Day: August 4, 2009

Gangster Tactics At Health Care Town Halls Reminiscent Of 2000 Election Year Recount In Florida

The gangster tactics being used at Town Halls in the last half of July and this month against the Obama health care plan are strangely reminiscent of the tactics used in Miami in the 2000 election year recount debacle, helping to lead to the victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore.

Republican and conservative activists, many of them working for Congress members,  created impossible conditions to have a organized recount of the contested vote in  Miami-Dade County and Broward County, Florida after the Election of 2000.   Mob action is the best way to describe it, but it was not a genuine audience of outraged voters, but a strategy to make it impossible to do a fair recount.

Now, Republican and conservative advocates, and corporate lobbyists against any change in health care in this country,  are doing everything they can to disrupt town hall meetings, and inciting ordinary Americans who don’t understand that they are being manipulated by these interests,  to assist in creating chaos and anarchy,  and preventing a fair discussion and analysis based upon facts, and not rumors and hysteria.

We cannot allow such tactics to hijack true health care reform, which is desperately needed.  To hear someone at one of these meetings, whether a "real"  critic or a "planted" individual,  state that she does not care if anyone else has health care coverage, is extremely selfish and despicable.  This is the ultimate outcome of the "me" attitude cultivated during the Reagan years,  and still present in the second Bush administration. 

Those who see the Obama Presidency as an opportunity to return to the "we" mentality,  present in the New Deal and Great Society years,  MUST work to fight this ugly, disgraceful promotion of selfishness and greed, which has for too long dominated the public debate in this country!

Hooray! Bill Clinton Succeeds In Release Of Journalists In North Korea!

Great news has just come that former President Bill Clinton has succeeded in gaining the release of the two imprisoned women journalists in North Korea!

The two women have been granted a pardon by the leader of North Korea,  Kim Jong Il, personally,  so this allows that government to still claim that the two women were involved in espionage, but were granted release due to the "good will" of the leader after a meeting with the former President.

Whatever North Korea wants to claim, the important thing is the accomplishment of the goal, and President Clinton is to be commended for his courage and willingness to go to that forbidden country,  and do what had to be done to gain their release.

It seems to me that Bill Clinton should be considered for further use in other sticky situations involving imprisoned Americans, including in Iran.  Just as Jesse Jackson,  and Bill Richardson at other times,  Bill Clinton has proved his usefulness to the government while being outside of government. 

Again, President Clinton —congratulations and thanks!  :)  And the news comes on President Obama’s 48th birthday, to top it off!  🙂

Chaotic Town Hall Meetings And Health Care Discussion

It is extremely disturbing to see evidence on the news media that Town Hall meetings being held during this August recess of Congress, on the subject of health care, is resulting in chaos, rudeness, and refusal to allow the Congressman or Senator to address the issue in an environment of willingness to listen and learn. Rather, just spouting off and shouting down any attempt for civil discourse has become the norm.

This has happened in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, among other places, and it makes one wonder if at least some of them are being orchestrated by opposition groups in the health care industry and by conservative and Republican party activists.

Are we going to allow mob rule to prevent civilized, reasonable discussion in public meetings?  Is this the way for citizens to conduct themselves in public places?  There is absolutely NO excuse for this kind of behavior, and it is hoped that it will  not spread further and prevent serious analysis of the very important issue of health care in America!

Barack Obama And Anti Trust Enforcement

The NEW YORK TIMES reported recently that the Obama Administration is planning tough enforcement of the anti trust laws, which were totally ignored during the Bush Presidency.

The industries likely to be investigated and pursued in court include the airlines, railroads, food processors, cable companies, pharmaceutical companies, wireless phone industry,  financial services companies, and agreements between Google and the book publishing industry.

After decades of lack of regulation of big business and the growing of monopolies detrimental to the interests of the American people, this is a welcome step, but as always, the accomplishment of this goal is a lot harder than the intention!

Dick Cheney And GIs In New York

Recent revelations in the NY TIMES that Vice President Dick Cheney encouraged the Bush Administration to send US troops into Buffalo, New York, in 2002 to arrest a group of terror suspects is a shocking and disturbing piece of news.

It would be unprecedented to use US military forces on American soil, and it is unconstitutional that the military be used to conduct domestic operations,  which is left up to the FBI, the DEA, and ATF.

Thank goodness President Bush, after at least one White House meeting, rejected such action!  It makes Bush certainly looking better than Cheney to be in the White House, and makes one happy that Bush survived his two terms in office.  The thought of even a brief Cheney Presidency is horrifying.

This man–Dick Cheney–was and is a danger to this country and its legal traditions, and it is essential that Congress begin a full investigation, and that Cheney be subjected to legal action, if for nothing else, to set an example for future Vice Presidents and cabinet members with great authority, to understand that there are limits to their use of power, and that any abuse will be met with prompt action by law enforcement authorities!

The Sotomayor Vote: GOP Suicide Long Term?

With debate beginning today on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,  and  its 111th member historically, there are still seven senators who have not declared how they would vote, but the most prominent one of the group of eight before yesterday HAS decided, and the answer is NO. Whether any of the remaining seven will follow his lead seems likely, with little hope of any open mindedness by this small, undeclared group.

I am referring to Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee for President in 2008.

Senator McCain had declared on a talk show on Sunday that he was still undecided, but overnight he made up his mind and decided he could not back Sotomayor.

This is very disappointing, as there is no good reason to oppose her nomination, particularly with Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee declaring that while they were not perfectly satisfied with Sotomayor, she was qualified,   and the President, by winning the election, was entitled to who he wanted on the Court.  Another conservative, Richard Lugar of Indiana, also showed statesmanship by backing Sotomayor.  Additionally, Mel Martinez of Florida supported her confirmation,  along with Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. 

Even more disturbing was Florida Governor Charlie Crist, running for the Senate in 2010 to replace Mel Martinez, stating that were he a member of the Senate, he would vote against Sotomayor.  On what grounds, Governor Crist?  🙁

The one thing that stands out is that states with Republicans in the Senate and a potential Republican in the Senate saw opposition, without recognition that it leaves the appearance of being anti Latino and anti Hispanic for the FIRST Hispanic or Latino nominee in the history of the Supreme Court.   I am referring not only to John McCain of Arizona and Charlie Crist of Florida,  but also Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

If this situation continues to occur, over time we will see Arizona, Texas and Florida, with large Hispanic populations, starting to move over to the Democratic party support.   And it will be through no fault than that of the Republican party itself, which continues to have its head in the sand about its electoral future.  Continue to alienate women, Hispanics, blacks, young people, and suburbanites, and you will remain a minority party for the long term, not the short term!

A Very Interesting Scenario: Bill Clinton In North Korea

The news is startling:  former President Bill Clinton has arrived in North Korea to negotiate the release of two American women journalists who were sentenced to twelve years of hard labor for crossing the border from China to North Korea.

One can only hope that Clinton’s decision to take the courageous act to go to North Korea will lead to positive results.  This is particularly the case because his wife, Hillary Clinton, is the Secretary of State under President Obama, and was recently ridiculed by North Korean diplomats who said she was not very intelligent and resembled in demeanor a "school girl"  and yet also " an aging pensioner"!   It is hard NOT to laugh at these ridiculous statements by North Korea, but it shows that Bill Clinton is not allowing the insults to interfere with his mission to release these two unfortunate prisoners.

It will be interesting to see if Bill Clinton can succeed,  but it is also fascinating that the Obama Administration says this is a private mission, not wanting to jeopardize its chances of success in any way.

IF he does succeed in this, I would suggest that he next try to go to Iran and to negotiate the release of Americans imprisoned there, including three hikers recently seized by Iranian soldiers at the Iran-Iraq border.   It could be that Bill Clinton, acting privately but with his great prestige as a former President, might become a secret asset to the Obama Administration.  Let’s hope for that possibility!