Fighting the War on Error

"You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
- Political & Social Activist Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My word on the third...

I'm glad tonight's debate had the candidates sitting down - I don't think I could stomach another performance where they were both circling each other like two professional wrestlers getting ready to perform. (By the way, a note on tense - I wrote my thoughts as I was watching the debate, so even though I'm pushing the "publish" button much later, this is in present tense - I feel it's much easier to read.) Okay, I'll get to it... 

Right from the start, Obama is going on the attack, as he needs to, whereas Romney seems tentative with a very muted response. Obama's acting like the underdog, and Romney’s acting like he doesn't want to upset the applecart.

Surprise! It didn’t take Romney long to start lying – he's stated on a number of occasions that we made a mistake for not leaving troops in Iraq (a sop to the neocons, perhaps?!?). Romney literally must have a great deal of difficulty remembering what he says week-to-week. Does this guy honestly stand for anything?

A high-hard one from Schiffer – (to Obama): "You said a year ago that Assad has to go," and he's still there. A year ago, and Assad continues to slaughter his own people. [Emphasis mine] Obama seemed to handle it pretty well – coordinating with our allies in the region. Romney’s response? A not-so-hawkish response – no military intervention. Um, hello, 180! If memory serves me correctly, this is not what Romney’s been saying in recent weeks. He's toning down his rhetoric from recent weeks. It might seem like I’m nitpicking, but I don’t like Romney’s statement that Syria is “an opportunity for us.” Why does every revolution and war have to be an American opportunity? I firmly believe that this is why a good deal of the world resents our constantly muddling in Mideast affairs, and elsewhere.

I have to give Obama credit for staying on the attack about Libya and Syria – I’m trying to not be to partisan here, but I have to give Obama the edge so far, about 20 min. in. Romney's pulling in the reigns early on. 

An Obama high point on Syria: “What you just heard Gov. Romney said is, he doesn’t have different ideas, because we are doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syria [sic] leadership and an effective transition so we get Assad out. That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown, that’s the kind of leadership we’ll continue to show.” Score one for Barry.  

I find the president’s thoughts on Egypt interesting, especially considering that their new president is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood – Obama seems to be treading very lightly, and he even brought it back to domestic policies, too, opining that we can’t show leadership in the Middle East if we aren’t showing leadership at home with regard to jobs and the economy. 

Again, Romney agrees with Obama more than disagrees with him, and he even said so. It doesn't take long for Romney to circle back to domestic policies, too. There’s no way this is an accident. I find it absolutely hilarious that Romney is taking about debt, debt, debt. I’m sorry, but it’s fucking ABSURD that the GOP has become the “party of debt” when during the Bush years, the deficit was all but ignored, to the point of the worst vice president in my lifetime, Dick Cheney, saying “deficits don’t matter.” Samuel L. Jackson is absolutely right: people need to “wake the fuck up.”

Next Romney’s whining about “missile defense” – a tremendous waste of money, and he also is pimping the defense budget, saying he will “not cut the defense budget.” Earth to Romney, and his zombie supporters: You can’t be sooo “concerned” about the debt, without putting the defense budget on the table, PERIOD. This isn’t simply my opinion, it’s the opinion of leading economists in the country. Obama needs to HAMMER him on this, and he did it, to a moderate degree, but I would have gone after him much, much more forcefully and harder.

At the half-hour mark, Romney’s filibustering with his talking points: a balanced budget (with tax cuts, and no military cuts?!? HA!); 12mn new jobs (at the last debate, he stated “government does not create jobs," a WHOPPER that Obama has not exploited and pounced on nearly enough); and most laughable of all, energy independence, which is laughable on so many levels, I won’t even tick them off now, or I risk getting off track myself. We cannot drill our way to energy independence, no matter what ANY politician says, PERIOD. And a Keystone Pipeline isn’t a magical solution to our energy needs, either.

It’s stupefying that Romney keeps getting away with his non-answer answers, having the audacity to invite Bob Schiffer (and presumably, the mindless morons who are still “undecided” after a full year of campaigning) to go to his Website to get his answers. Unfuckingbelievable. I loved it that the president later said, “we spent a lot of time on the Website, and it still doesn’t add up.”

Romney keeps carping about sequestration, the mandatory defense cuts that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, and I'm very heartened to hear Obama finally (FINALLY!) slam the door on Romney about it – sequestration was Congress’ idea, not the president’s. The first big zinger of the night! Romney whimpers about our Navy having “the fewest number of ships since 1917.” Obama responds, “Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We now have aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines that go under the water.” Stick that, gov.

Romney’s scare mongering on the military, and it seemed to me that this line of attack would be more appropriate for the Cold War, not the 21st Century. It won’t be long, and the voters will soon decide if his numbers add up. I fear that too few people are paying attention.

On Iran, Romney agrees with Obama AGAIN. Interesting that Obama calls out Romney’s war-mongering and saber rattling on Iran, specifically about a pre-emptive action on Iran. Flip Romney strikes again – a “military option should be the last resort,” yet another new opinion on Iran, and yet the umpteenth example of Romney running to the middle, for votes. It’s insane to me that people don’t see this for what it is – shameless pimping for votes. The president isn’t right on everything, but his flip-flopping on issues is a fraction of Romney’s.

One of my favorite Obama rejoinders of the night, after Romney spouted a Faux News talking point, about the president going on an “apology tour” in the Middle East:

“Nothing that governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been one of the biggest whoppers that’s been said during the course of this campaign, and every fact checker and reporter who’s checked into it has said it’s not true. When it comes to tightening sanctions, we’ve put in the most crippling sanctions [on Iran] ever.” A nice dig about Romney being still invested in an Iranian oil company, too. Is it true? We’ll know in the coming days.

One other thing strikes me as fantastic, and that’s this whole notion that sitting down with one’s enemies is an “honor” to receive from the POTUS, as Romney said with regard to America’s enemies. Much like the GOP seems to now regard intelligence and one having an education as being a vice instead of a virtue, this one baffles me, too. When the hell has it been a bad thing to want to sit down with our enemies to discuss important matters, and most importantly, our differences? I'd think a party that never misses a chance to fellate President Reagan would remember his summits with Mikhail Gorbachev. Every president in the post-war era has done it, from Truman to George W. Bush. If anything, Obama hasn’t done nearly enough of this (and I’d submit that it’s one of his weak points, and if he wasn’t running against the modern right wing-nuts of the Republican Party, a sensible opponent would hammer him for a paucity of diplomacy). But, in Romneyworld and the neocon orbit, it’s a weakness to sit down and talk with mortal enemies. Yet, military intervention should be the “last option” (according to Romney) regarding Syria and Iran. Then, how will our differences be solved? A Magic 8 Ball?!? Insanity!

This could be the biggest lie Romney has EVER told: "America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations [in the Middle East]." This is precisely the BIGGEST thing that’s wrong with our foreign policy – we are bullies, meddling our noses into the affairs of other countries, if it serves our interests, and it’s a big reason why other countries hate us so much. This is little more than red meat for the neocon war mongers. I’m so sick to death of American Exceptionalism, and politicians pimping to voters saying how great America is, and blah blah blah. Just for once, I’d love for a politician to stand up and tell the American people that our policies are wrong, and that we need to change course. It’ll never happen until voters demand it. Both parties are guilty of this election year pandering and pimping for votes, telling everyone how great we are as a nation, and that we seemingly have never done anything wrong, anywhere. However, I read, I have an education, and I know otherwise. Many more Repubes are guilty of this than Democrats, but there’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides with this annoying, debilitating, American cheerleading and patriotism.

Quick aside: I wonder how the people of Iraq feel about us “freeing people,” governor? Or the people of Iran, when we assassinated their democratically elected leader in 1953? Or the people of Chile, when we did the same thing in the 1970s? Or the people of Vietnam? I could go on, but back to the debate…

Kudos to the president for mentioning his visiting Yad Vashem in Israel (no doubt to combat Romney’s pimping for the Jewish vote by trying to start up a phantom controversy of the Obama administration’s “gulf” with Israel) while Romney went to fund raising events while there. (The fact checkers will reveal the “truthiness” of this one.)

Note to Romney – quit listening to Faux News – it’s DemocratIC Senators, not Democrat Senators. It rankles and amuses me that Repubes still use this McCarthy-era slur against Democrats. It’s pretty pathetic.

I was delighted to hear Obama talk about “nation building at home.” I hope vets are paying attention, and I know a few personally who have slammed Obama for not doing enough. I’m not as qualified as they are to talk about what they need, but Obama deserves credit for this, as well as talking about rebuilding our infrastructure with funds that aren’t being used in Afghanistan for a war with an unclear mission.This is in contrast to Romney's not even mentioning the troops at all in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

Both candidates closed out the debate in predictable form. Being as objective as I can be, I score this one for Obama, although I question how much it will move the polls. This election is going to be incredibly, incredibly close, no matter who wins. Honestly, and I hate to even mention it, but it brings up the legitimacy of our entire election system, and how badly it needs fixing. The UN has decided to send observers to monitor our elections. In the United States! We need to return to paper balloting, and to get a receipt when your ballot is cast - anything less is open to rigging and manipulation. I pray we don't have a repeat of the 2000 election again (in more ways than one!) More soon...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

My debate thoughts...

Listening to Al Sharpton on MSNBC. Wow, the annoying alarm bell just went off! I'm not sad that I "missed" most of the pregame. Rachel Maddow is the only voice of reason. LOVE her.

6:01: Chris Matthews just mentioned that someone told Kennedy, before going out to debate Dick Nixon, "Kick him in the balls." And this night is starting with a bang!

6:03: Here come the candidates - looks like a warm greeting by both to the other. Cool to see.

6:05: The first question on jobs - let's see who comes out swinging first.

6:06: Obama comes right out about where we were four years ago, and I'm happy about that. The GOP needs to stop it with the dusted-off bon mot, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Because most of us ARE. Not great, but better, as a whole; the numbers don't lie. Uh oh - Romney's already smirking - maybe this will be a gunfight. A good first answer.

6:07: Romney warmly greets the president, so here we go. Romney goes to the Reagan playbook, naming someone in Colorado and giving us her story. He's going off on energy and oil already, and China. What's Romney's hard-on for China? I think Obama's done well with China, on the whole. Romney's already whining about small business. Mitt rammed about six talking points in his first answer. Admirable, really.

6:09: Obama is already getting a bit wonky - keep it simple for NASCAR Nation, Barry. Ooo, the Bush tax cuts, and the $5tn tax cut. Here we go! I'm happy he's hammering him about his proposed tax cuts.

6:11: Wow - Romney is talking about cutting the taxes of the Middle Class. Doesn't every candidate for president in the last 100 years promise not to screw the Middle Class? So far, I'm hearing tons of generalities, but nothing specific. I'll never understand how Republicans continue to talk about tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. Ahh Haa - Romney's blowing clean coal - what a surprise. Read: I love Pennsylvania and Ohio and West Virginia - please vote for me. There is no such thing as "clean coal," period!  Any politician who says the words "clean coal" is LYING.

6:18: Romney is getting way wonky on taxes, and now Obama is coming back saying Mitt's inaccurate. We'll have to see what the truth meters say after the debate's over. They both can't be telling the truth. Romney's beating the jobs drum, HARD. From what I know, Obama's really slamming Romney on his numbers, including how he defines small business.

6:23: I do NOT buy Romney's bullshit demagoguery about 40% being the end of the world; the top rate was 39% under Clinton. Remember him? Yea, lots and lots of jobs, and a booming economy.

6:25: Romney's obnoxious cutting off the moderator and it's getting ridiculous. Why even have a moderator?

6:27: Romney's really trotting out the old GOP lies on taxes & the GOP meme of deficit scare mongering. Obama needs to slam Romney on these lies and what he inherited. Here goes Barry - he's fighting back hard. Thank God. Um, Mr. President, I don't think "aircrafts" is a word. Just sayin'.

6:31: Now Obama is really hitting Romney hard, especially on tax increases, and I have to say, I couldn't agree more. Taxes taxes taxes - man, they both won't shut up about it. This is Obama's Achilles Heel, and depending on who's got the numbers right will determine who has the edge. I know, duh! Whopper of the night so far - Romney just said, "You can't balance the budget by raising taxes." Arrrrrnt! Wrong! Check the 90's under Clinton, and the economy boomed. That's a FACT.

6:46: Obama's hammering Romney on Medicare. One of my favorite lines of the night is from Obama, "So, if you're 50 or 55, you might want to listen." Nice.

6:52: Obama's smiling a lot at Romney's answers on regulation. Why is this man smiling?

6:58: This whole debate is turning into Obamacare vs. Jobs, according to Mitt. Obama needs to destroy him on this. Over to you, Barry...

7:03: Romney's LYING on healthcare, and he's full of shit about bipartisan cooperation on healthcare.

7:08: Romney: "The government is never good at bringing down the cost of anything." Hey DipMitt - check out Medicare, which is excellent at controlling costs.

7:28: I have to say, in the end, this was a pretty good debate, but there were plenty of generalities and few specifics. I would argue that Romney had many more generalities than the president.

I kept getting sidetracked during the debate - sorry I didn't blog as much as I wanted. I know America always likes winners and losers, so I'll bite. Romney "won" this one, but his many inaccuracies need to now be pounced on by the Obama campaign, STAT. 

Live blogging the presidential debate!

I'm back! (But, more on that later.) I'll be live blogging the presidential debate, beginning in about 10-15 minutes. More in a bit...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I know, I know, it has taken awhile. But, an outright drubbing of progressives in the '10 election (if one more person in the media says "shellacking," I'm going to spontaneously combust), along with some fresh new outrages, have spurred me back to action. I can assure you, I won't be going away this time. (That reminds me - one of my New Year's Resolutions - Manage my time wisely! If I manage to do that, I'll have even more time to blog than planned. Well, that's the plan, anyway.)

So, I will definitely be back later tonight (probably MUCH later) to unleash a slew of stuff on you, including some announcements, which I'm pretty excited about. For those of you new to the blog, I'm a 30-something progressive, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Sorry about Pat Toomey, everybody!)

In the meantime, take a look at what President Obama is doing - it's starting about an hour from now, at 2:30 EST - he's answering people's questions on YouTube. Below is a preview video, and if you click Here you can watch it live. Should be pretty interesting.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

McCain's no maverick, but a bitter partisan

I really wish someone could find the 2000 version of John McCain, because that man is long gone. He became a far right-wing conservative after getting cheated, lied about and bullied by the Bush campaign following the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary. It really is a shame.

Anyway, as McCain's appearance on Good Morning America Monday morning clearly shows, he's pretty out of touch with what's going on in the country, specifically with regard to health care. I have a major bone of contention with McCain's assertion that the Democrats "went against the will of the American people" (an assertion that just about every GOPer is parroting over and over and over again, putting a fresh topping on the old, unfortunate adage "keep on telling a lie over and over 'til they start to believe it"). More on the polls in a minute.

Yesterday, McCain ratcheted up the rhetoric, saying There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They [Democrats] have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it." (From The Washington Post) Wow, that's pretty astounding from a so-called "Maverick" who in the past has made some pretty historic and honorable legislation from working with Democrats to get stuff done. If the people of Arizona are stupid enough to send this guy back to the Senate for six more years, then they deserve whatever they get. What a disgrace. Why not just retire then, "Mav"? Clearly the people of Arizona deserve something better than this crybaby.

Happily, David Axelrod, President Obama's Senior White House Advisor, wasted no time in issuing a tart response: "You know, that's okay on the sandlot, but it's not okay when you're trying to govern a country and move a country forward. It's a disappointing attitude." That about sums it all up.

If McCain was my Senator, even if this tirade was about a bill I disapproved of, I'd like to think I could rise above partisan politics and tell him that this sort of language is totally unacceptable coming from someone who is sent to Washington to do the people's work, and to quit pissing and moaning when he doesn't get his way, or win a presidential election. (Most except the most ardent McCain supporters would probably agree that he's become a bitter, cranky old codger since he lost to Obama last year. Give up the dream John, give up the dream. Spare yourself some dignity in defeat - if you need some instructions, see Kerry, John and Gore, Al - two people who behaved with truckloads more dignity than you are and who had a whole lot more to be angry about. In short, grow up - it's not all about you.)

Following Axelrod's comments, Brooke Buchanan, McCain's spokeswoman, shot back, "Senator John McCain will always stand on the side of the American people. Get used to it, Mr. Axelrod, that's what strong, independent members do - you'd know what if you had ever worked for one."

It just kept getting better and better. I guess when we need to hear from McCain now, we can rely on his pit bull spokeswoman for comment, or we can go to his Website to look for a press release, since he won't be cooperating with the Democratically controlled Congress.

Following all that, Jim Manley, spokesman for Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader and a man who I don't have much admiration or respect for, scored some points with me yesterday with this acidic rebuke: "For someone who campaigned on 'country first' and claims to take great pride in bipartisanship, it's absolutely bizarre for Senator McCain to tell the American people he is going to take his ball and go home until the next election. He must be living in a parallel universe because the fact is, with very few exceptions, we've gotten very little cooperation from Senate Republicans in recent years."


I firmly believe that once all of the right-wing propaganda clears from the GOP smokescreen machine, the American people aren't going to want this law repealed. Amended and tweaked? Without question, but that's already happening; the $750 fine for not having insurance has already been reduced to... ZERO. That was a good start.

Back to polling on the health care bill...

As I've already written, I take serious umbrage with Republicans saying, over and over, words to the effect that the Democrats "defied the will of the American people." Polls do not bear this out (at least the legitimate ones.) From Gallup, via The New York Times yesterday and MSNBC, on Monday, both obviously following Sunday night's passage of the health care bill:

Whoops! This is "defying the will of the American people"? In two words, that's unadulterated bullshit. These poll numbers should tilt further and further toward favoring this bill as the facts become clear to the American people. But, in order for that to happen, Obama and Democratic leaders have to do a much better job of articulating their messages - Repubes have always been better at getting phrases and terms that "stick" with the public; time for Democrats to do the same. I don't like it that America is largely a soundbite electorate, but that's the culture now, and Democrats need to get with it.

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Great Ed Show exchange- GOPer gets p'wned

This is some great video from The Ed Show yesterday, when Salon editor Joan Walsh squared off against Republican strategist John Feehery. During the segment, Ed mentioned what a significant number of Republicans believe - that Obama's a Muslim, that he's comparable to Hitler, etc. (you get the idea). Feehery contended that there were polls taken during the Dubya Bush administration that found large numbers of Democrats who believed Bush worse than Hitler. I agree with Walsh - I'd love to see them. Because, like her, I firmly believe that they don't exist; if they do, I'd love to know how those polls were conducted, how the questions were asked, and who sponsored the polls. Anyone who can find a poll like that, send it to me. Let me save you some work- you won't. (And as a quick aside, can we pu-leeze, finally put to rest the Nazi Germany and Hitler references?!? I'm sick to death of them. Thanks.)

On this very blog, while Bush was president, I compared Bush to Hitler when discussing our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, but I didn't even encroach where Republicans are right now regarding Obama.

In her Salon column yesterday, Walsh also took issue with Palin's use of language on her Twitter account (urging supporters to "reload"), and the image of crosshairs on her Facebook account, "targeting" Democrats in the fall elections who supported the health care bill (at right, click for larger image). I probably don't think it's as big of a deal as Walsh does, but it doesn't help combat the extremists (and even acceptance by some on the right) of those who have shown up at Obama rallies with loaded guns. I do fear for Obama, with all of the hateful, nutcase hysteria and vengeful hatred that's floating around out there about the president, I hope and pray nothing tragic ever happens.

At best, it was a very poor choice of words, and at worst, it could incite violence. I'd say that commonsense should tell Palin not to use this language and images, but her and commonsense haven't been on speaking terms since she emerged from her mother's birth canal.

Also in her column yesterday, Walsh touches on Mitt Romney's history with individual mandates (and how he eventually supported them) for purchasing health care, and her point is brilliant. This issue promises to be a significant problem for Romney if he throws his hat in the ring in '12, but then again, we'll be able to just add it to the list of his flip flops, joining gun control, abortion (multiple times!), the morning after pill, gay rights, campaign finance reform and immigration. Romney would make a better candidate than Palin (who wouldn't?), but not by much.

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I have so much to get to- I've, ahem, EARMARKED some blogging time this morning before getting back to condo repairs, but I had to share this first. I found this on Salon this morning, and my laughter jolted me out of my pre-caffeinated slumber. This could very well be some sort of Mastercard "Priceless" commercial, but that's about as far as I can take it. is awesome; maybe he should change his name to or something- just a thought. I've seen him on Real Time with Bill Maher numerous times, and he's not just another annoying celeb with an opinion, he's informed about the issues, and he knows how to resonate with his message.

Anyway, there's obviously a deeper message here. When I first watched this, I laughed, but after I watched it again, it got me to thinking- I'm sick to death of the right giving me 15 reasons why I CAN'T have something, especially when in the end our enormously massive federal budget piles up to one big nothing / one big nothing at all (cue Dave Matthews Band music) if we can't provide basic health care to everyone. If you've been following the health care debate, and you even have a scintilla of an open mind, it all boils down to this - Democrats are fed up with a health care system that favors the well off and largely screws the middle and lower classes, while Republicans and conservatives (I'm lumping a few Democrats in the latter group) have whined about "cost."

Of all the reasons to oppose a much-needed health care overhaul, cost is among the stupidest. At the risk of sounding like a broken record because I keep carping about it, in our government's next fiscal year, we are spending around $708bn on our defense budget (not counting the Iraq and Afghanistan missions). Hey, if the military industrial complex, which along with the pharmaceutical companies, banks, and Wall St. pretty much own this country and our politicians, can get theirs, then there's no justifiable reason that any American citizen should be denied health care, period.

I'd like to think that's the underlying theme of's nicely produced video.

BTW, extra kudos to for putting this together so quickly- it's not like this happened weeks ago.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A better pic than the one I posted yesterday

Click on Image for Larger View

My first thought when I saw this picture was, "Ohmygod, there's Gary Coleman with Obama!" but in fact, the diminutive Coleman doppelganger is actually Marcelas Owens of Seattle, who became a proponent of national health care after his mother died due to a lack of coverage.

Seriously though, this is a historic day, and I'm proud to see it happen - FINALLY the day is here where all Americans have hope for affordable, reasonable health care. I've been saying for weeks that this bill, pass or fail, marks just the beginning in the health care battle. Or new system will be far from perfect, and we have to keep demanding even more changes that we need to get the system we want. The politico in me can't wait to see Republicans campaign against the bill. My first thought - they don't have the balls, and I'd like to see them try. Their biggest gripe is cost, and a fifth grade student could write rebuttals to that charge.

Anyway, today was a darn good start on the long road to reform. Hey Sarah Palin - that "hopey changey thing" is working out for me pretty nicely today, you two-bit cocktail waitress.

I'm not even remotely done talking about the health care bill or the bill's passage, but I have to get back to work. I'll be back later this evening.

Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times


Obviously, not everyone loves the HC bill

I haven't posted any Tom Tomorrow cartoons in a long time (esp. considering that I'm just getting back to blogging after a long layoff), but I almost always consider his biting, sardonic spot on, and his latest 2 comics are no exception. Click on both images for larger views...

I sort of agree with TT here, and it's disturbing to read in the New York Times that Obama cut a deal so early with some health care industry leaders, but it's pretty difficult to play armchair quarterback about some of these deals. Some might not like it (and often I don't), but deal making is how things get done in our nation's capitol, like it or not. I love how the right-wing media has been a broken record lately about some of the deals that have been made, complete with titles for them, i.e. - the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase," etc. AS IF no Republicans ever made deals to get bills passed in Congress.

What's real poisoning the pool in Washington is money. Until the day comes when a president and his/her party decides to effectively disinfect the system from money, lobbyists and hopefully even public financing of our elections, the song(s) will largely remain the same.

This is yet another reason why Evangelical Christians and conservatives drive me nuts. Texas, a state that's about as "Red" as it gets, recently adopted textbooks that make no mention of Thomas Jefferson, (Jefferson!) as well as stating that the Earth is 6,000 years old. The latter fact flies in the face of just about all scientific evidence available.

I like the fact that TT touches on global warming in the cartoon above, too- because of some leaked e-mails that were an embarrassment to the environmental movement, now all of a sudden global warming is this cooked up hoax by liberals and tree huggers the world over. I've written it many times before and I'll write it again- even if the threat of GW turns out to be overblown (and we most likely won't know until it's too late, unless we act now), what's the risk? Air that's too clean? Water that's too drinkable? Rivers that are too full? Some proposed solutions to combating global warming are so maddeningly simple that it defies logic why we aren't adopting them. But, you don't have to look very far for an answer - MONEY! Mountains and mountains of cash, both for fossil fuel companies and the politicians they own, from BOTH parties. I'll have much more on GW in the coming days and weeks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A great photo from a historic night

Click for Larger Image

I found this photo on the White House Website this evening, and I thought I'd share it. It's a great photo that I really think captures the jubilation and culmination of over a year's work and negotiations - President Obama and Vice President Biden celebrating the health care bill's passage after the House vote. Despite what many on the right are now saying in light of the bill's passage, it's the result of over a year's negotiations and compromises - more on that in a bit.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Health care reform is finally here, but there's plenty of work left to do

I'm very happy that meaningful health care reform is upon us. I'm not thrilled with everything, but I think that this is a significant step in the right direction. More on that in a minute, but first, I can't stop myself from commenting on some of yesterday's theatrics.

First, right-wing media's reactions to the bill's passing is cracking me up. One of my favorite idiotic responses is from the contemptible Matt Drudge (above). "A Day Which Will Live in Infirmary"? Really? Evidently, there are plenty of clever morons over at Drudge - I'm underwhelmed by the pithiness and wit.

Even more entertaining was House Minority Leader John Boehner's speech before the vote - in case you missed it, here it is...

Seriously? Is this guy for real? This was straight-up D-Level acting fit for a straight-to-video Steven Segal movie.

First, this guy must think that all Americans are stupid. Well, I've got news for you, Mr. Boehner, not all of us are. I not-so-fondly remember when Republicans ruled Congress during the Dubya Bush administration, and Democrats were frozen out of any substantive negotiations on the GOP agenda - quite frankly, because they didn't need their votes to get anything passed. Full disclosure - I didn't like it then and howled about it, but you know what? Elections have consequences, and that's the pendulum that is American politics. The day will certainly come when Republicans rule Congress once again, and when that happens, don't hold your breath for Democrats to be consulted if and only if the GOP can pass their agenda without Democratic votes.

Secondly, I can make two pretty educated guesses as to why Boehner's so angry: 1. This is a major legislative victory for Obama, and 2. A new tanning salon tax is part of the new health care bill. Good God, I haven't seen a fake bake this bad since, well, ever, actually.

What's more, I think Mr. Boner (I will never believe the real pronunciation of his last name is BAY-ner - what a joke) needs a cigarette to calm his nerves. A notorious, habitual smoker, he probably ought to think of cutting back, as his voice isn't exactly pleasant to listen to, especially when he starts screaming. Maybe I should give him a break - if my last name was Boehner, I'd be angry, too. Seek therapy, John.

Another lowlight of the evening last night was someone calling Rep. Bart Stupak a "baby killer" as he was getting ready to speak before the vote last night. Here's the video, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:

I'd say "unbelieveable," but nothing surprises me out of Washington anymore. Two of the most disgraceful instances of political discourtesy in recent memory have come thanks to Republicans - Rep. Joe Wilson screaming "You lie!" during Obama's speech on health care reform to a joint session of Congress last September, and yesterday an unidentified Congressman calling Bart Stupak a "baby killer" in the House chamber. (I don't think anyone thinks it came from a Democrat, but if it did, I'll post an apology, guaranteed.)

What's more, it's curious that someone would single out Stupak as a "baby killer," since he's a pro-life Democrat and his opposition to federally funded abortions nearly derailed the health care bill entirely.

Anyway, I won't pretend to be an expert on this bill, but I think it's a very good start to giving ALL Americans the health care system and coverage we deserve. I'm not happy that private insurance companies are going to be raking in billions more, but this bill did bring much needed reform. The parts that I like...

1. No more denials of people based on pre-existing conditions (this one's a BIGGIE)
2. No more lifetime "caps" on insurance company payouts
3. Policyholders can no longer have their policies canceled in the middle of a major illness
4. College graduates can stay on their parents' policies until the age of 26, ensuring that they will have coverage in college and during the start of their careers
5. Medicaid expanded to 16mn people
6. Larger employers must cover workers or pay a penalty

There are some things I dislike, too, without question:

1. No single payer system, or universal health care, or whatever you want to call it
2. For small businesses, there's something called a "health insurance exchange," and I don't exactly know what that means, but considering I'll have a small business moving forward, this is something I need to look into
3. I don't know that I like the $750 fine for not having insurance, either, but I understand why it's in the bill

Nothing's perfect, and this system will no doubt need some tweaks in the coming years, but like I said, it's a good start. (Suggested tweak #1 - a mandatory grace period for paying premiums. I guarantee that people with private plans with major illnesses will get their policies canceled at midnight the day after their premium's due if it isn't paid on time.)

Of course, the right is whining that there was no tort reform, a battle cry we've been hearing for years. I won't pretend to have all the answers, but I don't agree with what the right proposes - capping monetary awards in medical malpractice suits. Sorry, but I'm siding with the public on this one - I'm not giving up my right to sue and get damages in the event that a doctor or pharmaceutical company makes a tragic mistake. And I don't like the idea of capping punitive damages at $500,000, an idea that was bandied about during the Bush administration. Can one really put a dollar amount on a life? Sure, there are plenty of examples of ridiculous awards handed out by juries, but there are also examples of wanton malpractice by hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and their getting away with it, too. So, I side with the plaintiffs.

I get a kick out of the right trying to make political hay out of the "trial lawyers" by reminding us every five minutes that they give so much to the Democratic Party. Hmm, and what party does the insurance industry give most of it's cash to? Let's face it, neither political party in Washington has cornered the morality market when it comes to campaign cash, which is another issue I hope Obama tackles before his presidency is over. (Although that will probably have to wait 'til his second term.)

Something else that's getting some press this morning - the student loan industry got a major overhaul as part of the health care bill. Three words - IT'S ABOUT TIME. More on that later.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

An amusing pic from D.C.

Click pic for a larger view

Does anyone honestly think these kids know the facts about what they're protesting about? I don't.

I get the sincere feeling that once these kids get out of college (if they can afford it), if another "Great Recession" hits and they lose their health insurance, they'd be in favor of universal health care. Just sayin'.

h/t to Huffpo for the pic

A new day is almost here, but now quite yet

CNN is reporting this morning that House Democrats have enough votes to pass the Senate bill on health care, so the big vote's probably coming this evening. It's truly an historic day for America, but there will still be a lot of work to do after this bill becomes law. This will be a major victory for Obama, but the president and his team had better go on the offensive, because the GOP noise machine will go into overdrive after this becomes law.

It just kills me that the term "socialized medicine" is "sticking" with most of the American public. Most who keep repeating this don't even know anything about what's being proposed, because if they did, they would know that this is anything but socialized medicine. In fact, it's giving the private, profiteering insurance companies 32 million new customers to gouge and overcharge.

This bill is far, FAR from perfect, but it's an important first step, and I'm happy that it looks like it's going to become law.

President Obama seems pretty confident:

(This video is pretty long, but if you catch the first few minutes, you'll get the idea - Obama thinks this one is gonna go the distance.)

Just a few more thoughts, and I'll be back tomorrow with a lot more on the health care issue.

I find it stupefying that Republicans are objecting about cost. Suddenly, deficits are an issue with Obama in the Oval Office, but let's forget the profligate spending under eight years of Bush. We are spending over $708bn on next year's Pentagon budget, and people are complaining about needed health care reforms that are projected to cost about $975bn over 10 years, along with prolonging life, giving more and more people access to affordable health care, and, according to the CBO, actually reduce the deficit. Nonsense.

Honestly, I think this all boils down to a "We" society vs. a "Me" society. Many (but certainly not all) Republicans view this as another handout, another government give away. However, they are too myopic to realize that they are paying for people without health insurance anyway, right now.

I take you back to the '08 election presidential debates when the candidates were asked, "Do you believe health care is a right of every American?" McCain's response was "I think it's a responsibility," a very clever dodge. Obama said it's a "right," and it is. You need look no further than this phrase from our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
It doesn't get any plainer than that. With thousands dying every year in America because of a lack of health care, the conditions described above in the Declaration of Independence hardly exist right now in America.

To wit, take a look at this Parkinson's sufferer in the video above from a recent Tea Party rally, and how he was treated by these frothing-at-the-mouth morons who don't even really seem to know what they're protesting (for starters, the fact that the health care bill passed by the Senate and being considered by the House, while being FAR from perfect, will actually benefit probably 99 percent of the people there). Anyway, take a look - I'll wait.


Pretty sickening, huh? It's a good thing I wasn't there, because I'd probably be blogging from jail now. Do they let you blog from jail?

I think it's pretty safe to say that a vast majority of people who are opposed to the health care bill ("Hey! I already have insurance! I don't want to pay for someone else's care!") would do a lightning-quick 180 if they lost their jobs (along with their health care), or if they had a family member get critically ill, only to be dropped by an insurance company. Millions in this country are under-insured, and they don't/won't even know it until it's too late.

Bankruptcies from medical bills are right now the single biggest cause of mortgage foreclosures in the United States. I strongly feel that there are economic links and benefits to this health care debate that the Democrats aren't discussing nearly enough. I'll have more on that later, but in the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers for the vote.

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Daddy Dick must be proud of his Liz

Okay, I know it's been a long, LONG time, but I'm back for real this time. If you wouldn't mind indulging me, I'm going to skip past the part where I prostrate myself before the world, berating myself and begging for your forgiveness for taking so long to post. Ahem. Thanks.

Anyway, after a year of much-needed political change in America in 2009, it hasn't taken me long to get thoroughly angered at "the system," and that's WITH President Obama in power. My biggest peeve right now is the healthcare "debate" that's happening on Capitol Hill, but before I get to that, I must comment on a thoroughly detestable ad put out by Liz Cheney and her cohorts over at Keep America Safe (I'm not linking to it) a few weeks ago. In case you haven't seen it, here's the ad:

What a sickening display of faux patriotism. An indication of just how sickening could be heard on just about any news channel these past few weeks (except Faux News, but I don't consider propaganda for the RNC "news"). If you're a conservative, you know you've done something when the vile, contemptible and insipid Kenneth W. Starr (of Monica Lewinsky fame) is speaking out against you. (Starr was on NPR last week, of all places, speaking out against the ad, which I didn't understand, since NPR is nothing but a "lib-rul network.")

This is nothing more than fear mongering on the part of Repubes regarding how President Obama is fighting the War on Terrorism (I hate that term, but I'll use it here to illustrate a point). It's not a stretch to say that Obama has been much more effective at fighting terrorism than Dubya Bush ever was. Of course, you wouldn't know that from watching, listening or reading right-wing media (and you don't have to go very far to find it these days). It seems to me that we're killing or capturing more and more leaders of Al Qaeda on a daily basis than during the Bush years, and the right doesn't like it; and since they don't, we get a red herring like this bullshit ad.

A political commentator said this a month or so ago, and I can't remember who, so I apologize in advance, but it went something like this: Cheney and Co. keep harping about how Obama is making us less safe for a reason. They are staking out this position at rock bottom prices, and in the off chance that there is another attack on America, Cheney and the sheeple who believe anything he says (in addition to the RNC Network) will all claim, "See?!? We told you he was making us less safe! Obama is putting America in danger!!!" Hell, they probably already have the ads made up- all that's needed is another terrorist attack, and violà! - it will take minutes for these people to begin attacking Obama. If you think I'm accusing these people of rooting for another attack against America for political gain, you would be right.

It's amazing how GOPers, led by Rudy 9iu1ian1, re-write history on a moment's notice, too. Remember the underwear bomber from last Christmas? Toothy Rudy was on TV saying, with a straight face, that America wasn't attacked when George Bush was president. Really?

Getting back to the above ad, I find it laughable that this even got any traction. Our judicial system has a long and storied history of everyone having the right to the best defense possible, period. And it's also laughable to accuse lawyers of believing in the crimes their clients are alleged to have committed just because they are defending them.

As a post-script, here's Liz on the "O'Lielly Factor" defending her organization's ad (and I love how they both give each other a tongue bath at the beginning about "The Factor" - Puleeze).

Draw your own conclusions.

Christ, even blowhard Bill took issue with Cheney's view that the Obama Justice Department views terrorists in the same light as tax cheats, etc.

Another BIG problem I have with Cheney's view is this, and I'll write this one loud for the cheap seats: NOT ALL PEOPLE BEING HELD AT GITMO ARE GUILTY OF A CRIME! In fact, when you look at the stats on who has been released and how many, it's rather appalling that the right is continuing to stake out this position with regard to the GWOT. I don't have the figures right in front of me, but even a cursory research effort reveals that dozens and dozens of Gitmo detainees have been released (some during the Bush administration), many after years of incarceration, without ever being formally charged or tried. Sickening.

What's more, this is just another demonstration of how the right has contempt for history. John Adams, a true patriot and a Founding Father of our country (not to mention our first vice president and second president), defended British soldiers who were charged with murder in the Boston Massacre. He remarked later in life that it was one of the proudest moments of his career. But, let's not let history get in the way, right conservatives? After all, just last week Texas agreed to adopt history textbooks that contain no reference to Thomas Jefferson, another former president and Founding Father. Twenty years from now, I can't wait to see what Texas textbooks will say about President George W. Bush- he'll have probably "saved our Democracy" by invading Iraq, and "avenged 9-11, an attack that happened under President Clinton, by invading Afghanistan." Too funny.

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