w/ Brad & Desi
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says "comity" in the must-see clip below, but "comedy" might have been more appropriate in regard to Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) shut down of Sen. Joe Lieberman (WhoKnows-CT), as Franken was presiding over the chamber, which left us laughing out loud, and applauding quietly to ourselves. (Via TPM with more background)...
And, if you missed it earlier this week, Franken's take-down of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is an absolute must-see as well. Though we've had our own beefs with Franken's politics over the years, we must concede that it's frickin' awesome to finally see and hear someone --- anyone --- speak this way in the U.S. Senate. We'd be delighted to see 60 more just like him! Check it out if you haven't seen it already (and again, TPM has more background)...
Take a bow, Sen. Franken. Please keep up the great work!
Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer
Dear Republicans: I used to be one of you. In fact you'd likely have no "Tea Bag" movement if it hadn't been for my dad and me, and many others who, back in the 1970s and 80s, instigated the rise of the Religious Right. Dad and I were leaders of that movement. Then, after 1985, I got out, quit, left. But I hadn't given up on the Republican Party altogether. As late as 2000 I worked to get McCain elected in the primaries instead of W Bush. (Later, as a "thank you", McCain wrote a long and wonderful endorsement of one of my books about the military family.) When I saw the lies told about McCain --- and others --- by the Bush people and my old buddies on the Religious Right I finally quit.
These days I'm an Obama supporter. I'm also horribly aware that what we did, in bringing the Republican Party together with the Religious Right, is the root of one of the great American tragedies: the takeover of the Republican Party by very sick, simple and religiously deluded fundamentalists. And now you are out of ideas to the extent that all Republicans stand for is, well, nothing but obstruction.
What you've been doing in the Senate to stall health care reform is just too sad for words. And I take it personally. Who should I send my rising impossible-to-pay health insurance premiums to? Dick Armey?...
David Kurtz at TPM avers "It never stops":
And, guess what? If you think that's bad, just wait until we get to Climate Legislation proper, where the Petroleum Industry, some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the history of civilization --- in no small part, thanks to enormous federal subsidies --- have a direct financial stake in the outcome.
(Yes, the world's most profitable corporations benefit mightily from U.S. government welfare, your tax-payer dollars, to the tune of some $72 billion over the last seven years in permanent subsidies. See the handy chart below the fold to see how those subsidies stack up against other energy industries, such as renewables. Never mind the worldwide recession. Exxon Mobil profited more than $45 billion last year, Chevron $23 billion, and the federal subsidies keep coming nonetheless, even as their stooges in the Tea Party denialist "ClimateGater" crowds have been duped into mindlessly continuing their dirty work for them.)
The Oil and Coal (Fossil Fuel) Industries have played no small part in ginning up the tea bagging fight against health care reform if only because it further serves to stall Climate Legislation.
It's horrible, an abrogation of what the Founding Fathers likely had in mind (nowhere, to my knowledge, does the support for unbridled corporate spending as "free speech" come into play in the Constitution at last read) and yet all signs suggest it's only going to get far worse before it gets any better --- if it ever does.
See the chart below to understand how the federal welfare queens from Exxon Mobil and Chevron et al. make out, thanks to your hard-earned tax dollars, and keep it in mind every time you hear yet another global warming denialist out there --- and even here in comments at The BRAD BLOG --- hoping to punk the world for more such free money and endless, record corporate profits...
Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer
Woe to you American Christians! You say I'm the "son of God" and yet you bully the defenseless in my name.
Do you understand the parable of the Good Samaritan?
Let me refresh your memory...
With the U.S. House having passed its version of a health care insurance bill (H.R. 3962 [PDF]) last night by a vote of 220 to 215, it may be instructive to take a very quick look at a couple of the outlier votes from each party.
The bill passed with just two votes to spare, leading one to wonder if Republicans are having any regrets about having hosed their own party's candidate in the NY-23 special election last Tuesday when the two Congressional seats up for election --- the one in NY and another in CA --- both went to Democrats, but that's another issue entirely.
Let's take a look at the reasons offered by two candidates who bucked their own party's in the historic House vote last night, as each seem quite instructive on a number of levels...
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called in the tea baggers to the Capitol in D.C. today for an "emergency house call" (that's great video!) in hopes of killing health care reform legislation. She was joined by dozens of fellow wingnut lawmakers who spoke to the disinformed crowd, promising "not a single Republican vote" for the bill before things turned strange later on.
There, in the crowd as the lawmakers spoke, among the baggers, was the following sign which, as Richard Blair notes, "not one of them denounced"...
Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer
I grew up in a fundamentalist missionary family that in the 1970s and 80s morphed into my father's activity as one of the founders of the Religious Right. We would hobnob with Republican leaders from Ronald Reagan to Gerald Ford and the Bush family, Jack Kemp and many others. One day it dawned on me that the far right of the Republican Party --- in other words its base --- actually hates America.
The Religious Right reveled in rising crime statistics, "family breakdown" statistics, failing public schools and so forth. As I explain in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), if crime started going down, or public school test results started going up --- without the country "turning back to Jesus" --- then that would prove that somehow "we" were wrong.
We wanted our country to fail because it had "turned away" from what we believed to be true.
Combined with the fact that we began to lose parts of the culture war, when it came to other Americans beginning to recognize gay rights, expanding women's rights, abortion rights and such, the Religious Right and the Republican Party infected gun-toting America with a chip on its shoulder about a mile wide. This led to the myth that "they" (fill in the blank, gays, Jews, blacks, liberals --- whatever) are "taking away our country from 'us'"...
YouTube views of Rise of the Tea Bags, as of right now, since we posted it on Wednesday:
3,936 4,711 5,691 6,843 7,851 8,072 10,639 (Be the 4,000th 5,000th 6,000th 7,000th 8,000th 9,000th 11,000th!)
Cost of national defense authorization bill for 2010 only, as signed by Obama on Wednesday without objection from tea baggers: $680 billion
Approximate cost of proposed U.S. House health insurance bill per year (though not reported this way by media): $90 billion
Cost of U.S. House health insurance bill over next ten years, as always reported by the media and vigorously objected to by tea baggers, despite CBO finding that it will actually reduce the deficit: Just under $900 billion
Approximate cost of defense authorization over next ten years (though never reported this way by media): $7 trillion
Approximate savings to tax-payers from U.S. House health insurance bill over next ten years: $100 billion
People killed by U.S. defense operations each year: n/a
Americans who die for lack of health insurance each year: 45,000
Cost of misplaced tea bagger/media priorities: priceless
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Last July we reported on a Small Victory for Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy when the "House Labor and Education Committee voted 27 - 19 to adopt an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to HR 3200, the hybrid 'public option' health care legislation that leaves in place the current multi-payer system. The Kucinich amendment was supported by 13 of the Committee's Republicans. It was opposed by the Committee's chairman, George Miller (D-CA)."
As we noted at the time, "If it survives a House floor vote...the Kucinich amendment would insure that efforts to secure single-payer systems at the state level would not be preempted by federal law." The measure would thus allow advocates of a single-payer health care system to pursue the same local democratic strategy used in Canada, where single-payer was achieved first at the Province level; then extended nationally.
On Thursday, the Pelosi-led House Leadership unveiled their so-called health care "reform" bill which presents an emasculated public insurance option to provide a populist fig-leaf as cover for what David Swanson aptly described as "a catastrophically bad law" and as a "Healthcare Hoax from Hell." Not only does this legislative obscenity permit states to deprive all of their citizens of even this watered-down version by opting out of the public option, but these Democratic "leaders" stripped the Kucinich amendment out of H.R. 3200.
In acting to shield the obscene profits of a handful of insurance cartel CEOs and their Wall Street investors, the Pelosi-led House Leadership has attacked not only basic principles of federalism embodied in the U.S. Constitution but democracy itself. Stripped of the Kucinich amendment, H.R. 3200 would prevent the adoption of state or local single-payer health care systems, even if those systems are overwhelmingly approved by voters by way of initiative or referendum. In the bargain, the insurance cartel would thus be permitted to block state and local efforts to protect the health and very lives of their citizens.
Is this "change we can believe in?"
UPDATE 10/30/09: Appearing on MSNBC's Ed Schultz Show, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) revealed that he and other progressive members of Congress, including John Conyers (D-MI) were attempting to reinstate the Kucinich amendment through a "manager's amendment"; that we should know by Monday whether their effort to restore the only measure for holding the insurance cartel accountable will be included.
The video of that appearance and a list of the "managers" whom concerned citizens can call, follows...
So we went out to Griffith Park out here in L.A. on Sunday to check out the kick-off day for the new "Tea Party Express II" national tour. Thought we might meet some interesting people and file a quick video report. Met a lot of interesting people, and so ended up making a short film of sorts. Enjoy. Spread the word. Go tell the story ("both sides")...
UPDATE 10/29/09: Boy, it's tough to compete with the Tea Baggers in the satire department, even when they're not actually trying to be satirical. As God is my witness, coming to you with a straight face this Thanksgiving --- Tea Party: The Documentary Film!...
UPDATE 11/9/09: As of today, we've had more than 11,000 views of Rise of the Tea Bags at YouTube. By Tea Bagger math, that's more than 3 million views! And yet, the media refuses to report it!!! Also, here's my interview on Air America Radio's Ring of Fire discussing the video...
More details on the ingenious musical outburst, which took place at the American Health Insurance Plan's (AHIP) annual state issues conference in D.C. on Friday, right here...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."
That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."
The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.
The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.
"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."
"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."
The complete short petition follows in full below...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
As recounted in a front-page article in The New York Times, on the strength of a single "yes" from a member of the Party of No, President Barack Obama described the 14 to 9 Senate Finance Committee vote in favor of the Baucus health care bill as "a critical milestone," adding, "We are now closer than ever to passing health care reform."
With all due respect, Mr. President, it is nothing of the sort. To the contrary, the Senate Finance Committee has produced nothing less than a legislative obscenity.
After nearly a year of back room deals and unending propaganda, which has included extensive corporate media coverage of insurance industry sponsored, wing-nut assaults on town halls, fabricated issues about "death panels," the exclusion of single-payer advocates from the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, and a deafening corporate media silence about the widespread public support* for a single-payer (Medicare for All) system, the time has come to pierce through the confusion by asking and answering a few simple questions...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
In "ObamaCare: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription" I noted that it was virtually impossible to mount an honest defense of the current U.S. health care system. Doing so would amount to suggesting that the obscene wealth of a few health care insurance company CEOs and their Wall Street investors has a greater social value than the lives of 18,000 of our fellow citizens whom the current system annually sentences to death simply because they are too poor to purchase insurance coverage.
Today, as I mulled over the legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers --- I learned that I was wrong...
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