Sunday, March 28, 2010

If you Haven't Read This... You Should! From a Marine to the Tea Baggers calling for Armed Revolution

I read this at Reversing the Handbasket and they got it from MadMikesAmerica... So Tip of the Hat to both of them for this wonderful article...

The writer is an active duty Marine who is concerned with the violent rhetoric in our country. He has also now written an answer to this and I will post part of it and a link to the after this first letter.

This is a MUST READ and SHARE... Please take it and get it out there... I am posting it in it's entirety as it has been asked to do.

An arti­cle I wish I would never have to write — To those call­ing for a civil war, this Marine wants you to stop, and think…

By Sgt. C USMC

It’s been said that the mil­i­tary is always prepar­ing for war. That is true. We pre­pare for com­bat every day. We ran 5 miles today to the rifle range and shot nearly 200 rounds a piece at tar­gets and then ran back. How­ever, we also pray for peace. I would love one day to be com­pletely unnec­es­sary. But alas, I am a real­ist, and I know that day will never come.

The head­lines of the last week have reminded me more of glimps­ing at the S2 Daily Brief­ing Sheets while in the­ater or the Al-Jazeera than the NY Times or the Wash­ing­ton Post. Think about that for a moment, let it sink in.

Before I get into the main premise of this arti­cle — I need to make two state­ments here.

First and fore­most , when it comes to the back and forth of who did what to whom and why — I don’t give a @!$%#. It doesn’t change the action. In life we’re judged by our actions, noth­ing more, noth­ing less. One of the great­est things of the mil­i­tary is when it comes to an enemy, the pol­i­tics behind the sit­u­a­tion — don’t mat­ter in accom­plish­ing that mis­sion. For the mil­i­tary , life is sim­ple in that regard.

Sec­ondly, Regard­less of your polit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy, you’ve earned the right as US Cit­i­zens to say your piece — no mat­ter how wrong it may be. That is your right, and I will give my life to pro­tect it.

But this gov­ern­ment of ours is a democ­racy. We vote for our rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and they vote in our inter­ests. Some­times, the votes don’t go our way. That’s life, bet­ter luck next time. Exhaust your leg­isla­tive options, and then focus on gain­ing the required votes and/or seats to achieve your desired leg­isla­tive vote next elec­tion time. That’s the way things work.

But the SECOND you start com­mit­ting acts of vio­lence and van­dal­ism, then you’ve usurped that Con­sti­tu­tion. You in a way have assaulted it. And then you and I (I being every ser­vice­mem­ber who has sworn to defend said Con­sti­tu­tion) will have a MAJOR PROBLEM.

For those of you call­ing for a civil war, I implore you to stop and think about what you’re say­ing. Look around your neigh­bor­hood and your city. Now imag­ine using that ter­rain to sur­vive. Imag­ine dodg­ing semi-automatic rifle fire as you scram­ble from cover to cover, drag­ging your wounded child behind you. Imag­ine the deaf­en­ing report of a mor­tar as it strikes the ground a 150 feet in front of you, the over­pres­sure enough to shat­ter your teeth and per­fo­rate an ear drum. Try and envi­sion a Stryker rolling through neighbor’s front lawn or a F/A-18 mak­ing lazy loops over your head in Close Air Sup­port for the troops in the distance.

Now with that vision in mind, stop by your local Marine Corps base, being they will be the first mil­i­tary units you’d face in an all out ‘civil war’ . Look at them for a moment, exam­ine their ‘work envi­ron­ment’ . They’re run­ning the track, they’re climb­ing ropes, they’re grap­pelling with each other in mock hand-to-hand com­bat, and shoot­ing tar­gets while mov­ing in raid lines on a daily basis. Nearly every­one on that base, down to our ‘sec­re­taries’ has a com­bat award of one type or another, they’ve faced some of the most stress­ful sit­u­a­tions on Earth where suc­cumb­ing to the stress can get you killed, and they flourished.

Now ask your­selves and be hon­est — when is the last time you’ve run any­thing other than late to work, climbed any­thing other than a flight of stairs, grap­pelled with any­thing other than a paper jam, and shot off any­thing other than your mouth? When’s the last time you were in any sit­u­a­tion more stress­ful than a traf­fic jam?

Now I’m not blam­ing you for your career choice, not in the least. I can’t think of a sin­gle job that’s not use­ful in some way or another. I just want you to sim­ply com­pare and con­trast your work envi­ron­ment with ours and ask your­selves “Who is bet­ter suited to win this bat­tle ?” We both know the answer here, and if you doubt that answer, look at the results from Fal­lu­jah in 2004. Over 1200 of them ‘lost’ and we ‘lost only 28. That’s a ‘win-ratio’ of almost 60–1, and they’ve been fight­ing their whole lives.

Put this in another sce­nario. You and your office­mates think your local pro foot­ball team sucks , so you put together your own team of the best your com­pany has and chal­lenge them to a game. Even if your team might be good, they’re pro­fes­sion­als. This is their job. Your job is to answer phones and type on a key­board. In short, they’ve for­got­ten more than you will ever know about foot­ball. The result, will be a slaugh­ter for you, and a prac­tice for them. But at least you’ll get a chance to sit at home, ice your wounds and say ‘whew I never should’ve done that!’

Not so with com­bat. The results of com­bat are far…FAR..more per­ma­nent. There are no sec­ond chances, no time for regrets, and no do-overs. This is not Call of Duty.

Now I ‘d like to dis­perse a myth here — many of you think that US mil­i­tary would not fight civil­ians. I can’t speak for all, but in my case — the moment you declare civil war, you’re no longer civil­ians. The moment you attack the con­sti­tu­tion, you’re now ene­mies of that con­sti­tu­tion. And I swore to defend and sup­port and if nec­es­sary give my life for that Con­sti­tu­tion and uti­lize every tool, tech­nique, and weapon at my dis­posal to do so. And trust me, I’m not alone.

I hope some of you heed my words and cool the rhetoric and focus on achiev­ing your goals diplo­mat­i­cally instead of phys­i­cally. It would never want to receive a frag order to Mary­land, or North Dakota, or Texas, but it is an order I will fol­low no mat­ter how much it pains me to do so.

As someone from a military family I know these points he makes are very true... Yes, we have heard there is a contingent in the military who are against Pres. Obama and our elected officials. However, let me tell you I don't think it is very large and if they speak out, they can be removed from the service and even jailed for such things.

Their orders are to protect the Constitution and the Commander in Chief. And they will. Never doubt that.

Now on to the second piece from Sgt. C, this is posted at Newsvine... as was the first. Here it is again in it's entirety.

A rewrite of a Marine's call for peace and pause that had been reduced into sheer irrelevance....and an apology.

(I want to apologize to all of you who posted your thoughts and feelings regarding the prior article - I de-published the article to rewrite it to this, and it will not re-publish. I understand many people put a lot of effort into those comments, as I put a lot of effort into my replies. If any of the Newsvine community can tell me how I can get the comments back , I will gladly do so. My biggest apology is for my failure as a moderator. I should have done a better part to keep the conversation to the topic at hand and avoid responding to derailing comments.)

This is intended to be a rewrite of the article that was written - because some people obviously DON'T get it.

The article I wrote yesterday was intended to be a call for peace, and a moment for pause. In all honesty, it was merely my venting after reading dozens of headlines regarding the type of violence in the US that I was more accustomed to seeing on the daily intel briefing sheets while in theater. I never expected the response I got, and I must admit while some of the comments that I received were some of the greatest thoughts and words I've ever seen - some were words I'd hope no human being would never utter to another. My family and myself were threatened, if for no other reason than because my opinions differed from someone else's. Obviously, the intent of my message was convoluted and lost. This is an attempt to correct it.

Every service member has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There's no grey area to that. It's as black and white as it gets.

I nor any service member wants to combat civilians in this or any other country. I don't know how many times I can reiterate that - we do not want it to happen. Even as we prepare for war, we pray for peace.

We lace up our boots every morning in an attempt to preserve the freedoms that democracy has awarded us. We all love our country, and we would give our lives to protect it and its way of life.

Military members must have faith in the system of Government, or the whole chain of command and system of military discipline falls apart. We are rarely given all of the details of our entire mission, and instead are expected to complete seemingly ambiguous tasks in support of that mission with the belief that we are doing the right thing . When we find an order illegal , we're obligated not to follow it, and report it.

So call me naive, but yes. I do have faith in the Constitution and the mechanisms inside of it to correct itself and removing people unworthy of holding office. If I didn't , I never would've taken an oath to defend it. You just can't defend part of the Constitution, or the parts you agree with. It's all or nothing. I choose to defend all of it ,even the parts I may disagree with.

Probably the most foolish choice of words I chose to use in that article were the words 'civil war' . I just shouldn't have written them. But I could think of no other way to articulate what I felt it would require for the military to become involved. A civilian uprising wouldn't be sufficient, it would require an all out civil war.

Much of the comments reflected on this poor choice of words - and successfully derailed the conversation from a call for peace and to use the democratic system to resolve our differences, to people arguing over who's side would destroy who. I'll admit, I too was guilty in that regard - and my attempt to compare military and civilian life easily came across as boisterous and hostile, even though its' intent was to be succinct and concise. For that, I apologize.

BUT DON'T YOU @!$%#ING GET IT?!? In a war, no one wins. Even if you're not wounded, it doesn't mean you leave whole. The images, the feelings, the thoughts never leave you, they're forever etched into your mind, and they become a part of who you are. It's been said that "the people who die in war are the lucky ones - they don't have to live with the memories of what transpired." As morbid as it sounds, in many cases its true.

And to what end ? What would be left AFTER this 'war' was concluded ? Would anything really change ? Or would we slowly sink back into the quagmire of the status quo, resort back to what's comfortable, and then future generations will be arguing over the very reasoning behind this conflict , just as we now debate the real reason behind the civil war ? What would our children, and their children say when they look back at this point in our history ? Seriously, what does anyone expect to gain from fighting their friends, family, neighbors over a difference of opinion ? That's what this really boils down to - people are screaming for blood because they feel differently than someone else.

If that's not the definition of madness, I don't know what is. It needs to stop. Now.

The senatorial elections are coming in November 2010. Everyone who feels passionately about this country , one way or the other, should get out and vote for who THEY think will best represent them . The same in November of 2012. This is your Constitutional right - this is your step in democracy. You get to choose who represents you and your views in the Government.

If you choose to vote using force instead, not only will you fail in your attempt, but your cause will suffer on account of your actions. You will hurt not only yourself, but also every individual who ever aligns with that cause in the future. Consider that when you're making your decision - our causes are not typically portrayed by our most noble or thoughtful members, but rather the most crude and thoughtless. They forever taint what might otherwise be a worthwhile message.

So once again, I , an NCO of Marines, call on all people both military and civilian to exercise your Constitutional rights and participate in the democratic process. I urge you to stop reacting, and start instead thinking and considering. I urge you not to immediately dismiss opinions other than your own.

I urge you to open your minds and consider that maybe, just maybe, there's not a single one of us who has all of the answers, and that includes myself.

In short, I urge all of you - to treat everyone else as you would want to be treated, whether you agree with them or not.

Again, I know this is long.. but take it and post it at your sites... Get this out there from someone who is trying to be a voice of reason in this season of hate we seem to be in. This is something we need to be thinking about... All of us... and most especially the ones calling for violence.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The President's Weekly Address: Two Major Reforms on Health Care & Higher Ed

From the White House blog:

The President looks back on a week that saw the passage of two major sets of reforms: one putting Americans in control of their own health care, and one ensuring student loans work for students and families, not as subsidies for bankers and middlemen.

Contrary to what the GOPers have said... This is NOT a government take over of the FEDERAL Student Loan Program. They are not taking it from the banks... they are just offering some rules and making sure everyone is protected.

I hope you have written to your Congress Person this week.. either to thank them or to let them know how you felt about them voting NO.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What If

My friend K has a great piece up at his place about the double standard we are seeing in the course of events surrounding the Health Care Reform vote...

It is a definite must read. You can find him at Citizen K and read it for yourself... some of the highlights..

What If

It's the winter of 2003, the day after the invasion of Iraq. An angry mob of African-American protesters gathers outside of the entrance to the White House, screaming imprecations and waving American flags. Several hold signs accusing the president of sending young black men to die for a family vendetta. A group of white Bush aides nervously makes its way through the crowd, hearing shouts of "killer," "murderer," "thug," and at least one unprintable racial slur.

A number of Democratic party representatives and senators exhort the crowd into a greater frenzy. A blast from a pagan horn quiets the mob so that one of them can invoke the blessings of God on a Congressman who has joined them.


An anti-war leader releases the home address of another pro-war representative. Someone cuts a propane line leading to the house, creating the danger of a massive explosion. Police reveal that the house is actually family home of the brother of the representative. When contacted, the activist who supplied the address calls the episode "collateral damage" and "condemns" the vandalism initiated by his actions. Other activists insist that the address was correct, apparently to justify the vandalism.

Just imagine....

My thoughts on this... if it had happened this way... they, (the protesters and maybe some of the lawmakers) would be picked up and hauled off to Gitmo or one of the other unknown sites and probably never heard from again. Remember we weren't allowed to say one thing against the president while the troops were in harms way or we were considered helping the enemy or even treasonous. Now, all bets are off... anything can be said about Pres. Obama and no one even blinks an eye..... I just have one question..... Don't we still have troops in harms way?

You must read K's entire piece to get the full effect.. I just teased you a little... Please take a minute and go over and read it if you haven't already...

What if

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yes We Can starring Boehner saying No You Can't

This is wonderful and I hope they make a campaign ad out of it.. Take it and post it and play it over and over. Get the hits up on it.. We need to rub the Tan Man's face in it as much as we can.

Great Stuff...

h/t The Political Carnival and Shannyn Moore.

Some of the Facts about Health Care Reform

A couple of days ago and several other times, we have all pointed out the LIES about Health Care... Now it is time to start pushing the TRUTH and the benefits people will see starting soon. And in Soon I mean in the next days and weeks..

Even though the standard meme from the critics is that nothing starts for 3 or 4 years.. Here are the things that start NOW.

It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.

It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.

And it reduces the cost of care -- cutting over 1 trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.

To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years.

But for millions of Americans, many of the benefits of reform will begin this year -- some even taking effect this afternoon. Here are just a few examples:

Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees.

Seniors will receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare.

Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents' plan until the age of 26.

Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs.

Children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.

Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days.

Insured Americans will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.

All Americans will benefit from significant new investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and the creation of state-level consumer assistance programs to help all patients understand and defend our new rights.

Yes, there are some things that will not go into effect for a while.. they say a few years but it maybe earlier if all works well.... But there are some very good benefits that start now.

For a lot of us this is personal.

It hits home for us because of the Donut Hole being closed for Seniors and those of us on Medicare due to disability. This one is important for me, my mother, my uncle and others in my family.

It hits home for us because there are lots of people who don't have insurance due to Pre-Existing Conditions. This will stop very soon. It is personal to me because I have family members who can't get insurance because of this. Try having a serious disease and getting insurance after you lose a job, or have to stop working because of the disease.

And now you have a safety net... You can't lose your insurance if you become ill. What a wonderful feeling knowing you don't have to worry about losing your coverage.

I hope this helps people understand the benefits that will start NOW, not in 3 or 4 years... NOW.

Tell me that you don't care about any of these items and I will say you are not telling the truth.. All of this effects each of us in some way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Bill Is Signed.. Now on to the Senate.

History is being made today. President Obama signs the Health Care Reform Bill into Law.... Now on to the Senate and the finalization of the Law of the Land.

Here is video of the President's remarks and the signing of the bill.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This is not the end, this is the beginning... Now we continue on making changes and updates to this Legislation. We, all of us... have to keep pushing Congress to make this better over time, just as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and Civil Rights. Even now, almost 50 years after Civil Rights was passed, we are still fine tuning it. This will be the same for Health Care. We can't give up now. We have to keep fighting to make this better.

We have to rally people to vote in November to keep Democratic Leaders in there and make sure we can pass additional reforms and more Progressive Legislation which needs to be done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yes We Can and Yes We Did.

It has passed.. 219-212 Health Care Reform is now going to the President for signing. It has been reported he will sign it Tuesday morning, just before the Senate starts working on the amendments.

Here is Pres. Obama's statement after the passage of this bill.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Like I stated and they chanted on the floor of the House after passage..... Yes We Can.

Thank you Pres. Obama and the Democrats who voted for this bill. Thank You Speaker Pelosi and all the other members of the House who worked so hard to get this done.

The Ignorance of the Protesters and Their Racism is Showing

Here are two videos that have been going around that are a must see.... In the first one is the ignorance of the Tea Party protesters. They show how stupid they are and one lady even says "drinking the Kool-Aid" while quoting Glenn Beck and Faux Noise. Watch:

Notice most of them say they don't know what is in the bill, they are just quoting what they heard on Faux Noise and from Beck.

Then this video shows the racism that is a large part of the overall Tea Party movement. There are signs calling for assassination of the President, and much more.

Some of the most ignorant photos from the protesters.

These are just 3 of the signs.. There were many more and they were as bad or worse. But it's not about race, and it's not about Obama... Yeah, right.

I can't wait until we start talking about immigration... it will probably be much worse.

Tip of the Hat to Leslie@ Parsley's Pics I got some of this from her... Thanks Leslie.

Some of the LIes Being Told and the Truth That Should Be Told

I just got a notice from VoteVets concerning some of the lies that are being spread by the Rethugs and the VFW in order to help them. Here is the article from them that tells the truth about the lies being told. I just heard a Rethug spouting these lies on C-Span and he was challenged by Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D, NY).

From VoteVets and the VetVoice:

VFW Lies for the GOP, Attempts to Kill Health Care
by: Richard Allen Smith
Sun Mar 21, 2010 at 16:30:58 PM EDT

Among all of the Congressional elections in 2006, there were two that were particularly interesting. In Virginia, an incumbent Republican Senator who received a deferment from service in Vietnam was endorsed by the VFW's political action committee over a former Navy Secretary who was awarded the Navy Cross while serving as a Marine Officer in the conflict. Also, in a House race that same PAC endorsed a Republican candidate with no service record over an Iraq Veteran who left two legs on the battlefield.

Surprising? Shouldn't be. VFW PAC operates as little more than a subsidiary of the Republican Party, as does the leadership of their parent organization.

Today, that organization issued a statement toeing the GOP line on the health care vote. Of course, in order to toe that line, the VFW had to make things up:

"The president and the Democratic leadership are betraying America's veterans," said Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis., who leads the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.

Here, Thomas Tradewell makes obvious that his aim is not to have a rational discussion about a piece of legislation, but to demonize a particular political party. If Tradewell had legitimate concerns, why would he not also attack Republicans in Congress for offering no constructive alternatives to the health care legislation that would have addressed this issue? Or even offered any course of action in the 10 years they were in the majority?

He didn't chastise Republicans because A) his purpose is to shill for them; and B) his concerns are over fabricated issues that do not exist.

At issue is H.R. 4872 does not fully protect the healthcare programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military's Tricare system. Specifically, the bill covers Tricare For Life but not the other Tricare programs that serve millions of beneficiaries; it does not cover children suffering from spina bifida as a result of a parent's exposure to Agent Orange; and it does not cover dependents, widows and orphans who are served by CHAMPVA, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here, just as the VFW ignored a double amputee combat Veteran running for Congress, they ignored that same Vet's statement on the health care legislation. That Veteran was Tammy Duckworth, who now serves as the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs:

Let me be unambiguous: The healthcare that Veterans receive through the VA system, including dependents of certain veterans enrolled in the CHAMPVA program, will be safe and sound under health reform. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs would continue to maintain sole authority over the system and for enhancing the quality and access for all eligible Veterans.

In addition, TRICARE will continue to be available for all eligible servicemen and women, and their families. Those who are covered by TRICARE would meet the shared responsibility requirement for individuals to have insurance, thereby exempting such members of the uniformed services and dependants from being assessed any sort of penalty. The President has made it clear publicly and to me that he is committed to ensuring that America's servicemen and women have high quality care, and with health reform that commitment remains very much intact.

The VFW's overt partisan hackery drifts further into fantasy land as that statement implores the House to pass a TRICARE fix measure:

"Military service is based on the fundamental principle of trust, and once lost, it is virtually impossible to regain," said Tradewell. "That is why I am urging the House to vote 'no' today, then go back and fix the bill with the language proposed by Skelton, Buyer [note: That's the same Rep. Buyer who voted against advance funding for the VA. -RAS] and McKeon, and then come back and vote your conscience. Let's not rush to pass flawed legislation that could tremendously impact our nation's true heroes."

There's only one problem with the VFW's suggestion here. The House already passed the legislation to which the statement refers. From a joint statement issued by the relevant committee chairs, including Armed Services and Veterans Affairs:

HR 3590, as drafted, does not specifically mention that TRICARE coverage meets the individual responsibility requirement, but such coverage would satisfy the requirements of this bill. To affirm that this is the case, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed HR 4887, the TRICARE Affirmation Act, which provides assurances to the American people that care provided to those in the military and their families as well as military retirees under age 65 and their families, would indeed meet the requirement for coverage.

But none of this is relevant. These are facts, something with which the VFW leadership is not concerned. The leadership is far more concerned with the bidding of their parent organization, the Republican Party.

If the leadership of the VFW was actually concerned with the health care of Veterans, it might do something to address the fact that 2,200 Vets died last year as a result of not having access to health insurance.

But of course, that doesn't support the GOP narrative-- so don't expect the VFW to do anything about it.

Very interesting to say the least.. one of the organizations that is supposed to help veterans actually tries to harm them.. But it is just another lie perpretated by the Right Wing noise machine.

The President Addresses Democratic House

Yesterday afternoon, the President went to Capitol Hill and addressed the Democratic House Members. Here is one of his best speeches ever.

He asks them not to vote for him, for Speaker Pelosi or for themselves, but to vote for the American People. US, the way they are supposed to do, and the reason they are supposed to be there.

Here is the speech. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The President's Weekly Address: Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy

From the White House blog:

As a key committee in the Senate takes up reforming the ways of Wall Street, the President lays down a marker: “I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.”

The President seems to be gearing up for another big fight. I think he feels that Health Care Reform is safe enough now he can move on to this important regulation reform of the financial industry.

Our voices are going to have to be heard on this, much as they were and maybe stronger, than for Health Care. We have got to push our Senators and Representatives to get this through. We have to have stronger rules for Wall Street and the people who caused this disaster. That is just a given.

One thing to note.. again, we can't let the quest for the perfect defeat the good. We may not get all we want, just as we didn't in Health Care Reform, but just as with all large legislation, sometimes the first step is the hardest and we can build from there.

One other note... Sen. Chris Dodd is now calling for an investigation into Lehman and the others who caused this crisis. That is a good thing and is long overdue. I guess deciding to give up his job as a Senator has allowed him to become stronger.

OK everyone, now is the time to start calling, before they even get started in Committee hearings on this legislation... Let's get this done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The President's Weekly Address: Education for a More Competitive America & Better Future

From the White House Blog:

The President discusses his blueprint for an updated Elementary and Secondary Education Act to overhaul No Child Left Behind, the latest step from his Administration to encourage change and success in America’s schools at the local level.

With the number of schools closing, some in my area in Kansas City, we need to be concentrating on Education. However, one reason the schools in Kansas City are closing that seems to have been missed by everyone is the drop in population and enrollment. They have dropped over 40% in numbers in the last few years and have several schools which are basically empty. But that doesn't sell papers as they say.

But, just because schools are closing, and teachers are being shuffled and laid off, we have to concentrate on the QUALITY of education.. That's the key.

Well those are my thoughts.. let me hear yours.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Please Read Frank Schaeffer's Post

Frank Schaeffer has a new post up today that is a must read for us all. He lists some of the accomplishments of the past year and reminds us all of how we felt just over a year ago at the time of the election and the inaugural

Some of the people on the left have been as damaging to President Obama as those on the right. Maybe even more. Now is not the time to abandon the President. Now is the time to rally around and support him even more or as much as we did before. Yet, that is what is happening. I have posted on this before and so has Frank.

Once again, he is asking people to stop and think about what they are doing, saying and thinking about before they run their mouths and put down the President, for not doing enough for them.

Read his post, which you can find by clicking here: Frank Schaeffer's Blog. And you can even leave him a comment and let him know what you think.

You can leave me one to if you are so inclined. He comes here sometimes and reads and comments when I link to him. Which I always appreciate.

So, take a minute to read his post and think before you put down the man we put in the White House. Thanks all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Must Read for Today, Bob Cesca and John Cole

If you haven't or don't read Bob Cesca's Blog.. you are missing out. I quote him a lot and he is a great source for others.

First this week at Huffington Post he wrote this piece:

The Tea Party is All About Race

If you haven't read it.. you should.. He brings out some very valid points and makes some strong arguments I think everyone needs to see and read.

From the final lines of the piece:

In the final analysis, when you boil away all of the weirdness, it becomes clear that the teabaggers are pissed because there isn't yet another doddering old white guy in the White House -- like they're used to. That's what this is all about.

By way of a postscript, one of the many faceless radio talk show wingnuts, Jim Quinn, this week called President Obama a "Kenyan wuss" who should be "slapped silly." The Kenyan lie and the "slap silly" insult aside, this president is no wuss. You know how I know? He's a black man who ran for president and won despite the growing mob of gun-toting militant white bigots like Jim Quinn who are sucking air in America. President Obama achieving this despite the hatred and threats against him takes serious guts. Guts that Jim Quinn and the tea party movement will never understand.

Then last night, I went there and found this piece he had found from John Cole and highlighted on his blog. It is not only worthy of being read, it should be posted and found everywhere today... John is spot on and has his finger on the problem we are seeing.

So, thank you Bob, and thank you John for pointing this out and for having the bravery to say what needs to be said.

Here is a link to the John Cole column where he writes at Balloon Juice.

And here is a link again to the best blog ever..

Check him out, and check out John's article.. it is worth your time. Also check what Jane Hamsher is saying now...... Some of the commenter's are saying and I feel she is becoming the Liz Cheney of the Left. I hate to say that but she is. First she ties herself to Grover Norquist.... now she is doing this.

What she neglects to point out in her diatribe is that after Lynn Woolsey stated she would pass this bill, she would then come back and push for a Public Option in a separate bill. Because to use Reconciliation or majority vote we have to pass the bill as it is.. Read that... AS IT IS... no changes can be made to the Senate Bill.. The House and the Senate will then make changes after, just as they have done to all large legislation.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The President's Weekly Address: What Health Reform Will Deliver – This Year

From the White House Blog:

In this week’s address, President Obama describes how American families will have more control over their health care this year, after health reform passes.

This was also included with this weeks address, and it may help allay some of the fears people have about whether this is real reform or not.

Here are a few more points about how health insurance reform measures will benefit Americans this year:

Hold Insurance Companies Accountable:

* Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all new plans;
* Prohibit rescissions of health insurance policies in all individual plans;
* Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
* Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs;
* Establish a process for the annual review of unreasonable increases in premiums, requiring State insurance commissioners to work with the HHS Secretary and States.

Protect Consumers:

* Provide grants to States to support health insurance consumer assistance and ombudsman programs to help consumers;
* Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
* Require all insurance plans to use uniform coverage documents so consumers can make easy comparisons when shopping for health insurance;
* Establish an internet portal to assist Americans in identifying coverage options;
* Prohibit insurers from discriminating in favor of highly compensated employees by charging them lower premiums.

Ensure Affordable Choices and Quality Care:

* Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
* Create a temporary re-insurance program for early retirees;
* Require new plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
* Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
* Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
* Facilitate administrative simplification to lower health system costs.

These are all very important and once people realize exactly what they have.. this will be popular. It is real reform. As my friend Matt Osborne @ OsborneInk likes to point out, it may not contain the Public Option... but without all of these things in there.. you could have no Public Option.

So, lets work to get this passed, then we can come back and add the Public Option at a later date. We can't let this go down, just because we didn't get every little thing we wanted. We have got to grow up and start acting like the adults in the room.

Right now, the left are acting like a bunch of children who didn't get their way. We have to stop this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Sometimes I wonder if people really realize the price of not doing Health Care Reform. the cost in money, premiums, costs to hospitals, not to mention families and individuals who don't have insurance and are faced with bankruptcy.

Not to mention the human cost in lives. We lose on average the equivalent of 9-11 every month to the lack of health care.Yes, you read that right.. 2,500 people a month die from the lack of quality health care in this country.

Yesterday, in the New York Times there was a great article about The Cost of Doing Nothing. written by Reed Ableson.

Some of the more important parts that I want to share are:

Suppose Congress and President Obama fail to overhaul the system now, or just tinker around the edges, or start over, as the Republicans propose — despite the Democrats’ latest and possibly last big push that began last week at a marathon televised forum in Washington.

Then “my health care” stays the same, right?

Far from it, health policy analysts and economists of nearly every ideological persuasion agree. The unrelenting rise in medical costs is likely to wreak havoc within the system and beyond it, and pretty much everyone will be affected, directly or indirectly.

“People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care research group in New York. “In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.”

Emphasis is mine because I wanted to make sure everyone saw what was said. The consequences of doing nothing is things will just get worse. Much worse.

Nearly every mainstream analysis calls for medical costs to continue to climb over the next decade, outpacing the growth in the overall economy and certainly increasing faster than the average paycheck. Those higher costs will translate into higher premiums, which will mean fewer individuals and businesses will be able to afford insurance coverage. More of everyone’s dollar will go to health care, and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid will struggle to find the money to operate.

“It will break all of our banks if we do nothing,” said Peter V. Lee, who oversees national health policy for the Pacific Business Group on Health, which represents employers that offer coverage to workers. “It is a course that is literally bankrupting the federal government and businesses and individuals across the country.”

Even those families that enjoy generous insurance now are likely to see the cost of those benefits escalate. The typical price of family coverage now runs about $13,000 a year, but premiums are expected to nearly double, to $24,000, by 2020, according to the Commonwealth Fund. That equals nearly a quarter of the median family income today.

All of this is just exactly what the President has been saying for months and months and what Democrats have been saying for years. However Republican's have been saying NO, NO, and NO, and last Thursday during the Health Care Summit at Blair House, all they could say was "Kill The Bill" and "Start Over".

Starting over and killing the bill is not an option at this time. We have invested too much time and too much sweat and tears into this to kill it and start over.

I asked my mother one day, about this obsession the Rethugs seem to have with the number of pages in the bills.. and she said she didn't remember them or anyone ever being this focused on the number of pages as they have been. They did the same thing with the Recovery Act and now with the Health Care Bill, constantly reminding people how many pages it is.. printing them out and piling them up.. What they fail to tell people is they only print on one side, and usually it is only about half or three-quarters of the page the rest is addendum's and footnotes. But, back to the article

“It’s also cramping our economic growth,” said Frank McArdle, a consultant with Hewitt Associates, which advises large employers and reported on the need for change for the Business Roundtable, an association of C.E.O.’s at major companies. Spending so much on health care is “really a waste of people’s money,” Mr. McArdle said.

The higher premiums will also persuade more businesses, especially smaller ones, to decide not to offer insurance. More people who buy coverage on their own or are asked to pay a large share of premiums will find the price too high. It doesn’t take too many 39-percent increases, like the recent one proposed in California that has garnered so much attention, to put insurance out of reach.

“We have an affordability problem that is moving up through the middle class now,” said Paul B. Ginsburg, the president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonprofit Washington research group.

Once again, this backs up what the President and the Democrats have been saying for months and years. Why do people continue to deny this is true? Why can't people see this is happening?

While estimates vary, the number of people without insurance is expected to increase by more than a million a year, said Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, a Washington consumer advocacy group that favors the Democrats’ approach. The Urban Institute, for example, predicts that the number of uninsured individuals will increase from about 49 million today to between 57 million and 66 million by 2019. The Democrats’ plan is expected to cover as many as 30 million individuals who now are uninsured.

That is just unacceptable. How can we allow this to happen? We can't.... we have to make sure this gets fixed.

There will be a cost in lives, too. Mr. Pollack’s organization estimates that as many as 275,000 people will die prematurely over the next 10 years because they do not have insurance. Even people with insurance will find their coverage providing much less protection from financial catastrophe than it does now. Individuals will pay significantly more in deductibles and co-payments, for example. “More and more families will experience huge debts and bankruptcies,” Mr. Pollack said

As I stated before.. 275,000 over 10 years... the numbers are sometimes a little different but that works out to 2,291 a month.... the equivalent of 9-11 every month dying because of a lack of health care. Think about that..

“If we fail this time, you’re not going to get this Congress to take this up on a big scale,” said Len Nichols, a health policy analyst at George Mason University who says he thinks the Democrats should go ahead and pass legislation.

But few policy analysts think Congress can afford to do absolutely nothing. Lawmakers are instead likely to try a series of smaller fixes, said Stuart Butler, a health policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a research group that favors market solutions over a larger government role.

After President Bill Clinton failed to get Congress to pass his health care bill in 1994, Republicans, who then had substantial victories in the House and Senate, worked with him to pass legislation like the health care privacy bill, a children’s health insurance program and the Balanced Budget Act, which contained significant changes to the Medicare program. Under President George W. Bush, the Republicans went on to pass a drug benefit under Medicare. “In the space of less than 10 years, you have several major bills,” Mr. Butler said.

Yet, still they didn't pay for anything and didn't cover anyone new. The Medicare D plan is good, but again, not paid for, and there is such a huge gap in coverage that we need new legislation to fix it. This is where part of the deficit comes from that everyone seems to be worried about. But of course that Rethug amnesia kicks in and they forget these facts.

If nothing passes now, Mr. Butler says he thinks Congress will tackle narrower areas, like insurance regulation, to make it easier for people with pre-existing medical conditions to find coverage, or maybe it will try another expansion of Medicaid or the children’s program.

But President Obama clearly prefers passage of a broader bill. In wrapping up Thursday’s session with lawmakers, he and other Democrats warned that an incremental approach was likely to provide too little relief to the people already feeling the effects of a broken system. “It turns out that baby steps don’t get you to the place that people need to go,” he said.

And even some people without a partisan point to make argue that the series of bills passed in the last 15 years have not made enough of a dent in slowing down medical costs. “We’ve had a lot of incremental reforms already,” said Mr. McArdle, the Hewitt consultant.

And many argue that putting off the inevitable has an additional cost. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that the nation would be spending hundreds of billions of dollars less than it does today if any of the health care legislation proposed by previous administrations had been enacted, assuming that they reduced costs by about 1.5 percentage points. If President Nixon’s plan had passed, the United States might be spending a trillion dollars a year less than it does now, and President Clinton’s plan would have reduced spending by some $500 billion a year.

“It makes a huge difference over a long period of time,” said Ms. Davis of the Commonwealth Fund.

This last section was the real money quote.. they have studied this and look what they have found... How much would the spending have been reduced if this had been done years ago when Teddy Rooseveldt tried it.. or Harry Truman?

We have to make sure this gets done. If you haven't called your Senator or your Representative, even if they are a Rethug, call them.. It is only a phone call and you will let them know how you feel. After what I heard Thursday, I think there are a lot of Rethugs getting phone calls now saying you don't really speak for me.. because I don't want you to kill this bill and I don't want you to start over.

Giving credit where it is due... Bob Cesca pointed me to this article.. He did a small write up on it at his place and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I hope you are as enlightened as I was and enjoyed the reading of it. I have posted most of it here, but you can read the entire article at the link above. Let's get this done folks.. Let's get the tweaks done by a simple majority and get this on the President's desk for his signature.