March 2010 Archives
U.S. Army Counterterrorism issued a report that said WikiLeaks is a threat to U.S. security, particularly in Afghanistan. The report says that the organization should be destroyed and offered a plan. Does the government really think it can destroy WikiLeaks or is the leaked report part of a plan to smear the organization so badly, it will lose supporters and money?
Just hours after Congress passed health insurance reform, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers foolishly joined a partisan lawsuit to block it. He joined 11 other attorneys general, 10 of whom are Republicans, who are pledging to "take it to the Supreme Court" if necessary. The Denver Post says that Suthers' lawsuit is "without merit," and "looks politically motivated." (Denver Post
Suthers is using our tax dollars to sue the federal government in an effort to block health care reforms that offer huge benefits to the people of our state. What's more, the overwhelming majority of legal experts say he is wasting money on a fool's errand. Who is he representing?
We know Suthers isn't representing the thousands of Colorado residents with pre-existing conditions who will be guaranteed coverage, or the small businesses who will receive tax credits and other assistance to help them afford coverage, or the hundreds of thousands who will receive improved Medicare benefits, or the rest of us--residents with health insurance who are now protected from arbitrary premium hikes and insurance cancellations if they get sick.
Does John Suthers speak for you?
If you don't want Suthers to press this suit in your name, now is the time to speak out! We need Suthers to hear from thousands of people across the state: don't sacrifice Colorado's health for partisan politics. Please click on the link below to sign our petition.
This reform will benefit nearly every family in Colorado. A congressional analysis found that this bill will provide this year:
* Tax credits for small business to purchase health insurance for their employees.
* Children can no longer be denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
* An end to lifetime limits and most annual limits on benefits: the lives of Americans no longer have a cost/benefit ratio.
* A temporary high-risk insurance pool for Americans uninsured due to a pre-existing condition will be immediately established, and immediately begin saving lives.
* Individual policyholders can no longer be dropped by their insurer if they get sick.
* New health insurance plans must cover preventive care and immunizations without undue burdens on the insured.
* Immediate lowering of prescription drug costs for seniors, the much-maligned "donut hole" begins to close.
* Expanded coverage of dependent children through age 26.
* A new appeals process for claims that puts patients first.
* Real disclosure of how much of your premium dollar goes to "administrative costs" instead of health care.
And that's just the beginning. Despite these benefits for the people of Colorado, John Suthers is putting partisan politics above good policy by trying to maintain the status quo of our broken health care system. We need him to hear from thousands of people across the state: don't sacrifice Colorado's health for partisan politics, and don't waste taxpayer dollars on frivolous grandstands. As former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky wrote in a detailed memo this week (Colorado Independent
3/25/2010), Suthers' lawsuit is seriously deficient from a legal perspective, and experts around the nation agree the effort has almost no chance of success.
Help us make sure Suthers understands that he does not represent the people of Colorado if he continues to pursue this suit. Please click on the link below to sign our petition, and then forward it to your friends.
We'll share it with Suthers, the media, and other elected officials. Thanks for standing up to defend a victory we have all fought so hard for.
I could not help but notice that Dem elected representatives may think this:
"Health care's done. Members of Congress are home, or will be soon, and will spend the next two weeks talking to their constituents about the monumental law they just passed. "
But it is only a beginning that we should forcefully remind them that the first step is not the last step to transform the system of health care in America into truly universal health care that is a right for all.
So call, write, or stop by their local office to tell them- health care is a right and that the Democratic Party stands for that right. It is time to truly become part of civilized nations that care for their citizens through universal coverage.
I caught this off Firedoglake.com:
Michael Bennet of Colorado went on the floor of the Senate, telling the outrageous, bald-faced lie that allowing a vote on the public option would “kill the bill.” For someone who has been in the Senate now for quite some time, he obviously needs a basic civics lesson. The health care bill has passed. It’s already been signed into law. The sidecar reconciliation bill is essentially a tax “fix,” negotiated after the unions threatened to “kill the bill” after the Senate passed it the first time. If these changes were so critical to saving lives, one wonders how the Senate deliberated for so long and managed to overlook them in the first place.
So whether you agree or not this is just bad political two facing by the Senator.
BTW- I was at the local Denver office for Senator Bennet yesterday with David Sirota and a large group (50-60) to present a petition for the public option that was signed by 35,000 Coloradoans.
Tell me is the Senator listening or is he just another inside the D.C. Beltway pol now?
Elizabeth Warren for president of the universe, my kind of Democrat. MC
March 24, 2010
Behind Consumer Agency Idea, a Relentless Advocate
By JODI KANTOR
WASHINGTON — Ask Elizabeth Warren, scourge of Wall Street bankers, how they treat consumers, and her no-nonsense bob will shake with indignation. She will talk about morality, about fairness, about what she calls their “let them eat cake” attitude towards taxpayers. If she is riled enough, she might even spit out the Warren version of an expletive.
“Dang gummit, somebody has got to stand up on behalf of middle-class families!” she exclaimed in a recent interview in her office here.
Among all the dramatis personae of post-financial crisis Washington, there is no one remotely like Ms. Warren, 60, who has divided the town between those who admire her and those who roll their eyes at her. She is an Oklahoma native, a janitor’s daughter, a bankruptcy expert at Harvard Law School and a former Sunday School teacher who cites John Wesley — the co-founder of Methodism and a public health crusader — as an inspiration. She brims with cheer, yet she is such a fearsome interrogator that Bruce Mann, her husband, describes her as a grandmother who can make grown men cry. Back at Harvard, Ms. Warren’s teaching style is ”Socratic with a machine gun,” as one former student put it. In Washington, she grills bankers and Treasury officials just as relentlessly.
We have consistently and strongly advocated for a public option as a vital component of health reform legislation, and we continue to believe a public option would be the most effective near-term means of bringing down the skyrocketing costs of health care in the long term. Like everyone supportive of a robust public option, we were bitterly disappointed when it was not a part of legislation passed by the United States Senate.
But just a few weeks ago, most observers believed that health reform legislation was dead. It took tremendous political will to resuscitate health reform after the determined efforts of Republicans and their insurance industry benefactors to inject irrationality and hysteria the debate. This, added to the challenge of not having sixty votes needed for conventional passage of legislation in the Senate.
Incredibly, the House has passed, and President Obama has signed into law, the health reform package passed by the Senate last December. Though far from perfect and lacking important reforms such as optional public insurance, many key goals sought for decades by progressives are included, such as a ban on exclusion of coverage for preexisting conditions and subsidies for the poor to obtain health coverage. Over thirty million more Americans will have access to health coverage under this bill, and millions more will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing their coverage cannot be denied them when it is needed most.
The House has also passed an accompanying package of “fixes” to the Senate bill, removing some of the more egregious giveaways to recalcitrant moderates, and making other important adjustments. It is absolutely critical that this bill pass the Senate in the process known as “reconciliation.” Although we welcome workable opportunities to pass additional reforms, the fact is that any amendment to the bill passed by the House will send these fixes back for yet another round of debate and opportunity for obstruction.
We can’t risk any further delays. Failing to pass these fixes would be a travesty.
The public option for health insurance is not dead, and we believe that there will be additional opportunities to pass this needed reform into law soon. When they present themselves, we will rally our fellow Coloradans to action. What progressives need to be, in the meantime, is smart enough to understand the long and arduous process that got us here, and wise enough to know when to take the next step.
"The AGs in the lawsuit, who are all Republicans, argue that the bill violates the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which says, “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”"
Too bad you can't disbar an AG for horribly misinterpreting the Constitution. The following powers are delegated by the Constitution. MC
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Let's start with justice: fairness: fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made
How about insuring domestic tranquility? Tranquility as defined=peaceful state: a state of peace and calm. These Republicans are fomenting anything but peace and calm and for the most un-American reason of all, pure political gain.
How about promoting the general Welfare? Welfare as defined, well-being: somebody's state or condition with respect to whether he or she is healthy, safe, happy, or prospering.
How about Liberty? Liberty can be defined as, basic right: a political, social, and economic right that belongs to the citizens of a state or to all people.
NOT having health care violates four of the five edicts found in the Preamble of the Constitution. Go ahead and throw in Defense, Republicans are not only miserable failures at defending the borders, territorial waters, US airspace, seaports and critical infrastructure, they are also obscenely incapable of doing so in a responsibly fiscal manner. Tax and spend, indeed. MC
Are we really the most moral people walking on the face of the Earth?
Arizona on Thursday became the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program when Gov. Jan Brewer signed an austere budget that will leave nearly 47,000 low-income children without coverage....
Seems to me that there is a law suit waiting to happen.
Why would any nation want to leave unprotected children?
(Let's see if I remember how to do this.)
...why is he so high on the list of Dems the GOP hates?
(Click on the little one to see the big legible one.)
See, somehow (by accident I SWEAR) I got onto the NRSC mailing list. Today I got this little beauty of a fundraising email, asking me "Which Democrat running for Senate in 2010 do you want to see defeated the most?"
And just look who is right up there on top!!
Now I'll bet my favorite dog the Romanoff campaign is NOT behind this. But it really makes you wonder why the GOP is so against our current Senator.
(X-posted liek woah)
Payday lending reform is in jeopardy. We've identified three key swing legislators who need encouragement to do the right thing, right now: can you please take a moment to call them?
Rep. Sue Schafer - 303-866-5522
Rep. Nancy Todd - 303-866-2919
Rep. John Kefalas - 303-866-4569
Please be respectful when you call, and remind them of these simple arguments:
--Payday loans are a bad product that harms people. A defective product should not be sold, even if it is "all people can afford.
--Payday loans don't solve a financial emergency, they create a new financial emergency every two weeks over and above the original amount loaned.
--Payday loans leave hundreds of thousands (estimated somewhere between 100,000--200,000 Coloradans) in debt they can't climb out of.
--Payday lenders brazenly advertise that they make these abusive loans against unemployment, disability and even Social Security checks. That's millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded assistance being sucked up by the payday lending industry.
At a press conference on Monday, Armey acknowledged that Democrats "will most likely pass health care reform legislation that has been debated for the last year and is expected to come to a vote this week."
Once HCR is passed and signed into law by President Obama then the heavy lifting will really begin to pass the public option, defeat the Stupak/Nelson amendments, and work on single payer.
This is not the time to rest a la once Obama is elected then everything will be "sweetness and light" because as we have seen that policies that Bush implemented like extraordinary rendition and indefinite detentions have continued under the Obama administration.
For progressives and liberals- Never give up and never surrender!
I've been laid off from work twice in the past 40 years, and both times i applied for, and received unemployment insurance. There are certain requirements, i.e., make job contacts, and confirm during each two week period that you are eligible for those two weeks of pay.
I've discovered two bureaucratic hurdles that probably routinely deprive unemployed workers of funds which, by law, should rightfully be theirs.
As Coloradans of both parties gather this week in the first step toward selection of nominees for the state's highest offices, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, launched a new website called PuppetJaneNorton.com and called on Coloradans of all political persuasions to hold former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton accountable.
"Jane Norton's longstanding ties to Washington D.C. lobbyists are a major problem in her campaign," said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Bobby Clark. "Conservatives and progressives alike are wary of her connections to lobbyists for health insurance companies, defense contractors, and even foreign dictators. Whose interests would she truly represent in Washington?"
The new website, http://puppetjanenorton.com, features an animated "Puppet Jane" and links to information about certain campaign donors, longtime associates, and family members involved in lobbying on behalf of corporations and foreign governments. Included are well-known Washington D.C. insiders such as former chief of staff for disgraced Rep. Tom DeLay Susan B. Hirschmann, Benjamin Ginsberg, lawyer for the Bush 2000 Florida recount and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and Charlie Black, Jane Norton's brother-in-law, and consultant for clients ranging from African dictators to mercenary contractor Blackwater.
Recently, conservatives in Norton's own party have questioned Norton's pervasive ties to lobbyists and other Washington D.C. insiders. Many grassroots conservatives complained that Norton was 'forced' on them by party insiders when her candidacy was announced last fall. (Colorado To The NRSC: Stay Away, PPC 8/28/2009).
"While we don't often agree with our conservative friends on the issues, we share growing concern that Jane Norton is the choice of Washington D.C. lobbyists and political insiders, not the people of Colorado," said Clark. "We call on the public to sign our petition at PuppetJaneNorton.com, asking Norton to reject the influence of lobbyist donors and family members, and put Colorado's best interests first."
At a Be the Change candidate forum on February 13, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff was asked the best way to health care reform. He responded, "Lower the age of eligibility for Medicare to '0'." He was pointing up the failure in Washington to make the best case for reform -- an improved Medicare-for-All single-payer model of insurance with full choice of private providers.
To make Medicare Buy-in the public option, Rep. Alan Grayson on March 9 introduced HR 4789, the Public Option Act, a simple 4-page act that "lets any American buy into Medicare at cost. You want it, you pay for it, you're in. It adds nothing to the deficit; you pay what it costs."
The bill provides a real option for those dissatisfied with current for-profit health insurances that continue to game the system. The top 5 health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009 ($12.2 billion combined), while imposing continued double-digit premium increases. Those who are satisfied with current coverage can keep it.
Support Rep. Grayson's petition for the Public Option Act, signed by over 11,000 as of Friday. He is calling for 3 votes on health -- the Senate bill, the reconciliation amendments, and the Public Option Act. Fifty legislators had signed up as cosponsors for the bill within two days. Urge our legislators & House leadership to support this bill (Capitol switchboard 866-338-1015). It is the best way to salvage and simplify health care reform, expanding choice of providers, and providing true competition to for-profit private health insurers, where 94 percent of U.S. private health insurance markets are near-monopolies.
Less than 48 hours into the effort, support is growing rapidly for ProgressNow Colorado's call to boycott online retail giant Amazon following its decision to terminate relationships with affiliates in the state.
The public can sign the pledge to boycott Amazon here: http://progressnowcolorado.org/ShopMainStreet
The editorial board of the Aurora Sentinel
writes in today's edition (click here to read
) that "a clearly punitive act by online retailer Amazon not only invites retribution from Colorado consumers, it practically demands it...it's important for consumers to press back against Amazon for trying to bully their way into making more profit at your expense. Send Amazon an e-mail message telling them of your displeasure at their mean-spirited and politically motivated antics instead of an order, and take your wallet to an Aurora store instead."
"After only one email alert to our list, thousands of Coloradans have pledged to shop elsewhere until Amazon stops using their business partners as political pawns," said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Bobby Clark. "We've heard from individual citizens, angry ex-Amazon affiliates, elected officials, and local retailers, virtually all expressing their support."
Anne in Fort Collins writes in response to ProgressNow's call to boycott, "Amazon doesn't want to follow the law and wants to strong-arm Colorado into backing off...sorry, Amazon--I would rather support local businesses than do business with a company that employs unfair tactics to compete."
Tannis in Greeley replied, "I've been thinking I need to do a better job of supporting local businesses. Thanks to your decision to protect your unfair advantage, I will be shopping at stores which actually benefit my community."
Jim in Denver writes, "As a Denver retailer for the past 45 years, you bet I'll support this campaign. A level playing field is what I want to see."
It’s been a great night. Romantic dinner for two. Fine organic wine. A little dancing in the living room. John Klemmer’s saxophone is putting you in the mood. It’s the right time of the night…for making love. Good thing you have the right tool in your hands to save the polar bear – an endangered species condom.
Scientists estimate that 25 years ago our population and consumption levels began to exceed Earth's capacity to sustain us. Yet for years it’s been politically incorrect to suggest we humans ought to put a lid on our impulse to reproduce. So incorrect, in fact, that many environmental organizations have been unwilling to admit human population growth is a major contributor to the environmental devastation they’re fighting. Most groups settle for just slowing down the rate of destruction, for fear that campaigning for responsible population policies would limit membership or funding.
So I was impressed when the Center for Biological Diversity came up with Endangered Species Condoms (for use by humans!). Here is an environmental organization that dares to tell the truth about the causes of species extinction. I enthusiastically volunteered to pass out the condoms, and I’d like to share my adventures with you in this video.
Colorado doesn't take well to being bullied.
Yesterday, one of the world's biggest online retailers, Amazon, announced that it will no longer pay referral fees to Colorado bloggers and nonprofit charities who advertise Amazon's products on their websites. The reason? Amazon is unhappy about a law passed in our state, asking online retailers to help in the collection of the state's longstanding 2.9% tax--a tax we all already pay to merchants every day, both online and offline.
That's right: in a move leaders from around the state have called 'tyrannical' and 'pure duplicity,' Amazon, with no warning, closed the accounts of Colorado website owners--many of whom are individual bloggers and nonprofit organizations--in protest of routine collection of state sales taxes. What they've done won't allow them to evade the new law. All they have done is punish our neighbors in order to score cheap political points.Sign our pledge to shop elsewhere until Amazon stops using Colorado residents as pawns:
After profiting from millions of dollars in tax-free sales to Colorado residents for years, Amazon is determined to protect their unfair advantage over local brick-and-mortar retailers. When the state legislature passed a law to enforce collection of taxes for online purchases, lawmakers understood that one of the key effects would be leveling the playing field between massive online merchants like Amazon and local retailers who pay their taxes and employ Coloradans.
It's true that online sales have enjoyed preferential tax benefits in many areas, giving them a needed competitive advantage during the industry's early years. But today, the logic of that approach has been turned on its head: online sales are proliferating while Main Street goes out of business.
Local businesses like Tattered Cover Books and Ultimate Electronics, who employ thousands of Colorado residents and pay their sales taxes back into the community, have suffered greatly while giant corporations like Amazon profited from their tax-free sales advantage. Today, with Colorado in the midst of the greatest fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, properly collecting taxes owed on these purchases means millions of dollars in badly-needed revenue for schools, roads, and health care.That's the choice: stand up for our local job-creating businesses, and collect the revenue the state is already owed to help pay for vital public services. Or, get bullied by a giant corporation that has already helped put retailers in your neighborhood out of business, and now is willing to do the same to its own partners out of spite.Tell Amazon that we won't be pushed around!
Thanks for everything you do every day to stand up for our common interests. We'll share your name and comments with Amazon, elected officials, and the press, and keep you up to date about further developments.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 8, 2010
CONTACT: Bobby Clark, Deputy Director at 303-905-8375
DENVER: Responding to news that the online retailer Amazon.com has terminated relationships with business affiliates in Colorado in protest of a new state law, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization released the following statement:
"After profiting from millions of dollars in direct sales to Colorado residents for years, Amazon is determined to protect their unfair advantage over local brick-and-mortar retailers," said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Bobby Clark. "This year, the Colorado legislature passed a law to enforce collection of taxes for online purchases, leveling the playing field between massive online merchants like Amazon and local retailers who pay their taxes and employ Coloradans.
"Rather than comply with the law as Amazon already does in many other localities where they collect sales tax on purchases, they chose to 'make an example' of our state, and unfairly punish their own business associates for political gain. Amazon clearly expects Coloradans to react hastily and in anger, but our state's citizens understand who is manipulating the situation for their own financial and political benefit.
"Local companies like the Tattered Cover Bookstore and Ultimate Electronics, who employ thousands of Colorado residents and pay their sales taxes back into the community, have suffered greatly while Amazon profited from an unfair advantage. With millions of dollars in badly-needed revenue set to make its way into the budgets for Colorado's schools, roads, and health care, standing behind Main Street over online behemoths like Amazon is an easy choice."
I didn't catch the show last night, so I dug up a couple of gems on You Tube. These girls can SING!
Crystal Bowersox sings, "As Long as I See the Light" by Creedance Clearwater Revival
Siobhan Magnus sings, "Think" by Aretha Franklin
Senator Michael Bennet's support of using Senate rules to pass strong healthcare reform including a public option have been gaining support. Over thirty Senators including members of leadership such as Senators Reid, Durbin, and Schumer have declared their public support--not only for passing fixes to the Senate healthcare bill that would make it more in line with the priorities of the House bill, but to add a public option that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says will reduce the deficit.
From Senator Udall's office:
Senator Udall shares President Obama’s over-arching priority of enacting meaningful and comprehensive health reform that will increase quality and access and put our system on a sustainable track by lowering costs for small businesses, taxpayers, and American families. As part of reform, he continues to feel that inclusion of a public option to go head-to-head with private insurers could play a significant role in bringing down costs and offering more affordable options to Coloradans. He thinks it’s important that such a plan – like the one approved in the House bill – negotiate reimbursement rates while competing on a level playing field with the private sector, and if such a plan comes up for a vote under the reconciliation process, he would vote for it.