Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Like It Or Not; For Those Racists And Those In Denial: Former President Carter Is Right!

Like It Or Not; For Those Racists And Those In Denial: Former President Carter Is Right!

No matter what one thinks of Jimmy Carter; he has always been a compassionate and outspoken man of I.N.T.E.G.R.T.Y. and dignity. The entire world understands this, though often folks do not like hearing the truth. We’re just not accustomed to it! Maybe, the A Few Good Men (1992) - Memorable quote is the reality of our times. That would be sad.

It has often been said that President Carter was “too honest to be President”; if that be true; we have a helluva state of affairs.

I had supported Ted Kennedy in the 1980 election cycle, (no surprise), but when, after losing his challenge for the nomination earlier that day, Kennedy spoke on August 12 and delivered a speech in support of President Carter and the Democratic Party, his speech closing with the lines "For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end… For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."; I supported fully, Jimmy Carter, and , from the few personal conversations we had, to respect his core honesty.

Regardless of whatever judgment history may render, whatever political writing may attempt to accomplish; President Carter will have, always, my respect, for his decency, dignity, honesty, sincerity, personal courage, integrity and willingness to speak the unspoken truth, be it Israel and Palestine or racism in America.

In the photo above both the former President and yours truly are much younger. The occasion was the signing of the Treaty to return the Panama Canal to that nation. I had the distinct pleasure and high honor of representing the nation’s educators in support of that position, having led the successful fight for the endorsement of the treaty at the Ohio Education Association Executive Committee and the National Education Association Board of Directors; I was simply told; “you did it go to it; it’s yours”, and it was.

A few minutes later at the signing we had a comical moment when I was moving about to get a good view of the signing moment and told to stand still by a Secret Service man; President Carter looked up and said: “Bring Ed. Up here closer; he’s short like me!

In the photo I was reaching for two hand written letters from students to hand to the President. Thus the evil look from the big guy in the photo. He answered both with hand written correspondence! I told him I couldn’t go home if I didn’t give them to him. With a chuckle he said: “Hand them here; I’ll take care of them; it’s the least I can do for you.” It was a good day!

Carter: Wilson's Remarks "Based on Racism" : Former President Said Representative's Outburst Was Rooted in Fears of a Black President

(AP) Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act "based on racism" and rooted in fears of a black president.

"I think it's based on racism," Carter said in response to an audience question at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

The Georgia Democrat said the outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

"Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care," he said. "It's deeper than that."

Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, was formally rebuked Tuesday in a House vote for shouting "You lie!" during Obama's speech to Congress last Wednesday.

The shout came after the president commented that illegal aliens would be ineligible for federal subsidies to buy health insurance. Republicans expressed their disbelief with sounds of disapproval, punctuated by Wilson's outburst.

Tuesday's rebuke was a rare resolution of disapproval pushed through by Democrats who insisted that Wilson had violated basic rules of decorum and civility. Republicans characterized the measure as a witch hunt and Wilson, who had already apologized to Obama, insisted he owed the House no apology.

Wilson's spokesman was not immediately available for comment, but his eldest son defended his father.

"There is not a racist bone in my dad's body," said Alan Wilson, an Iraq veteran who is running for state attorney general. "He doesn't even laugh at distasteful jokes. I won't comment on former President Carter, because I don't know President Carter. But I know my dad, and it's just not in him."

"It's unfortunate people make that jump. People can disagree - and appropriately disagree - on issues of substance, but when they make the jump to race it's absolutely ludicrous. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to respect everyone regardless of background or race."

South Carolina's former Democratic Party chairman said that he doesn't believe Wilson was motivated by racism, but said the outburst encouraged racist views.

"I think Joe's conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president," said Dick Harpootlian, who has known Wilson for decades. "I don't think Joe's outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth."

Harpootlian said he received scores of racial e-mails from outside South Carolina after he talked about the vote on Fox News.

"You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president," he said. "But was he motivated by that? I don't think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism."

Carter called Wilson's comment "dastardly" and an aftershock of racist views that have permeated American politics for decades.

"The president is not only the head of government, he is the head of state," he said. "And no matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect."

From: Danielle Kleinman : (PA.)

Living in Detroit, MI suburbs in the 1960’s was an eye-opening experience. This was a time of racial riots and fear of blacks was rampant. I was born to a Danish woman and a Scot-Irish-Indian father so I had a diverse view of the world. Being European, my mom was never afraid nor had any prejudice towards blacks; unlike my father at that time.

As luck would have it, my dad traveled and I (and my brother) was basically raised by my mother. Coming from a “Socialist” country she always taught us tolerance and that everyone deserved equal rights (i.e. Healthcare, etc). As we drove through the streets of Detroit she could never understand how people in the US could live in the slums (after all, the US is supposed to be the best place on earth). Growing up with this attitude has brought me to where I am today; confused and angry.

After trying to stop the debacle that was the Bush/Cheney years (yes, I was against them they day the announcement was made) and I tried to convince others to my peril. This country has been brought to its knees by the likes of these two and now we suffer as they never feel our pain. I have always been a justice oriented person so it’s hard to sit idly by while people are suffering. The most difficult part is the people who are protesting against Obama and against the Healthcare legislation are the very folks who need it. How do you get through to them? When they have segregated themselves to watching FOX, you can’t!

Where is the FCC in all of this? They haven’t held true to their mission; they have failed us as well. The brave Congress people who do speak out aren’t heard by those who are most affected. Most “common folks” don’t listen nor do they research the truth. The lies about Healthcare are astounding and the fact that people believe it is even more astounding. I have asked the question before, and I will ask it again; “Where is our John Lennon?” The voice of reason that helped us all take to the streets in action, with a common purpose versus the divide that exists today. There is a hole that needs filling here!

President Carter said it best yesterday as he spoke with NBC’s Brian Williams. Racism is alive and thriving. There are people that actually believe that a black man cannot run the country; that he isn’t “qualified.” What happened 40 years ago to Martin Luther King Jr.’s message?

"I Look To A Day When People Will Not Be Judged By The Color Of Their Skin, But By The Content Of Their Character."
Martin Luther King, Jr

I ask the question, are people in this country that stupid as to believe the crap that Fox spews? The answer is yes, they are THAT stupid. I never believed that I lived in a country that could behave this way and treat their fellow man so badly. I guess it’s how I was raised; the rose colored glasses and all. I have to blame the media at this point; they have failed us all. They allowed for the TABLOID approach to reporting and lived in fear after 9/11 of saying or doing something that could be perceived as unpatriotic. Well, the complacency and blind eye are UNPATRIOTIC. Until they all understand the consequences of their “non-action” we will continue on this destructive/fatal path.

As I watched the BeKKK-ians march on Washington on Saturday I couldn’t help but think that these folks are Aryan Nation sympathizers. I was expecting at any moment to hear the first gun fired at the Whitehouse and then a riot to break out. Cynical? You betcha’! I don’t see that ending any time soon….Yes, President Carter, there is racism and we all see it. Thank you for calling a spade a spade (pardon the pun)!

Desperate And Insecure, Whites See Country Slipping Away

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor-

‘What Is Interesting Here Is That For Decades, There Was A Stereotype Of The Angry Black Male And Now We Are Seeing Something That Looks Like The Rise Of The Angry White Male.’
—Dr. Maya Rockeymoore,
Global Policy Solutions

( - When a virtually unknown Republican Congressman, Joe Wilson from South Carolina shouted the words “You lie!” during a September 9 speech by Pres. Barack Obama, it was the latest example of the uncivil tone and rancorous atmosphere created by many of the president's opponents on the right.

In recent weeks, town hall meetings have descended into shouting matches, right wing radio and television commentators have become increasingly vituperative in their criticism, and spasmodic outbursts of rage are becoming commonplace.

Calling Rep. Wilson's blunder “an appalling lack of civility in an institution that actually prides itself on civility,” Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president and founder of the Washington D.C.—based Global Policy Solutions, said some Whites may be experiencing anxiety as the political and social landscape of America changes rapidly.

“What is interesting here is that for decades, there was a stereotype of the angry Black male and now we are seeing something that looks like the rise of the angry White male,” the respected policy analyst and author told The Final Call. “If one were to psychoanalyze this situation it may be that in Barack Obama, you see the president of the United States symbolizing for them an end of an era, and that is an era where they were actually able to limit competition for prestigious positions, posts and opportunities just to other White men,” Dr. Rockeymoore added.

Anti-racism activist and author Tim Wise agreed, saying the severe economic downturn, a Black president, demographic shifts and a change in pop culture have been “jarring” to the collective White psyche causing widespread anger, fear and insecurity and an identity crisis among those who have enjoyed a privileged existence in America.

“It's sort of like a collective nervous breakdown on the part of large segments of White America,” said Mr. Wise, who also authored the book, Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama. “Looking at double digit unemployment isn't all that rare for Blacks and Latinos, but for White folks, that has not even been close to the reality since the days of The Depression, so when you have had two or three generations of Whites who have never had that kind of insecurity, that is very jarring, I'm sure for folks who have gotten used to taking for granted a fairly solid opportunity structure.”

The presence of a president of color has also been a cause for anxiety by those who have grown accustomed to being special and the symbol of importance in the dominant society, said Mr. Wise.

“Even people who are not bigots have gotten used to seeing the representative symbol of our nation (as) someone who reminds us of us—those of us who are White— and even though we don't think about the level of comfort that provides psychologically, it doesn't take a genius or a psychologist to figure out that when that image changes, it creates sort of a mental disconnect or some cognitive dissonance that just becomes one of those things that's hard for some people to get their head around,” he added.

Right wing zealots

Rep. Wilson said his emotions got the best of him when he inappropriately blurted out “You lie!” violating the protocols and decorum of the American political landscape. While in the hours immediately following his gaffe, Rep. Wilson was roundly condemned by many political commentators, the next day, his right wing supporters came to his defense.

Shortly following Pres. Obama's health care speech, consistent Obama critic Sean Hannity of FOX called the president's Sept. 9 address “a campaign speech full of partisan hackery.” Rep. Wilson was also given a chance to defend himself by answering softball questions lobbed at him during an appearance on Sean Hannity's Sept.10 television show.

During the Sept. 10 edition of his radio show, bloviating conservative hardliner Rush Limbaugh also called Pres. Obama a liar and said he wished Rep. Joe Wilson had not apologized.

“I was shouting ‘you're lying' throughout the speech at the television,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “Joe Wilson simply articulated what millions of Americans were saying,” he added.

In addition, T-Shirts were immediately available for purchase on the internet that said “I am Joe Wilson” and “You Lie!” On one Twitter page, a supporter wrote, “Joe Wilson (R-SC), patriotic American: done apologizing, now he fights back.” According to CNN, Rep. Wilson has raised $1 million from supporters. According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as of Sept. 11, Rep. Wilson's opponent, Rob Miller, an Iraq War veteran had received $750,000 in donations, within less than 48-hours after Rep. Wilson shouted at the president on national television.

Using their television and radio shows as platforms, commentators such as Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, who routinely shouts at guests on his show, contribute to this toxic mix of intolerance, say critics. Self-described “Mr. Independent” Lou Dobbs is an outspoken anti-immigration advocate, very popular radio host Michael Savage reaches millions of people daily and was recently banned by the UK. He was the target of a boycott campaign, accused of stoking the flames of Islamophobia by the Council of American Islamic Relations. And there is also conservative film critic Michael Medved whose infamous attempt at revisionist history includes a 2007 article titled “Six Inconvenient Truths About the U.S. and Slavery.” There are also some angry White women in the media mix such as author and lecturer Ann Coulter, commentator Laura Ingraham, and best-selling author Michelle Malkin, who is Filipino, who all reach the public with their acerbic feminine perspectives via radio, television and the blogosphere.

While Pres. Obama won the 2008 election after garnering over 69 million votes, it is important to note that close to 60 million people voted for his defeated opponent, Sen. John McCain. Though flashes of intolerance and bitterness were shown during the campaign, many of those anti-Obama voters appear to have become enraged.

“I think we have to understand that there is something that is actually different about this level of vitriol. There is something different and I think that difference is a reaction that is connected to Obama's race,” said Dr. Rockeymoore.

In a recently published essay by Mr. Wise, he compared the Republican Party to the infamous Afrikaner Party that championed apartheid in South Africa. He also pointed out that throughout history, activists labeled as “socialists” and “communists” have been found on the correct side of many of the great social reforms that have taken place and conservative media commentators have been on the side of maintaining White supremacy.

“Even the White icons in pop culture are not White the way they were when John Wayne was the thing,” said Mr. Wise. “White America has been made for years to feel that we were the prototype of what an American was.”

Referring to David Duke who served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1990 until 1992 and in a losing effort, garnered over 671,000 votes when he ran for Governor of Louisiana in 1991, Mr. Wise said, “The reality is that all those people that voted for Duke had to go somewhere, they didn't all die,” he said.

Mr. Wise said we are not quite at the level of “openly fascist commentary” though the rhetoric of many within America's right wing has been similar to that of far right staunch nationalist and stridently anti-immigration movements and leaders across the globe, such as Nick Griffin of the British National Party, Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party currently Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of the Israeli Knesset, and Jean-Marie Le Pen of France.

“When you see White people in the midst of this identity crisis (they) are really trying to say, ‘who are we and what is it that makes us special because 100 years ago, we knew,” said Mr. Wise.

For now, it appears as if cooler heads will prevail.

At a wreath laying ceremony on Sept. 11 at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia honoring those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack eight years ago, Pres. Obama continued to speak words to unite the country.

“Most of all, on a day when others sought to sap our confidence, let us renew our common purpose. Let us remember how we came together as one nation, as one people, as Americans, united not only in our grief, but in our resolve to stand with one another, to stand up for the country we all love,” said Pres. Obama.

Dr. Rockeymoore said the level of discussion regarding the issues confronting this nation; the economy, health care and national security must be discussed in a civilized manner, which is truly being exemplified by Pres. Obama.

“We have to recapture the public square and take this to a higher level and I think that's what Barack Obama is trying to do. Every time he maintains his calm, his composure, when he addresses these situations in an understanding tone, it encourages people to think on a higher level. He is trying to combat irrationality with reason and rationality and he is encouraging other Americans to do the same thing,” said Dr. Rockeymore.

Related links:

FCN Editorial: A prophetic warning and White anger in America (FCN, 09-15-2009)

Final victory over race hatred elusive (FCN, 07-03-2009)

Obama candidacy exposes race hatred in America (FCN, 11-10-2008)

Why Are African-Americans So Frequently the Subject of Glenn Beck's Ridicule and Criticism?
By Devona Walker, The Loop
There are a lot of problems in America, but right-wingers and the GOP seem to be stuck on making controversy over issues involving black people.
more »

Poll: Support For Afghan War At All-Time Low
By The Huffington Post News Team
Looks like
Bush/Cheney managed to sell our contry on waging perpetual war. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:58 PM on 09/15/2009. - + NCAV2 I'm a Fan of NCAV2 I'm a fan of this user 4 fans permalink. And yet we're STILL there! ... A few years ago, I took the wife and kids to a HUGE rally in DC to protest Iraq Nam and demand Bush's impeachment. The response of the DEMS? Takeimpeachment off the table and authorize a "surge." I'm not cynical. I'm not giving up. ...
President Obama on The Huffington Post -

Afghanistan: When Will the War End, and Can the U.S. Win?

The Final Call, News Analysis, Ashahed M. Muhammad

When launched on October 7, 2001, the goals of the War in Afghanistan, dubbed “Operation Enduring Freedom,” were to locate, capture or kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the members of his leadership cadre and end the Taliban regime's stronghold in the region, striking a decisive blow in the Bush administration's infamous global “War on Terror.”

While many members of Al-Qaeda's command staff have been captured or killed, and many Taliban members neutralized, Osama bin Laden remains on the loose, suspected of being somewhere in a mountainous remote Pakistani region. Al Qaeda has evolved, spreading to several areas across the globe. The Taliban appears able to strike U.S. military forces at will, and public support for the war is rapidly falling.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released September 1 found that 57 percent of the American people are opposed to the war, up 11 points since April.

Last month was the deadliest for U.S. military personnel since the war began eight years ago and pressure is rising on Pres. Barack Obama and top U.S. military officials to find a quick solution to a very complex problem. Some critics on the left and the right are calling on him to withdraw from Afghanistan completely, while others, including military officials, are suggesting recalibration of troop levels and force deployment.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently described the situation as “serious and deteriorating.” U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan said the situation in Afghanistan requires a “revised implementation strategy.” Even conservative commentator George Will in an opinion piece appearing in the Sept.1 Washington Post suggested “rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan.”

“What the last eight years have shown us is that what we need is not a new military strategy, but a new strategy altogether,” said Clare Moen of the War Resisters League and editor-in-chief of their official publication, WIN magazine. “Sending in more troops has not been working. We just finished the deadliest month in the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan,” she added.

Ms. Moen's group, an 84-year-old nonviolent anti-war organization, plans major anti-war action in cities across the U.S. on October 5 to protest the War in Afghanistan and demand an immediate withdrawal of troops. She said many protesters may have even voted for Pres. Obama in the November 2008 election.

“A lot of people who voted for Obama were hoping that he would reverse a lot of Bush's policies, specifically on occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, but I'm not sure their hopes were necessarily founded in reality,” said Ms. Moen.

Responding via e-mail from France to questions presented by The Final Call, author, political commentator and co-founder of the online news magazine Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah wrote, “During the campaign, Obama promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan and spread it to Pakistan. By all accounts he is keeping that promise. More bombs, more violence, more displaced people will not produce the conditions for peace. Rather, it will expand the circle of suffering and those willing to take up arms in defense of what they experience as a foreign invasion. So sadly I do see the worst yet to come.”

Obama's war?

Pres. Obama, immediately upon taking office, said Afghanistan was a “necessary war” and while he has ordered an increase in troop levels and has attempted to work with cooperative allies within Afghanistan and Pakistan to succeed, conflict rages.

On Sept. 2 Afghanistan's deputy chief of intelligence, Abdullah Laghmani was assassinated after a suicide bombing attack just east of the country's capital of Kabul. According to the AP a Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the assassination.

The results from the recently held Afghan presidential election are still in dispute, with the announcement delayed because of allegations of voter fraud. Even after the results are announced, analysts say the Afghan government is weak and the drug trade threatens what little stability there is.

“Most often, the central government is criticized for its high level of corruption. To me, that is not the most critical problem. The main problem is that it is weak,” wrote DePaul University political science professor Patrick Callahan in an e-mailed response to The Final Call. “Historically, power in Afghanistan has been highly decentralized. There was a government in Kabul, the capital city, but real control over what happened on the ground rested in tribal leaders and warlords. That is layered on sharp ethnic differences in different parts of the country. In fact, it is misleading to think of Afghanistan as a country or a nation. It is a territory containing several nations and falling woefully short of having the coherence we ordinarily associate with the word ‘country,'” he added.

Though poppy cultivation and opium production has gone down, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's “Afghanistan Opium Survey 2009,” its executive director, Antonio Maria Costa still sees narcotics trafficking as a major problem in the region. According to the report, poppy cultivation dropped 22 percent and opium production by 10 percent and there has been a 33 percent drop in the area of land devoted to poppy cultivation, the report said.

“The bottom is starting to fall out of the Afghan opium market. For the second year in a row, cultivation, production, work-force, prices, revenues, exports and its GDP share are all down, while the number of poppy-free provinces and drug seizures continue to rise. Yet, Afghan drugs still have catastrophic consequences. They fund criminals, insurgents, and terrorists in Afghanistan and abroad. Collusion with corrupt government officials keeps undermining public trust, security, and the law,” said Mr. Costa.

War without end

Robert T. Starks, political science professor at Northeastern Illinois University described Afghanistan as “almost ungovernable” and pointed out that if Pres. Obama continues to ramp up troop levels in an effort to stay the course, he runs the risk of a prolonged conflict appearing to be without end. As the American bodies continue to pile up, public support will continue to decline. However, the major issue, according to Prof. Starks, is the financial drain the war is having on a faltering American economy.

“Economically, this country cannot afford to continue that war.” said Prof. Starks. “The last thing he wants to do is to have a repeat of what went on in Vietnam, that type of long range fight going on in Afghanistan,” said Prof. Starks.

For Pres. Obama and the multinational forces in the region, the bad news keeps on coming.

According to media reports, a NATO air strike in Afghanistan on Sept. 4 caused at least 90 civilian casualties. Constant drone attacks with Hellfire missiles have taken the lives of hundreds of non-combatants in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which has not helped matters with locals whom the multinational forces are ostensibly seeking to enlist for support.

A top defense aide to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown resigned on Sept. 3 over disagreements regarding the government's Afghanistan policy and involvement. According to a recent poll in London's Daily Telegraph 66 percent of Brits are against the war. Fifty-two British soldiers have been killed in the conflict within the last two months. With four months left, 2009 has already been the deadliest year for troops in Afghanistan. There are currently about 68,000 American troops engaged in combat operations there.

Despite those realities on the ground, Defense Secretary Robert Gates at a Sept. 3 press briefing alongside Adm. Mullen at the Pentagon, reiterated his support for Pres. Obama's strategy while acknowledging faltering support.

“I don't believe that the war is slipping through the administration's fingers. And I think it's important—first of all, the nation has been at war for eight years. The fact that Americans would be tired of having their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising,” said Sec. Gates. He also cautioned against determining the success or failure of the military operation based on what may be considered a limited perspective.

“I think what's important to remember is, the president's decisions were only made at the—on this strategy were only made at the very end of March. Our new commander (Gen. McChrystal) appeared on the scene in June. We still do not have all of the forces the president has authorized in Afghanistan yet, and we still do not have all the civilian surge that the president has authorized and insisted upon in Afghanistan yet,” said Sec. Gates.

Prof. Starks said in spite of what the generals are saying, the reality is that Pres. Obama is going to be forced to consider a withdrawal “sooner rather than later.”

Leading Islamic scholar Imam Zaid Shakir of the Zaytuna Institute, a non-profit, educational religious institute and school based in Berkeley, California agreed. His advice to Pres. Obama would be “blame it on Bush and get out.”

“It's an unwinnable war, it has nothing to do with stopping terrorists, in fact, if anything, it is going to create more animosity towards this country and it is going to create more people who have reasons to seek revenge against this country,” said Imam Shakir. Pres. Obama should not be deterred by the possibility of being called weak by the right wing, he added.

“It takes more strength to do the right thing. Sometimes it takes more strength to walk away from a fight you shouldn't be involved in than to display a false sense of macho and a false sense of courage by engaging in that fight. It takes more courage to defy the warmongers, it takes more courage to defy the militarists, it takes more courage to stand up to admit that you made a mistake,” said Imam Shakir.

Related Articles:

Afghanistan Is Obama’s Vietnam

Should Pakistanis Celebrate U.S. Killing of Pakistan's Most Wanted Man?

Afghanistan: Marines' Mission Doomed to Failure

Senate Health Bill Draws Fire on Both Sides

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Published: September 15, 2009

WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday that he could not support sweeping health care legislation drafted in more than three months of bipartisan negotiations by the chairman of the panel, and several liberal Democrats criticized the bill from the other side of the political spectrum.

Enlarge This Image | Doug Mills/The New York Times

Senator Max Baucus has sought a bipartisan compromise.

A blog from The New York Times that tracks the health care debate as it unfolds.

More Health Care Overhaul News

The statement by the Republican, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, came just as the chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, put the final touches on his bill to provide health benefits to millions of the uninsured.

“Unfortunately,” Mr. Grassley said, “we’re operating under an artificial deadline set by the Democratic leadership and the White House. I’m disappointed because it looks like we’re being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage.”

Mr. Grassley, who participated in the bipartisan negotiations, said he wanted to lower the overall cost of the bill. In addition, he said he wanted stronger guarantees that federal money would not be used to pay for abortions or to subsidize health insurance for illegal immigrants, and he is seeking unspecified “medical malpractice reforms.”

At the same time, Mr. Grassley said he hoped to “stay at the table” working with Democrats. “Legislation that impacts every American should have strong bipartisan support,” he said.

For their part, liberal Democrats said Mr. Baucus’s bill did not go far enough to make insurance affordable to people with low and moderate incomes.

One of the Democrats, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, said he could not vote for the bill in its current form, in part because it did not include a new government insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

“The way it is now, there’s no way I can vote for the Senate package,” Mr. Rockefeller said.

His comment came just minutes after President Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, met separately with House and Senate Democrats in the Capitol. Mr. Axelrod said it was urgent for Congress to overhaul the health care system, Mr. Obama’s top domestic priority, and he cited public opinion polls to support his contention that Americans shared the president’s view.

Congressional Democrats voiced their concerns as Mr. Baucus prepared to unveil a detailed proposal, on which he wants the panel to vote next week.

Four other Congressional committees have approved health care bills drafted by Democrats and passed without any Republican support.

Democrats expressed a variety of concerns. Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said Mr. Baucus, by paring the cost of the bill, had also cut the subsidies that would help people buy insurance.

“This is reducing coverage for poor and working people,” Mr. Rangel said, adding that such cuts “could destroy the bill.”

The House bill, in its current form, is expected to cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years, while Senate Democrats said the price tag for the Baucus proposal would be $880 billion or less.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said he doubted that subsidies in the Baucus bill would be enough to enable middle-income people to buy insurance without straining family budgets, and he vowed to seek changes.

Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, challenged Mr. Baucus’s plan to help finance coverage of the uninsured by imposing $4 billion a year in fees on manufacturers of medical devices and diagnostic products.

Mr. Baucus’s plan, like the other major bills in Congress, would expand Medicaid to cover childless adults and other people with incomes less than 133 percent of the poverty level ($29,327 for a family of four).

In a telephone conference call with governors on Tuesday, Mr. Baucus said states would have to help pay the cost of covering people newly eligible for Medicaid. But he tried to allay the concerns of governors, who oppose any type of “unfunded mandate.”

Under Mr. Baucus’s proposal, the federal government would pay most of the new Medicaid costs — at least 80 percent in high-income states like Connecticut and 95 percent in poor states like Mississippi.

This represents a significant increase in the federal share. Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal government and the states, and the federal share — not counting extra money provided under the economic stimulus program — ranges from 50 percent to nearly 80 percent.

Mr. Baucus promised aid to states that have already expanded their Medicaid programs along the lines of his proposal. But officials in two such states, Massachusetts and Vermont, said they needed more details about the proposal to know how they would be affected.

Jackie Calmes contributed reporting.

With Sunday TV Push, Obama Is Raising the Health Care Ante


Why would President Obama go on five television shows back to back this coming Sunday morning?

That fact in itself has made news. For the first time ever, a president is appearing on five talk shows on a single Sunday, in quick succession — on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision. (To be clear: He is taping them Friday night at the White House, not sprinting from set to set on Sunday.)

The Sunday talk shows individually are not rated as highly as, say, “60 Minutes,” where 8.4 million people watched Mr. Obama last Sunday night. But collectively, those five shows reach almost 12 million people, according to Nielsen.

True, that’s fewer than the 18.4 million viewers who tuned in to see Jay Leno’s first prime-time gig Monday night. But it shows that the president is leaving no channel unchurned in his quest to convince Congress to pass a health care overhaul.

Such a move raises the ante for Mr. Obama, who has made health care the signature issue of his domestic agenda, and it suggests he knows he needs to do something dramatic to alter the course of debate. It is not clear whether his big speech to Congress last week changed anything. But with the Sunday spree, he is staking his presidency more and more on his powers of personal persuasion.

Those who watch the Sunday shows tend to be politically engaged and influential opinion makers, like members of Congress and journalists — an important audience in this phase of the health-care negotiations.

This is especially true of “Meet the Press,” which has a 4.5 rating in Washington, compared with a 2.7 rating nationally, according to Nielsen. (One rating point equals one percent of all households with a television, or 1,149,000 households.)

And the influence of these shows goes beyond just the television audience. Portions of the interviews are often amplified online and in the Monday morning newspapers.

But the president is covering all bases, stumping to the public at large at rallies this week and reaching into the Hispanic market by including Univision, which has higher ratings than CNN, in his Sunday line-up.

“The President is making his case for health insurance reform to the American people and using a lot of different platforms to do it,” said Bill Burton, a White House spokesman. “Given the interest Americans have about what reform means for them, the President wants to make sure they have access to all the information available.”

By the way, if the Sunday-morning shows are not your cup of tea, you can catch the president next Monday night, when he goes on David Letterman.

On Tuesday night, Conan O’Brien made fun of the extent of Mr. Obama’s television blitz, saying that he was appearing on five shows on Sunday, including “Entourage” and “Family Guy.”

By Andrew Kreig
Explosive OpEd News Interview: Siegelman Whistleblower Slams Case
In an exclusive interview for OpEd News, Alabama Justice Department paralegal Tamarah Grimes describes how her complaint in 2007 about DoJ misconduct in the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman led to the nightmare of her investigation on criminal charges and firing in June. Already relied upon by the House Judiciary Committee, she seeks to a hearing at Congress to reaffirm her charges and improve whistleblower safeguards

By Rob Kall
Photos Taken By OpEdNews Journalist Cheryl Biren Before Being Arrested by Philly Police
An essential element of protest events is visibility. The media make that happen. When the mainstream media leave before police arrest protesters engaging in civil disobedience, they fail democracy. Some journalist leave because of police intimidation. That's what happened on Saturday. Cheryl Biren Wright did not run away. She didn't stand there as a protester, but she stayed within shooting range to document the arrests.

By Paul Craig Roberts
Why Propaganda Trumps Truth

As far as I can tell, most Americans have far greater confidence in the government than they do in the truth. The US government's response to 9/11, regardless of who is responsible, has altered our country forever. The most disturbing fact of all remains: The 9/11 event responsible for these adverse happenings has not been investigated.

By Ray McGovern
Torture: the Fault is Not in Our Stars
Unlike many of my progressive friends, for me the current administration's behavior on torture is a glass half full. In my view, the real scandal is how very few have taken a sip.

Marine Commandant Dresses Down Cheney

September 15, 2009 by steve2

Via Tom Ricks, I found this article by two Marine Generals, one who was the Commandant of the Corps and one who was Commander-in-Chief of CENTCOM. They make it very clear that they believe torture has made us less safe. Key quotes….

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cheney applauded the “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what we used to call “war crimes” because they violated the Geneva Conventions, which the United States instigated and has followed for 60 years. Cheney insisted the abusive techniques were “absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States.” He claimed they were “directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy . . . It worked very, very well.”

Repeating these assertions doesn’t make them true. We now see that the best intelligence, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and the elimination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was produced by professional interrogations using non-coercive techniques. When the abuse began, prisoners told interrogators whatever they thought would make it stop.

Torture is as likely to produce lies as the truth. And it did……

On Aug. 24, the United States took an important step toward moral clarity and the rule of law when a special task force recommended that in the future, the Army interrogation manual should be the single standard for all agencies of the U.S. government.

The unanimous decision represents an unusual consensus among the defense, intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Members of the task force had access to every scrap of intelligence, yet they drew the opposite conclusion from Cheney’s. They concluded that far from making us safer, cruelty betrays American values and harms U.S. national security.

On this solemn day we pause to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11. As our leaders work to prevent terrorists from again striking on our soil, they should remember the fundamental precept of counterinsurgency we’ve relearned in Afghanistan and Iraq: Undermine the enemy’s legitimacy while building our own. These wars will not be won on the battlefield. They will be won in the hearts of young men who decide not to sign up to be fighters and young women who decline to be suicide bombers. If Americans torture and it comes to light — as it inevitably will — it embitters and alienates the very people we need most.”

It is very unusual for generals to directly criticize specific politicians. They generally avoid politics and if they do enter the fray, they tend to speak about general policies. In this case, they go after the policy and the messenger, Dick Cheney.

There remains no evidence, other than the word of Cheney and some mostly anonymous officials from the last administration, that torture ever worked. Even if we did get some useful information, it came at a terrible price, the lives of many of our military. The loss of our reputation, priceless in a battle for the minds of those the jihadists pursue.

The standard conservative response has been to assert that those who oppose torture are naive. Worse, they are pansies, afraid to torture. (Exactly why it takes courage to torture someone who is tied up remains a mystery to me, but such is the conservative mindset.) It gets difficult to make that claim when you have a Marine Commandant opposing you. It gets even more difficult when one realizes that our situation in Iraq improved after we gave up torture. Now, our intelligence agencies with access to the data are calling for adherence to the Army Field Manual, essentially the Geneva Conventions. So this ex-Corpsman says thanks to the Marine Generals for speaking out so clearly and intelligently.

See What Happens When You're Centrist? Republicans Block Obama's ...
By Susie Madrak
In June, Hamilton was approved by the
Judiciary Committee on a straight party-line vote, twelve to seven, but his nomination has not yet been brought to the Senate floor. Some Republicans have already vowed a filibuster. .... It's so much easier that way, to soak the rich and ignore the poor. He's been doing it so long he doesn't realize he has become one of them. And President Obama signalled that he wanted to come to the party when he hired Rahm. ...Crooks and Liars -

Negative Campaigns Yield Negative Numbers in New Jersey

Negative ratings for both New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie have increased in the wake of campaign attacks, according to a Public Policy Polling survey of state voters. Read More

ShortsandPants - Taser of Wisdom: “Conspiracy” Edition
By Sparky Satori
To equate such idiocy with the works of Peter Dale Scott, Dick Russell, Gerald McKnight, Jim Douglass and others of their stature doesn't
impeach their work, but one's own credibility. ... It is not hatred of George Bush alone that compels citizens to wonder if his single largest fund-raiser, Ken Lay, anticipated a huge payoff for Enron – and other Bush/Cheney oilmen cronies – from a pipeline deal in Afghanistan that could have only stood to benefit were the US military ...
ShortsandPants -

Unbelievable: As a Lesbian Mother, I Have to Pay More For Health Care
By Elizabeth G. Hines, Women's Media Center
Gays and lesbians remain separate and utterly unequal in the eyes of the law when it comes to obtaining health insurance for their families.

Doctor Says FLU VACCINE Will Cause 60,000 Deaths In France Alone

September 15, 2009 by Infowars Ireland


Dr Marc Girard, A Specialist In The Side Effects Of Drugs And A Medical Expert Commissioned By French Courts, Has Said Said On French TV That The “Swine Flu” Vaccine Could Cause 60,000 Deaths In France, Especially Among Young People, Children And Pregnant Women.

“Dr Marc Girard, a specialist in the side effects of drugs and a medical expert commissioned by French courts, has said on French TV that the “swine flu” vaccine could cause 60,000 deaths in France, especially among young people, children and pregnant women. He also said that the people promoting the “swine flu” vaccine are doing so because they have links with the pharmaceutical company. The problem with the “swine flu” vaccine is that it is not just “badly developed” but “not developed”, he said, adding that it is being prepared in conditions that endanger the public health.”


“A vaccine is being developed in conditions of amateurism such as I have never seen. Let’s take the pessimistic hypothesis: one death among every 1000 patients. There are plans to vaccinate 60 million people and you so you already have 60,000 deaths, and this time, young people, children, pregnant women.”

“What you are saying is serious because many people are getting ready to get the vaccine and you, you are saying: „You must not get a vaccination!”

” YES, it is a vaccine that has been developed at great speed in conditions that put in danger the public health. There is a need to return back to the obligation that politicians have right now to protect citizens against the desire of the pharmaceutical industry to make money with all these vaccines. There is a public health code of law from 2007 which obliges all health professionals who give their opinions to reveal their interests. That law is ridiculed every day. All the people who you see saying: „the flu, its very serious, have interests, their lines interests, and that is why they say what they say. The public health administration is an example to us of a daily violation of the law. I am a medical specialist and I am against medicines that have no purpose. This vaccine is not just badly developed: it is not developed!”


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The Bottom Of The Barrel:

Republicans on Attack Over Joe Wilson Resolution

Joe Wilson Gets Choked Up Over Floor Speech

Joe Wilson's Wife: I Couldn't Believe He Said It

Race Issue Simmers in Joe Wilson Flap

Will House Democrats Censure Joe Wilson?

The Joe Wilson Chronicles

Andrew Cohen: Joe Wilson's War

Watch the outburst.

Wilson Censured!

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