Gutting America

Now that the budget cuts have been released for public viewing I am reminded that we have a Democratic president who enjoys passing Republican policies.

This budget as it stands now is the gutting of America and the road to ruin. Slashing every domestic program in sight and leaving the wasteful military spending alone is the sort of move I would expect from a Republican, but if this is indeed the budget Obama supports then it amounts to yet another huge failure of this president to stand up for progressive values.

Gutting $415 million from state and local law enforcement, $438 from energy efficiency and renewable energy, $786 million from FEMA first responder grants, $1,045 million from HIV AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and TB prevention — all of these proposed cuts represent a desire to see Americans suffer and to see this country fail as a competitive nation.

Combining these facts with the $5 billion increase in military spending illustrates to me that the whole of Washington DC is hell-bent on turning America into a war state with permanent rampant poverty. I expect such destructive and illogical policies from Republicans, they maintain the role of the uninformed saber rattlers, but to see such a ruinous and hideous budget plan being endorsed by Democrats is disgusting.

It’s obvious to me, as things stand now, that Obama along with the Democratic Party have thrown the middle class and the American worker under the bus. All the while holding up the bloodthirsty military industrial complex and the heartless desires of corporate America as paramount.

It is nothing short of a lie that the nation is “broke” and if either party was serious about trimming waste without gutting vital social services the first on the chopping block would be the Pentagon budget.

What this country has is a tax revenue problem. As any conservative will tell you GE paid nothing in taxes last year. That is only the tip of the iceberg, but a good place to start. Closing all the corporate tax loopholes combined with raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans would free more than enough tax revenue to manage the debt while at the same time avoid gutting important government services in the process.

The failure of American Democracy is perfectly represented by the non-choice of Democrats who cave on if not directly promoting anti-American policies and Republicans who pander to racists if not openly endorse fascist laws. The choice between moderate conservatives calling themselves Democrats and extremist conservatives calling themselves Republicans is no choice at all.

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Senate Reconciliation Now!

The Republican obstructionism on the health care reform agenda is not “principled objections” as Senate minority leader Eric Cantor suggests. It is non-principled, pure nihilistic policy of poisoning the well and deception on behalf of conservatives.

The liberal majority that elected Democrats to office in 2008 has spoken.

The Public Option must survive in a final health care bill, and the process of reconciliation between House and Senate bills is the only avenue by which Democratic representatives can claim to have made any “meaningful reform” come reelection time.

Make it clear that this will not go away, and we the liberal progressives will not be silent.

This push did not come from the White House, or the Progressive Caucus, or from the desk of Sen. Harry Reid. This push for a strong public option through reconciliation came from the people who understand that health care is a moral issue, not merely a budgetary issue.

Both President Obama and Senator Reid remain open to the pursuit of Senate reconciliation, but I believe it important to state that this in itself is the “failure to sell health care reform to the American people” I spoke of before.

Instead, we will have to make perfectly clear that the public option must go forward and does not continue to be the “public optional.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that’s the legislative path the party chooses.

The party has spoken. The ball is their court now in congress, but we must not allow this to fade into the night.

Just as Paul Krugman recently closed an op-ed with, “Health Care Reform Now!” I would say the as he except in different words given the changing of the situation but holding the same meaning:

Senate Reconciliation Now!

Repost: Loyal Opposition No More

1.republican-party
For many years I have felt that for all our disagreements between liberal and conservative individuals in the U.S., there was a shared position by both sides.
A loyal opposition to the opposition, if you will.
For the time being, as since the election of Democratic President Barack Obama, I believe the majority of the conservatives of America have thrown down this national system of civil loyalty in politics in place of a pure obstructionist agenda.
The Party of “No!” is not conservative, nor liberal, it is pure nihilism in place of understanding.
I have not heard any amount of logical rebuttal to an Obama Policy or policy proposal, except in very rare cases.
I find I cannot listen to the standard bearers of GOP right-wing radio these days. Like most people I have my “hang-ups.”
Dismissive attitudes, a complete lack of humility and screaming people down end up on my list.
Every time I have been listening to conservative talk radio, or GOP responses, since the election of Barack Obama I am disgusted by the complete lack of integrity and grace in politics. Every word a smear, every point a spin.
Reducing everything down to simply “look at who is doing the name-calling” is not the issue. Though it is important thing to avoid name-calling as much as possible.
Not sticking to the facts about our democratic representatives and our recent national historical facts is unpatriotic.
I wish it were not so, and no group can claim to innocent of some form of vitriol in these times. But if something I say amounts to “name-calling” then I’m afraid it must be so. But understand I don’t say such things in a state of glee as we see from others screaming rational people down.
I find it offensive that in a matter of weeks all our politics have reduced to childishness and fear-mongering about the government.
Instead of having an actual political dialogue they insist on presenting “vague-facts” along with connect-the-dots logic, which is simply dirty pool politics.

Truth About Lobbyists and Interest Groups

“One study of eighty-three (primarily liberal) public-interest groups found that one-third of them received half or more of all their funds from foundation grants; one-tenth received over 90 percent from such sources. In one ten year period the Ford Foundation alone contributed about $21 million to liberal public-interest groups. Many of these organizations were law firms that, other than staff members, had no members at all. The Environmental Defense Fund is supported almost entirely by grants from foundations such as the Rockefeller Family Fund. The more conservative Scaife foundations gave $1.8 million to a conservative public-interest group, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.” [Wilson, DiIulio 2008]

The concept of using public interest groups to promote the agendas and ideals of a movement is, by this source, not exclusive to the liberal movement but heavily favored by it thus far.

President-elect Barack Obama may ultimately isolate himself from major liberal movement members if the proposed audit of Washington politics were to take a lasting toll on the liberal lobbies. The next four years will certainly answer just how far this coming administration is willing to go to remove corruption in public interest group finance and practice, but four years from now there will also once again be a national referendum on the highest office.

Should the effort ultimately take power from once strong lobbies for popular liberal agendas, the informed American Democratic Voter could potentially face a struggle at the polls when considering a vote for the incumbent President.

The power of an interest-group, in a classic design, should expand as the number of members and contributors expands. The ‘funded & unoccupied lobby’ described in quote above as a law firm is a critical element of what causes the real disruptions in Washington politics.

The figures and organizations that form the American lobbies and public-interest groups of today are not necessarily the root of the problem so much as the agendas of the highest funded public interest groups overriding the highest agendas of the wills of the people.

If the National Legal Center for the Public Interest (a weak lobby) were to receive a large increase in both number of members and in contributions. they should rightly increase in the voice and recognition in Washington and receive foundation grants in turn.

If the Environmental Defense Fund (a strong lobby) were to lose both member and public support their voice as a lobby should rightly decrease and even though they do not receive a majority in foundation grants they should be kept from taking them if they lacked any significant support in the public domain.

This is all within a classic definition of how the public interest groups should work. Any number of factors can increase or decrease the power of a single lobby and for this reason most of us limit our discussion on public-interest groups, or lobbies, to the number of members that are well-known or outspoken and the money behind the group.

Lobbyists are not are always motivated by ill or by good, despite the fact the lobby they work for is focused on a critical social issue or an important national matter that concerns you–or perhaps for a group with which you disagree strongly.

To speak broadly, they are like salesmen of political stances a person in Washington should take.

They are not invested into the case they are making in every single case but rather deliver the best argument in favor of the lobby that they can devise.

Politicians and lobbyists are very much the same, in many ways.

Without means to search the hearts of others to know for sure if they really believe what they contend or if they are simply going with the popular ideology to gain your favor, we will never know for certain if they stand for the people or if they stand for their own private interests.
We can only judge their actions in office as solid statements of policy.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com/

December 2008

Mad as Hell about Health Care!

Mad as Hell Doctors

“This Fall, the rubber gloves meet the road.”

Find the MAHD on:

(Facebook)+(Twitter)+(YouTube)

_________________________________________________

Dr. Paul Hochfeld on Ed Schultz.

Quoting from MadAsHellDoctors.com:

You CAN handle the Truth
There’s no nice way to say it. The financial cost of health care is killing our citizens, hobbling our economy, crushing small business, and threatening the solvency of our government. 
In the meantime, the Health Care Industry is spending almost two million dollars a day lobbying Congress and manipulating public opinion to accept “reform” legislation that leaves a vicious, for-profit system intact. The “public option” is a trap.  We need real reform that finds immediate savings, controls costs, and accomplishes the moral imperative of true Universal Access. 
A Single Payer plan is the only real path to a Health Care System that is socially, ethically and fiscally responsible. And yet, our elected officials refuse to even discuss the possibility of a Single Payer plan!
 
If that doesn’t make you mad, we recommend checking your pulse.

The “public option” is doomed.
Firstwe will still have a dysfunctional health care system designed around insurance companies.
Secondit will be impossible to cover everyone without raising taxes.
The Obama administration is already saying it is acceptable to leave out 15 million people. Which 15 million? Will you be one of them? Who gets to decide?
Third: in a “post-option” environment you can bet that the health insurance industry will manipulate the rules so that the sickest, most expensive patients will gravitate toward the public plan, which will cause it to fail. When it does, the opponents of real reform will point to the “public option” and scream: “See! Single Payer won’t work!”

There is a time for compromise – this isn’t one of them.
 
  
We believe there is only one way to control costs.
________________________________________________________

This issue and it’s seriousness is severely under-reported or completely propagandized in some media outlets.

This is a map of the uninsured Americans and the percentage of those in your state who are uninsured.

 

Quoting Dr. Hochfeld from a radio-interview with Alan Colmes of FOX News:

“60% of doctors are in favor of government health insurance. The vast majority of primary care providers are in favor of it.”

“We are down to about 30% primary care providers in this country, we should be at about 50%. The more primary care providers you have, and the more resources you put into primary care, the better your health care outcomes and at a lower cost.”

“We are wasting 20% of our dollars on health care costs. It’s a threat to our security. We can’t afford to throw money at health care.”

“Once we get rid of the insurance companies we can have a health care system run by health care professionals.”

“The way ‘single-payer’ works is we take the money we are now spending on health care .. 60% of this 2.4 trillion dollars is already going through the government .. instead of calling it ‘insurance premiums’ it’s just called ‘health tax’. It’s not more money, it’s the same money. Because we cut out the insurance companies, we actually get more for our health care dollars.”

“I’m mad as hell about the political process.”

“I think he [Obama] learned that the industry is far more powerful than he could ever imagine and our political process is far more corrupt than he could ever have predicted.”

 ____________________________________

 

This last quote is vital for me to point out.

 

I find it distrubing those on the left would find it easy to throw the man we elected to change things for the better down the stairs just because the system is broken.

 

That’s why we elected him.

 

Let the man work!

 

This is called ‘incrementalism’ and in my view President Obama should have just gone for the whole-nine-yards of single-payer but it’s looking like that’s not going to happen. Mostly because they are all corrupt in Congress and hyper-corrupt in the GOP so it’s just plain outside of the list of options before Obama.

 

Or at least that’s my take.

 

I support Mad as Hell Doctors and all those fighting for Universal Health Care.

 

My heart is with you. Let’s keep making this case until the establishment will finally listen.

Cheney Deserves His Day in Court

“When just one single piece of information could prevent a nuclear-armed terrorist [we can‘t take any chances.]”

Former-Vice President Dick Cheney continues to spread the myth that inhumane torture tactics, mislabeled as ’enhanced interrogation,’ are necessary to protect the nation from extremist violence. His continued use of fear-tactics by insinuation of nuclear attack on American soil is a throw-back to the selling of the Iraq War to the American People, which ultimately was proven to be based on bad intelligence. The use of these tactics will only produce more bad intelligence and not to mention legal ramifications of using techniques that are clearly ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’

I could only speculate if he is a man bereft of all humanity or simply a man of very strong and very flawed convictions, but the fact remains that putting our nation in danger and violating the US Constitution are all that is accomplished in following this destructive version of course of action proposed by both Cheney and Bush.

I continue to advocate investigation and prosecution based on any evidence gathered that can meet the standards of a courtroom. If sufficient evidence to convict Dick Cheney of war crimes exists then, we the American people, deserve to hear the facts out before a jury of his peers.

There Will Be No Radio Fairness Doctrine

PresidentBillClintonMay282003Disk2074Former President Bill Clinton can now be added to the list of big name Democrats that have eluded to or outright mentioned the Fairness Doctrine in radio-media.

I will boldly speak out turn and say now that there shall not a return to the arcane legislation of the Fairness Doctrine where an opposing opinion must be made time for after any political opinion is expressed.

Though John Kerry, Bill Clinton and other figures speak of a need for media regulation I think the issue was already addressed by President Obama when he requested that conservatives stray away from partisanship like that of The Radio Comedian Rush Limbaugh.

This is the clear stance of this administration that partisanship is any form is counter productive in politics. The partisanship found on FOX Network airwaves and conservative-talk radio was challenged thusly by the Executive Branch. I see no moves from this office toward this matter beyond what we have already witnessed.

This issue simply doesn’t rate high enough on the presidential ‘to do list.’ The outcries from the far right wing that this inane legislation from days gone by are paranoid delusions created to fabricate the image of ’persecuted’ conservatives.

The right to Freedom of Speech has always challenged Americans in terms of what they will accept in terms of their politics and their news media. Those like myself who have educated themselves on some aspects of modern media know about the Radio Fair and Equal Rule.

In the Fair and Equal Rule a political campaign that receives airtime must have due consideration and / or equal airtime.

I foresee no threat to the talk radio medium spreading further into FM, satellite and internet formats.

Though I also would not predict any ‘explosions’ of talk radio, but rather just a gradual integration. The Politic-Talk Medium will always remain, no matter what paranoid conservative pundits say.