Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alan Grayson, In His Own Words, "Whose Side Are You On?"


OK, so I know this is turning into Alan Grayson day on my blog, but this story just keeps getting better and better. Grayson just posted his side of the story on Daily Kos. This man is fighting mad.

Last night, I went onto the House floor and did something that the Republicans aren't used to. I told the truth about the Republican health care plan. The plan is simple:

Don't get sick.
If you do get sick...
Die quickly.

My speech has been replayed on CNN, Redstate, Huffington Post, etc, and mainstream media pundits are saying that I'm the Democratic Joe Wilson. Of course, unlike Joe Wilson, I wasn't rude to the President. Unlike Joe Wilson, I didn't break a rule of the House. And unlike Joe Wilson, I actually told the truth. Every single year, over forty-four thousand people in America die because they don't have health insurance. Read this Harvard study. That is the plain truth.

And now the Republicans claim they are going to introduce a resolution "disapproving" of my behavior.

What is this, junior high school? Do they think my feelings are hurt? Just what do these people think health care means? It's not some abstract "issue", we're talking about life and death! And the Republicans, who ran the government in full or in part from 2001-2009, chose to let those 44,000 people die, every single year when they were in power. And George W. Bush, whom the Republicans somehow pretend was not President for the last eight years, just let them die. He even vetoed health care for poor children.

So apologize? I don't think so.

Now, my office is getting slammed with calls. Some people are saying "I will do anything in my power to get you out of office." But many of you are calling and saying "Thank you for speaking the truth, and don't you dare apologize."

The Republicans are serious about getting rid of me, because they are scared. They have already set up a site to attack me. And the reason is simple; they don't want my tough attitude to rub off on other Democrats. And the Democrats aren't sure what to think about this new, I don't know what you call it, truthtelling? But you can help make it clear that when I spoke the truth, I was speaking for you. And you can show them that I was speaking for you. Today is the end of the fundraising quarter, which means everyone is going to be watching fundraising totals.

Help me speak truth. You've already set up a bunch of fundraising pages and I can't thank you enough for getting my back. If you haven't already, I hope you'll go to one of these pages and help out today. I'm at $20,956 so far. Let's see where we can go from here.




Remember, they are playing for keeps. So we need to make sure that we are too.

Grayson Won't Back Down From Claim "Republicans Want You To Die Quickly"


From Politico.com

Rep. Alan Grayson isn't backing down from his claim that Republicans "want you to die quickly."

"I stand by what I said," Grayson told reporters on Wednesday.

"I didn't violate any House rules. I didn't do anything inappropriate," he said. "I'm not under any pressure at all."

Republicans fumed Tuesday night and Wednesday morning after Grayson portrayed GOP health care plans as: Don't get sick — if you do, die quickly. Republicans have introduced a resolution of disapproval condemning Grayson's comments.

Grayson said Democratic leaders had not asked him to apologize — not even Rep. John B. Larson, who had said he would encourage Grayson to say he was sorry.

Asked if he was worried about his re-election in an Orlando-based swing district, Grayson said his chances of winning are better.

"It improves them," he said. "People like elected officials with guts who say what they mean."


From Roll Call

After speaking extensively to the press, Grayson came to the floor with an apology, but not for the Republican Party.

“I would like to apologize,” he said. “I would like to apologize to the dead.”

Citing a statistic that 44,789 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance, Grayson said, “That is more than ten times the number of Americans who died in the war in Iraq, it’s more than ten times the number of Americans who died on 9/11. …It happens every year.”

Grayson added in another apparent dig at the GOP, “We should care about people even after they are born.”

Grayson apologized one last time.

“I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner,” he said.

Can we clone him? Graft him to Harry Reid? How about just making a donation?

The Republican Health Care Plan: "Die Quickly"



Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) warned Americans that "Republicans want you to die quickly" during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.

His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."

Veteran Tennessee Republican Jimmy Duncan abandoned customary reticence to chastise Grayson.

"That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I've ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don't appreciate it," Duncan said.

"It's fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another Tennessee Republican.

But none was forthcoming from Grayson — a freshman Democrat from a competitive district — who said the first part of the GOP approach to health care is: Don't get sick.

"If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly," he said.
I love this. Republicans can dish it out, but they sure as hell can't take it.

This man is my hero. Here's a link to his campaign page to make a contribution.

I did. Will you join me?


Watch it:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 Democratic Senators Vote Against The Public Option. Time To Make Them Pay.


Five Senate Democrats sided with Republicans - and against the American people - by voting down two public option amendments today that would have ensured competition, saved lives and saved taxpayers over $85 Billion. Our response needs to be swift and uncompromising.

CALL

Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
(202) 224-2651

Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)
(202) 224-4843

Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
(202) 224-2043

Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
(202) 224-5274

Tom Carper (D-Del.)
(202) 224-2441


DONATE


The Progressive Change Committee has two ads up right now targeting both Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). They need to raise $200,000 to plaster the airwaves. Click on this link to make a donation.





Firedoglake has an ad up in Arkansas targeting Blanche Lincoln and Blue Dog Congressman Mike Ross. Click on this link to make a donation so they can increase their ad buy.



Whole Foods Flash Mob - A Love Story

Over the weekend, I posted a video from the Brass Liberation Orchestra about their wonderful flash mob/marching band protest at the Oakland Whole Foods. Read on, and watch the video below, to learn how this video came to be:

Feeling conservatives had been winning the limelight in the debate over healthcare reform through a serious of high profile stunts and remarks, advocates of reform decided to steal back some of the media's attention, forming a flash mob Sept. 26 in an Oakland Whole Foods in response to the CEO's recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he opposed reform.

At 6:11 p.m., 35 protesters, who had been fake-shopping the aisles of the green foods giant, convened at the middle of the store, and launched into singing "Hey Mackey, you're a swine," some shouting it into a megaphone and others dancing a choreographed jig as a live orchestra blared from all directions.


An Ad So Simple Even A Teabagger Could Understand It

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Operation Hey Mackey! Whole Foods Boycott, Oakland



What do you get when you combine the Whole Foods boycott, a flash mob, and a brass section? Awesome, awesome, performance art/political action.



Friday, September 25, 2009

SkoalRebel, "Pissed Off Hell Obama Needs To Be Impeached"


Oh. My. God.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "Skoal Rebel".

Glen Beck's, Sean Hannity's and Rush Limbaugh's target audience. A focus group of one.

Palin/SkoalRebel 2012!!!!!



22 Year-Old Dies Of Swine Flu......Because She Had No Health Insurance


From the Daily Dayton News:

Friends say the Miami University graduate who died this week after reportedly suffering from swine flu delayed getting medical treatment because she did not have health insurance.

News of Kimberly Young’s death Wednesday, Sept. 23, came as a shock to those who knew the vibrant 22-year-old who was working at least two jobs in Oxford after graduating with a double major in December 2008.

Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost, according to Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate.

Mowery said Young eventually went to an urgent care facility in Hamilton where she was given pain medication and then sent home.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Young’s condition suddenly worsened and her roommate drove her to McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, where she was flown in critical condition to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

“That’s the most tragic part about it. If she had insurance, she would have gone to the doctor,” Mowery said.

Health insurance companies have priced people like Young - healthy, normal, hardworking - out of the market, and because of skyrocketing premiums, fewer and fewer employers offer health care as a benefit. They're forced to turn to "urgent care facilities," storefront operations that are a poor substitute for real, regular care.

BREAKING! Baucus Pushes Vote On The Public Option To Next Tuesday


From the Washington Independent:

Citing time restraints, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) just announced that the controversial public option amendments being offered by Sens. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be pushed to next Tuesday, when lawmakers return to Washington after a long weekend.

The health reform bill moving through the finance panel this week would create private health care cooperatives, but it excludes a public plan to compete with private companies, a high priority for many Democrats.

Baucus said he still needs to work out the order, and some substantial issues, surrounding those amendments.

“We don’t have time today to bring that up,” Baucus said.

Blackwashing


Steven Colbert goes there.




Thursday, September 24, 2009

Say What?!!!! Did Glenn Beck Just Kill A Frog On Live TV?


Worst ratings stunt since WKRP dropped live turkeys over Cincinnati.

Did he or didn't he? We report, you decide.






"Centrist" Democrats Whine Pelosi Is Actually Using Majority To Pass Progressive Legislation


In a stunning display of honesty, so-called "centrist" Democrats whined to the press that House majority leader Nancy Pelosi had the temerity to actually use her majority to pass the kind of legislation voters elected Democrats to champion.


Between a tough vote on a climate change bill that many don’t expect to become law and a leftward push on healthcare legislation, Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) critics within her caucus say she’s left the so-called “majority makers” exposed.

“She keeps trying to push an unpopular package,” said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a centrist Blue Dog Democrat, referring to healthcare. “I think it’s fair to say they were better at it before.”

Another Blue Dog lawmaker put it more bluntly.

“They’re seriously endangering their majority,” said the Blue Dog, who requested anonymity. “With the increased margin and a [Democratic] president, there seems to be a different feeling.”

The concern, of course is the 2010 elections. The caucus includes 84 Democrats who represent districts won by either President George W. Bush in 2004 or Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. The fear for these lawmakers is that voting for progressive legislation will leave them vulnerable to election challenges next year.

Again, from the Hill:

Many centrists credit Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, then a congressman from Illinois and a member of leadership, for pushing Pelosi to protect vulnerable members. As the former head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, Emanuel had recruited many of them to run in the 2006 election that gave Democrats the majority.

“Rahm could say, ‘Nance, I’m the guy who delivered the House.’ He had a special ability to talk to her,” said a senior Democratic aide.

This year, members have been asked to spend $787 billion to stimulate the economy and vote on a budget with many liberal agenda items.

Democratic members point most to Pelosi’s handling of the climate change measure. Pelosi worked the floor relentlessly to pass the fast- tracked bill, persuading a number of worried centrists to vote for it just before the Independence Day holiday. Some Democratic centrists have regretted backing that bill.

What irks them most is the sense that the Senate won’t pass anything so strong, if it passes anything at all. So they expect to get beaten up for voting on a bill that will never become law.

“What bothers me is I was put in that position unnecessarily,” said one vulnerable lawmaker.

That has made vulnerable and centrist lawmakers wary now that lawmakers are working on the president’s top priority: healthcare. Centrist Blue Dogs threatened to stop the bill in committee, saying their priorities had been ignored, particularly on the contentious issue of a “public option.”

That group negotiated a compromise, but Blue Dogs were enraged this week to find out that Pelosi has told fellow leaders she was backing a public option and a surtax that ignored that deal. Pelosi has since backed off, saying she will leave the decision to the caucus.

Still, vulnerable Democrats are worried that they will be pressured into supporting a public option that many of their constituents consider a “government takeover.”

Aides say centrist lawmakers have complained loudly to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) when they feel like Pelosi isn’t listening.

Hoyer has been more open to a bill without a public option than Pelosi, who has said a measure without one can’t pass the House.
Perhaps they should they think of it this way - if healthcare and climate change aren't passed - you know the stuff we elected them to do - they should start worrying more about being challenged from the left - in bitterly contested primary fights.

It seems to be working wonders for Jane Harman, a Blue Dog Democrat who's come out unequivocally in favor of the public option.

She's being challenged by single-payer advocate Marcy Winograd


Blue Dog Jane Harman On Supporting The Pubic Option, "I'm Not Going To Cave"


The Blue Dog and Progressive Caucus are finishing up dueling "whip-counts" this week to find out definitively how their respective memberships stand on the public option.


The count comes in advance of a critical House Democratic caucus meeting Thursday morning in the Capitol, where leadership will take their own whip count. The fate of the public option in the House will be largely determined by the parallel whip efforts -- and how aggressive each bloc is in pushing for its priorities. In other words, it comes down to which pack wants it more, the Blue Dogs or the progressives.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has insisted that a bill without a public option wouldn't have the votes to pass because her more progressive members would oppose. Her top lieutenant, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), has long been closer to the Blue Dogs and took a different position, saying that the public option may have to be scuttled to get a package through the House.


Blue Dogs were alarmed when Pelosi said that a sizable number of their crew in fact back a public option. So they resolved to find out.....

One Blue Dog they can't count on is Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.).

"I'm for a robust public option and I filled out my survey to say I was," Harman told the Huffington Post.....

"It is beyond me, when they're the ones that are all about cost savings, that they don't get that the more robust the public option, based on an established rate system like Medicare, the more we save," said CPC Co-Chair Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

That argument resonates with Harman, who said that a "number" of other Blue Dogs agree with her. The lack of forceful opposition to the public option from Blue Dogs can be explained: The idea has polled well in Blue Dog districts and the coalition has pushed for more spending on rural hospitals. Including a public option is one way to pay for that.

"I see it as a market-forcing mechanism to keep costs down. I think it will correct what is presently a market failure, where in some states there's only one insurance option," Harman said. "So if I'm right, a robust public option -- if I'm right -- fulfills the core Blue Dog mission, which is fiscal discipline."

After being told that Woolsey wanted to speak with her when the interview was over, Harman ventured: "She wants to make sure I'm not going to cave."

She walked over to Woolsey, put her hand on her shoulder, and looked her in the eye. "I'm not going to cave," Harman told her.

It was that kind of support, Woolsey responded, that would carry the public option through.

But it all comes down to numbers. "I just don't believe that there are 218 Democratic votes in the House for any bill,"Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) "That means you've gotta have some votes from the other side."

Not necessarily. With 256 Democrats, Pelosi could lose 38 Blue Dogs and still pass a bill without the GOP.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Palin Slams Obama In Hong Kong Speech, US Delegates Walk Out




HONG KONG — Former U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, criticized for her lack of foreign policy experience...addressed an annual conference of investors in Hong Kong in what was billed as a wide-ranging talk about governance, economics and U.S. and Asian affairs.

Two US delegates left early, according to AFP, with one saying "it was awful, we couldn't stand it any longer." He declined to be identified.

"I'm going to call it like I see it and I will share with you candidly a view right from Main Street, Main Street U.S.A.," Palin told a room full of asset managers and other finance professionals, according to a video of part of the speech obtained by The Associated Press. "And how perhaps my view of Main Street ... how that affects you and your business."

Palin spoke out against government intervention in the economy. "We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place," Palin said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom," she added.

She also praised the conservative economic policies of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, according to another attendee who declined to be named because he didn't want to be seen as speaking on behalf of his company.

She claimed that if taxes were cut and the capital gains tax and estate tax eliminated, the world would "watch the U.S. economy roar back to life."

Palin argued that many average Americans are uncomfortable with health care reforms that infringe on private enterprise, Chris Palmer, an American fund manager for Gartmore Investment Ltd., told reporters.

She didn't refer to President Barack Obama by name, the Wall Street Journal reported, but said she called his campaign promises "nebulous, utopian sounding... Now 10 months later, though, a lot of Americans are asking: more government? Is that the change we want?"

Some attendees were disappointed by her focus on her home state and her attacks on President Obama.

"As fund managers we want to hear about the United States as a whole, not just about Alaska," one told AFP. "And she criticized Obama a lot but offered no solutions."

Palin also said she believes the U.S. has a role in helping China find its future and that the U.S. will always be on the side of promoting freedom, according to Palmer.

In an apparent reference to tensions between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese that have led to riots, Palin mentioned China's ethnic problems, arguing they are "a sign that China lacks mechanisms to deal with regional issues," Palmer said.

The speech marked Palin's first major appearance since she resigned as governor in July, and the speech's location and international scope could help boost her credentials ahead of a possible bid for president in 2012. While she's thought to be considering that, her Hong Kong trip bore no political overtones, said Fred Malek, a friend and Palin adviser.

"You can read a lot of things into it, 'Is she trying to burnish her foreign policy credentials?' and the like. But really, it's a trip that will be beneficial to her knowledge base and will defray some legal and other bills that she has," Malek said.

Palin aides refused to disclose her fee for the appearance, which has been rumored to be in the low six figures.

Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday the group knew little about Palin's speech.

"We're curious as to what she's willing to say in private but not in public," Sevugan said. "Are there other countries that she can see from her window that she doesn't want us to know about?"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BREAKING! Pelosi Drops Blue Dog Compromise


From The Hill:

Speaker Pelosi is backing away from a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with talks.

Pelosi’s decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates.

"The speaker is full-steam-ahead," said a senior Democratic aide.

But a Pelosi aide said nothing is final, and the proposal to revert to the more left-leaning version of the language would be vetted before the entire Democratic Caucus.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn't support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

Pelosi is now effectively withdrawing her support. In leadership meetings last week, she said the public option in the House bill should be linked to Medicare.

Other Blue Dogs involved in the deal have said they realized the public option they negotiated was likely to change before it went to the floor.

Pelosi has also told her fellow leaders she still wants an income surtax on the wealthy, rather than a tax on "Cadillac" health plans, as a means to help pay the $1 trillion cost of the bill. The rest is to be made up with savings in Medicare by eliminating wasteful spending.

That will worry many members who led the charge against the surtax when it was rolled out.

Pelosi wants decisions on the public option and tax this week. She wants to produce a bill that will be a starting point for negotiations among the disparate and, at times, warring factions of the Democratic Caucus.

"The Speaker is committed to having a strong public option in the House bill because it is the best way to promote competition, control cost and keep the insurance companies honest," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. "The caucus continues to meet to discuss the legislation and its provisions."

Democrats are to discuss the public option at a caucus meeting Thursday. That discussion will include replacing the public option with nonprofit "cooperatives" that would compete with private insurers but would not be run by the government. A Senate Finance Committee bill has a similar provision.

The Blue Dogs chose the member who will present the co-op proposal.

Both the public option and cooperatives are intended to compete with private insurers in an attempt to drive down costs. Blue Dogs have also supported making the government-run plan a fallback option if other reforms in the bill don't lower healthcare costs.

BREAKING! Massachusetts Approves Special Appointment To Replace Kennedy


From D-day:

The Massachusetts State Senate just passed the bill allowing for a temporary appointment to the US Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy. The Governor will sign and the Democrats will be back to 60 seats perhaps by the end of the week.

This is probably the best practice for Senate vacancies - a temporary appointment because of the disproportionate impact of losing one Senator out of 100, followed by a quick election within a few months. It ought to be the standard.

Most speculation on the seat has centered on former Governor Michael Dukakis, or someone with ties to the Kennedy family or Teddy himself, like a former staffer. At any rate, that vote will certainly be fairly Democratic.

Obviously this raises the possibility of demanding Democratic unity on allowing a final vote on health care to go forward, even if they don't approve of the final bill. There's the matter of Robert Byrd (who ought to resign and live the rest of his life in peace), but essentially, Democrats will have the votes to block a filibuster if they hang together. And if Harry Reid cannot figure out how to enable a vote the the overwhelming majority of his caucus supports, then he doesn't have any power whatsoever. Reid is still raising the possibility of reconciliation, but that's a bluff for Republicans. It's the Democrats in his own chamber who need the nudge, although perhaps reconciliation is a warning to them as well.

Hollywood Speaks Out, "Stop Picking On Insurance Companies"

Seriously........OK, well, not so seriously.

Will Ferrell is responsible for this hilarious and biting satire of all those sappy issue ads where "regular folk" try so very hard to stare intently into the camera, break the 4th wall, and romp around in your hearts (and maybe your pocketbook).

But this is satire with a purpose. Sponsored by MoveOn.org, the ad ends with a phone number in DC you can call to urge your representatives to fight for the public option.

Great timing and great messaging. Pass it on.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

We're #34! In Water Main Breaks, That Is.


So the 34th major water main break in Los Angeles since Sept. 1 hit us just around the corner this time, in Venice. Clearly this proves there's nothing wrong with the infrastructure in California that a tax cut wouldn't fix. Damn those socialist water mains!



The latest in a string of water main blowouts in L.A. occurred this morning in Venice, causing a sinkhole on Lincoln Boulevard.

Since Sept. 1, there have been 34 "major blowouts" in L.A.'s water system in which streets have flooded and pavement has buckled.




Another one occurred Friday afternoon on Myra Avenue in Silver Lake. By contrast, the city had only 21 such ruptures in all of September 2008, 17 in September 2007 and 13 in September 2006.

The latest break occurred on Lincoln Boulevard near Palms Boulevard. KABC-TV footage showed a section of the roadway had buckled, creating a hole. Details of the break were not immediately available, but some lanes of Lincoln are closed.

City engineers trying to determine what's causing the water main bursts have been taking soil samples, sending pipe pieces to labs and performing a statistical analysis on each break.

But some experts said a prime suspect should be the city's recent decision to allow sprinkling only on Mondays and Thursdays.

They said that if more water flows through the system on those two days, then pressure suddenly changes on other days, it could put added stress on already-aging pipes.

CNN to FOX, "You Lie!"



Fox News took out a full-page ad in Friday's Washington Post (and a half-page ad in the Wall Street Journal) to boast about its coverage of the Tea Party protests last weekend in D.C. and to goad its rivals by asking "How Did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN Miss This Story?"

A number of these networks didn't take the Fox News ad lying down, and fired back, saying the ad was "just false" since they did indeed cover the protests. CNN's Rick Sanchez gave an even more colorful response (watch here) in which he said, "Let me address the Fox News Network now perhaps the most current way that I can, by quoting somebody who recently used a very pithy phrase, two words. It's all I need: You lie," the AP reports.

Now, Media Matters reports, Sanchez's network aired an ad this evening that strikes back at Fox News' claim. The ad's slogan: "Fox News: Distorting, Not Reporting."


Damn That Socialist Wall Street!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Help Put Blue Dog Mike Ross Back In The Dog House

Blue Dog Mike Ross (D-AR) has taken over $921, 000 in campaign cash from the insurance and health care industries, and he remains a major obstacle to comprehensive health care reform.

Help us change the status quo - donate a few dollars so we can call him out on his hypocracy with this ad from Change Congress.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tell Blanche Lincoln and Mike Ross To Act Like Democrats


Today Firedoglake is launching ads against Republicanized Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mike Ross. You can read about the campaign here.

For now, they're hitting Blanche Lincoln and Mike Ross.

This is just the beginning. Notice is given. They're moving on to other Democrats who indicate they're willing to vote against the American people on healthcare.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Thank God For Glen Beck!" And Other Deep Thoughts From 9/12


From the Daily Dish:

A common meme on the left is that racism is driving the hatred of Obama. I think the root is deeper and scarier: it is shadow projection.

Our ego wants to believe we are wonderful, and so cannot tolerate evidence to the contrary. Consider America. As good as we are, we have a dark side and our actions often have dark consequences. We are large and cast a large shadow. If we were a more mature people we would simply own our dark side, integrate it into part of our self knowledge, and act accordingly. However American mythology says that we are the good country, and to maintain that the pure version of that belief, we are willfully ignorant of our faults. In the minds of many “patriotic” Americans, we have no dark side. Unwilling to own our dark side, we project our shadow onto others.




The Cold War gave us a long period as “the good country” as the Soviet Union gave us a steady (and objectively evil) force onto which we could project our shadow. After the fall of communism we finally found Saddam Hussein to play that role, which clouded our perceptions of the real Saddam (and again, he was objectively evil). Since the Iraq war we’ve looked for a new target onto which to project our shadow. Perennial candidates China, North Korea, and Iran don’t quite suit our needs, and “the terrorists” finally wore thin. I have wondered who our next victim would be. Now we know.

It is Obama.

The right is projecting its shadow onto Obama. The same qualities that make him a saint to the left make him the devil to the right - he is easy to project onto.
That is why he is the out of control spender when they sat on their hands through all of Bush's malfeasance. That is why his talking to schoolchildren is dangerous when our government wiretapping its citizens wasn’t. That is why saving the financial system from years of Republican regulation is taking away our future.

The more evil revealed about the right’s excesses on torture, or wars of choice, or nearly destroying the economy, the more evil Obama will look in their eyes, as they cannot tolerate owning responsibility, because in their own minds they are only good.

That is why he is the Fascist/Communist/Socialist/Muslim… that is the list of our shadow projections over the last 60 years. In their minds he is now the USSR ("my grandchildren will have to stand in line for toilet paper!") or even the Anti-Christ. The Obama they see is a projection of their own psyche, not that actual man in the White House. Missing birth certificates, death panels, indoctrinating children, these are all the projections running in their own heads, not things happening in the real world.

Racism makes Obama the Other, but shadow projection is an even more powerful (if interrelated) force than simple racism, and it is very susceptible to the mob mentality – think Goldberg in Orwell’s 1984. This will not end well. Now that Obama is carrying their shadow, only a dramatic event from outside could change it. (Or, they could gain awareness of their disowned dark side, and tolerating the inevitable pain of that experience, integrate into a healthy whole. This would require white, middle-class, middle-aged Americans - the primary protesters - to acknowledge that white middle class Americans are not all goodness and light and start taking responsibility for white privilege, their environmental choices, effects of class on economic status, etc. Don’t hold your breath.) The more those on the right deny their own failings, the more their internal unease will increase, the more the hatred to Obama will grow, and the more the need to do something will increase.

No wonder the far right is going bat shit crazy. In the movie playing in their minds, the enemy is within the gates.

Obama Is An "Indonesian Muslim Turned Welfare Thug"



"Tea Party" leader Mark Williams appeared on a CNN panel on "Anderson Cooper 360" last night and promptly set to work discrediting himself and his movement. Williams denounced those carrying blatantly racist signs against President Obama during the tea parties as "no more part of the mainstream of America than the hippies who wear nipple clips and feather boas in San Francisco streets during so-called peace demonstrations."

Cooper had done his homework, however, and caught Williams blatantly misrepresenting himself: "What you're saying makes sense to me here when I'm hearing what you say but then I read on your blog, you say, you call the President an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief."

Williams shrugs and responds, "Yeah, that's the way he's behaving." An incredulous Cooper asks Williams if he really believes Obama is an Indonesian Muslim and a welfare thug. The tea party leader digs the hole a little deeper: "He's certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country what else can I conclude."

Are You Ready To Spend $30,000 A Year For Health Insurance?



Those who think "failure is not an option" is just a slogan should really take a look at the Kaiser Foundation numbers. What they show is nothing but a nightmare.

Let's do some very simple arithmetic. Start with a fairly conservative assumption: If we assume that premium increases over the next ten years will average what they did over the last five (about 6.1% per year), the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. That's a big number. On the other hand, if we assume increases revert to the average of the last ten years—an average annual increase of about 8.7% and a very plausible scenario—premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,803, a very scary number.

Here's their chart:


You Lie! Anatomy of the "2 Million" Moron March Lie


From Media Matters:

Blame it on a tweet.

It turns out that's what kicked off the right-wing blogosphere's comically inept misinformation campaign last weekend to try to swell the size of Saturday's anti-Obama protest in the nation's capital, to jack the crowd size up to the wildly inflated -- and erroneous -- number of 2 million people.

Nice try.

According to estimates provided by the Washington, D.C., fire department, Malkin and friends were only off by 1,930,000 people. In other words, Malkin, citing fictitious press accounts, led the charge to falsely inflate the size of the crowd by 30 times. Malkin and company, desperate to dress up the tea party event as a mass movement, saw a relatively modest crowd of 70,000 GOP protesters and imagined it was 2 million strong. (She's a dreamer, I suppose.)

Worse, Malkin spent most of Saturday in denial, refusing to update her transparently false report, which meant the rest of the right-wing blogosphere also played dumb on a massive scale and kept excitedly repeating the manufactured claim. The scary part is that within the fact-free conservative blogosphere, lots of people still believe the 2 million nonsense, or are at least repeating it. They believe it despite the fact that nobody can point to any evidence to support it.......

The conservative comedy of errors began on Saturday when Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, took to the rally stage and unfurled a massive lie. He told the crowd ABC News had reported that between 1 million to 1.5 million people had gathered to protest Obama's policies. (Later, a FreedomWorks flack conceded she had no idea know why Kibbe manufactured the claim about ABC News.)

Immediately, conservative activist Tabitha Hale (aka "pinkelephantpun") tweeted Kibbe's lie but added an additional 500,000 people to the tally: "ABC reporting 2 million people."

Seven minutes later, Malkin re-tweeted Hale's claim. Then, one minute after that, Malkin turned that tweet into part of her ongoing protest coverage. Intrepid "reporter" Malkin took an unsupported tweet and reported it as news:

12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million -- tweets Tabitha Hale from D.C.

Teeny, tiny fringe, huh?

Note that in her blog post there were no links for Malkin's utterly fantastic claim, no place on the Web where readers could go and confirm that D.C. police had pegged the crowd at 1.2 million or that ABC had made the staggering claim of 2 million. The lack of live links should have been a massive red flag for readers and fellow bloggers, especially when it was associated with such a controversial and news-breaking claim.

But, of course, Malkin had no links or any real facts to go on. All she had was a couple of tweets from Hale, who, in retrospect, appeared to have spent much of Saturday just making shit up.

Read the rest here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tea Part-ay! The "Unauthorized" 9.12 Teabagger Tour


From Max Blumenthal:

When I dove into the angry mob with a camera, I captured scenes of self-proclaimed “real Americans” declaring that the community organizing group Acorn was Obama’s version of Hitler’s SS; that the President planned to establish concentration camps for right-wing dissidents; and that Obama was raising a private army in the guise of a civilian volunteer force. The death panel rumor is just one of a rapidly growing array of conspiracy theories reverberating through the Republican base. Each one is more hysterical than the last.

Conspiracism has proven a useful tool for distracting many of the 9.12 Project participants I met from their own economic interests. Having been convinced through endless hours of right-wing media that government involvement in their healthcare would lead to totalitarian slavery, some demonstrators told me they were content to not have healthcare at all. Others said they would stop collecting their Social Security as soon as “the government gets out of my life.”

My video tour of the 9.12 Project is yet another exhibit of how the Republican Party’s big tent became a one-ring circus that operates according to the rules of P.T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”


Public Option Not Dead Yet


From D-Day:

If there was ever a moment to get through to the White House (about the popularity) of the public option), it happened yesterday. The President, at a rally in Minnesota, stated his support for a public option, and the crowd went wild. Absolutely nuts. So much so, the President seemed unnerved by it. He kept on with the same rhetoric from his Wendesday speech about how it's not a big deal and it wouldn't cover everybody. But efforts to rein that in just elicited confusion.

Like it or not, the public option has major grassroots support, and it's driving whatever energy exists around the bill. Kill it and you kill any attempt at leveraging that energy. And the prospects for a bill become remote. Maybe Obama figured this out yesterday in Minnesota.




Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mob Mentality


Watch what happens when just one man (with balls the size of watermelons) carrying a 'PUBLIC OPTION NOW' banner walks through the Mall at yesterday's teabagger rally.

Watching the mob's reaction, I have to wonder what would have happened to this man if the park police hadn't decided to intervene.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fightening

September 12, 2009. Washington DC

Only 6%-7% Of Predicted Crowd Shows For DC Tea-Bagger Event


As late as yesterday afternoon, organizers of the event expected upwards of a million protestors. Although no "official" estimates are being offered by the National Park Service, the news media is reporting "tens of thousands" of protesters and street level reports from protestors themselves put crowd estimates anywhere from 15K-50K, while reports from the DC Fire Department put the crowd at anywhere from 60K-70K

Event organizers had been planning the march for six months.

To give this some perspective, with only 6 days notice, President Obama's healthcare rally in Minnesota drew capacity crowds. of 15,000+




Friday, September 11, 2009

We're #37!!!!!!!


A little song celebrating our position at #37 in the world in healthcare.


Words For 9/11


We cannot fail. Because there are too many Americans counting on us to succeed – the ones who suffer silently, and the ones who shared their stories with us at town hall meetings, in emails, and in letters.

I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.

In it, he spoke about what a happy time his last months were, thanks to the love and support of family and friends, his wife, Vicki, and his children, who are here tonight . And he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform – “that great unfinished business of our society,” he called it – would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that “it concerns more than material things.” “What we face,” he wrote, “is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

I’ve thought about that phrase quite a bit in recent days – the character of our country. One of the unique and wonderful things about America has always been our self-reliance, our rugged individualism, our fierce defense of freedom and our healthy skepticism of government. And figuring out the appropriate size and role of government has always been a source of rigorous and sometimes angry debate.

For some of Ted Kennedy’s critics, his brand of liberalism represented an affront to American liberty. In their mind, his passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government.

But those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here – people of both parties – know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patient’s Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities.

On issues like these, Ted Kennedy’s passion was born not of some rigid ideology, but of his own experience. It was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. He never forgot the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick; and he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance; what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or an aging parent – there is something that could make you better, but I just can’t afford it.

That large-heartedness – that concern and regard for the plight of others – is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character. Our ability to stand in other people’s shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together; that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand. A belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgement that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise.

This has always been the history of our progress. In 1933, when over half of our seniors could not support themselves and millions had seen their savings wiped away, there were those who argued that Social Security would lead to socialism. But the men and women of Congress stood fast, and we are all the better for it. In 1965, when some argued that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did not back down. They joined together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind.

You see, our predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition, and the vulnerable can be exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter – that at that point we don’t merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.

What was true then remains true today. I understand how difficult this health care debate has been. I know that many in this country are deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road – to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.

But that’s not what the moment calls for. That’s not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.

Because that is who we are. That is our calling. That is our character. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

- Barack Obama, September 9, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

John McCain "Compromises" on Health Care Reform By Pulling False $2T Claim Out Of His Ass


Evidently still basking in the glow from last night's speech, John McCain graciously took Obama's olive branch of bi-partisanship.... and promptly poked him in the eye with it.

This, from a fundraising letter McCain sent out to Republican contributors today:

Last night, during his speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation, President Obama outlined his new proposal for health care reform. While I respect the President's point of view, and hope for an eventual compromise, I believe his proposal amounts to an egregiously expensive and expansive form of government-run health care.

After a month of hosting and attending town hall meetings with my constituents in Arizona and around the country, I know that Americans want health care reform. But what is so very clear to me is that Americans want to reform health care in the right way. I am more convinced than ever that we must fix what is wrong with our health care system while doing no harm to the parts that work well.

This means we need to have malpractice reform, we must emphasize wellness and fitness, give people the option to get the health insurance of their choice and bring the cost of health care under control.

If you agree, that we need to reform health care reform the right way, then I ask you to sign my health care reform petition today by following this link.

I am very troubled by the potential cost of the President's outlined plans. I know that you are very concerned with the national debt and a projected $9 trillion deficit. The prospective cost of the President's plan could reach $2 trillion, and frankly, our country simply cannot afford this price tag.

I will not support heath care reform that adds to the out-of-control spending spree the Democrats in Congress have gone on this year. And I ask you to join me in rejecting the addition of $2 trillion of debt by signing this petition right away.

Government-run health care is something we simply cannot afford, and I know that the majority of Americans agree with me that it is not the quality of health care that needs reforming, but the cost. But, I need to know you stand with me. Will you follow this link to sign my petition?

As you know, the Democrats in Washington are doing everything in their power to push through their proposed reform full of political gimmicks. Your action today will send a clear message to them; we don't want government-run health care. Thank you, my friend, for your support and involvement on this very important national issue.