Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Night of the Living Death Panel" Idea, is Back.

The old is new again, Rachel Maddow points out, as the Republicans trot out the "Lie of the Year" death panel scare. Apparently the old adage is true, any publicity is good publicity, so why not bring back the award winning "death panel" idea.

Tight Wad Republican AG Van Hollen Wants More Money for His Department or He'll "protect the public less."

If you can't walk the walk…

All of a sudden Wisconsin Republicans have come to the realization that their "tough on crime, one-upmanship policies, are draining state taxpayer money away from everything else, adding to the deficit.

Missing the irony of his own tough on crime campaign rhetoric, Wisconsin's top law enforcement Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told
“If we undertook the requirements of that bill (OWI and DNA changes) without resources to back it up, it could paralyze the Department of Justice, and it could create backlogs that are insurmountable.”
No kidding, J.B.? Republican lawmakers were screaming bloody murder when the governor and Democratic legislature decided to ease up on truth and sentencing for rehabilitation and early releases for non-violent offenders due to the huge budget deficit.

It'll be interesting to see if the state GOP, the Grand Opportunist Party, will try to have it both ways in the 2010 midterms in the hope no one notices.

In fact, check out the following statement and tell me if any Democrat could get away with saying what Van Hollen does here:
"We can protect the public hopefully more because of this OWI legislation, but in some other category, unfortunately, we'll have to perhaps protect the public less."
"Unfortunately, we'll have to protect the public less!"...Can you imagine what the conservative radio talk hosts would do with that statement?

The Grand Opportunist Party Exploits Fear and Terrorism

Who forgot to lock the asylum door?

As MSNBC's David Shuster's graphic said quite effectively, the GOP stands for the "Grand Opportunist Party."

Receiving criticism for vacationing in Hawaii when the failed underwear bomber attack occurred, Former Romney spokesman Kevin Madden came out with this gem aimed at Obama: "Hawaii, to many Americans, seems like a foreign place."

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, not realizing his criticism could just as easily been applied to the Bush/Cheney administration, said "Again, these are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan!..." He then asked for a monetary donation.

According to the Washington Post:

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said: "This episode highlights that on this issue Republicans are simply hypocrites, and it proves what we have said for a long time - there is nothing - no bounds whatsoever - to what they will politicize for their own political gain. What's more telling is that they have no shame in doing it - inconsistency, political opportunism and hypocrisy seem to define the Republican Party and their approach to politics and policy."

The political pushback comes in reaction to a concerted GOP effort to reclaim the national security issue from a young president they see as vulnerable.

Leading that charge once again is former vice president Dick Cheney, who said in a statement to Politico that Obama is making the country less safe by "pretending" that the U.S. is not at war with terrorists.

In the statement, Cheney leveled a broadly worded charge against Obama: "Why doesn't he want to admit we're at war? It doesn't fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn't fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency - social transformation -- the restructuring of American society. President Obama's first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war."

Fighting Dem Joan Walsh Trashes Creepy Cheney Sycophant Ron Christie

Fellow Madisonian Joan Walsh channeled exactly what I wanted to say to Cheney idol worshipper Ron Christie on Hardball Wednesday afternoon. Walsh summed up exactly what Cheney and the Republican Party have been trying to do since day one of his administration, and that is to minimize and de-legitimize Obama's term as president. Chris Matthews even pressed him on Cheney's ruthless criticisms, which only elicited a Christie chuckle.

Fight Back! Democrats Need to Push Back on GOP Politicization of Terror, Economy and Religion.

Rep. Eric Massa takes it to a most deserving chicken hawk, Dick Cheney, on a recent appearance on Ed Schultz's show. Remember, the tone in Washington is not a bi-partisan creation, it's the sole creation of the Republican Party.

In the clip below, even the very pleasant and agreeable columnist Eugene Robinson appears to have had enough after Dick Cheney's demeaning comments about Obama. Robinson's point is similar to the one I've been making all along; The Republican Party has gone loony right-wing because no one has really reigned them in, challenged them and forced them to back up their comments in the reality based world, when they've said and done so many crazy things.

This is a topic who's time has come.

Goodbye TV and News for the Not so Wealthy People, Like Us.

Pretty soon the information highway will have tolls at every turn, keeping news at arms length if you don't have the means to pay for it. Conservative greed meister Rupert Murdoch's empire is big enough now to demand outrageous prices for his TV programming.

Some think it's a liberal conspiracy to take Fox News off their cable systems, oblivious to the fact that they're going to be seeing big price increases in their cable bills soon. Worse still, those who don't watch Faux News will be paying Murdoch too, so he can churn out more of his media slime. The Capital Times:

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp wants cable companies to pay … (and) is threatening to remove its Fox stations from Time Warner Cable systems at the end of this week if the cable company does not agree to pay sizable subscriber fees of about $1 a month for each subscriber, potentially setting a precedent for broadcasters that are seeking a new revenue stream to offset advertising declines.

Time Warner, in turn, is playing hardball, running an advertising campaign to prepare viewers for the prospect of a January without college bowl games or "American Idol."
It pains me to think my money will help Murdoch's propaganda channel vilify me and half the nations citizens left of center, all the while opening the door for every other network to jack their subscriber fees through the roof.

After hearing the news that AT&T is hiking their monthly rates for TV, phone and Internet, why aren't the tea partiers screaming their heads off over the eventual loss of their freedom to be informed and keep more of their money?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stimulus defanged: Job creation removed. Guess what, Now We're Focusing in on jobs.


To the right, I've included the actual numbers that show who created the huge deficits we now hear the Republicans whining about. A bit convienent, wouldn't you say. It's possible no one will notice.

Jobs a Big Problem: How did we get here? Congressman David Obey, D-Wausau, used his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee to craft an economic stimulus bill that might have averted the sharp rise in unemployment, which was the year’s most unsettling domestic development. Unfortunately, Obey’s good work was undermined in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., bartered away $300 billion in spending for job creation to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy favored by supposedly “moderate” Republicans.

During the stimulus debate centrist Democrats did the work of the Republicans by loading up tax cuts and removing the elements that created jobs. Still not one Republican voted for the bill. We are now in trouble, thanks to the fiscally conservative Democrats.

Fiscal conservatism collapsed Wall Street and crashed the global economy. It's a misnomer. Here's what happened:

On Jan. 29, the House passed a $819 stimulus plan without a single Republican vote … after a group of senators brokered a compromise (that) slashed important provisions from the House version -- including the elimination of $16 billion in funds for new school construction -- while adding tax credits that skewed toward the wealthy.

A Center for American Progress analysis found that it would have created 9 to 12 percent fewer jobs than the House plan, even while costing $16 billion more … the House and Senate ironed out differences in the bill …The final compromise has only $513 billion in spending, with $276 billion in tax breaks. Some of these tax breaks, such as the credit for new home buyers, are particularly non-stimulative … The compromise slashes aid to states to $44 billion, from the House's $80 billion … Congressional Black Caucus leaders also objected to the elimination of $4.2 billion in neighborhood stabilization funding removed by the Senate and asked for funding to provide broadband Internet access to poor communities and to create more job training programs.

Isn't it time we vilify the term fiscal conservative, defining it as something that means economically clueless?

Republican State Sen. Grothman on Combating 15" of Snow: "Madison officials are endangering citizens access to their state government."

Don't you just love the party that hates government. Oh, except when expanding government advances something they want.

It looks like Mr. "small government" Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman has had enough, when it comes to the inconvenience of mom nature dumping 15" of snow on our city streets, complicating his path to the capital building. The Wisconsin State Journal:

Glenn Grothman … (said) Madison officials are endangering citizens' access to their state government and university … he's drafting a bill that would strip the city's ability to set policies for salting and plowing its main roads and give that authority to the state Department of Transportation. Only Madison, which Grothman claims is worse at clearing streets than other state cities, would be affected by the proposal.

"This is what happens when you have a city with politicians whose base is people who walk to their job at the co-op. They become incapable of handling their responsibilities to the state as a whole," Grothman said. "I'm exaggerating a little bit, but you know what I mean."
Glenn's just kidding, a little bit, when he uses a time worn cliché to portray a perennially top ten best city in America as a place so poorly run it needs his help. What was unfortunate was the typically serious liberal response that legitimized such a ridiculous proposal:

Mario Mendoza, aide to Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, said "It's an issue that the city is already working on and there is no need for the measure called for by Senator Grothman,"
Blah, blah, blah...Would it surprise anyone that the issue involves the environment? Evil overlord Mother Nature, and her band of "enemy combatant" liberals, are fighting the Republicans over global warming.

City officials have said the policy is aimed at balancing keeping roads safe and holding down salt levels in area lakes and drinking water. But Grothman, a conservative who often favors local control, said that approach was so irresponsible the city should be stripped of its authority.
Saving the lakes and preserving our ability to drink water is irresponsible? West Bend voters must be proud of their knuckle dragging senator.

The Corporate States of America

My conservative friend believes in capitalism. He is constantly complaining about "big government" with its high wages and generous benefits. Instead of bringing private sector wages and benefits up to the public level, he would prefer everyone be at the private level. It's crazy, I know.

The video below exposes the very private student loan provider, SallieMae, as the end product of the best government money can buy. You'll notice how SallieMae magically never loses a penny due to the generosity of the American taxpayer. But wait, I said private didn't I.

It's sad the tea party movement is based on low information voters, mindlessly protesting mythical problems and socialism, instead of trying to wrestle government out of the tight fists of corporate power. The video is a shining example of how diseased our democracy is right now.

From Now on PBS:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Republican Candidate Andy Martin Really Hates Homosexuals. Listen to His Gay Bashing Campaign Ad.

Your jaw will drop after listening to this ad by Republican candidate for Obama's Illinois' senate seat, Andy Martin, known bigot and homophobe. This is not a joke. Do Republicans have any sense of decency?

WBBM/CBS - U.S Senate candidate Andy Martin is airing a new political advertisement that is making accusations about the sexual orientation of Congressman Mark Kirk.

From Jonathan Turley blog:
Martin has achieved a degree of infamy for anti-Semitic remarks and his fostering of the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

In 1996, Martin (a former journalist) ran for a Florida State Senate seat with a campaign committee named “The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America.” In a 1983 bankruptcy case, Martin reportedly called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

Republican Robin Vos Tough on Drunk Drivers, Tougher still on Ways to Pay for New Law.

As you might recall, Republicans are now saying that liberal policies are at fault for expensive tough on crime policies that are draining state coffers, and not their own testosterone driven authoritarian need to discipline. They also made sure Democrats looked soft on crime during elections. Now that states have come to their senses, realizing public services and education are now taking a back seat to prisons and truth in sentencing laws, Republicans are appear confused over which talking point to use, the old or the new.

On WPT's Here and Now, state Democratic Representative Mark Pocan explains the difficulty in paying for stricter OWI laws that will somehow stay revenue neutral. But when Republican Rep. Robin Vos praises the tougher rules, he trips himself up by complaining the laws should have been even tougher, and thus costlier, yet impossibly cheaper. No wonder Republicans ran the country into the ground. My head is hurting.

When asked where he would find other ways to pay for the tougher OWI law, Vos actually complained about a minor jump in fines for those caught driving drunk because many don't pay or can't afford it. So after saying he would have made the penalties tougher, he had no alternative way to pay for it. And that's having it both ways, if he can get away with it.

Bush Planned the End of PBS. Started Rot from within after installing Kenneth Thomlinson.

I found this Rachel Maddow coverage of the near demise of public television fascinating. Wayne Slater, author of "Bush's Brain," tells the most incredible TRUE story of the Bush administrations attempt to dismantle PBS by putting Kenneth Thomlinson in charge of overseeing and politicizing the excruciatingly unbiased network.

But since that didn't happen, the now former president wants everyone to see the George W. Bush think tank public TV show starting in February "Ideas in Action," a sneaky little way to revise history and gain Reagan like supporters. I'm sure the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert will be tuning in.

Feingold Challenger Wall Pushes Mythical "Economic Liberties."

Sen. Russ Feingold's Republican challenger, real estate developer Terrence Wall, would like to channel the Reagan years again because it treated government as the enemy. Wall is another guy who believes in the Reagan myth, and not the deficit producing, tax increasing Ronnie few people have heard about. Wall worries on Upfront with Mike Gousha, "Economic liberties are being taken away from us."

You know, the economic liberties we've come to know and love when we buy high priced health insurance policies that increase 10 to 35 percent each year, taking money out of our pocket and the economy. Apply those same "liberties" to cap and trade, even though suppliers raised rates anyway due to customers going green and the loss of manufacturing due to outsourcing. Wall even ignores the results of the Contract with America and the "deficits are okay" Republican congress that never attempted to tackle one social problem, except for saving Terri Shiavo.

Wall: "Unemployment is higher, I'd like to ask, are you better off today than 18 years ago...we have very serious problems...we need to solve. I don't see that happening."

Looks like we need to return to the last eight years of "economic liberties."

Terrence Wall's vision of a business friendly state includes finding ways for corporations to drive their trucks through every possible loophole. That means Wisconsin taxpayers will make-up for the lost state revenues. The Capital Times:

"A 2-acre piece of commercial real estate along bustling Greenway Boulevard owned by Terrence Wall Properties (had) been rented to a farmer, who this year planted a crop of pumpkins that were later sold to raise money for a Middleton youth group," essentially reclassifying the property "this year as agriculture property, saving the company about $34,000 in local taxes." Leaving no loophole unexploited, Wall took the side of the picked on victim saying, "That's the law; we're following it. But I guess in this town, no good deed goes unpunished."

Some Health Reform Benefits Start Immediately, Despite False Claims by Republicans. Surprised?

David Shuster again calls out a talking point Republican who refuses to admit Sen. John Thune's allegation that health reform benefits won't start until 1800 days after becoming law.

Despite futile calls from Sen. Al Franken for Thune to admit he was lying, Republicans know they will never be held accountable for fabricating their own facts with their constituents. Willful ignorance by conservatives about debt and spending during the Republican congress got us to this point, why would it be any different when it comes to knowing the actual details of health care reform.

In the clip, Shuster and Chris Kofinis try to get a straight answer from Republican Alex Johnson about the supposed delay in health care benefits.

Orin Hatch lets it Slip: "It was standard practice not to pay for things."

So what's left to say...

Watch and Listen to the Republican Defend Their Insanity.

What a week for wacky Republican talking points. If anyone else said what these fine upstanding "real" Americans have said, they would have been run out of town or locked away in a rubber room. Sen. John Ensign talks of loyalty and Oaths, Mary Matlin thinks 9/11 was past on to Bush and Jim DeMint is just plain crazy. Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz throw in a few astonished looks and comments.

Monday, December 28, 2009

AT&T Monopoly Unaffected by Competition

First off, this is not an ad for Vonage, but could be. For years I've had the $25 package offered up by Vonage, and couldn't be happier. Vonage is a phone service for home users utilizing the internet. Despite a slight drawback on emergency 911 calls, there is a work-around for that, here's what $25 buys you; "U.S and Puerto Rico calls, along with free unlimited international calling to over 60 countries including India, Mexico and Canada." Now that's tough competition. No call limits, no long distance charges. AT&T hasn't noticed. From The Capital Times:

AT&T will increase rates for many U-verse video, data and voice packages … the U-verse Voice Unlimited plan will increase 16.7 percent, to $35 per month from $30 … The U-verse Voice 250 plan, which includes 250 minutes of calling time anywhere in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, is remaining at $25 per month.
Gee, a whole 250 minutes free. Don't do us any favors AT&T. The intentional melding of high rate plans for cell phones with home phone rate plans is AT&T's attempt to gouge customers. Home phone rates have been comfortably low for some time due to VOIP (voice over the internet protocall) phone services, biting into AT&T and other land line companies that were slow to change.

As a former Ma Bell customer, I personally can't imagine any phone service worth more than $30 a month, period. My mind freezes on the thought of a $50 to $60 a month bill just to talk on the phone.

AT&T's price increases just hardens my resolve. Go VOIP (internet phone services).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Will someone please take John Nichols liberal pundit card away.

I have never seen a more winded, self important liberal elitist crash and burn so quickly as Nichols. He's trying so hard to be the go to guy on the left, but never knowing when to shut up, that it really is painful to watch. He flounders on issues at the base of the Democratic agenda in a way that is destructive to the party.

In an editorial comment the Sunday after Christmas, with its huge after holiday sales supplements, Nichols spazzes out about how unfair it is for congress to make laws, health care reform in this case, around the holidays. Huh? He can't be serious. He is in a piece titled "Holiday Health Debate Failed Democratic Test."

The Senate vote on health care reform may well have been as “historic” as everyone on Capitol Hill claimed. But few in America noticed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid … guaranteed the process would play while most Americans were taking care of kids out of school for the holiday break, rushing to complete their Christmas shopping, or trying to make it through the snow to the homes of relatives.

It is difficult to imagine a more anti-democratic schedule.

Intellectual stuff, isn't it? We can't shop while congress reforms health care? Nichols surreal trip down the rabbit hole continues.
…when the consideration of sweeping, complicated and historic legislation is rushed to completion while most voters cannot pay even a normal level of attention to the process, the resulting legislation will inevitably be more representative of Washington-insider deal-making than the aspirations of the great mass of Americans.
Nichols repeats the Republican misdirection play that we're "rushing" to reform health care. Rushing? If 100 years is rushing, then Nichols has a point, but to repeat something so wrong by the party of NO is to give their argument credibility. Please don't try to help the Democrats John.

It is not healthy for a democracy to be making major decisions when the vast majority of citizens are distracted by a season that encourages them to focus on family and friends rather than the affairs of state.

A schedule that has the Senate wrangling about exceptionally complicated reforms with vast social and economic import even as Santa’s elves are loading the sleigh and children are nestling with visions of sugarplums in their heads is, frankly, ridiculous.

No John, you're ridiculous.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tom Barrett: You'll Hear the Same Old "Tax and Spend Socialist Commie" I Guess From Walker

After all the negative posts I've given gubernatorial candidate "slick" Scott Walker, all deserved and one waiting in post production, here's a look at his opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Besides being philosophically similar, there's a comfort level in his approach to solving problems. It's not the same old ideologically driven policy that "slick" Scott has proven doesn't work.

WPT's Here and Now and Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-shay) don't toss softball questions at Barrett, who unlike the evasive Walker, provides clear answers.

The Solution to the Recession: Lower Wages! Hey, Has the Private Sector Ever Been Wrong?

As I have mentioned a number of times before, not only does corporate America own us by manipulating congress to do its bidding, but through something called disaster capitalism, where they now can make the "acceptable" argument for reducing wages across the board as a way to pull us out of a recession. You won't believe the following argument to lower our wages. From a November 11, 2009 CNN article titled, "Americans are overpaid, For the global economy to rebalance, the pay gap between Americans and the rest of the world must shrink:"

U.S. workers are overpaid, relative to equally productive foreigners doing the same work. If the global economy is ever to get back into balance, that gap needs to be closed.

Of course, U.S. workers should earn more than their peers in China, Moldova, or Vietnam. But how much higher should U.S. wages be? The answer depends in large part on two measures: the difference in productivity in making goods that can be traded across borders, and the quantity of such tradable goods. Both measures point to a narrowing wage gap.

The global wage gap has been narrowing, but recent U.S. labor market statistics suggest the adjustment has not gone far enough.

One indicator is unemployment … The 7.3 million jobs lost are more than treble the 2 million of the next worst post-war recession, in 1980-82 … but there could be another factor: the recession has revealed many workers are paid more than they are worth.

The huge surge in reported productivity … that suggests that some production is being outsourced altogether, often to lower-paid foreign workers. The big U.S. trade deficit -- cut in half but still at alarmingly high levels -- is another sign of excessive pay for Americans. One explanation for the attractive prices of imported goods is that U.S. workers are paid too much, relative to their foreign peers.

Global wage convergence is great for the poor but tough on the overpaid rich. It's possible to run the numbers to show that U.S. manufacturing workers should take average real wage cuts of as much as 20% to get into global balance.

A combination of moderate inflation to reduce real wages and a further drop in the dollar's real trade-weighted value might be an acceptable combination.

Welcome to the return of 19th century England.

Republican Voter Now Wants SUPER DUPER MAJORITY Before Bills Become Law

The following is so "not funny" it's funny.

Suddenly, Republicans are now super duper sensitive about how their elected politician votes on specific legislation. Never before have I seen such concern over reform and bill writing. In fact one guy is demanding CRAZY NEW RULES, like in this letter to the editor, from a minority party loser. Again, isn't it odd this voter was so silent while Republicans were spending like drunken sailors on unfunded tax cuts, bills passed in the middle of the night and Medicare Part D:

I do not believe that Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Herb Kohl have the support of their constituency for current health care legislation. They should provide the following:

A clear concise outline of the legislation in its entirety with all major points clearly defined and how it will affect their state. Clear reasons why they would support the legislation and the specific reasons why they feel their constituents support their decision.

Hard data which reflect state opinion on the matter and at least 75 percent general support of their vote. State residents expect accountability and the senators should not vote on this legislation without our approval. They vote on behalf of us, not for us. They should provide a statement that says they have listened to us and voted how we have decided. If they cannot do this, they have no business voting on this legislation.
All this from a Republican voter that wants to strip accountability from private businesses with tort reform, who wants strip the majority elected president and the party in power to legislate without an impossible 75% SUPER MAJORITY and dosen't like making tough decisions.

They are whiny cry babies on steroids.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Walkers Killer Food Service

So what would a future in Wisconsin look like if Scott "wayward" Walker were governor? From Eyeonwisconsin:
If they gave you bad food, or food that you couldn’t or shouldn’t eat … you would send it back. Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be the case at Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division. In the 2009 budget, Scott Walker initiated a proposal to privatize the food service at BHD (which the County Board ended up endorsing), even though the privatized food service at HOC and the County Justice Facility (county jail) was being less than successful, being ever more costly and having near riots due to the poor quality and quantity of the food … privatization was less expensive and more accountable than if the public sector provided the work.
But as it would happen, private for profit companies cut corners and save money for themselves by dramatically cutting back portion size eliciting complaints that patients weren't getting enough food…

Another big problem was that the food service agency was not following the specialized diet that many of the patients required. People without teeth were given foods that could end up being a choking hazard. Diabetic patients were not being given diabetic meals. Special orders by the doctors were being ignored … the already understaffed nurses … had to take extra time to not only make sure the trays were correct, but then … get the agency to send up the proper food. In other words, the private agency gets to collect all the money, but faces no accountability for when they screw up.

I was able to verify today that there was an incident a couple of weeks ago, when one of the trays brought to a patient was infested with bugs, reportedly maggots.
Scott "muddled" Walker can now blame the food service without taking a hit on his oversight responsibilities as county executive. For Republicans, it's all about blaming someone else. You know the drill; it's those communists, socialists, Democrats, too many regulations and taxes.

Over at bloggingblue, this Walker disaster:
Walker used his veto pen to shape the county’s budget as he saw fit, and in doing so, Walker imposed eight unpaid furlough days on sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers. When asked about the furloughs for deputies and corrections officers, Walker said he didn’t mean to subject sheriff’s deputies and jailers to eight unpaid furlough days next year…

Yet, when his gubernatorial foe Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett furlough Milwaukee police officers Walkers campaign complained
the eight budgets that Scott Walker presented have … reduced debt through creative solutions without cutting essential services, like firefighters and police officers.
Two huge points: In a shocking twist of logic, Walker is saying that Barrett intentionally furloughed firefighters and police officers, while he accidentally did.

Point two: Notice that Walker "PRESENTED" budgets, budgets that ended up being quite different written by the county board, that paid the bills in the real world. Walker's plans were dependent privatization, like selling off local parks, services and Mitchell airport.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why Not the Windfall Profits Tax? Dylan Ratigan Explains.

Why is the U.S. perpetually trying to dig itself out of one recession after the next? Republicans are keeping us from making the right economic decisions. Decisions that make sense to most of us, but not them. Dylan Ratigan rubs the windfall profits tax in the conservatives face again as other countries move ahead on a good idea. If it were up to the Democrats, we'd have one...I think.

Thomas Frank Updates Us on the Re-emergence of the John Birch Society Co-Hosting CPAC

As the loony right becomes more and more threatening to a vital representative democracy, is it any surprise that he conspiratorial John Birch Society is making a comeback, wholly supported by the Republican Party. Rejected once by conservatives, the birthers, global warming deniers and racists have found a sweet spot for the Bircher's. Rachel Maddow talks to Thomas Frank about the GOP's bizarre descent in the maelstrom, sometimes referred to as the toilet.

The Almost Unbelievable Story Behind the Terror Alerts

It's nice to know the terror alert system relied on this most "unreliable" source. And the Bush administration will get a pass on this one too. Rachel Maddow explains:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Progressive Bloggers are Their Own Worst Enemy, Take up Republican Talking Points.

Oh those crazy progressive absolutists are at it again, this time legitimizing crazy right wing talking points. They don't know how to package or debate anything. Progressive Change Committee's Adam Green and Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher should keep the pressure on the Democrats for meaningful health care reform, but not shoot themselves in the foot to prove how serious they are. Where's George Lakoff when you desperately need him to frame the argument.

Sen. Barrasso Wants Health Care No Vote Like Pres. John Kennedy would have Cast?

Chris Matthews talks of the days when Democrats didn't want to obstruct Reagan's agenda. Bernie Sanders chimes in on health care, Sen. John Barrasso is looking for a Democrat to vote no like President John Kennedy, Max Baucus calls Barrasso's revisionist history unseemly and Rachel Maddow ties up all the lose ends.

And some thought the Republicans couldn't go any lower. We are dangerously underestimating them.

China Blames U.S. Politics for Holding Up Global Greening, So Republicans Play into China's Hands.

Remember when Bin Laden said he wanted to break the U.S. economy by getting them involved in a war in the Middle East, and Bush didn't listen or care, well the Republicans are about to do the same thing when it comes to climate control with China.

MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe makes the case a good one.

The Party of "For Profit" Health Care Ghouls

When Democrats ran in 2008, did they really think that universal health care meant tossing everyone into the private insurance market? One clueless southerner thought so. Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama, who hails from a heavily conservative congressional district, announced Tuesday that he will join the GOP.

"I have become increasingly concerned that the bills and policies pushed by the current Democratic leadership are not good for north Alabama or our nation," he said during a press conference to announce the switch. "More importantly, they do not represent my values and convictions."

First, Griffith has it backwards, "more importantly" should be applied to policy, laws that effect the nation, not his own personal values and convictions. Maybe he thought he was running for the state legislature?

If Griffith had a problem, a concerned about making tough decisions that could go either way, than migrating to the Party of Irresponsibility is a natural move. The party of "no" and disaster capitalism will welcome him with open arms.

If he doesn't get the simplicity of common sense economics, identifying more with the now discredited "fiscal conservative" cliché, then good riddance.

Bottom line: Only a Republican would think it would be acceptable for a business that has nothing to do with medical care to profit from the pain and sicknesses of others. Ghouls.

Santa's New Customized G.E. Sleigh Ride... Hot and High Tech!

G.E. placed this nifty little ad on a recent page I visited and I couldn't help but pass it along. I think might become next years Tickle Me Elmo for adults.

Avatar Meets the Smurfs and Kimmel's Unnecessary Censorship

Sen. Ted Kennedy Knew Just how to Frame the Health Care Reform Debate, but No One Was Listening.

Sen. Ted Kennedy can still inspire, even after getting a watered down but "we'll take what we can get" health care reform bill.

James Hansen and Thomas Friedman Gets the Word Out on Revenue Neutral Energy Taxes.

Will Cap and Trade break the country? Will going green bankrupt business and make energy bills go through the roof? It doesn't have to. The frustrating thing for me is that Denmark and Germany found ways to make going green revenue neutral, yet politicians here insist on reinventing the environmental wheel. The following video points to an affordable answer.

James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, insists tariff profits can simply be redistributed to Americans so they can upgrade to energy saving technology.

Rachel Maddow gets pretty much the same story from columnist and author Thomas Friedman, who explains how Denmark did it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sen. Stabenow Reveals Important Competition and Reform Details, Check it Out.

Grumbling under your breath about those spineless Senate Democrats? Me too, but I'm not about to have taken this long nightmarish journey just to give up in the end.

This is important information, so I hope you have the time to watch the video clip. Sen. Debbie Stabenow gives us a little history on other liberal bills that were just as underwhelming as the Senate's version of health care reform, and a few really important details sceptics should consider before they throw the whole party under the bus.'s Joan Walsh makes a great point about the mandate to buy insurance, even if it's from the scoundrels who have been ripping us off for so long.

The New Republican Mantra: Bring Back Englands 19th Century Industrial Capitalism.

You won't believe how far the Republican Party snakes will go to allow the unsustainable rate hikes for health care to continue, taking huge chunks money out of Americans paychecks every month? The idea of repealing "Obamacare" when Republicans grab power again has actually caught on. The shear mean spirited nature of right wing wackos knows no end, and their concern for insurance company health care rationing is madness.

Dan Calabrese writes:

It will still hamstring the insurance industry with unsustainable restrictions on who must be covered, and for how much, and under what conditions. Oh, and by the way, for those who still want to pretend there are no death panels, check into the Comparative Effectiveness Research Panel. No death panels, my ass. The only thing left to do is to start working on getting it repealed. Here’s how to do that:

1. …finally get federal spending under control, which won’t be an easy promise to sell because they didn’t do anything of the sort the last time they were in control. The second is to repeal ObamaCare.

2. Spend the campaign season pointing out everything that’s wrong with ObamaCare in its early implementations. The taxes. The fees. The contortions of the insurance market. The loss of individual discretion, which will start immediately and can be demonstrated in all kinds of personal anecdotes.

Of course, Americans haven't pointed out the horrific anecdotes of the for profit free market private system we have now, right? People selling their homes, getting dropped for the sake of profits at the scariest time in their life and dying. So if the free market, private sector middle man has performed so inhumanely, why are Republicans so eager to expand this dysfunctional system? The obvious reason: the problem isn't the unnecessary industry of insurance, it's that people rely on them to much.

Republicans need to … construct a campaign based on real market-based reforms. There have been problems with it for years, but they mostly stem from the fact that people are too reliant on insurance companies for their basic, day-to-day health care. Republicans need to propose a system in which people will be reliant on themselves to the greatest extent possible.
That's the part I mentioned earlier, where people lose everything if they get sick. Sure they can rely on themselves, but based on studies, we already know that doesn't work. I think Charles Dickens wrote about this in the 19th century. It's now a conservative dream for America.

And if Obama decides to tempt fate and veto the reforms, then Republicans can completely toss out ObamaCare in 2013, with a real, free-market-based, consumer-empowering alternative ready for the signature of a smiling Sarah Palin.
I did not make up that last paragraph. It's for real, and that’s why we have a depression right now. Crazy thinking like that is the fastest way to open the doors for new union work houses and prisons. And if "Many can't go there; and many would rather die'' than "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nebraska Governor Spits in Nebraskans and Sen. Ben Nelson's Face says Medicaid Deal Bad for America!

Do you want to know how snake like the Republicans are, and how easily they will throw Americans under the bus, for shear ideology? Take a quick look at Nebraska Republican governor Dave Heineman's reaction to the federal governments gift of full funding for the states Medicaid program, forever.
(AP) - It was the concern of Nebraska's Republican governor over expanded Medicaid costs in the proposed Senate health care overhaul bill that led to a compromise to cover his state's estimated $45 million share over a decade, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson said Sunday.

Gov. Dave Heineman "contacted me and he said this is another unfunded federal mandate and it's going to stress the state budget, and I agreed with him," said Sen. Ben Nelson, But even if you try to do everything you can to help, Republicans will spit in your face: But Heineman expressed anything but gratitude, saying he had nothing to do with the compromise and calling the overhaul bill "bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America." "Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal," Heineman said in a statement Sunday.

In response, Nelson fired off a letter Sunday to Heineman saying he's prepared to ask that the provision covering Nebraska's Medicaid share "be removed from the amendment in conference, if it is your desire."

In an Omaha rally Sunday hastily thrown together by a group called Americans for Prosperity of Nebraska … Rallygoers often shouted "Recall!" and "Liar!" at the mention of Nelson's name, and Huckabee himself seemed to compare Nelson to Judas in the biblical story of Jesus' betrayal.
And so it goes with health care for all, "bad news for America," and a disconnected inhumane party of gravediggers waiting for the sick and the weak to die. When it comes to preventing human suffering, it's no "deal."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Republican Challenger to Feingold Takes Health Care Off the Table, Deregulate Insurance Market.

As the press release states: "Dave Westlake, candidate for U.S. Senate from Watertown, announced today that his campaign is adopting "blaze orange" as it's official campaign color."

He's goin' huntin' for a dangerous liberal senate varmint, I reckon.

But besides the catchy gimmick, how does he really feel about the health care crisis:
“We already have 100% universal coverage to health care… emergency rooms... now, it may sound callous to say well, if you need health care and you don’t have health insurance, you know, find an emergency room, but it’s also the way the system has been designed, and it works.”
Is it any wonder why Republicans never brought up health care reform until now, and only after being forced to by the Democrats.

No problem, move along, nothing to see here....

Fearful Republicans in Wisconsin

Come to Wisconsin, we guarantee it's a "Terrorist Free Zone," because it says so right here in our law.

Republican scaredy cat Rep. Dean Kaufert feared the terrorists so much that he sponsored the "Terrorist Free Zone" assembly bill that would prevent the state from entering into any agreement to house detainees from Gitmo. Joining him under the bed with the shivers are fellow Republicans. Out of sight and out of mind, I guess. And if it creates jobs...oh, never mind.

Only Criminals are vote Democratic, so take their voting rights away well after they're out of jail.

Tough on crime Republicans, now trying to blame "liberal" Democrats for their costly toughness, fear giving released felons the right to vote would allow them "to forget the reason why they lost their right to vote in the first place." Despite statistics that says returning that right reduces recidivism and saves money on voter felon lists and reduces lines during elections, Republicans would much rather make them criminal outcasts who can never escape persecution.

PC Fun and Imagination

I couldn't help but pass along two unique designs that could make computer ownership fun. That's right, just owning a PC can make your day, especially if you're into the ceremony of mindlessly sitting in front of one.

This is one of those times you won't want to pass up watching the video. First, the Rolltop PC:

If you liked the look of those really old space age TV designs, you'll want one pictured above right:

NY Times: Dave Schultze isn’t a retro kind of guy, and in fact his rendering of a 1950s-era Philco Predicta television into a Windows computer — all sparkling orange and chrome and black — might be too futuristic for some. To me, it’s the most stunning computer design since Apple introduced The Cube.

There is no physical model of the Philco PC, “and I designed it with no client, no deadline, no budget,” said Mr. Schultze, who runs the industrial-design firm SchultzeWorks, based in Pasadena, Calif. And while he said he’s received tons of response since a photo of the computer-generated image hit the Web, “there’s no calls yet from manufacturers, although I do have some leads.”

At Least Health Care Reforms 4 year Delay will Save Money…

Delaying the time before health care reform kicks in will save the government money in its ten year projection. Never mind the human toll:

will A Raw Story analysis, based on a recent Harvard Medical School study, estimates that 135,000 American citizens and over 6,600 US veterans will die due to a lack of health insurance before current proposed health care reform measures would take effect.

One hundred and thirty-five thousand US lives far exceeds the total number of Americans who died in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the attacks of 9/11 combined. The lives of over 6,600 US veterans is more -- by over 1,300 -- than the total number of US soldiers who have thus far died in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard University and co-author of the Harvard Medical School study, called Raw Story’s estimates “quite reasonable.”

Credit Card Nightmare. Am I the Only One?

During this festive holiday season, we've had both our credit cards, the ones we use, hijacked.

We didn't lose our cards. Instead someone stamped out their own, with our numbers. Thankfully, our credit card service noticed, called, cancelled them and send out new ones.

Republicans Put the Judicial Branch of Government Up For Sale: It's Not about the Right to Spend, But How Much More You Can Spend.

A new lawsuit in campaign funding for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates is taking advantage of the conservative activist leanings of the current sitting justices on the state and federal benches. How else can you explain their blatantly obvious admission-

"The state's payment of matching funds ... neutralizes the independent expender's voice when it makes an independent expenditure," according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Madison. The lawsuit alleges that the rescue fund "creates a chilling effect of Wisconsin Right To Life's free exercise of protected speech and imposes a climate of self-censorship."-Wisconsin State Journal
Forget about the right to spend money on campaigns, a case they already won in court, now they want to make sure their candidates have a sizable spending advantage, essentially buying our votes.
Wisconsin Right to Life is clearly saying that the more money behind a judicial candidates run for office, the more likely it is they can drowned out their opponents message, and win the election. The quaint old days of arguing for the right to spend as much as you want, as a person or corporation, is over. Now the cockroach conservatives want the right to spend more. Free speech?
Wisconsin Right to Life attorney Jim Bopp says under the law, the speech of third parties is chilled because spending money on a candidate will trigger public money for their opponent.
It takes balls to make such a claim, when the decision to spend money is up to the third party, un-chilled and unencumbered. What is clear are the intentions of such a lawsuit.
"This isn't about the First Amendment. This (lawsuit) is about trying to drown out the voices of candidates and citizens," said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, which has pushed for the law for a decade. Opponents of the Impartial Justice Act "hat a level playing field."
WRTL is desperately trying to make sure that playing field tilts their way because the first race the law will affect is in April 2011, when Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is up for re-election. He's a former partisan Republican legislator and lawbreaker who has admitted using his staff illegally for campaign work. He claims everybody else was doing it.
Justice Prosser defended unlimited amounts of money for electing justices saying it would protect justices from attacks by those who unfairly suggest campaign money influences decisions.
Yup, it's unfair to suggest campaign money may have influence a judges decision.
Justice Prosser blamed "outsiders," like the public, for thinking there might be an appearance of bias: Prosser said. "I'm sorry, I've had it. It is time to address a true crisis that has been created, not by people on the court but people outside the court."
Republicans first took away our political system by selling it to the highest "free market" bidder, now they want to do the same to our judicial branch of government. In the meantime, their reinterpretation of the constitution won't make our founding documents worth the paper its printed on either.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Banks are Killing businesses and job creation with credit card fees. Where are the Republicans Now?

To Republicans, business taxes are killing jobs and businesses. But you won't hear them talk about reigning in banking credit card fees which are forcing higher consumer prices and discouraging job creation. It's caveman politics, where "government bad" and "private bank profits good." Capital Times:

Each time a consumer uses a credit card, 2 to 3 percent goes directly to the credit card company, which squeezes the margins on retailers and raises the price on consumers.

Since 2001, interchange fee costs have risen by over 300 percent, according to Bob Johnson, president of Consumers for Competitive Choice, far outpacing increases in health care or energy costs. He said the credit card companies and their issuing banks collected $48 billion in those fees last year.

"Every dollar spent on interchange fees is a dollar not spent hiring workers or providing savings to customers," Johnson says.
Hey, those are the same reasons Republicans give for doing away with the business tax. If it's that big a deal to spur on job growth, why not get tough on banks? A job killer is a job killer, right?

Interchange, or swipe, fees impact ... businesses. Johnson said his organization wants Congress to include credit card fees as part of financial regulatory reform.

The problem, merchants and Johnson say, is not that the fees exist. It’s that they have gone up, that they vary depending on what card is used and that the fees are unregulated.

“It works as a hidden tax on consumers and businesses,” Johnson said.
Could it have something to do with ideology?

Wisconsin Conservative Activist Justice Roggensack Says Recusal is Nothing More than Political Correctness. It's Time for a Re-Call Election.

When a state supreme court justice thinks that recusal, due to the appearance of influence, is nothing more than "political correctness" it's time for removal. Like Alice Through the Looking Glass, Roggensack's world view is filled with Mad Hatter logic and Humpty Dumpty pontifications. In a recent editorial comment, she states:

Some articles in the media have implied that past campaign contributions or independent advertisements caused the justices to vote in favor of that rule.
It's down the rabbit hole, folks. Roggensack can't be this naïve, ignoring historical judicial corruption:

If a candidate for judicial office were to accept a campaign contribution in exchange for the promise to vote one way or another in a case, that is not a lawful contribution.
That's right, Roggensack claims any judicial candidate that openly admits to being bought off should be arrested. What a revelation.

Second … protecting the First Amendment rights of all voters to cast votes that could not later be cancelled by the acts of others was a primary concern.
Of course, we're not talking about casting votes, we're talking about spending lots of money to influence an elections results. Dumb, or just deceptive? Dumb, and you'll see why in her next point that actually argues against her arguments.

Third, the vast majority of voters make no campaign contributions. They exercise their First Amendment right to vote in complete confidence that their votes will mean as much as voters who do make a campaign contribution.
And we've seen how equal that makes our politicians and disbarred judges. Justice Roggensack then artfully defends her vote to except as much help through big monied interests by somehow defending the guy who spends nothing. Roggensack turns logic upside down.
I voted for the rule because of my concern that the citizens who elected justices were in danger of having their votes … cancelled, solely due to another person's lawful contribution. Let me explain - if a person made a lawful campaign contribution and that caused the justice to be disqualified from deciding legal issues presented to the court, all of the other voters who chose that justice because they believed he or she was fair, independent and knowledgeable about the law would have their votes cancelled because of the justice's disqualification.
WRONG! That's called recusal. Of course voters would feel JUST THE OPPOSITE of Roggensack's claim, knowing that the APPEARANCE of impropriety and influence would require a recusal and be the professional thing to do.

Furthermore, a campaign contribution could easily be used as a sword by someone who wanted to disqualify a justice.
That doesn't happen now? Welcome to our world, the one in which voters watch on the sidelines as politicians and justices take the side of big business, special interests and their lobbies.

The rule that the court adopted addressed the concern … Making the politically-correct decision in tough cases would be the easier choice....
Roggensack looks at recusal due to the appearance of influence as political correctness.

Obviously, Roggensack can't be trusted to make another legal opinion. It's time for her removal.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jack Bauer Takes on Santa

For-Profit Schools Engaging in Outright Fraud Taking Taxpayer Dollars.

Schools Matter ran across the following story about wasteful government spending in the private sector. It appears for profit colleges receiving taxpayer support, often sighted as a better alternative to public education, is doing nothing more than stealing our money. If conservatives were to be perfectly honest about the results of the research, they would put a halt to their continued vilification of public education. According to

Of the billions that taxpayers spent to help students attend for-profit colleges and universities in 2007, half will never be repaid, according to Department of Education projections [1] (PDF) released Tuesday.

By comparison, the department projects that the students who took out loans toattend nonprofit four-year colleges in 2007 will default at significantly lower rates — 22 percent for freshmen and sophomores, and 12 percent for juniors and seniors.
Ignored by the Republicans Party's push to destroy public education is the illegal gaming of the system that rips off taxpayer money.
A recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office found instances of for-profit schools’ engaging in outright fraud to sign up unqualified students [3] (PDF) and warned that "the government cannot be assured that its student aid funds are only provided to students who have an ability to benefit from higher education.’’
There are victims in this for profit failure, as usual:
The GAO found … schools, which typically do not have
entrance exams, accept students from lower socio-economic groups who would be
unlikely to gain entry into more traditional institutions. They also accept more
women and minority students, as a percentage, than nonprofit schools. These
groups, the GAO said, are more likely to default on loans.

The GAO found, "Students who default are also at risk of facing a number of personal and financial burdens," the report said. These risks include ruined credit ratings that would make it more difficult or impossible to obtain other loans, to find a job or rent an apartment, or to continue their schooling elsewhere.
Still crazy about moving higher education into the private for profit free market system?

Joe Lieberman, Doing the Puppet Master Dance!

I get a lot of stuff promoting health care reform to protesting my congress person, but nothing this good and timely. From

Christmas Tea Party Elves Sing about Their "Lost Liberties?"

Here's a little Christmas cheer for those watching the fascinating and surreal Libertarian tea party side show. Do we really want the private sector in charge of the country?

The Worst Possible Candidate for a Government Position like Governor, Scott Walker, Continues to Amaze with Almost No Media Accountability.

I loved this commentary from Cory Liebmann at Eye on Wisconsin:
Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized that the full Milwaukee County Board should override a Scott Walker veto today. The veto was meant to stop a study that would look at the actual costs of treating all Milwaukee County employees equally … the study that Walker doesn’t want is about how much extending those benefits will/or won’t cost.

The good part about the editorial is that the MJS says that the Walker veto should be overridden. The part that makes me crazy is how they have to qualify any and every criticisim of Walker with “he has a point” kind of language. NO! HE DOESN’T HAVE A POINT! HE IS WRONG! Why can’t the MJS just say so? Scott Walker could propose using the Park East land to build a massive puppy mill and the MJS would somehow manage to find a “good point” in it.

The last time that I can remember the MJS Editorial Board saying that Walker was flat out wrong about something was when his administration closed the pools early in the middle of a heat wave and then scapegoated his managers when he saw the public outrage.
I'm just wondering how many other Walker stories are out there that will never again see the light of day, now as he runs for governor, when it really counts.

Are we Really Debating Health Care, or Just Talking to a Bunch of Idiots?

This Modern World, the best political cartoon today, says it all about the health care debate:

Iron Man 2 Looks Like Another Winner.

Here's the trailer for Iron Man 2: My favorite line so far, based on the clip-Tony Stark/Ironman: "I've successfully privatized world peace." Think about that!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Republican State of Confusion: Protect our Standard of Living from Global Warming Hoax or Advocate Lower Wages? Both?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Republican agenda will now try to push down the "outlandish" wages and benefits of American workers, so corporations can compete in the global free market place. After all, as they would tell us, we'll do anything to encourage businesses to give us jobs. It wasn't so long ago they turned on the auto workers, insisting they lower their wages and benefits, blaming them for making to much money and destroying the Big Three car manufacturers.

And now it's up to Fox News to make sure the message of lower American wages sinks in. The Ed Show:

Yet, in contradiction to that message, Republican commentators are quick to protect our standard of living and high wages when it comes to pushing their conspiracy theories about the global warming "hoax." A hoax designed to make us into an impoverished our nation. No wonder their viewers seem to be in a constant state of confusion. Low wages or maintain our standard of living?

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! Say the Republicans.

Republican Representatives Joe Barton and Aaron Schock are afraid. These cowards cower at the thought of bringing these Gitmo prisoners to justice. Rep. Barton stays on his "talking point" script riddled with errors, and Schock just plain panics, for real or effect.

Howard Dean tells Sen. Mary Landrieu "You're forcing us into insurance companies."

Howard Dean was not in the mood to listen to Sen. Mary Landrieu try to take the high road in opposing the public option or lying about Dean's position on insurance companies so he let her have it. From Hardball:

Dean: "You're forcing us into insurance companies, you took away our choice."

Landrieu: "You never had that choice to begin with..."

Wow, we didn't? That's news to us. Are we the only ones who heard Obama bring up the public choice too many times to count? Of course Landrieu was under the impression that the "dumb" voting public thought the public option meant "free" health care for all!

These "Blue Dog" Democrats are only increasing the cost of health care, not supposedly saving consumers money. But we'll just have to wait for the GAO report, won't we.

Thom Hartmann Makes Health Care Reform, Medicare Part E Easy.

Radio talk host Thom Hartmann wrote this solution for heatlh care, one that I'm firmly behind:
The President this morning admitted on national television that he lost control of the message with health care. It’s time to reboot – and use a very, very, very simple message so all Americans can understand it.

Let’s use Medicare, which nearly every American understands. Just create “Medicare Part E” where the “E” represents “everybody.” Just let any citizen in the US buy into Medicare.

It would be so easy. No need to reinvent the wheel with this so-called “public option” that’s a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works. Some people will like it, others won’t – just like the Post Office versus FedEx analogy the President is so comfortable with.

Just pass a simple bill – it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people – that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.

Thus, Medicare Part E would be revenue neutral!

To make it available to people of low income, Congress could raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me – under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people. Revenue neutral again.

This blows up all the rumors about death panels and grandma and everything else: everybody knows what Medicare is. Those who scorn it can go with United Healthcare and it’s $100 million/year CEO. Those who like Medicare can buy into Part E. Simplicity itself.

Of course, we’d like a few fixes, like letting negotiate drug prices, and fill some of the other holes Republicans and AARP and the big insurance lobbyists have drilled into Medicare so people have to buy “supplemental” insurance, but that can wait for the second round. Let’s get this done first.

Simple stuff. Medicare for anybody who wants it. Private health insurance for those who don’t. Easy message. Even Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley can understand it. Sarah Palin can buy into it, or ignore it. No death panels, no granny plugs, nothing.

Just a few sentences.

Replace the “you must be disabled or 65” with “here’s what it’ll cost if you want to buy in, and here’s the sliding scale of subsidies we’ll give you if you’re poor, paid for by everybody else who’s buying in.” This creates Part E.

And if this fails – if the Congress can’t get out from under their corporate overlords – at the very least pass the Kucinich amendment that will allow individual states to create their own single-payer systems, as was done in Canada a generation ago.

That Great Sucking Sound Set the Stage for Our Unemployment Numbers Today.

Watching this video will depress you greatly, and make you long for the good old pre-NAFTA days, when Americans made a good living. Ross Perot appeared pretty crazy at the time, and seemed a bit chaotic in his speaking style, which diminished his message and warning to working stiffs out there. This is the 1992 debate where Perot made his famous "sucking sound" comment that drew snickers from Bush, Clinton and the audience.

Is Christmas Really Creepy? The Song Below Makes its Case.

Here's another way of looking at Santa home invasions and talking snowmen, from Fred-"Christmas is Creepy."

No Seat at the Table for Wisconsin Citizens When It Comes to Energy Prices and the Environment.

Failed County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker is pretty upfront about who would have influence over government policy under his administration. Big business and big energy. His recent editorial comment at couldn't be clearer:

Wisconsin has lost 140,000 jobs and one-eighth of our manufacturing work force… if he (Gov. Jim Doyle) simply wanted to slow the exodus of good-paying jobs from Wisconsin, he would sit down with the 23 organizations representing Wisconsin manufacturers, paper companies, builders, food processors and small business pleading with him not to use his global warming task force to kill more Wisconsin jobs.
Did I miss the part where the people also had an invitation? Walker, like every other Republican corporate shill, uses the old "job killer" cliché' we've come to know and hate. You'll never hear them talk about the cost of health care for businesses being a "job killer" in the global market place, will you?

Walker inadvertently weakens his own argument with this simple statement of truth:

"Despite well-founded concerns that rising energy costs and environmental regulations have contributed to the greatest loss of manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin history…"
Forgetting about our one-sided free trade policies, Walker complains about "rising energy costs" brought about by big oil and energy, even before the creation of green energy mandates. Even worse, Walker blames our current environmental regulations on lost manufacturing jobs. Just what standards should be in place to make sure our water is not contaminated or smog alerts reduced, Scott?

Oh, I forgot, Walker will allow companies to do anything they want as long as they use the "job killer" sledge hammer strategy that has worked so well in the past. Think of all the money energy companies would save if they didn't have to run negative ads about "job killers" and "saving the environment" for future generations, and had the governor working for them instead.

Oh, and Scott, how many jobs did you create in Milwaukee County since you've been county executive?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Republicans are Scared of the Terrrorists, Handing them a Victory in this war of Fear.

In regards to sending Gitmo detainees to an Illinois prison....
AP-Republicans were quick to criticize the administration's plan.
Surprised? Of course our current system of law enforcement is completely inadequate to house these dangerous "terrorists" on U.S. soil.

Or, Republicans are scared to death of terrorists, and Al Qaeda has won the war on America's psyche. But authoritarian...
...Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the American people "already have rejected bringing terrorists to U.S. soil,"
Of course, he knows what the American people want according to polls, even though polls have shown the American people wanted a public option in health care. But that was different I guess...

Either McConnell still doesn't get how Gitmo is being used as an Al Qaeda recruiting tool, or he is refusing consider that an all important bit of intelligence. That's why he said this...

He accused the administration of failing to explain how transferring the detainees would keep the public safer than keeping them offshore in Cuba.

Duh! Message to McConnell...booo.

Here's a FRIGHTENED Rep. Aaron Schock shaking in his shoes at the thought of "terrorists" in his lovely flat landian state, south of the cheddar curtain.