Some Early Mid-Term Election Results

U.S. Governor's Races

In California Jerry Brown has defeated Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina has lost to Barbara Boxer but refuses to concede at this time.

 

U.S. Senate Races

In Nevada Harry Reid has defeated Sharron Angle and the Democratic Party has retained control of the Senate but lost the House.

U.S. History in the Making (Health Care)

(Big3News)

My political predictions have once again proven true.

I predicted at the onset of the national and Congressional debate over health care coverage in the US that we would see a bill pass both House and Senate but that it would a “watered-down” bill that addressed preexisting conditions and state-to-state plan probability more than it addressed the larger problem of controlling costs.

This Senate bill hardly resembles what I would call “sweeping reform.”

In the course of the debate over the past few months I was in the “incrementalism-reform camp” that was frustrating my fellow Democrats advocating for single-payer, but in the end this bill will fall into indeed too small a step. I was only saying along with others that we have studied government and nothing this big is done all at once. However, like I have heard many say, I would have liked to get a lot more out this process.

The last time I spoke of this I was urging Harry Reid for “reconciliation” in the Senate; without the civics lesson needed here it is quicker to say that once the public option was removed from the table, the process of reconciliation was removed as well.

To encapsulate what is going on this country: we are a constipated nation when it comes to social programs.

There is the very real ideological constipation against positive social reforms dating back to the days of FDR and further still. Then there is the constipation specific to this issue of the monopolistic health insurance companies spreading public disinformation like the stuff is on sale. This, and other factors like Sara “Death Panels” Palin and Glenn “Fearmonger-in-Chief” Beck, make this one of the most hostile environments one could possibly hope to create against pro-reform activities.

The entire experience feels like we pro-reformists have fallen flat on our face and bloodied our nose, which would be correct. But I remind everyone sharing with me in this feeling that we did just run head-first into a brick wall of highly funded anti-reformism.

We have made history in the US Congress in that we have finally cracked the brick wall against fixing a system that every informed person agrees desperately needs reform. To shatter this brick wall is a much larger task and the true importance of these recent national debates over health care coverage has been the value of flushing the wolves out into the open more than it was about the larger picture.

Urban Institute Overviews The Public Option

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post has called this the “best overview of the public option” he has read so far, and I concur:

Getting to a Public Option that Contains Costs: Negotiations, Opt-Outs and Triggers

The debate over a public option has essentially become a debate over the size and role of government in the health care system. The central argument, as we see it, should be one of fiscal conservatism—that a public option should play a role in addressing the very serious problem of health care cost containment. The current debate between the left and the right on this issue is obscuring the fact that consolidation in both the insurance and provider markets is propelling a higher rate of growth in health care costs. The consolidation of power, particularly in provider markets, makes it extremely difficult for insurers to negotiate rates for their services and contributes to rapid growth in health care costs. A strong public option is one that ties provider rates in some way to Medicare rates (though set at likely higher levels), and that is open to any individual or firm regardless of firm size. It would thus provide countervailing power to providers and help control cost growth.

We argue that a strong version is necessary because there is little else in health reform that can be counted on to contribute significantly to cost containment in the short term. Capping tax-exempt employer contributions to health insurance has great support among many analysts (including us), but it faces considerable political opposition. Proposals such as comparative effectiveness research, new payment approaches, medical homes and accountable care organizations, all offer promise but could take years to provide savings. Thus, the use of a strong public option to reduce government subsidy costs and as a cost containment device should be an essential part of the health reform debate.

We recognize that there is opposition to a strong public option. Both the House and Senate proposals are considering relatively weak versions to make the public option more acceptable. Both proposals would have the public option negotiate rates with physicians and hospitals. We see two problems with this. One is that negotiating rates is not simple and it raises difficult implementation issues; for example, with whom would the government negotiate? Further, negotiations are most likely to be unsuccessful with providers who have substantial market power. Since this is at the heart of the cost problem, a strategy of negotiations seems unlikely to be effective, as has been affirmed by cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

The Senate has proposed a public option with an opt-out provision. This has the advantage of recognizing regional diversity in political philosophy by allowing states to pass legislation to keep it from being offered in their states. A disadvantage of this proposal is that it would exclude many who would potentially benefit from a public option. The states likely to opt out are likely to be those with high shares of low-income people and many uninsured.

The other alternative is to establish a strong public option but not implement it unless a triggering event occurred. The goal would be to allow the private insurance system to prove that it can control costs with a new set of insurance rules and state exchanges. The triggering events could be the level of premiums exceeding a certain percentage of family incomes or the growth in health care spending exceeding certain benchmarks. Since the public option would only be triggered because of excessive costs, however measured, we assume that a relatively strong version of a public option would come into play.

We recognize that taking a strong public option off the table may be necessary to enact reform legislation. But this will mean, at a minimum, higher government subsidy costs by not permitting a payer with substantial market power to bring cost containment pressure on the system. The outcome is likely to be that costs will continue to spiral upward. In effect, the nation would be relying on the range of promising pilot approaches to cost containment that would take some time to be successful. If they are not, we may be left with increasingly regulatory approaches, such as rate setting or utilization controls that apply to all payers. This would mean much more government involvement than giving people a choice of a low-cost public option that would be required to compete with private insurers.

(Read entire paper in PDF)

Open Letter to Harry Reid (Public Option)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Firedoglake has a section entitled “FDL Action” in which I found an easy way to send Senator Harry Reid a little bit of my mind on the health care debate & the matter of the need for a government-run public option intact:

I doubt this message will reach you Senator Reid but it is important to impress that I support reconciliation not as a matter of due course but as pertaining to the current circumstances. The Republican filibuster must not be allowed to further mire the process and they surely intend to continue to pander to anti-government fears using misinformation tactics.

Reconciliation is needed, we cannot proceed without a public option.

Join in the cause to fight for reconciliation!

Also please join with me & Public Option Please (POP) in getting out the word that we need comprehensive health care reform in the U.S.

==========================================================

reconciliation: a legislative process of the United States Senate intended to allow a contentious budget bill to be considered without being subject to filibuster.

filibuster: a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body whereby one attempts to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a proposal by extending a debate on that proposal.

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.

Alan Keyes Done Got Locked Up

Mr. Keyes, please report to the commissary.”

—–

Locked Up” by Akon

I’m steady tryin’ to find the motive, why I do what I do,

The freedom ain’t gettin’ no closer, no matter how far I go,

My car is stolen, the registration,

The cops patrolling, and that ain’t done stop me,

Then I got locked up,

They won’t let me out,

Head up town to re-up, back with a couple [Keyes],

Making so much money, products moving fast,

And as I sold the last bag,

Fuqed around and got locked up,

They won’t let me out,

Visitation long longer comes by, seems like they forgot about me,

Commissary getting empty, cell mates getting food without me,

Can’t wait to get out and move forward with my life,

Pay me a visit! Send me some money orders! Where’s my lawyer?

Get me out of here!

Please accept my phone calls!

Dick Cheney is an American Disgrace

55_cheneyI wholeheartedly disagree with the statement that President Obama has made the country any less safe since entering office. The notion that immoral practices will make us any more safe from terrorism is counter-intuitive to my core beliefs.

The CIA Enhanced Interrogation Program was one of the most effective terrorist recruitment tools and a project expressly advocated by former-Vice President Cheney which is now noticeably absent from terrorist recruitment methods.

The approved torture methods of the Bush administration have presented one of the greatest threats to our continued national security to date.

Not only is it disgraceful for Cheney to criticize the current administration as a member of the former but also as to his own level of personal integrity to turn the issue of national security on it’s head by denying the immorality of torture tactics.

The Politics of Fear remain the only tool left to Neo-Conservative Americans.

I see a land of injustice where prosecutions of some order are not undertaken. Those who wrote the legal opinions used to justify these torture tactics must face consequences.

The Justice Department cannot dispense justice onto itself.

A Special Prosecutor must be appointed.

If anything, President Obama has yet to do enough to restore justice and security to our nation.

Boom and Bail Economy

Boom and Bust” economies are easy enough to understand but I wonder if many Americans have come to have a grasp on what exactly this previous economic model that hopefully will be forever trashed exactly is and should be termed.

Boom and Bail” as coined by Naomi Klein.

We all on a “economic-boat.” Certain people aboard created holes of corruption with their corrupt practices.

As we take on water and the earnest crew members try to salvage the situation there is much need to look around at those we pass the buckets to.

Which of them bore the holes? Which of them would yet still commit folly at the heavy cost to us all?

I threw my lot in with the new captain and I remain behind his strategy.

We are the most epic and monolithic vessel ever to sail these seas. Our efforts would only naturally appear preposterous and outlandish to our counterparts who suffered the same storm as we.

We must remain steadfast. Do our bit and make our voice known.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Allowing the Boom and Bail Economy to repeat its course would result in nothing but a trip to the bottom of the ocean.

This Machine Kills Fascists: Woody Guthrie

519632_caebcf94081Ain’t got no guitar. Not no more. Some fellow done run off with it. But this here laptop done be my guitar.

And I aims to kill me some fascists. Got this here on the dime of Uncle Sam.

Fellow named George W. Bush gave little old me a check and here we are.

Do believe I have heard a talker or two call Mr. Bush a fascist. That I do recall hearin’ of this man.

But ain’t no fascist alive that let’s his power slip. Not no how, no way.

Them two fellers Obama and Bush did a just dandy job and handin’ over the reigns of Lady Liberty from one to another.

Here in the good ol’ US of A we still have a fondness of old fashioned democracy. Letting the folks decide.

—————————————————————————

Woody Guthrie was a singer and songwriter who came of age in Oklahoma as the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression all but destroyed the homes and lives of many of those around him. A natural wordsmith who loved music, Guthrie turned the stories he saw all around him into songs — some funny, some deadly serious, and nearly all dealing with his vision of a better and more just America. Guthrie roamed the country much of his life, performing with the left-wing Almanac Singers, writing a column for the Daily Worker, publishing a wildly entertaining autobiography called Bound for Glory, working as merchant seaman, and raising a family in between. A handful of the 3,000 songs Guthrie wrote have become standards (most notably “This Land Is Your Land,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Deportees,” and “Grand Coulee Dam”), and it’s all but impossible to imagine the work of Bob Dylan or the rebirth of folk music in the ’50s and ’60s without his guiding influence. Woody Guthrie: This Machine Kills Fascists is a documentary which offers an honest and unblinking look at Guthrie’s life and career, featuring interviews with friends, fans, and historians who offer insight into his music and the man behind it. Mark Deming,   — All Movie Guide

Talkin’ Alan Colmes & Radio Broadcasting

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know nobody cares about Alan and his radio show. If you remember he got a lot of press and did an appearance on Colbert after leaving the syndicated cable TV show Hannity & Colmes which holds the record for the longest running seasons of any cable news broadcast.

12 years some of us watched Sean and Alan (they are friends in real life to debunk that whole myth) duel it out on our televisions.

12 years of seeing an intelligent and thought-out man make his sound point; then be shouted down, cut off or done the finger by the people running the show behind the live feed.

No, I’m not board operator. I had a Public Access television program briefly as a youth and am not technology illiterate. I talked with my operators frequently. I am a host by nature, I can’t help it. Would you like me to design an interview for you? Pick a figure I’d know in politics.

I know only part of what it means to have a “reputation” in the public and we only did a rare few open-lines on a few shows, but that was more than enough of a taste what real broadcasting must be like.

My voice is extremely recognizable so I don’t call in much to shows on the radio. This writer’s pseudonym “Lightborn” I blog with is actually all over my bank records and college transcripts. I am like most these days where a monkey with an internet connection could find out everything about me through social networking sites and all that noise.

I’m not really into anything but thought-provoking discussion on the internet or radio. But I’ll dance if the steps are not too complicated.

Being a subject of public scorn, or praise, on a large scale is not an experience I personally enjoyed.

I’d go out to get something at the store and:

“Hey! You’re that guy from the TV!”

At first it was flattering but not for long. Soon it became an equal share of “fag boy” and “love your show” which took a toll on me. Seeing as how I wasn’t getting paid and no other people existed other than board operators who wanted to re-vamp the program, I left. (Funny note: They still play the old tapes sometimes. I am going down there and ripping them out of the recorders! So embarrassing!)

What most fail to recognize about any person you, and I, happen to toss around the name of in media / government discussions are real people with real feelings.

I recently said to mild shock of some that if I personally met Rush Limbaugh I would sit down and just love to talk broadcasting with him. It’s true. The same is true of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and many others.

Putting me converse them with the things they all say on air, while it would be entertaining, is actually not a good idea. I have no honest way to tell you or any operator that I wouldn’t swear every other word and say “radical” things rather than sound arguments. The “historical” perspectives and “social sentiments” are like stabs into the heart of a man who defies all these classic political definitions. (Cry me a river, I know.)

That’s the beauty & glory of this wonderful thing we call “blog.” I can just take a second to look at what they said instead of going to ape-town. Then it’s up here if anyone gives a hoot. I try to put out links to all sorts of media and not just my kind of media.

Back to Alan:

Alan Colmes has, in my opinion, the best talk radio show on Fox News Talk. Hands down.

He lets through callers at a higher rate than any other national host I am aware of. Of all opinions, and levels of insanity.

He doesn’t brag about the fact that he has been doing radio since the Vietnam-era and protested that war way back then. Before we could prove that it was started on a lie.

Like he protested the Iraq War. Another war predicated on a lie.

On the radio every night when you weren’t listening. (I podcast him mainly.)

He doesn’t brag about the fact that he was part of the same comedy scene that gave of George Carlin The Great, and many others. (Comedy and radio broadcasting has always been intertwined in American broadcasting.) Yes, he was a comedian first. Now he’s a talk show host with that weird ‘cheesy’ kind of humor.

Alan Colmes refuses to accept the mantle of the “Anti-Limbaugh.”

He beats Rush out in terms of just the raw amount of time working in radio specifically; if we engage in this whole Limbaugh-ism that the longer you talk into the radio the better a broadcaster you become. Yet still he won’t take on this title most likely because he views it as ‘silly’ just as I do to aim any part of what you do just to feed into another’s design. So to speak.

Yet as his liberal critics always say about him:

“He is a total liberal push-over.”

Is simply untrue. He tries to conduct himself in very certain fashion and sometimes … well … on the air he just has had enough Republican-garbage for one night and lets it be known. We all know conservative daily talking-points are nonsense but sometime has got to say it aloud.

Those who still hate him should know his show brings in guest-hosts, full panels and little features like Radio Graffiti where everyone calls in and gets one sentence only.

Lastly, he has read the names of every single causality in the Iraq War right up to this very moment in time. The same is true for the entire American-Vietnamese Conflict. You show me one broadcaster in America with that kind of obvious record of bipartisan media and experience using formats like AM Talk Radio the way they were meant to used. For the people.

Possibly the best hire FOX has ever made, or will ever make. As you can tell I’m a fan. There’s a chatstream community and I only ever speak with the staff via email if your thinking I work for them or something. I am one of many “contributors” to the show. We influence it greatly and often with simple suggestions..

Nope, not employed by any media agency. No real life plans around that.

The popular term to best understand about Eric Lightborn is:

political-junkie

(March 17th 2009)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Race

[Related link]

I have never presumed to have any more means by which to judge of others but by their actions and their words, just like any other man. For my part I take a rather wide surveillance of the modern American media and open-outlets of public opinion that is simply an attempt to balance my own politics and avoid misinformation.
In the process of this I have long known what Holder said so frankly to the American public yesterday to be a simple fact of American life. The greatest of comedians help us laugh about the differences between us and the greatest of dividers desire us to hate each other for the same differences.
I always attempt to speak within my own experience as often as possible and I am doing just that when I say I have personally encountered racism in my life in the form of Neo-Nazi groups approaching me. I am blonde hair and blue eyes so these misguided individuals saw me as a ‘good catch’ when was an adolescent. I am disgusted every time I hear people speak the perspective that we have conjured the race issue or that America has all-but completely balanced racial tensions.

In a free society there is no other compromise than to allow the pro-segregation or groups like these Neo-Nazis to exist in so far as The Freedom of Speech allows, but not many Americans today understand that it means to look one these individuals right in eye and tell him you don’t agree with the prejudiced statements they made.

I have never said that racism is isolated to white racism and the reality of racism in all the colors is present. Personally I do not try to keep some grand tally of how much racism is in each group at any given time, due to fact that all racism is founded in same place of ignorance and hate.

Even in risking my life to disagree with real life racists in rare instances I would still call myself a coward as Holder suggests. I have very little to speak on outside of my own comfort zone regarding race and politics.

I certainly am prone to the overreaction and quick accusations of racial motives but in my case it is at times just previous experiences shading my perception. This was foremost in my mind as I first saw this now political hot-potato New York Post cartoon of a gunned down chimp associated with authoring the stimulus.

Racism?

Racism?

I still see this image as racially influenced and designed to degrade Black Americans, not Congress or the Speaker of the House. As the cartoonist has since implied.

Eric Lightborn

Rick Warren and Barack Obama: What You Didn’t Know Already

In the 2008 presidential campaign for The White House there was something referred to as a “polling anomaly” surrounding Obama.

The evangelical and born-again Christians, that took polls, showed significant support of the candidacy of Barack Obama and held numbers higher than Bush’s numbers from 2000 and 2004 to a very significant degree. (PEW Research & other polling sources)

Those who were watching closely know exactly why Obama picked up a recordable amount of support in these religious fundamental communities, in fact it is fairly obvious. Obama, unlike McCain, never once shied away from the topics of faith in the media circus. Beyond that his words and visible convictions regarding religion, Jesus and God have been forward and direct instead of evasive and vague.

In the mind of many evangelicals the resistance to speaking openly about Christ translates to a resistance to Christ’s message in your life. Essentially, if the name “Jesus” or the word “God” cause you any discomfort then you must be against spreading The Word. Obama has never once spoken directly to the evangelical and born-again movements of America in his national rhetoric, yet he has somehow gained some amount of notable political support from them.

Any politician worth his salt takes every advantage afforded to him when it comes to being able to represent the people that elected him into office. Obama saw all the same numbers I did and I imagine found it confounding for a time that a group which normally doesn’t support Democratic agendas was showing support for his Presidency. This is a question I would ask of him among others should I ever have some of his time.

Rick Warren, along with hosting the second Presidential Debate, is a strong advocate for evangelical ideology and fundamental views of religion.

His rhetoric doesn’t provide equality for the gay community or for the views of the so-called radical religious movements of America (“New Age” ideologies). I completely disagree with his political positions and his opposition of Proposition 8 in California which I personally voted against.

This is what my point is in regards to the disgust expressed to his inclusion in coming public national events:

Since when does agreeing with someone have anything to do with loving them?

– Rick Warren, 12/21/2008

Rick said it for me. Since when does loving one another in a lawful and peaceful nation have anything to do with agreeing with your neighbor’s politics? I believe that given time we will have legal same-sex marriage but it could take awhile. In the meantime we need to not rip each others throats out every time something like this happens in America.

If Rick Warren were to be presented with a “National Spiritual Adviser to America” position or anything smacking of that … well then I’d be out in the streets throwing a whole big fuss about it.

Much love, as they say these days. Nobody gets left out when I say that.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 23rd 2008