Saturday, August 29, 2009

Video of President Obama's Eulogy of Ted Kennedy

President Obama's Eulogy of Ted Kennedy

US President Barack Obama arrives at the funeral of US Senator Edward Kennedy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston on August 29, 2009.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
– As Prepared for Delivery
Eulogy for Edward Kennedy
Boston, MA

Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate – a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage," or "The Big Cheese." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers’ teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn’t know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly-elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It’ll be the same in Washington."

This spirit of resilience and good humor would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.

But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, "...[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in – and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves." Indeed, Ted was the "Happy Warrior" that the poet William Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:

As tempted more; more able to endure,

As more exposed to suffering and distress;

Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Explaining the Public Option

President Obama Speaks About Ted Kennedy

Robert Byrd Wants Health Care Bill Named After Kennedy

From DailyKos:

Robert Byrd Wants Health Care Bill Named After Kennedy Hotlist
by RandySF [Subscribe]
Wed Aug 26, 2009 at 08:04:37 AM PDT

We asked for it, now Robert Byrd wants it.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the only senator to have served longer than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), mourned his friend Wednesday, saying his "heart and soul weeps."

Byrd said he hoped healthcare reform legislation in the Senate would be renamed in memoriam of Kennedy.

"I had hoped and prayed that this day would never come," Byrd said in a statement. "My heart and soul weeps at the lost of my best friend in the Senate, my beloved friend, Ted Kennedy."

Byrd's wistful statement focused on the work accomplished with Kennedy during decades together in the Senate, and called on the healthcare bill before Congress to be renamed in honor of Kennedy.

"In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American," Byrd said.


DNC Tribute to Ted Kennedy

Why Ted Kennedy Matters

I was deeply saddened upon hearing that Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, had died due to a brain tumor. I was sad because the Kennedy clan lost another of its leaders, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, just two weeks ago. But even more so because I really believe that Kennedy represents the last of a breed, and I’m afraid my daughter will grow up in a world where people like Kennedy, who actually serve the people, are no more.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Senator Tom Coburn - compassionate conservative

Vice-President Biden remembers Ted Kennedy

Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, Lion of the Senate, dead at 77

From theChicago SunTimes:

Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, Lion of the Senate, dead at 77
August 26, 2009

BOSTON---- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in a political dynasty and one of the most influential senators in history, died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a year-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2000 picture, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has died after a yearlong battle with a brain tumor.

In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy served alongside 10 presidents -- his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them -- compiling an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.

His only run for the White House ended in defeat in 1980. More than a quarter-century later, he handed then-Sen. Barack Obama an endorsement at a critical point in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, explicitly likening the young contender to President Kennedy.

To the American public, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of America's most glamorous political family, father figure and, memorably, eulogist of an Irish-American clan plagued again and again by tragedy.

Kennedy's death triggered an outpouring of superlatives, from Democrats and Republicans as well as foreign leaders.

"An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time," Obama said in a written statement.

"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts," said Obama, vacationing at Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast.

Kennedy's family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday.

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," the statement said. "We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all."

A few hours later, two vans left the family compound at Hyannis Port in pre-dawn darkness. Both bore hearse license plates -- with the word "hearse" blacked out.

There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements. Two of Kennedy's brothers, John and Robert, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada issued a statement that said, "It was the thrill of my lifetime to work with Ted Kennedy.....The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die."

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said that her husband and Kennedy "could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another."

Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother John had occupied before winning the White House, and served longer than all but two senators in history.

His own hopes of reaching the White House were damaged -- perhaps doomed -- in 1969 by the scandal that came to be known as Chappaquiddick, an auto accident that left a young woman dead. He sought the White House more than a decade later, lost the Democratic nomination to President Jimmy Carter, and bowed out with a stirring valedictory that echoed across the decades: "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

Kennedy was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent surgery and a grueling regimen of radiation and chemotherapy.

He made a surprise return to the Capitol last summer to cast the decisive vote for the Democrats on Medicare. He made sure he was there again last January to see his former Senate colleague Barack Obama sworn in as the nation's first black president, but suffered a seizure at a celebratory luncheon afterward.

He also made a surprise and forceful appearance at last summer's Democratic National Convention, where he spoke of his own illness and said health care was the cause of his life. His death occurred precisely one year later, almost to the hour.

He was away from the Senate for much of this year, leaving Republicans and Democrats to speculate about the impact what his absence meant for the fate of Obama's health care proposals.

Under state law, Kennedy's successor will be chosen by special election. In his last known public act, the senator urged state officials to give Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick the power to name an interim replacement. But that appears unlikely, leaving Democrats in Washington with one less vote for the next several months as they struggle to pass Obama's health care legislation.

His death came less than two weeks after that of his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver on Aug. 11. Kennedy was not present for the funeral, an indication of the precariousness of his own health.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy's son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said his father had defied the predictions of doctors by surviving more than a year with his fight against brain cancer.

The younger Kennedy said that gave family members a surprise blessing, as they were able to spend more time with the senator and to tell him how much he had meant to their lives.

"There are very few people who have touched the life of this nation in the same breadth and the same order of magnitude," Obama said in April as he signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law.

Kennedy arrived at his place in the Senate after a string of family tragedies. He was the only one of the four Kennedy brothers to die of natural causes.

Kennedy's eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a plane crash in World War II. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles as he campaigned for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination. Years later, in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash at age 38 along with his wife.

It fell to Ted Kennedy to deliver the eulogies, to comfort his brothers' widows, to mentor fatherless nieces and nephews. It was Ted Kennedy who walked JFK's daughter, Caroline, down the aisle at her wedding.

Tragedy had a way of bringing out his eloquence.

Kennedy sketched a dream of a better future as he laid to rest his brother Robert in 1968: "My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

After John Jr.'s death, the senator said: "We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years."

His own legacy was blighted on the night of July 18, 1969, when Kennedy drove his car off a bridge and into a pond on Chappaquiddick Island, on Martha's Vineyard. Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old worker with RFK's campaign, was found dead in the submerged car's back seat 10 hours later.

Kennedy, then 37, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence and a year's probation. A judge eventually determined there was "probable cause to believe that Kennedy operated his motor vehicle negligently ... and that such operation appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne."

At the height of the scandal, Kennedy went on national television to explain himself in an extraordinary 13-minute address in which he denied driving drunk and rejected rumors of "immoral conduct" with Ms. Kopechne. He said he was haunted by "irrational" thoughts immediately after the accident, and wondered "whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys." He said his failure to report the accident right away was "indefensible."

After Chappaquiddick especially, Kennedy gained a reputation as a heavy drinker and a womanizer, a tragically flawed figure haunted by the fear that he did not quite measure up to his brothers. As his weight ballooned, he was lampooned by comics and cartoonists in the 1980s and '90s as the very embodiment of government waste, bloat and decadence.

But in his later years, after he had remarried, he came to be regarded as a statesman on Capitol Hill, seen as one of the most effective, hardworking lawmakers Washington has ever seen.

A barrel-chested figure with a swath of white hair, a booming voice and a thick, widely imitated Boston accent, he coupled fist-pumping floor speeches with his well-honed Irish charm and formidable negotiating skills. He was both a passionate liberal and a clear-eyed pragmatist, willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.

Kennedy's speech in accepting defeat to Carter electrified the Democratic convention and turned out to be a defining moment. At 48, he seemed liberated from the towering expectations and high hopes invested in him after the death of his brothers, and he plunged into his work in the Senate.

First elected to the Senate in 1962 to his brother John's seat, easily re-elected in 2006, Kennedy served close to 47 years, longer than all but two senators in history: Robert Byrd of West Virginia (50 years and counting) and the late Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who died after a tenure of nearly 471/2 years. Kennedy's career spanned 10 presidencies.

His legislative achievements included bills to provide health insurance for children of the working poor, the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Meals on Wheels for the elderly, abortion clinic access, family leave, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

He was also a key negotiator on legislation creating a Medicare prescription drug benefit for senior citizens and was a driving force for peace in Ireland and a persistent critic of the war in Iraq.

Kennedy did not always prevail. In late 2008, he unsuccessfully lobbied for niece Caroline's appointment to the Senate from New York. New York Gov. David Paterson chose then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand instead.

Wildly popular among Democrats, Kennedy routinely won re-election by large margins. He grew comfortable in his role as Republican foil and leader of his party's liberal wing.

President George W. Bush welcomed Kennedy to the Rose Garden on several occasions as he signed bills that the Democrat helped write.

"He's the kind of person who will state his case, sometimes quite eloquently and vociferously, and then on another issue will come along and you can work with him," Bush said shortly before his first term began in 2001.

But Bush was also the target of some of Kennedy's sharpest attacks. Kennedy assailed the Iraq war as Bush's Vietnam, a conflict "made up in Texas" and marketed by the Bush administration for political gain.

Kennedy and his niece Caroline shook up the Democratic establishment in January 2008 when they endorsed Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton for the nomination for president.

After Obama won in November, Kennedy renewed words once spoken by his brother John, declaring: "The world is changing. The old ways will not do. ... It is time for a new generation of leadership."

Born in 1932, the youngest of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's nine children, Edward Moore Kennedy was part of a family bristling with political ambition, beginning with maternal grandfather John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, a congressman and mayor of Boston.

Round-cheeked Teddy was thrown out of Harvard in 1951 for cheating, after arranging for a classmate to take a freshman Spanish exam for him. He eventually returned, earning his degree in 1956.

He went on to the University of Virginia Law School, and in 1962, while his brother John was president, announced plans to run for the Senate seat JFK had vacated in 1960. A family friend had held the seat in the interim because Kennedy was not yet 30, the minimum age for a senator.

Kennedy was immediately involved in a bruising primary campaign against state Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, a nephew of U.S. House Speaker John W. McCormack.

"If your name was simply Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke," chided McCormack.

Kennedy won the primary by 300,000 votes and went on to overwhelmingly defeat Republican George Cabot Lodge, son of the late Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, in the general election.

Devastated by his brothers' assassinations and injured in a 1964 plane crash that left him with back pain that would plague him for decades, Kennedy temporarily withdrew from public life in 1968. But he re-emerged in 1969 to be elected majority whip of the Senate.

Then came Chappaquiddick.

Kennedy still handily won re-election in 1970, but he lost his leadership job. He remained outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War and support of social programs but ruled out a 1976 presidential bid.

In the summer of 1978, a Gallup Poll showed that Democrats preferred Kennedy over President Carter 54 percent to 32 percent. A year later, Kennedy decided to run for the White House with a campaign that accused Carter of turning his back on the Democratic agenda.

The difficult task of dislodging a sitting president was compounded by Kennedy's fumbling answer to a question posed by CBS' Roger Mudd: Why do you want to be president?

"Well, it's um, you know you have to come to grips with the different issues that, ah, we're facing," Kennedy said. "I mean, we can, we have to deal with each of the various questions of the economy, whether it's in the area of energy ..."

He bowed out of the race after getting roundly beaten by Carter in the primaries and losing a rules battle at the Democratic convention. Later, when asked to assess the campaign, he replied: "Well, I learned to lose, and for a Kennedy that's hard."

Kennedy married Virginia Joan Bennett, known as Joan, in 1958. They divorced in 1982. In 1992, he married Washington lawyer Victoria Reggie. His survivors include a daughter, Kara Kennedy Allen; two sons, Edward Jr. and Patrick, a congressman from Rhode Island; and two stepchildren, Caroline and Curran Raclin.

In 1991, Kennedy roused his nephew William Kennedy Smith and his son Patrick from bed to go out for drinks while staying at the family's Palm Beach, Fla., estate. Later that night, a woman Smith met at a bar accused him of raping her at the home.

Smith was acquitted, but the senator's carousing -- and testimony about him wandering about the house in his shirttails and no pants -- further damaged his reputation.

Kennedy offered a mea culpa in a speech at Harvard that October, recognizing "my own shortcomings, the faults in the conduct of my private life."

Later on, his second wife appeared to have a calming influence on him, helping him rehabilitate his image.

Kennedy's family life has been marked by illness.

Edward Jr. lost a leg to bone cancer in 1973 at age 12. Kara had a cancerous tumor removed from her lung in 2003. In 1988, Patrick had a noncancerous tumor pressing on his spine removed. He has also struggled with depression and addiction and announced in June that he was re-entering rehab.

Kennedy's memoir, "True Compass," is set to be published in the fall.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sirota on the Washington Power Dynamic in the Healthcare Fight

Writer and political pundit David Sirota wrote an extremely important piece of political analysis over at the Open Left blog which deserves to be read far and wide by people interested in the healthcare battle and how it can potentially tilt the power dynamics in Washington. The recent outpouring of outrage and organizing on the Left in support of a public option in healthcare reform is having an effect where Progressives are finally flexing their political muscle and is on the verge of success.

Sirota writes:

Polls show local Democratic dissatisfaction with easily primary-able Democrats, putting huge pressure on those Democrats to get in line; the Paul Krugmans of the liberal punditocracy, often offering up "on the one hand, on the other hand" dithering at the end of legislative fights, have now come out pretty strong for a public option; mainstream Republican editorial boards like the Denver Post are saying the public option is necessary; the decline in Obama's poll numbers are being fueled by progressive - not conservative - dissatisfaction on health care; fundraising for the public option campaign is intensifying; and the organizing work to support the public option is in full gear.

Taken all together, the aimed at A) forcing House Democrats to pledge to vote against a public-option-free health care bill and B) getting Senate Democrats to state their support of a public option may be making the easier legislative path the one that squeezes the Blue Dog Democrats...

He adds:

We must focus laser-like efforts on constructing a group of House members who delivers on a promise to vote against a public-option-free health care bill. If we do that, we will change the power dynamic in the health care debate by forcing the administration to use its power to make the public option a reality in the final bill that is reported out of the conference committee. And even more broadly, it may change the power dynamic on every other issue by finally establishing the progressive majority in the Democratic caucus - and not the corporate whores - as the final "deciders" on other major bill... While they aren't going to get us all the way to single payer (which I've long said was a huge missed opportunity), they may deliver us a public option that represents genuine progress.

Read the original article at the Open Left blog.

The First Family's Vacation Spot

More GOP lies on healthcare

Monday, August 24, 2009

The LEFT is to blame for healthcare battle?

From Glenn Greenwald

Sunday Aug. 23, 2009 10:24 EDT
The Beltway consensus: the Left is to blame for health care battle

(update below)

The prevailing Beltway wisdom has now ossified that the problem with the health care debate is that those hardened Leftist ideologues cling childishly and petulantly to their little "public option" fetish and their refusal to give it up is jeopardizing enactment of a reform bill. Just see The Washington Post Editorial Page, Post columnist Steve Pearlstein and Joe Klein -- and especially the below-documented behavior from Newsweek's Jonathan Alter -- this week blaming The Left, as always, for their childish extremism in the health care debate. As always, the obedient servitude of Blue Dogs and "centrists" to the industries that own Congress aren't obstructionist at all. Somehow, the refusal of Blue Dogs to vote for a plan with a "public option" isn't impeding anything; there's no reason they should give anything up, because they're just being moderate and "centrist." As always, the way things should be done in Washington is that the proper scorn should be heaped on The Left until they're bullied into giving up what they believe so that Things Can Get Done (i.e., so that corporate dictates can be fulfilled).

All of that is taking place despite this truly remarkable passage from a New York Times article today, which details how Tom Daschle is still exerting a major role in advising Obama on health care even as he maintains his stable of health care industry clients. Shockingly, Daschle (and now the key Democrats) are advocating the very policy which his industry clients want: namely, health care reform with mandates, but no "public option" -- only with "co-ops" (article headline: "Daschle Has Ear of White House and Industry"):

But these days it often seems as if Mr. Daschle never left the picture. With unrivaled ties on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he talks constantly with top White House advisers, many of whom previously worked for him.

He still speaks frequently to the president, who met with him as recently as Friday morning in the Oval Office. And he remains a highly paid policy adviser to hospital, drug, pharmaceutical and other health care industry clients of Alston & Bird, the law and lobbying firm.

Now the White House and Senate Democratic leaders appear to be moving toward a blueprint for overhauling the health system, centered on nonprofit insurance cooperatives, that Mr. Daschle began promoting two months ago as a politically feasible alternative to a more muscular government-run insurance plan.

It is an idea that happens to dovetail with the interests of many Alston & Bird clients, like the insurance giant UnitedHealth and the Tennessee Hospital Association. And it is drawing angry cries of accommodation from more liberal House Democrats bent on including a public insurance plan.

That's wonderful phraseology -- the co-op plan which Daschle is advocating to Obama and which the White House and Senate Democrats are now leaning towards "happens to dovetail with the interests of many [Daschle's] clients, like the insurance giant UnitedHealth and the Tennessee Hospital Association." What a weird coincidence; it's like those companies won a Bingo game (can you believe our number happened to get called?!? what awesome luck we have).

That's why there's such fervent demands for a "public option" -- because it's the only thing that can keep costs low and thus prevent this bill from being nothing more than a glorified bailout of the insurance and drug industries, which is exactly what will happen if 50 million people are forced by law to buy their products with no cost-control mechanism but ample government subsidies. Yet still, the prevailing Beltway narrative continues to be that it's those loser fringe Leftists who are impeding true reform by demanding a "public option."

Rest of article at link above.

Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's rain.

Your Junk Insurance Is About to Get Worse, Courtesy of Max Baucus & Rahm Emanuel


Your Junk Insurance Is About to Get Worse, Courtesy of Max Baucus & Rahm Emanuel
By: Jane Hamsher Monday August 24, 2009 9:54 am

If you think your insurance is expensive and doesn't cover much now, wait until the Senate Finance Committee bill gets jammed through the Senate:

In May, the Senate Finance Committee discussed requiring that insurers reimburse at least 76% of policyholders' medical costs under their most affordable plans. Now the committee is considering setting that rate as low as 65%, meaning insurers would be required to cover just about two-thirds of patients' healthcare bills. According to a committee aide, the change was being considered so that companies could hold down premiums for the policies.

Most group health plans cover 80% to 90% or more of a policyholder's medical bills, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Industry officials urged that the government set the floor lower so insurers could provide flexible, more affordable plans.

Why is it necessary to cut benefits in order to "hold down premiums?" Well, because you have to factor in a big fat profit for the private insurers. Who are already making out like bandits with a huge new pool of potential customers who are forced to buy their product. Take a look at the way health insurance stocks have shot up over the past week compared to the S&P. Wall Street is licking its chops.

Sorry, folks. No public plan, no mandate.

I had shown a clip from Keith Olbermann from last week, talking about this very issue.

CASINOS IN VEGAS don't get the kinds of margins that BAUCUS wants to give insurance companies.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I love a good smackdown

The New GOP SCAM in the Senate

' Food Inc.' and the Justice Department possibly taking on Monsanto

' The left of the left'......uh huh

Healthcare for me is a line in the sand

I have been criticized by some for taking such an ' anti-Obama' tone.

That, in the past few days, one could have been reading DailyKos, Firedoglake, or Open Left.

I believe healthcare is a RIGHT.



It is the CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE of our time.

And Black folk are on the BOTTOM of healthcare.

Pretty much every disease out there, we top the list. Sure, some of it is genetics, part of it is lifestyle, but a great deal of it is LACK OF ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE.

I'm serious about the PUBLIC OPTION.

NO, I don't believe that there should be FREE MARKET IN HEALTHCARE.


I laugh in disgust at the ignorant fools clowning at these townhalls, too stupid to understand that they are being PLAYED by the frauds that rounded them up.


You already have death panels.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More from SELLOUT Max Baucus

Olbermann on the Public Option

Gotta love Ed Schultz's passion on this

Healthcare- a MORAL imperative?

Why the health care debate is so important regardless of one's view of the "public option"

From's Glenn Greenwald

Wednesday Aug. 19, 2009 11:20 EDT
Why the health care debate is so important regardless of one's view of the "public option"

The New York Times today has a discussion from several contributors, including me, of the politics of the health care debate. My contribution, which focuses on the role the White House has played and the ample evidence that they have been quite active in shaping the course of events, can be read here. I want to elaborate on a couple of points I referenced in passing.

Over the past decade, the Democratic Party has specialized in offering up one excuse after the next for its collective failures. During the early Bush years, the excuse was that they endorsed Bush policies because his popularity and post-9/11 hysteria made it politically unwise to oppose him. In later Bush years when his popularity plummeted, the excuse was that Democrats were in the minority and could do nothing. After 2006 when they won a Congressional majority, the excuse was that Bush still controlled the White House and had veto power. After 2008 when a Democrat won the White House, the excuse was that Republicans could filibuster.

Now that they have a filibuster-proof majority, a huge margin in the House and the White House, the excuses continue unabated, as Democrats are now on the verge of jettisoning one of the most significant attractions for progressives to the Obama campaign -- active government involvement in the health insurance market. The excuses for "compromising" are cascading more rapidly than ever: We need Republican support to ensure it's bipartisan. The Blue Dogs won't go along with what we want. Centrist Senators will filibuster. There are similar excuses being made to defend Obama from accusations that he deserves some of the blame for the failure of the "public option." Matt Yglesias makes the typical case for shielding Obama from any responsibility:

I think there’s something perverse in the very strong desire I see among liberals to make problems in congress be about anything other than congress. It’s just not in the power of Barack Obama to make the senate anything other than what it is.

I'm really surprised that there's anyone, especially Matt, who actually believes this -- that the Obama White House is merely an impotent, passive observer of what the Democrats in Congress do and can't be expected to do anything to secure votes for approval of the health care bill it favors. As the leader of his party, the President commands a vast infrastructure on which incumbent members of Congress rely for re-election. His popularity among Democrats vests him numerous options to punish non-compliant Democrats. And Rahm Emanuel built his career on controlling the machinations within Congress. The very idea that Obama, Emanuel and company are just sitting back, helplessly watching as Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and the Blue Dogs (Rahm's creation) destroy their health care legislation, is absurd on its face

Rising Income Inequality

Throughout this decade, rising income inequality has become a profound image of the new American economy. Our economy is built on service, financials, health care and government spending. But, underlying the American economy of the 21st century is a wide income gap, growing wider each year. The gap is even larger today than the gap preceding the Great Depression.

This gap is problematic for several reasons. First, any functioning democracy and capital system cannot have too much concentration of wealth. It skews true supply and demand. The fewer the economic elites, the fewer people determining the economic outcomes for the many.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trying to work with the GOP is useless

Go Barney Frank

Democrats Find Their Spine? Public Option Back in Play

A must-see episode of MSNBC's the Rachel Maddow show. What a difference a weekend makes when the White House seemed to have abandoned the public option in health care reform. This resulted in a huge uproar among Progressive activists and bloggers the past couple of days. The result: the White House says it fully supports the public option.

I particularly liked the segment where 60 House Representatives draw a line in the sand and sign a letter saying they will NOT vote for a bill that does not include a public option.

Some Democrats ARE fighting for the PUBLIC OPTION

Monday, August 17, 2009

Go Malia!

'The Family' getting called out in the Christian Press?

Rachel Maddow calls out the lack of support for the Public Option

Ed Schultz on the Public Option Backtrack

SCOTUS Orders a New Hearing for Troy Davis

from JJP

It may look like the NAACP as well as the efforts of other grassroots have paid off in getting a new hearing for this brotha:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Supreme Court on Monday ordered that Troy Davis, a high-profile death row inmate, should receive a new hearing to determine whether evidence not available at his trial could prove him innocent.

"The district court should receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could have been obtained at the time of the trial clearly establishes petitioner's innocence," the court said.

Davis, who is black, was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, a white policeman, in Savannah, Georgia. He has always proclaimed his innocence.

The weapon used in the murder was never found, and neither DNA nor fingerprints implicated Davis in the crime.

In 1981, nine witnesses testified against him, but seven of them have said that they were pressured by police to incriminate Davis.

Maybe the SCOTUS has decided they want that credibility that they used to have, restored when they lost their minds, abdicated their responsibilities as impartial jurists and decided a Presidential election almost ten years ago. With a new trial, this brotha should be walking out of prison in a few months - and be able to say he walked away from DEATH ROW. What a memoir he could write, and he needs to have John Burris on speed dial to sue the state of Georgia for wrongfully imprisoning him in the first place because of their bigotry.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

White House Drops the Public Option from Health Reform

It appears Angry Independent’s prediction and analysis was correct.

From the New York Times:

Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system. Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

From the Associated Press:

Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had sought the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured, but he never made it a deal breaker in a broad set of ideas that has Republicans unified in opposition.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is "not the essential element" of the administration's health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

The Washington Post:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius signaled on Sunday a willingness from the White House to embrace insurance cooperatives as the main plank of health-care reform rather than pushing for a public option in the final version of legislation being debated in Washington and throughout town halls across America.

Commentary from Firedoglake:

So Obama campaigns for 2 years with the public option as the centerpiece of his health care reform. He's elected by the largest majority in 20 years, and the public gives him 60 Democratic seats in the Senate and 256 Democratic seats in the House. Obama then publicly lobbies for said public option after he takes office. Then Kent Conrad, who represents like 7 people, and a handful of corrupt Blue Dogs say "No way." And Obama caves.

Commentary by Ralph Nader from Commondreams:

Obama is about to make his biggest mistake to date by favoring the bipartisan deal his assistants are working out with Blue Dog Senator Max Baucus and his Republican counterparts on the Senate Finance Committee. This proposal has no public option, no consumer protections or restraints on the mayhem and skyrocketing charges of the so-called health care industry.

It is up to the people of our country to "make him do it" whether this year or next. A mere one million immediate calls to members of Congress by one million assertive citizens will start sobering up these legislators who think they can get away with another sale of our public trust.

The Congressional switchboard is 202-224-3121. The full Medicare, single payer bill (backed by nearly ninety legislators) is H.R. 676. The go-to citizen group for your sustained engagement is The rest is up to you, the majority, who want to put the people first.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Howard Dean on why 'bi-partisanship' is BULL

The Dishonest GOPers who are lying about 'Death Panels'

Damon Weaver gets his interview with President Barack Obama

Carlos Watson wonders about 'socialist'

Um, Senator McCaskill, let's get something straight

hat tip - parker404


August 12, 2009
Categories: Health Care
McCaskill says Rep. Scott's racism charge 'irresponsible'

Sen. Claire McCaskill -- who went through a pretty tough town hall herself today -- told CNN tonight that it was "irresponsible" for Democratic Rep. David Scott to blame racism for some of the town hall anger across the nation.

"I think that is irresponsible to say," McCaskill said on Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night. "There may be individual instances of that but there are a whole lot of people who are frustrated ... but I'm not sure if it would be accurate to make that about race."

Scott, who is black, had a fairly confrontational town hall earlier this week where he shouted back at a doctor in the audience who challenged him. The next day the sign for Scott's Atlanta area office had a swastika painted on it.



Gets a SWASTIKA painted on his office door...

and gets mail that calls him a NIGGA...

I think he knows RACISM when he sees it.

So, go somewhere and sit your ass on down.

Hell no...I don't go for the okeydoke of racism only being valid when WHITE people think that it's happened.


David Scott has been BLACK IN AMERICA longer than 3 weeks.

He KNOWS racism when he sees it.

And RACISM is all over this 'protesting' at town halls on healthcare.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two for One - Pat Martino & Lee Fields

Lee Fields - Honey Dove

Pat Martino doing "Sunny"

Rescission - Why We Need a Public Option

NPR covers the real death panels that we already have... those that are run by private insurance companies. How do they do it? Through rescission....a process that allows insurance companies to abandon patients when they need coverage the most. Perhaps someone should inform Sarah Palin that we already have death panels...because she's obviously clueless.

Why isn't Obama telling these stories more often? Why won't he hold a national Town Hall on Healthcare Reform where he can highlight the real death panels, and dispel the Republican propaganda? The major networks have barely mentioned this issue. The fake death panel story put out by Right wing groups gets covered...but the fact that we have actual death panels right now hardly gets any attention from the major news networks. Unreal!

Also hear a story about what Canadians are saying about U.S. Healthcare Reform. Apparently, Canadians are bewildered about the way their Healthcare system has been characterized by Republicans. Again...the major U.S. news outlets aren't telling this story. Instead of sending investigative reporters into Canada to find out what is really going on.... to find out what the people really think about their Healthcare system, the lazy U.S. media chooses, time and time again, to use Right wing talking points as the baseline for any Healthcare debate. It has basically been accepted as fact in this Country (according to U.S. mainstream media) that the Canadian Healthcare system is far worse than the Healthcare system in the U.S.

Separate Fact from Fiction:

Dispel the Right Wing/Corporate propaganda about Healthcare by keeping track with fact checking websites such as Politifact and

Both sides get their information mixed up or bend the truth.... but the Republican spin machine simply has no shame.... they have been lying their asses off, especially on Healthcare...and their lies are so outlandish that it scares me that there are American citizens who have fallen for this stuff. A large portion of the American populace is incredibly uninformed.

Republican Right Wing Nuttery Encouraging More Extremism

Another potential right wing terrorist has been arrested. This time it was a Woman, Nancy Genovese, from New York. Genovese apparently had an arsenal and was preparing to use it. Her target was an Air National Guard Base in the Hamptons. Luckily, she was apprehended before she could do any harm.

What drove her to this? What inspired her? Do I really have to ask?

Read more here.

What I want to know is when will the FCC and the Justice Department intervene to stop some of this madness? When will the government act to stem the propaganda that is feeding this kind of domestic terrorism? Because if it is is only going to get worse. These right wing extremists, and those who are inspiring them (Glenn Beck et al) aren't going to stop spreading lies and propaganda that whips up hatred and paves the way for violence, with their coded language that they know their followers will act on. They simply aren't going to stop voluntarily. How long is the government going to wait?

The GOP is Milking Kenneth Gladney For All He's Worth

Most have heard about Kenneth Gladney by now. The so-called Black Conservative from St. Louis who got into a little scuffle with idiots from the SEIU at a recent Town Hall event on Healthcare, hosted by Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO).

Keeping up with the protests over the past few weeks, and seeing the way things were escalating, it came as no surprise that scuffles were beginning to break out. I lay a lot of the blame on Obama for his lack of leadership, because he failed to calm the fears of those who have been brainwashed over the past few weeks.... and for his Administrations lack of action to change the strategy once it became clear that their Healthcare initiative was a train wreck. Obama lost the propaganda war long before any real debate had a chance to begin....which means the Town Hall meetings are a bit of a joke. Yet, even today, these idiot Democrats continue to hold these meetings...despite the fact that these events are useless at this point and are in fact only making matters worse.

What Obama should do is instruct Democrats in the House and Senate to cancel any future Town Halls. Instead, there should be a series of nationally televised Town Halls (just like the Presidential Debates) where the shouters are not allowed in to disrupt the event....and where a real debate and discussion could take place. There could also be a panel of experts at these events, and debunkers (like Fact Check and Politifact). This would be a chance for Obama to clear up much of the propaganda that has been allowed to go unchallenged by his Administration over the past few months.

But the Dems continue to have these meetings as if they are making a difference in the PR battle. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri held one just today and she was lucky to have gotten out alive. The Town Halls are nothing more than platforms for Right Wing Protests and video snippets; there is no vigorous debate or discussion taking place. It's a farce. Right wingers, who have no real information and therefore can't debate...and have no interest in debating the issues are doing the only thing they can do - shouting at the other side...and creating chaos. Nothing meaningful is going to come out of continuing what have become Right wing propaganda events.

And the SEIU should stay home if their people are not smart enough not to be suckered by the Right. By getting involved in a scuffle (and I don't know who started what.... the video does not show the beginning of the incident) they are giving the Republican media machine exactly what it wants. That's what the Right Wing was hoping for by attending these events hosted mostly by Democrats. Thus the Republicans now have their newest Joe the Plumber... and he's just as phony as can be IMO. He's playing up his "brutal beating" as much as possible, and he's allowing himself to be used by the Republican spin machine.

The biggest irony is that he's reportedly asking for help with medical bills. Why? Because he's unemployed and whatever Health coverage he has apparently isn't enough (the whole purpose of the Healthcare Reform that he was protesting against). Or could it be that someone is just looking for a payday? Read on and see...

There are also some things fishy about this entire incident. I don't doubt it happened...but the more I look into the situation....the more fishy it smells. I won't go as far as some bloggers who suggest that the entire incident was staged.... I believe it happened.... I just believe that the SEIU idiots fell for something that the Right Wing groups wanted to happen in the first place. Apparently Gladney, who was selling Right Wing shirts, flags and buttons for someone, became the bait that the Right Wing needed. And the dummies from the SEIU fell right into the trap.

The SEIU shouldn't have been there if they don't know how to stay out of trouble. And they certainly should not have been at the event to antagonize the Teabaggers, knowing tensions were exceptionally high. Just stupidity all around. And yes... I know wearing Union T-shirts has been the norm for decades, but common sense has to come into play at some point. If you are wearing clothes identifying your Union on your best behavior. They really shouldn't have their T-shirts on at all in my opinion.... it's unnecessary at an event that is supposed to be a discussion about Healthcare.

But regarding Gladney in particular, it gets worse... I found an even more interesting tidbit about Mr. Gladney... and when I read it I was reminded of one of the TV commercials where you are told about criminals who engage in insurance fraud by staging phony car accidents and by having their own eye witnesses conveniently placed to tell Police exactly what happened so that everyone can get paid. Again, I don't think the incident at the St. Louis Town Hall was staged...but the circumstances are a little fishy. So much surrounding this seems to have been placed in a way that conveniently benefits the Republican Party. Why else would part of Gladney's legal representation just happen to be at the Town Hall incident as a witness? Convenient. Yep, his attorney just happened to have been at the Town Hall. And seeing the video of his attorney at a protest a few days later, he seemed more like an activist than a personal injury lawyer. Those who are pushing this story don't seem to be making any bones about the fact that Gladney and Republican interests want to milk this incident to get all they can out of it.

It just seems to me that Republicans are taking advantage of this unemployed guy (remember how phony "Joe The Plumber" had odd jobs...and now he's making big money for the Republican propaganda machine?). It annoys me that they (the Republican Right) are probably partly responsible for this man being without a job, thanks to Bush's recession.... but then they turn around and recruit him to protest against his own best interests on Health care. Amazing! But there's a sucker born every minute.

Stop Calling It a Fringe Movement - Most Republicans Don't Even Accept Obama as a Citizen

For months the major news media has been characterizing the "Birther Movement" as a harmless fringe element of the Republican Party. But a poll from last week indicated that the majority of Republicans (58%) either don't believe that Barack Obama is a citizen or aren't sure.

And even after a vote in the House of Representatives last month recognizing Hawaii as a State and acknowledging that it was in fact the birthplace of the 44th President, the wacky Birthers still aren't convinced. Thanks to Representative Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), the ceremonial resolution (which was written long before the Birther Controversy really heated up) was brought to the floor for a vote. House Resolution 593 passed with a vote of 378-0. 220 Democrats and 158 Republicans voted in favor.

See the Roll Call Results

Read the Resolution

The U.S. Senate followed a few days later with a similar ceremonial vote, with Senate Resolution 225.

Yet the "Birthers" continue to press on. Why? Because as I mentioned before, it's really not about Birth Certificates or citizenship for those who are making these wacky claims. It's about prejudice and xenophobia....especially this sort of White rural xenophobia. This is all about race, and this non-issue provides these people with an excuse to spew their racism. That is why all the proof in the World wouldn't matter to these people because Citizenship and Birth Certificates really aren't the issue for them.

I wish the media would stop calling them "Birthers" and start calling them the racists and xenophobes that they really are.

I have never seen so much willful ignorance in my life.


Related Post on Birthers

Now answer this question for me..what would happen to a BLACK MAN that brought A GUN IN PLAIN SIGHT of the President of the United States?

But..but..but...I thought the GOP said there was no healthcare issue


Law Enforcement catching another hardened criminal