’t want to talk about that when it was brought up while she was busy denouncing Obama.

What other policies do the Republicans have?

  • They’re against same-sex marriage
  • They’re against repealing DADT in the military
  • They’re against abortion
  • They’re against the building of mosques in the U.S.
  • They’re against “Obamacare”
  • They’re against immigrants
  • They’re against federal regulations unless morally based
  • They’re against the environment and alternative energy
  • They’re against high speed rail

Does any of this help us with the two matters about which Americans are most concerned, jobs and health? No, not at all. You can ban same-sex marriages, keep DADT in place, ban abortion and mosques, and people still won’t have jobs and if they succeed in repealing what they derisively call “Obamacare” they won’t have health insurance either. Meanwhile, federal regulations protect the average citizen from corporate abuses and “green” programs and high speed rail would put thousands back to work and money into the economy. We can’t have that, apparently.

Again: what the hell kind of policy is this?

Will returning to a Bronze Age morality code put the economy back on track or keep people healthy? No, not so much.

Meanwhile, these new Republican politicians who campaigned steadfastly against health insurance for the rest of us want their own, and they don’t want to wait the required 28 days for it.

This is what voters have given us, a nihilistic party spouting slogans so absurd they can’t be taken seriously as a political movement. A political movement has to be about something. The Republican party is not. It is against a lot of things, but it offers us no path forward, no coherent policy that will lead us out of the mess their lack of vision steered us into.

Why are they back in office? Better than asking that, get out and vote next time and make sure they don’t get the executive back. The damage they can do is limited by the powers granted the House in the Constitution. Sanity still reigns in the Executive and in the  Senate, and I suspect that two years of Republican pseudo-policy might jar the electorate sufficiently to save them both in 2012, particularly if Palin runs, but the danger is real and the danger remains.

Demand answers, America. Demand solutions, demand action, real, meaningful action, and start asking of these people, “Why do you want Bristol to win?”

8 responses so far

The Myth of Self-Regulation

Nov 03 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

BP's Deepwater Horizon

Author’s Note: This piece is dedicated to the people of his generation who voted for Tea Party candidates yesterday, and who should have known better.

Self-regulation is a myth. Nobody regulates themselves. Individuals do not, and the idea that money-making concerns (corporations) would regulate themselves is absurd. Corporations are in business for the bottom-line: profits. They want to make money.  This should surprise none of us. This is what they do. Nor should we be surprised that they dislike regulation. Regulation costs them a percentage of their profits, as do taxes. Thus, regulation, like taxation, is for them an evil. So are such issues as minimum wage, benefits packages, and other workers rights issues, including, especially, unions.

It was long ago recognized that people form governments in order to protect themselves from themselves and from each other. Governments are a social construct, a social contract existing for the purpose of regulating human communities, enforcing those laws and customs agreed upon by each community. As Thomas Hobbes said in The Leviathan, in the state of nature (that is, one without government) life is “nasty, brutish, and short.” We need government, and we recognize this need. Even for the most anti-government of the Founding Fathers the need for government was a recognized fact. The issue was not whether we should have a government, but how much power that government should have. Government regulation was there at the get-go, written into the Constitution.

The modern conservative opposition to government is nothing but nihilism masquerading as a rights movement. A world in which everyone can do anything they want is a world without government. And without government there is no regulation because, as I said above, people do not regulate themselves. Laws are essential to every community, as are custom and taboos. These are the ways in which communities regulate themselves and limit behavior which is harmful to the whole.

The necessity of a national government was recognized by the Founding Fathers. The Articles of Confederation failed miserably to provide for the newly liberated colonies. A loose confederation of independent states offered no protection to the states individually or collectively; thus the Constitutional Convention and the United States Constitution. The Constitution placed limits on the “excesses of democracy” evident in the politics of the locality, which of course, favored the locality at the expense of the whole.

Corporations are the same. Corporations are not interested in the whole; they are interested in their own good. That is the nature of the beast, and this must be recognized. Corporations want to make profits, and the more profits the better. Corporate resistance to regulation is understandable. Look at what science has revealed about corporate excesses: the dangers of tobacco, the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals, industrial and agricultural. They make people sick; they kill people. A whole new generation of legal commercials asks those affected to come forward to sue the offenders.

Corporations will not voluntarily police themselves. It is not in their best interest to do so. And when in the 60s we began to see science reveal the dangers of unregulated industry (just as the Gilded Age revealed the dangers of unregulated capitalism) we also saw industry push back and attack and manipulate science. We saw these corporations respond to their threatened profits by manufacturing lies, dishonest “scientific” studies that did what they were paid to do: defend the bottom line.

Wall Street

Corporations still behave this way. They will always behave this way. It should be no surprise to anyone that when regulations are loosened or removed that the corporations behave in a destructive and harmful manner. The Great Depression resulted from unregulated capitalism. The Crash of ’08 had the same origins. The first may have caught people by surprise; the second should not have. We saw how dangerous the unregulated oil industry was when the Exxon Valdez destroyed a swathe of coastline; was it any surprise that deregulation resulted in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010? It should not have been. We should be surprised that it did not happen before, or more often. Yet corporations (and the Repubicans) continue to insist that regulation is bad for business and that we need to remove regulations which keep the oil companies from increasing their profits.

The human coast is irrelevant. Companies do not care about people; they are not answerable (as a government is) to the people. They are answerable to their board of directors and the mandate of any successful board of directors is to make profit.

Corporations and Republicans argue that the government does not have the right to regulate them. But the government is regulating them to protect the people, and if a government has no right right, and moreover, no obligation to protect the people on whose behalf it was established in the first place, then what rights and obligations do governments have?

It’s an absurd point to argue; there is no argument whatsoever by the Republicans. Governments do have the right to regulate. Governments from the beginning of time have regulated and they will always regulate. And if the day comes that Republicans get their corporate government you can bet your bottom dollar there will still be regulation, but it will be the regulation of private citizens, like the regulation of women’s bodies advocated by Republicans.

These private citizens – you and me – must be aware of the mythic properties of self-regulation. It does not exist, it will never exist. Wall Street will not regulate itself, nor will the oil companies. They will do whatever they can get away with to maximize their profits and we must accept our share of the blame if we let them. Do not be fooled. These companies are not here to make you wealthy; they are here to make themselves wealthy. The money they save they will not pass on to you. They will gild their parachutes, maximize their profits, and pocket the cash. Deregulating them will help no one but them. Wealth does not trickle down, folks. It trickles up. And the proof is there for anyone who cares to look. Corporations do not answer to us, but they must answer to the government, which at its most basic is the voice of the people, and shame on us if we are too weak to embrace the power we collectively possess by way of our government.

As John Dickinson said in The Liberty Song (July 1768), “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” If we fall to Republican corporatism, we will have only ourselves to blame.

41 responses so far

Ten Things You’ll Be Voting Against if You Vote Republican

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Today is the day we go to vote in the 2010 midterm elections. The results of this election will reverberate far beyond our localities; they will affect the entire country and indeed, the entire world.  We are half-way through the term of a Democratic administration that if it is not as far left as some would wish, is still what this country needs to free itself from the lawlessness and mal-administration of the previous Republican administration. It is important to remember when you vote what you are casting your vote for (and against). If you vote Republican, these are the things you are voting against:

Women – It’s strange when you think about it: the party that claims to be against government interference in our lives wanting to give the government control and authority over women’s bodies. But that’s what they want. They want government out of THEIR business – quite liberally, out of corporations business – but they want government in YOURS. They want the government to regulate morality AS THEY SEE IT.  Government interference is just fine and dandy if it’s the kind they approve of. Meanwhile, corporations can pollute all they want, treat works as shabbily as they want, offer you no benefits of any kind, including health insurance and retirement, and pay no taxes while reaping huge profits and benefit packages for the CEOs and Boards of Directors who are robbing you blind.

Free Speech – this is another one Republicans pay lipservice to but which they’re not really interested in. Their operative definition of free speech is their right to say anything they want. The other side has absolutely no right to be heard in response, either to question or to challenge, or to make their opinion known. President Bush liked to stack the deck by speaking only to friendly audiences; he refused to answer questions. John McCain and Sarah Palin upped the ante by refusing to allow questions to even be asked. Joe Miller and Rand Paul have questioners beat up or arrested. Most Republican candidates decline to appear on networks that will actually ask them questions and some refuse even to engage in debate with their opponents.

Education – Republicans hate education and the Department of Education has become a focus of that hate. During the Bush administration, the Republicans declared war on science and on environmental science specifically. Republicans want everyone to be educated either via a church-sponsored Faith-Based program or at home via a Christian homeschooling program. They do not want you educated; they want you indoctrinated.  They do not like science and a modern country that cuts science out of the equation is sentencing itself to third-world status and increased fatality levels from pollution.

Environment – Republicans hate the environment. Those who do not hate it on the grounds that it threatens corporate profits oppose it on religious grounds, in the bizarre and mistaken belief that God will fix the environment, or that the Parousia (End Time) is arriving, making the environment irrelevant. The recent Gulf Oil spill is an example of what will happen if we continue to have a largely unregulated oil industry. The Bush era EPA even claimed it did not have the right to protect the environment, which, of course, is its mandate. How far we’ve come since the days of Nixon, who established the EPA.

Law & Order – The Republicans don’t like the Constitution and they don’t seem to like any law. We have seen how a Republican administration tramples rights and tortures and deprives people of their supposedly inalienable rights under the Bush administration. It won’t get any better, only worse, if they start calling the shots again. The Republicans plundered our government and they plundered the American people to line their pockets, and when anyone speaks up, they get their head stomped on or they get handcuffed by Party thugs right out of the 30s.

Workers Rights – The GOP – what calls Republicorp – doesn’t want workers to have any rights. The only rights belong to America’s corporate masters. The average citizen will have to subsist on the scraps tossed their way.  Workers are not entitled to a living wage let alone benefits of any kind. FOX News calls this “The War on Business” – that is, anything to do with making corporations pay taxes, obey regulations which protect the environment and not only the consumer but international economic stability, provide benefits and a fair working wage.

Democracy – Republicans aren’t interested in democracy. They are interested in privileging one particular ideology – their own – and outlawing all others. Remember how when they lost in 2008 they claimed to be a “government in exile” and claimed that the lawfully elected Democratic administration was an illegal usurper government. Republicans favor corporate owned government, and even foreign owned government; in short, any government that can be bought and owned and which is not answerable to the public.

Social Security and Medicare – The Republican party wants to do away with these things, eliminating any realistic chance that workers will be able to retire and survive while rich corporations and their wealthy Robber Baron CEOs live in the lap of luxury with Golden Parachutes waiting for them, and Republican office holders raise their salaries  and enjoy socialized medicine.

Freedom of Religion – The Republican Party has become the party of one narrow-minded sect of conservative Christians and they want everyone to have to believe as they believe and live by their laws – their religious laws. A Republican government believes that the First Amendment says the opposite of what it actually says, and that the Founding Fathers somehow intended to establish the United States as a Christian theocracy.

The Constitution – We’ve mentioned Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion above, but we might as well throw in the rest of the Constitution as well. Republicans hate the Constitution. The only parts they show any liking for are the Second (right to bear arms) and Tenth (states’ rights) amendments, and some of them have suggested doing away with ALL the amendments. They claim to be fighting for it but they offer no evidence at all. Nearly everything they want out of this election is in some way unconstitutional.  None of this is surprising when it is considered how little Republicans know about the Constitution.

17 responses so far

The GOP Wants a Return to the Gilded Age. Do You?

Oct 16 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

The Gilded Age

During the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, there was a great deal of money to be made. A class of men known as tycoons became insanely wealthy and a sharp divide grew between the haves and have-nots in American society. In an age that embraced ideas of social Darwinism, the rich came to believe that they deserved to be rich, that by the act of being rich they were better than everyone else; not only in the sense that wealth made them better but in that being better made them wealthy. Those who were poor, under- or un-employed or starving on the streets deserved their lot in life. They were poor because they were inferior.

The Gilded Age was the starting point of the Progressive movement in America, and is it any surprise? It was a time when women had no rights, blacks had no rights, workers had no rights, an age when children were worked to death in horrible conditions, and adults too. The common people had no remedy, no retirement, no health insurance, no laws to protect them from the awful conditions of their lives, lives made more brutal by the rapacity of the rich tycoons who literally lorded it over them from mansions that still inspire awe today.

In his book, Age of Betrayal, Atlantic senior editor Jack Beatty presents this dark side of the Gilded Age. As The Atlantic says of his book,

The industrialization of the country, which brought so much wealth to so few, left most of the rest struggling to get by as wage laborers, working for someone else in the factory or on the farm. And wealth influenced and co-opted the government at all levels, through unregulated campaign contributions, vote buying, and similar machinations.

It’s not a pretty picture. Beatty emphasizes “the grinding poverty, the bloody racial hatred, the violent labor strikes, and the corrupt politics that also characterize that era.” The similarities to our own age are clear: “once again a yawning gap has opened between rich and poor, and political influence is available for the taking by anyone willing and able to pay.”

This is the world the complete lack of regulation created. This is the world Republicans would have us return to.

It was in the wake of this era that businesses came together at the invitation of President Taft and created the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The government used to work closely with the corporations. You might say the corporations owned the government. The corporations liked it this way. They made money, they got rich, and the government helped them do it, allegedly in the interest of the United States.

Beatty points out the William Jennings Bryan changed all that.

Breaking with the sterile anti-statism of his party, Bryan said that government should be active on behalf of the people. That’s the turn in the Democratic party. Essentially, Wilson, FDR, Truman, and the rest followed where Bryan led. Government should act to protect the people against private power, through anti-trust. It should act with old-age pensions, and with workers’ compensation, and the like. Bryan is often rendered as a backward-looking pastoralist. But in fact, he began modern politics, because he introduced the populist impulse into the Democratic party—the idea that government should support the people.

The corporations didn’t like this. They never did. It was about them, they said. They somehow inserted themselves into the Founding documents as “We the Corporations” and now the Supreme Court has even ruled that like us, corporations are people. It is now legal to buy elections; it is even legal to do it with foreign money. The corporations fought tooth and nail against the progressive movement and they are fighting still, and they seem to be turning the tables on us.

Unregulated capitalism gave us the evils of the Gilded Age. Unregulated capitalism gave us the crash of 2008 that has left not just America, but much of the world, reeling. This is the Republican promise: more rape of America and of the American people so that a few rich people can get richer, so that corporations can ignore regulation or even by the votes to have it cast aside, so that they can do whatever they want to whomever they want to get richer. Be damned to the planet and to the people who live on it. Answerable to no one, they will foist a new Gilded Age upon us.

US Chamber of Commerce: A Monument to the Gilded Age

And the Chamber of Commerce would ease their way. Look at some of the backward-looking stances taken by that body:

  • Pro-Social Security Reform
  • Pro-Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling
  • Pro-Offshore Oil Drilling
  • Pro-Nuclear Power
  • Against taxation increase on businesses
  • Against many union-supported polices

These are all stances that should chill the heart of any American who believes in equality and in the rights of the common people. These are all policies that serve the rich and the rich alone, that serve to widen the gap between rich and poor and to consolidate power (and government) in the hands of a few.

And Glen Beck is the Chamber’s big supporter. According to Media Matters,

This week, Fox News host Glenn Beck joined News Corp. as a major backer of the Chamber of Commerce: Beck’s call for donations to the Chamber on the October 14 edition of his radio show earned him on-air praise from the group’s top brass and drove so much traffic to the Chamber’s contribution website that it crashed.

Apparently an adherent of the view that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” so-called populist warrior Beck implored his audience to fork over their hard-earned cash to corporate darling Chamber of Commerce, “just because the Obama administration hates them.”

The Gilded Age was a pretty awful time unless you were that top 1% of the population. Things were great for them. They could legally rape the rest of us – and they did. And they want to again. And the Republicans want to enable them. The Party of Big Business, they want to re-introduce us to the world our forefathers knew, a world where our betters could use us into the grave to line their pockets. They get their Golden Parachutes; we don’t even get a retirement.

That’s the world they want. Is it the world you want?

17 responses so far

Women of the Progressive Voting Bloc, Stand Up!

Sep 26 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

My Body My Will

Women of the progressive voting bloc, how long have we been sleeping? I’m not sure how we got here, but our medical rights are not being honored as they should be.

Obamacare is doing some great things for women. I do love that name, “Obamacare”. Of course, it’s supposed to be a slur per the Right, but I can’t imagine a thing more complimentary of this President and more indicative of the amazing legislative success he’s had than passing healthcare reform. The term Obamacare reflects those values. I can see it in history books years from now, when this President is finally given his due.

Just look at what he’s done for us; as of September 23, all new health plans are required to cover particular preventative health services with no co-payments or deductibles, like mammograms, smoking cessation treatment, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, and pap smears. It’s now illegal to charge women more than men for insurance (can you believe this was legal before? Hello?) We will now have direct access to obstetrical and gynecological care, meaning we won’t need a referral for these services. And like everyone included under new health plans, we’ll be able to appeal our insurer’s decisions to an independent third party. That’s some hot change there.

Thank you, President Obama and the Democrats.

Here’s the problem: According to the National Women’s Law Center, “The Administration decided — without justification in law or policy — to ban abortion coverage in the newly created Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans. This ban would prevent women with serious pre-existing medical conditions — like cancer or diabetes — from getting the abortion coverage they need to protect their health. And it will not even allow women the ability to pay for such coverage with their own private premium dollars. This would leave vulnerable women without the medical services they need.”

Perhaps I’m way too cynical, but I suspect that with Democrats facing reelection this fall they will never vote in favor of anything remotely related to abortion services. I suspect they will duck their heads and hope we don’t say anything. I suspect we will swallow our loss, take one for the team, and keep hoping.

How did we get here? How did we get to a place where conservatives are running faux-feminist Mama Grizzles after co-opting the name for our struggle for equal rights and then tossing all of our work out of a speeding car window until some passing Democrat catches a few tattered pages of our agenda and struggles to give them mouth-to-mouth.

Notice how the issue of our rights over our bodies keeps getting chipped, chipped away? If a poor woman has cancer and needs an abortion, her insurance can refuse her. I just don’t get this. How can it be legal for our lives to be worth less than anyone else’s simply because we can procreate? This is not a moral issue, it’s a medical issue. It has nothing to do with public funding; it has everything to do with a woman’s right to purchase extra coverage for a medical procedure she has a legal right to receive.

We’ve allowed the Right to frame the abortion argument for too long. We have been too ready to give up our rights in order to achieve larger changes. We’ve let our rights be chipped away, slowly over time, until it has become an impossibility for a Democratic majority to support abortion coverage in times of dire medical health.

How long have we been sleeping?

This is the time to raise our voices to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, loudly and clearly.

The women’s vote is a huge voting block, much coveted by both parties. While I can’t imagine voting for any modern day Republican, we must make the Democratic Party understand that the majority favor womens’ freedom, right to choose, and right to make medical decisions for ourselves. We expect our health issues to be taken as seriously as a man’s are. We do not expect to be told that if we have cancer and need an abortion, our medical insurance won’t cover it.

Bravo to the Democrats and President Obama for passing healthcare reform. Y’all are doing great. Now, after you keep your seats this fall, would you please take our votes as the mandate they are intended to be and take bold, decisive action to protect the equal rights of women? And by women, we mean to infer the equal rights of all people. We mean repealing DADT. We mean equal rights for all.

We expect you all to take us forward, not backward. We will be right there, backing you up, and taking back ownership of the feminist movement.

When you hear us roar, that ain’t no Mama Grizzly taking orders from Big Daddy. That’s us; fiercely independent modern women who are making it on our own with no help from Phillis Schlafly’s party. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We are working women, moms, care-takers, artists, home-makers and business owners. We expect to be taken seriously.

We aren’t going to wink and cheer while you chip away at our rights. We are the largest voting bloc in this country. Pay attention.

Image Courtesy of The Washington Pro Choice Rally / Mine Photos by Kristalyn Bunyan

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Fox News Refutes Glenn Beck’s Attack on the Slaughter Solution

Mar 16 2010 Published by under Featured News

The brewing battle between the journalists and the political commentators at Fox News took a new turn today as Hill reporter Carl Cameron refuted the right wing, including FNC’s own Glenn Beck’s attack, on the so called Slaughter Solution as an unprecedented move to pass healthcare reform. Cameron said, “Deeming has been used literally for centuries, and it is legislative language that says look we are going to consider this already done.”

FNC's Cameron refutes Beck's claims with facts

The brewing battle between the journalists at Fox News and Glenn Beck took a new turn today as Hill reporter Carl Cameron refuted the right wing, including FNC’s own Glenn Beck’s attack, on the so called Slaughter Solution as an unprecedented move to pass healthcare reform. Cameron said, “Deeming has been used literally for centuries.”

The Slaughter Solution is a proposal by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) to use deeming to advance the healthcare reform bill through the House. In essence, it would help the bill clear a legislative hurdle by passing a rule approving debate on the second Senate bill. After the rule is passed, the first bill will be considered agreed upon. On Monday, Slaughter pointed out that this procedure has been used in the House since 1933, and she was backed up today on Fox News.

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

While the right wing has been trying to portray the Slaughter Solution as unprecedented in American history, on FNC’s America’s Newsroom today, Carl Cameron said, “Deeming has been used literally for centuries, and it is legislative language that says look, we are going to consider this done so that we can move on to the next thing. As a political matter and as a historical matter, one can see how Democrats who vote for the reconciliation package will still have to answer to their voters who understand that healthcare is included in it.”

Here is Beck claiming that deeming is a new idea:

The Republican position is rife with hypocrisy on this issue as when they were the majority in the House they set new records for the use of deeming. According to a 2006 column in Roll Call by Don Wolfensberger, “
When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules (deeming) and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules.”

Howard Kurtz had a piece in yesterday’s Washington Post about how Glenn Beck is dividing Fox News, and the journalists at the network are growing concerned that Beck is redefining them. I think what we saw out Cameron was a moment of journalism that was not in tow with the right wing media/Glenn Beck line. It will be interesting to see what direction Fox News goes in, but my guess is that they will follow the money. Entertainment and propaganda will take center stage, as rare moments of journalism will be few and far between.

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Glenn Beck Claims that Jesus Christ Opposed Social Justice

Mar 11 2010 Published by under Featured News

Beck manages to warp the teachings of Jesus

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck claimed that the concept of social justice is a perversion of the gospel, and that social justice is not something that Jesus would talk about. Beck said that social justice is, “a perversion of the gospel.” Beck’s point was that the gospel is really about capitalism and free market economics. According to Beck, Jesus was an anti-government conservative.

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

In response to a caller who is a Catholic that is upset about his church’s advocacy of social justice, Beck said, “I want you to know that even some members in my faith where I go church there are members that preach social justice as members, my faith doesn’t, but the members preach social justice all the time. It is a perversion of the gospel. Nowhere does Jesus say hey, if somebody asks for your shirt, give your coat to the government, and have the government give them a pair of slacks. That’s not what Jesus was saying. You want to help out. You help out. It changes you. That’s what the gospel is all about. You, you change it, not having the government dictate.”

I am not an expert on the Bible, but the Jesus he is referring to is someone that I am not familiar with. I wasn’t aware that Jesus was a free market, anti-government conservative. I will leave it to others to post some relevant Bible quotes in the comment section that refute Beck. My question for Mr. Founding Father is when did the government become separate from the social contract? If the majority of people desire a form of social justice, whether it is civil rights, healthcare, or any other issue, according to the social contract which forms the foundation of our entire system, the government is obligated to carry out the will of the people.

It is interesting that a person of the Mormon faith would be calling out progressives for perverting the gospel when according people of other faith, the book of Mormon itself is a perversion of the gospel. (I have no dog in that fight, so please spare the angry emails and comments. I have no issues with anyone’s faith). Beck was doing nothing more than spewing the same Jesus and God were conservatives nonsense that he was probably brainwashed with years ago.

Contrary to what Beck believes, social justice is a good thing. Without social justice women may still not be allowed to vote, and segregation might still be in place. It is fascinating to me that conservatives use Jesus to argue the cruel position that people are not entitled to adequate healthcare. Turning their backs on the most needy in our society is a very un-Christian thing to do, and seems to contradict everything that Jesus stood for.

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The Daily Show Mocks Republicans for Invoking the Rapture to Stop Healthcare Reform

Mar 05 2010 Published by under Featured News

Jon Stewart and company point out more GOP absurdity

On The Daily Show last night host Jon Stewart and correspondent John Oliver satirized Republicans like Rep. Todd Akin for invoking the rapture and asking God to stop healthcare reform. Oliver said that the rapture would, “link healthcare reform with lakes of fire, marauding demons, and the destruction of mankind on earth in the minds of surviving swing voters.”

Here is the video:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Med Menace
Daily Show
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Political Humor Health Care Reform

The real highlight of the segment came when John Oliver described the rapture as Republicans emergency backup plan to stop healthcare, “Think about there’s a certain brilliance to the strategy here.” Stewart said it would send the Democrats back to square one, and Oliver added, “Also indelibly link healthcare reform with lakes of fire, marauding demons, and the destruction of mankind on earth in the minds of surviving swing voters.”

Oliver listed the signs of the rapture, “They’ll be a number of signs. Bright lights, the ground feeling warmer, John Boehner on the floor of the House lifting his arms wide and turning his head to the sky, Eric Cantor being left behind realizing being Republican does not trump being Jewish, and finally Nancy Pelosi sitting astride a five headed beast as it emerges from the ocean.” Stewart pointed out that after the rapture the Democrats would be in total control to pass healthcare reform, and Oliver summed up the Democrats by adding that they’ll find a way to f**k it up. It’s what they do.

As feeble as it may seem, there is an actual strategy at work here. Every time Republicans invoke God in their attempts to stop healthcare. By linking healthcare reform to religion, the GOP hopes to motivate the Christian Conservatives to get to the polls and cast their dependable votes for Republican candidates. This is a tried and true tactic that has worked for Republicans for decades. What The Daily Show did last night was point out the absolute absurdity of trying to tie God to healthcare reform.

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Bill O’Reilly Compares Obama and Heathcare to George W. Bush and Iraq

Mar 04 2010 Published by under Featured News

Bill-O Jumps the Tracks on Obama and healthcare

On his FNC program The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly engaged in full blown fear mongering tonight as he compared President Obama’s attempts to pass healthcare reform with George W. Bush’s belief that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States. Only in the fractured realm of Fox News could a healthcare bill be equated with an unjust war that has killed thousands of people.

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

O’Reilly said, “President Obama sincerely believes that healthcare reform will make America stronger, just as President Bush sincerely believed that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world, but both men could be wrong, and it’s very possible that Obamacare could cause mass chaos in our medical system, and drive the treasury into bankruptcy. That’s not a scare tactic. That’s real life. The President must know Obamacare is a huge risk for the country, and at this point I believe the risk is not worth taking. Bill-O suggested that private insurance reform was the answer.

Simply saying that something isn’t a scare tactic does not make it so. O’Reilly was engaging in fear mongering of the highest order. Where is the evidence that healthcare reform with throw our medical system into chaos? How could this healthcare reform bill throw our system into chaos when it doesn’t contain a public option or any major changes to healthcare delivery mechanism? As far as bankrupting the treasury, O’Reilly needs to look at the CBO numbers. The healthcare bill will save the country money. The current system is already bleeding us dry.

The comparison between George W. Bush and Iraq and Barack Obama and healthcare is not only faulty, but also insulting. The decision to pass a healthcare reform bill is not the same as manipulating intelligence to justify a war that has killed or injured hundreds of thousands. O’Reilly was trying to demonize healthcare reform by comparing it to the unpopular Iraq war. The two decisions are not the same, and it never ceases to amaze me that Fox News can jam so much misinformation into one minute of programming. They are true masters of their trade.

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