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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:

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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 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:

 

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.

May 13, 2009

President Obama: Commencement Speaker At Arizona State University

Arizona State University

In response to President Barack Obama’s challenge for the United States to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020, Arizona State University (“ASU”) is increasing its student accessibility by expanding its financial aid program to more Arizona families. ASU will honor President Obama by renaming its scholarship program at its commencement ceremony today, May 13.  The program will be now be known as the President Barack Obama Scholars Program.  Some of the new Barack Obama Scholars will be introduced at graduation.

ASU has expanded qualifying family income level for scholars program to $60,000, increasing the number of students receiving funding for tuition, fees, books, and room and board from 500 to more than 1,600 students!

President Obama is ASU’s commencement speaker and will address his largest crowd in the U.S. since his inauguration.  About 71,000 people are expected to brave long lines in 99-degree heat to attend the open-air ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium.

Alice Cooper  Crews spent the past few days building the stage and setting up signs for the big event.  There will be mariachi music, Native American performances and marching bands. Rock icon Alice Cooper will be the opening act.

But for graduates Obama’s speech remains the major draw. Arizona native Alex Linden, 22, an English major, said she’s looking forward to hearing a message of hope.

“President Barack Obama giving my commencement speech seems like the perfect cap to my ASU experience,” Linden said. “I expect his speech, in typical Obama style, to be riveting and full of the ability to spark excitement and a sense of accomplishment.”

Having a sitting president speak at commencement posed significant logistical hurdles for ASU. The frenzy for tickets began as soon as the college announced its speaker in March. Ads for graduation tickets have even appeared on Craigslist and eBay.

May 8, 2009

Invitation To Moderate Republicans: Leave RUSH, Join The Democrats!

Limbaugh 2  Radio personality Rush Limbaugh who seems to be the anointed spokesman for the GOP is trying to kick retired General Colin Powell out of the Republican Party. 

Earlier this week in an address to a conference in Washington sponsored by Fortify Software Inc., Powell said, “The Republican Party is in deep trouble. The party has to reconcile with the fact that the mood of the voters has changed, Powell suggested: “Americans do want to pay taxes for services… Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less.”

Powell said that in his observation he believe some of the party’s leaders were bowing too far to the right and suggested that neither Limbaugh nor commentator Ann Coulter serves the party well.

The party lacks a “positive” spokesperson, continued Powell: “I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without.”

This infuriated Limbaugh and he said, “Look, if you want to know what this is all about, Colin Powell is out there saying that American people want more taxes, they want bigger government. He’s out there saying I am killing the Republican Party while he endorsed and voted for Obama,” Limbaugh said on his show. “The Republican Party nominated the exact kind of candidate Colin Powell thinks the Republican Party should have and he still endorsed Obama. He’s just mad at me because I’m the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race. There can be no other explanation for it. What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat, instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party,” Limbaugh said. “He’s not. He’s a full-fledged Democrat. So I don’t care. This kind of stuff is said about me ten times a day by liberals. He’s just one of them doing it. ”

Ha! Poor Rush cannot take even the hint of constructive criticism.  He is such a BIG cry baby! 

But, as a Democrat, speaking collectively, we will gladly accept Colin Powell and any other open minded, innovative, forward thinking Republican who wants to join us. We love America and want to see it become all it can be and we need your ideas to make this a great country for all of us.

Cross over moderate Republicans, come on down – we are glad to have you!!!

May 5, 2009

President Obama Cracks Down On Off Shore Tax Havens

ugland-house-cayman-islands  In life some people have most everything stacked in their financial favor but it doesn’t stop them from being greedy.  The wealthy in America have had tax breaks that allow them to keep more of what they earn AND the wealthy have also had laws that have allowed them to move their monies out of America (where they earned the money) to countries where they don’t have to pay taxes on that money and therefore keep more money in their greedy little paws while keeping tax money out of the Feds bank account. 

The wealthy has been successfully hiding their money from the American government for decades; money that could help America to pay for military expenditures; money which can help to build roads; money which can be used to repair bridges; money which can be used to pay for natural disasters, etc.  President Obama is going to change some of that.

President Obama has decided to crack down on corporations who move their money out of the country in order to avoid paying taxes.  He announced proposed changes in tax law that would end much of these loopholes and could raise about $21 BILLION in revenue each year.

united-bank-of-switzerland-zurich  The move comes as the IRS continues its crackdown on offshore accounts through a high-profile investigation involving thousands of people with Swiss bank accounts managed by the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS)  in Zurich. The proposal restricts the ability of companies to defer taxes owed on profits earned overseas and eliminates a popular method, known as “check the box”, for reducing taxes through transfers of money to overseas affiliates.  The proposal will also target individuals whom the IRS suspect of hiding income offshore and these individuals would bear the burden of proof, rather than the IRS.  With the proposed changes IRS penalties for failing to make required disclosures about foreign accounts would be doubled in some cases under the plan.

The plans still have to get through Congress, but the president said he was determined to close offshore tax loopholes.  President Obama said, “On the campaign, I used to talk about the outrage of a building in the Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 businesses claim this building as their headquarters. Either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world. And I think the American people know which it is.”

The President was referring to The Ugland House on Church Street in the Cayman Islands – pictured above – which now has 18,000 corporations registered as having their headquarters there!  Look at the picture, do you think 18,000 corporations have their offices there?

The Cayman Islands is a tiny overseas territory of Britain.  The Cayman Islands have more registered businesses than they have people.  The Cayman Islands is the fifth-largest banking center in the world with $1.5 trillion in banking liabilities. With a population of 50,000 it has the highest per capita income in the Caribbean and 90% of its economy is based on ‘financial services’.  There is no income tax or capital gains tax or corporation tax. The government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation such as sales tax, value added tax or goods and services tax.

The government also charges licensing fees to financial institutions that operate in the islands as well as work permit fees for foreign workers ranging from around US$500 for a clerk to around US$20,000 for a CEO.

I love the fact that President Obama has come into office and shows his strong commitment to national defense, strong commitment to balance our budget and an unapologetic commitment to moral and family values that he is not afraid to wear on his sleeves. I am happy to see President Obama trying to get America fiscally healthy again.  It’s a difficult task, but I’m glad to see his efforts in trying to reclaim money that have been stolen from the American government so we can spend what we have and not have to continue borrowing from China and adding to our children and grand-children’s tax debt.

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