Thursday October 29th 2009

afghanistan imagesHour One -  80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT WALL STREET CRASH OF 1929 (BLACK TUESDAY) What's it going to take to return America to the sane "labor base" economic policies that have saved Europe from the second Republican Great Depression?

Hour Two -  Was Colin Powell right - if you break it, do you own it? Malou Innocent

Plus... Rethinking Afghanistan Robert Greenwald

Hour Three -  How can we heal America and preserve the constitution? Stewart Rhodes


Mark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

The Los Angeles Times published a story recently on the “savvy” game plan of a key insurance industry lobbyist, Karen Ignani of America’s Health Care Plans. Her success, apparently, was based on a PR strategy to convince the Obama administration and lawmakers that it favored “universal” coverage after all, and offered to quit denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions or after major (or during) medical procedures. The price for these “initiatives” was no cap on premiums, and no public option. Basically, it would be a win-win situation for insurance companies; higher costs would be offset by forcing more people to buy insurance plans at any price the insurers deemed fit.

Yet the core of health care debate is affordability, and if the insurers have their way, “universal care” will only make life for people at the lower-end of the pay scale worse. Affordability isn’t just about premiums, but co-pays and deductibles. Insurance has to be affordable AND cover primary and preventative care, rather than passing excessive up-front costs to the insured; making preventative care affordable is the most promising means of keeping medical costs down in the long run. Yet even the most optimistic reform plans on the table keep millions uninsured (Republican complaints about the number that will remain uninsured, is disingenuous coming from them considering that they oppose any change in the system); while those who would rather pay a fine probably shouldn’t be considered in the numbers, another large segment—those eligible for Medicaid but don’t sign up—could be reduced significantly if the red-tape was eliminated. That leaves legal residents who are the most vulnerable group of all, those who live at or below the poverty line who cannot afford insurance even with subsidies. For these people, “universal” coverage is nothing more or less than a sham.

It must be repeated over and over again: the public—or “consumer”—option must be part of a final health care bill. It is needed because the insurance industry has only its own “health” in mind, and that can only be measured in profits without any real effort to cut waste—whether its own or that of providers. The latest anti-public option pitch by the insurance industry is that providers will pass on reduced government reimbursement costs to private insurers; programs like “bundled” payment plans being experimented with for Medicare, which pays providers a fixed sum rather than waiting for a smorgasbord of bills for often redundant procedures, is the kind of common sense cost-cutting that only inspires incomprehension in the insurance industry. Bundling forces healthcare providers to take greater care in the tests they order and pay more attention to there results, rather than order a crap-shoot of tests that may or may not have anything to do with an illness.

The state “opt-out” public option being proposed now is far from acceptable, but it is a foot in the door, and it can be improved and expanded over time.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

It seems to me that those "Oath Keepers" laid down for the Bush/Cheney administration, because they allowed quite a few of their "commandments" to be trampled on during that administration. Frankly, it amazes me how such groups that actually preach rebellion and hatred have the nerve to call themselves "patriots" and wave the American flag in our faces.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Two very informative segments on today's Democracy Now about the latest developments in the health care reform. Both are good. I think the second segment (the round-table) might be better, but I might just have been more awake.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

B Roll,

So sleep learning is a myth after all?

I am having a hard time listening to healthcare "reform" debate now. I have to force myself. So much is being made over so little...

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

B Roll,

I meant to add that I WOULD listen to your recommendations, though.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


Yes sleep learning is a myth. I recommend these segments because I recommend Democracy Now on principle; the same goes for GRITtv. I also because the participants in the round-table are very qualified and informed.

"We host a roundtable with three guests who have been closely following the debate: Lois Uttley, co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Healthcare We Need; Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at Community Service Society of New York; and Dr. Oliver Fein president of Physicians for a National Health Program."

I think many people would benefit from hearing these views.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

DLC = Democrats in League with the Corporations. :)

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Just took a look at the Oath Keepers home page. While I actually agree with everything they say they say in their list of "Orders We Will NOT OBEY", something about them still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I get the feeling that they beleive, for instance, that the Obama Administration actually has plans in place to "blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps", or "use ... foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control." "

Again, there's nothing specific on the page indficating that this is what they believe, but where were these guys during the Bush admninistration? When were they founded, and why do they feel that they may, at some point, be getting orders that they'll have to refuse?

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


I didn't see your second post. I think you'll find it informative. But your first reply encouraged me to give more information, so... it's all good. :)

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


Consider this about the Oath Keepers. With all the things the Bush Administration did during its eight yearsto facilitate the creation of a police state in this country, the Oath Keepers didn't form until March of 2009, a few months after the swearing in of Barack Obama.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Dylan Ratigan, on MSNBC's Morning Meeting today even sounded resigned to this weak legislation on healthcare reform, saying that when things continue to get bad enough, voters and legislators will realize that politically easy fixes aren't good enough and REAL reform must occur for anything to change.

I wonder...

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

@B Roll -

That's kinda what I thought, I guess. Couldn't find their date of origin (didn't put a whole lot of effort into it - I'm actually trying to work,here!). Thanx for verifying my suspicions.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Time for a handout?

The unspoken point in my last post (the grip of the corporations on this country and the need for campaign finance reform) goes to my next comment.

I got my first call from an "independent fund raiser" soliciting donations to Al Franken's political pac, Midwestpac. Al is barely in office and he's openly fundraising already (whereas I haven't heard much at all from Sen. Amy Klobuchar.)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Re: Low-Information Voters

"Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge but an aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know, issuing from cowardice, pride or laziness of mind."

Karl Popper (1902-1994)
Austrian-born British philosopher

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

China to launch case against Big Three automakers
China has told the United States it is launching a trade investigation that could lead to new import duties on autos and sports utility vehicles made by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

The action comes as U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are in China for high-level talks aimed at resolving trade irritants between the two countries. President Barack Obama, who will visit China in mid-November, angered Beijing last month by slapping a 35-percent duty on imports of Chinese-made tires which totaled about $1.8 billion last year.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

US drone strikes may break international law: UN
US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN's top investigator of such crimes said.

"The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan," UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference. "My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law," he said.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


Yesterday, the Kansas City Star reported that the online auction site eBay intervened to prevent a planned auction to support the defense fund of Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller. EBay said that the auction violated its policy against "offensive material" and would "not permit the items in question to be posted to the eBay site," adding that they would be "removed if they are posted." The decision followed a week of increasing national criticism of the planned auction and occurred on the same day that Tiller's family issued a personal appeal for the company to prevent the auction of materials the family felt contained "hate messages, glorify violence against abortion doctors who provide constitutionally protected medical services, and instruction on means of violence, including bombing, of abortion clinics." Dave Leach, one of the anti-choice extremists who organized the auction, defended the items, arguing that they "have historical value in the history of freedom of speech in the pro-life movement." The items included "an Army of God Manual" which contained "detailed instructions for attacking abortion clinics, manufacturing bombs and cutting off the hands of abortion doctors," as well as "a prison cookbook compiled by a woman doing time for abortion clinic bombings and arsons, and several autographed drawings submitted by Roeder."
-The Progress Report

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


Don't sweat the small stuff. I'm not Al Franken's biggest fan and I'm not his biggest critic. Franken and Klobuchar are in very different positions. Kblobuchar has a political career going back to the last century (OK, just barely and it wasn't all that long ago). She not only has a long established well organized fundraising apparatus, but she's been able to do fundraising since the election.

Franken, by comparison, doesn't have a decade of elected office (and fund raising) behind him, and since the election, last November, had to devote his fundraising efforts towards legal fees so he could get into the office he won in November. So he's lost many months of fundraising.

Although his next election is several years away, senatorial elections are very expensive and we know that they have to raise thousands and thousands of dollars a day. Franken is close to a year behind in his fundraising. I'm sure you don't doubt that Amy Klobuchar is doing fundraising.

Your choice of the words "openly fundraising" indicates a bit of pique with Franken, and you have expressed that before. But remember, you promised DDay that you'd try to take the "glass is half full" point of view about Franken.

From what I've heard about Franken, he's very smart and very dedicated to being informed about the issues and doing a good job. I can see having policy differences with him and personality differences with him, but being upset because you found out that he's doing what we know every elected official has to do doesn't make sense.

Get the money out of politics. (Hey I can shout mundane platitudinous slogans too.)

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

@Quark & B Roll -

I have also received solicitations from Al Franken's people on behalf of other Progressive candidates, e. g., Russ Feingold.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

B Roll,

You are the keeper of the flame. Unfortunately, I was thinking that it's a crime that Franken has to start fundraising so soon instead of thinking solely about ideas and future legislation. I just thought it was ironic that Amy apparently doesn't feel as pressured (although maybe she does, but is approaching it a different way.)

My comment was intended as a criticism on the condition of our democracy. 'Sorry it didn't come across that way.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

@mstaggerlee & B Roll & Quark,

I received a solicitation this week from Al on the behalf of Byron Dorgan. I'm glad it wasn't for Kent Conrad. Byron is a good guy.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


Could you tell us what state you're in? (Just wondering how far a reach the fundraising thing has.)

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

If it is true that we are fighting in Afghanistan in order to build the natural gas pipeline, please take a look at Bark's website. They have put together a tremendous amount of material for those fighting LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) here in Oregon and Washington. Bark's efforts are focused on the West Coast, but you may find information helpful for the fight you may need to have in your own state, too.

LNG is a scary, worldwide operation that puts ports in danger from terrorists and continues our addiction to fossil fuels. They use eminent domain to steal land owned by local farmers and eat away at hard-won environmental laws.

We need to fight LNG on the home front, and, if it is true that we will fight in Afghanistan partly for a Natural Gas pipeline, we need to tie our fight against LNG to our fight against the war.

Perhaps our local organizations need to raise money to send an "army" of activists to Afghanistan to help build schools and infrastructure as a way to fight LNG.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

joe lieberman and john hagee , lieberman gave a speech talking about how great john hagee is. maybe joe thinks the world is going to end soon. so no reason to work on healthcare.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Dennis Kuccinich was working on a "Department of Peace". We need to develop our own department of peace that is run by activists instead of religious organizations where activists are rigorously trained to work in dangerous areas while helping to build schools, hospitals, and sustainable businesses.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Unfortunately, a major mission of U.S. military bases abroad is to make the world safe for corporations.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


One more thing I remembered about Franken's situation is that I heard that "the right" really hates him. I heard that's a big part of why the legal battle to seat him was dragged out. That being the case, we can expect that whoever they put up to challenge him is going to be very well funded.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

B Roll,

Yes, that occurred to me, too. He knows he has a big battle ahead --- again.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

Minneapolis is about to conduct its first instant run-off election. Minnesotans are all watching with interest.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

"IRV voting to be unveiled in Minneapolis on Nov. 3."

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago


You pronounced Nisar's name right but you mispronounced his community. It's Granada (Gra-nah-da) Hills not Gra-nay-da.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 34 weeks ago

I'm in NY, but signed up for updates on the legal battle over the Senate seat. :)

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