Friday, July 31, 2009

Recession Easing Up. GDP Dip Smaller than Expected. Cash for Clunkers Deal Boosting Economy.

JEANNINE AVERSA
AP News

The economy sank at a pace of just 1 percent in the second quarter of the year, a new government report shows. It was a better-than-expected showing that provided the strongest signal yet that the longest recession since World War II is finally winding down. The dip in gross domestic product for the April-to-June period, reported by the Commerce Department on Friday, comes after the economy was in a free fall, tumbling at 6.4 percent pace in the first three months of this year. It's [GDP] the total value of all goods and services — such as cars and clothes and makeup and machinery — produced within the United States and is the best barometer of the country's economic health.

Ron Insana said on CNBC today that he thinks things are actually even better than what most people realize. He said that we're seeing continued improvements in many economic indicators such as housing statistics and he predicts that GDP will actually turn positive in the third quarter. That makes sense if this current dip in GDP was only 1%. And he along with many economists are praising the Obama administration's "cash for clunkers" plan, which is helping stimulate car sales.

"It's a huge success," Ken Czubay, Ford's U.S. sales and marketing chief, told reporters Thursday. "(But) if you are planning on buying on Halloween night, I would probably move that forward." Czubay said it is too early to tell just how big of an impact it is having on Ford's July sales, but he said the month appears poised to be up sharply. He said Ford is urging lawmakers to provide more funds for the cash-for-clunkers program, saying the money already allocated could be exhausted by the end of August (UPDATE: Congress is poised to extend the hugely successful program by adding an additional $2 billion. The House has passed it in a solidly, bipartisan way. Dick Garber, owner of several dealership including Garber Buick in Saginaw Township, is hopeful Congress will extend the program. "Selfishly, it's been a great program," Garber said. "And ultimately, it's spurred the economy and reduced emissions, which is good for the environment."

What's clear is that if the objective is to get people who are sitting on the fence to purchase new vehicles, Cash for Clunkers surely works. It appears to have succeeded in various countries in Europe and it's now working in the United States. Already, industry analysts are predicting that the initial overwhelming consumer response to the CARS program will boost annual US. market auto sales, once struggling to reach 9-million new units sold, to 10.7 million units or higher. If so, score one solid stimulus win for the Obama administration.

Ron Insana went on to say that perhaps Obama should apply this to other areas such as a withholding tax holiday or apply it to extending the refundable tax credit toward buying house increasing it from $8,000 to $15,000 the housing sector might do better too and faster. Critics say this is insurance America to be a bailout nation, which Insana laughed away saying that he has talked to former federal reserve officials [I suspect he's talking about Allen Greenspan whom I've had my disagreements with but whom I think is overall a smart guy] who have often talked about whether you let the free market work unfettered during a crisis or whether the government, including the federal reserve step in.

The gentleman [says Insana] I talked to at the time said, "Listen, in theory, you know I believe the free market should work but in practice letting something fail or letting an industry go is not a social experiment I'm willing to undertake." And we got to that point here where the government simply had to step in and provide the stimulus and whether or not we're picking winners and losers here as a form of industrial policy because we're getting more fuel efficient cars in the cash for clunkers program is largely irrelevant.

TPJ: It seems the critics of Obama that his stimulus programs are working spoke to soon. I knew that this would be the case and that the economy would be turning around by the mid-term elections next year and certainly by Obama's re-election campaign in 2012.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Answers to Questions and Myths about President Obama's Health Care Reform Plans.

There is a lot of disinformation going around about the public option health care plan being proposed by President Obama. If you sincerely care about the health care crisis and understanding some of the more confusing points and accusations then I would hope and encourage you to read this lengthy, very comprehensive yet easy to understand website. Learn all the information before making a decision. That's all I ask. Here are a few examples of the myths out there and the truth about them from the website. Some of them have a link right here in the post but all links to these truths can be found in the website itself where it enumerates all these points and more not addressed here:

MYTH: If the bill passes, approximately 114 million Americans are expected to leave private health insurance. Why? Their employers will drop the insurance because the taxpayer-subsidized plan will be 30 to 40 percent cheaper.

TRUTH: Employers will not be able to offer the public option exclusively. They will instead be able to buy into an exchange where they can offer employees more than one option, including the public option. This is what all Federal employees already have.

MYTH: It's too expensive for people to afford.

TRUTH: This proposal ensures that middle-class Americans will see no tax increases. Specifically, under the proposal, all families with adjusted gross incomes below $350,000 and all individuals with adjusted gross incomes below $280,000 will not see their taxes go up. [Link]

MYTH: Two out of three Americans who get their health care through their employer would lose it under the House Democrat plan.

TRUTH:
The source of this information is the Lewin Group, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United HealthCare, an insurance company that obviously has a vested interest in suppressing a public option. Therefore, their information is suspect. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that about 11 million people will end up enrolling in the public option.

MYTH:
Under Obamacare there will be rationing of healthcare, which we don't have now.

TRUTH: Healthcare is rationed now. Insurance companies determine what procedures they will cover, and at what price. They deny payment on certain procedures, which means thay patients either go without, or they pay themselves. This is how rationing works in a capitalistic system. [Additional Link].

MYTH: We will have long wait times for healthcare services if we end up with a public option
.

TRUTH: This doesn't even make sense. Are we suddenly going to have a shortage of doctors? Is everyone going to make a mad rush to the physician's office? This is usually tied to an anecdotal report from Canada. The reality is that wait times vary from area to area, as well as from service to service in Canada, but it's rarely as bad as reported.

MYTH:
Millions of Americans will be FORCED to change insurance plans.

TRUTH: No one is going to be forced to do anything. It is called a Public OPTION. Keyword Option. No one will be forced to change insurance plans. The House bill sets forth specifics for the insurance exchange, and includes the public option as one of those exchange plans. The specifications for the insurance exchanges are parallel to current industry standards. Minority Leader [Republican] Sen. Mitch McConnell knows this. His own office admitted that no one will be forced into any plan.

MYTH:
Health Care Reform will hurt Small Business.

TRUTH: Most small businesses already provide health insurance to their employees, so there will be no change there. In addition, 96% of small businesses would see no tax increases because of this bill.

MYTH: Health Care reform will pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely.
Or in another form: It will allow for legalized physician-assisted suicide.

TRUTH:
The section of the bill this myth is referring to is SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION: It amends the Medicare Act to allow coverage for patients to receive counseling about end-of-life care options every five years if they so choose. Moreover, prominent medical societies have supported such counseling. Here is an analysis of this portion of the bill:

Provides coverage for consultation between enrollees and practitioners to discuss orders for life-sustaining treatment. Instructs CMS to modify 'Medicare & You' handbook to incorporate information on end-of-life planning resources and to incorporate measures on advance care planning into the physician's quality reporting initiative.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Health Care "Compromise" Involving "Co-ops" is a Cop-out.

WASHINGTON — After weeks of secretive talks, a bipartisan group in the Senate edged closer Monday to a health care compromise that omits two key Democratic priorities but incorporates provisions to slow the explosive rise in medical costs, officials said. These officials said participants were on track to exclude a requirement many congressional Democrats seek for large businesses to offer coverage to their workers. Nor would there be a provision for a government insurance option, despite President Barack Obama's support for such a plan.

The bigger news, rather, is that Baucus's bill will not contain an employer mandate -- a requirement that employers provide health insurance to their employees -- even though it does contain an individual mandate. Does this look familiar to anyone?
-- No employer mandate
-- No public option
-- But yes, an individual mandate
It should -- because this particular permutation on health care reform looks an awful lot like the incomplete draft of the HELP Committee's bill that the CBO scored last month, which also lacked an employer mandate and a public option but contained an individual mandate. That bill, the CBO estimated, would cost about $1.0 trillion -- but would only cover a net of about 16 million people. In contrast, the revised version of the HELP Committee's bill, which did include both a public option and an employer mandate, would cost about the same amount but cover a net of 37 million people.

TPJ: It seems the "big change" is the success of this bullshit co-op idea, which according to friend of the big health insurance industry and Democratic Party turn-coat Sen. Kent Conrad is, "
[P]rivate, consumer-owned, non-profit cooperatives that would provide affordable health care to families, individuals and small businesses."

Conrad says this "bridges the gap" between the GOP-endorsed status quo and the Public Option. In fact, the Public Option is the compromise between the status quo and Single Payer. Conrad is a tool of the Health Insurance Industry Let's get that straight. (TPJ: He also is supposed to be the Democrats point man on these health care negotiations, despite his every effort to destroy the public option pushed by his leader--the president!!) Conrad's Co-ops will be political bodies whose Boards of Directors will be captured and populated by the politically-connected, powerful and wealthy. They'll be riddled with sell-outs, insurance industry shills and apologists. We'll see scandal after scandal develop in these things over the years as health insurance companies will pull out all the stops to pack them with "their people" and bribes, kickbacks, and all sorts of chicanery, both criminal and generally nefarious will eat-up these Co-ops like so many cancers.

[According to Co-op supporters] Small businesses and individuals could purchase health coverage collectively and “strike a better deal than they would by acting separately.” But as a Commonwealth brief points out, most co-ops have difficulty fulfilling their goal of offering small employers and individuals a choice in health plans and reducing costs. That’s because to attract a wide array of health plans and exert purchasing power (bargain on behalf of its members), co-ops must enroll large numbers of employers (TPJ: Which is difficult in rural areas where there aren't many employers in the first place). But without the ability to “offer substantial choice among well-known health plans, it is difficult for co-ops to attract enrolless, who are drawn to co-ops in part because of their ability to offer such choice.” In other words, it’s the classic “chicken-or-egg” dilemma.

(TPJ: It's a vicious cycle of not enough participators causing fewer choices and you can't get enough participants if you don't have enough employers in your town or region and these areas can't do that because they are rural and by definition have few businesses!!!).

Presumably, Conrad’s co-ops would act more like health care plans and less like health insurance exchanges. Unlike the traditional co-op which strives to give its members a choice of plans, Conrad’s co-op might either self-insure or contract out to a third-party administrator. But state-based or regional co-op health plans would be unable to exert the purchasing power of a Medicare-like public option. Whereas a public health care plan could use Medicare’s leverage and Medicare-like prices to negotiate lower prices and — through the miracle of head-to-head competition with private plans — push insurance companies to negotiate more aggressively with providers and dramatically lower health care spending, a cooperative will likely lack the clout to demand lower prices.

TPJ: It's the illusion of affordable health care coverage when in reality is it wealth care--not health care, which is protecting the wealth of the big insurance companies. It does this by placating gullible Americans with a band-aid that has a hip, new name "co-op" but is made of tissue paper fibers and thus falls apart when actually used. They might work in places with bigger population densities but only in the sense of being able to attract more businesses. They'll still face the problem of big health insurance sympathizers weaseling in and dominating these co-ops, which is all too likely and if you don't think so then you've never heard the story of why you shouldn't put the fox in charge of the hen house. I'm tired of giving the health insurance industry more chances to "prove" they can monitor and restrain themselves. They can't--they are predators, health care abusers and just like an abusive spouse you can't keep giving them chances to destroy your life.

By the way, I've about had it with these conservative Democrats called, "Blue Dogs" when it comes to health care as they are sabotaging the president, their own party and America. If I had a dog and it turned blue I'd probably consider it dead and bury it. We need to bury these blue dogs on health care if we are to have any chance at passing real reform--not some token change. I'm so frustrated even I'm turning a bit blue--blue in the face from anger!!!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Californians Seek to Legalize Marijuana.

OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- Richard Lee greets students, shopkeepers and tourists as he rolls his wheelchair down Broadway at the speed of a brisk jog, hailing them with, "Hi. How ya doin'?" In this nine-block district of Oakland, California, called Oaksterdam, Lee is a celebrity. Oaksterdam is Lee's brainchild, a small pocket of urban renewal built on a thriving trade in medical marijuana. The district's name comes from a marriage of Oakland and Amsterdam. "I really see this as following the history of alcohol. The way prohibition was repealed there," Lee says, adding that he believes he is close to achieving his mission.

Lee is organizing a petition drive to place a marijuana legalization measure on the ballot in 2010, and he thinks the measure stands a good chance of being approved by voters. A recent California Field Poll showed that more than half the people in the state, where marijuana for medical use was approved more than a decade ago, would approve of decriminalizing pot. A substantial number of Californians seem to believe that no amount of enforcement is going to make pot go away -- and that it's time for the state to begin taking a cut of the action. The state's faltering economy is one reason why. If legalized, marijuana could become California's No. 1 cash crop. It could bring in an estimated $1 billion a year in state taxes.

Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is spearheading a cannabis legalization bill in the California Assembly. He believes the state's need to increase tax revenues will work in his bill's favor. But Ammiano says selling a legalized marijuana bill to his fellow legislators remains a delicate matter. "If we held the vote in the hallway, we'd have it done," Ammiano says. "But people are necessarily cautious. They are up for re-election." And that is why Lee believes voters will approve a marijuana initiative long before the state Assembly acts.

TPJ: Politicians are such cowards--they all know it should be legal but sacrifice our personal liberties to continue their power trip. Go California!! It would be fitting for California to break the green ceiling and become the first state to legalize marijuana in America. You have long been on the cutting edge of progressive politics and we need you to lead once again. You might not personally like smoking pot but this is America and if we have the right to drink then we sure as shit deserve the right to smoke pot, which has never directly caused any deaths. That can't be said of alcohol. This is America after all--the land of the free!!! One more think to think about, prohibition didn't work for alcohol and it sure as shit isn't working with pot. Legalize and tax it--It's the American way.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are Republicans Sincere About Solving the Health Care Crisis? Apparently Not.

GOP Rep. Roy Blunt has now said Republicans won’t offer a health care bill of their own, breaking a previous promise. Worse, it turns out Blunt is chair of something called the “House GOP Health Care Solutions Group.

Blunt’s quote went up online late yesterday evening: “We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they’ve got to whatever we’re offering right now?

TPJ: Why start diverting attention?!! Are you kidding me?!! Because there is a health care crisis you dolt!! Thus, If you seriously think you have superior ideas to solve the very serious, life and death problems of America (which I firmly believe they don't but they certainly think so) then why would you worry about diverting attention? Wouldn't you REALLY want to divert attention??? Unless you're plan isn't much of anything but a few thoughts jotted down on a napkin (which from what I understand it is) and because it's easier to attack the president's plan than offer your own solutions.

Yet here's the other thing to consider, most of the Republicans have been claiming publicly that Obama's plan will destroy America by (according to them) turning it into a Socialist country. Speaking of, which the downpayment on the public plan is an investment and what good investment doesn't require a lot of money up front? If you could win big on minimal investment then everyone you bought just one share of Google would be billionaires right now. The fact of the matter is that it takes big amounts of money in investment to see a pay-off.

So given that gloom and doom argument, why wouldn't the Republicans want to push their plan even more and thus "divert attention" away from what they perceive to be as destructive? If the Democrats are going to destroy this country once and for all with this evil, scary health care plan then why back off? You'd think they'd want their plan boomed from every tall building in America. As well as bombard everyone with it in t.v. spots, interviews and non-stop on the talk radio markets they often dominate. Yet they don't but what they do say is just the same old Republican scare tactics and trash talk about Obama.

This isn't about Obama or the Republicans and Democrats on Capital Hill. It's about US--the American people and most of these Republicans seem to have forgotten that very important part. Because they have been using and overusing scare tactics up until now but their rhetoric slipped in this instance and with the Jim DeMint incident we see the real reason for the gloom and doom is to attack Obama on the politics--not to actually solve the health care crisis.

That and they're looking out for their good ole boys in the insurance racket and unsuccessfully trying to veil it in populist rhetoric despite basically being the party of rich, white, males who say "No" to anything Obama tries to do. So their claims of gloom and doom are lies and many of us have known that for some time but I have even more conviction now after hearing what Roy Blunt said. It is clear that the Obama plan indeed WON'T make America into the Soviet Union. It's clear that it WON'T make our health worse in the long run but rather help it because as I said, if not then they wouldn't be releasing such a passive statement as the Blunt comment. Well, at least he's living up to his name, being honest with what their real motives are and being, well, blunt!!

Oh by the way, the market is looking good today as it ends the day up 200 points and passes the 9,000 mark for the first time since January. True, the market isn't an accurate measure on its own of how the economy is doing but it is very important and the psychological effect of climbing up back into the 9,000's can't be under-estimated. Yes, unemployment is still going up but it's going up slower than before and any economist will tell you that unemployment is a lagging indicator. Meaning it's not an accurate depiction of the economy in and of itself either as jobs are always the last indicator to bounce back. I'm confident by the time Obama is up for re-election that the economy will be doing well. Also, if you missed the President's primetime address you MUST watch it. He did an excellent job I though of explaining both the economy and his health care plan:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Typical Republican Scare Tactic: You'll Die Waiting in Line for Health Care Under a Public Option Plan.

TPJ: This is a long post but I think it's worth reading as it's hard to talk about health care in short snippets:

Guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele also used the health reform-will-kill-people rhetoric. Steele claimed that seniors will be “denied care” and compared it to Europe, where he says people will be “dead if they have to wait in the line.” At the same time, Steele claimed he wasn’t using “scare tactics:

STEELE: And what seniors out there, Larry, need to understand is simply this. That this bill will lead to a rationing of health care to such a degree that if you fall into a certain age group or category, you will be denied coverage. You will be denied service. It is that simple. This is not, this is not scare tactics. This is not kind of making this up. This is the reality of the system. How do we know? Because we’ve seen it work in Europe and in Canada. Why do you think seniors come to the United States to get their health care? Because they’ll be dead if they have to wait in the line over there in Europe to get it.
Neither Steele nor his right-wing allies mention that the United States has a higher “mortality amendable to health care” than European countries, which means “deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care.”

TPJ: Ironically for the right-wing, the country that has the least deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care is France with 65 deaths per 100,000. A country, which many Conservatives think is a, "joke" whose health care system is a failure, and the Socialist lair of "Satan" himself. Yet they have the lowest rate. Nevermind, I can hear them say--What about Canada? They say stuff like, "I keep heard people have to wait years for operations in Canada." The story usually goes something like this, "My friend knows a friend whose cousin's brother-in-law knows a friend whose uncle was on a waiting list for TWO YEARS!!! So you ask, "For what?" He needed hip replacement and having to wait would mean he'd have to be in a wheel chair while he waited. Big deal!!!

At least you can still get around and sure being in a wheel chair can be difficult but at least you will be able to get out of that chair once your surgery is over. Be lucky that you don't have to be confined to the wheel chair permanently like many people who have worse injuries then that. Most people in wheel chairs are in them because of severe spinal cord injuries--not because their hip is aching and so they'll need a surgery soon. I know that hips can get sore and annoying but do you seriously think that should take priority over someone who just got into a car accident and needs emergency surgery for a life threatening issue?

Every Conservative seems to have "a friend" in Canada and they all hate their health care system yet for some reason the people of Canada despite having the same democratic right to vote haven't gotten rid of that "evil, socialist, godless" health care system!! Just like most of Europe. Europeans have had various forms of universal health care for decades and yet you don't hear about them overturning their plans or evening any serious attempts to do so. I'd be curious to see what political persuasion and income level the majority of these Canadian complainers are in. And what are they waiting for exactly? I can see how they might make you wait if you want elective tonsil surgery because they personally gross you out but where are the studies of people having to wait in line for heart surgery?

I guess being Canada and it being so cold their brains froze up waiting in line in those hospitals to where they don't have the brain capacity to remember how to vote against something that isn't working? Come on, what a bunch of bullshit. Yet consider this from the Canadian Ministry of Health Services website on waiting lists: "In British Columbia, more than 400,000 hospital-based surgeries and treatments are performed each year. If you need surgery or treatment that is not an emergency, you will be placed on a wait list. An individual who needs emergency surgery does not go on a waitlist; they receive treatment without delay."

TPJ: So yes, there is some waiting but not with life threatening procedures. I'd rather wait in line for an elective surgery than not be able to have the surgery at all because I can't afford health insurance in the first place!! And who amongst us hasn't had to wait for some level of health care here in America anyway? No one. No one is saying the public option is perfect--there is no perfect plan but it certainly is better than what we have right now, which is basically no coverage or not enough coverage. This puts people in debt or bankruptcy court. So what good is private health care if it drains your bank account and most of your savings to pay for and you thus end up without insurance anyway?!!

But lets return back to the "Mortality according to health care" chart. Canada isn't as good off as France but they are at 77 and many other countries, which have "socialized medicine" are well below the rate of the U.S. as well: Japan, 71. Norway, 80. Greece, 84. Germany, 9o. So what country is the highest and what is their number? Why, the United States of America, which according to many lobotomized people on the right believe has the best health care system in the world at 110!!!

So you hear people say they "ration" health care in Canada and make you wait but what does "rationing" and "waiting" mean exactly? Listen to this story from a Canadian explaining what these wait times and "rationing" mean in Canada and how it really plays out:
Last week I compressed 2 nerves in my spine, which was unbelievably painful. I called and [sic] ambulance, which came in 6 minutes, which provided me painkillers and treatment on the way to the hospital. When I arrived, I was seated in a reclining bed and talked to by a nurse in about 25 minutes, and the doctor arrived to help me in about 40 minutes. The reason the doctor took 40 minutes?: there was a severely injured woman who needed his attention more then I did. This is what rationing is, understanding when your needs can’t always be put first. So if rationing means that relatively healthy people have to wait longer so really unhealthy people can recieve [sic] treatment, then I am proud to say we ration medical care in Canada.

Also, throughout this whole ordeal not once was a bill or any talk of payment mentioned. Finally, our long wait times have a lot to do with a lack of doctors, which can be remedied by increasing funding to med schools. Why havent we done that? Supply and demand, if healthcare is unaffordable because those who provide it are scarce (and therefore, valuable) why dont we just continue to increast [sic] the number of doctors until the premium they charge for service comes down? Kind of a blunt instrument, but could be effective.
TPJ: So while the name "rationing" sounds scary it's not what it sounds like and certainly not what many on the right define it to be. So while his injury was clearly painful he received pain meds I'm sure to enable him to wait those 40 minutes. I've waited longer in American hospitals. He also makes a good point about increasing the number of doctors. My chiropractor was discussing this with me the other day and suggested something that I thought would help this lack of doctors problem.

Include in the public option health care bill a way for med students to have their student loans paid for in exchange for working a certain amount of years at remote hospitals where they need more help. So when the right-wing talks about wait times they're mostly referring to elective surgery. When they refer to "rationing" it simply means that emergencies cases are seen before relatively healthy citizens who can afford to wait a bit are seen. This is determined by the doctors who are trained in triage, which is the less loaded term for "rationing." And finally, we don't have to have our system exactly like Canada, France or the U.K.--those are models from, which to use as a foundation to build our own system unique to America's needs and I think Obama is on the right track for doing just that.

Obama isn't saying we have to choose one system or another. If he has said it once he's said it a MILLION TIMES--If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your private insurance provider then you can keep it but he (and his supporters of this plan) want there to be a public option for those who can't afford private health insurance. So if you're someone who wants to be able to get a hip replacement the second you want it then stick with the expensive premium private plans but you better pray that they pay for it. And leave those who want to be on the public option to do so. But think about this-Do you want to have to take the risk of having a plan where you can get any elective surgery you want but can't afford it anyway and thus can't have it at all? At least on a public option you eventually get that hip replacement even if you have to wait it out a bit and suck up some pride and sit in a wheel chair. It will do you some good to see what permanently disabled, wheel chair bound citizens have to face for the rest of their lives.

Obama is giving us a choice between two plans--how is choice socialism? It's not and anyone who has taken a basic history or political science class knows that. Some on the right say that you won't get to keep your doctor because people will be "forced" to go to the public option plan. Hmm, force? Sounds like Communism!!! But wait, how could Obama force people to do that? He can't. People would choose to leave their private plan. So why would people choose to leave their private plan? Well clearly because the public option plan would be cheaper for them. People would see the savings they'd make and switch over. So the argument now is that the public option plan is bad because---it's cheaper???

So they argue the public plan is too expensive but at the same time people will flock to the public plan because it's cheaper to afford. So why is that bad that people save money while getting similar cover to those in France who are sitting at 65 deaths per 100,000 versus our current level of 110? Also, how is it expensive AND cheap at the same time? Also, so what are they suggesting that we force people to stay in their expensive private plans that they can't afford??? Isn't that the very thing that they are accusing Obama of doing? Forcing people into one plan? The fact of the matter is that this public option brings the best of the public and private sectors together to offer people greater choice for their dollar. Besides, we are all paying for the uninsured now to the tune of $1000-1200 per family extra in our health care premiums to pay reimbursed care for those uninsured.

What they're really afraid of is private insurance companies becoming fewer but more competitive. Ahhhh!!! See now we're getting to what they REALLY care about!! The private health insurance companies, which finance their campaigns won't be able to fund them as much anymore. So they'll be less influenced by lobbyists. How is that bad? It's not unless you're a corrupt member of Congress!! Thus, instead of private insurance having a lock on 100% of the health care market they'll have to compete--NO!!!!!!!! But wait, I thought competition was a principle of Capitalism? It is. But I thought the public option was Socialism? It's not. But then why do Republicans who claim to be the party of Capitalism stand against choice and competition? Well, you'll have to ask them. As for those Conservative Democrats, well, they are in the same bed as the majority of the Republicans so on this issue they are basically Republicans.

Besides, If people can afford to pay higher costs with their private plan right now and get all these goodies that the right-wing claims they are getting--Why would they switch to the cheaper plan, (the public option) which these same Republicans claim is horrible coverage?

In conclusion I wanted to share this from someone known as "Last Man Standing" in a comment section on a health care article:

"There already is rationing of health care in the US. It is called money:

- If you don’t have employer insurance, you don’t get full health care.
- If you don’t have any insurance, you don’t get full health care.
- If you don’t have money, you don’t get full health care.

So, Mr Republicans-who-run-their-live-to-scare-others, don’t try to terrorize us stories of ‘wait times’. Just lose your job and then you’ll see how long you need to wait to afford health care."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Is Obama a U.S. Citizen?" Perhaps a Better Question is, "Are there Any Sane Republicans Left?"

The Democrats may not always do the right thing and they do piss me off from time to time but at least most of them are semi-sane. The Republican party has shrunken so much that the only ones left in the party seem to be the "black helicopters" crowd who are still going around and saying Obama isn't an American citizen.
Ironic that the lady stands up and accuses our democratically elected leader of being illegitimate, which is technically a treasonous charge and then demands everyone say the pledge of allegiance to the U.S.A. Ironically in the pledge it demands allegiance not just to the flag but to "the Republic for which it stands" and yet how can you pledge allegiance to a Republic, which is led by someone you say isn't legitimate?

That's like a Confederate soldier during the American civil war saying, "Lincoln isn't my president" and then standing up to salute the American (Union) flag. It's even more frightening when you realize that it's not just a crazy few given the response this lunatic gets in this video upon confronting a Republican Congressperson at a town hall meeting. These people have lost a screw and yet they make up a large percentage of the now "purged" Republican party and they want us to take their "ideas" seriously and chose them over the Democrats?

The Democrats may not always be doing the best job possible but at least they're not stuck in the McCarthy Era of paranoia, skulking around trying to determine who is a "real American" and who isn't. At least the Democrats are trying to finally fix the health care problem in America and at least they are trying to solve the economy whereas the Republicans just seem to want to throw bombs from sidelines and say "no" to everything without offering any realistic solutions in response!!

Yes, the Democrats might not get everything right but at least they are trying--especially Obama. He is putting his reputation and political capital on the line to be bold and tackle some of these long put-off problems. I'd rather have someone who tried yet failed but still managed to get some progress made on health care then someone (like most of the Republicans right now) who don't seem to even care. Let alone try in any sincere and meaningful way.

No wonder you can't rationalize with many Republicans. How are you supposed to work with the other party on anything when so many of them seem to refuse that the leader on our side, who happens to be the president of the entire country, isn't a legal citizen!!

The sad thing is that this is coming from the same crowd who called many of us Liberals, "unpatriotic" just for disagreeing with President Bush. They disagree with Obama and that's understandable being Conservatives but they go one step further and deny his citizenship. Imagine if we Liberals not only opposed Bush on his ideas but basically called him an illegal alien?!! It might have set off right-wing hit squads.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Republicans Play Politics on Health Care While People Die.

[Senator] DeMint said Friday on a conservative conference call that “if we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

TPJ: Senator Jim DeMint is underlining what many of us have thought for along time--the Republicans on Capital Hill don't really care about health care reform in any form. They have been portrayed as the "Party of No" due to opposing nearly everything that Obama has tried to do from the start. I knew that total and compete opposition was to be the tone from the GOP when in those first few days John Boehner told his members to vote against the package before even listening to what Obama had to say.

They aren't sincere partners on health care or much of anything for that matter. The Republicans have an unhealthy obsession with Barack Obama. They despise him so much that they want to defeat him on anything and everything regardless of what effect it might have for our country. The Republican party have decided to stand with the big health insurance companies, big corporate interests and their obsession for political games against the health of the American people. I think the president responded to his critics in Congress from both the Republicans and from Conservative Democrats best:

"On Monday, Obama responded, quoting DeMint’s line word for word. “Think about that. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America’s families, breaking America’s businesses and breaking America’s economy. And we can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care, not this time, not now.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Angry, White Man Lindsey Graham Sandbags Sotomayor.

Today was the second day of the Sotomayor hearings and the big news is the shabby treatment the judge received at the end of the day from Senator Graham despite nervously interjecting from time to time that he liked her:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), dove head-first into the personal when it was his turn to pepper Judge Sonia Sotomayor with questions, reading from anonymous listings in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. "When you look at the evaluation of the judges on the second circuit you stand out like a sore thumb in terms of your temperament," said the South Carolina Republican, who went on to call Sotomayor a "bully." "I do ask tough questions at oral argument," she responded, before Graham cut her off. "Are you the only one who asks questions at oral argument?" he asked.

"No," Sotomayor replied. "Not at all." Finally Graham, who repeated that he liked Sotomayor personally and could end up voting for her confirmation, got even blunter. "Do you think you have a temperament problem?" he asked. "No sir," Sotomayor replied. "I can only talk about what I know about the relationship with the judges of my court and the lawyers who appear regularly before our circuit. And I believe my reputation is such that I ask the tough question but I do it evenly to both sides."

TPJ: Here's the full exchange:

So she asks tough questions, isn't a wilting flower and is aggressive when needed. A court of law is to be many things but it shouldn't be a Kindergarten. These are serious issues that she and other judges at her level have to stake their reputations upon, not to mention the serious implications of making any decision. That requires a judge who is tough but fair and one who won't take any nonsense from showboating, inexperienced, or cocky lawyers.

I don't have a problem with her being seen by some lawyers as someone to be respected and yes, even feared at times. Should we honestly vote against a candidate for SCOTUS because some poor attorneys whined (anonymously of course) that she was too tough? Do we really want a push-over of a judge at the district level because some poor anonymous attornies can't hold their own and persevere in a district that is known for it's heavy work load and stressful environment? This isn't small claims court we're talking about. Since when did being known as a bit of a hard-ass prevent a justice from being nominated or seen as having a solid temperment? It sure as shit didn't stop Scalia whose known to be hard-nosed and caustic at times. She sat through Jeff Sessions yammering without popping his tiny, bulbous head off like a grape and whipping it across the room by his elfen ears--she passed MY temperment test.

Senator Graham's questioning near the end of the day on her temperament raised a red flag in my mind. She had received tough questioning from others too but Graham was going about it in a very (I thought) disrespectful, condescending manner, which seemed outright sexist to me. When male judges ask hard questions, are no nonsense and firm in their court they are considered tough but admired for their strength. No but when a female judge conducts court in that manner she is considered a, "bully" or unstable both of, which are historic pajoritive ways of saying a woman can't handle the pressure. As one female commenter (catrst) on HuffPo discussing this topic said, "Women are accused of "behavior unbecoming to a lady" when they are smart and assertive and men are patted on the back as being good leaders." TPJ: These clowns on the right think she's woefully unqualified yet Sarah Palin is qualified to the president?!!! OMG.

I understood that the "Wise Latina" comment would appear and sat patiently through the first, second and third time but as the day went on it seemed that it was all that the insecure pasty, old, white men could concenrate upon. It was like watching a movie stuck on the same scence for hours and hours--it was beyond annoying. Then when Graham came around for his last round of questioning and went to that "Wise Latina" well one more time and I groaned. So what ensued was this awkward moment where he looks up and grins, then proceeds to flippantly ask Judge Sotomayor if she remembered the "Wise Latina" comment!!

No, cheese brain!!! She had only been bombarded with it for the last 6 hours and weeks before in the press--Of course she remembered it Senator Graham Cracker!! I'm surprised he couldn't recite it back to her with how many times it's been brought up in the hearings so far. So then she just smiles politely at him while he fumbles with his papers trying to find the fucking quote. Then he proceeds to ASK HER TO REPEAT IT TO HIM!!!! Like he was some grade school teacher. His whole tone was like that of a tutor or therapist saying, "You really should seek anger management." And this coming from the man who wanted Hot Head McCain to be in charge of the nukes in being prez!!! It was then that I considered ripping my eyes out with a fork but obviously decided, wisely (maybe like a wise latina-Insert sarcasm-) to throw a pillow at the teevee instead.

The thing about Senator "Who Moved My Cheese?" Graham and those who think like them is that they are making a mountain out of a mole hill. No one is worried that Puerto Rican women are going to take over America and crush white culture beneath their fashionable yet professional heels because it's absurd. There hasn't been a historic and systematic oppression of white people by Puert0 Rican women and I don't think that a comment, which was taken out of context is the pre-determined signal for a race war led by Puerto Rican female judges!!! Hey Republicans!! Paranoid much?!! Then again I'm no Nostradamus.

The other point is that it's o.k. for an Italian American male to say (As Justice Alito said in his hearing) that his decisions couldn't help but be influenced by his heritage. However, it's racism for a Latina woman to make a similar claim?!! Pathetic and sad but that's today's Republican Party!! R.N.C pretty much means Racists, Nuts and Christians anymore. They've purged everyone else with any sense.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fellowship Foundation or "The Family" and "C Street" Exposed.

Above: Bush Sr. (left) with the current leader of, "The Family" Doug Coe (middle).

"What is C-Street? The C-Street house in Washington DC is actually a former convent and now it’s registered as a church. It is run by what is called the Family and is used to provide housing for six to eight congressmen at any time, and provide spiritual direction for these congressmen or politicians. The powerful and secretive group known as the Fellowship Foundation or the “Family” is quickly gaining notoriety, due to its links to two scandal-plagued Republicans, Senator John Ensign of Nevada and Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina."

"Jeff Sharlet is the author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. According to Sharlets research, the Family is the oldest Christian Conservative organization in Washington and actually began 70 years ago. The founder believed that god gave him a new revelation saying that Christianity had gotten it wrong for two thousand years and that what most people think of as Christianity, as being about, helping the weak and the poor and the meek and the down and out, he believes god came to him one night in April in 1935 and said what Christianity should really be about is building more power for the already powerful. And that these powerful men who were chosen by god can then if they want to dispense blessings to the rest of us, through a kind of trickle-down fundamentalism."
"Sharlet [Author of "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power] follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the far right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. In public, they host Prayer Breakfasts; in private, they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao as leadership models, the Family's current leader, Doug Coe, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't." Coe once stated, "Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn’t murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom."

TPJ: The author, Jeff Sharlet answers some questions about his book:

"1. Your exposé on The Fellowship, aka “The Family,” appeared five years ago. Has your understanding of the group changed?

When I was working on that story, I remember debating how much Hitler we should put in the piece. That is, we wondered how fair it was to dwell on The Family’s invocations of Hitler as a model of “total commitment.” As it turns out, it was quite fair. After I left Ivanwald, a team of researchers and I spent years combing through hundreds of thousands of documents in archives around the country. We discovered that as far back as the 1940s, when The Family began organizing congressmen, the group’s founder, Abraham Vereide, was praising Hitler’s “youth work” as a model to be adopted by Americans. He denounced Hitler himself, but he admired fascism’s cultivation of elites, crucial to what he saw as a God-ordained coming “age of minority control.”"

TPJ: The Hitler Youth Work praise is especially chilling when you consider the revelation of the YWAM movement within, "The Family."

"According to the Washington Post, however, the Fellowship Foundation is itself linked to an even more secretive religious organization — Youth With a Mission (YWAM), whose Washington, DC branch owns the “C Street House.” A diarist at Daily Kos points out that “YWAM founder leader Loren Cunningham has publicly outlined a vision for Christian world-control,” which involves establishing domination over government, education, business, the media, and other areas. YWAM has also been accused of having cult-like tendencies, which were detailed at length in an article published in 1990 that described both the brainwashing-like techniques employed in its Discipleship Training Schools and its financial exploitation of its recruits."

TPJ: Even the Republican Saint Ronald Reagan seemed to have a suspicious tie to the organization saying about it once, "Speaking at the 1985 Prayer Breakfast, Ronald Reagan said, “I wish I could say more about it, but it’s working precisely because it’s private.” (TPJ: This reminds me of Bush II mentioning the equally as secretive and elitist group "Skull and Bones" in his book but saying he was indeed a member but could not reveal any information).

Special thanks to my friend Shaw over at the excellent blog, "Progressive Eruptions" for tipping me off to much of this information. It certainly raises some serious questions about the motives of many of the elite within the halls of American government--especially it appears within the Republican/Conservative wings. It should cause alarm and concern over a growing theocratic movement in America, which has been seen in several organizations over the past 3 decades or so. It seems over more and more we hear of people willing to sacrifice Democracy for some perceived Christian theocratic utopia. I have ordered Sharlet's book and can't wait to read it.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Time to Legalize Pot is Now. It Should Have Been Legal Years Ago.

Legalizing it could help pay for a public option in health care. It isn't physically addictive like alcohol or tobacco, which are both legal drugs nor does it lead to increases in domestic violence like alcohol does. When was the last time you heard of someone beating their wife after smoking a joint of pot? Pot makes people actually calm down instead of increase their anger like booze. It makes people laugh together instead of fight. It is the best thing for an upset stomach when you have the flu and doesn't induce vomiting like drinking can nor does it have a hangover like alcohol.

Many responsible people smoke marijuana. I know working professionals who smoke it like drinking a glass or two of wine after work and they are some of the best workers I know. They are invaluable assets to their industries. So it's time to shed this image that all pot smokers are like Cheech and Chong.

Besides, this is America and our country was founded upon personal liberties and freedoms so why is it the government's business if someone wants to smoke a joint in the privacy of their own home and laugh at cartoons? How does that hurt anyone? Sure there need to be laws preventing smoking it and driving and keeping it away from minors. However, did you know that because marijuana isn't legal and thus not regulated that it is easier for minors to get than alcohol?

And It blows me away that taxes from marijuana could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers in California!! What the HELL are THEY and WE waiting for? You may be personally against using it yourself but what right is it of yours to decide that for everyone else? Sure it can be abused if you smoke it all day but honestly how many people are doing that besides college kids? Another argument is that the pot today is stronger. Blah, blah, blah. Pot has NEVER, EVER led to any over-dose. You simply can't overdose on marijuana. You can smoke it all day and the worst that happens is you fall asleep and get a good night of sleep!! Wow. Soooo dangerous. The stronger pot argument is only valid if it led to overdoses but it doesn't. It simply isn't true.

Sure it might cause emphysema but that's a personal decision that someone shouldn't be making for someone else. Besides you can bake marijuana into brownies and ingest it orally without running the risks of smoking. Plus now there is the vaporizing method, which is a mist that you ingest and it has been shown to be safe. Hell, eating too much junk food leads to heart disease, diabetes and other major health problems but do we make Twinkies illegal? Alcohol leads to liver and kidney damage but we saw what prohibition of alcohol brought us in the golden age of gangsters in the 20's. And the same members of Congress that say pot should remain illegal are guzzling alcohol by the barrel full. Porn can be abused but it's legal, working can even be abused and break up marriages.

Anything can be abused but does that mean we should make everything with the ability to be abused illegal? We'd have to outlaw cold medicine, mouthwash and paint solvents to name but a few things. We wouldn't be able to function as a society or leave our house!! Should we outlaw greed? Good luck. And what about the "legal drugs" that are aired non-stop on t.v. and take half the commercial time listing adverse side effects? No, I choose not to live in fear. It's time to stop demonizing marijuana and throw it in the same category as heroin, cocaine, crack and meth. Marijuana is to those other substances as B.B. guns are to AK-47's.

Then there is bullshit about marijuana being a gateway drug but why do they focus on just marijuana? How about sugar because that is a drug in the sense that is gives you a rush and a buzz. What about caffeine? Shouldn't that be called a gateway drug? It gives people a rush of energy, a buzz and they crash when they don't drink it. It causes withdrawals in people who are regular drinkers when they don't drink it. People drink it all day in their offices and we even have the high octane stuff that's like crewing on handfuls of coffee beans. How come we don't call that the gateway drug?

The Mormon religion sees it bad enough to ban it with all these other drugs so why single out marijuana? The whole war on marijuana is a sham, a failure and a waste of money and resources. It's costing us tons of money when it should be bringing in tons of money for our communities. Enough is enough. Let adults be adults. I find it very odd to say the least that Conservatives who are usually for personal liberties and the government butting out of a person's private life are for keeping pot illegal!! Huh?

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Unclassified FBI Interviews: Saddam Bluffed on WMD to Fool Iran.

Unclassified FBI interviews conducted during his incarceration at a U.S. detention center offered new details Thursday about the late Iraqi dictator's life. The documents also confirm previous reports that Saddam falsely allowed the world to believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction _ the main U.S. rationale behind the war _ because he feared revealing his weakness to Iran, the hostile neighbor he considered a bigger threat than the U.S. "By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the United States," he told Piro.

TPJ: I'm frankly disappointed that this news didn't breakthrough the wall to wall Michael Jackson coverage in the MSM. Hopefully these newly unclassified interviews with Saddam will be one of the final nails in the coffin of the theory still held by many Conservatives that he indeed did have weapons of mass destruction. In addition to believing that Saddam somehow spirited away these weapons to other countries before the invasion, which is a charge that no significant evidence has proven. I personally would trust the experts at the FBI over the ranting conspiracy theories of many in the Republican party any day--and we didn't even have to water board him to get it.

I remember contemplating this same conclusion during the early days of the invasion when no weapons of mass destruction were used on our troops, which bolstered my believe before the invasion that he didn't have WMD. I thought to myself, "This guy [Saddam] isn't the kind of leader to take the high road and not use WMD out of some respect of a "warrior's code" or in keeping with international bans against said weapons. We know that he miscalculated the "Crazy Cowboy" Bush. He stated to these investigators that he figured Bush would attack with air strikes alone and that he'd survive to fight another day just like after Kuwait. He didn't count on Bush being crazier than himself in this instance. Saddam also dismissed the link between himself, the 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden, which we all know was another false charge drummed up to fuel the Bush desire for war.

In the interviews, Saddam dismissed Osama bin Laden as a "zealot" and said he had never personally met the al-Qaida leader. He said the Iraqi government did not cooperate with the terrorist group against the U.S.

TPJ: I firmly believe that Bush felt he had something to prove (whether to his daddy, himself or to his naysayers) and that opportunity came with 9/11. He wanted to make his own legacy as an international player and perhaps top his Dad by finishing the job in Iraq by toppling the dictator himself.
Woodward [Bob Woodward] reports that just five days after Sept. 11, President Bush indicated to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that while he had to do Afghanistan first, he was also determined to do something about Saddam Hussein. There's some pressure to go after Saddam Hussein. Don Rumsfeld has said, ‘This is an opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps. We should consider it.’ “And there's this low boil on Iraq until the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, 2001. This is 72 days after 9/11. This is part of this secret history. President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, ‘What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.’"

Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam - and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward. “Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

”A year before the war started, three things are going on. Franks is secretly developing this war plan that he's briefing the president in detail on,” says Woodward. “Franks simultaneously is publicly denying that he's ever been asked to do any plan.” Woodward reports that Cheney was the driving force in the White House to get Saddam. Cheney had been Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War, and to him, Saddam was unfinished business – and a threat to the United States.
TPJ: So I believe that "W" saw what he wanted to see in the "evidence" presented to him by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and other hawks who served in the Bush Sr. administration. These men were obsessed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War and clearly wanted another crack at the dictator. So they cooked up this idea of a preventive war, which is defined by the Department of Defense's own Dictionary of Military Terms as, "one 'initiated on the basis of incontrovertible evidence that an enemy attack is imminent.'" Being surrounded by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz Bush was in an isolated bubble of people who were all apart of the Gulf War and saw 9/11 as an opportune moment to "deal" with Iraq once and for all.

I believe that to justify the war they cherry picked evidence from often unrealiable sources and filled in the blanks to convince each other that an attack by Iraq was imminent and the evidence incontravertible. They then took advantage of the fear griping America at the time to sell their war. They were so obsessed with attacking somebody after 9/11 that they didn't seem to cross-check much of the claims. So Bush didn't have many with clout offering counterpoints and evidence for not invading Iraq. And with Bush's own desire to form a lasting legacy and penchant for making gut decisions he took us to war.

I think surrouding himself with this Gulf War crowd gave Bush a false sense of confidence that Iraq would just be a quick police action like Grenada or Panama to be a feather in his legacy cap alongside Afghanistan. They were cocky thinking like the ousting of Iraq from Kuwait and invasion would be quick, easy and with minor casualties. It seems they saw it as killing two birds with one stone. They underestimated Afghanistan as well or else they would have focused entirely upon it. They obviously didn't learn many lessons from the Soviet invasion of that country and either forgot or didn't know the history that Afghanistan has often been where empires go to die.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

What Happened to Sarah "Barracuda" Palin?

One of the things Sarah "The Alaska Disasta'" Palin spoke about in her rambling, confusing and often contradictory speech was that the media was focusing too much on her despite the fact that she was the one to put herself in the national, political spotlight. Being under the microscope comes with the territory of wanting the lime light and potential power and prestige, which would have come with a possible vice-presidential position. As well as that, which would come if she should run for president and somehow (I shudder to think) become president.

Plus, much of the attention and criticism she has gained recently has come from her own party. The media go where the story is and that includes investigating infighting within the Republican party over Palin about her role in the '08 defeat. As well as 15 ethics complaints filed against her in her own state so of course the media is going to focus in upon her. The previous V.P. candidate who basked in the limelight of being a rising political rock star within the Republican party is now whining about too much attention!! Critical op-ed pieces and other media attention come with the territory toward ALL politicians at that level. Some of the stuff said about Barack Obama and Joe Biden was rough but politics is a rough and trouble business and Obama generally stayed calm, cool and collected. He didn't quit when the mud starting flying and his conviction helped carry him to victory.

She can't enjoy the spotlight and all the fame, power and money, which goes with that and yet somehow be exempt from the media being critical of her. That's not how a free press works. What she is basically saying is I want nothing but good, free press coverage and if I don't get it I'm going to whine, take my ball and go home. She's basically arguing against a free press, which is a sacred right within the Constitution. Yet she seems to have no problem with other political stars getting heavy media attention, investigation and critical editorials about them.

In fact, when other politicians have to face the glare of the media attention she has sided with the media and bitched about the person complaining!!! How deliciously ironic!! Remember this video when Hillary Clinton was protesting the media spot light?:
As I said in a previous post, if she doesn't like the attention now then she shouldn't even consider running for president in 2012.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Beware of Sarah Palin's "Higher Calling." We've Heard This Before to Bad Results.

By MARK THIESSEN, Associated Press Writer Mark Thiessen, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 4, 7:38 pm ET

JUNEAU, Alaska – Outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday laid the groundwork to take on a larger, national role after leaving state government, citing a "higher calling" with the aim of uniting the country along conservative lines.

TPJ: In regards to the selected photo I sure hope we've dodged yet another Palin bullet by her resignation. She's following a "higher calling" which knowing Sarah Palin's scary reliance upon prayer in making major decisions such as what to do as governor of an entire state makes me nervous.

So claiming that you hear from a "God" (who can't be independently verified) is rather worrysome to many people when it involves someone with a lot of power over an entire country of believers and non-believers. It makes me question their judgment when prayer can not be verified as effective and a sound way of making major decisions. Take George W. Bush for example who said that "God" told him to invade Iraq:

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."
TPJ: So what is a more likely scenario--That a "perfect" "God" would screw up and mess up a major decision like whether to invade another country or not? Or that there is no "God" and thus making a decision on an amazingly inaccurate and unverifiable source unsuprisingly didn't work out so well? So do we really want another politician on the national stage who is driven so dominately, seemingly first and foremost by their religion, which can not be verified and prayer, which can not be proven to be useful at all let alone as a means to make major decisions such as whether to go to war as a country or not!! It certainly doesn't bother me though if politicians are Christian or whatever religion and that they believe in prayer as a secondary guide (at most) and/or to feel comforted by the stress of the job.

However, to use prayer as a major method of deciding extremely serious, dicey national issues to be on par with confering with experts, (if not superior to) is worrysome. In addition, arrogantly touting your faith at every opportunity and infering that you are therefore superior and are such a pious, righteous, better person is scary to the many non-"believer" Americans. Remember Jesus taught to pray in private:

"When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites. The hypocrites love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray loudly. They want people to see them pray. I tell you the truth. They already have their full reward. When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door.

It's not wonder then that I get annoyed with the families who make a big deal of praying out at restaurants. I think your "God" will still hear you if you just pray quietly in your mind. It makes us nervous that these politicians are privately (and not so privately in some cases) seeking to be the president of American Christians only and everyone else be damned--literally it seems in some cases.

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