Day: February 19, 2010

Pathbreaking Supreme Court Case: US Government Vs. Tobacco

The Obama Administration is pursuing a case against the Tobacco industry in the Supreme Court, a battle that began in the administration of Bill Clinton.

The government is seeking $300 billion from the tobacco companies as payment for a half century of deception on the dangers of smoking. The industry concealed evidence on the addictability of Nicotine and the health effects of smoking, which the government declared was the cause of bad health and deaths in the millions over the past half century.

The industry is complaining that their First Amendment rights are under attack, as they try to defend against government arguments. This tack is worrisome, as the Supreme Court last month declared that corporations were persons who had First Amendment rights including unlimited political campaign spending. One wonders if the Court will rule in favor of the tobacco companies, which would be a horrible message to send the nation.

Many different health groups are supporting the government’s lawsuit, with the hope that the tobacco industry will be required to pay for an education campaign to prevent people from deciding to smoke, and helping others quit smoking.

This is a case to watch, one of the most important in recent memory in the field of public health!

Conservative And Tea Party Advocacy Of Violence Against Democrats

A return to promotion of violence, even if symbolic in nature, is showing up at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, and in campaign rallies by Republican candidates for office, as well as Tea Party gatherings.

In Indiana, a GOP Senate candidate said that if there are not new faces in Congress next year, he was going to clean his guns and “put on a show”. In Washington State, at a Tea Party rally, a woman speaker suggested that she wanted to hang Senator Patty Murray.

At the CPAC meeting, a pinata of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi can be stabbed by women delegates, and a punching bag with the depiction of Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, can be used by male delegates.

One could say that this is all silly stuff, and that one should not be upset, but this set of symbolic gestures of violence still represents a dangerous trend, which began last summer when gun toting citizens started to show up at the site of speeches by President Obama. The Republican party tried to shrug it off, but this is not a light matter.

Are the Republicans, in their attempt to gain the backing of Tea Party advocates and hardline conservatives, really willing to advocate, by statements and deeds, armed violence on the US government and elected officials?

If these dangerous trends continue, the Republican party could very well self destruct as the party that represents dangerous extremists. They had better step back from the brink, before we suffer violence in reality that will condemn them to the historical garbage bin! 🙁

The “Public Option” Returns As Health Costs Go Sky High

Just as the health insurance companies are calling for record increases in premiums from their subscribers, creating a major crisis for millions of Americans, the concept of a “public option” is being revived by the Obama White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and a growing number of Democratic Senators.

After a cautious approach and attempts to gain GOP votes in the Senate, which has totally failed, now the thought is that the record increases in health care premiums are motivating Democrats to use “reconciliation”, requiring only 51 votes, to pass such a plan.

One must be reminded how many times the Bush Administration used “reconciliation” to pass tax cuts and other initiatives, so there is nothing illegal about using that tactic. It is time to stop allowing obstructionists from passing what a majority in every poll indicates they want–health care with a public option.

Maybe, who knows, when health care passes, after the fact, we might have Republicans taking credit for it, as they have, hypocritically, taken credit for economic stimulus programs that they opposed! 🙂 LOL

Michele Bachmann Assesses Barack Obama: Again Wrong!

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota gave a speech today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and as usual, her comments were off the mark.

Bachmann claimed that President Obama is leading America into decline. She cited conservative author Charles Krauthammer complaining that the President has undermined America because of his stands against continued use of Guantanamo Naval Base, against unilateralism in foreign policy, criticism of lack of respect for the Muslim world, condemnation of the refusal to respect views of European allies under President Bush, and advocacy of torture and a tone of arrogance under Bush.

The problem with what Bachmann said is that these policies of the Bush administration totally undermined America’s world position, and made this country the most unpopular world wide it has ever been. And since we must somehow coexist with the Muslim world, it is essential to have basic respect for their cultural differences with the Christian world, and work to build bridges to moderate Muslims, because, just like in the Cold War years, learning to coexist is mandatory or mankind will be destroyed!