Health Care Reform

Great Tribute To Senator Ted Kennedy At Democratic National Convention

It was a very emotional moment when the Democratic National Convention paid tribute this evening to Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who passed away three years ago, but only after giving his full throated support to Barack Obama’s victory as President in 2008, and starting the long, hard fought struggle for national health care in 2009.

Kennedy served longer in the Senate than all but two fellow Senators in American history, and is regarded as one of the most significant, influential Senators of all time.

Despite his earlier recklessness and immaturity, and being regarded as a lightweight, Kennedy developed into a hard working, devoted public servant who did many great deeds in his nearly 47 years as a US Senator.

All who care about the issues that Ted Kennedy made his lifetime work will continue to mourn his death in 2009, and will keep him in their memories!

Two Prestigious Scholars Blame The Republican Party For The Stalemate In The 112th Congress

Two well known scholars, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, have recently published a book and authored articles criticizing the Republican Party for the stalemate in the 112th Congress.

The Republican Party is blamed for its refusal to hold members of their party in Congress accountable for their wild statements; is seen as totally against compromise; refuses to accept facts, evidence and science; lacks respect for the legitimacy of the opposition party and its members; and is so far outside the mainstream as to be alarming for any hope of accomplishment of any goals or programs!

The two people most responsible for this extremism are former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform. But also the filibuster has been abused in the Senate, and prevented many executive branch appointments from being confirmed, both in the government agencies and in the court system.

The reaction to Roe V. Wade after 1973 mobilized social conservatives, while the tax revolt in California in 1978 mobilized anti tax activists. Also, the South turned conservative Republican after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s; and the rise of conservative talk radio, and the growing impact of Fox News on cable, also had a great impact on what has become a growing stalemate and gridlock.

Health care reform, climate change, economic recovery, deficits, and debt issues have become a chasm between the two major political parties. Polarization has become the norm, and is a dangerous trend which may continue, if the voters again send a confusing message of a divided Congress in the 2012 Congressional elections. The Tea Party movement, if it grows, will further create conflict at a time when we need negotiation and compromise!

This assessment is extremely worrisome, as it means that our national government may be totally paralyzed, when we need true statesmen in both parties dealing with our important national agenda!

Mitt Romney: The “Gutless Wonder” With No Principles!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been described as colorless, dull, boring, plastic, stiff, and as a chameleon who changes his views to fit the audience or the pressure group. With a reputation as a “flip flopper”, Romney has managed to change his views on every subject imaginable, making one wonder who is the REAL Romney, as one book is entitled!

But now that he is the presumptive nominee, he is rewriting history, claiming he had been supportive of the idea of going into a foreign nation to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, as Barack Obama, and interestingly, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, had endorsed as far back as 2007.

Now his aide tells us that Romney was the one to support saving General Motors and the auto industry, and that Obama picked up his idea, another total falsehood!

Mitt Romney also had the nerve to say yesterday that he wishes to help the poor and the middle class, when he said just the exact opposite a few months ago. But now he claims that Barack Obama wants to take from the poor to give to the wealthy! What in the world does he mean by that assertion, which makes absolutely no sense in reality? This is a man who exudes wealth and privilege, and total lack of concern about the poor and the middle class, and seems to think just by making a statement, that it wipes out his past statements and actions, what his own aide called an “etch a sketch”!

Mitt Romney has no scruples, ethics, or morals apparently, as for a man who claims to be a “good Mormon”, one would think he would not lie as regularly as Mitt Romney does!

And he has now also shown cowardice, that he is a “gutless wonder”, in forcing the resignation of a gay conservative foreign policy spokesman to please the religious right bigots. Does that mean he will have a test for all administration employees that no one who is gay will be part of his government? It is well known that many Republicans speak anti gay rhetoric but have gay employees or aides. Why cannot Romney promote diversity and tolerance, a crucial test of his character and principles, which obviously he lacks in massive amounts!

Mitt Romney proves more than ever by his actions and words that he is unfit to be our President, as his record now shows that he is all of the following, in no special order:

Anti Women
Anti Hispanic-Latinos
Anti Labor
Anti Gay
Anti Science
Anti Environment
Anti Poor
Anti Health Care Reform
Anti Social Safety Net
Anti Education Opportunity

Mitt Romney should be ashamed for demonstrating he is a man with no principles, a “gutless wonder”!

Bad Health And “Well Being” Found In Republican Leaning States Against Health Care Reform!

As the Obama Health Care legislation gets ready for the legal challenge in the Supreme Court on March 26, with six hours of arguments scheduled, the longest presentation in many years, a new study demonstrates that in Republican leaning states that are strongly opposed to the health care reform, we find much worse general health conditions, a much lower state of what is called “well being”, and a growing problem of sleeplessness!

Why is this so? Clearly, when one suffers from great poverty and lack of health care, it undermines “well being” and promotes sleeplessness.

One would think such states would support health care reform, but that is not so, and particularly in the top three states on this infamous list: West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi!

Enough said, would you agree?

Richard Nixon Health Care Proposal 38 Years Ago Today: Another Republican President Besides TR Calls For Health Care For All!

One of the readers and commentators on my blog today made me aware of the fact that on this day in 1974, at the height of the Watergate Scandal that would bring him down six months later, President Richard Nixon sent a message to Congress calling for a comprehensive Health Care reform to cover all Americans, as a basic right of citizenship!

The link to this is on the entry today on Republicans, and Hispanics and Latinos being wary of backing the party and Mitt Romney, due to their anti immigrant mentality. I wish to thank “Engineer Of Knowledge” for contributing this idea, and that has provoked me to mention it in a followup post here on the blog.

Nixon, like Theodore Roosevelt before him, understood the importance of this idea of health care for all, and it becomes clear that the Republican Party of today would reject both TR and Nixon for their far sighted ideas.

It is further proof of why the GOP in 2012 is dramatically different than it was in 1912 or 1974!

In Interview, Barack Obama Compares Himself In Accomplishments To Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Lyndon B. Johnson! Is That Appropriate?

President Obama has now compared his accomplishments after three years in office to three other Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

This comment will stir much reaction and commentary, and it requires analysis and judgment, which will go on forever!

Certainly, Obama’s time in office has caused tremendous controversy and turmoil, but one could argue the same for Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ!

Assuming that the Supreme Court does not declare Obama’s Health Care plan unconstitutional, that achievement will stand out as one of the most profound in American history!

Obama also has saved the auto industry, prevented a Great Depression, and has brought about more reforms in his time in office than anyone except FDR, LBJ, and possibly Woodrow Wilson! He also has been extremely impressive in his attack on terrorism and Al Qaeda, and in ending the war in Iraq.

It is certainly true that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan had a great significance in our history!

It is also true that even James K. Polk, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton had major accomplishments that will not be forgotten.

But in terms of pure legislative accomplishments, Obama must, at this point, rank with FDR and LBJ, and again possibly Wilson, and Lincoln always needs to be mentioned when talking about accomplishments, although for Lincoln, it was in time of the Civil War.

But it will be the whole record of Obama, not just the first three years, that will be part of the ultimate judgment on his tenure. If he is reelected, the odds of a favorable view of his Presidency will grow, while if he is defeated for a second term, his reputation will be dimmed, typical of one term Presidents.

The Lunatic Audiences At GOP Debates: A Total Disgrace!

What kind of country are we that we can have lunatic audiences cheering on crazy, nasty, cruel comments on issues involving capital punishment, gays in the military, lack of health care insurance, illegal immigration, and American citizens involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement?

It is shocking that people would cheer the number of people executed under Texas Governor Rick Perry!

It is unbelievable that people would boo a gay soldier who has served our country!

It is dismaying that people would call for letting a person without health insurance, who is seriously ill, to just die!

It is outrageous that people would applaud the idea of an electrified fence to keep illegal immigrants out of the country!

It is disgraceful that an audience would applaud that if people are unemployed or poor in a time of the Great Recession, the worst conditions since the Great Depression, that it is their own fault, and to condemn the marches and demonstrations of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread throughout the nation and overseas!

Have some Americans lost our common humanity, our rationality, our morality, in the name of self centered egotism, that all that matters is our own selfish interests, and to hell with basic common decency? We should mourn the deterioration in civility as a danger sign of the decline of our whole civilization!

The What Ifs Of September 11: If It Never Happened, How Would America Be Different?

As we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of September 11, one can wonder how America would be different if September 11 had never occurred.

Among the thoughts and possibilities are:

1. There would be no Homeland Security Department in the federal government, and no special precautions at airports.
2. There would not be level of secret government activities, including intrusion on American citizens and interferences with civil liberties, that we have now.
3. There would not have been prolonged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for ten years.
4. We would not have the level of national debt that we have now because of reactions to September 11.
5. Very likely, George W. Bush might not have won reelection because of the domestic economy problems, and a “new” type of Democrat, such as Howard Dean, might have won the Presidency.
6. A President Dean, in peacetime, and with reforms, might have won reelection in 2008, and there would have been no President Barack Obama.
7. Problems with Iran might have been more focused on, and there might have been military reactions against Iran as a result, and instead Iran is a major threat to the world in 2011.
8. Problems with China in 2001 might have led to more confrontation with that nation, instead of depending on China for much of our national budget through their buying of US debt caused by the wars we have waged after September 11.
9. We would not have the level of distrust and suspicion of the Islamic faith that we have today.
10. Politics might not be as polarized and confrontational as it has become in the past decade.
11. We might be having a spirited contest in 2012 with different faces in the mix for the Presidency, with President Howard Dean finishing his second term of domestic reform and no major foreign policy crisis, unless Iran or China had become so problematical that there was military conflict with either nation.
12. The Middle East would still have Saddam Hussein, but he would remain contained, but by now, with the Arab Spring, he might be facing turmoil and rebellion, as in the rest of the region.
13. Domestic reforms greater than Barack Obama has achieved would have likely occurred under President Howard Dean, including national health care, as there would not have been the kind of defense and war spending that occurred in the past decade.

Of course, all of the above are suppositions, theories, projections–all of which might NOT have happened, but it is fascinating to try to imagine Others will see things differently, and it is the stuff of historical fiction to conceive a novel with the imaginary past!

The “Joes” And Barack Obama: “Joe The Plumber”, Joe Wilson, And Joe Walsh

In the age of Barack Obama, we have “Joes”, just about the most common male name, but three of these “Joes” are an embarrassment to their country and to politics!

First of all, we had “Joe The Plumber”, actually Samuel Wurzelbacher, who became a Republican propaganda point for John McCain and Sarah Palin in the 2008 Presidential campaign, making a total fool of himself, and being revealed as NOT being a plumber, regarding the issue of lack of proper licensing in Ohio. Wurzelbacher has made money from the title given him, and has worked as a motivational speaker and commentator since then, without much renown or brilliance being revealed!

Secondly, we had Joe Wilson, Republican Congressman from South Carolina, who had the gall to attack President Obama, when he gave his speech before a joint session of Congress in support of a health care law in 2009. Yelling “You lie”, Wilson refused to apologize after the fact for his insulting behavior, which could not be recalled as having occurred before, but immediately he became a celebrity in right wing circles, and raised quickly a lot of money for his 2010 reelection campaign. Now Joe Wilson has declared that he will NOT attend the joint session of Congress next Thursday when Obama speaks on his jobs program, at a time of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, something caused by the Republican Party during the years of the GOP control of Congress and the Presidency under George W. Bush!

Finally, we have Joe Walsh, Republican Congressman from Illinois, a freshman who has drawn great notice for his insulting, belligerent, and rude behavior, including his constant use of the first name of his interviewer on any cable channel or news show, as he talks over him with non stop attacks on President Obama. He, along with Joe WIlson, has decided NOT to attend the joint session of Congress next Thursday, claiming what Obama is doing is purely political, and he will not be part of it! He also has called Obama “idiotic”, claims he was not vetted by the news media, and that he was elected only because whites who felt guilt about racism hooked onto an intelligent, articulate black man to feel better about their guilt over the past of race relations. Walsh claims that private enterprise knows how to create jobs, but seems unwilling to offer any advice on the topic, but instead simply uses rhetoric to keep public office, so that he can pay the back child support he owes his former wife after his divorce and bankruptcy!

The idea that any member of Congress refuses to attend a joint session of Congress to listen to a President is mind boggling, and there is no historical record of such a snub being done before!

These three “Joes” cannot match the intellect, the brilliance, the sincerity, the decency of our President, and every principled American should condemn the despicable, disrespectful behavior they have demonstrated against our President! Instead of attempting to come to the aid of their country, they would rather just throw darts and zingers at our Commander in Chief and wish for his downfall!

Tim Pawlenty And “Co-Conspirators” Mitt Romney And Barack Obama

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is striking out in his Presidential campaign, rapidly becoming the second Republican in the race to implode, after Newt Gingrich.

Pawlenty was critical of Romney on “Obamney Care”, as he calls the former Massachusetts Governor’s health care plan, in a Fox News interview.

But then, in the New Hampshire Presidential debate, when given an opportunity to say the same thing to Romney face to face, Pawlenty came across as weak and ineffective, as he refused to do just that.

This past few days, Pawlenty has been trying to undo the damage, but instead he has made things worse.

His new statement is that Romney and Obama are “co-conspirators” on health care!

What a ridiculous and preposterous statement, and all it does is make it ever harder for Pawlenty to make progress from the depths of public opinion polls, where he resides, and is unlikely to emerge from!