Wednesday, December 30, 2009


An unsigned editorial in today’s NY Times set about to list the reasons why we should pass health care reform legislation. Below, I refute their points, one-by-one.

THE HEALTH OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS The fact that 46 million people in this country have no health insurance should be intolerable.

Wrong. The fact that people in this country cannot afford HEALTH CARE should be intolerable. I know it is hard to think outside of the box, but if we don’t, we end up rewarding the very people who have created this problem. Insurance companies, doctors associations, hospital associations, pharmaceutical corporations and medical supply companies, AMONG OTHERS, have colluded to create a system of ever-rising costs for the consumer. Real reform would cut the waste and fraud from this system. No bill that is currently being considered would begin to do that. It’s not about HEALTH INSURANCE, It’s about HEALTH CARE. Please think about that. It’s important if you want real change instead of a giant corporate giveaway at taxpayer’s expense to stop assuming that we need insurance in order to pay for health care. Other countries don’t.

We consider it a moral obligation and sound policy to provide health insurance to as many people as possible. While the pending bills would fall short of complete coverage, by 2019, the Senate bill would cover 31 million people and the House bill 36 million who would otherwise be uninsured under current trends.

Wrong again. If you look at the bill and the way it intends to go about “covering the uninsured,” it is doing so mainly by forcing people who cannot now afford insurance to purchase insurance. Except that they still can’t afford it. So they aren’t going to buy it. This mandatory insurance clause is based on a premise that the uninsured have the money to buy insurance but are just being irresponsible and not buying it. Even if people who work at places that don’t currently provide insurance for their employees are given the benefit by their employers, it will most likely mean that they have to pay for it somehow. Congress just can’t seem to get it through their heads that PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD IT.

The argument is that the government will provide SUBSIDIES for people. What is being suggested currently is that the government would subsidize the policies of people making 150% of poverty level according to federal guidelines. Let’s look at those guidelines, shall we?


The 2009 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia*

Persons in family / Poverty guideline
1 / $10,830
2 / 14,570
3 / 18,310
4 / 22,050
5 / 25,790
6 / 29,530
7 / 33,270
8 / 37,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.
* Guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii average two to three thousand dollars more per category. SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 74, No. 14, January 23, 2009, pp. 4199–4201

So, using these numbers, those that would qualify for subsidies would be those who made less than the following amounts in the following categories (again, the numbers are slightly different in Alaska and Hawaii):
150% of Poverty income for 1 = $16,245.
150% of Poverty income for 2 = $21,885.
150% of Poverty income for 3 = $27, 465.
150% of Poverty income for 4 = $33,075.

The government would have to pay 100% of the premiums for these people in order for them to be able to have insurance because a family of three could simply not afford a penny of insurance if it was trying to live off of $27,465 per year. And what about a family of four that makes $24,000 per year? No subsidies for them? How will they afford the premiums? THEY CAN’T and that doesn’t change under the legislation. So, those folks get to pay a fine. Great; they can’t afford to out-of-control, sky-rocketing health insurance premiums, so now they have to pay a fine. Increasing the burdens on an already overburdened working class; that really solves the problem, doesn’t it?

MORE SECURITY FOR ALL Horror stories abound of people — mainly those who buy individual policies — who were charged exorbitant premiums or rejected because of pre-existing conditions or paid out for years and then had their policies rescinded when they got sick.
Such practices would be prohibited completely in three or four years under the reform bills. Before that, insurers would be barred from rescinding policies retroactively and the bills would establish temporary high-risk pools to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
If reform legislation is approved, employees enrolled in group coverage at work would also be more secure. If workers are laid off — an all too common occurrence these days — and need to buy policies on their own, insurers would be barred from denying them coverage or charging exorbitant premiums for health reasons.

But no mention of how much is “exorbitant.” Where in the bill is the language that defines how much the insurance companies CAN charge these people? Could someone find that language for me??? Probably not because the government is mandating that the insurance companies can’t deny anyone coverage, but they aren’t regulating what the greedy buggers can charge. Oh, yes, THAT’S helpful. Without a government-run program, who will ensure that the premiums for these high-risk pools will be affordable? Does anyone remember that one of the problems that we are trying to solve with this so-called reform is that people won’t have to bankrupt themselves in order to afford the care they need? Where is the guarantee in this legislation that people with pre-existing conditions will be able to afford the insurance that the insurance companies are “being forced” to sell them? There is none. What a relief!

And a brief word about portability of coverage. So you get laid off from work and you no longer have insurance coverage. Well, don’t be sad; you can buy your own and the bad old insurance companies can’t charge you “exorbitant” (a term that is never defined) rates. Lucky you! Except, you don’t have the same income you had before but you still have the same bills. How the hell can you afford to buy insurance?? Ooopps. Guess Congress wasn’t thinking about that one. (My husband and I found ourselves in this very situation just three years ago. COBRA would have cost me over $1000 per month. With both of us laid off, it was a challenge just to pay the bills we had in order to not lose everything we had)

CUTTING COSTS Americans are justifiably concerned about the rising cost of health insurance and of the medical care it covers. The reform bills won’t solve these problems quickly, but they would make a good start.
Despite overheated Republican claims that the reforms would drive up premiums, the Congressional Budget Office projected that under the Senate bill the vast majority of Americans (those covered by employer policies) would see little or no change in their average premiums or even a slight decline. Those who buy their own policies would pay somewhat more — but for greatly improved coverage.

Except that I overheard a closed meeting of interested parties behind the scenes of this health care legislation discussing the “fact” that knowledgeable sources are predicting a rise in the rates of health care premiums over the next three years in advance of this legislation going into effect and some are predicting they could double in that time. How is that handled in the legislation? Congress kindly provides the insurance industry with enough time to rape us all real good before the changes go into effect. Now that’s Change you can believe in!

Most people who would be buying their own policies would qualify for tax subsidies to help pay their premiums, which could reduce their costs by thousands of dollars a year. And small businesses would qualify for tax credits to defray the cost of covering their workers.

Wait—tax subsidies??!! Does that mean that people have to come up with $500 per month for insurance premiums for their family (and I am being conservative with that estimate because I am paying $800 for my employer-sponsored plan) and the government will pay them back at tax time?!! HELLO, CONGRESS? POOR PEOPLE DON’T HAVE $500 PER MONTH TO SPEND ON ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T FEED, CLOTHE, OR HOUSE THEM. Do you understand what it means to be poor? Obviously not. Ditto for small employers-the costs of covering employees could force layoffs or complete shut downs in order to keep cash flow in the black.

The inexorably rising cost of hospital and medical care is the underlying factor that drives up premiums, deductibles and co-payments. No one yet has an answer to the problem.

Oh, so you’re saying that this bill does nothing to solve the biggest problem facing us where health care is concerned—rising costs?? You know, you are right. I can’t argue with you, there, New York Times unnamed editor. The bill could have addressed rising costs by setting allowable costs, but the doctors associations and hospital associations that helped to write the bill didn’t see that as advantageous to their bottom line, so those ideas were scuttled. The “inexorable costs” are rising in order for the shareholders to get a larger profit share at the end of each quarter. Are you telling me that there is no way to fix that problem? Other countries have it licked already.

THE TIME HAS COME For decades, presidents from both parties have tried in vain to reform the health care system and cover the uninsured…If this chance is squandered and Republicans gain seats, as expected, in the midterm elections, it could be a decade or more before reformers have another opportunity. Americans shouldn’t have to wait any longer.

This is the weakest argument of all for passing this lousy legislation that does nothing to solve the problems that were stated at the outset as the reason for reform. The legislation was written by special interests. It is written to benefit them, not to solve any problems that the consumer is having. If all are covered, health insurance companies will see increased business. Good for them. If all are covered, Hospitals and Doctors will be assured payment for their services, no matter how exorbitant those charges may be. Good for them. This bill does nothing to lower the price of medicine, so Pharmaceutical companies are happy. And this bill does nothing to regulate costs for any service or product, so everyone involved with profiting from your illness is happy. Good for them. And it has the added benefit of not solving the problem of unaffordable insurance and health care costs for the working poor of this country, not solving the problem of unaffordable insurance premiums for those with pre-existing conditions and not solving the problem of exponentially-increasing health care costs in the future.

Unnamed New York Times Editor is saying that it’s broke, and although we could have fixed it, this bill doesn’t, but we should support it anyway because it's all we're going to get. That makes no sense at all. And then there is the lingering threat of “pass this bill now or you will get nothing anytime soon.” There is no reason to pass a crappy bill that only benefits the special interests and doesn’t solve the problems because of the possibility that Congress won’t be able to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better. It’s their job and it is up to the American people to force them to do it. If unnamed New York Times Editor wants to be defeatist, that doesn’t mean the rest of us should go along with this charade.

The truth is, since this bill was written by the special interests and has been negotiated all along on a daily basis by and among those special interests, there was never any intent by Congress to fix the problems of the consumer. They only meant to hand more power and money to the people who are plaguing us.

And that is one good reason to NOT vote for or support this fraud.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Yes, this is proof that true conservatives and all other sane, thinking people can come together. Andrew Sullivan on the Joy Behar show. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Women Can’t be Trusted to Make Their Own Healthcare Decisions

It’s a fact of life; women are too stupid to make decisions relating to their own healthcare or reproduction. (Well, except wealthy women, of course.) We should always be told what to do by the government or insurance companies. That is why it was so easy for Nancy Pelosi to sign away reproductive rights for women in the House version of the Healthcare Reform Bill. Society, churches, the government and insurance companies have decreed that only wealthy women have the right and the power to decide whether they will carry a pregnancy to term and bring another child into the world.

Come now, you say, that is surely over-exaggerating the situation.

Surely, it is not. What is a more fundamental fact of life than if you don’t have the money, you can’t have it?? Here is the WaPo analysis of the language in the House Bill:

The amendment would prohibit abortion coverage in the government-run plan and any private plan on the new marketplace that accepts people who are using government subsidies to buy coverage.
Under that language, abortion coverage would be unavailable not only to working-class women buying coverage with government subsidies, but probably also to women buying coverage on the new marketplace without federal assistance. The amendment suggests that women could buy separate "riders" covering abortions, but abortion-rights supporters say it is offensive to require a separate purchase for coverage of a medical procedure that for most women is unexpected.

If women in this country can’t get abortion coverage on government insurance and they can’t get insurance that funds abortions with a government subsidy, that effectively prevents about half the women in this country from being able to afford an abortion. This is gender discrimination pure and simple. If that is not the case, then I DARE the Senate to add an amendment to their bill preventing coverage for any prescription or service that treats male sexual dysfunction or impotency. After all, if God had intended these men to be able to use their organs, they wouldn’t be having these problems. So, it’s a moral and religious outrage that science is providing these services to men.

Reps. Baron P. Hill (Ind.), elected with the class of 2006 that gave Democrats the House majority, and Dan Maffei (N.Y.), who rode to office with President Obama on a Democratic wave last year, were among the last lawmakers to make up their minds on Saturday's historic health-care vote.
Both voted yes, helping to push the count to a razor-thin majority of 220. Neither viewed the much-hyped furor over the creation of a government-run option to compete with the private insurance industry as a major factor in their decisions. For Hill -- and a couple of dozen other Democrats -- the decision came down to a last-minute compromise that paved the way for an amendment ensuring that no federal funding would go to abortions. For Maffei, it was a long series of discussions with staff, experts, his constituents and Obama.
"I've always wanted to get to yes," Hill, who was part of a conservative Democratic blockade to the legislation in July, said after voting to approve the legislation.
"It's pretty closely divided. Either way, it would have been a profile in courage or a profile in being ordinary," Maffei, a former Capitol Hill staffer, said of public opinion in his Syracuse-based district.

Pelosi sold out women everywhere. You can say whatever you want, but it is a FACT. Shame on every single woman in congress, especially Nancy Pelosi. Women are not second-class citizens. Where would this country be without women?

How would this country function if for just ONE DAY, we all stayed home and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for anyone but ourselves?

Then there is this little nugget on a blog over at Air America Radio’s site:

First things first. An expanded Medicare will do for now. And while the Stupak amendment is a sharp slap in the face for what most of us on the left deem an acceptable outcome, there is the fact that we're seeing legislative movement for the first time in years on the issue of health care reform in America.

The Stupak Amendment is SO much more than a sharp slap in the face to the women of this country. It ties women’s hands. It codifies discrimination in healthcare. It does to women EXACTLY what conservatives have been screaming about all summer; it gives power to the government to prevent women from making their own healthcare choices. It is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. It is so much more than what this writer from Air America makes it out to be as he blithely hands MY healthcare decisions to the government and insurance company bureaucrats.

If this bill denied certain healthcare choices to homosexuals, African Americans or other minorities, there would be no question that it would be a non-starter. But it seems that the left has decided that while this is not “deemed” an “acceptable outcome,” they will stand for limiting the rights of women if that is what they have to do to get healthcare reform done.

What other minority would the left sell down the river? I can’t think of one.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Limbaugh’s America

I understand that Rush Limbaugh has been going on lately about “Obama’s America.” Really? Does America belong to its President? Are we owned by our President? Does the President proscribe our actions and control the social environment in our country? Though that is the way conservatives would like it to be (only with a conservative authority figure controlling society), that is not the way it is.

Truth be known, this is much more Limbaugh’s America than it is Obama’s. When Limbaugh started his radio show in 1988 after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the political dialogue in this country, though very imperfect, was not nearly as ugly and lacking in civility as it is now. The following is an excerpt from The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution by Gregory L. Schneider:

“One of the most unheralded parts of the Reagan years was the decision made in 1987 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), established by the New Deal in the 1930’s, to abolish The Fairness Doctrine. The Supreme Court had ruled that the doctrine-which stipulated that broadcasters provide “equal time” during coverage of political events or discussion- was not law, but rather a regulation, freeing the FCC to get rid of it... With the equal time provision ended, talk radio helped catapult conservatives to the forefront of control of the nation’s AM airwaves.”

At that time in this country, there was general Conservative complaint about the state of society. One of their biggest complaints was that Liberals were bullying people into “Political Correctness.” Nobody was allowed to speak their mind and it was impossible to thoroughly discuss and explore any issue because only half of the story could be told, they complained.

Rush Limbaugh was on the front line of that argument. His eventual rise in power and popularity has allowed him the freedom to say whatever he wants no matter how racist, intolerant, insensitive, sexist or just downright ignorant. His popularity and resultant power have given him the opportunity to spout the following gems over time:

"Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."

"We're not sexists, we're chauvinists -- we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because…We think that's what women want."

"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's [Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb] been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

"They oughtta change Black History Month to Black Progress Month and start measuring it."

"Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

And let's not forget the "Barack the Magic Negro" song he plays on his radio show.

As Rush Limbaugh ascended his throne as the voice of the conservative movement and his listenership increased, his followers delighted in their newly found freedom and proudly proclaimed themselves as “dittoheads,” agreeing with everything he said not just regardless of the naked racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance being communicated, but because of it. Many uncivil tongues were freed to spout hate and intolerance, to whine and finger-point when things did not go their way, to paint themselves as victims and to vilify and attack anyone that disagreed.

While pretending to be a patriot, Limbaugh reveled in questioning the patriotism of soldiers who served their country (though he never did) and dared to come home and air their concerns about war. He childishly attempted to accuse actor Michael J. Fox of “shamelessly” faking symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that were actually side effects of the medication that he was taking to combat the disease. Fox’s crime? He disagreed with Limbaugh on a topic of which Limbaugh has neither knowledge nor experience-stem-cell research—and had the nerve to speak out in favor of it. In short, Limbaugh has gradually become the bully that he accused the “liberal elite” of being when he started out. And while doing so, he emboldened all of his dittohead followers to speak their minds without filter as well.

Now that there is no true leader in the Republican Party, some have pointed to Limbaugh as the titular head. Though he has officially rejected the title, he is nonetheless reveling in the power of the role. The recent proof of his role was a steady stream of politicians that rushed to apologize to him for saying anything with which he disagreed. The list includes Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Phil Gingrey and even the figurehead of the Republican Party, Michael Steele.

This phenomenon became so ridiculous that Democrats created a website where you could create your own apology to Rush using a form letter:

There is no denying that Limbaugh has become the standard to which all other talk radio and right-wing talkers measure themselves. According to Wikipedia,

As of 2006, Arbitron ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast medium — television or radio. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million.

So Rush is King and has inspired such imitators as Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. They spout the distributed talking points from the conservative propaganda machine and disrupt political discourse on important issues like healthcare, as we have all witnessed this summer. And they reap millions of dollars in reward.

Limbaugh boldly and unabashedly encouraged his followers to interfere in Democratic Caucuses in the 2008 Presidential election in order to disrupt the political process, because the Republican Party employing conservative policies had made such a complete mess out of the country that the only way Republicans had a chance to win was to interfere with Democratic political process. And Limbaugh faces no consequences while he laughs up his sleeve all the way to the bank. From Wikipedia:

In an attempt to undermine the Democratic campaigns, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to vote for whoever was behind in the vote, an effort dubbed "Operation Chaos". In Ohio, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to register as Democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton. In Ohio, voters changing their registration must attest that they support the principles of the party to which they switch. About 16,000 Ohio Republicans switched parties for the election. The Ohio Attorney General's office stated that it would be hard to prove any voter's fraudulent intent. Limbaugh said that there is nothing wrong with Republicans voting in Democratic primaries, as Democrats were able to vote for John McCain in Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, and other states. Limbaugh has said that "The dream end of [Operation Chaos] is that this keeps up to the Convention, and that we have a recreation of Chicago 1968 with burning cars, protests, fire, and literal riots and all of that, that is the objective here."

Fraud, lies, deceit, disruption, intolerance, and an anything-goes-fratboy mentality rules the Limbaugh mob. He is unapologetic about it. He wants to sew chaos and despair, then turn around and blame anyone that is not part of the conservative elite for the consequences. He has stated that he has no interest in seeing government succeed in anything and has shown over and over again that he is willing to label anyone that disagrees with his views as “Socialist,” “Fascist,” or “Marxist” regardless of any evidence to the contrary and regardless of whatever consequences this labeling might bring.

The state of civility in America has decayed considerably since the rise of Limbaugh and his hateful brand of talk radio. It was the conservative movement’s complaint in the 1980’s that there was no respect in public discourse and in society, no tolerance for their religious views, a growing decay and disrespect for authority and decency. The rise of Limbaugh and his ilk has seen discourse, tolerance, respect and common courtesy degrade to nothingness. And Limbaugh’s latest race-baiting tactic is to twist a story of simple bullying into a racist attack against a white child:

It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up ..."

NO, this is Limbaugh’s America where it doesn’t matter how many white kids are the target of white bullies, but if a black kid is the bully, it’s reverse racism.

In his book, The Culture of Complaint, author Robert Hughes posits that "The fraying of America" has come about as a result of excessive polarization and politicization.” He also states “…during the Reagan years conservatives managed to conflate all government intervention in economics with creeping Marxism. Over the past fifteen years, conservatives have succeeded, virtually unopposed, in depicting as left wing, agendas that, in a saner polity, would be regarded as ideologically neutral.”

The conservative machine, lead by it’s propaganda minister Rush Limbaugh, has implemented its strategy of smear tactics, fear tactics and disruptions over and over again, destroying civil discourse and ratcheting up hysteria to a dangerous new level, making it absolutely impossible for American society to function together.

Divide and conquer, slash and burn, lie and smear. This is Limbaugh’s America.

This is Limbaugh’s America where it is perfectly fine for him or one of his minions to bully anyone that disagrees with lockstep conservative ideology, because somehow THEY are the ones that are the victims of oppression.

This is Limbaugh’s America where there is no discussion of the FACT that conservative policy destroyed our economy by allowing runaway capitalism tantamount to gambling, but it is somehow Obama’s “Socialist” policies that have destroyed our economy.

This is Limbaugh’s America where a confused woman stands up at a political rally and is vaguely sure that somehow Obama is somehow not one of us, an Arab or something, she just isn’t sure, but not one of us.

This is Limbaugh’s America where a physically disabled woman is shouted down at a Town Hall Meeting while she practically begs for some relief from the greedy corporate healthcare system that is beggaring her just because she had the misfortune to become ill.

This is Limbaugh’s America where you can’t even have civil public discourse about a vital issue like healthcare reform without name-calling and threats of violence. He has his dittoheads so convinced that they are the oppressed minority about to be interred in a camp or killed by some mythical “Socialist” government that they are packing guns to attend Town Hall Meetings with the President and are busily organizing for some coming revolution.

This is Limbaugh’s America, where a large percentage of the populace is somehow convinced that the media in this country is run by Liberals who are out to destroy our economy and turn the country into a giant Marxist commune. It matters not that conservatives have publicly outed this notion as a lie:
William Kristol (influential Conservative and editor of Weekly Standard) in 1995

“I admit it…The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.”
Brent Bozell (head of the right-wing “Media Research Center”)
"…In his lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 1992, Bozell admitted…The “monopoly” liberals held in the media had been “broken” by the “conservative network.”…“We have learned that many in the media are quite open to the conservative perspective if it is presented properly. We provide journalists with the conservative argument on a given issue, lead them to the organization expert in it, and recommend qualified spokesmen…It is amazing how very receptive some journalists are to this assistance…”

This is Limbaugh’s America much more so than it is Obama’s. Rush knows this but it does not serve his interests to admit it. It serves his financial, political, egotistical and personal interests to continue to sew fear, distrust, and hate by smearing and lying and spreading conservative propaganda and whipping people into a hysterical frenzy. Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly and other Fox News disinformationists would not have a podium had he not paved the way. THIS is Limbaugh’s America and he does NOT get to stand aside and pretend that the toxic seed that he helped to sow and its resultant poisoned harvest belongs to anyone else.

Lest you accuse me of being overly biased about the hate speech of Rush Limbaugh and the affect that this hate speech is having on our society, please take a moment to visit the extremely reasonable blog of a self-proclaimed conservative on the very same subject:

Finally, one of the reasons that people can be convinced that Limbaugh has any credibility at all is because of the utility of call screeners on talk radio. The call screeners on talk radio now exist to weed out any caller that might have a reasonable argument against any idea that the Host of the show is propagating. Here is an instance where the call screeners on Limbaugh’s show obviously dropped the ball. And, you will notice, that when they realized they had dropped the ball, they then dropped the call, enabling Limbaugh to label and name-call, which is the only recourse of someone without a real defense. Watch:

Rush gets Served

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I found this blog from a link on the E&P Pub containing a press release from the Head Moron of the Republican Party in Florida wherein he decries the use of tax dollars by President Obama to indoctrinate the nation’s children to Socialism.

You might be asking yourself, “WHAT THE F---?!”

This latest hysterical fit is the right’s reaction to a planned televised national address to students by President Obama on September 8. From the US Department of Education’s website:

President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

Obama-The New Red Menace (even though he looks more like Arnold Schwartzenegger from Predator)

That is some radical stuff. I can certainly see why Republicans would have a problem with the message. The idea that ANYONE, let alone our children, would take responsibility for their own learning, rather than being spoon-fed what authoritarian demagogues want them to know, is very radical. And we can all see where that “shared responsibility and commitment” stuff is going—we are all going to end up paying for someone else’s kids to be educated! Horrors!! There is no collective good in having educated children; it’s just another liberal boondoggle.

I am of course, being facetious, but Jim Greer, on the other hand, takes the hysteria to a level that I couldn’t even imagine. Check it out:

For Immediate Release Contact: Katie Gordon
September 1, 2009 (850) 339-7087
Greer Condemns Obama’s Attempt to Indoctrinate Students
Tallahassee – Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer today released the following statement condemning President Obama’s use of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.

“As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power.

“While I support educating our children to respect both the office of the American President and the value of community service, I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda. The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President’s agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.

“Public schools can’t teach children to speak out in support of the sanctity of human life or traditional marriage. President Obama and the Democrats wouldn’t dream of allowing prayer in school. Christmas Parties are now Holiday Parties. But, the Democrats have no problem going against the majority of American people and usurping the rights of parents by sending Pied Piper Obama into the American classroom.

The Democrats have clearly lost the battle to maintain control of the message this summer, so now that school is back in session, President Obama has turned to American’s children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American’s youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves.

Irony, thy name is Jim Greer.

O Where to Begin!

Obama’s Socialist Agenda: What socialist agenda? It was during the Bush regime that banks were bailed out by the American middle class after they had been allowed to thoroughly rape the American middle class for at least six years. If Obama were truly a socialist, he would have insisted that the government take control of those banks, fired the inept and corrupt leadership that gambled away the middle class retirement funds they were given charge over and put an end to this capitalist chicanery once and for all. But that’s NOT EVEN CLOSE to what he actually did. And lest you hypocrites and deniers forget, it was because of YOUR PARTY’S INEPT LEADERSHIP that Obama was forced to come to the aid of the automobile manufacturers, this country’s last large manufacturing employers, in order to save hundreds of thousands of jobs. There was NO BAILOUT, there was a LOAN, that is being PAID BACK. I know that it is tough for you to understand these technical financial terms, Mr. Greer. It is obvious that nobody in your party has CLUE ONE about banking and finance.

Using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda: Even if he WAS preaching liberal propaganda to children, which he is not, why is it that your side has no problem using their children to spread conservative theocratic propaganda? When I see people marching against the freedom of choice, I notice they always bring their children and have them hold the most heinous gory signs. When I witness “Teabagger Rallys” I always see children holding signs with religious and anti-government propaganda slogans. Know what I don’t see? Children being subjected to adult debate on the LEFT side of the argument. Liberals aren’t the ones that believe in indoctrination of children; that would be your side, Mr. Greer.

Obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates: How funny that you would bring this up since it is the EXACT SAME argument that is used by Liberals to argue against prayer in school. Yet you are still advocating the forcing of your religious beliefs on my child, who must agree and go along with your religious indoctrination or be ostracized by his teacher and classmates. I guess it’s okay when it’s in the name of God. HOWEVER, there is a serious flaw in your argument in that Obama is not asking children to recite a mantra or slogan everyday before class begins in order to brainwash them into submission, he is simply addressing them and asking them to listen. Listening: A difficult concept for a conservative, I realize, but not a radical one.

Pied Piper Obama: I bet you didn’t mean to sound so desperately hysterical when you included this little gem in your “statement.” But that is exactly what you have done by utilizing this phrase. What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid your children might hear what Obama says about education, personal responsibility and community service and THINK FOR THEMSELVES about how they fit in to the bigger picture? Or do you seriously believe that Obama is going to hypnotize them into seeing things his way VIA MONITOR???

President Obama has turned to American’s children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American’s youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves. Isn’t that why your conservative brethren home school their children, in order to indoctrinate them into your belief system before they are exposed to dangerous ideas like thinking for themselves? How telling, Mr. Greer that you would include this final salvo. It illuminates for all to see not only the fact that you and your ilk are ruled by fear and endlessly frustrated that you can’t rule the rest of us with fear, but the methods that your side uses to brain wash its youth in order to continue to breed more fearful, ignorant, intolerant, unhappy conservative generations.

So President Obama plans to address the nation’s school children via internet and urge them to take seriously their own responsibility to get an education and the possible rewards of getting an education and THIS IS SOCIALISM?

Obama plans to challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. Hard work, goal-setting and personal responsibility—the prime tenets of Socialism.

Obama plans to address the shared responsibility and commitment of students, parents and educators to make sure that every child receives the best education possible. Team work - another Socialist philosophy.

Obama wants our children to be able to compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives. Global competition, Good jobs, Rewarding and Productive lives—Common Socialist buzz words.

Will one of you right-wing nut jobs out there please leave your definition of Socialism in the comment section below so that the rest of us can try to understand why you think that everything Obama does is Socialist? (Because knowledge and understanding are two of the many evil tenets of the Liberal philosophy)

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Monday, August 31, 2009

UPDATE! Is Jenkins a Slow Reader or a No-Reader?

Click on the title of this blog to read an article from the Topeka Capital Journal in which it is revealed that shortly before Jenkins used the term "Great White Hope" to describe the search for leadership in the Republican Party, she actually voted on a resolution to honor Jack Johnson that contained the words "Great White Hope."

On July 29th, Ms. Jenkins voted in favor of a resolution granting a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, who was imprisoned for transporting a white woman across state lines because he had the unmitigated gall to marry a white woman in those days and times. This was described in the resolution as a "racially motivated abuse of the prosecutorial authority of the Federal Government." The full language of the resolution is printed in the article.

Unfortunately, as explained by Jenkins' spokeswoman, she didn't have time to read the bill before she voted in favor of it. Mary Geiger, Jenkins' very busy press secretary, explained that the resolution passed on a unanimous consent vote rather than a roll call vote.

"The resolution came to the House floor at 5:40 p.m. and was on the floor about three minutes before a vote was taken.

Geiger said it would have been "nearly impossible" for anyone to read the resolution before it was approved."

Quick; read the resolution in the attached article. Time yourself. How long did that take?

Is Jenkins a slow reader or a no-reader?

You Make the Call.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Lynn Jenkins: Racist, Ignorant or Both--You Make the Call

I don’t know much about boxing. I am not a fan of the “sport.” In fact, I don’t even consider it a sport.

But I know my country’s history of racism and I know my country’s culture. I know enough to know that when Jack Johnson, the first African American boxing champion won the Heavyweight Title almost one hundred years ago, whites in this country lamented that a white man might never own the title again and looked to “a great white hope” to regain the title.

For the record, it was several years later that a white fighter finally managed a win over Johnson in a fight surrounded by controversy. And it was over twenty years later that Joe Louis regained the Heavyweight Title for the African American community when he beat “The Cinderella Man” of recent movie fame.

Apparently, I know more than first term Kansas Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. This does not surprise me. If she believes half of the things that came out of her mouth during her recent campaign, she is either delusional or seriously ignorant.

At a recent town hall meeting with constituents, Jenkins made the following statement:

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the Great White Hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington." Jenkins reportedly went on to list the names of several young, white Republicans.

Of course, since the media got wind of her statement, she has her staff doing some very quick tap-dancing to try to defend herself against allegations of racism. From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

In response to inquiries by The Topeka Capital-Journal, a Jenkins spokeswoman said Wednesday the congresswoman wanted to apologize for her word choice and to emphasize she had no intention of expressing herself in an offensive manner.

Mary Geiger, a spokeswoman for Jenkins, said the reference to a great white hope wasn't meant to denote a preference by Jenkins for politicians of a particular "race, creed or any background." Jenkins was expressing faith fellow GOP representatives in the House would be key players in returning Republicans to a leadership role in Washington, Geiger said.

"There may be some misunderstanding there when she talked about the great white hope," Geiger said. "What she meant by it is they have a bright future. They're bright lights within the party."

Jenkins wasn't available to comment personally on her presentation in Hiawatha, Geiger said.

Figures. What is the criteria for being a “bright light” within the Republican Party? Who can tell? From where I sit, it appears that the criteria is to be able to deliver party LIES in the most effective manner. If that is the case, woe be to Jenkins because she doesn’t even do that well.

I recently had opportunity to view Lynn Jenkins’ White paper on healthcare reform, in which she supports all the lies and propaganda currently being floated by the insurance/healthcare-industry-owned opposition to reform. I won’t bore you with all the details (if interested, read it here: but she repeats the lies that you hear being parroted at any Teabagger’s picnic. Specifically, she states that, “If you like what you have, you can’t keep it, health savings accounts will be eliminated, 2 of 3 workers will lose their current coverage, and that a proposal will prevent private insurance companies from selling new policies. Her references for these supposed “facts”?? Kaiser State Health Facts, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the Lewin Group. Obviously the first two “authorities” have an ulterior motive. But who is this Lewin Group, which Republican politicians continually cite? They describe themselves as a non-partisan consulting group. From their website:

The Lewin Group employs more than 140 consultants drawn from industry, government, academia, and the health professions. Many are national authorities whose strategies for health and human services system improvements come from their personal experience with imperatives for change.

However, a Washington Post article is very enlightening about who they really are:

July 22 Washington Post

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers.

More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association…of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the "usual and customary" doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care. In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.

In that article, a representative of the Group explains that there is an APPEARANCE of conflict of interest since the Group was bought out by UnitedHealthcare, but that they retain all editorial control over their reports. If that was meant to comfort me about the unbiased nature of their numbers, the following paragraph disabused me of any notion of lack of bias:

But not all of the firm's reports see the light of day. For example, a study for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association was never released, Sheils said.

"Let's just say, sometimes studies come out that don't show exactly what the client wants to see. And in those instances, they have [the] option to bury the study -- to not release it, rather," Sheils said.

And, sadly, as they so often do, not only are the Republicans citing biased corporate-produced data, they are also cherry-picking what they want from the report that they are currently quoting.

Politicians have argued that the public plan would place bureaucrats between patients and doctors. However, Lewin wrote that, like traditional Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, a public plan would do less than private insurers to restrict medical care.

"People would indeed lose what they have, but they might very well be better off," he said.

The Tax Foundation, which Jenkins also cites in her white paper, could more aptly be called the ANTI-Tax Foundation. The Board members are all engaged in careers that either help others avoid paying taxes, are associated with tax preparation. The commentary page listed articles such as, Higher Cigarette Taxes: Unhealthy and Unfair, and The Tyranny of Taxing Sin. I’d say it’s a good bet that this foundation is not going to be coming out in support of anything that might raise anyone’s taxes anytime soon.


Is Lynn Jenkins lazy?

Is she a liar or just a syncophant?

OR is she actually THAT stupid?

Whatever the case, I sure as hell would not judge her a qualified representative of ME to our Federal Government. Hear that Second District? The Representative you elected is either knowingly lying to you, parroting the Republican Party line, protecting the insurance industry at your expense and probably raking in lots of insurance company lobbying money OR she is lazy and/or lacking the intelligence to properly gather and analyze the FACTS and come to a logical conclusion.


Kansans and Americans: We cannot allow the willfully misinformed and purposefully propagandizing opposition movement to hijack and derail progress for meaningful health care reform in this country. Stand up and Fight Back!

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Friday, August 21, 2009


This is my healthcare protest flyer/sign. I am fed up with the Democrats on this issue.

Are they weak? No testicular fortitude?

Are they in bed with the insurance industry?

Are they stupid or lacking in vision?


I will not settle for anything less than the Public Option. It isn't even the answer, but it is a better band-aid. We need to fight against anyone, from any party, that doesn't have the best interest of the people at heart and isn't willing to stand up and do the right thing, regardless of the political consequences.


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Friday, August 14, 2009

IT JUST AIN’T SO, JOE: Debunking the Biggest Healthcare Lie Repeated by the Willfully Ignorant Right

This nation needs healthcare reform badly. In order to reform the current system, we should be having an intelligent debate over new ideas. Unfortunately, this nation isn’t really having a healthcare debate. What we’re having is more of a healthcare war of words, with slurs and slogans tossed about mostly by people who aren’t even aware that there isn’t ONE finished bill on the table and who haven’t bothered to read what HAS been written.

The one slogan that I have heard the syncophant army repeat more than any other was repeated again yesterday morning as a matter of fact by a television talking head. I generally don’t watch this show because I don’t have the time or patience to listen to uninformed, knee-jerk mannequins lacking in the ability to reason and analyze information properly. The offending slogan:

Joe Scarborough: That’s Socialism and It Will Never Work.

This must be the hundredth time I have heard this slogan uttered in response to discussion about the healthcare issue and it continues to go unchallenged. Chuck Todd stammered through a reply to this statement that was so lame that nothing he said even made sense and Scarborough interrupted him with more ignorant untruths.

Well, since Chuck Todd didn’t have an answer for you, Joe, allow me:

No, that’s NOT Socialism and it’s ALREADY working. No matter how many times you repeat your little mantra/lie/propaganda, repeating it will never make it fact. Your brainless fans can eat it up with a large wooden spoon, and it will still not be fact. Here are the facts:

Number one
, the bills that are being offered for consideration are not even CLOSE to socialized medicine. They include forcing everyone to buy private insurance or buy into a government insurance plan. Socialized medicine does not involve insurance; it is health care with all the profit motive removed, paid for with government funds. There is no need for insurance in a system of socialized medicine because the costs are controlled by removing the profit, removing unnecessary middlemen and regulating costs. Socialized medicine would be far superior to what has been offered in the existing bills. But then you and the hysterical fringe would have apoplexy if anyone actually tried to implement REAL CHANGE.

Number two, socialized medicine has in the past and currently continues to work very well in those countries which have implemented it. I don’t see anyone in those countries marching in the street to change it. As a matter of fact the UK’s socialized health care system received a ringing endorsement from Steven Hawking just the other day. What do you think, Joe, is he stupid or misinformed about the healthcare system in his country? I wonder how well he would have faired in our healthcare system with the health problems that he has had to bear?

Number three, we currently have government-run healthcare programs that are already working in THIS country. Ever hear of Medicaid or Medicare? You may have your complaints about the programs, but they are working well enough that the elderly in this country would NEVER DREAM of allowing the government to cut their government-run healthcare program. And I have had children on the State healthcare program here in Kansas in the past, and I can attest to the fact that it covered everything needed with less hassle than the private insurance that is currently provided by my employer and costs me $800 in premiums per month for my family.

And here’s a question for you, Joe; why do you want poor people to go without healthcare? Why do you want the working poor to suffer and die young? Why do you want the insurance companies, hospital corporations, healthcare supply corporations, pharmaceutical corporations and various and sundry middleman corporations to keep raking in huge profits while poor people are dying due to lack of insurance and lack of care? Perhaps it is because you suffer from a different kind of lack of care?

We aren’t even dealing with socialized medicine here. All that is being proposed, all that Obama ever suggested in his healthcare plan, is an expansion of current plans so that the uninsured in this country would be covered. Yet wealthy people like Joe Scarborough would begrudge the working poor even that simple helping hand. Why are conservatives so damn stingy? Does Joe Scarborough seriously expect me to believe that he never once benefited from a government program? Every person in this country has benefited from SOME government program at SOME point in their lives.

I have the solution to the impasse. Why don’t those of you that insist that the government can’t properly implement a government-run system just stick with the crappy health care system we have while the rest of us will design a better system for ourselves? And all the senior citizens out there protesting the public option; drop your Medicare today. Call the government and let them know that you are not interested in receiving “Socialized Medicine” anymore and see how you fair in your God-Blessed capitalist “free market” private insurance market. But I’m not siding with the heartless, corporate, pocket-picking insurance companies. So, don’t’ tell me that I can’t have a government option.

And I have one simple question for the lunatic fringe that is capitalizing the airways and trying to intimidate the rest of us into submission: If you think the capitalist free-market system is so perfect, and you truly believe that a government-run system would be so poorly run, why are you afraid to let a government-run insurance plan compete with the private insurance carriers? You are all Hypocrites and Liars.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

What’s With All the Douchebags?

I’m a little confused. What is it with the word “Douchebag”? I have been hearing it all over lately, even on the radio. I thought it was maybe some random midwestern thing, and then I received a link to the following clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
So You Think You Can Douche
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Just in case you may not know what a douchebag ACTUALLY is—the REAL definition—here is Merriam Webster’s take:

Merriam-Webster Online
Etymology: French, from Italian doccia, from docciare to douche, from doccia water pipe, probably back-formation from doccione conduit, from Latin duction-, ductio means of conveying water, from ducere to lead
Date: 1766
1 a : a jet or current of liquid (as a cleansing solution) directed against or into a bodily part or cavity (as the vagina) b : an act of cleansing with a douche
2 : a device for giving douches
3 British : an abrupt often chastening shock to the nerves, emotions, or awareness --the icy douche (what he said about my work) — John Fowles

Knowing what we all now know, what in the world does it mean when someone calls someone else a douchebag? Since this term is being used in the pejorative, I wonder what is so bad about a bag full of cleansing fluids? Or, to be precise, is the bag empty or full? Is it worse to be an empty douchebag or a full one? Does this matter when using the slang version?

Since knowing the true definition of the word doesn’t help me understand the slang definition any better, I turned to Wikipedia, and this is what I found:

A douche is a device used to introduce a stream of water into the body for medical or hygienic reasons, or the stream of water itself.

Douche usually refers to vaginal irrigation, the rinsing of the vagina, but it can also refer to the rinsing of any body cavity. A douche bag is a piece of equipment for douching—a bag for holding the fluid used in douching.

Etymology: The word "douche" comes from the French language, in which its principal meaning is a shower (it is thus a notorious “false friend” encountered by non-native speakers of English; the French phrase for vaginal douching is douche vaginale, meaning vaginal shower).

Slang: Douchebag, or simply douche, is considered to be a pejorative term in North America, the United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries. In some English speaking countries the term is not well known. The slang usage of the term dates back to the 1960s. The term implies a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions without malicious intent. It is generally used for males only.

Okay, but then how in the world did arrogance or obnoxiousness become associated with either the action of douching or any equipment that might be necessary to perform the activity? I genuinely find that to be very confusing. Thinking that perhaps Wikipedia was ill informed in their definition, I turned to the ultimate slang resource: The Urban Dictionary.

Urban Dictionary
1. a word to describe an individual who has shown himself to be very brainless in one way or another, thus comparing him to the cleansing product for vaginas.

3. Actual - (Adj) A person who is a waste of oxygen; an idiot. Also used to describe a male / female (N) that won't let you run your game. To act in a ridiculous manner; embarrassing (V).

So now I need to know, am I douche if I don’t know what it means to “run your game”? I might interfere with your game without even knowing about it because I have no idea what this means. Is it only a purposeful interference with your game that defines a douche or am I a douche even if I am completely innocent with regard to intent? And why would it be embarrassing to ME to prevent you from running your game? This definition leaves me more confused than ever before. And having attempted to digest those definitions, I find that there is a DIFFERENCE between a douche and a douchebag.

1. Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached fucker or motherfucker. Not to be confused with douche.

6. An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.

And just when I thought that there was a consensus on the whole stupidity/lack of intelligence angle, I came across the following definition (on the same website):

5. What used to be accurate on this site was replaced by a bunch of people who defined it because they really had no clue what it meant. A douchebag is a pretentious, sugar coated prick, but with emphasis on pretentious and sugar coated. It's not an adjective for an asshole, because assholes call other people douchebags, and assholes are more often than not proud of being assholes.

If you know me at all, you will know that I cannot stand to have misspellings or incorrect grammar published to my blog, so I have fixed many incorrect spellings and poor grammar in nearly ALL of the above definitions. This leads me to believe that maybe the folks that are posting entries to this website are not the smartest people in the world. Does that mean that any douchebag can post their definition to The Urban Dictionary? And, if so, does this make the entries douchy? Apparently not, according, again, to the Urban Dictionary:

1. when someone is being difficult or just plan stank. "Douche bag-ish" if you will.

Whatever. In the end, it comes down to this; I am just not a fan of the word. It doesn’t have the proper connotation in my mind, with one possible exception-

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


While the people of this country clamor for the Change that We Need (and were promised in the last election), Congress is busy making deals with the very people whose greed and contempt for the American citizenry caused the problems in our current health care system. The healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance industries are paying up big time to bend ears and rules their way.

This is completely unacceptable and we all have to do something about it. Who cares if they pass any healthcare bill at all? Whatever they pass will not be the right answer to our problems, it will be the right compromise to continue the current unacceptable system.

The people of this country are aware that the system is broken.

We are aware that changes must be made.

We are being bombarded with propaganda from the healthcare and insurance industries about what change will work and what change won’t. And yet, consistently, polls show that the American public supports a government-run system of healthcare over the current proposals in Congress, which focus more on changing insurance regulations.

We know we are about to get screwed when we read articles like the one published in today’s Washington Post, “Industry Cash Flowed To Drafters of Reform.” (The title of this post is a link to the article-just click)

The voice of the people has been excluded from the debate and the new law is being written by private interests with only a profit motive. Unacceptable.

“Health-related companies and their employees gave Baucus's political committees nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, when he began holding hearings and making preparations for this year's reform debate." Unacceptable.

“During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500. Later this month comes "Camp Baucus," a "trip for the whole family" that adds horseback riding and hiking to the list of activities." Unacceptable.

“…Friends of Max Baucus, and his political-action committee, Glacier PAC…collected $3 million from the health and insurance sectors from 2003 to 2008, about 20 percent of the total, data show. Less than 10 percent of the money came from Montana." Unacceptable.

“Many former Baucus staff members, including two chiefs of staff, lobby on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry and other health-care players and have been closely involved in negotiations on the legislation.” Unacceptable.

“Baucus and his aides strongly dispute any assertion that campaign contributions have an impact on the senator's policy views and proposals…During an interview earlier this year with the Missoulian newspaper, Baucus said that "no one gets special treatment." He added: "Your word is your bond back there." Unacceptable.

Just know this: The American People are not stupid. Members of Congress can SAY whatever they want and conveniently choose to BELIEVE anything they want, but the American people aren’t buying a word of it—not from ANY of these clowns.

And, President Obama, you said that it was the hard work, determination and small donations of people like me that helped you to get elected. If that is true, then here is some advice from someone who worked on your campaign: DANCE WITH THE ONE THAT BROUGHT YOU. You better figure out a way to pull this healthcare bill out of the crapper. Anything less than real change is Unacceptable. (Can you say “one-termer?”)


And a little sidenote to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Guess what? Blocked your emails. Until you can control your members and start choosing the best interests of the nation over party, you can kiss my small donations good-bye. Oh, I know; you can make up my measley funds with money from your corporate friends, but you risk losing it all again in the next election, don’t you?? YOUR ACTIONS ARE UNACCEPTABLE.

This graft and corruption is not happening behind closed doors, in back rooms or alleys, it is happening RIGHT in front of our eyes and for the television cameras. The news media is reporting it and anyone that is paying attention should be aware that Congress and Senate are FOR SALE. If the current sham of a health care plan gets passed, the people of this country will share some of the blame.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Moyers and Winship Lay it On the Line

Bill Moyers and Micheal Winship have “Some Choice Words for the ‘Select Few.’” And they lay it out brilliantly. Has anyone read this article? It’s a must-read for anyone that is having trouble grasping the reason for everything that is wrong in this country.*

Blame the illegals, blame the poor, blame the unemployed, blame the liberals, blame the conservatives, blame the religious zealots, blame the godless, blame the blacks, blame the Asians, blame the Hispanics, blame the welfare recipients, blame the younger generations, blame the environmentalists, blame the scientists, blame the feminists, blame Hollywood…have I missed anyone?
All of the above is a con man’s trick to get you to look the wrong way while the real culprits rip you off and make their getaway. BLAME THE SYSTEM.

And so, what is the answer? As with any other very large problem, there are many answers, many actions for us to take on many fronts to constructively confront the problem. But I did find one answer among the comments following this article:

Sun, 07/12/2009 - 18:05 — Damon Neal (not verified)
This problem will not go away until Congress enacts a law that repeals the 1868 Supreme Court ruling that granted "personhood" to corporations. Failing that, a group; perhaps the ACLU or; could search for a case to reintroduce the issue to the Federal Court system. In 1864, former corporate lawyer Abraham Lincoln wrote, "Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." Remember this was 4 years before the actual decision was handed down. And if you read the history of this decision, there is evidence that a clerk inserted the language and that the Supreme Court itself never actually made the specific ruling. Perhaps a there was some skullduggery at work. However it happened; it's time to de-person the corporations.

If Corporations did not share the same status in the eyes of the law as any other citizen, then the Supreme Court would not be able to find that paid lobbyists for the corporations have free speech rights to flood campaigns with money. It is not even a hidden pay-for-play scheme; it is an open bribery, as the Moyers/Winship article points out. Corporations are not people and they should not have the same rights as people do. This one change in the law could go a long way to fixing our current crisis of government corruption.

A total overhaul of the campaign system could follow on the heels of such a change. Imagine a system where every candidate starts out with the same chance and has access to the same media, etc. We might actually get some decent people with better ideas and the best interest of the country to run for office. And they might actually be able to work the will of the people once inside rather than being forced to play the corrupt system that currently exists.

On a similar note, I recently became aware of the following website. NPR decided to turn the “tables” (or the cameras) on the healthcare industry by taking pictures of the lobbyists and requesting that people identify them. Check it out here:

As many people are aware, Senator Max Baucus is at the center of crafting the supposedly “reformed” health care system. It appears as though very little, if anything, is actually going to change under Mr. Baucus’ leadership. It becomes crystal clear why that is when you take a look at the following chart, created by the Sunlight Foundation and found at the following url:

What I have pasted here is a cropped image of the actual web of bribery and corruption. Please click on the link above to see the full image (and join the Sunlight Foundation if you are so inclined).

Now, for a nice, bone-jarring overview, check out this website that lists the monies paid out by the 250 largest lobbying firms:

Who can now deny that our federal government is a corrupt organization? Everyone talks about the corruption, journalists, bloggers, interest groups and others have provided the evidence of this corruption. What are the people waiting for?

Who believes that the government will cleanse itself? If you do, please post comment below.

*I am strongly considering cancelling my online subscription to WaPo considering the obvious collusion and perversion of journalistic integrity that is going on there. I don’t pay anything for it so I am not sure that it would send any message meaningful to those in charge at the once-respected news outlet.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Can the US Senate screw up health care any more than it already is? You betcha!

I read a few articles last week in the NY Times and am finally making the time to respond. This health care debate is really the most important issue that we are facing under this new administration. If we let them get it wrong, we can potentially make things far worse than they already are.

“Senators struggled Wednesday with the possibility that in offering subsidized health insurance to millions of individuals and families, they could inadvertently speed the erosion of employer-provided coverage, which they want to preserve.”

This opening paragraph is puzzling to me. As everyone here knows, one of the PROBLEMS with our health care system is that insurance is offered through our employers. It's a problem because all employers are not mandated to offer it and it is not portable when you leave a job. Employer-sponsored health insurance is also creating a HUGE overhead expense, making it difficult for American companies to compete in an ever-growing global economy. Corporations from most other nations have no health care or insurance overhead costs.

So one would think that the best thing we could do in reforming the health care system in this country would be to move it away from being the responsibility of the employer. Instead, what the Senators have in mind is to FORCE employers to provide insurance for their employees by implementing penalties for those that don’t.

“Higher penalties are more effective in preventing the erosion of employer-sponsored coverage, the bedrock of insurance for more than 150 million Americans, the Congressional Budget Office told lawmakers.”

Won’t this effectively run some of the smaller businesses out of business entirely? Apparently, that is not a problem for our wise Senate.

Small business employs a large percentage of workers in this country and is generally a better employer to those workers than the large corporations that can afford to offer insurance. So why is it that the Senate is not concerned about the effect that this will have on small business?

And just who is the Senate trying to protect with laws like this? Not small business. Not employers in general. Not the citizenry, since employer-sponsored insurance is not portable and takes all control away from the end user and hands it to the employer. No, it is apparent that they are protecting the insurance industry at the expense of all else.

"Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, said preserving employer-sponsored insurance ‘needs to be a huge objective.’”

But no reason is given for that. Over and over in this article it is repeated like a mantra, but no good reason is EVER given for protecting the employer-sponsored system. And if we maintain that framework, what are we really changing?

“Mr. Baucus said he and other senators wanted to minimize the chance that employees ‘may be enticed to leave their firms in order to get health insurance in the exchange.’”

This is a most cosmetic change that they seem to be fabricating instead of the real reform that we were promised and that we NEED. This kind of change will probably make things worse instead of better, ironically proving the conservative argument that government interference makes things worse. Conservative government interference DOES make things worse because it tends to interfere in the interest of some industry instead of in the best interest of the country or its citizens.

And make no mistake; even if the Congress and Senate are majority Democrats at this time, the changes as currently being discussed for our health care system are CONSERVATIVE ones in that they are based upon retaining the status quo over addressing problems with real progressive change. This article proves it.

“The budget office said: ‘The availability of subsidized coverage in the new insurance exchange would be an attractive option for many lower-income workers. As a result, some employers would decide not to offer their employees health insurance coverage, opting instead to provide other forms of compensation…In a letter to Congress three weeks ago, President Obama said small businesses “should be exempted” from any employer mandate…‘We will give assistance to small business through tax credits,’ Mr. Baucus said Wednesday…(However)…When asked about an exemption for small businesses, Mr. Baucus said: ‘We talked about it. But how much sense does that really make?’”

This is absolute insanity at a time of such high unemployment in this country. It is unbelievable that Congress would dismiss the importance of retaining jobs and small business in this country. It is NONSENSICAL.

“The United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small employers, said the proposed requirement amounted to a new tax and would frustrate the creation of jobs.”

That’s a no-brainer. Why would Congress even be considering this plan? It will not improve our health care system. It will not provide relief to businesses that are hanging on for dear life in this terrible economy. It will not save or create jobs. It will not increase the capability of American companies to compete in the global marketplace. SO WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS PLAN???

In an Op-ed piece titled, The Only Public Health Plan We Need appearing in the same edition of the NY Times, authors David Riemer and Alain Enthoven state:

“Everyone assumes that a public plan means a government-sponsored insurer that makes payments to doctors and hospitals, whether in the form of Medicare or — the latest idea — state-sponsored cooperatives. But Medicare has a dismal record of controlling costs and improving quality, and we lack evidence that co-ops could do any better.”

They go on to give no evidence to support that statement and to advocate “a mechanism” that they claim would use “free market forces” to motivate the insurance industry to provide better policies. Even if you believe in the mythical “free market,” their claims are shaky at best. They claim that a large enough pool would force the industry to increase quality and decrease cost, however that claim is in direct contrast to the one they made earlier in the article that Medicare, which insures a huge pool of people, has a lousy record of controlling prices or improving quality.

“An exchange is a key feature of the public plan we’d like to see, but it’s only one element. Two other features are needed to give an exchange the power to pressure insurers … to hold down prices and improve care.
First, the exchange would need to act on behalf of a critical mass of people — at least 20 percent of the insured population that does not already receive Medicaid or Medicare. Only a pool of this size could attract serious bids from insurers. To amass such a large purchasing pool, Congress might need to require that all government employees, or all employers with fewer than 100 employees, join the pool.
Second, the exchange would need to ensure that no subsidies for health insurance, whether provided by employers or the government (through the tax system), exceed the price submitted by the lowest-bidding qualified insurer and benefit package. All individuals in the pool would be free to join any insurer that submits a bid. But enrollees would have to pay out of pocket — and preferably with after-tax dollars — any amount above the price of the lowest-bidding plan. “

What they are describing is a system that protects the private insurance industry at every turn. They are basing their ideas on the philosophy that there is currently not enough profit being made to enable the insurance industry to cut costs, which we all know is a load of garbage. They also claim that this would in turn force hospitals and doctors to improve the quality of care and lower costs.

"How would insurers lower prices and raise quality? By passing their incentive along to doctors and hospitals. To maximize their revenue from insurance companies, doctors and hospitals would need to provide better care at a lower price — something they can accomplish only by squeezing out error, waste and inefficiency.”

Yes, error, waste and inefficiency are a problem, but some of that error, waste and inefficiency is caused by the much larger problem of corporate greed. Corporations are not people, although they are run by people. However, people who run corporations tend to make decisions based SOLELY upon what is best for the corporation and its shareholders, i.e., the bottom line is profit. If you are looking for ways to improve quality and efficiency in our health care system, you would do well to be working with people who have the same goals in mind. And private insurance companies will NOT be on that page with you because their ultimate goal will always be profit.

The error with Riemer and Enthoven’s foundational philosophy is that they believe that competition will motivate the insurance industry to look for ways to improve quality and efficiency. It won’t. Insurance companies will always have a bottom line, a handful of excuses, fingers to point and absolutely, positively no guilt or shame about what they have to do to achieve their goals. Actually past history of “free market’ in this country shows that companies from the same industries will collude with each other to set prices at a level that will enable them to obtain a substantial profit for their shareholders. So there really is no motivation for them to improve the quality of the product they are selling.

And, finally, there is another subject that pops up regularly when discussing the health care issue: curbing health care-related litigation. Nicholas Kristoff, of whom I am a big fan, while advocating a single-payer system in his column in the same issue of the NY Times, made this statement:

“I don’t mind the A.M.A. lobbying on behalf of doctors in the many areas where physicians and patients have common interests. The association is dead right, for example, in calling for curbs on lawsuits, which raise medical costs for everyone. An excellent study published in 2006 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that for every dollar paid in compensation as a result of lawsuits against doctors, 54 cents goes to legal and administrative costs…Moreover, aggressive law leads to defensive medicine, in the form of extra medical tests that waste everybody’s money. Tort reform should be a part of health reform.”

Accepting the statistic quoted in the New England Journal of Medicine at face value as a valid statistical fact, that fact alone is not enough information upon which to base the conclusion that Mr. Kristoff leaps to, which is that we need to restrict the constitutional right of redress that comes to us from as far back as English Common Law. Mr. Kristoff might be unaware of a few other facts that play into that statistic.

The insurance industry, which we have established as being motivated purely by profit, has set up a system that does not allow doctors to admit medical mistakes, denies all claims of medical error, and is so adamant about NOT paying for ANY error that it is willing to pay lawyers hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to limit any eventual award to a mere few thousand dollars. Because they REFUSE to admit any liability in even the most egregious cases of medical error or negligence, the malpractice industry, NOT MALPRACTICE VICTIMS, are driving up the cost of medicine for everyone.

If insurance companies were willing to admit to and pay for the mistakes that are made, the system would be in better shape. Instead, they protect the doctors and hospitals that make mistakes, freeing them from the consequences of their errors and allowing them to go on and commit more errors. Eventually insurers will drop a doctor if he has enough lawsuits filed against him, but not before many lives are ruined and hundreds of thousands of dollars or more are paid in legal fees to fight the victims.

Doctors are people and hospitals are not perfect and everyone makes mistakes. But most mistakes that you and I make do not result in catastrophic medical bills for someone or in them losing the use of part of their body or brain function. When these mistakes happen, it is only fair that the victim be awarded some financial help in dealing with the consequences of those mistakes. But the current system does not allow doctors to admit mistakes, face their patients and say they are sorry. It does not provide for proper restitution where restitution is necessary. It is an adversarial system that leaves doctors and other treaters feeling guilty or defensive and patients feeling betrayed and angry while insurance companies keep raking in the profits.

If reform is needed in regards to health care litigation, it is malpractice insurance reform, not tort reform. We should mandate that a truly independent review of claims be made and that doctors and hospitals must or be allowed to admit when they have made an error and be given the opportunity to offer restitution in those cases. It should mandate that State Medical Boards take swift and proportional action in cases where doctors are not performing properly, have lost their faculties, etc.

We should not allow the malpractice insurance industry to keep driving health insurance litigation, playing both ends against each other while their profits increase exponentially each year. Don’t take the right to sue away from the victim, take the self-interested profiteer out of the middle of the conflict.

P.S. Check out this article about the healthcare lobbyist that may be bending the reform to the benefit of the insurance industry:

Karen Ignagni

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