June 3, 2009 archive

Obama Willing to Consider Tax on Employer-Paid Health Benefits

President Obama, in a pivot from some of his harshest campaign rhetoric, told Democratic senators yesterday that he is willing to consider taxing employer-sponsored health benefits to help pay for a broad expansion of coverage.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Obama expressed a willingness to consider changing the existing tax exclusion. The decision would probably anger liberal supporters such as labor unions, but such a tax change would raise enormous sums of money as Congress and the White House are struggling to find the estimated $1.2 trillion needed to pay for health-care reform over the next decade.

“Yeah, it’s something that he might consider,” Baucus told reporters after the meeting between Obama and Democratic lawmakers. “That was discussed. It’s on the table.” Obama had summoned about two dozen senators to the White House to keep up the pressure to enact a comprehensive health-care overhaul this year. –snip–

What is it that Baucus and his constipated cohorts just don’t get?  

Justice and Accountability: Why I Want to Go to NN 09

A Little Bit About Chacounne

My name is Heather and my mission is to stop torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States, and to have those responsible held legally accountable. That mission is in the name and memory of my husband, Dan, who was a US Vietnam vet who survived torture. Dan suffered from his injuries for over thirty years, until his fatal heart attack almost four years ago.

Going to Netroots Nation will help me with my mission. You can help make that happen.

If you’d like to help, please read the highlights of my application for a Netroots Scholarship below and consider signing up to support my application.


            With gratitude,


               For Dan,


Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports a U.S. report finds errors in Afghan airstrikes. “A military investigation has concluded that American personnel made significant errors in carrying out some of the airstrikes in western Afghanistan on May 4 that killed dozens of Afghan civilians, according to a senior American military official.”

    “Had the rules been followed, at least some of the strikes by American warplanes against half a dozen targets over seven hours would have been aborted. The report represents the clearest American acknowledgment of fault in connection with the attacks.

Four at Four continues with Cheney oversaw torture Congressional briefings, Iraq halts cleaning up unexploded ordinance, and green energy investment passses fossil fuel investment.

Does Anyone Still Doubt Our Government Has Been Bought?

The Bank and Financial Bailout. Now Health Care. Next Climate Crisis…..and oh yeah, War Crimes.

Over the last couple of days of watching Health Care get sold down the river, I have seen a couple of Senators shake their head and make the following statement…

“We just can’t pass Single Payer.”

Well……why not? What is stopping you? You are the most powerful legislative body in the world right? The People of the United States, your constituency, overwhelmingly wants Single Payer Health Care right? The Democrats have 59 votes, so all they have to do is turn ONE Republican right? So it is not that you “don’t have the votes” because of partisanship. Because it is not about partisanship, is it? All that talk by Democrats about how it was the Republicans who were stopping the Democrats from doing what the People want, what happened to that?

So……why? Why are Senators so convinced, so adamant, that it is simply impossible to give the American people, the people who voted you into office, the people who pay your salary, the people the Constitution SAYS you are there to represent, the people who are protesting….and suffering from…our current Health Care system, what they OVERWHELMINGLY want?


You have the power to do it, you have the public support to do it, you SHOULD have the votes to do it.

So what is stopping you?

Who is it that is FORCING you to go against the Will of the People, the people who voted you into office, the people who pay your salary, the people the Constitution SAYS you are there to represent?

Isn’t that the way our government is supposed to work? We The People elect you, We The People tell you what we want and you represent US by passing legislation to get what We The People told you to get us? Isn’t that….the deal? Isn’t that the very basis of our representative government? Isn’t that what our entire system of government is supposed to be based on?

You just gave the Banks BILLIONS of The People’s money…..against the Will of The People. You got the votes, somehow, to give money to Corporations.

Now it looks like we won’t even get the compromise of a Public Option, let alone the Single Payer that The People want.

Why, Senators? Why?

By Golly, it appears as if you are NOT working for The People doesn’t it?

In fact it appears that you have stopped even pretending to honor the deal. In fact it appears that you have stopped even pretending to work for The People.


In fact it is now blatantly obvious that you are working for the Corporations, not The People.


There is no longer any doubt is there, as our government prepares to sell The people out …again….for the umpteenth time, that our government has been bought.

In fact it is no longer OUR government at all. Our government now blatantly and openly is working for the Corporations, not us.

The Insurance Corporations, the Banking Corporations…and coming up the Energy and Pollution Corporations. As the officials WE elected pass legislation that favors the Corporations.

Let’s state this clearly, shall we?

The American Government is passing Legislation that is against the interests of The American People.

It has never been more obvious.

Our Government has been bought.

And is now working against us.

(And in the case of Climate Crisis legislation, against the future of the human race!)

Our Government has been bought.

What are we going to do about it?



Please go to by slinkerwink’s diary and make some calls

Protect Your First Amendment Rights, Don’t Limit Them

The terrorist assassination of Dr. Tiller there have been calls on the Left for to abhorring the words of people like Bill O’Reilly and Fox News as well as those involved with Operation Rescue and other anti-reproductive freedom groups.  It is understandable when such a horrible act is committed to want to react in such a way as to prevent it from ever happening again. This has lead to calls for restricting the ability of those whose words may have encouraged and incited the anti-reproductive freedom terrorist, Mr. Roeder, to do so in the future. This is an understandable desire but one that should be strongly resisted.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

RepubliCons Won’t Be Back ELECTORALLY

I certainly agree with the jist of Something The Dog Said’s currently front-paged essay . . . the grand OLD ?Party? is sucking itself into a black hole of self-immolation, at least on the national level. Their base won’t support anyone who has the slightest chance of getting elected outside of the South and/or the Mormon belt out West; and they despise moderates who might ostensibly have a shot at it.

While in certain way, this of course fills me with glee, I think there’s potential downsides that need to be addressed as well.

Look For The Union Label: Saving Jobs at the Company Making Obama’s Suits

I have some good news.  This is a story of how worker activism along with the help of Democratic officeholders can save jobs.  

First, my title.   It’s title is derived from the fact that one of Workers United’s predecessor unions at Hartmarx was the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union.   Looks like the union label will stay on the President’s suits.  (President Obama wore a Hartmarx suit at the Innaugaration, I believe.)

The 1978 ad:

Two weeks ago workers voted to hold a sit-in action at the factores of the company that makes Obama’s suits (Hartmarx) if Well Fargo sold it to a company that would close the plants and send the jobs overseas.  This week, the bidder approved as the “stalking horse” bidder in bankruptcy is a good company who will keep jobs in Amerirca and honor the union contracts.

More, after the fold.

A Long Time Ago, We Used to be Friends

Supposedly the universe is expanding at an incredible clip, faster and further than ever before. Well, the scientists are saying so, anyway…and since similar research has recently, and successfully, predicted other improbable things such as the Tampa Bay Rays making it to the World Series, or Barack Obama becoming President of the United States, why not trust the onward March of Science? There is untrammeled growth at every turn, unchecked expansion in every way. From my cushy corner of existence, however, the reality is quite the opposite. You see, my own mental and physical boundaries are most definitely shrinking, and have been for some time now. It isn’t as if I hadn’t seen it coming, either-hell, I aided and abetted the steady retrograde orbit even when I had the chance to do otherwise.  

Open Thread


Return of the Living Thread!

pony party

~♥~ pony party is an open thread. please do not wRECk the pony party. ~♥~

To free the sun

The eagle soars into turquoise and indigo

catching gold on white tipped feathers

in cadence of wind and stillnesses

singing and swooping with currents and storms

alone, the far-seer, sky dancer.

sun fire dips down to serpentine underworld

and eagle descends on rose and mauve and amber light

to an eyrie for night’s long dream

head curved under wings

eagle encircled in sleep

reflecting early kinship

with those scaled and coiled beings

who swallow the sun in their tangled trap

while the lost world waits in darkness and dream;

and in dreamworlds gods and goddesses

beat the pulse of prayer

dancing near smaller fires

drumming toward greater light

creating song from cries of loss

fanning the glowing ember of the heart

praising color:

green of growth, gold of maize

soft rich browns of deer and earth

rainbow prisms of mist and sun

and riotous spring anemonies

tangerine and sienna of autumn’s burnt lemon death

after summer’s blue heat

and the white quiet in the center

of winter’s stillness

and as hope begins to flicker

in the endless dark tunnel of night

eagle dreams stir

and in sleep awaken shadow-winged predator spirits

who dive for us all

into alien elements

fathomless seas of cobalt and black

dive through the surface

along watery crescents of moon’s mirrored image

downward liquid spiral journey

and now is the need for eagle’s sharp vision:

glimpse of turbulence below

dark shapes massing and twisting

in volcanic force the sun is caught

by serpents jealous and frenzied in battle

surrounding the light;

beak and talons curve

wings pull against the tidal vortex

moving with but not surrendering

to that power

and they strike

for an endless moment hearts stop in their sleep

drums do not beat

as feathers, coils, silver fangs and claws

embrace in the death of our dreams;

and in that moment the sun is freed

and begins to float luminous

toward that thin membrane where sea and sky meet

leaving an image of frozen fury far below

and finally, bursting through

with the fragile sound of silence and color

dawn is borne up on wings of light

life stirs

light stirs us all

and an eagle soars toward the sun

on the sighs of our awakening

Poem by Josie Tamarin

Published in “The Way Of The Shaman” by Michael Harner

Healthcare on Demand

Part 2 of our ongoing “If you build it” new coalition activism series. (WWL version)

Docudharma Version here

In our effort to make a list of DEMANDS rather than suggestions, that can be brushed aside as “not feasible at this time” today we will address Health Care.

Let me repeat the Mantra:

A person and their doctor walk into a room. They decide what avenue will best keep that person healthy and alive. No bean counters. No multiple referrals. No putting it up for review with a bunch of multiple churches. They GET the care necessary.

The term “single-payer” confuses most Americans anyway. It makes it sound like THEY, a single individual must pay, a term probably chosen as a way to create a Pavlovian rejection, even while it is in people’s best interests.

Gottlieb suggested, “While single payer is the goal, I suggest we start with something achievable and that is “the public option” plan. The Public Option is the vehicle which can grow into single payer.” but I don’t agree. Any compromise we make will be used to stall and to thwart the process in the interests of the Healthcare Profit Industry to continue to make profits as “insurance” companies. (Sorry darlin, but we must commit to this)

If we could turn factories overnight into tank and bomber factories with 1940’s technologies, this too can and SHALL be done.

Our commitment must be in stone.

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