Medicare

The Die Is Cast: The Key Senate Race And The Key Gubernatorial Race Of 2014!

As we look forward to the fall, and just two months until the Midterm elections of 2014, it is clear that there are two key races that will determine a lot of the future of American politics.

One is a Senate race, and the other is a gubernatorial race.

The Senate race is that of Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky against his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the election which is likely to determine if the Republicans win Senate control. It is a very expensive and bitter race, and pits the oligarchy and right wing conservative agenda against a young woman, half McConnell’s age, who is dynamic and charismatic and could be a great leader in the Senate, if only she can overcome the 30 year seniority of McConnell, who has shown no concern about the struggles of his state, and particularly of the large white population in the coal mining industry.

Probably, however, the most expensive single race will be that of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican from 2007-2011, left the Republican Party, lost an Independent candidacy for the Senate against Marco Rubio in 2010, and then switched to the Democratic Party in 2012. Republican Governor Rick Scott will have tons of money, including his own wealth, to throw against Crist, and this is a classic struggle of a former Governor against a sitting Governor. Scott has been absolutely the worst Governor in America, and there are plenty of candidates for that description! He has done great damage to the environment and to health care and education, and is seen as a true detriment to the state, which is heavily Republican in its legislature, but is turning to Charlie Crist to try to revive the Democratic Party fortunes in the future. Scott also was involved in Medicare fraud, but avoid prison by paying heavy fines, but he should never have been allowed to run for public office after that massive health care scam!

Florida is the largest state to have a truly competitive gubernatorial race, as California with Jerry Brown and New York with Andrew Cuomo do not have really such a situation, and Texas might, with Wendy Davis challenging Greg Abbott, but the polls indicate Florida is a true tossup, as is the Kentucky Senate race.

So these two races are the key ones to focus on, as they will determine a lot of the political future of the next two years!

Lyndon B. Johnson Commemoration Of 106th Birthday

The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born on this day in 1908, and he has undergone much attack in the four decades since he passed away in 1973 at the age of 64.

There is no question that LBJ divided the nation by his ill conceived escalation of the war in Vietnamese, which still haunts millions of Americans who lost a loved one, or who have suffered with the psychic and physical wounds of war.

But LBJ cannot be forgotten for his tremendous advancements in civil rights; in fighting poverty; in establishing Medicare; promoting environmental reform and consumer protection; promoting a massive expansion of educational opportunity; establishing immigration reform; establishing the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation; promoting the creation of PBS and NPR; and supporting the establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

So while LBJ did the nation wrong by the war in Vietnam, his domestic reforms, collectively known as the “Great Society”, brought about the greatest improvements in domestic life since the New Deal of FDR, and has not been matched since by any President.

So this is a day to remember and to honor LBJ for his accomplishments, while acknowledging his shortcomings!

Mitch McConnell’s Plans For The 114th Congress: Total Deadlock And Stalemate!

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made it clear at the time of the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009 that his party would refuse to cooperate with the President on any legislation or policy.

Now, facing a tough reelection battle against Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell is pledging that if his party wins the Senate majority, and the House stays Republican, that he will promote massive budget cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, and attempting again to destroy ObamaCare. He would attach these changes to budget bills, and if Obama vetoed, then we would have another government shutdown, as disastrous as the last one was for the Republican Party and the nation!

This is ever more reason why Democrats, progressives and liberals, and independents MUST come out enmasse on Election Day to prevent a GOP Senate majority, as that will also mean no replacement on the Supreme Court if anyone leaves, which is likely, in 2015 or 2016.

Ironically, this kind of behavior would likely reverberate on the Republicans in 2016, when two thirds of the Senate seats up for election would be their party, but the attitude seems to be one of total warfare and destruction while they have control.

The Republican Party is becoming totally nihilistic and anarchistic, not worthy of the long history of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

Tea Party And Republican House Want Radical Changes In Medicare And Social Security!

Leave it to the Republican Party, and particularly its Tea Party extremists, to propose, as part of the House of Representatives budget proposals, to raise the eligibility age for future retirees for Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Presently, one must be 65 to gain Medicare, and the proposal is to raise it to 67!

Presently, one must be 67 to gain Social Security full benefits for future retirees, and the proposal is to raise it to 70!

This is pure right wing radicalism, by a party which overwhelmingly, in its past, opposed both Medicare in the 1960s and Social Security in the 1930s, when they were first made law!

These two programs are the most popular social programs, brought to America by the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and have had a lot to do with the growth of the middle class and a sense of security for the elderly!

Instead of raising the Medicare tax slightly, and raising the limit on Social Security to at least $250,000 income, instead of $117,000, insuring the viability of these programs long term, instead the GOP wishes to make life harder for those nearing retirement age, forcing many to work longer years full time, rather than having some time to enjoy life and take life easier after decades of toil, many of them often working at low wages, exploited by corporations and employers in general, who have an anti labor attitude!

This is an issue for the midterm elections of 2014 and beyond, that under no circumstances will there be a radical change in Medicare and Social Security allowed, because of the greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for the average American by the elite upper class that votes Republican, and victimizes the rest of the population!

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Rousing Speech On “Eleven Commandments Of Progressivism”!

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, on a book tour for her recent publication, but also rousing progressives with her inspiring ideas, gave a speech last week at Netroots Nation, the progressive gathering often seen as the alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held annually.

Warren summarized the views of those who are progressives and liberals, including:

The need for regulation of Wall Street.

The belief in science, and its role in preserving our environment.

Neutrality on the internet, not favoring powerful corporations.

Raising the minimum wage, therefore allowing a full time worker to avoid living in poverty.

A livable wage for fast food workers, with public support for them being demonstrated.

The avoidance of crushing college loan debt for students, by arranging realistic debt payments.

Protection of Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, so that retired workers can live in dignity.

Equal pay for equal work for men and women.

Promotion of equality in marriage, including gay marriage.

The need for immigration reform, as immigration is part of the story of American history.

The belief that women should control their own bodies, and corporations should not control the private lives and medical care of any of their workforce.

Also, her conclusion about conservatives is so appropriate, that they will do whatever they need to do to protect their own interests, and would say to all of the rest of us that you are on your own!

The Legacy Of Robert F. Kennedy Being Fulfilled By Barack Obama

June 6 is not only the anniversary of D Day in 1944.

It is also, sadly, the 46th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy, the former Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and Senator from New York, who was seeking the Presidency in 1968, when he was assassinated by a Palestinian Christian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, shortly after winning the California primary, part of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

While there was no certainty that RFK would have been the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968, beating out the eventual nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, it is felt by many historians and scholars that RFK would have been the nominee, and likely, would have defeated Richard Nixon and George Wallace, the two opponents of Humphrey in 1968, and become our 37th President of the United States!

The thought is that RFK would have promoted the cause of civil rights, concern about the poor, be an advocate of the environment, expanded Medicare to more than the elderly, had the backing of labor, and overall, extended the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, much like Humphrey believed. RFK also wanted to end the war in Vietnam, and keep America out of foreign wars unless it affected the national interest in such a manner that we could not avoid engaging in war!

So, in many ways, he would have advocated in his time for what Barack Obama has stood for and advocated as President of the United States four decades later!

So we can say that Barack Obama is fulfilling the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy in a masterful and dignified manner!

50 Years Ago Today, “Great Society” Speech Of Lyndon B. Johnson!

A half century ago, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a commencement address at the University of Michigan, on the six month anniversary of his becoming President, due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Instead of just stating that he would finish the work of John F. Kennedy that had been left undone, LBJ enunciated the greatest series of domestic reform goals ever formulated, more than the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt thirty years earlier, particularly in the “Second New Deal” legislation of 1935-1936.

What followed in 1965-1966 was the most productive Congress in American history, the 89th Congress, with the FDR 74th Congress the second most productive ever in American history.

We saw the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, the War on Poverty, education legislation, consumer legislation, environmental legislation, immigration reform, and so much else that advanced the American domestic agenda!

While we celebrate that 50th anniversary, one must realize that we have taken many steps backward, and no worse than the present 113th Congress, the absolute worst ever in American history in taking care of the nation’s domestic agenda.

And this comes just four years after the end of the 111th Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the most productive since the 89th Congress, during the first two years in office of Barack Obama.

The nation has been poorly served, and we have backtracked on so much that had been done under FDR and LBJ!

This is a tragedy, the extent of which we will not fully realize for many years, and it is a moment to commiserate and to mourn what mean spirit and lack of compassion can do to undermine the “American Dream.” Government activism has been rejected for a harsh, individualistic, libertarian mentality that favors leaving those less fortunate to the “wolves”.

Do Not Believe Polls Which Predict GOP Senate Majority!

So many polls are now predicting that the Republican Party will win control of the US Senate. But polls have been proved wrong before, and the Democrats should not run scared, just run aggressively against the Do Nothing Republicans, similar to what Harry Truman did in 1948!

The Republican Party is wrong on immigration reform; is wrong on the right of workers; is wrong on the treatment of women at work and in their private lives; is wrong on the environment and climate change; is wrong on the need for gun regulation; is wrong on the use of the race card; is wrong on its refusal to promote infrastructure spending; is wrong on its decision to oppose more expenditures on veterans; is wrong in its opposition to ObamaCare; is wrong in its attacks on Social Security and Medicare; is wrong in its efforts to deny voting rights; is wrong in its advocacy of wars everywhere, rather than pursuing diplomacy and peace; is wrong in their anti intellectual, anti science agenda; is wrong in its promotion of theocracy, rather than separation of church and state; and is wrong in its planned strategy to obstruct all judicial and executive nominations and therefore to cripple operation of the courts and government agencies.

The Democrats are likely to keep the following Senators–Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Kay Hagan of North Carolina; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Mark Warner of Virginia; and Mark Begich of Alaska.

They have a good chance of defeating Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, with their nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes; win the open Senate seat in Georgia with Michelle Nunn; win the open Senate seat in Iowa with Bruce Braley; win the open Senate seat in Michigan with Gary Peters; and an even chance to win the open West Virginia seat with Natalie Tennant over Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

The only seats seen likely to switch from D to R are: South Dakota and Montana; while the Democrats have a good shot at winning Kentucky and Georgia. With West Virginia possibly going Republican with Capito, and Maine having a chance that Republican Susan Collins loses to Democrat Shanna Bellows, if such happens, it is no gain by the Republicans.

The best prediction is that the Republicans MIGHT gain two seats, falling four states short of the six needed to make Mitch McConnell Majority Leader, with him likely to lose to Grimes in Kentucky, in any case.

The worst case scenario for the Democrats is the loss of South Dakota and Montana; and the loss of West Virginia, therefore meaning a Republican gain of three seats!

And in 2016, with two thirds of the seats being Republicans, the Democrats are sure, in an election where their Democratic Presidential nominee will be heavily favored, to win a large number of additional seats, nearing up to 60 from a possible low of 52 in 2014!

What The Right Wing Was Wrong About In History

The Right Wing has been proved once again to be wrong, this time on Cliven Bundy, the anarchist in Nevada who refuses to pay his taxes, disobeys the Bureau of Land Management, and says he does not recognize the authority of the federal government.

This is NOT the first time the Right Wing has been wrong!

Consider the following:

Wrong on the threat of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s
Wrong in their opposition to Social Security in the 1930s
Wrong in their condemnation of federal spending during the New Deal
Wrong in their glorification of Chiang Kai Shek as Chinese Leader in the 1940s through 1970s
Wrong in their support of racial segregation in the era of civil rights
Wrong in their belief of the detrimental effect of the 1960s on America
Wrong in their opposition to Medicare in the 1960s
Wrong in their blaming of the Left for the loss in the Vietnam War
Wrong in their demonization of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency
Wrong in their opposition to the Panama Canal Treaty because of fear of danger to American security
Wrong in their glorification of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency
Wrong in their demonization of Bill Clinton’s Presidency
Wrong in their support of the Religious Right evangelical Christianity in American politics
Wrong in their promotion of racist politicians even in recent times
Wrong in their attack on the environmental movement and climate change
Wrong in their promotion of denial of human rights and equality to gay Americans
Wrong in their demonization of Barack Obama’s Presidency

Is this enough of a list?

Paul Ryan Out To Destroy Medicare And Social Security

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan may be the new Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2015, if the Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives!

This is another reason to work to acquire the 17 seats needed for the Democrats to gain control.

Ryan, having a nice inheritance and a wife whose family has money, does not need to worry about the future, as most Americans do.

He is now proposing that Medicare be voluntary for those under 55, endangering the health care of those people who decide to opt out, and then, when elderly, have inferior health care. Those ignorant people who do what Ryan suggests would be given a voucher, which would not cover all health care when retired.

This is similar to the idea of George W. Bush to make Social Security voluntary for those under 55, and allow them to put their funds in the stock market, which collapsed in 2008!

So Ryan, like President Bush, wants people to gamble, and in so doing, help to destroy Medicare and Social Security!

If the funding is removed, it insures the demise of the LBJ and FDR signature programs that have made America a better place!

Is that surprising, when the GOP has set out to destroy ObamaCare, the third part of this great set of social programs, what makes America a place equal to the advanced social reforms of Europe and Japan?