March 18, 2010 archive

Saturday is the day to take action against the wars

If you want to help end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, challenge the military industrial complex, fight for jobs not wars, or anything along those lines, SATURDAY IS YOUR DAY OF ACTION!  There will be a massive peace march in DC – some say they are expecting hundreds of thousands to show up – and events all over the nation.  On Sunday there will also be an event in Seattle, for those of you near there.

Please join me in DC – if you’re looking for me, I’ll be with the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” contingent (carrying a peace flag and with my brother, who will be videotaping) and for part of the day I’ll be marching with former US Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel.

HILARIOUS! Joe Biden PWNS everyone for 13 full minutes!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

   Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner last night. The results were flat out hilarious.

h/t to

The best quotes and a little more below the fold.

Legislation is Negotiation

And when it is important, you use every tool you have to negotiate with.

Even the ones that “some people” might disagree with or be shocked by. Like throwing tantrums, screaming at the top of your lungs, making “outrageous” statements and proposing outrageous policies, and making outrageous demands, aligning (temporarily and event specifically) with people you otherwise despise, and yes…..threatening to kill the bill. Or with hold your vote. Or primary people.

You DO go over the line. Because that is how the line moves.


Here’s the CBO Score for H/C Insura Bailout

Here is the Congressional Budget Office’s Score for the Health Care Insurance Bailout, which was just released now, Thursday morning, March 18, 2010.  (thank you, HuffPo)   It is a pdf.  Since it’s a government document, I’m going to post it here, sans the charts, and let you all have a look see instead of pointing you to a pundit.


and so it begins,

Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madam Speaker:

March 18, 2010

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed a preliminary estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010; that amendment (hereafter called “the reconciliation proposal”) was made public on March 18, 2010. The estimate is presented in three ways:

full text continues

AFL-CIO: Not Ready For Explicit Primary Threats

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Just hopped off the conference call with Richard Trumka from the AFL-CIO.

This morning, the AFL-CIO leadership voted in overwhelming favor (higher than 90%) of “active support” for the current health care proposals in the face of slight changes to the excise tax agreement.  

A New Language To Describe It

The Founding Fathers gave us democracy.  We have the moral responsibility to restore what was given to us, to take back what has been taken away by corrupt politicians of both major parties.  There is no longer any doubt that the two-party system has been used to Establish, Maintain, and Expand corporate Tyranny.  It has been used to divide and conquer, to prevent We the People from uniting in defense of our rights as citizens.  

The false paradigm of We the Left against We the Right must be rejected.  Americans must embrace a new ideology of Citizen Empowerment, they must speak a new language of Political, Social, and Economic Activism, they most forge a new movement, a local, state, and nationwide alliance encompassing the values and goals they share in common.  They must cast aside the dead language of We the Left and We the Right, for among the victims of corporate Tyranny, there is no We the Left nor We the Right anymore, there is only We the Powerless.

Kucinich on Democracy Now! explaining his switch

Why did Kucinich decide to vote for this bill?  Why is he whipping for it?  I’m trying to figure this out myself.…

(Watch the whole interview there, or read it, or listen to it.)

AMY GOODMAN: Congress member Dennis Kucinich joins us now in Washington, DC.

Well, Congress member Kucinich, you did not get what you were asking for, yet you are now supporting this bill. Explain what happened and why you think this bill merits your support.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, first of all, I appreciate that you covered that part where I said that I don’t retract anything that I said before. I had taken the effort to put a public option into the bill and also to create an opportunity for states to have their right protected to pursue single payer. I took it all the way down to the line with the President, the Speaker of the House, Democratic leaders. And it became clear to me that, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t going to be able to get it in the bill and that I was going to inevitably be looking at a bill that-where I was a decisive vote and that I was basically, by virtue of circumstances, being put in a position where I could either kill the bill or let it go forward and-in the hopes that we could build something from the ruins of this bill.

I think that-you know, I mean, I can just tell you, it was a very tough decision. But I believe that now we need to look to support the efforts at the state level for single payer, to really jump over this debate and not have all those who want to see transformative change in healthcare be blamed for this bill going down. I think that really it’s a dangerous moment. You know, the Clinton healthcare reforms, which I thought were very weak, it’s been sixteen years since we’ve had a discussion about healthcare reform because of the experience of the political maelstrom that hit Washington. And I saw-I came to the conclusion, Amy, that it was going to-it would be impossible to start a serious healthcare discussion in Washington if this bill goes down, despite the fact that I don’t like it at all. And every criticism I made still stands.

I want to see this as a step. It’s not the step that I wanted to take, but a step so that after it passes, we can continue the discussion about comprehensive healthcare reform, about what needs to be done at the state level, because that’s really where we’re going to have to, I think, have a breakthrough in single payer, about diet, nutrition, comprehensive alternative medicine. There’s many things that we can do. But if the bill goes down and we get blamed for it, I think there’ll be hell to pay, and in the end, it’ll just be used as an excuse as to why Washington couldn’t get to anything in healthcare in the near future.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Congressman, I’d like to ask you, several other members of Congress who have had discussions with President Obama in recent days, as he sought their support, have said that he has essentially told them that this is-his presidency is riding on this, that to defeat the bill would severely hamper the remaining time in his presidency and also the election in November. Did he make that argument to you, as well? And did that have any impact on your decision?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: We talked about that. I mean, I have been thinking for quite awhile about, you know, what this means in terms of the Obama presidency. And frankly, you know, I’ve had differences with this president, on the economy, on environment, on war. And so, you know, I really hadn’t given them many votes at all. But he made-he did make the argument that there was a lot on the line. And frankly, there’s been such an effort to delegitimatize his presidency, right from the beginning, that, you know, in looking at the big picture here, we have to see if there’s a way to get into this administration with an argument that could possibly influence the President to take some new directions. Standing at the sidelines, I think, is not an option right now, because, you know, we have to try to reshape the Obama presidency. And I hope that, in some small way, through my participation in trying to take healthcare in a new direction, that I can help do that.

And, you know, I-look, I can’t give any kind of process a blessing. I don’t like much of anything of what’s happening here, except to say that I think that down the road we need to jump over this debate and go right to a bigger debate about how do we get healthcare that’s significant, how do we supplant the role of private insurers. We’re not going to be able to do it on this pass. I have done everything that I possibly can to try to take a position and stake out ground to say I’m not going to change, but there’s a point at which you say, you know, it’s my way or the highway. And if the highway shows a roadblock and you go over a cliff, I don’t know what good that does, when you take a detour and maybe we can still get to the destination, which, for me, remains single payer. Start at the state level, and do the work there. And if there’s ERISA implications and lawsuits, we’ll have to deal with that, and maybe that can force Congress to finally act on some of those issues.

I’m beginning to understand his decision, I believe.  He thinks that if he plays the “Ralph Nader” role (who was actually on the same episode of DN! at the same time as Kucinich) then it will kill the chances of single payer in the future.  He sees this bill as a detour – a bad one, but not the worst possible thing in the world.

Please watch the whole interview.  Something else to consider is what David Swanson, who worked on Kucinich’s presidential campaign, said:

I don’t think Kucinich flipped because of money, either direct “contributions” or money through the Democratic Party. I think, on the contrary, he hurt himself financially by letting down his supporters across the country. I don’t think he caved into the power of party or presidency directly. I don’t think they threatened to back a challenger or strip his subcommittee chair or block his bills, although all of that might have followed. I think the corporate media has instilled in people the idea that presidents should make laws and that the current president is trying to make a law that can reasonably be called “healthcare reform” or at least “health insurance reform.”

I’m not entirely satisfied.  But I’m beginning to think about this in a more coherent way than yesterday…

Afternoon Edition

Here I am again, you substitute editor of the Afternoon Edition. Our editor-in-chief, ek hornbeck is recharging his “batteries” and gearing up to Live Blog the NCAA Championships. I’m even more clueless about basketball than I am about Baseball or American football, ask me about sailing or le football, I’m much better versed.

1 vs. 16 usually lopsided in NCAA tourney

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The NCAA tournament is famous for the little guys shocking the marquee powerhouses and turning into the darlings of March.

Upsets happen.

In every region, every year.

With one lopsided exception: No. 1 vs. No. 16.

When brackets are e-mailed to the office staff after the 65-team field is set, typing the “W” in that 1-16 matchup is about as automatic an annual occurrence as ringing in the New Year on Dec. 31. With good reason: The Washington Generals have better odds at victory over the Harlem Globetrotters than a No. 16 seed does over a No. 1.

Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright

In light of the impending extinction of the tiger, this is profoundly upsetting.

The New York Times reports:

A zoo where 11 rare Siberian tigers recently starved to death is fast becoming a symbol of the mistreatment of animals in China, with allegations of misspent subsidies, bribes, and the deaths of at least dozens of animals.

The local authorities stepped in over the weekend, taking control of the 10-year-old zoo, in Shenyang in northeastern China, and dispatching experts to try to save the remaining 20 or so tigers, three of which are in critical condition.

Among the charges under investigation are employee reports that the zoo used the bones of dead tigers to illegally manufacture a liquor believed to have therapeutic qualities. One employee said he had made vats of the liquor and served it to visiting government officials.

A know of few concrete, helpful things that can be done this late in the game.

I recommend (again) a contribution to Panthera.  Or to another organization that rescues and saves tigers and other big cats.

Beyond that, I have nothing I can suggest.  I am filled with sadness and despair.  And shame.

Brown Lied at Iraq War Inquiry

And he got caught!

Will this bring Brown done in the coming election, while the guiltier, here and over there, maintain their freedom from their crimes!

Brown forced to change stance on army spending

Which will inflame the families of the fallen Brits who were trumpeting that the troops were under equipped and lacked training on some of the equipment they did have.  

Hey! Open Salvage

so where’s today’s Open Thread??? Allow me…

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”


Let’s fund tuition-free public education, instead of endless war

Public universities across America are raising tuition so high that many students simply can’t afford it.

For example, the University of California system is boosting its average undergraduate tuition from $7,788 to $10,302. [1]

In five states, public universities already charge undergraduates on average more than $10,000 per year for tuition and fees. [2]

It’s outrageous that US politicians sign blank checks for war, yet turn their backs on young Americans struggling to get an education.

Tell your members of Congress to support tuition-free higher education at public universities.

State governments are justifying massive tuition hikes as a necessary evil in the face of growing state budget deficits. But the real question is one of priorities.

Congress recently passed the largest military budget in US history, [3] while Wall Street enjoyed a massive $14 trillion bailout. [4]

Our members of Congress must prioritize education above endless wars and subsidies for corporate profits.

The future of our nation depends on making quality education available for our young people.

Tell your members of Congress now: support tuition-free higher education at public universities!

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