Mass. Landslide Single Payer Voting Victory

Via DCblogger, A Ballot initiative in 10 Massachusetts' districts gives you a pretty clear picture of what Americans want in health care reform:

Under the Chapter 58 legislation in Massachusetts, law currently mandates the purchase of private health insurance for all individuals not eligible for a public option. Those who are uninsured in Massachusetts are subject to fines. The lack of primary care physicians in addition to the high deductibles have not created universal access to care in the state.

In the most recent election, local ballot initiatives supporting single payer and opposing individual mandates passed by landslide margins in all ten legislative districts of Massachusetts where they appeared. With almost all precincts tallied, roughly 73 percent of 181,000 voters in the ten districts voted YES to the following: “Should the representative from this district be instructed to support legislation creating a cost-effective single payer health insurance system that is available to all residents, and oppose laws penalizing those who fail to obtain health insurance?”

More from Health Care Now!

Does anyone doubt that a vote on this issue in Connecticut would come pretty close to 73 % support for Single Payer health care? You would have to be crazy to think otherwise.

Keeping in mind that, just like Connecticut, we are talking about another very liberal state, this is not some tiny poll sample of a thousand or two thousand people. This is 181,000 people voting for the record. 181,000 people that have already lived the failure of mandated "health care for all for profit".

I may be furious at Dodd

for his position on health care, and Countrywide, and the credit card indentured servant act, etc., BUT it appears he may have done something right here.

Credit where credit is due, Senator Dodd, and all of that.

As for a brain drain at these insolvent banks? If those idiots in the "top leadership" leave... Then they are even dumber than the complete and utter failure of the banks they lead into destruction proved they were.

IOW: Please, Mr. and Mrs. Corporate Welfare Banker, leave and don't let the doors on the bank vaults you looted hit you on the ass on yer way out!


Tortured to Death

h/t to rose is a rose for this Raw Story piece:

Unredacted documents reveal
prisoners tortured to death

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

Note to Senator Leahy: I am still trying to figure out why anyone would think truth commissions are needed? The truth is out there already, if you were paying attention at all?

Is Gregg Just a Chicken?

When Gregg took the job he said that he would have supported the stimulus package but would not vote on it. Will he tuck tail and run from that position too?

Time for Gregg to own up to what he said.

Will Gregg chicken out when he has to face the ironic ridicule and egging on of the equally ridiculous wingnuts. What would you expect from anyone in the GOP? Seriously? Their track record says they will refuse to take responsibility for their votes, actions and statements even after the majority of voters have tossed them out of office for their blatant incompetence and brazened corruption. Can you think of any reason for Gregg to be any different? Now.

Also, the fact that Gregg now says he will not be running for office again tells me...

Time to wait for the scandal.

Any "bankers/gambling addicts" willing to set the odds on that for the credit derivatives market?

[update] The waiting may be over.
Judd Gregg has a Jack Abramoff problem.

At the very least, Abramoff and his team had easy access to Gregg’s Senate staff and were able to use that access to help their clients by stopping unfavorable legislation while getting earmarks and favorable legislation passed into law.

As it stands right now, Gregg’s best defense is that he is a terrible manager and that "bad apples" joined his staff, went "rogue" and traded favors in his name. And to be fair, Gregg may be that dense. After all, look at the sloppy and moronic way he withdrew himself from consideration as Obama’s Commerce Secretary: it was not the actions of a competent man. On the other hand, it was the actions of a man distracted other things. Gregg strikes me as a nervous man deeply worried about another shoe dropping.

Perhaps he is clean of scandal, but I suspect that Gregg had a fair understanding of what his staffers were doing in his name. After all, Kevin Koonce is not the only link between Senator Judd Gregg and Jack Abramoff.

Like most Republicans since 2005, Judd Gregg denies that he ever knew or had anything to do with Jack Abramoff. The money he returned from Abramoff’s clients was just a coincidence. In fact—to hear Gregg or one of his fellow Republicans explain it—any of the growing list of links between Abramoff and Gregg or Abramoff and the Republican Party are just random points of unrelated data. Yeah, right.

They are tap dancing in the graveyard.

Perhaps it was Jack Abramoff who best explained why this line of BS is so hard to believe when he told Vanity Fair in 2006:

"Any important Republican who comes out and says they didn’t know me is almost certainly lying," he says. Such lies are not just, well, lies, but dumb to boot, he adds, for, as his own humiliations suggest, old e-mails never die; they just sit on hard drives, waiting to be subpoenaed and then to be leaked to the press. "This is not an age when you can run away from facts," he declares. "I had to deal with my records, and others will have to deal with theirs."

It is looking like Judd Gregg will have to deal with his Abramoff record. Perhaps this is why he withdrew as the Commerce Secretary and why he has decided to retire from the Senate at the end of this term.


I am a Pub-going, Loose and Forward Woman

A friend, rose is a rose, sent me this facebook group link and I had to ask her:
"What the heck is this about? I may be Pub-going, loose and forward but I am not a woman?"
Then she explained about it being against oppression and violence against woman. That is when the facebook group started to make sense...

Now, even the media is picking up the story:

India, as a nation, adores Valentine's Day. Indians embrace it as a holiday that goes beyond just being nice to your partner. Everyone – from the coffee guy to the gym receptionist who tried to hand me a red rose – was full of non-lecherous cheer. So I was shocked the next day to find the news awash with stories about far-right Hindu activists – from Shri Ram Sena to Bajrang Dal – who had beaten up unmarried couples and blackened their faces as a mark of shame for celebrating Valentine's Day. Their justification was that the day is a western practice, and promotes "lust not love".

This year, the same groups are out again in force. However, while the Indian government has been slow to act against these self-styled moral police, there's a keen sense that the winds of change are turning against these groups.

For a start, although it is a serious issue, it is hard not to laugh at the blustering of Pramod Mutalik, leader of Shri Ram Sena. Mutalik insists that his men will roam Bangalore armed with video cameras, capturing any unmarried couples found celebrating Valentine's Day and then force them to get married. In response, the brilliantly titled Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women has started a campaign on Facebook – which now has a whopping 28,496 members and counting – that calls on people to send the Sri Ram Sena a pair of pink chaddis (meaning underwear in Hindi) on 14 February as a sign of protest.

But this is very clearly a story about violence and oppression of women, religion and freedom:

I'll give you Blue Gals words (and tip my hat to her for the video) to sum up the karmic beauty in this world:
A group of reasonably outraged Indians has started a movement to send pink panties (known as chaddis) (and oh how I love that) to the fundie organization. They have a blog and a lovely Facebook group with panties images I'm destined to steal.

I also love that this horrible incident of violence against women can be met with direct action non-violence that gets lots of well-deserved attention. Fundies don't have a chance against activist women with a strong sense of self and humor.
Smart and funny women and men around the globe are coming together and the people who started this have garnered even more attention to this cause than the shocking and violent video ever would ever have.

As for myself? A great excuse to go out and raise a glass of beer (or tea, or fruit juice) is better than the simple reason that I will probably still go out and have that beer.

I am going to send a pink chaddi in to the addy they give at the movement's Blog (Don't expect me to wear them. lol). I figure I will be at Victoria Secrets tomorrow to get something "valentinish" for my wife anyways... A few bucks on panties and postage will be well worth it to show real support for freedom and against senseless violence for people everywhere around the world.

A final note from the organizers of this movement:
PS. Our good friend L says we should not colour-discriminate. So if you really, really can't send pink chaddis, send those in other colours.

PPS. Both Women and Men are invited to send in their chaddi's/ pictures of chaddi's.
Give the women of the world a very special Valentines gift this year. Give them freedom by lending your voice, and maybe a pair of panties or a picture, to this cause.

[update] OMFG! This is just sick. A commission blames the women for getting beat up:

Sounds just like the same arguments you would get from the far right fundies in the GOP, eh?

Celebrate Lincoln's Birthday the Healthy Way

Below is hijacked in its entirety from DrSteveB at dKos:

National Call-In Day for Single-Payer Healthcare

Celebrate Lincoln's birthday by supporting single-payer healthcare.

Thursday, February 12th is the third National Call-In Day to support real universal national health care, single-payer healthcare, HR 676!

Call Congress and the White House. Every call counts!

If you don't know your Representative, or want a script, all of the information you need for a successful call is here on HealthCare-Now's National Call-In Day page.

If you know your Representative, the Capitol Switchboard number is 866 - 338 - 1015 . Ask to be connected to your Representative, and then ask him or her to co-sponsor HR 676.

The White House number is: 202- 456- 1414 .

Please fill out the form on HealthCare-Now's Call-In Day page to let us know who you called.

Learn more about single payer and HR-676 here, and wonk yourself out on it here.

HR-676 had 93 co-sponsors in the last congresssional session

Just reintroduced two weeks ago on January 26, 2009 (timed to keep the HR-676 number), it currently has 42 co-sponsors so far", a number that is growing daily.

One important short term goal is to get over 100 co-sponsors and demand that the Congressiomnal Budget Office do an honest and thorough analysis of it. Just as they have done for other bills with far less natiowide support.

Additional Single Payer News:

1. National Campaign Launched with Change.org

Last week, Healthcare-NOW! was selected by Change.org, as part of their "Ideas for Change in America" competition, to sponsor their single-payer healthcare "idea." Change.org presented their ten winning ideas to Macon Phillips, Director of New Media for the White House, who said, "I can speak with authority that a lot of people in the transition were paying attention to the competition."

2. Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care Officially Launches

On Janury 28th, Healthcare-NOW! took part in the official launch of the single-payer coalition in Washington, DC.

Member organizations include the California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America, HealthCare-Now, All Unions Committee for Single Payer, Americans for Democratic Action, American Medical Student Association, American Patients United, 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East and West, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Act-UP, and a whole bunch of other organizations. Find out more at guaranteedhealthcare4all.org.

3. Americans Should Not Stand for Lock-down on Single-Payer Discussion

As an ardent advocate of single-payer healthcare for many years, I am more than a little frustrated by Washington insiders—beholden to healthcare corporations—telling the American people that passing single-payer healthcare reform, specifically HR. 676, the United States National Health Care Act, can’t happen.

The fact is they are standing in the way of it happening.

4. Another Poll Shows Majority Support for Single-Payer

A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week shows, yet again, that the majority of Americans support national health insurance.

The poll, which compares answers to the same questions from 30 years ago, finds that, "59% [of Americans] say the government should provide national health insurance, including 49% who say such insurance should cover all medical problems."

Only 32% think that insurance should be left to private enterprise.

Read the full report here (.pdf)

end of DrSteveB's most excellent action item post. Reprinted with permission too!


Rep. Dingell On Healthcare

Why Health Care Can't Wait

An excerpt from the smackdown...
Our current system is failing the patients. People are having to choose between feeding their families, paying their bills, or filling their prescriptions. Copays and other fees are so high that even people with health insurance are opting not to see a physician. Further, the most simple, cost-effective, and efficient medical procedures, such as check-ups, physicals, and other preventative measures, are being forgone for more expensive, reactive treatments.

For years, people made the case against a heath care overhaul, claiming it would ration medical care. I would say that because of our failure to act, that is what we now have. Instead of taking care of our people, the best health care goes to those who can afford to pay for it.

Health care providers themselves are unable to navigate the inefficiency of our health care system. Primary care doctors, our first line of defense and the physicians most likely to serve underserved populations, can no longer maintain their practices. They can't keep up with payroll because of slow turn around on constantly shrinking reimbursements. We are driving doctors running small family practices into merging with mega-offices, where patients do not experience the kind of personal, quality care Americans need.

Our failing health care system is also hurting our businesses and industries. Everyday, our businesses are forced to choose between providing much needed health care for their employees or surviving to see another quarter. Many years ago, my father and Walter Reuther used to discuss how health care would eventually break the back of our industries. Our current system has placed American businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the world market. I see it nearly every day in Michigan with our automakers, which need a leveled playing field to compete with automakers in countries with national health care. In a time of such severe economic crisis, we simply cannot afford to let our companies fail under the weight of our inaction.
This is an awesome way to come out swinging! Go read the whole thing and cheer him on! And to be clear: He isn't talking about single payer... But it looks like it is game on for the debate. Arm yourselves with healthcare knowledge.

Just Another Nutmegger...

Joining the Front Page of another National Blog Community...

In case you were interested?

Nutmeggers are a crafty bunch that sneak their way in everywhere... If you see one coming with a camera in hand... RUN! Either for office or for your lives. ;)


Houston? We have a problem...

This is a very corny but excellent view of what it can be like trying to get over the barriers to innovation in any government agency, massive global corporation or any other job where the thinking has become too inside the box:

Astronaut’s video slams NASA attitudes
Film takes harsh look at tendencies that stifle innovation

"homemade film shot by a NASA astronaut takes a harsh look at the agency's sometimes impersonal bureaucracy in hopes of encouraging employees to keep a more open mind when confronted with dissenting opinions or new ideas.

Written and produced by four-time spaceflier Andrew Thomas, the 10-minute satirical video was posted to YouTube — with NASA's approval — after being screened at an agency leadership retreat last month. The film follows a young engineer who attempts to present an innovative idea for a spacecraft design only to be stymied at every turn by program managers."

"The point about the video is it's not fiction," Thomas told Space.com Monday. "All of those scenes are real. They've actually happened to people to various degrees."

People are so compartmentalized in their thinking that they are afraid to take a fresh look at new ideas that might actually be a better way to solve a problem.

A good example of that today would be the way the government and the media refuses to take a serious look at single payer health care. Even though, by every metric that we could possibly analyze, it is a far superior way to provide medical care to Americans... Politicians and the media refuse to even compare its very real advantages to the broken health care system we have.

"We can't rock the boat!"

"It isn't the American way of doing things!"

Ok... So, now, the American way is to shut your eyes to the real solutions out there while the economy tanks? Instead of building a better way of doing things so the entire economy has a chance to rebuild itself on solid footings?

Get out of that stupid box that is clouding your thinking and take a look around you.

Whether it is energy policy, health care reform or almost any way you thought the government should be doing things "the good old fashioned American way..."

It has got to change because America is seriously broken right now.

It is that old fashioned way of thinking that broke it. The way some want to keep going, we may as well be trying to patch up the Appolo 13 capsule and sending it to Mars. A new paint job, a sling shot and a lube job won't cut it. Not a hope nor a prayer in that.

Just like the little changes, patches and tweaks to energy, health care and other government programs and policies are not going to solve these HUGE problems. They will just prolong the agony and make the next generation's mess even bigger and costlier to fix.

Take a look at our bloated national debt...

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 11 Feb 2009 at 05:19:14 AM GMT is:

$ 1 0 , 7 2 2 , 1 8 9 , 5 7 0 , 1 0 0 . 7 9

The estimated population of the United States is 305,625,144
so each citizen's share of this debt is $35,082.81.

Can we really afford to make these fixes even costlier for our future leaders and pioneers than they will already be?

Cross Dressing Cult Leader Gives BJs to GOP Members

The Neo-Fascist monotheist cult leader, Janet Porter, gave Barrack Junk to every single one of'em. He may be post-op now. But he is still the same man under all of that makeup and those clothes. The cult leader that was foreseen by a pedophile fortune teller at a republican orgy in '89.

Hey... I get email too!

There are a whole Lott-a nuts out there these days. How can anyone take these people seriously? Oh, wait! We don't...

Why Geithner Sucks

In the corporatist scumbag selling out the American taxpayer kind of way:
The New York Times reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “prevailed” against several top Obama aides in “opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions” in the debate on the bailout. Geithner successfully blocked “more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid” and replacing top bank executives and wiping out “shareholders at institutions receiving aid.”

There has to be more oversight. Those failed, incompetent and corrupt executive banking windbags stealing our money, right now, should be replaced. And the banks should be nationalized.

I am guessing it is going to get worse than this before the elites in this country start paying attention:
Wearing bright yellow hats and t-shirts with pictures of sharks and the words "Stop Loan Sharks," protesters had already targeted the home of John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley, at 6 Club Road, Rye, N.Y. earlier in the day.

At Frey's house, 10 Glenville Road, Greenwich, they chanted slogans such as "Fix our loans, save our homes." They placed furniture on the lawn to symbolize the dislocation felt by people who have had their homes foreclosed upon and been evicted, their belongings tossed outside by state marshals.

"We did it to make them feel what it must be like for someone to have their home foreclosed upon," NACA mortgage counselor Carmen Orta said.

Called the "Predators Tour" these actions were the start of NACA's "accountability campaign," an aggressive, confrontational protest aimed at several top executives of companies that refuse to allow NACA to renegotiate the terms of loans on behalf of members, according to NACA CEO Bruce Marks.
This is a fight over how to solve what is the 2nd Great Depression.

And the haves are already uncomfortable at giving up the 3rd vacation palace, the corporate jets, corporate paid and government subsidized vacation junkets and cutting back on their nannies time to save a few bucks. Just imagine what will have to be done to get them to pay attention to little people all around them - for no other reason than the fact that it is the right thing to do?

From Land of Enchantment...

In the last year, the housing situation has deteriorated precipitously, from an already bad situation. Christopher Leinberger in an article called The Next Slum? (Atlantic, March 2008):

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, "I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen."

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge—many once sold for well over $500,000—but the phenomenon is the same. At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others. Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied. Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, "There’s been gang activity. Things have really been changing, the last few years."

So, houses are empty, and falling to ruin. It's as senseless as destroying crops while people are hungry - the sign of a completely deranged kind of economy. And more and more Americans are finding themselves in squatter tent cities. This is Ontario, CA:

And this Reno, Nevada:

In Miami last week, over a thousand applicants lined up, some camping for two nights in line, to apply for 35 fire fighter jobs with starting pay of $47,000 a year.

Back in the Depression, things got pretty rough. And it's arguably part of why the New Deal did as much as it did for the have-nots - something we've not seen a whole lot of for many years here in the U.S. I've not heard of the website Bits of News before. The food part of this diary is drawn from there. The article, "Hunger on the March" by Garrett Johnson a year ago, has such a good closer, that I'm not going to try to better it.

Some people may be under the impression that FDR's election and the New Deal was simply a logical reaction to extreme hardships. That democracy naturally corrected itself. That wasn't the case. It took a grassroots movement, working against all odds, to push the government into action. It's a lesson we should remember in 2009, even if a Democrat wins the White House.

It's gonna be getting worse before it gets better. And consulting that above-the-fold graphic, the longer the delay, the worse it's gonna get. It's hard to see any way around that.

Hooverville, Central Park, New York City
Frankly and honestly, the have nots have a whole hell of a lot more to worry about -life, death, shelter and food - than the haves minor inconveniences to their pampered lives and stock portfolios in a Depression that they caused.

Some previous pieces from Land of Enchantment for those of you that might not get it:


Brutal Torture at GITMO

Waterboarding was way down the list of disgusting and criminal acts that prisoners were subjected to:

But The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the documents actually “contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to [Mohamed’s] captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured.” In fact, it was British officials, not the Americans, who pressured Foreign Secretary David Miliband “to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution.” According to the Telegraph’s sources, the documents describe particularly gruesome interrogation tactics:

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.

Another source familiar with the case said: “British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn’t do anything about it.”

“It is very clear who stands to be embarrassed by this and who is being protected by this secrecy. It is not the Americans, it is Labour ministers,” former shadow home secretary David Davis said. But one unnamed U.S. House Judiciary Committee member told the Telegraph that if President Obama “doesn’t act we could hold a hearing or write to subpoena the documents. We need to know what’s in those documents.”

And the British are just as complicit in these sick criminal acts perpetrated by many in the Bush administration. Will there be any real justice in the USA ever again?

And if the USA will not uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, which nation will have the moral compass and fortitude to prosecute these brutal and heinous crimes against humanity?

[update] Earth-Bound Misfit points out thast these particular crimes do not appear to have happened at GITMO. Either Morocco or Afghanistan would be the likely places:

"Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian, was granted refugee status in Britain in 1994. He was picked up in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, rendered to Morocco and Afghanistan, tortured and then sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2004. All terror charges against him were dropped last year."