Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Et Tu, Baucus? Is the Public Option Dead? It Sure Looks Like It.

A coalition of Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee joined together Tuesday to defeat a public health insurance option. Five Democrats joined with all the Republicans on the committee to reject an amendment by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) in a 15-8 vote.

TPJ: The Democrats who stabbed us in the back? The usual turn-coats: Baucus, Conrad, Bill Nelson, Thomas Carper, and Blanche Lincoln. It's time to end the madness and defeat these three "Democrats" who don't represent the people but the insurance companies. The "trigger option" is kicking the can down the road, re-arranging the decks on the Titanic and amounts to nothing more than stalling tactics. It's giving the insurance companies one more chance that they don't deserve. It's like giving the spouse who has beaten you, taken you for granted, stolen your money repeatedly, leaves you for dead and has done it for decades, another chance. To read why the trigger option is a poison pill--read this. PLEASE read it because the conservodems and Republicans want you to think that it's a real good idea. It's a catch-22, Faustian bargain or "Deal with the Devil." The same goes for the co-op, which I've shown before on this blog to be a cop-out.

If the Baucus bills passes as is, then Liberals in the Senate need to vote AGAINST the bill because a bill requiring mandates BUT without the public option is a give away to the insurance industries. Not only that but it will be a hit to the middle-class who will have to pay a fine if they can't afford to buy insurance. That's because it mandates people get health insurance without giving them affordable options. Therefore it's not only a regressive tax but it is a bailout to the insurance industry because the mandates means that they will be getting a flood of new customers. It also looks like this bill will still allow them to deny coverage and jack premiums.

If they are going to hang-us out to dry on such a core, bedrock, Democratic issue as health care for all then we need to do the same to them. Damn the consequences for the party, fuck the party. What have they done for us lately? Hell, forget lately. What has the party done for us in the base for years now? If they won't stand with us on such a core issue as health care then what will they stand with us on? This isn't why I've worked my ASS off for the Democratic Party for the last decade--especially for the Obama campaign. That said, I realize Obama's hands are a bit tied as he can't dictate what to do to the Senate but he could have done A LOT more to help pass the public option.It's now clear as can be that the main issue we should be fighting for is campaign finance reform and getting more progressive candidates elected. Notice I didn't necessarily say Democrats elected and that's because with today's events I am unofficially a Green Party member. I've said for many posts now that I would finally jump ship on the party if they sell us out on the public option and it looks like that's what happened today. This means no more money to the Democrats and no more votes until they show me reason to vote for them again. Of course, I'll vote for a Democrat is he meets my criteria but that's on an individual basis but my focus now is more and more on making the Green Party more viable to give some competition to the Democrats. They need a threat on their left to keep them true to their base principles.

So if you feel any sharp pains in your back or neck region it's because you have five knives in your back named, Baucus, Conrad, Lincoln, Nelson and Carper. I'd say email these people and tell them what you think but I've been doing that for months now and obviously it didn't convince them to vote for the public option. So. I've decided to send my money to ActBlue to defeat these "Democrats" because while I'm more a Green now; I want to see these Senators go down in flames. This time it's personal lol. I've also decided to give my money to organizations who are fighting for campaign finance reform.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Are Christian Climate Change Deniers Being Good Stewards of the Earth?

Senator James "Nothing to see here" Inhofe (Oklahoma) has been a long climate change denier claiming things like, "CO2 isn't a pollutant." Now hold it right there for a minute. If that's true Senator then I'd like to challenge you to suck on the tailpipe of one of those big trucks that belch out billowing black smoke. However, since it's not a pollutant you won't have to worry about getting cancer, right? Besides even if you DO get the "Big C" you'll be fine with your public option government health care that you enjoy but don't want the rest of us to have. It's hard to believe someone like Inhofe when the majority scientists and governments in the world support the argument that climate change is MAN MADE. However, Inhofe and fellow radical Christians that believe this idea of climate change being a hoax don't listen much to science. So I figured I'd turn to their Holy Book--The Bible.

I know the Bible quite well for those who don't know me. I was raised a Christian, was a devoted one and served a mission to preach the word of "God." I left after 22 years but that's a story for another time. I have also read the Bible numerous times and in it we read that God commanded man to be good stewards of the Earth. Anyone who isn't stuck in the 15th century like Inhofe knows that we haven't been good stewards of the Earth. Destroying our environment (or "His"--meaning God's, environment in Christians terms) by polluting vehicles, polluting factories, plastic bags and destroying our giant tracts of forests, which are our lungs and clean our air.

When I was a Christian and I read about the trees cleaning our air I thought that was a great way for "God" to help us regulate our environment. So what do we do then? Kill all the lungs given to us by "God." Clearly, man has been a horrible steward. So to think that Christians don't have to worry about the environment because Jesus will return and clean it all up for us is not only wishful thinking in my mind; It's also not following "God's" orders. This same "God" said in the very beginning of the Bible that he liked what he created. Yes, it's true also that he gave dominion over it to humans but I don't think he meant destroy it in the process!!! And so "God" likes what he created, which surely means he likes all the animals that have been needlessly dying because of climate change. Do you think "God" is going to be happy that we killed off his cute, cuddly polar bears? "God" was clearly a nature lover if he indeed created Earth because if not he wouldn't have made it so beautiful. He would have just made a very concrete, steel, utilitarian world of urban sprawl.

So if "God" does return through Jesus; Do you think he'll say "Well done good and faithful servant" as stated in Matthew when he surveys what we've done with the wonderful gift of nature that he granted us? Umm, probably not. It'll be like the old gardener coming home from vacation to see his prized garden ransacked and uprooted by a bunch of drunken teen-agers. He might just be so angry that he would decide to just eviscerate everyone--including the so-called righteous, "I'm clearly going to Heaven" people. If that were to happen I'd laugh my fucking ass off as long as I could before being zapped for not believing in "God" to begin with. And in between laughs I'd chortle out, "Ha!! You're going to 'Hell' just like me!! Hahaha!!" It would be a sweet last laugh.

Some on Inhofe's side mock people who work to protect the environment by saying, "How can you save the whole planet? That's impossible." Well, the planet will be fine without us. We'll die off and the Earth will keep going. We're not trying to save the planet as much as we're trying to save the fucking humans!! That means your snotty nosed beloved grandchildren and their children's children. This includes us living right now--including your ignorant ass Senator Inhofe because the latest science is saying climate change is speeding up. So seeing how you conservatives are so often selfish; wouldn't you want to support helping the environment if for no other reason that to save your wrinkly, old, white ass? So Senator, I respect the title you hold but that's just for the history of the title of Senator. You personally? You're a douche bag of the highest degree and you're not being a good and faithful servant to your "God's" creation. That includes not using the brain your "God" gave you well enough to realize the reality of climate change.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Poll: Public Option Favored by 65% of Americans--Including a Majority of Republicans!!!

The new CBS/New York Times poll not only shows overwhelming support for the public option -- it shows that a plurality of self-identified Republicans are for it, too. The poll asked this question: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?" The top-line result is 65% in favor, 26% opposed. Among Democrats only, it's 81%-12%, and independents are at 61%-30%. And among Republican respondents, 47% are in favor, to 42% opposed.

TPJ:
This goes to show that while the tea party protesters and town hall shouters are loud and thus get a lot of t.v. time that "the silent majority" of Republicans are thinking sanely. They seem to understand that we can't have a strong economy in the long-run without reforming health care to take the burden of insurance off corporations, reduce costs for middle-class families. This will give corporations more money to re-invest in their company, which will naturally lead to better employment security. It will prevent illnesses before they get disabling, which will increase the productivity and stability of the work force. This in turn helps a company grow, sell more widgets and thus help grow the overall American economy. It's a no brainer but you have to have a brain to begin with and many if not most of the tea party loud mouths only have a squeaky toy rolling around in their skulls with a "Made in China" sticker on it.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Atheists and other Non-Theists are on the Rise in America.

Atheist groups are growing all over the United States, challenging stereotypes and confronting what they consider a big backslide in the separation of church and state. The American Religious Identification Survey recently found the number of people who claimed “no religion” had nearly doubled nationally over the last 18 years, to 15 percent. They were the only demographic that increased in all 50 states. As they work to crack stereotypes, atheists are sometimes encountering resistance. Last month, when FLASH erected a billboard stating, “Being a good person doesn’t require God,” a local woman led children in chants calling for the sign to come down.

James: Regardless of what we might believe or not believe when it comes to religion/spirituality can we all agree that children shouldn't be dragged into protesting? Besides, what do children know about belief or non-belief? They usually believe what their parents believe because they were told to do that by their parents. It's not like they have much choice in the matter in a lot of family environments. It's one thing to take your kids to church with you but to drag them out to a street corner to protest Atheists and encourage intolerance? That goes too far. It's like the kids that are dragged to these anti-choice protests and have tape slapped across their mouths to symbolize a silent protest for the blastocyst that can't speak for itself. Kids shouldn't be involved in such an adult discussion and forced to see giant posters of aborted fetuses being paraded around by fellow protesters.

It's sadly ironic that our country was founded in large part by people seeking religious freedom to decide for themselves. However now you find all too many religious types who would impose their beliefs on everyone else. They claim this is a just and right thing to do because most of the early Americans were Christian. Well, that might be but those Christians had the foresight to include in the Constitution of our country a clause (Article 6) that provided for the freedom OF religion but also the freedom FROM religion. All too often the "believers" only quote the first part of that sentence--the freedom OF religion. That article is in the Constitution to protect both religion, non-religion and government. It's there so that all parties can operate within their specific spheres without too much influence and intrusion by any of the others. Furthermore, in Article 6 the Constitution demands:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
James: Sadly there are many who do require this religious test for those running for public office. The chances of an Atheist, agnostic or non-theist from holding public office are basically zero. The same goes for Buddhists and Hindus. That's because people are holding them to a religious test and because people like that lady above think you can't be a good person without believing in a god. It's freedom of speech and the same goes for that lady. I think she's wrong, misguided and discriminatory but she does have the right to speak her mind. That said, this Atheist group has the right to have their advertisements put up by a private company if they want to do so. There are many though who wouldn't vote for an Atheist because of the values he/she would stand for but we all know that a lot of "believers" would oppose them simply for not being one of them. Imagine the fury, outrage and mass protests that would occur if a Christian candidate was treated the way many non-Judeo-Christians and non-believers are treated. It would be a bigger deal than the health care protests and rightly so. Christians shouldn't be discriminated against either.

Being a historian by education I find it frustrating when people say that our country was meant to be a Christian country. Well, then why doesn't is say that in the Constitution? Why didn't the framers establish a theocracy? Because it doesn't work and because they believed in freedom for ALL people, not just some. They had the vision to see that America would have growing pains and thus provided for the protection of all beliefs and non-beliefs. The freedom of religion and the freedom from religion was so important to the framers that it was included in the very first amendment. Yes, the Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed with certain rights by a creator but is doesn't specify who or what this creator is. It's says "their" creator so that is up to personal interpretation. Not everyone sees "their" creator as a god but many see their creator as science or a more universal, non-physical "higher force." However, the bigger over-arching point is that the Declaration of Independence is not a legal document but rather a political document and thus holds no legal authority over the Constitution.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Teen Pregnancy Rate Highest in Most Religious States.

U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests. They found a strong correlation between statewide conservative religiousness and statewide teen birth rate even when they accounted for income and abortion rates.The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.

TPJ: I'm not surprised one bit by the results of this study. On average, teen agers are going to have sex regardless of how much fear of "God" you pump into them because human, animal instinct will trump cerebral religiosity nearly every time. So if you're not taking the urge to have sex at that age seriously enough to provide a backup plan for teens (contraception) if they do choose to have sex you are actually putting your kids in more danger.

You are risking your child getting STDs, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy, which often leads to broken marriages. Plus, you're risking the baby of the teen parents being unwanted and that leads to dysfunctional children and homes. It's the classic example of too much control, too little realism combined to create more problems then trust and practical planning.

If you are against a woman's right to choose an abortion, pro-abstinence but also anti-contraception then I have a hard time taking your desire to reduce abortions seriously as the unrealistic nature of abstinence leads to more unplanned pregnancies. Thus a greater risk of increased abortion rates. It's yet another reason that the radically religious often aren't in touch with reality.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tea Party Anti-Socialism Pledge.

Print the pledge and ask all your teabagger/libertarian friends and family to sign it!

The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2ndAmendment Rights in this country, while I am duly >being allowed to exercise my 2ndAmendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

  • Social Security

  • Medicare/Medicaid

  • State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)

  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services

  • US Postal Service

  • Roads and Highways

  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)

  • The US Railway System

  • Public Subways and Metro Systems

  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems

  • Rest Areas on Highways

  • Sidewalks

  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009federal senate appropriations--http://grassley.senate.gov/issues/upload/Master-Approps-73109.pdf)

  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)

  • Public and State Universities and Colleges

  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools

  • Sesame Street

  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children

  • Public Museums

  • Libraries

  • Public Parksand Beaches

  • State and National Parks

  • Public Zoos

  • Unemployment Insurance

  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services

  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, Stateor Federal Government (pretty much all of them)

  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)

  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)

  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking

  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies

  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

  • If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist

locations, including but not limited to:

  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History

  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments

  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty

  • The Grand Canyon

  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials

  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery

  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF ____________ IN THE YEAR ______________.

___________________________ ___________________________

Signed Printed Name/Town and State.


TPJ: Glenn Beck is known for his paranoid analysis of symbols and words where he reads supposed hidden messages, which are to "expose" the evil, Stalinist aims of Barack Obama and anyone NOT uber-conservative like him. Well that image at the top of the post is the sign used by a Glenn Beck inspired Tea Bagger protest that took place on September 12th. They went to protest, (in part) anything that has the whiff of socialism or government intervention. Notice, however, the chiseled yet anonymous fists raised in the air? It's known as the "Clenched Fist" symbol.

It's a CLASSIC symbol of socialist and communist governments/movements. The multiple raised fists is commonly used by socialists and communists to symbolize classless masses rising up in union against the excesses of capitalism. Wait, it gets worse for the "fisting" Beckuals. Their fists are the color red, which is the historical color of socialist and communist movements. To top it off the backdrop for the "communist red" fists of union is the U.S. Capital, which is the very symbol of American government and thus, socialistic power!!!! A large portion of these tea baggers, however, wouldn't know this because all too many despise academia, which is where you learn kooky things like--history and political science.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bush More Qualified Than Palin? That's a Tough Call.

You know your political career is over when former President George W. Bush says he's more qualified/prepared than you. Well, that's just what he said about Sarah Palin, "This woman is being put into a position that she is not even remotely prepared for," Bush said.

Wow. I'm speechless because I'm about to say something that I have only said a few times, "Georgie Boy, I agree with you." That said, I didn't think you were qualified either.

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The Baucus Bill is Worthless. Mandates without a Public Option = Disaster.

"Democrat" Senator Max Baucus has finally released the health care "reform" bill work on by the Senate Finance Committee, which includes NO public option but rather favors this co-op cop-out. It has been shown that a co-op won't work because they would be too small to have the bargaining power to bring about lower costs. "The U.S. General Accounting Office produced a report on cooperatives in March 2000 that was mostly sour on the idea. Using five different co-ops as examples, the study concluded that on the key function -- lowering the cost of insurance -- these non-profit insurance pools came up well short." "The cooperatives' potential to reduce overall premiums is limited because (1) they lack sufficient leverage as a result of their limited market share; (2) the cooperatives have not been able to produce administrative cost savings for insurers; or (3) their state laws and regulations already restrict to differing degrees the amount insurers can vary the premiums charged different groups purchasing the same health plan."

TPJ: And the irony of all this is that according to Baucus the co-op option is supposed to be the compromise on the left to attract Republicans to the bill. The public option was the compromise for most Democrats and Liberals because single-payer was the option most lefties wanted in the first place. And those Republicans the co-ops are supposed to bring around? Nada. Not many if any Republicans that I know of support the co-op idea. Neither do the Democrats. So why did Max Bought-off Baucus ultimately keep the co-op in his bill, which was released today? Because it is basically a give away to his buddies from the health insurance companies who have given him dump trucks full of money. So, yeah, someone does win with his plan--the health insurance companies!!

As former health insurance industry executive-turned-whistle blower Wendell Potter said, without the regulatory effect of the public option this bill is a absolute give away to the health insurance industry. "Wendell Potter warned that if Congress "fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act." "As a consequence, these proposals would do little to increase affordable coverage for those currently insured, or stop the rise in medical bankruptcy. They would, however, ensure that a huge new stream of revenue--much of it from taxpayers who would finance the needed subsidies for people too poor to buy coverage on their own--would flow--"gush" might be a more appropriate word--to insurance companies. And much of that new revenue would ultimately go right into the pockets of the Wall Street investors who own them."

"The Baucus plan, on the other hand, would create a government-subsidized monopoly for the purchase of bare-bones, high-deductible policies that would truly benefit Big Insurance. In other words, insurers would win; your constituents would lose. It's hard to imagine how insurance companies could write legislation that would benefit them more."

TPJ: To make it worse, the Baucus bill released from the Senate Finance Committee today requires all individuals to buy insurance, which is a good idea if the public option is available. If the public option was available, individual mandates to buy health insurance would lower premiums and other costs. "A mandate would dictate that everyone hold at least basic insurance. This, in theory, would also help keep premiums down, because low-risk individuals who currently don't have insurance would be brought into the pool, lowering the costs to insure medium-risk individuals." Thus, if you require mandates without the public option you'd have even more needless money going to these companies without the guarantee of competition and collective bargaining power from the public sector to keep costs down. Thus, it would be a give-a-way to the health insurance industry--no wonder they support it!! They'd get millions of new customers without having to lower their prices to compete:

If the government mandates that the nearly 50 million uninsured buy private insurance or be fined as much as $3800 a year by the IRS (while providing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded premium subsidies to the less well off), insurance companies are all but certain to jack up their rates even further, keeping health insurance unaffordable to the middle class and breaking the federal budget with ever-increasing subsidies.

TPJ: It's basically corporate welfare. It represents nothing less than a deal between politicians like Baucus and Senator Kent Conrad (another supposed Democrat) and the health insurance industry. The deal seems to be that they'll craft a bill favorable to them and not the American people in exchange for all that money they received from those same health insurance companies. Passing this bill without a public option would be the biggest give-a-way to the health insurance ever. So it seems that the public option is dead if the bill stays in this form thanks to lies, half-truths, corrupt politicians, ignorance and weak-willed politicians. . So I think the thing to do now is oppose the mandate without the public option and just go with reform that ends pre-existing conditions or strongly urge our leaders to vote against the bill.

The bigger picture though is that the Democratic party is no longer viable or working--not unlike the Republican party though for different reasons. Sometimes sadly for the same reasons like bribery and corruption. Once we get at least an end to pre-existing conditions perhaps it's time to teach the Democrats a lesson once and for all and leave them high and dry for the Green Party. It would most certainly mean defeat for the Democrats but they're acting like Republicans on this health care reform issue and many others anyway. If enough people move to the Greens then we can work toward a true progressive movement and not one beholden to these unscrupulous corporations and spineless Democrats.

Even if the Green Party never gets big enough to compete with the big two so be it. I'm tired of being let down by the Democrats and having my support be taken for granted, walked on and otherwise ignored or outright opposed. I'm tired of being apart of a party that folds on stalwart, traditionally important principles but most of all I'm tired of not always being able to vote my conscience. I'm done with sending all my emails to my two Democratic Senators only to see them basically ignored or trivialized. I want to fully believe in a party again and the Democrats have just let me down one too many times. I feel powerless--I vote in every election, even the small, local ones. I voted for every candidate for the Democratic party since Clinton and have been let down. I worked hard for Obama and sent him a lot of money despite living on a tight budget. I worked hard to get the majorities we have in the House and the Senate for what?

To see Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and President Obama sell us out on the most important legislative issue for Democrats since Medicare??? I don't think so. I'll support the pre-existing condition reform and tort reform but after that I'm gone. Well, at least for awhile anyway. It's like a battered and abused wife finally seeing the truth behind the husband/boyfriend that everyone told them to leave years ago. I'm finally coming to the realization that without some wandering in the desert again the Democrats aren't going to change. Speaking of competition, Washington D.C. need competition badly because right now it's a two party monopoly.

The Greens may not have a lot of power right now but frankly I'm tired of the political game. I'm ready to be apart of a party I respect and can count on to consistently stand up for my basic beliefs. Besides, there's nothing stopping Green Senators and Representatives who would get elected from caucusing with the more liberal Democrats.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sixty-Three Percent of Doctor's Support Public Option Health Care Reform.

The New England Journal of Medicine, (The most prestigious journal of medicine in America) has printed a study that shows a large majority of doctors support a public option to health care in the United States:

In the survey, nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option. That included the 63 percent who say they'd like to see patients get a choice of public or private insurance and another 10 percent who favor a public option only. [Only] twenty-seven percent of doctors in the survey said they support private insurance only.

TPJ: One of the arguments from some of the opponents of the public option reform plan is that government would get between you and your doctor. However, as well-informed people know--that's not at all what the public option would do. Especially when it's very likely (given these numbers) that their doctor agrees that such an option is needed!! So is your doctor then getting between you and himself? D'oh!! I can just hear brain nerves popping in their heads right now. So are the opponents of the public option going to start calling our doctors communist-fascist-nazi-terrorist-antichrist-unamerican-traitors too? Some of the more fringe types would probably be dumb enough to boycott the majority of doctors in America after hearing this study.

I'd like to set up an experiment of sorts if the Canadian government would allow it. Let's suppose an American tourist with duel citizenship in Canada visits that great country. In addition, this person opposes any form of universal health care in America but gets injured while visiting Canada. I'd like to ask them a very simple question, "Why do you want medical care from a socialist program if its so bad?" You believe that they'll send you to a death panel right? So you should refuse any care from their doctors. In fact you should walk, limp, roll or crawl out of that hospital as fast as you can or else you are a hypocrite. Let's see you refuse such care when you're really sick, injured or dying while on vacation. Oh and let's see you refuse the free charge for it too. I'd like to see you put your money where your mouth is and pay what that treatment would have cost you back in America if you like our expensive system so much.

Is the Canadaian model, the public option model proposed by Obama and all the other universal models throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to name a few, perfect? Of course not. Is there the potential for a bad experience at a hospital? Sure but the same is true here. I could tell you horror story after horror story about my experience in an American mental health hospital and how it made me want to kill myself even more--not less. Or I could tell you any number of other horror stories about other forms of medical treatment in American hospitals. Everyone knows a horror story either in our private insurance market or a public insurance market. The point is that perhaps the best system is one that lies in the middle where people have a real choice in their medical care whether between a private plan or a public plan.

What could be more American than choice and competition?

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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Joe Wilson Peanut Gallery: The Heckle Heard Round the World.

By now we all have heard about school yard bully Joe Wilson who was somehow elected to the House of Representatives (What's wrong with you S. Carolina?) and his notorious heckle of the president. His heckling insult has come as a period at the end of a long summer of misleading, rude, childish and disrespectful behavior at town hall meetings by mostly Republican thugs. He seems, however, to have forgotten that he wasn't in a town hall but the hallowed walls on Congress. No matter what you disagree with you don't interrupt and insult the president of our country regardless of political party during a formal speech addressing Congress and the country.

Holding back applause is something that has become the acceptable and traditional way of showing disapproval with the president in power. Despite all the stuff that Bush pulled, which enraged Democrats, Independents and some Republicans I don't remember Democrats yelling out insults and heckles at Bush during such formal settings for addressing Congress, American and the world. If they did then they were wrong. It's one thing to yell at protests and such but not in formal, official setting such as during a joint address to Congress. Wilson has become the unplanned poster child for everything crazy about today's Republicans party.

Wilson's behavior showed the entire country and the world just how out of control and irrational that party has become. They say that they aren't being consulted on health care reform despite the Democrats accepting over 100 Republican amendments to the bills in Congress right now. And despite Obama sacrificing the left's main bargaining chip of single-payer health care reform to try and bring in Republicans. Well now it turns out that Wilson is a big taker of "donations" form the health insurance industry. So maybe we should say that the Wilson comment is brought to you by the health insurance lobby. It would make sense if he was put up to this because Wilson doesn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer:

Whether because of his outspokenness or in spite of it, Wilson is a major recipient of contributions from the health care industry. In fact, over his entire congressional career, health professionals represent Wilson’s top industry contributors, donating a total of $244,196 to his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org database. He received another $86,150 from pharmaceutical companies, $73,050 from insurance companies and $68,000 from hospitals and nursing homes.
TPJ: I read something in our local paper from an open forum writer who said that he/she thinks that Congress members and Senators should have to wear NASCAR suits with patches on them from all the major corporations and unions that bribe them. That way we would always know where they were coming from until we can establish a campaign and political system without private monetary donations. UPDATE: Keith Olbermann had a great special comment on Joe Wilson and the GOP--Gullable Old Party (The Republicans but not all of them. Believe it or not there are some decent Republicans).


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Defeat Rep. Joe "Obama's a Liar" Wilson.

I've been a political junkie since I was a kid. I use listen to the news with my Dad on t.v. every night as young as 8 years old. It's one of my fondest memories with him. In addition, I would even listen to late night political talk shows at low volume on my circa 1970's radio placed under my pillow until I fell asleep. No iPod podcasts then!! However, I digress. I've been watching these joint sessions of Congress addresses for about 15 years now and I have never seen the rudeness displayed last night during President Obama's speech on health care. The House of Representatives and the Senate is a place for decorum not yelling and heckling as the Republican's did last night. Once again that party shows it's the party of no class. The Capital is supposed to be a place of decorum and respect for the office of the president despite disagreements.

I have never seen such low class behavior--especially when Representative Joe Wilson yelled out that Obama was a "liar" in response to Obama saying his health care plan wouldn't cover illegal aliens. In fact, the president is true according to the non-partisan group, factcheck.org. Wilson in fact apologized for his outbursts last night but didn't say that he was wrong to defend the lie that illegal aliens would be covered. He should be rep reprimanded with a censure by the House as Arlen Specter is calling for. And as Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida said this morning, "When the president comes and addresses the House of Representatives and the nation in our chamber it's like you've invited someone into your home. He [Rep. Wilson] mistreated the president and mistreated his constituents. He brought shame on himself and shame for his district." Well, I clearly wasn't the only one who was appalled and disgusted by that behavior.

Already since late last night money has been pouring in to help elect Wilson's opponent in the 2010 election, Rob Miller. I donated $10 as my best way to show my utter disgust with Wilson's actions and those of the entire Republican party over this long, hot summer. Can you spare $10 or more to show Joe Wilson that he crossed the line in his school-yard taunt? He's already raised $91,275 and we're trying to reach over $100,000 to defeat this ass hound Joe Wilson.

As for Obama's speech last night I'm still trying to digest it but I'm still not feeling that the president has the right amount of, "fire in his belly" which to my non-American readers means he's too timid. He's not enough of a fighter for the kind of bare-knuckle boxing that takes place on Capital Hill. I do like that he's very cool and collected with many issues but he has yet to show me that he knows how to roll up his sleeves and counter-punch effectively. He's making me nervous and I hope that he gets his shit together by 2012 or I might vote Green Party. Well see how the next 3 years go but I'm getting really, really tired of timid and weak-kneed Democrats.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

U.K. Official: Oil Played a Major Role in Lockerbie Talks.

LONDON — Trade and oil considerations played a major role in the decision to include the Lockerbie bomber in a prisoner transfer agreement between Britain and Libya, a senior British official said in an interview published Saturday.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said trade, particularly a deal for oil company BP PLC, was
"a very big part" of the 2007 negotiations that led to the prisoner deal. The agreement was part of a wider warming of relations between London and Tripoli. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted there was "no conspiracy, no cover up, no double dealing, no deal on oil" over the bomber's release.

But officials admit the prisoner transfer agreement was part of a wider set of negotiations aimed at bringing Libya in from the international cold, and
improving British trade prospects with the oil-rich nation.

TPJ:
Jack Straw isn't a minor player in British politics. He is a senior Labour Party politician who has been Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. So officials said this was in part due to trying to bring Libya in from the international cold. Well, if that's the case then why weren't we (the Americans) made privy of these talks as we lost the most people in the Lockerbie terrorism attack? Besides, the U.K. and the U.S. are supposed to be each other's number one ally!! This whole affair has been bungled by the U.K. and Scottish governments in an embarrassing way to say the least. So given this revelation by Straw I would say an independent investigation is necessary to figure out the truth because this is a big issue for a lot of people in the states and in the U.K. and Scotland.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

GOPers Decrying "Socialized Medicine" Go to Gov't Hospital for Surgery.

By Sam Stein

Republicans in Congress have raised the specter of a bloated, "socialized," bureaucrat-run nightmare of a health care system as a means of undermining the White House's effort at a systematic overhaul. And yet, as Democratic sources are now pointing out, when medical crisis hit close to home, many of these same officials turned to a government-run hospital for their own intensive care and difficult surgeries. Take, for instance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who warned that "a government takeover of health care" would "take away the care that people already have [and] are perfectly satisfied with." In its place, the senator said, would be "a system in which care and treatment will be either delayed or denied."

That was July 2009. In February 2003, McConnell actually went to one of those government-run institutions (where treatment is, apparently, "either delayed or denied") for a procedure of his own. The Kentucky Republican traveled to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to have an elective coronary artery bypass surgery after it had been revealed that he had arterial blockages. Also known as Bethesda Naval Hospital, the National Naval Medical Center is the premier branch of the United States Navy's system of medical centers -- as in, the government runs it. It's also the place where elected officials of all ideological stripes and political branches often go get surgery performed.

Senator John McCain, (R-Ariz.) for instance, recently applauded the town hall protesters who were, in his words, revolting "against a government-run health system." That was August 2009. In May of 2000, McCain had surgery at the Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove a potentially lethal melanoma from his left temple.

Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), meanwhile, has warned of the rationing of care, expensive costs, and reduced quality that would come under a government-run health care plan. In April 2003, however, he traveled to Bethesda Naval Hospital to undergo hip replacement surgery in an attempt to alleviate degenerative arthritis in his left hip.

Senator George Voinovich, (R-Ohio), has declared that a "bureaucratic Washington-run government plan is not the answer" to the nation's health care needs. In June 2003, the Ohio Republican (who is retiring from the Senate in 2010) went to Bethesda Naval Hospital to have a pacemaker installed.

TPJ: If a public administered health program is good enough for John McCain, Kit Bond and George Voinovich than it's good enough for all Americans. These top leaders of our country and the Republican party wouldn't get care their if they honestly believe the garbage that they're saying about a universal health care option--choice. These clowns are a bunch of old, white men who apparently still haven't caught on that Google can dig up their hypocritical actions in less than an hour. As you know many of these Republicans leaders who decry a universal, public choice health care plan are Christian.

So maybe they'll respect and honor the words of their Bible if they won't trust what we on the left and like minded independents are saying. In this case I would point them to the scripture which says that "By their fruits [actions] you shall know them" [Matthew 7:15-20). Well their actions are that they all frequent government administered hospitals and they keep going back so that underlines the argument that they are very excellent hospitals with top-notch care. As the old adage says, "Actions speak louder than words." It's cliche and over-used sometimes but that doesn't make it any less true. Anyone can say or promise anything but how they act and behave is where their talk is put to the test and these Republicans have failed and failed miserably. If even a third of Americans actually paid attention and read more than one news source they'd see this stuff and understand the true intentions of the Republicans and some conservative Democrats.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Elderly Health Care Supporter Punched in the Face.

A 65-year-old man cheering healthcare reform in Miami was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by an opponent of a public health plan, according to a reporter at the scene. The rally took place outside a Great Miami Chamber of Commerce event where Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL - below right) was speaking.

James: What an asshole. I understand being passionate about your position but knocking out a 65 year old man over it??? These people who are against health care reform, which usually tend to be from the Republican party seem all too willing to use violence or the threat of violence to shut people up. In several cases people have shown up with guns strapped to their legs. I know that they might have the right to carry them openly in their state but what message (except one of intimidation) does it send especially when the meeting is over health care--not the second amendment in the first place???

Especially when the President of the United States of America is present at the town hall. We've had a horribly tragic track record when president's, crowds and guns come together. I'm not against the right to bear arms but I do believe in some common sense but that's asking more of some of these people I think than they are capable of delivering.

I guess the caustic, confrontational, hate speech at these rallies isn't tough enough for these people. Now they are resorting to punching out senior citizens!!! How far will they go in the name of fighting for their position? I'm very passionate about health care reform and I will keep pushing for it but I'm not going to punch someone out over it. Least of all an old man!!! First they make up lies that Obama's health reform would kill off grandma, fund abortions and cover illegal aliens. Then they call him (and supporters of his plan) socialist, communist, Hitler and the anti-Christ. So naturally I guess once you've exhausted those outrageous and ugly tactics the only place to go after that is violence? I don't know but it seems like those on the right are all to willing to use violence as the answer to everything. In other words to the man with the blunt hammer of force, every problem looks like a nail. Well, people dying without health insurance aren't nails to be pounded into submission.

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