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August 5, 2009

Republicans LOVE Their Government Run Healthcare

Millions of middle-class families across the country are one illness away from financial ruin including me, maybe you as well; but we can prevent that from happening.

The Healthcare Reform that President Obama wants to sign is pretty easy to understand — it is designed in such a way that it will enable Americans who have coverage to keep it and Americans who need coverage to purchase it. It is designed to build on the healthcare system we have today by getting rid of waste, fraud and abuse.

Opponents of healthcare reform are making outrageous claims about healthcare, twisting words and facts to scare many non-thinking Americans.  Republicans are even claiming that healthcare reform will kill seniors?! W.T.H!  Does anyone exist in America who really believes that absurdity?  That ludicrousness?  That joke?  Really, does anyone believe that healthcare reform will kill seniors!?

Last week was the 44th anniversary of another landmark moment in our nation’s health-care system. President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law 44 years ago but before the bill was signed he was taunted, criticized and ridiculed by political hecklers of health-care reform who claimed that Johnson and our government would takeover healthcare and create a socialist healthcare system and it would be the worst possible healthcare system in the world.  We are in the middle of what seems like déjà vu.

Forty-four years later our 44th President is hearing the same ‘echo’ from Republicans who have AND ENJOY a government run healthcare system similar to Medicare for themselves and their families.  How hypocritical.

1.  Medicare ensures that our parents and grandparents have access to affordable health care.

2.  Medicare protects seniors and their families from backbreaking health expenses.

3.  Medicare operates more efficiently than any other health care coverage – public or private – in our country.

4.  Medicare is a government run healthcare system.

President Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare experience with Republicans taught us that progress does not come easily – especially in the face of big-name campaign contributions and big-dollar ad campaigns.  

President Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare experience also taught us that progress is not always a function of bipartisanship.

Of the key congressional votes on Medicare 44 years ago only 13 Republican senators and only 70 House Republicans joined the overwhelming Democratic majorities to vote for it.

We’re seeing the same kind of opposition today as we fight for healthcare reform. Republicans in Congress are claiming that defeating healthcare reform would break President Obama; that a defeat on this issue will be Obama’s Waterloo.

I don’t care about Obama’s Waterloo (I hope he never gets one though); I care about millions and millions of Americans having access to healthcare that is affordable and healthcare that will make us healthier.  I believe that’s what thinking Americans want.

The drug industry and the health insurance industry are spending millions of dollars to influence Congress. The health insurance industry is camping out at the Capitol and spending lots and lots and lots of money to organize non-thinking Americans to go to town hall meetings and scream and shout and ‘protest’  healthcare reform and the public insurance option.

These non-thinking Americans fail to realize that private insurers will have to cut premiums and increase the quality of healthcare if there is a public insurance option since Americans will have a choice and can decide who we want to give our business to.

Despite being mocked by Republicans 44 years ago, Medicare has proved itself.

1.  Medicare has pulled millions of seniors out of poverty.

2.  Medicare has helped retirees live long and healthy lives.

3.  Medicare has helped to fuel our economy.

4.  Medicare has proved just how important health insurance is.

5.  Medicare works.

And healthcare reform will work.

1.  Healthcare reform will cut healthcare costs for millions of middle class families and small businesses across the country.

2.  Healthcare reform will end uncertainty about health coverage because both private and public insurance will always be available.

3.  Healthcare reform will confront the needless red tape, medical errors, and fraud and abuse that inflate health-care costs and compromise health-care quality.

4.  Healthcare reform will prevent insurance companies from covering you when you’re healthy and dropping you when you’re sick, and from denying you coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

5.  Healthcare reform will keep the insurance industry honest and will make Americans healthier.

We have work to do to get healthcare reform signed and we must do it together.  Inaction doesn’t protect your health coverage or push healthcare costs down.

We must take action to turn things around. Special interests, worn-out cynical politicians, and insane talking heads are going to pull out all the stops to freeze our health-care system in time.

Don’t let them win; fight for your right to have a good healthcare system with a public option.

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and contact your Senators and Congresspersons.

Let your elected officials know that you want healthcare reform with a public option.

Watch Rachel Maddow take on the hypocritical Republicans:

August 4, 2009

Cash For Clunkers Is WORKING So The Republicans Want To Stop It?!

Wow — what a beautiful thing!  Ford Motor Company announced yesterday that in July, for the first time in 2 years, new vehicle sales have increased!

Something positive is happening in our economy slowly but surely. It seems that those stubborn dark economic clouds lingering over the nation are beginning to clear.  Homes sales have increased, the stock markets are up and now American car sales are up. Yeah!

Is it OK for me to whisper the word trifecta?  As in the three main areas of our economy are slowly grinding their way UPWARDS!

Cash For Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program has been an astounding success. Addressing two of the big three items topping President Obama’s current agenda — the economy, the environment and healthcare.  The Cash for Clunkers program has allowed consumers with oversized gas-guzzling vehicles to trade them in for newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, at a reduced cost.

The consumer wins by driving away in a car that costs them less to purchase and less to own and operate.

The environment wins because of the increased fuel economy (an estimated 10 mpg saved per trade-in) and decreased emissions inevitably given off by the ‘clunkers’.

The automakers win by getting a tremendous boost to their sales and profits.  Interpretation — mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money!

It’s a good day in America when our biggest manufacturing industry does well.

For the skeptics, the real questions are:

1.  Has the United States of America’s economy benefited from the Cash for Clunkers program?

2.  If additional funding passes will it continue to benefit the economy?

3.  Will this additional funding help consumer confidence and help to jump start spending again?

The answers are, in no particular order, yes, yes and yes!

Most economists agree that people spending money is what reverses a recession. It’s not complicated, people have to start spending.  When people start spending demand for goods and services increase and people get hired and then those hired spend more and because they are spending more demand for goods and services increase and so the cycle continue and then we see a boost in GDP.

When the GDP increases some inflation usually follows BUT that means that our economy is seriously improving and higher inflation equates economically to lower unemployment.

When Ford Motor Company and other American car companies sell more vehicles, they demand more goods from suppliers – not just auto part suppliers, but paper suppliers and ink suppliers and cafeteria-food suppliers and hand-soap suppliers and transportation providers, and the goods and services from thousands of other suppliers. In turn, those companies demand more from their suppliers and the economy heats up.

Right now, thanks to President Obama’s Cash for Clunker Program our economy has enjoyed a week-long window of collective restored consumer confidence – even stock sales are on the rise! Nice!!!

Cash for Clunkers has done in one week what what the top economic strategists and hundreds of lawmakers and thousands of experts and billions of dollars have not yet been able to pull off in ten months – it got the economy rolling again!

So now the program needs two billion additional dollars – give it to them!

Instead of shouting HALLELUIAH that our economy is seeing some light, several Republican politicians have sneered, scoffed and scorned the program.  I honestly believe that the ONLY reason they are trying to knock the program is because they can see its success and they do not want to see President Obama and the democrats do anything that is beneficial to you and me (Americans in general) because it will affect the number of Republicans who get re-elected in 2010.  It is that plain and simple folks; the Republicans prefer to see the democratic programs fail just so that they (the Repubs) can benefit politically.

This is an extremely selfish way that the Repubs choose to operate and I don’t like it one bit.  I want to see the Democrats programs succeed so that you and me — all of us — can all succeed.

I hope that our elected politicians have the collective common sense to agree that the Cash for Clunkers program continue.

It is important that YOU contact YOUR Senators and Congresspersons and let them know that this program is important to all of us and America’s economic health. 

This is our country and we the people must stand up for what’s right for us individually and collectively and we must let our politicians know that they work for us and we expect them to do what is best for we the people otherwise we will vote them out of office.

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and search for your senators by name, state, or congressional class and visit their websites. 

Call both your Senators and your Congresspersons and let them know that you want the Cash for Clunkers Program to continue.

June 23, 2009

We Want Health Care Reform!!!

Healthcare

Just like Kanye West chanted “we want pre-nup” in ‘Gold-digger’, I am chanting and we should all be chanting “we want health care reform!”

President Obama won the general elections and when he won one of the things that we Americans voted for was health care.  Like President Obama has rightfully said, “we won”.  Why would Congress have the impudence to not vote and pass President Obama’s health care reform bill?  Well, I don’t care what congress’ political reasons are, “I want health care reform!”

I am willing to organize family, friends and neighbors, call members of Congress and the Senate and cajole and pressure our elected officials so they do what the ‘people’ want.  I hope you’re ready to organize and make calls as well. 

Here is why we need health care reform.  Simply put families need to be able to get the care they need, from a physician of their choice, at a price they can afford.

Many families’ wages have been stagnant for years and our budgets have been undermined by the rising cost of living and health care. We have a dysfunctional and unsustainable health insurance system and families need Congressional action to assure quality and affordable care. We wanted health care reform twenty years ago; today we NEED it desperately!

Excessively high health care costs are a drag on our economic recovery since working families are putting more and more money into health care instead of buying things from retailers or what have you and helping the economy.

Hard working people like me and you are falling further and further behind in bills and too many people have filed for bankruptcy just because they got sick.  It is sick that the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the United States is a major health care crisis.  That is ridiculous and inexcusable; this is THE United States of America – the greatest country in the world – shouldn’t we have health care for all our citizens?

At the same time small businesses and companies that provide satisfactory employee health care benefits are at a severe economical disadvantage against companies that do not provide adequate coverage to their employees and that’s not right; companies doing the right thing should not be penalized financially.

Our current system is utterly unaffordable. Health care costs Americans $2.3 TRILLION a year and 50 million people aren’t even covered.  Lower health care costs will help to expand access to more people and at the same time take some financial pressure off even those of us with insurance.

Health care providers have to also do their part to eliminate the imbalance in health care and all employers must be required to pay their fair share.

Changing the way we pay for health care must also be a part of the solution. We cannot continue to pay for expensive technology and treatments that have no evidence of effectiveness. Health care providers should be compensated for the quality – and not the quantity – of health care they deliver.

We must streamline and modernize the way we access medical records and eliminate inefficiencies and flaws in the system that cost money and cost lives.

Despite protests by those who offer NO solutions, it is clear that our government must have a role in controlling costs and regulating private insurance. We need a quality public insurance plan option that will end the dominance and price gouging of private insurers.

I am demanding it.  The public is demanding it.  76% of Americans are demanding a quality public health care option and WE must be prepared to fight Congress to get it. 

I hope you’re ready to fight!

June 15, 2009

Is Dick Cheney Now Anti-American?

In an interview with Jane Mayer for The New Yorker magazine, CIA Director Leon Panetta generated some media attention for saying that “it’s almost as if he is wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.”

Cheney has repeatedly criticized the Obama Administration’s approach to terrorism and Panetta was responding to a speech the former vice president made at the American Enterprise Institute, where he accused the Administration of making the United States less safe for ordering the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, halting enhanced interrogations of suspected terrorists and reversing other Bush administration initiatives he says helped to prevent attacks on the U.S.

Panetta’s exact statement was, “I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue. It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

Vice President Joe Biden was asked during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he agreed.  The VP said that “he wouldn’t question the motive behind Cheney’s criticism. He said, “I think Dick Cheney’s judgment about how to secure America is faulty. I think our judgment is correct.”

Complete New Yorker article:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/22/090622fa_fact_mayer

June 10, 2009

Banks Allowed To Payback TARP Money – Government Predicts A Profit From The Investment

Ten big banks may be thinking that they may soon be able to sponsor golf tournaments, fly their corporate jets willy-nilly, hire foreign workers instead of American citizens and pay their executives preposterous salaries once again without interference from our government.

The real reason the banks are in such a hurry to repay the TARP loans is that they seem to actually believe that by repaying the funds the government will no longer intervene in their business practices – they’re wrong.

They’re wrong not because President Obama and his administration wants to be in the banking business but because Obama and his administration is going to continue to hold the banks accountable until President Obama believes that they have dug themselves out of the deep hole that they’re in and that the banks are on a solid foundation and that American depositors monies are safe and secure.

The banks are anxiousness to win back their independence but they might be acting prematurely.  Let them be warned, if they find themselves in another deep hole President Obama most likely will not save them a second time and what will they do then? They should really, really ponder that.  If I were a bank executive I would hold onto the monies until I was 200% sure that my bank was on a seriously solid foundation.

A concern of the Obama administration is that if big banks rush to return bailout money, it could prevent them from having enough capital to continue lending.  The Treasury Department, in conjunction with the Federal and other bank regulators conducted stress tests of the 19 largest banks this spring to see if they had enough capital to withstand worse-than-expected economic conditions.

Nine passed the test. But 10 others were required to raise a total of $75 billion as a cushion against potential future losses on bad mortgage loans and other investments if the recession worsened. The Federal Reserve said Monday that the 10 banks including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co had submitted acceptable capital-raising plans.

Eight of the nine banks that were found to not need new capital following the government’s bank stress tests last month said they will pay back TARP funds.  They are:

JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street and regional banking giants Capital One, BB&T and U.S. Bancorp.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley which was the only financial firm that regulators did ask to raise money after the stress tests confirmed it also won approval from the Treasury Department to pay back $10 billion.

Chicago-based Northern Trust which received $1.576 billion in TARP funds was not part of the bank stress tests but said on Tuesday that it had also won government approval to exit the program.

All 10 financial firms indicated that they intended to pay back TARP funds by redeeming the preferred shares the government acquired in them last fall. Such a move would return approximately $68 billion to the government’s coffers.

So far, the Treasury Department has allowed nearly two dozen small, mostly community-based lenders to redeem the government’s preferred shares, representing nearly $1.9 billion in taxpayer money.

In a press conference Tuesday, President Obama said such repayments “a positive sign,” but warned that the financial crisis still presented challenges to both American businesses and consumers

“This is not a sign that our troubles are over, far from it,” he said.

Proceeds received from those 10 banks will be applied to the Treasury Department’s general account and some of the funds will used to promote financial stability should the economy take a turn for the worse. A portion of those funds will also be used to reduce Treasury’s borrowing and rein in the nation’s rapidly rising deficit.

Regulators are fearful that major financial institutions which are responsible for issuing a substantial amount of credit to the U.S. financial system may cut back on lending even further as a result of paying back TARP funds and could therefore endanger what may be a budding economic recovery.

Several bank chiefs downplayed these concerns in statements issued Tuesday stating that they will be there for consumers and businesses seeking loans.

“We fully expect to continue to vigorously offer lending opportunities to our credit-worthy consumer, small business, corporate and institutional customers, invest for future growth and support the U.S. government’s overall efforts to stimulate the economy,” Richard K. Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, said in a statement.

Watch President Obama’s Press Conference about TARP money payback:

 

Palau Agrees To Accept Chinese Muslims Held At Guantanamo

Palau Island

President Barack Obama ordered that Guantanamo be shut down by January 2010. Since the order came down U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried has been leading the U.S. State Department’s efforts to resettle the Guantanamo detainees.

After months of negotiations, Palau President Johnson Toribiong said on Wednesday that his government would be “honored and proud” to take in the  17 Uighur Chinese Muslim prisoners who have been held for years at the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for suspected terrorist acts. The Bush administration refused to designate the Uighurs as “enemy combatants” but would not release them.  In late 2008 a U.S. federal judge ordered the men to be released into the United States. That ruling was eventually overturned by an appeals court.

Sandra Pierantozzi, Palau’s minister of state says her nation is glad to have the Uighurs. “If they want to settle in Palau we would welcome them,” Pierantozzi said. “This is very much in line with the culture of Palau, where people who drift in and who needs settlement and place are welcome to our shores and our tradition will take care of them and insert them into our society.

The Uighurs are from China’s western Xinjiang province and Beijing has accused the Uighurs — who dominate the province — as separatists who want to create an independent “East Turkestan.” The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia.

Washington is refusing to send the Uighurs back to China, fearing they would be persecuted.

Pierantozzi says her nation is not concerned over China’s likely displeasure over the resettlement of the Uighurs. “We continue to conduct business as usual, we are a free sovereign country, we are free to make decisions for us, as we believe and see for our benefit,” Pierantozzi said, “and also we are a small country but we are a part of the United Nations and the world community of nations, so we try to do our part.”

The Pacific island nation of Palau is located southeast of The Philippines, south of Guam and north of Indonesia.  Palau is a former U.S. trust territory who has been independent since 1994 and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, China’s longtime rival, rather than Beijing.

It has been reported that the Palau government agreed to accept $200 million in aid from the U.S. in exchange for accepting the Uighurs. 

May 26, 2009

Judge Sotomayor – Hispanic Nuyorican Nominated To US Supreme Court

President Obama made history today by nominating the first Hispanic to the United States Supreme Court. Her name is Sonia Sotomayor, a Judge who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Sotomayor would replace retiring Justice David Souter, and become the second woman to serve currently on the high court and only the third in history. Born and raised in a South Bronx housing project, the Judge would be the first person of Puerto Rican (she calls herself a Nuyorican which is a blending of the terms “New York” and “Puerto Rican”) heritage to serve on the high court.

In nominating Sotomayor, President Obama cited her professional achievements and compelling personal story, calling her an “inspiring woman who I am confident will make a great justice.”

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, or what challenges life throws your way. No dream is beyond reach in the United States of America,” Obama said.

In a statement in the East Room ceremony announcing her nomination, Sotomayor said, “Never in my wildest childhood imaginings…did I ever dream that I would live this moment.” Judge Sotomayor loved Nancy Drew mysteries as a child and yearned to be a police detective. But a doctor who diagnosed her childhood diabetes suggested that would be difficult. She traded her admiration of Nancy Drew for an allegiance to Perry Mason — she became a huge fan of TV’s Perry Mason and decided to become a lawyer.

Unless there is a scandalous revelation about Sotomayor, she is expected to be confirmed. Conservative will without a doubt make a fuss about the nomination of a Hispanic woman and further alienate Hispanics.  Wendy Long, counsel to the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network said, “Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”

Judge Sotomayor is the infamous Judge that ended the 1995 Major League Baseball strike. She ruled against the baseball team owners and in favor of the ballplayers, a decision that ended a lengthy strike and resumed play. At age 54, Judge Sotomayor would be the second-youngest member of the court, after Chief Justice John Roberts, thus potentially setting up decades of clashes between competing views of the Constitution and a variety of issues.

Sotomayor has served on the federal bench for 16 years, as a US district court judge in New York City from 1992 to 1998 under the great Robert Morgenthau and as a judge on the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York from 1998 to present. Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing in the Senate is expected to begin in approximately two months and her record will no doubt endure microscopic scrutiny.

Judge Sotomayor’s was born in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican parents; she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 8. Her father died when she was 9, and she and her brother were raised by their mother, a nurse, in a housing project near Yankee Stadium.

She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. After law school, she prosecuted violent criminals in the District Attorney’s Office in New York from 1979 to 1984. She then worked for eight years in private practice representing international corporations and was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to a federal judgeship.

She was later nominated by President Clinton to her current post on the appeals court. She was confirmed in 1998 by a vote of 67 to 29 to 2.

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