Month: June 2012

A Century Of Struggle For Health Care: Theodore Roosevelt 1912 to Barack Obama 2012!

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, out of office and running on the third party movement, the Progressive Party, in 1912, first proposed some form of national health exactly a century ago as part of his New Nationalism platform!

His distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, considered it as part of his New Deal in the 1930s, but it was controversial enough to promote Social Security, which was called “Socialism”, and bitterly opposed by most Republicans, and used as a campaign issue by Republican Governor Alf Landon in the 1936 Presidential campaign.

Harry Truman actually was the first to promote a program as part of his Fair Deal programs in the 1940s, but the Southern Democrats and the American Medical Association bitterly opposed it as “Socialism”, and it died in committees in the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

John F. Kennedy proposed what became Medicare for the elderly as part of his New Frontier, but it was blocked again by the AMA and the Southern Democrats who headed Congressional committees in both houses of Congress in the early 1960s.

Lyndon B. Johnson overcame the AMA and Southern Democrats, and accomplished Medicare in 1965, and the Republicans campaigned against it, but failed to gain enough support to repeal it

Richard Nixon had devised plans for more health care legislation, but Watergate killed any movement in that direction in the 1970s.

Jimmy Carter also had developed a plan for expansion, but faced too much conservative opposition and other issues and crises, which drew attention away from the idea.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton proposed a major government program, but it went down to defeat in 1994, with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the conservative Heritage Foundation proposing a “mandate” instead, which would allow private health insurance companies to profit from health care reform, but nothing was done.

And Senator Ted Kennedy fought the good fight for decades, and was at least able to see progress before his death in 2009.

And when Hillary Clinton, and then Barack Obama, adopted the Heritage Foundation plan in 2008, far less than the original Clinton plan of the 1990s, suddenly the Republican Party and conservative ideologists bitterly opposed it, as they still do, and their hope is to repeal the program declared constitutional by the Supreme Court this past Thursday.

So it has taken a century, and we are the ONLY major nation in the world which allows millions of people to be uncovered for health care, and we have the opposition bitterly trying to destroy it, including Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who actually promoted the SAME idea successfully in Massachusetts in 2006, but now is out to destroy “ObamaCare”!

What a history, and hard to believe that it would take a century, and still be a controversy in 2012!.

One Dark Part Of The Supreme Court Decision On “Obamacare”: Commerce Clause Limited For First Time Since New Deal, Thrilling Libertarians!

As one analyzes the Supreme Court decision on “ObamaCare” written by Chief Justice John Roberts, in the midst of the celebration, one has to pause and be concerned about Roberts’ assertion that the “commerce clause”, utilized regularly since the New Deal to permit expansion of federal power, was declared limited by a 5-4 vote of Roberts and all four Republican and conservative appointments on the Court—Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito–and vigorously opposed by the four Democratic and liberal appointments—Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Instead, Roberts said the law was constitutional based on the “mandate” being a tax.

LIbertarians are cheered by this aspect of the case, but it COULD effectively limit federal power, and restore states rights back to the pre 1930s view, which would indeed be tragic in so many ways!

So the battle over the future of government, and over what the Roberts majority opinion means for the long term, will be the subject of much discussion, debate, and cases over the coming years!

Disgraceful GOP Governors Will Fight Expansion Of Medicaid!

The Supreme Court decision backing “ObamaCare”, sadly allowed the states an “out” on expanding Medicaid coverage to the sick and needy who do not have health insurance coverage. In so doing, it allows Republican Governors to continue to resist giving any health care services to the poor, and will likely require federal intervention once the election is over, and hopefully, the chance to repeal “ObamaCare” is over, with Democratic gains and the victory of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election.

The despicable Governors include the usual ones–Southern governors, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Nikki Haley of South Carolina among others; and other Republican Governors elsewhere, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Paul LePage of Maine, Rick Snyder of Michigan, and Sam Brownback of Kansas, among others.

These Governors have no conscience, and do not give a damn about protecting the health of their own less fortunate citizens. And yet, they are all concerned with preserving “life” when it refers to fetuses, but no concern once the fetuses are born!

What a disgrace beyond belief!


The Texas state government is promoting a concept of education that DOES NOT TEACH CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS!

Imagine this: The second largest state in population and land area, the state which sets the standard for most textbook sdoptions nationally, because of their large student and youth population, has set a goal of discouraging thinking, analyzing, interpreting of learning materials!

How backward can Texas be, which is already in the bottom ten on most educational standards under Governor Rick Perry!

The right wing evangelicals and Tea Party activists are at work, and they do not wish to encourage young people to develop their own ideas and thoughts!

After all, IF young people think, analyze, interpret, and challenge, that is a threat to parental authority and religious doctrine, which promotes obedience without question!

What kind of future does this nation have if we allow what Texas is doing to, effectively, promote obedient people who have no thoughts, who are KNOW NOTHINGS, such as Governor Rick Perry himself?

This is the problem of states rights, and is an argument for nationalizing the educational curriculum, as that is the only hope for high educational standards and the ability of America to compete in the 21st century!

Four Path Breaking Domestic Policy Presidents In American History: All Democrats (Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Barack Obama)!

Looking back at American history, it can now be said we have had four path breaking Domestic Policy Presidents, all Democrats, who have transformed America in so many ways!

Leaving out foreign policy as a factor, and realizing that the prosperity and security of the American people internally is very important, there is no question anymore that our greatest Presidents in domestic affairs, in chronological terms are :

Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
Barack Obama (2009-?)

Wilson’s Presidency gave us the Federal Reserve banking system, the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Anti Trust Act, Agricultural subsidy laws, and the first national labor laws, under the terms of the New Freedom and the New Nationalism.

FDR’s New Deal gave us Social Security, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, Public Works Agencies, Unemployment Compensation, Aid to the Disabled and Handicapped, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Public Housing, Banking and Stock Market Regulation, and numerous other laws.

Johnson”s Great Society gave us the modern Civil Rights Acts, Medicare, the War on Poverty, Federal Aid to Education, Consumer Protection Laws, Environmental Protection laws, and numerous other initiatives.

Obama has given us the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”), consumer protection laws, equal pay for women, immigration reform for children of immigrants, promotion of gay rights and equality, the saving of the auto industry, and numerous other reforms.

Most experts and rational people would put Wilson, FDR, and LBJ in the top ten of our Presidents, even with controversial foreign policy records.

Now, it would be fair to put Barack Obama in that elite group when scholars and experts reassess the Presidency at the end of the Obama Presidency!

A Chicago Tribune “Dewey Defeats Truman” Moment: An Embarrassment to CNN, Fox News Channel And National Public Radio!

Electronic journalism did not have a great moment this past Thursday, when two cable channels, Fox News Channel and CNN, and National Public Radio as well, botched the first report of the Supreme Court decision on “ObamaCare”, declaring the plan had been declared unconstitutional!

It was a startling blunder, particularly for CNN and NPR, as Fox News Channel is infamous for distorting news on a regular basis!

A tremendous embarrassment it is, which will not give confidence to news junkies, while at the same time, MSNBC got it correct from the first moment, so let us salute MSNBC for its accuracy!

This whole situation reminds us of the Chicago Tribune headline in 1948, declaring GOP nominee Thomas E. Dewey the winner over President Harry Truman, leading to a photograph of Truman holding up the newspaper headline and beaming in victory, a priceless moment in American history!

Time For A Debate: Sean Hannity Vs. Lawrence O’Donnell, Or Other Alternatives!

It is time for conservatives to stop propagandizing on Fox News Channel and talk radio, and get out there and compete in a debate on the issues of the campaign!

Since Sean Hannity is particularly glib, I propose that he participate in a debate against Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC!

Or why not Bill O’Reilly of Fox News Channel compete in a debate against Rachel Maddow instead?

Or have Rush Limbaugh of talk radio fight against Ed Schultz in a debate sponsored by the cable news channel, C SPan!

Any combination of a conservative against a progressive is fine, if not this precise matchup suggested!

The progressives would wipe the conservatives all over the floor, if such a debate or debates occurred, but face it, the conservatives would NEVER agree to such a situation!

Certainly, it would be very interesting, and probably more informative, than the Presidential or Vice Presidential debates coming up in September and October!

Cordiality On The Supreme Court: Does It Exist After The Health Care Decision?

It has always been said that the members of the Supreme Court are always cordial and friendly, no matter their ideological differences.

But one wonders if that is so, after Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the case involving “ObamaCare”, joining the four liberals on the Court.

We know that Antonin Scalia was uncomfortable as the decision was being issued, and was certainly furious and temperamental in his public utterances that Thursday morning!

It is hard to imagine that Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas are NOT upset over the decision, and that it might very well affect personal relationships. This may not be something easily overcome, particularly when the usual swing vote, that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, was not there to support Roberts.

Roberts may be hoping, privately, that Scalia and Kennedy retire, as they really should soon, with their age being past 80 by the end of the next term.

On the other hand, Roberts and all of us will be burdened for many years by the relative youth of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito!

This whole situation makes it more urgent than ever that Barack Obama replace retiring Justices, as well as circuit court judges, if there is to be any hope for a fair hearing in Supreme Court cases!

The “compassionate conservatism” of Chief Justice Roberts is far preferable to the narrow minded, biased, uncaring conservatism of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and YES, even Anthony Kennedy, sorry to say!

What Might Have Been: Chief Justice Samuel Alito!

In Jully 2005, shortly after Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement, President George W. Bush announced John Roberts as his choice as her replacement on the Supreme Court.

The hearings were scheduled for early September, but two days before the hearings began, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, and overnight, Bush decided to switch Roberts to be the appointee for Chief Justice, and later selected Samuel Alito to replace O’Connor!

The course of history was changed dramatically by this, ever more so now after Chief Justice Roberts authored the majority opinion on the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare!

Samuel Alito has proved to be a right wing extremist on the Supreme Court, joining with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, and often called “Scalito” by critics. He also is the Justice who mouthed “not true” after the CItizens United Case decision, when President Obama, in the State of the Union speech a few days later, openly criticized that decision to the faces of the Supreme Court, while the other Justices, including Roberts, sat stone faced, which was the professional way to behave, but not for Alito!

The leader of the Court knows the Court is in his name, and that he must think of history, and Chief Justice Roberts knows that well, and has shown his statesmanship on this health care case, realizing no major decision of the Court since 1937 has repudiated a major social reform law passed by Congress.

Justice Alito is NOT a statesman, far from it, and rather is in many ways a disgrace–a narrow minded, hostile, nasty representative of the agenda of the Far Right, who if he had any ethics, would resign from the Court, but preceded by Scalia and Thomas, the two worst Justices of the past half century on the Court!

The Irony Of George W. Bush Appointee To Chief Justice Upholding Barack Obama’s Signature Accomplishment!

Who would ever have thought that President George W. Bush would appoint a Chief Justice, John Roberts, who would uphold the signature accomplishment of Barack Obama’s first term in office, the Affordable Care Act?

This fact will actually make Bush look a little better in the long run of history, and the 43rd President can certainly use any help he can get historically to overcome his overall abysmal record as Chief Executive!

One could say that Roberts in this case proved to be a “compassionate conservative”, the term utilized by Bush when he ran for the Presidency!

And considering the nastiness and venom of the reaction to this decision by most Republicans, it actually makes Bush look better, that he was the last time period when the term “compassionate” was thought to be something that was good and decent by the Republican leadership!

Certainly, Mitt Romney’s campaign for President has exhibited NONE of this compassion, as he makes it clear that his goal in running for office is to repeal ObamaCare, a negative campaign which will fail miserably, as Alf Landon, running against the New Deal and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, was smashed and the Republican Party was weakened to its weakest membership in American history in the Congress!

The GOP better be careful, or they may face the repudiation of the voters in historic terms similar to 1936! Being negative and speaking for the plutocracy is NOT the way to gain and keep power!