Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Call your Congressmen on Oct 20 and tell them you want health reform

I realize their may be a chance that some of my readers may love animals while at the same time want to profit from the flaws in our medical system. Some of you will want to help the environment by producing solar and wind power but can care less what happens to animals and or the pets of this world. I seem to believe their are forces beyond our sight that are working to keep us splintered in our beliefs so that we never become a truly united front.

It seems to me that those of us who want change in the status quo period should be able to unite and stand together on a full range of issues. Frankly I am tired of hearing the same ole same ole crap that the big businessman will keep having his way at the expense of the labor and community at large. Isn’t it time we made our voices heard loud and clear.

If you were guranteed that your voice would matter and make the difference between good and evil what would you do? On Oct 20th we have a goal of 100,000 calls made to Congress on behalf of the people who desire a change in the now class system we experience in the United States. I am not promising this will be enough but I guarantee you that much traffic on the phonelines will make a statement. I see no reason we cant jam their phonelines all day long.

So comeon folks, lets make a difference in this world for the millions of Americans, myself included who need change in insurance policy. I realize if you are a medical professional you like the idea of making big money, maybe even without care of the process. I call bull and say think about the human race in general. Everyone who can sacrifice for the good of mankind and or the planet should. It makes you feel good and you know it.

Making a phone call only takes a minute of your time, and could matter for generations to come. I will be calling my guys on Tuesday, it would be nice if I could feel good knowing that you will be too.

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My Letter to Obama on Afghanistan

Hello Mr.President I beg you not to send more troops, our dollar is already over stressed as it is. Sending more troops will only quicken the path to financial ruin for all middle and lower classes. Its on you this time.

The decision is all yours and I sincerely hope that you will pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to save some money right now. We are going to have a lot to deal with in the near future. I need you to be very careful right now in taking steps to turn us to renewable US energies while also bringing troops home to work our borders and build us a solar, natural gas, wind and hydrogen grid here on our soil.

We can keep the US secure from Al-Quieda from within our own borders as we have since 911. I realize we have allies that want our support right now but the fact is they are not an ally if they wish us to financial ruin.

This whole concept will only come about once we begin to understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and the impact it plays on our economy. Please, as an American I ask again that you do not send anymore troops and start a withdrawl. We have done what we could for them. I was all for going into Iraq after 911, but that was 8 years and several trillion dollars ago. We have done our part.


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Judge: Idaho Wolf Hunts Will Continue

Save America's Wolves

 

Court Rules to
Continue Hunts

Wolf in Meadow (National Geographic Stock)

A federal court has rejected our motion for a preliminary injunction to stop wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana, but ruled that we are likely to prevail in our challenge to the federal government’s elimination of federal protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana.

> Read the judge’s ruling.  (PDF)

Michael,

I’ve got some bad news: At 7:53 PM last night, a federal court decided not to take immediate action to stop wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

I’m sure you share my profound disappointment that the wolf hunts will — at least for the moment — continue, but today’s decision does have an important silver lining:

The court also ruled that, based on the merits of our case, we have a strong chance of ultimately prevailing in our legal challenge of the Interior Department’s delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana and restoring vital federal protections for these wolves.

You can read the judge’s ruling here. (PDF)

While we are disappointed that the court did not issue an injunction, we are encouraged that the court seems to agree with us that the Obama Department of the Interior’s delisting the wolf was illegal and appears — as we have repeatedly said — to have reflected a political, rather than a science-based, decision.

Defenders of Wildlife will continue to move quickly in the days and weeks ahead to win our lawsuit and restore protections for these wolves. And, with your help, we’ll continue to vigorously pursue our five-point plan to save the lives of these wolves. Specifically, we’ll: 

  • Continue the fight in court to restore protections for wolves.
  • Counter anti-wolf lies in the media.
  • Work on the ground to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock producers.
  • Mobilize wildlife activists to save wolves.
  • Bring lawless wolf killers to justice.

Thank you for all you’ve done to help save our wolves! Together, I know we can prevail.

For the Wild Ones,

 

Rodger Schlickeisen Rodger Schlickeisen, President Signature
Rodger Schlickeisen
President
Defenders of Wildlife

 

P.S. The fight ahead is a tough one. Please consider becoming a Wildlife Guardian and help support this vital legal fight and our five-point plan to save wolves with a monthly contribution of whatever you can afford. We can’t win for wolves without your help!



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The Death Panel Lie – Conservative Dishonesty in the Health Care Reform Debate

The Death Panel Lie - Conservative Dishonesty in the Health Care Reform Debate

So the opponents of health care reform are sticking with the “death panel” talking point and the mob tactics it inspires.  Admittedly, the strategy has yielded some results for…  well, it’s unclear what they want aside from railing against President Obama.  Regardless, the anti-reform crowd finally landed a punch.  Good for them, I suppose.  Conservatives have been flailing wildly since Obama took office with little to show for it, save a lot of embarrassing You Tube clips.  Despite this, there is reason to remain optimistic about getting a reform bill ready for Obama’s signature this year.

Among the ethically challenged Republicans maintaining the “Death Panel” myth are Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Iowa senator, Chuck Grassley.  All three of them are political opportunists, frankly, playing upon the fears of their dwindling, radical constituencies.  At this time and in this debate, it is a losing political strategy.

Grassley’s Folly:

Grassley’s jumping on the crazy train isn’t much of a surprise, but it was unnecessary.  Representing one of the most aged state populations in the U.S., the senator must have felt safer stoking the fear, rather than rebutting it.  However, during his recess town halls, Grassley has failed to mention he — along with many other Republicans — voted in favor of a similar measure in 2003.

From Amy Sullivan at TIME.com’s Swampland Blog, August 13, 2009:

Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

Let’s go to the bill text, shall we? “The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary’s need for pain and symptom management, including the individual’s need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.” The only difference between the 2003 provision and the infamous Section 1233 that threatens the very future and moral sanctity of the Republic is that the first applied only to terminally ill patients. Section 1233 would expand funding so that people could voluntarily receive counseling before they become terminally ill.

Palin’s Density:

As much as I would prefer not to mention Sarah Palin, her peculiar insistence upon furthering the “Death Panel” lie demands it.  It is fitting, though, that her efforts are now publicized via Facebook rather than Governor’s Office press releases.  Her August 7, 2009 post on the subject is the one that really gave the term “Death Panel” its legs within the mainstream media:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil…

Palin followed up this lunacy with a call for civility during the health care reform town halls scheduled by Alaska’s representatives in an August 9 Facebook post.  While it wasn’t a reversal of her previous post, it was a tacit admission that her rhetoric, at least in part, added fuel to the thuggish nonsense displayed by the right-wing at town hall discussions elsewhere.

Then she did something remarkably dense.  Sarah Palin, following the above mentioned comments from Sen. Grassley, declared victory against the dreaded death panel legislation within her August 13 post:

I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200). It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones.

Forget for a moment that Sarah Palin had, to put it kindly, a questionable record as Governor of Alaska when it came to elder care.  Her above assertion displays a profound ignorance, not only of the present health care reform debate, but also of the basic mechanisms of the legislative process.

First, the Senate Finance Committee has nothing to do with HR 3200.  The “HR” is for House of Representatives, of course, and HR 3200 is but one of five health care bills being considered by that body.  Second, there is a Senate bill being considered by the Finance Committee, however both Houses of Congress are presently in recess.  They are not presently “removing” provisions, or adding them for that matter.

Finally, Palin’s suggestion that the “provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation,” is simply another fear tactic.  One she likely learned from her new mentor:  Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich’s Hypocrisy:

Gingrich is supposed to be the conservative with the most formidable intellectual chops; yet, when he attempted to defend Palin’s comments on ABC’s August 9 broadcast of This Week, he complained about the bill’s length.  “The bill is a thousand pages of setting up mechanisms,” he said. “You are asking us to trust turning power over to the government, when there are clearly people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards.”

Sounds scary, right?  However, consider the former House Speaker’s own words from a July 2, 2009 article at The Washington Post:

More than 20 percent of all Medicare spending occurs in the last two months of life. Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin has developed a successful end-of-life, best practice that combines: 1) community-wide advance care planning, where 90 percent of patients have advance directives; 2) hospice and palliative care; and 3) coordination of services through an electronic medical record. The Gundersen approach empowers patients and families to control and direct their care. The Dartmouth Health Atlas has documented that Gundersen delivers care at a 30 percent lower rate than the national average ($18,359 versus $25,860). If Gundersen’s approach was used to care for the approximately 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who die every year, Medicare could save more than $33 billion a year.

The emphasis added to the above — again, they are Gingrich’s words — describes, in general terms, what the current health care legislation-in-progress is designed to do.  It is the same idea for reform.  It is the same proposal which Sen. Grassley told his constituents they were right to fear, that Sarah Palin claimed victory for killing, and Newt Gingrich thought was such a good idea just a few short months ago.

Reasons For Optimism:

The “death panel” talking point has absolutely no basis in fact.  It is a false argument, and its success is contingent upon fear:  frightening the oldest among us into thinking their country wants to kill them.  (Wow!  I had to wash my hands after typing the preceding sentence…  Stay classy, conservatives).

The hypocrisy, fear mongering, and intellectual dishonesty described above have been employed by conservatives for years.  They are the same cynical strategies that have been employed in the fight against health care reform since the Truman administration.   They are also the same tactics that were employed against Obama during the 2008 campaign.  Obama’s election, then, is proof positive that this cynicism can be defeated.

Progressive advocates for health care, myself included, and members of the punditocracy have been highly critical of the president for pursuing this reform agenda in an bipartisan fashion.  As Thom Hartmann often says, “We have to hope that Obama is playing chess and not checkers,” with this contentious issue.  Without going into further detail, Obama doesn’t strike me as a checkers man.

In closing, it is important to note that, while optimism for health care reform is warranted, complacency is not.  Tell your representatives you want meaningful reform by signing this petition:  Support Historic Health Care Bill

The link above will take you to a petition on Care 2 site. Please take a couple minutes to take action now!

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Hit List — US Targets 50 Taliban-Linked Drug Traffickers to Capture or Kill

ISAF commander congratulates Ministry of Interior for likely worA congressional study released Tuesday reveals that US military forces occupying Afghanistan have placed 50 drug traffickers on a “capture or kill” list. The list of those targeted for arrest or assassination had previously been reserved for leaders of the insurgency aimed at driving Western forces from Afghanistan and restoring Taliban rule. The addition of drug traffickers to the hit list means the US military will now be capturing or killing criminal — not political or military — foes without benefit of warrant or trial.

The policy was announced earlier this year, when the US persuaded reluctant NATO allies to come on board as it began shifting its Afghan drug policy from eradication of peasant poppy fields to trying to interdict opium and heroin in transit out from the country. But it is receiving renewed attention as the fight heats up this summer, and the release of the report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has brought the policy under the spotlight.

The report, Afghanistan’s Narco War: Breaking the Link between Drug Traffickers and Insurgents, includes the following highlights:

•Senior military and civilian officials now believe the Taliban cannot be defeated and good government in Afghanistan cannot be established without cutting off the money generated by Afghanistan’s opium industry, which supplies more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin and generates an estimated $3 billion a year in profits.

•As part of the US military expansion in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has assigned US troops a lead role in trying to stop the flow of illicit drug profits that are bankrolling the Taliban and fueling the corruption that undermines the Afghan government. Simultaneously, the United States has set up an intelligence center to analyze the flow of drug money to the Taliban and corrupt Afghan officials, and a task force combining military, intelligence and law enforcement resources from several countries to pursue drug networks linked to the Taliban in southern Afghanistan awaits formal approval.

•On the civilian side, the administration is dramatically shifting gears on counternarcotics by phasing out eradication efforts in favor of promoting alternative crops and agriculture development. For the first time, the United States will have an agriculture strategy for Afghanistan. While this new strategy is still being finalized, it will focus on efforts to increase agricultural productivity, regenerate the agribusiness sector, rehabilitate watersheds and irrigation systems, and build capacity in the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock.

While it didn’t make the highlights, the following passage bluntly spells out the lengths to which the military is prepared to go to complete its new anti-drug mission: “In a dramatic illustration of the new policy, major drug traffickers who help finance the insurgency are likely to find themselves in the crosshairs of the military. Some 50 of them are now officially on the target list to be killed or captured.”

Or, as one US military officer told the committee staff: “We have a list of 367 ‘kill or capture’ targets, including 50 nexus targets who link drugs and insurgency.”

ISAF commander congratulates Ministry of Interior for likely wor

burning of captured Afghanistan hashish cache, world record size, 2008 (from nato.int)US military commanders argue that the killing of civilian drug trafficking suspects is legal under their rules of engagement and the international law. While the exact rules of engagement are classified, the generals said “the ROE and the internationally recognized Law of War have been interpreted to allow them to put drug traffickers with proven links to the insurgency on a kill list, called the joint integrated prioritized target list.”

Not everyone agrees that killing civilian drug traffickers in a foreign country is legal. The UN General Assembly has called for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. In a 2007 report, the International Harm Reduction Association identified the resort to the death penalty for drug offenses as a violation of the UN Charter and Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

“What was striking about the news coverage of this this week was that the culture of US impunity is so entrenched that nobody questioned or even mentioned the fact that extrajudicial murder is illegal under international law, and presumably under US law as well,” said Steve Rolles of the British drug reform group Transform. “The UK government could never get away with an assassination list like this, and even when countries like Israel do it, there is widespread condemnation. Imagine the uproar if the Afghans had produced a list of US assassination targets on the basis that US forces in Afghanistan were responsible for thousands of civilian casualties.”

Rolles noted that while international law condemns the death penalty for drug offenses, the US policy of “capture or kill” doesn’t even necessarily contemplate trying offenders before executing them. “This hit list is something different,” he argued. “They are specifically calling for executions without any recourse to trial, prosecution, or legal norms. Whilst a ‘war’ can arguably create exceptions in terms of targeting ‘enemy combatants,’ the war on terror and war on drugs are amorphous concepts apparently being used to create a blanket exemption under which almost any actions are justified, whether conventionally viewed as legal or not — as recent controversies over torture have all too clearly demonstrated.”

But observers on this side of the water were more sanguine. “This is arguably no different from US forces trying to capture or kill Taliban leaders,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on drugs, security, and insurgencies at the Brookings Institution. “As long as you are in a war context and part of your policy is to immobilize the insurgency, this is no different,” she said.

“This supposedly focuses on major traffickers closely aligned to the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” said Ted Galen Carpenter, a foreign policy analyst for the Cato Institute. “That at least is preferable to going around destroying the opium crops of Afghan farmers, but it is still a questionable strategy,” he said.

But even if they can live with hit-listing drug traffickers, both analysts said the success of the policy would depend on how it is implemented. “The major weakness of this new initiative is that it is subject to manipulation — it creates a huge incentive for rival traffickers or people who simply have a quarrel with someone to finger that person and get US and NATO forces to take him out,” said Carpenter, noting that Western forces had been similarly played in the recent past in Afghanistan. “You’ll no doubt be amazed by the number of traffickers who are going to be identified as Taliban-linked. Other traffickers will have a vested interest in eliminating the competition.”

“This is better than eradication,” agreed Felbab-Brown, “but how effective it will be depends to a large extent on how it’s implemented. There are potential pitfalls. One is that you send a signal that the best way to be a drug trafficker is to be part of the government. There needs to be a parallel effort to go after traffickers aligned with the government,” she said.

“A second pitfall is with deciding the purpose of interdiction,” Felbab-Brown continued. “This is being billed as a way to bankrupt the Taliban, but I am skeptical about that, and there is the danger that expectations will not be met. Perhaps this should be focused on limiting the traffickers’ power to corrupt and coerce the state.”

Another danger, said Felbab-Brown, is if the policy is implemented too broadly. “If the policy targets low-level traders even if they are aligned with the Taliban or targets extensive networks of trafficking organizations and ends up arresting thousands of people, its disruptive effects may be indistinguishable from eradication at the local level. That would be economically hurting populations the international community is trying to court.”

Felbab-Brown pointed to the Colombian and Mexican examples to highlight another potential pitfall for the policy of targeting Taliban-linked traffickers. “Such operations could end up allowing the Taliban to take more control over trafficking, as in Colombia after the Medellin and Cali cartels were destroyed, where the FARC and the paramilitaries ended up becoming major players,” she warned. “Or like Mexico, where the traffickers have responded by fighting back against the state. This could add another dimension to the conflict and increase the levels of violence.”

The level of violence is already at its highest level since the US invasion and occupation nearly eight years ago. Last month was the bloodiest month of the war for Western troops, with 76 US and NATO soldiers killed. As of Wednesday, another 28 have been killed this month.

Health Care!

Michael —

It seems like the 1993 health care debate all over again. Back then, I led the charge for comprehensive health insurance reform. I fought tooth and nail to get it done, keenly aware that millions of Americans were living in fear that a serious illness or injury could spell economic disaster for their families. Americans needed health care reform then and we urgently need it now.

But, just as I did in 1993, President Obama has run into a buzz saw of special interest opposition to his top domestic policy priority — health care reform. He is facing off against some of the most powerful special interests in Washington who’ve launched a furious campaign to preserve the status quo.

Simply put, they’re at it again. That’s why I’m calling on you to stand with President Obama and the DCCC in fighting for change right now. The DCCC is united in their Health Care Reform Now campaign and is trying to raise $250,000 in grassroots donations before their deadline at midnight tonight.

Contribute $5, $10, or more tonight before our deadline at MIDNIGHT and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Legislation that would lower health care costs for everyone, improve the quality of care, preserve choice and provide more coverage options for American families was introduced in the House last month – just as Speaker Pelosi promised.

But a U.S. health care system that makes quality care affordable for everyone is going to take a lot of hard work from all of us.

Your immediate response is essential because Republicans are waging a fierce assault on President Obama’s health care initiative and on Democratic Members of Congress fighting to reform health care now.

Contribute $5, $10, or more tonight before our deadline at MIDNIGHT and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Republicans have made a political calculation that they’d rather attack Congressional Democrats with sound bites and misleading characterizations of the President’s health care reform plan than work on behalf of the American people.

It’s up to us to prevent the Republican Party and their special interest backers from doing whatever they can to prevent this historic opportunity to make quality health care affordable and accessible to all.

Please make your next contribution to the DCCC a generous one…and please be sure to give before midnight tonight.

Thank you,
Bill Clinton
P.S. Remember that any size contribution you can make to the DCCC will be matched dollar-for-dollar. So, if you are able, now is an ideal time to step up your support of President Obama’s change agenda.

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Obama Health Reform: good for me!

I dont know why Republicans are pushing so hard to kill this. They are simply causing more problems and further loss and waste. Republicans like the system the way it is, afterall it is their system of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. To say the least its a foolish wasteful system that simply does nothing for me.

I listened to the live tele broadcast from start to finish and can say the main thing I like about the plan is that it cancels the “policy” of pre-existing conditions. It guarantees that no one will ever get canceled because of any health concerns. This plan addresses the millions of people just like me who cant get any insurance.

I have never been able to get insurance in my life. Everytime I have to go to the hospital it comes straight from my pocket. If I dont have it all I am forced to another lifetime of payments. This is money that does not go into the economy.

If you like your insurance provider and your doctors you never have to change a thing. This reform is strictly for the people who need it like me. I suggest if you want reform you tell your Congressman today! Right now we need all the support we can get.