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Posts Tagged ‘congress’

Brown Wins in Mass.

Posted by AB on January 20, 2010

After last night’s special election, in Massachusetts, for the Senate seat held by the late Edward Kennedy, there are quite a few words that come to my mind, as a proud Democrat:  embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, frustrated, sad, confused, angry, humbled, and a few more, I’m sure.  Senator-elect Scott Brown gives Republicans 41 seats in the United States Senate, ensuring their ability to obstruct and block just about anything the 59-seat majority Democrats want to do, most prominently the current health care reform efforts.  It’s a shame that in America, 41 is more than 59.  And with Republicans refusing to put forth the effort to help the American people, in any way, because of their ongoing efforts to damage our President, don’t expect much to get done in this mid-term election year.

Democrats will be pointing fingers at one another for the next few weeks, but there is plenty of blame to go around.  Martha Coakley ran a terrible campaign.  Congressional Democrats can get nothing done.  President Obama is not being forceful enough with his policy agenda.  I only hope that the correct lessons are  learned from this debacle.  The lesson is to not back off, to not be weak, but to work hard to get things done for the American people.  Now is not the time to pout or complain.  Now is the time to press even harder for the policies that Democrats hold dear.

If there is a silver lining from last night’s disappoinment, it is that a sleepy Democratic party just got a fire lit under their asses.  We are angry, and we want blood, too.  So let’s fight, Democrats.  The future of our nation is at stake.  There is no progress without struggle.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Hellfire & Brimstone

Posted by AB on December 21, 2009

The battle over health care reform has brought some pretty fiery rhetoric to the good people of the United States.  In my opinion, save for the outbursts of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Congressional Republicans have been spreading the most abhorrent language to his or her constituents.  When we look back to this debate 20 years from now, we will all remember the big lie that was “death panels,” used by Republicans to scare senior citizens.  Unfortunately, the closer we get to a health care reform bill, the more incendiary the rhetoric has become.  Over the weekend it became biblical.

This weekend in Nebraska, former Republican Presidential nominee Mike Huckabee visited to criticize Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).  Why would the former Arkansas Governor travel to Nebraska on short notice?  Because he saw an opportunity to once again act as demagogue when Nelson finally agreed to join the rest of the Democrats to vote for a health care reform bill.  Huckabee, forever the political opportunist, dropped this little line to drive home his point (via CNN):

 “I don’t want [senators] to go up there…and then somehow go back and boast ‘Here’s some money I got from you.’  The last time we saw that kind of historic moment it was 30 pieces of silver, and that didn’t work out to well for us either.”

He, of course, was referring to Judas’ betrayal of Christ.  Of course it is the same as expanding health care coverage to 30 million Americans, right?  What a stupid think to say, Mr. Huckabee, even for you.

And last night, stung by the realization that Senate Democrats had assembled the needed 60 votes to stop a filibuster, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) went to the floor of the “greatest deliberative body in the world” to release one of the most heinous comments that one could ever imagine.

That’s right; Sen. Coburn is calling for the American people to pray that a Democratic member  is unable to show up.  To the great disappointment of Sen. Coburn, God did not intervene, and even the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) made the 1 a.m. vote.  Democrats reached cloture by a vote of 60-40, along party lines.

I don’t know what is going on with our politicians these days–they seem to have all lost their minds.  The Senate bill should pass on Christmas Eve, and then there will be a whole new series of vitriol, as the Senate bill will go to conference to merge with the bill that was previously passed by the House of Representatives.  After the eventual passage of the health care reform bill, maybe we can all begin thinking more clearly.  Until then, get accustomed to “crazy talk.”

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Response to My Letter to Rep. McHenry

Posted by AB on September 9, 2009

In my earlier post about the form letter response from Rep. McHenry’s office, I meant to post the actual text.  I thank my good friend for reminding me.

 Dear Mr. xxxxx:

                 Thank you for contacting me regarding the challenges facing America’s healthcare system. I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts.

Although the U.S. healthcare system is without a doubt the most advanced in the world, capable of providing miracle care, there are issues of access and cost that are a serious cause for concern.

I believe we must enact changes that provide greater access, protect the rights of patients, and eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system. Over the past several years in Congress, I am proud to have supported initiatives to increase health care coverage through the creation of Association Health Plans for smaller businesses, allow for greater access to health insurance through interstate commerce, and reform the broken medical malpractice system.

In reviewing the different options for reform being considered in Congress today, it is my first priority to preserve what works in American health care and protect the sacred doctor-patient relationship. Doctors are the experts, and the best system is where a patient and doctor make the decisions about care.

 

We’ve seen what happens in other countries when politicians and bureaucrats get between the patient and the doctor – quality decreases and bureaucracy increases. Oftentimes it’s the elderly or chronically ill who are most disadvantaged when options are taken away and healthcare is rationed.

 

As a nation, I believe we need targeted reform with measurable results that improve patient care, expand health care availability, and lower costs, without jeopardizing the doctor-patient relationship that ensures Americans have the personal choices to fit their individual health care needs.

 

Please be assured that during the debate on health care in Congress, I will continue to support efforts that will improve access, affordability and advancement of health care.  Thank you again for contacting my office.  It is an honor to serve as your United States Congressman.  Your suggestions are always welcome, and if ever I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Patrick McHenry

Member of Congress

 

PTM/jsm

 


 

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Got A Response from McHenry

Posted by AB on September 9, 2009

Well, I finally got a response from the office of my congressman, Patrick McHenry (R-NC), after I sent a letter about healthcare.  Too bad it was a pitiful form letter with all of the right-wing talking points clearly expressed.  I can’t say that I am surprised at this pitiful response, but I am disappointed, nonetheless.  It shouldn’t take over a week to send a form letter about health care.

As I write this, I have found the reason that it took so long for Rep. McHenry’s office to click “send” with a form letter response.  McHenry and his crew are spending all of their time, which is funded by us taxpayers, undertaking in the right-wings newest witch hunt–the CZARS!  Oooooh!  That sounds communist, doesn’t it.  Apparently, he and his staff don’t waste valuable time doing silly “research,” to find those things called…what are they called, again?…oh, yeah…FACTS!  Here is an article from ThinkProgress, explaining Rep. McHenry’s new obsession.  He’s a regular Glenn Beck these days.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Week Later…Still No Word from McHenry

Posted by AB on September 8, 2009

One week ago, today, I typed and emailed a letter to my US Representative, Patrick McHenry (NC-10).  My letter, which was about health care, was very respectful to my Republican congressman.  The respect that I showed Rep. McHenry is far more than the Republican party has been showing President Obama.  Maybe the congressman only replies to Republicans, or only to those who agree with him.  At any rate, this week did include the Labor Day holiday, so I will do something that he would never do for me or any other Democrat:  I’m going to give him and his staff the benefit of the doubt.

I’ll be waiting for a response.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

Posted by AB on August 26, 2009

We have lost a great American leader.  Senator Edward M. Kennedy lost his 15-month-long battle with brain cancer, early this morning.  He was 77-years-old.  Everyone knew that this day was near, but that fact does not make the loss any more difficult for his family, friends, and this Country.

Kennedy, the “Lion of the Senate,” is considered by many as the greatest, most influential Senator of the last 50-years or more.  He had a hand in every major Congressional legislation that the United States has passed since the mid-1960’s.  His life’s passion, however, hangs in the balance.  He was dedicated to making health care a right, rather than a privilege.  Unfortunately, his illness  has prevented him from leading the Senate through this legislation, and his colleagues have proved themselves incompetent.

All Americans–Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, of all ages and every race– have been influenced by the actions of Ted Kennedy, and for the better.  He will be missed, but we must attempt to live up to the legacy that he built and left behind.  I can think of no better way to honor Senator Kennedy than to make real health care reform a reality.

God Bless, Sen. Kennedy.  You no longer have to fight, and you can, finally, be reunited with your beloved brothers.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Any Bill a Failure for Conservative Groups

Posted by AB on August 11, 2009

What do conservative groups want out of this health care debate?  Many conservatives, in public, say that we need health care reform, but they seem to have a problem with absolutely everything about it.  Conservatives in the media, in congress, and in other groups say, “No, no, no” so much that it is difficult to see what they are for.  Well, Politico has a short article about a recent conference call by conservative groups, including the National Tax Limitation Committee, the American Liberty Alliance, the Tea Party Patriots.  Apparently, they are pressing members of congress to kill health care.  An AFL-CIO union official who listened-in on the call, quoted the moderator as saying “The goal is not compromise, and any bill coming out this year would be a failure for us.”

There you have it.  What are conservatives for?  It sounds like they are for, well, anything but reform.  I assumed that this was the case, but was surprised that someone let it slip.  Any health care reform would be good for Americans, but their biggest fear is that any success would be accredited to President Obama and Congressional Democrats.  So, if you are for health care reform, and you run into someone who is against this bill or that amendment, the easiest way to shut them down is to just ask them what they are for. 

Always be respectful, civilized, and peaceful as you debate, even if others aren’t.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Did You Lose Your Healthcare Today?

Posted by AB on August 3, 2009

While Republican lobbyists organize protests to shout down Democratic Congress members and Obama Administration officials during townhall meetings, thousands of Americans will lose healthcare coverage, daily. 

The US House of Representatives have recessed, and after this week, the US Senate will enter into the August recess.  Now, these lawmakers will return to his or her constituents, and one of the most critical issues they will discuss is that concerning healthcare reform.  I’m sure that many Americans are interested in having the opportunity to ask quetions of their democratically-elected representatives, and this ability retained by Americans to have this direct contact with those who actually make laws is just another reason that our country is so great.   Townhall-type forums allow for public discussion of important issues that affect all Americans.  Unfortunately, there are those who are attempting to shout-down and intimidate Representatives and voters, alike.

The healthcare industry is prepared to spend over a million dollars a day, yes, a day to kill healthcare reform.  And where is that money going?  Well, one lobbying group dedicated to “killing” healthcare reform is called FreedomWorks.  The Chairman of FreedomWorks is former Republican Majority leader Dick Armey–that is his real name.  This is the same organization that funded the so-called grassroots movement called “Tea Parties.” 

 A disturbing memo from FreedomWorks has been leaked, and it is one of the most sickening, anti-American, anti-democracy memos imaginable.  The memo calls for anti-healthcare supporters, and in some cases the group will bus-in supporters, to disrupt townhall meetings by intimidating Representatives and constituents.  This tactic is not only dispicable for the lies that are perpetrated by these people but, most of all, for the total disregard for the rights of their fellow Americans.

Meanwhile, there have been estimates as far back as February that suggest that approximately 14,000 Americans a day will lose healthcare coverage.  That is nearly 100,000 people a week that will lose healthcare.  And what is the solution provided by these opponents of healthcare reform?  Well, in their diseased minds, there is nothing wrong with our healthcare system.  Their ideal solutions is one that would cut even more taxes on insurance and pharmaceutical companies while Americans see premiums rise at over triple the rate of inflation and wages. 

So, if you find yourself at a townhall meeting to discuss the future of this country, and there are 10-20 loud assholes disrupting the discussion, don’t get angry.  First ask them to respect the speakers and those in attendence.  Then ask them if they have healthcare–they likely do.  Then find out where they are from; chances are that they are not from your congressional district, as they have been asked to disrupt any and all townhall meetings possible.  The most important thing to do is to, however, is to resist this intimidation, peacefully, and collect the information that that affects your family.  Find the truth.

Warning:  These people are thugs, and I would put nothing past them. 

*If you can stomach it, I have posted some YouTube clips of these protests, via TPM.

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Supreme Court Nomination = Madness

Posted by AB on May 27, 2009

It’s already begun, and yes, it’s madness.  Yesterday, President Obama announced his nomination for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the retirement of  Justice David Souter.  The nominee is United States Second Court of Appeals Judge, Sonia Sotomayor.  If confirmed by Senate, she will become the first Latina, and only the third woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  The Republican Party and conservative special-interest groups have been waiting to fight this nomination, whoever it was going to be, for years.  They wasted no time, as Judge Sotomayo has been eviscerated in the last 24 hours.

US President Barack Obama applauds his nominee for Supreme Court ...

Sonia Sotomayor’s academic record is stellar.  She graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from Princeton.  After that, she graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Review.  Her professional record is just as impressive.  Out of Law school, in 1979,  she landed a job as an Assisstant District Attorney in Manhattan.  In 1984, she entered into private law, and in 1988, she became a partner at Pavia and Harcourt.  Miss Sotomayor became a trial judge in October of 1992, when she was appointed to the US District Court by President George H. W. Bush.  In 1998, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the US Second Court of Appeals, where she was also the first Latina.

Anytime there is an opening on the highest court in the land, a fight can be expected.  After all, this is an exclusive club of only nine, and to increase the stakes even more, this is a lifetime appointment.  The importance of this process demands that difficult questions be asked about the nominee’s judicial philosophy, so I would never argue that she get a soft ride through the confirmation process.  It should, however, be a respectful process.  So far, it has not been.

Barely a few hours after the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as the nominee, conservative radio show host, Rush Limbaugh declared that she was racist, or “reverse racist.”  He also demeaned the President as a “reverse racist.”  Also last night, former Republican Representative, Tom Tancredo, along with a never-ending list of right-wing pundits and bloggers, all called her racist.  And today, the former and disgraced Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich “tweeted” that she should remove her name from nomination because she is a “Latina racist.”  This from a group of individuals who constantly complain that they can’t criticize the President without being accused of being racist.  Of course that’s not true, but false political outrage has been used by all sides for many years.  These remarks are simply disgusting, but these are disgusting men.

Strangely, Republican Congress members, who actually have to vet this nomination, have been cautious with comments about Judge Sotomayor.  I don’t know how long they can resist the hatred of fellow conservatives, but let’s hope they can focus upon the job of, respectfully, vetting the nominee.  Unfortunately, they are also being silent about the attacks being brought about by the haters.  If the Republican Party is to survive, its members must be careful to be respectful to this nominee, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but she represents the fastest-growing demographic in the country. 

Get ready.  This thing will be debated throughout the Summer, ending in the likely confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the next United States Supreme Court justice.  If the early rhetoric is any indication, this will be really nasty.  I hope that all sides will be respectful of one another, but I am not mad.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anti-Union Groups Looking Out for Workers? Yeah Right.

Posted by AB on March 11, 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in both houses Congress, yesterday.  If you are supporter of unions, you probably like it.  If you believe that unions are harmful to free-market capitalism, you probably hate it.  I am noticing a great deal of certainty on both sides of this issue, but the only thing that is clear is that neither side really understands a damn thing about the bill.  I’m still trying to pick through some of the more refined details, but I think that I know enough to make an informed judgement.  I support this bill, and I do so because I believe that the passage of the bill will strengthen the American workforce.

Anti-union groups are spending millions of dollars telling anyone who will listen that the passage of this legislation will deny worker’s rights.  First of all, if you ever hear anti-union groups sounding-off about workers rights, then you should quickly understand that something is fishy.  They don’t really care about worker’s rights, and they do not like unions–hence the moniker with which they have been saddled. 

The official meme from anti-union groups has been that the Employee Free Choice Act will eliminate the right to a secret ballot.  Not true.  The bill will give more rights to employees.  Employers currently have the ability to campaign against unions throughout the workday, but pro-uion organizers can only campaign during break times.  Could you imagine if our democracy was like that?  One political party can run campaign ads all week long, but the opposition can only run ads on the weekend.  Not very fair, is it?

This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Just remember that they are called anti-union groups for a reason–they are not sympathetic to unions.  In some places they are called anti-worker groups.  Is that because they want to help workers with better wages and better benefits?  No?

The EFCA will be sliced and diced before it goes up for a vote, and this will be a nasty, no-holds-barred cage match between unions and their opponents.  It will not be pretty, but when it passes, it will be worth the fight.  The workforce will be strengthened, and that in turn will strengthen our country.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »