Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

From Frank Rich in the New York Times, 11/13/2010.

"The top 1% of American earners took in 23.5% of the nation's pretax income in 2007--up from less than 9% in 1976. During the boom years of 2002 to 2007, that top 1 percent's pretax income increased an extraordinary 10% every year. But the boom proved an exclusive affair: in that same period, the median income for non-elderly American households went down and the poverty rate rose."

Republican policy has sucked the life blood from the American middle class, with free trade treaties, off-shoring of American jobs and two major stock market crashes during the reign of George W. Bush that crippled the IRAs and pension plans of most average wage earners.

Too bad the Democrats have not been able to grasp these facts and respond to the plight of middle America. I am pragmatic enough, that I went to the polls and voted for Democrats as the lesser of two evils. I realize that with Republicans in power I don't have a ghost of a chance, unless I can stomach a steady diet of cake. However, 29 million voters who supported Obama two years ago just stayed home.

Now Obama just rolls over for Repulican tax cuts for the rich, and I am not happy about it, but not really surprised either. I think Obama's nickname should be Rover, since rolling over is what he does best.

Friday, September 11, 2009

David Sirota Exclusive: UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off Pub Option

From Open Left:

EXCLUSIVE: UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off Pub Option

by: David Sirota

Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 17:47

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time yesterday suggested she may be backing off her support of the public option.
According to CNN, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "said they would support any provision that increases competition and accessibility for health insurance - whether or not it is the public option favored by most Democrats." When "asked if inclusion of a public option was a non-negotiable demand - as her previous statements had indicated Pelosi ruled out any non-negotiable positions," according to CNN. This was also corroborated by the Associated Press, and by Pelosi's own words, as quoted in those stories.
This announcement came just hours before Steve Elmendorf, a
registered UnitedHealth lobbyist and the head of UnitedHealth's lobbying firm Elmendorf Strategies, blasted this email invitation throughout Washington, D.C. I just happened to get my hands on a copy of the invitation from a source - check out this OpenLeft exclusive:

From: Steve Elmendorf [] Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of Steve Elmendorf

2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 7B
Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC

$2,400 Individual

To RSVP or for additional information please contact Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or

Steve Elmendorf
900 7th Street NW Suite 750
Washington DC 20001
(202) 737-1655

Again, Elmendorf is a registered lobbyist for UnitedHealth, and his firm's website brags about its work for UnitedHealth on its website (Elmendorf was also a chief of staff for Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt).

The sequencing here is important: Pelosi makes her announcement and then just hours later, the fundraising invitation goes out. Coincidental? I'm guessing no - these things rarely ever are.

I wrote a book a few years ago called Hostile Takeover whose premise was that corruption and legalized bribery has become so widespread that nobody in Washington even tries to hide it. This is about as good an example of that truism as I've ever seen.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health Care According to the Show-Me Institue

Todays News Leader has lots of statistics about health care from the Show-Me Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by wealthy Republican Rex Sinquefield. Rex has shown us all a better world. Envsion this:

Health care for all is just a fantasy.

Let's imagine that Show-Me Institute mogul Rex Sinquefield invested all his money with Bernie Madoff, and now he has fallen on hard times. He can't afford to pay his insurance premiums or pay his doctor or hospital bills. Do we feel sorry for Rex? No, not really.

Rex is having chest pains at 123 Fat Cat Lane in Columbia, MO. But wait, can we send an ambulance out there if we can't make a profit off Rex? Can we admit him to the hospital if he can't pay the bill? No, absolutely not. Money is God in the world of the Show-Me Institute. Rex should know this, it was his brain child of how to make money above all else.

Thanks, Rex for showing us the error of being kind to each other and ministering to the sick. It's all about money and free markets and yachts for those who pile up the profit.

Great advice from the Show-Me Institute. I think I see the error in my thinking now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care Is A Human Rights Issue

My letter to the president:

Dear President Obama,

Health care is a human rights issue. It is inhumane to deny access to 45 million Americans. Consider the thousands who line up for free care at tent cities set up by Health Expedition.

We are the wealthiest country in the world. Yet our health care dollars are being siphoned off by insurance companies and the drug industry. Compare our health spending with that of other countries:

Per capita health care spending (2003):

United States: $5711
France: $3048
Germany: $2983Denmark: $2743
Italy: $2314
United Kingdom: $2317
Japan: $2249

All of these countries deliver health care to every citizen, but not the U.S. France is rated #1 by the WHO, while we are rated #37. We can deliver excellence. You as president must stand up to profiteering in the health care business. If you cannot, and deliver us a crappy bill that makes matters worse instead of better, I will not support you in 2012.

We can have a single payer system such as Medicare for all, with supplemental plans, or we can have regulated private insurers and price controls on drug companies as in Germany. Either way the insurance and drug companies have to give up their gravy train.

Sick and dying Americans need your help. My sister was fired after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, presto, no insurance. My friend ***** was just diagnosed with Cervical cancer. She cannot afford treatment, but she has a little equity in a house so does not quality for MedicAid. She is treating herself with a raw foods diet. I think we both know what the end result will be.

Please get yourself together and be an advocate for a health care solution that makes sense. You have a majority in the congress. Make the case for we the people. It is the right thing to do, and it is what you promised us.



Sunday, August 09, 2009

George Bush, Chirac, The Gog and The Magog

In a revelation from former French President Chirac, George Bush asked him in 2003 to join the U.S. in the invasion of Iraq in order "to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse."

This comes on the heels of the GQ magazines report on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who "attached warlike Bible verses and Iraq battle photos to war reports he hand-delivered to Bush. One declared: “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”"

The Charleston Gazette is the only U.S. newspaper to report the Bush-Chirac story and the source comes from an article by James A. Haught, editor of the Gazette, A French Revelation, or The Burning Bush.

Another interesting note gleaned from an earlier Alternet story on the Chirac/Bush encounter:

"There is a curious coda to this story. While a senior at Yale University George W. Bush was a member of the exclusive and secretive Skull & Bones society. His father, George H.W. Bush had also been a "Bonesman", as indeed had his father. Skull & Bones' initiates are assigned or take on nicknames. And what was George Bush Senior's nickname? "Magog"."

My question: was dimwit W. schooled in these nutball ideas by his father, his associates in Skull & Bones, and egged on by cronies such as Rumsfeld? Those bones dudes are like, "secret" so I guess we may never know.

I always thought Bush 43 was an idiot, from the time he stepped on to the national stage and demonstrated that he had not quite mastered third grade grammar. But couple that with a religious fervor that gives W. the yearning for a starring role in his apocalypic vision, and it brings the sad realization that his eight years in the presidency allowed him to bring that horror to life in instigating the Iraq war.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why We Need Single Payer Health Care

Insurance companies are leeches sucking the life blood from policy holders. Why should any CEO command a salary such as this, when it represents the denial of health care to millions of sick people?

A single payer plan (Medicare for all) will send these people to the unemployment line and give coverage to every American.

ANNUAL COMPENSATION (2006 and 2007):

� Ronald A. Williams, Chair/ CEO, Aetna Inc., $23,045,834
� H. Edward Hanway, Chair/ CEO, Cigna Corp, $30.16 million
� David B. Snow, Jr, Chair/ CEO, Medco Health, $21.76 million
� Michael B. MCallister, CEO, Humana Inc, $20.06 million
� Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO, UnitedHealth Group, $13,164,529
� Angela F. Braly, President/ CEO, Wellpoint, $9,094,771
� Dale B. Wolf, CEO, Coventry Health Care, $20.86 million
� Jay M. Gellert, President/ CEO, Health Net, $16.65 million
� William C. Van Faasen, Chairman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3 million plus $16.4 million in retirement benefits
� Charlie Baker, President/ CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, $1.5 million
� James Roosevelt, Jr., CEO, Tufts Associated Health Plans, $1.3 million
� Cleve L. Killingsworth, President/CEO Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3.6 million
� Raymond McCaskey, CEO, Health Care Service Corp (Blue Cross Blue Shield), $10.3 million
� Daniel P. McCartney, CEO, Healthcare Services Group, Inc, $ 1,061,513
� Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
� Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
� Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751
� Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
� Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
� Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751

Friday, April 17, 2009

Please Legalize Drugs And Stop The Violence

As the drug cartels terrorize Mexico and various border towns, they are bringing drugs by the truckload to the streets of the U.S.

An article in today's Texas Observer talks about the border towns of El Paso/Juarez, as the embattled citizens of that area cope with the violence and kidnappings.

...While El Pasoans argue over semantics and statistics, residents in Juarez fight for their lives as innocent bystanders in a battle over who will sell cocaine and marijuana to the world’s biggest drug consumer. The Obama administration appears to be looking at the problem from a fresh perspective, shifting U.S. policy to focus more on the promotion of substance-abuse treatment and prevention, and less on the drug war. During her March visit to Mexico, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that battling cartel violence should be a shared responsibility and emphasized that America needs to curb its demand for illegal drugs. That’s a decidedly different political tack from the Bush years, when all the talk was about bigger walls, increased firepower, and Mexico’s responsibility for the problem. Other high-level administration officials have been dispatched to Mexico with messages similar to Clinton's, including Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder...

Let's get real. The only solution to this problem is to legalize drugs and burst the money bubble that is fueling this frenzy. When cartel bosses can make millions, and illiterate street punks can be rolling in dough dealing drugs, there is no "war" that will ever stop the tide of drugs flowing into the U.S.

Another small matter is that the lax gun laws in the U.S. allows unscrupulous gun dealers here to supply these cartels with the weapons they use to enforce the terror they bestow. Guns and drugs flow across the border like water.

So, the bottom line is to legalize drugs, and sell them at low cost to all adults who want them. Put the money used in this futile war into prevention, education and treatment of drug users.

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

Bobby Jindal's statements yesterday in support of President Obama, came as a surprise in a recent flurry of Republican teabaggers and naysayers. It was a start, but the GOP have a long way to go before they become a party that makes sense.

Commenter Osage replying on the Huffington Post says it eloquently:


In order to gain the political control they've enjoyed over the last ten years, Republican moderates and fiscal conservatives made a pact with the devil (faux Christians, bigots and misanthropes) to achieve the numbers they needed to defeat Democrats. They made a strategic decision to manipulate and exploit the ignorance, fears and hatreds of dysfunctional and vulnerable voters in order to win elections rather than lose them by being intellectually and morally honest.

Today, those who conspired with the devil are caught between wanting to disassociate themselves with and or casting out the devil they empowered and the karmic reality that they don't have the numbers to hold on to or regain power without continuing to accept and "advocate" the immoral values, hypocrisies and corruptions that are dividing and destroying their party.

The survival of today's shrinking Republican Party has become so dependent on extremism that they have no significant power left WITH or WITHOUT the support of America's increasingly pernicious lunatic fringe.

The idiom "caught between the devil and the deep blue sea" is certainly appropriate as Republicans are facing the dilemma of choosing between two equally undesirable alternatives that both result in Republican impotence in mainstream American politics. They are suffering the consequences of their treachery.

Their irresponsible propping up of George W. Bush cost them their credibility, and their disgraceful and shameless licking of Rush Limbaugh's storm trooper boots is costing them their viability.