Call me an American Dissident. I believe in democracy and government of, FOR, and BY the PEOPLE. I do NOT believe in the plutocratic corpocracy this country is today, wherein government is made and administered of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy. I believe in wealth which is HONESTLY attained through hard work and merit. I do NOT believe in wealth attained by means of deceit, exploitation, or leverage. There is enough for all in this world. Greed is the major cause of poverty, and both are totally unnecessary.
Well, lookee here, folks: another anti-government, wacko far-right viral email I just got from one of my out-of-state cousins who will apparently believe anything and then immediately pass it on without even giving it a thought. This one is so full of inaccuracies and utter crap I don't even know where to begin. Our government saying no to healthcare for seniors? WHAT? The last time I checked, it was greedy insurance companies, NOT the government, who were denying people health care! Giving seniors a gun and six bullets to go out and SHOOT 2 SENATORS and 4 REPRESENTATIVES? WHAT??? A bit seditious, to say the least! Unpatriotic, too! And it's even attributed to the syndicated "Maxine" comic character, as if a nationally-syndicated cartoonist would publish anything as insanely controversial as this!
I really wonder about the mentality and sanity of the kind of person who dreams up and then peddles this type of patent nonsense. I also wonder what the people who forward this kind of crud are thinking. This is not humor. This is dishonest, irresponsible, and inflammatory. Just thought you'd like a glimpse below at some of the absurd far-right poppycock that's circulating in cyberspace these days. What purpose does junk like this serve, I ask? What does it accomplish? Anyway, here it is:
So you're a senior citizen and the government says no healthcare for you, what do you do? My plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 6 bullets. You're allowed to shoot 2 senators and 4 representatives. Of course, this means you will be sent to prison, where you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, and all the health care you need! New teeth, no problem. Need glasses, great. New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart? All covered. And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care. Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income taxes. IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT?!
Passage of the monumentous Health Care Reform bill this past week was a magnificent and long-overdue achievement. However, there is criticism from a number of circles that the bill doesn't yet do enough for enough of our population, and I agree. We can all celebrate President Obama's great legislative victory, but there is still a long, long way to go concerning the fixing of this very broken health care delivery system of ours.
Columnist Nick Coleman (no relation to Norm, I assure you) illustrates this perfectly in a brilliant column he posted in the OpEd section of today's Minneapolis Star Tribune. He tells a poignant personal story and also provides us with insight into some behind the scenes political health care maneuvering in Minnesota politics.
THAT REFORM SURE DOESN'T GO VERY FAR NICK COLEMAN, Minneapolis Star Tribune March 27, 2010
After she was diagnosed with kidney cancer, my mother was given a prescription for a daily chemotherapy pill that has been shown to extend the lives of patients with that cancer. When I went to pick up the medicine, the pharmacist asked if I had received financial counseling. No, I said, wondering why we were talking finances, not health care. Just how much is this prescription?
I almost needed a doctor when she told me: The first 28 pills would cost my mother $4,607 -- a full 40 percent of her meager annual income from Social Security.
I ended up buying one week's worth -- seven pills -- giving me time to try to figure out how we could afford a month's supply of a medicine that is fully covered in England and France: Kidney cancer patients in those countries do not have to pay for the medicine my mom needed. Perhaps that's the kind of anti-American thing that Gov. Tim Pawlenty had in mind when he denounced the Obama administration's health care reform bill as a foreign measure built on a "European approach" -- you know, the funny idea that people shouldn't be bankrupted by their medical care.
My mother passed away before I had to go back to the pharmacy for more pills, dying days before the health care reform bill passed. But I doubt she would have been comforted to find out that the great reform effort would mean she would get a whopping $250 rebate on that $4,607 chemo bill, or that if she lived until 2020, the "donut hole" in her Medicare drug coverage would finally be eliminated.
If this is "reform," it is at a snail's pace, a mammoth effort to bring forth a mouse.
Give President Obama credit for getting the bill passed over the shouts of temper-tantrum Tea Partiers and their red-faced enablers in the GOP. But the final bill fell far short of what was first proposed, has gaping holes, leaves gluttonous insurance companies still in charge of health care (Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group posted a $3.8 billion profit last year) and doesn't even require insurance companies to insure adults with preexisting medical conditions until 2014. If they're still alive.
Still, passage of the national measure, as limited as it may be, gives us a glimmer of an idea of what real reform might one day look like. And one promising part of that picture might emerge in Minnesota, where the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (www.muhcc.org), an alliance of physicians, unions and reformers, is pushing for a single-payer system.
Minnesota could become the next Saskatchewan. And that would be good.
Saskatchewan was the first Canadian province to adopt a single-payer health care system, paving the way for Canada's universal Medicare system. The plan remains so popular that the man who led Saskatchewan's reform, Tommy Douglas, was voted greatest Canadian of all time in 2004 (Wayne Gretzky, the putative "Great One," finished 10th).
The hope of reformers here is that Minnesota can help blaze a path to universal health care in this country.
"We've lost sight of what we've been fighting for," says John Marty, a DFL state senator from Roseville who is chief author of legislation that would create something called the Minnesota Health Plan. Marty is running for governor on a strong health-care reform platform and criticizes DFLers who aren't fully committed to universal care. "If the country had approached slavery like we have approached health care," he says, "we'd still have slavery, but Democrats would be bragging that the slaves only work 40 hours a week now. We haven't fixed the problem. There will still be people dying from lack of health care, and going broke."
The Minnesota Health Plan would fully cover all Minnesotans with a single-payer system like Canada's. A similar plan has been approved by the California Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. More than a third of Minnesota's legislators support the proposed plan. If he is elected governor, Marty says, he will make the Legislature stay in St. Paul until the bill is passed.
Minnesota used to be proud to lead the nation. Maybe it should take the lead again.
The plan passed by Congress "is not nearly good enough," says Elizabeth Frost, a Minneapolis doctor who is one of the leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program and who says the biggest beneficiary of the plan is the health insurance industry. "There will be 32 million more people with health insurance, but the real question is whether the insurance will be any good. If you have to pay too much out of pocket, people don't go to the doctor. The fight for reform isn't over.
"Last Sunday wasn't the end. It was the beginning."
Nick Coleman is a senior fellow at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University.
My sincere thanks to mud_rake over at Man With the Muckrake for providing me with the initial inspiration and encouragement for this post. Keep up the great work over there, Muddy!
Today's ultra-conservative, reactionary Republican Party confounds logic. It is so unstable, volatile, and irrational that I am seriously beginning to worry about its adherents. It has become so dishonest and so contradictory that I am amazed it can hang onto any followers at all! Consider this:
It acts for the benefit of huge corporations and the wealthy elite who comprise a tiny minority of our citizens, and who have little in common with the vast majority of our population, yet it proclaims itself to be the majority party.
It preaches law and order, but opposes governmental involvement or regulation.
It professes to be strongly pro-life, yet it supports aggressive, pre-emptive warfare and the military/industrial complex, as well as the torture of prisoners and the death penalty. On the subject of abortion, it screams that it is totally against it, yet between roughly 2003-2007, with a conservative Republican President, a strong conservative Republican majority in Congress, and a de facto conservative Supreme Court, it never even tried to overturn Roe v. Wade. Instead, it simply used the issue as a political tool to pull Catholic and religious right voters away from Democratic candidates.
It has become racist and anti-intellectual, actively pushing to eradicate affirmative action programs and questioning and ridiculing those in academia who are not professors of finance or business.
It loudly proclaims itself to be the party of "family values" but opposes direct government aid to poor families, as well as sex education in public schools which would prevent unwanted teen pregnancies.
It claims to be the party of patriots, even as it encourages and incites open rebellion and revolution against the government.
It portrays itself as the party of Judeo-Christian values. But neither the Jewish nor the Christian faiths preach that the rich should get richer, the poor should be neglected or villified as being lazy, or that we should wage aggressive war against our enemies, all stances the party endorses and puts into practice when in power. Indeed, it even attacks those in government who work for the poor and the common good!
It ignores the lessons of history, as it has done by repeatedly adopting and promoting various forms of the same old, tired, "free market" laissez-faire failed 1920s economics which caused the Great Depression and Great Recession, and as it did by engaging in a long, drawn-out and expensive Vietnam-like war in Iraq.
It ignores and ridicules the scientific community on questions of environmentalism and climate change, refusing to take wise and preventative steps for the future and instead choosing to protect the shortsighted business interests of the present.
It proudly bills itself as the party of fiscal discipline and responsibility, yet historical data over the past 30 years does not bear this out. It is every bit as guilty of pork-barrel spending as are the Democrats.
It loves to paint the Democrats as being weak on national defense and itself as the party best suited to provide national security. But its President and Vice President were asleep at the wheel during the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., and over Pennsylvania on 9/11, even though they had received a briefing that an Al Qeda attack was imminent FIVE WEEKS EARLIER!
I know what I would call today's Republican Party: insanely delusional and anti-social. But I would love to have a team of psychologists and psychoanalysts do a behavioral study and psychiatric evaluation on the party. Perhaps then, after this analysis, I ill finally be able to understand the seeming irrationality of what it has become and is today.
CALLING ALL PSYCHIATRISTS: Are there any of you out there who can oblige me on this request?
Forgive me, readers. I am surprisingly giddy today after last night's House vote, and I am uncharacteristical-ly going to make a post filled with red meat today.
I would have given ANYTHING to have sat before House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) as that 216th House vote came in last night. The guy undoubtedly went as limp as a wet noodle and probably blanched as white as a ghost, despite his fake, poured-on tan. His long battle to preserve the greedy health insurance companies' status quo and make mincemeat out of President Obama's health care reform initiative went up in smoke. Now this sneering, hateful, obstinant leader of governmental obstruction has been dealt a severely bitter defeat, and it couldn't taste sweeter to those of us who pushed for reform!
As for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), I would have loved to have been standing right in front of him at that monumental moment as well. He, too, was dealt a heavy blow, and he probably actually DID load his pants this time, instead of merely looking like he did, as he usually does. Depends, Mitchy? And that mouthy Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) who predicted that Obama would face his Waterloo over health care reform undoubtedly has a less-than-sweet taste in his mouth this morning, too. Needless to say, we are delighted!
Now we progressives must grab the ball and run with it. We CANNOT allow the far-right, ultra-conservative Republicans to gain any more seats in Congress this fall! We've been paying that lazy bloc of do-nothings $174,000 each to do absolutely nothing for far too long, and it is now time to boot them out and start getting our money's worth!
Pictured at far right (where else?) is Howard Galganov, a far-right Canadian wingnut radio personality who is based in Montreal. Mr. Galganov, the Canadian equivalent of Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, wrote and published this hatemongering piece about President Obama last July on his website which just surfaced here in an email I got last Saturday from my cousin. The piece had been sent him from his sister's husband. I have copied and pasted here for you my entire reply to them (containing their original email minus senders' names or email addresses) for you to see not only my response to a piece of hate mail, but to view Galganov's disturbing article in its entirety as well. You'll note that, even before this email had been forwarded to me, it had circulated to numerous other irrational and apparently unthinking Obama-hating people as well. This is typical of the far-right viral emails I get. Some hateful, lying ultra-conservative hatches a vicious wmail, sends it on to his friends, and then it spreads like wildfire as one uninformed hardcore reactionary mindlessly passes it on to another without ever bothering to really examine it or check it out first.
As a member of a diverse and sizable extended family, I get wacko wingnut emails like this all the time. It never ceases to amaze me how normally decent, God-fearing Christians who are outwardly civil and mild-mannered, even gentlemenly, can read, accept, and then routinely and actively pass on vicious lying and unproven allegations like those contained in what you will read below. It shows the irresponsibly rash and unthinking nature possessed by those of conservative bent. I gave these people much more credit than this.
This copied email transmission begins with my reply to them (in italics), followed by the hate mail they sent me. DISGUSTING, ISN'T IT? -------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't want to see any more of this kind of stuff. Not because I'm ignorant, mind you, because I read all sorts of intelligent articles: conservative, liberal, and everything in between. But when I see pieces like this, filled with hate, wild and unsubstantiated claims, and distorted half-truths, I get VERY upset and angry! I don't appreciate the racist undercurrents expressed here either, with this "Hussein" stuff and these ridiculously snide "messiah" and "lordship" terms being thrown around liberally. As far as being an "idiot" who voted for Obama goes, I'll gladly match my IQ against this asshole Galganov's any day of the week. In fact, I'll argue circles around him, and THEN we'll see who the "idiot" is! This guy is Canada's Rush Limbaugh, that's all. He's a radio talk-show personality who makes wild accusations and seldom backs them up with specific facts, and all he does is name-call and make insinuations. He is hardly what I would call a credible source for anything, based on the way he presents his "information" here!
I don't want to see any more of this kind of crap coming my way. It's WAY over the top, and I find it extremely offensive, just as I do most of Limbaugh's insanely hateful rants. For you guys to be sending this kind of stuff around is way beneath you, and I am surprised and disappointed. I love you guys, but I certainly and absolutely don't love this kind of stuff one iota.
May the rest of your day be your BEST today!
Jack Jodell Visit my blog at http://jackjodell.blogspot.com/ Current topic: "ON WEALTH AND CORPORATE GREED"
----- Original Message ----- From: To: jack jodell Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2010 1:34 AM Subject: Fw: Good News
----- Original Message ----- From: To: Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 9:59 PM Subject: FW: Good News
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: Good News Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 12:17:31 -0500 From:
Subject: Canadian prediction on Obama Here is one Canadian who got it right(no pun intended)!!!!
Ever wonder why we have to depend on the foreign press to find out what's "really" going on in our own country. It's a good thing that Obama and the democrats don't own the Canadian press.. Here is what Howard Galganov predicts for Barack Hussein Obama - PLEASE READ:
When Obama won the Presidency with the help of the LEFTIST Media,Hollywood And Entertainment Liberals, Ethnic Socialists (ACORN), Stupid Non-Business Professionals and Bush Haters, I wrote: It won't take six months until the People figure this guy out and realize how horrible a mistake they've made.. And when they come to that realization, the damage to the United States of America will be so great it will take a generation or more to repair - IF EVER.
The IDIOTS who not only voted for the Messiah, but also worked [hard] to promote his Lordship, are now left holding the bag.
Here are two things they will NEVER do: They will NEVER admit to making a Blunder out of all proportion by electing a snake-oil salesman with no Positive social history or management experience of any kind. They will NEVER take responsibility for the curse they've imposed upon the immediate and long-term future of their country.
In essence, the people responsible for putting this horror show in power are themselves responsible for every cataclysmic decision he makes and the Consequences thereof.
In just six months, the Messiah's polls are showing the following: 1. On Healthcare Reform - He's going under for the third time with polling well Under 50 percent, even within his own Party. Even though he might be able to Muscle a Healthcare Reform Bill by using Chicago BULLY tactics against his Fellow Democrats, it will just make things worse. 2. On Cap and Trade (Cap and Tax) - The Fat-Lady is already singing. 3. On the Stimulus Package (Tax and Spend) - His popularity is in FREE-FALL. 4. On the TARP package he took and ran with from President Bush - It's all but Good-Night Irene. 5. On the closing of GITMO and "HIS" war on what he no longer wants called the War On Terrorism - He's standing in quicksand with his head just about to go under. 6. On a Comparison between himself and George W. Bush at the same six months into Their respective first term Presidencies - Bush is ahead of him in the Polls. 7. On a comparison between He Who Walks On Water and the 12 preceding Presidents between WW II and now - Obama ranks 10th. 8. On a Poll just Conducted, that asks who would you vote for today between Obama and Mitt Romney - It's a dead heat. Between Obama and Palin - Obama's ONLY ahead by 8 Points and she hasn't even begun to campaign. It seems to me that Obama Wants to be everywhere where he shouldn't be.
He's personally invested in 'totally insulting' America 's ONLY REAL Middle Eastern ally ( Israel ) in favor of Palestinian Despots and Murderers. He's traveling the world apologizing for the USAwhile lecturing others on how to do it right, when in fact and truth he has no experience at doing anything other than getting elected.
He went to the Muslim world in Egypt to declare that America IS NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION while he heaped praises on Islam, where he compared the "plight" of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.
The Russians think he's a putz, The French think he's rude.
The Germans want him to stop spending.
The Indians want him to mix his nose out of their environmental business.
The North Koreans think he's a joke, The Iranians won't acknowledge his calls.
And the British can't even come up with a comprehensive opinion of him.
As for the Chinese, he's too frightened to even glance their way. [After All, China now owns a large portion of the United States .]
Maybe if America's first Emperor would stay home more, travel less, and work a little bit instead of being on television just about everyday or stop running to "papered" Town Hall Meetings, perhaps he would have a little bit of time to do the work of the nation.
In all fairness, it wasn't HARD to be RIGHT in my prediction concerning Obama's presidency, even in its first six months, so I'm going to make yet another prediction:
OBAMA WILL PROBABLY NOT FINISH HIS 4-YEAR TERM, at least not in a Conventional way.
He is such a political HORROR SHOW, and so detrimental to the USA and his Own Democratic Party, that the Democrats themselves will either FORCE him to Resign or figure out a way to have him thrown out.
Who knows, maybe he really isn't a BORN US Citizen and that's a way the Democrats will be able to get rid of him. [He is a citizen, but not a naturalized citizen with both mother and father being US citizens.]
Or - MORE LIKELY THAN NOT, the Democrats will make Obama THEIR OWN LAME DUCK PRESIDENT.
I don't believe the Democrats have nearly as much love for their country as they do for their own political fortunes. And with Obama, their fortunes are rapidly becoming toast.
If you agree with this email please pass it along to everyone you know! If you don't agree with it, then just delete it and being part of the greatest problem this country has ever seen! My guess is, You don't think this "CHANGE" is what you expected either. --------------------------------------------------------------------- A mere twenty-five years ago, a pundit like Galganov, or our own Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, would have been regarded by the overwhelming majority of people to be a ranting lunatic or crackpot from the fringes of society. But today, partly due to the efforts of the ever-lying and hyperbolic Fox "News", people like these have been somehow miraculously converted into appearing to be normal, credible, and even mainstream. But realists and those truly in the know on matters of history, politics, or current events still realize this manufactured image is wholly illusory.
We have been inundated with increasing gobs of corporate greed and outright thievery in recent years. The most glaring evidence of this lies in the state of our economy today, brought down to a near-depression by piggish Wall Street parasites in the latter days of 2007. We also see abundant proof in the way insurance companies are spending many millions of television ad dollars to lie to and try to scare us in an effort to defeat health care reform. The very richest are getting richer by the minute, as all the rest of us fall further behind and are facing various degrees of hardship. I thought, for this post, I would sample different thoughts on corporate greed and wealth in general from a wide array of minds far greater than my own. Each in his or her own way provides us with valuable food for thought on these subjects, and on what type of people some of us truly are.
"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson -
"The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure." - BC Forbes -
"We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics." - Franklin D. Roosevelt -
"The most pitiful among men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold. " - Kahlil Gibrán -
"If the firms that employ an increasing majority of the population are driven solely to satisfy the owner's greed at the expense of working conditions, of the stability of the community, and of the health of the environment, chances are that the quality of our lives will be worse than it is now." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -
"These b**tards who run our country are a bunch of conniving, thieving, smug pricks who need to be brought down and removed and replaced with a whole new system that we control." - Michael Moore -
"I don't mind paying people more for something if we're getting more. But just to change a deal because you're greedy and you want more? No. I'm not gonna go along with that." - Vince McMahon -
"We demand that big business give the people a square deal; in return we must insist that when anyone engaged in big business honestly endeavors to do right he shall himself be given a square deal." - Theodore Roosevelt -
"You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker." - Malclm X -
"Big mouthfuls often choke." - Italian proverb -
"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." - Thomas Jefferson -
"My major problem with the world is a problem of scarcity in the midst of plenty ... of people starving while there are unused resources ... people having skills which are not being used." - Milton Friedman -
"If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. If you are greedy, your empoyees will be greedy, giving you less and less of themselves and always asking for more." - Michael Gerber -
"When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses." - Shirley Chisholm -
"Wall Street, and capitalism as it is currently practiced, are little more than Robin Hood in reverse." - Jack Jodell -
"The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first will no doubt be marked by a struggle to curtail excessive corporate power." - Eric Schlosser -
In recent weeks, President Obama has been barnstorming the country to gin up support for his health care reform plan. That is a very good thing, as Presidents from Reagan to LBJ to Truman have successfully gone over the heads of Congress to appeal directly to the people to get their sometimes controversial agendas passed by both houses of the legislative branch. As one of my favorite Republicans, President Theodore Roosevelt, once observed, the presidency is a unique "bully pulpit" from which a President can plead his case to stir up mass support behind him, a privilege no member of Congress can match.
The success of our current President's efforts are yet to be determined. He has had the "pulpit" all right, but he hasn't been much of a "bully." Presidents have always had opposition in Congress, but none have been faced with the degree of downright uncivil and wholly uncooperative obstructionist tactics that President Obama has endured from his current ultra-conservative Republican Party opposition over the past year. To his credit, Obama has maintained his civility and repeatedly reached out to his opponents. Each and every time, they have rejected his overtures and have attacked him repeatedly with lies and distortion. The time has come for Obama to drop the "Mr. Nice Guy" demeanor and start a robust strategic counterattack on those who are dead set of making him a failure and destroying his presidency. He needs to attack these Republicans on their philosophy, lack of practical policy ideas, and even on their very method of campaigning. To date, the Obama pulpit has resembled that of Ronald Reagan to a degree: friendly, smiley, with an occasional mild zinger. But Obama's time is far different than the Reagan era. Unlike Reagan, he is faced with an opposition party who rabidly hates him and a public who has heard so many vicious lies about him they are starting to wonder about him.
In 1948, then-President Harry S Truman faced a similar situation. At that time, two years before, Republicans had recaptured contol of the House and Senate for the first time in 14 years; they appeared to be on the rise; and Truman was in political trouble. Inflation was being felt and there was a housing shortage. Soviet Russia was appearing to be on an expansionist kick, and many people were getting nervous about foreign affairs. It was doubtful Truman would retain office the next year. The Republicans jeered at him and mocked him, and, then as now, tried to pass legislation beneficial to the rich but harmful to everybody else. Things looked bleak for Truman and his Democratic Party.
Then Truman hit the road, traveling more than 30,000 miles in 10 months. He lambasted the uncooperative, "do nothing" Republicans at every stop. In a speech delivered in West Virginia, ol' Harry really let it rip. A voice from the assembled crowd called out, "Give 'em hell, Harry!" To which Truman wittily replied, "I just tell the truth, and the Republicans think it's hell."
Here is a slightly abridged version of that speech:
"The Republicans wrote part of their record from 1921 to 1933. They led the country to depression, poverty, and despair...
In 1932, after 12 years of Republican bungling, more than 12 million men and women were unemployed.
In 1932 the average worker in manufacturing industries was making 45 cents an hour -- if he was lucky enough to have a job. In coal mining, the most hazardous of all occupations, miners were making 52 cents an hour -- if they were lucky enough to have jobs.
The working men and women in this country could not do much to help themselves, because the strength of their unions had been broken by the reactionary labor policies of the Republican administration.
The Republican bubble burst in 1929, and when it burst:
-- There was no minimum wage to cushion the blow.
-- There was no unemployment compensation to carry the working man's family along.
-- There was no work relief program to help people through the crisis.
-- But the party of privilege was ready to carry big business through the crisis. It created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for that purpose. The banks, the railways, the insurance companies -- they got relief, but not the American people.
-- For the unemployed, it was Hoovervilles and soup kitchens. Veterans were encouraged to go into business for themselves -- selling apples.
That is the Republican record. Most of us well remember it. The Democratic part of the record begins in 1933, when the Democratic Party began to build prosperity for business, labor, and agriculture.
We wrote into law the right of the working men and women to organize in unions of their own choice, and to bargain collectively.
We put a floor under wages.
We outlawed child labor.
We created a great insurance system to protect working men and women against the hazards of unemployment and old age.
We wrote into law a system of price supports for farm products, so that the bottom would not drop from under the farmer's income the way it did in the 1920's.
We put a curb on Wall Street speculation, and stopped the money changers from gambling with people's savings.
With these reforms and many others, the Democratic Party brought the country to the greatest period of prosperity ever known in the history of the world.
Things are far different now from what they were in 1932.
The average farm income of the farmer in 1947 was $725 per person, nearly ten times as great. In 1932 it was $74 per person.
The coal miner who got 52 cents an hour in 1932, gets $1.94 an hour in 1948. He deserves every cent of it, too; and I'm glad to see him get it.
And business hasn't suffered too much under the New Deal! Corporations had a loss of $4 billion in 1932. But in 1947 they had a profit of $17 billion, after taxes.
These same corporations -- these same corporations now claim the Democrats are hostile to business. If I were in their shoes, I would want some more of that kind of hostility.
Today, signs of prosperity are all over the country. I have been all over the country, and I know what I am talking about!
Farm production is greater than it ever was. Industrial production is greater than it ever was. Everybody who wants a job can get one.
That's the way America is today. The real question facing us in this election is whether or not we are going to keep it that way.
For all this did not come about by accident. Some people would like to make you think it did. The leaders of the Republican Party would like you to believe that the country just drifted into the great depression, and that it just drifted out again into prosperity. They would like you to believe that the Democratic New Deal had nothing to do with recovery -- and that the Republicans had nothing to do with the Hoover panic.
That is not true and the people know it is not true.
The country was driven into depression by the policies of a Republican administration and a Republican Congress that served the selfish interests of the rich and powerful business groups.
The country was brought out of the depression by the intelligent foresight and planning of the Democratic Party -- and above all by following the fundamental belief of the Democratic Party that the true road to prosperity begins with looking after the little fellow. The Republicans believe in taking care of big business first and letting the little fellow take care of himself.
The Republicans would like you to forget these fundamental differences between the two parties. But during the past 2 years we have been given a sharp warning that these differences still exist, and these differences are wide and deep. That has been made completely clear by the record of this Republican 'do-nothing' 80th Congress.
No matter what the Republicans do or say, the Republicans cannot escape responsibility for that black record.
I know, of course, that there are many fine people throughout the United States, who from habit or choice are members of the Republican Party. To them I say that the national leadership of their party has failed them miserably.
I know, too, that among the Republicans of the 80th Congress there were a few liberal men who joined the battle against special privilege. You can pick these men out by their votes. They voted with the Democrats in the Congress more often than they did with their own Republican leadership. When these men went to their party caucuses they must have felt very lonesome.
The record of the 80th Congress was made by the forces that dominate the Republican Party... on domestic issues...the Republican leadership started out to follow the same policies that nearly wrecked the country under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.
Some people have accused me of failing to cooperate with the Republican leadership in carrying out those policies. Now, I must confess to you that I am going to plead guilty to that charge. Of course, I did not cooperate in carrying out policies that I knew would bring disaster on the American people.
But I will tell you how you can get some cooperation in carrying out those policies -- if that's what you want. I will tell l you how you can achieve unity in a headlong dash toward another depression. Just elect a Republican President to go along with a Republican Congress.
Just elect a man who said -- and I quote: 'I am proud of the record of my party and of the 80th Congress.'
Just elect a man who said: 'The 80th Congress delivered as no other Congress ever did for the future of our country.'
Apparently he will be glad to help deliver a lot more of the same kind of blows you got from the 80th Congress. But bigger blows -- and faster and more of them.
What did this Republican Congress deliver for the future of the country?
For one thing, it delivered a body blow at labor in the form of the Taft-Hartley Act.
The fundamental purpose of the Taft-Hartley Act is to weaken organized labor. Its supporters want management to have the upper hand in collective bargaining. Do you know why? They want management to have the upper hand so that wages can be driven down.
What else did the Republican Congress deliver for the future of our country?
It delivered a body blow at nearly a million workers by taking away their social security rights.
It delivered a body blow at millions of our veterans by refusing to provide a decent housing program.
It delivered a blow at every family in the Nation by failing to act on high prices.
What else did the Republican Congress deliver for the future of our country? It delivered a whole long list of blows at every foundation of our present prosperity and at our hopes for progress in the future. I can't cover them all tonight, but I will tell you about just one more.
That is the rich man's tax relief bill.
The Republican Congress passed a tax bill that reduced the revenues of the Government by more than $5 billion. That Congress passed it three times and I vetoed it every time. But on the third try, they passed it over my veto.
I believed that the safety of our national finances required that we make large payments on the public debt in times of prosperity. I still think so.
But the Republican rich man's tax relief bill has brought us face to face with the prospect of going into the red again.
I believed that when the wartime taxes were reduced, the poor man should be relieved first and most. I still think so. But the Republican tax bill doesn't work that way.
I warned that the tax reduction bill would add to the inflationary pressures and make prices go even higher. And it did.
For most of you, the tax bill hasn't helped a bit. If you make $60 a week, your taxes were reduced about $1.50 a week. But since May, when that $1.50 began to show up in your pay envelope, prices have gone up so much that the $1.50 is already wiped out.
The rich man fared much better under the tax bill. A married couple with an income of $100,000 a year got a tax cut of $16,725 a year -- $16,725 a year! That's about $12,000 more than my net salary as President of the United States.
Of course, prices haven't gone up for them any more than they have for you. So I would say that they came out pretty well.
Is it any wonder that we call this a rich man's tax relief bill?
That's typical of the way the Republican 80th Congress delivered for the future of the country. Some time later, I am going to elaborate on just exactly what they did with the budget this year. And it fits in with this rich man's tax relief bill. It's outrageous what they did to the country on that.
That Congress delivered for the interests that had their lobbyists swarming all over the Capital. It delivered for special privilege groups that put up the big money at election time.
They are doing that right now in this election. That same bunch of lobbyists and people whom they represent are paying for the Republican campaign right this minute.
Now, they passed a great many bills, which I vetoed. There is only one President who has a greater veto record than I have, in the short time that I have been President, and that is Grover Cleveland; and I am proud of that veto record, because I was standing there working for the people, when I was signing those vetoes.
But they passed a great many -- not a great many, but several -- among them this tax relief bill and the Taft-Hartley bill. They passed those bills over my veto.
But when a bill becomes the law of the land, the President of the United States has sworn to enforce the law, and as President of the United States, I have lived up to that oath which I took to support the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
But if you want these bad things remedied, you had better give me a Congress for the next 4 years that is working for the people and not for the special interests.
Now, if you want unity and harmony and sweetness and light in getting more deliveries of the kind I have been describing, just shut your eyes and vote Republican.
But if you want something delivered for labor, if you want something delivered for the farmers, and if you want something delivered for the small businessmen, and for the white-collar worker -- there is just one way you can make your vote count. Vote the Democratic ticket.
Today, the Democratic Party is the party of the American people. It was the party of the people under Jefferson and Jackson. It was the party of the people under Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
Today, we of the Democratic Party express the will of the American people to move forward, under liberty, yielding neither to communism nor to reaction.
Today, the Democratic Party stands before the country a living force for peace and freedom.
Today, we are rallying our forces for the greatest struggle in our history. In that struggle, I ask your support.
Just give us the votes on election day, and we will do the job." ----------------------------------------------
In this remarkable speech, Truman brilliantly and truthfully framed the Republicans as exactly what they are: a party for the rich, completely out of touch with the wants and needs of the rest of the country. He did so with specific and easy-to-understand examples. He clearly outlined their failures and hoisted them on their own petard.
Barack Obama must now do exactly the same thing. Republican obstinance and unproductivity must be spotlighted and hammered upon. Republican policies favoring the rich but harming everyone else must be clearly presented. The President needs to drop his foolish obsession with bipartisanship. In today's political climate, that is an impossible dream. He must instead attack and expose the Republicans for the liars and obstructionists they are. That is the only way he will stave off electoral defeat for his party this year, and for himself AND his party in 2012. It worked fabulously well for Truman in 1948, and will do so again in 2010 and 2012. He, like Truman before him, must make Republicans the issue, not himself.
"...it's hard to have a really intelligent conversation with a Republican." - Dana DXallabetta, 54 year old breast cancer survivor now without health insurance -
"Tax the very wealthy to make everybody healthy!" - Vigilante, Sozadee, CA -
"This is a vote for one thing - are you for the insurance companies or for the American people?" - Howard Dean -
"I think they should just shove it through and f*** the Republicans!" - Dana Dallabetta -
Dana Dallabetta, a breast cancer survivor who was booted off her health insurance plan for missing one COBRA payment, speaks for the no-longer-so-silent majority of Americans who want major health care reform enacted NOW. More than 1,000 of these Americans are protesting in Washington, D.C. in front of the swanky Ritz Carlton hotel, where the group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is holding its annual conference. These protesters are demonstrating against health insurance industry greed and unfair practices, and this blogger applauds their activism.
Poll after poll after poll have shown that a majority of our citizens support significant health care reform and an end to insurance company practices of exclusion for pre-existing conditions and booting others off insurance plans because their treatment costs have become high. A lesser number, but a majority nonetheless, favor a public option to compete with insurance companies, whereby the federal government would provide health care at a lower and more competitive rate than is currently done by these greedy private insurers who comprise AHIP's membership. Of course, lying Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Representative John Boehner (R-OH) insist that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel otherwise. I don't know who these liars are talking to, to make a preposterous claim like that. They are clearly on the side of huge, for-profit insurance companies, and not looking out for the best interests of everyday citizens who are reeling under ever-jumping insurance costs and nearly 50 million (1 in every 6.5 of us!) who currently have NO health insurance coverage.
To be sure, the Senate bill which was passed that both McConnell, Boehner, and the rest of their conservative Republican cronies so vehemently oppose, and which must be voted on by the House, is indeed a very flawed bill. But it is a beginning, and the time to make this beginning is now. It will insure 30 million more people than are covered now, and that is a step in the proper direction. It will also provide some much needed and long overdue regulation over the greedy, loose-cannon insurance industry. Despite its flaws, this bill must pass, as a foot in the door to improvements and better legislation down the road. And that is what the protesters all believe.
Former Vermont Governor/DNC chair Howard Dean and AFL-CIO President Richard Trunlie got the crowd going with stirring speeches. Protesters were mass deputized and urged to make citizens' arrests of profiteering health insurance company CEOs within the conference. Inside the conference, a health insurance industry spokesman stated that they don't pay much attention to anti-industry bloggers or demonstrators. That's for damn sure, and the same holds true for our American public, who are used and abused and money-siphoned by these profiteers every day, and millions of others who are excluded from coverage. For this corrupt and bloated industry is obsessed with profit and cares for nothing else. They think nothing of spending $1 million per day on TV ads that lie and attempt to scare the public away from supporting regulation or a public option, even as they turn away millions of people so they can cherry-pick those who will be most profitable for them to cover.
I applaud these demonstrators, for, unlike the teabaggers, these people actually know the score and understand how badly we are being ripped off by insurance companies and their conservative Republican defenders. These people, unlike the teabaggers, haven't been fed talking points by huge corporate interests. Their demonstration is informed and genuine.
Unlike last summer's phony, orchestrated teabagger protests, this time, it's for real!
"I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends...that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." - Adlai E. Stevenson, speaking many decades ago -
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Republicans lied during the 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and '00s, and they are still lying today. Rachel Maddow did a superb job last night of exposing Republican lies and hypocrisy on her MSNBC TV show. She illustrated 21 separate cases where Republicans, when they were in the majority, had passed bills via reconciliation. She pointed out how Republican Senators now decrying the use of reconciliation, notably John McCain, Lamar Alexander, Orrin Hatch, and Charles Grassley, had each supported the action and she outlined their votes. She also cited examples of them being in support of certain provisions of the new health care reform bill until the Pr4esident came out in support of the same provision, at which point these Republicans all took an opposing stance. She showed how Republicans not only lie, but also contradict themselves. They are obsessed with playing politics, not shaping policy beneficial to all of us. They are engaged in obstruction, not good governance. For these reasons, they do not deserve to gain or maintain public office!
Independent voters, this post is directed primarily at you. Over the past few days you got a very good look at what conservative Republicans are like, and why they should not be elected or re-elected to Congress this fall. The fact of the matter is that they do not care about average people who are struggling in the terrible economy that THEY created under the Geoirge W. Bush administration and which still plagues us today. The proof you got just this week was how ultra-conservative Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning single-handedly filibustered and held up a bill which would have extended unemployment benefits to 200,000 people whose unemployment had run out. His action also caused the layoff of 2,000 other federal workers, and it was totally unnecessary and irresponsibly cold-hearted. Millionaire Bunning, like most of his conservative Republican counterparts, obviously understands nothing about how pressed millions of his fellow citizens are at this time, nor, apparently, do they care. Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl even went so far as to suggest those on unemployment are merely sitting on their fat asses collecting checks and enjoying themselves. He is evidently unaware that unemployment amounts to only about half of what a normal paycheck would bring in, or that with loss of job often comes loss of health insurance too. It was a stunningly revealing and typically cold-hearted remark from conservative Republicans who care nothing about about average people just like YOU! Independents: if you are rightfully upset with the state of this country today, don't be fooled by the continual barrage of conservative Republican lies. Don't blame the progressives and Democrats for the slow rate of economic recovery - they've been sabotaged and obstructed by corporatist, conservative Republicans from the very start. THEY didn't ruin this economy; corporatist, conservative Republicans did. THEY have been working since January 20, 2009 to create jobs and extend unemployment benefits to those whose jobs have been lost; conservative Republicans have opposed them and stonewalled every step of the way. THEY have pushed for universal medical coverage and regulations on greedy insurance companies; conservative Republicans have fought them on this, too, and told wild lies designed to protect the insurance companies and defeat health care reform since day one.
So do not make the horrible mistake this fall of electing more of these lying, obstructionist Republicans to Congress. These Republicans are uncompromising and are not looking out for your best interests at all. If they were, they wouldn't vote as a bloc against health care coverage for all. They wouldn't vote as a bloc against plans which put people to work. And remember: it's not just their leaders stonewalling and voting against your needs as they do: it's ALL of them. So, come November, remember this and know beyond any doubt that EVERY REPUBLICAN MUST GO!Remember most of all: Every single obstructionist
conservative Republican you elect to office gets a salary of $174,000 that YOU are paying for! All the more reason not to elect or re-elect any Republicans this fall! EVERY REPUBLICAN MUST GO!