19 aug. 2009

Grandma Unplugged

Another Wild Conspiracy Theory
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has attempted to clarify his comments on end-of-life care meaning the government could "pull the plug on grandma." He says he never used the phrase "death panel," but that there is the "possibility of unintended consequences" from the health care bill.

His full statement:

"I've said for a long time and repeated last week that we all ought to consider how we want to be treated if we are struck by an incapacitating illness, and that advanced care planning is a good thing to do. As far as legislation goes, it's not the case that provisions in the Pelosi health care reform bill this year are just like provisions Congress passed in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. I've never called the Pelosi provisions a 'death panel.' The issue is whether end-of-life provisions should be part of legislation that's about controlling health care spending, and which also creates a government-run health care program, as the Pelosi bill does. Doing so escalates concerns about the rationing of health care, since government-run plans in other countries ration to control spending. Putting end-of-life consultations alongside cost containment and government-run health care causes legitimate concern. This context and the details of this year's proposal are different than the 2003 legislation, which covers advice from specialized physicians outside of any larger effort to control spending on health care. It's not fair to Americans who are asking questions to gloss over those facts and, in fact, end-of-life provisions haven't been part of ongoing Senate Finance Committee discussions as a result of those realities and the possibility of unintended consequences. On this subject and others, it's important that the debate is fair-minded and based on an accurate representation of the issues involved."

But Greg Sargent points out that Grassley's spokesperson walked back the whole claim in a comment to the Washington Post.

Grassley says he opposes that counseling as written in the House version of the bill, but a spokesman said the senator does not think the House provision would in fact give the government such authority in deciding when and how people die. The House bill allows patients to decide for themselves if they would like such counseling.

16 aug. 2009

Summer of Hate

To believe that Obama's Health Care Reform is on the way to evoke an American holocaust you may also know who sponsors such accusations. Rachel Maddow has the story.

This week saw a rising threat of violence from America's right-wing militias and underground hate groups. John Avlon tallies 25 signs of trouble brewing.

Hate is a cheap and easy recruiting tool, but it can be murder on a democracy.

As Tea Partiers hijack town halls and Democrats deploy counteroffensives, we are seeing hyperpartisanship proliferate in what was supposed to be the post-partisan age of Obama.

For those who see politics as an ideological blood sport, this is a victory—the triumph of cynical experience over hope. For the Obama administration, it’s a setback from its aim to change the tone in Washington by building a broad governing coalition on the momentum of its election win. This rupture is in part a reaction to a liberal triumphalism that has resisted attempts at substantive policy outreach, but more forcefully a resistance on the part of the far right by folks who want to deny the legitimacy of President Obama’s election by any means necessary.

The increasing heat of the chatter this summer should be a cold wakeup call. We are courting a season of violence in America.

And so wingnuts are on the march across the country; armed with the loss of perspective that comes with hyperpartisanship, they demonize and dehumanize their political opponents. With their unhinged armies focused solely on faction, it’s the country we should be most concerned about. There is nothing more American than civil disobedience, but uncivil disobedience and hate-fueled politics becomes a cancer that can consume our body politic.

Summer is when violence erupts, murders spike and cities burn down. There always seems to be an August surprise that changes the political calculus overnight in unwelcome ways. Just Wednesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report saying Timothy McVeigh-style militia groups are on the rise, fueled by the stress of a bad economy and a liberal administration led by a black president.

In the nine weeks since Kansas Dr. George Tiller was murdered in a church, allegedly by antiabortion activist Scott Roeder, we’ve seen a serious serial degradation in our civic discourse, pumped up by professional polarizers in the media and politics. In the world of counterterrorism, this could be considered the equivalent of increased “chatter”—indicators of an increased likelihood of attack. In this case, the chatter is proliferating across the Internet, trickling down to a motley crew of unhinged activists. We don’t know where this will end, or what hot August surprise may be in store. Below is a partial tally of the hate-fueled chatter in our summer to date.


• Abdulhakim Muhammad, a Muslim convert from Arkansas, was arrested for shootings outside an Army recruiting station in Little Rock that killed Private William Long and wounded another solider. He told police that “he was mad at the U.S. military because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.”

• Orange Country (Calif.) Pastor Wiley Drake—the 2008 vice-presidential nominee of Alan Keyes and the first plaintiff in Orly Taitz’s “birther” lawsuits—announced that he was praying for the death of “the usurper that is in the White House…B. Hussein Obama.”

• Former Rep. Tom Tancredo weighed in on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor by characterizing the Hispanic civil-rights organization La Raza as “nothing more than a … Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”

• Liberal cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall called on President Obama to resign because he has not been liberal enough, writing: “With Democrats Like Him, Who Needs Dictators?...Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.”

• Playboy.com posted a list of the top 10 conservative women “we hate to love”—complete with a “hate-fuck” rating.

• Former South Carolina State Election Commissioner Rusty DePass posted a comment on Facebook saying that a missing gorilla from a local zoo was related to first lady Michelle Obama.

• Eighty-eight-year-old white supremacist James Von Brunn attacked Washington’s Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.

• Ann Coulter weighed in on George Tiller’s murder on The O’Reilly Factor, saying, “I don’t really like to think of it as murder…It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.”


• Audra Shay is elected chairman of the Young Republicans after it is revealed by The Daily Beast that she not only laughed at a supporter’s racist online comments about Obama but that her Web posts are littered with comments that the president is “anti-American,” as in: “I think that you are ignorant if you believe this man is anything but anti-American.”

• U.S. Army reserve major Stefan Frederick Cook refuses deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that President Obama might not be a natural-born citizen and therefore constitutionally ineligible to be considered commander in chief.

• In Paris, Texas, a riot breaks out between the KKK, neo-Nazis, and the New Black Panthers.

• Glenn Beck announces that in addition to putting America on a road to socialism that will lead to communism, the president has “a deep-seated hatred for white people” and is a “racist.”

• Republican Rep. Mike Castle’s town-hall meeting becomes the first to be hijacked by the "birthers," as a woman in red screams: “I don’t want this flag to change. I want my country back!” The clip quickly goes viral.

• Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert becomes the ninth Republican member of Congress to co-sponsor the so-called birther bill.


• A Long Island, New York, woman named Nancy Genovese is arrested outside an Air National Guard base with an XM-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and 500 rounds of ammunition in her car. She had cased the base before—apparently in the belief that a FEMA concentration camp was being built there.

• Liberal talk-show host Mike Malloy indulges in an on-air fantasy about Glenn Beck committing suicide and having it become popular viewing on YouTube.

• Grassroots conservative activist Bob MacGuffie circulates a memo urging activists to disrupt town halls using “the [Saul] Alinsky playbook of which the left is so proud: freeze it, attack it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

• Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil is hung in effigy outside his office.

• Protesters against Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd suggest that he commit suicide with whiskey and painkillers as a treatment for his newly diagnosed prostate cancer.

• North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller receives a death threat phoned into his office and cancels his summer town-hall meetings.

• Arizona Rep. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ aides call the cops after one town-hall attendee drops a gun at the event.

• Rep. Brian Baird of Washington State is faxed a death threat addressed to President Obama and declares, “What we’re seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics.”

• Sarah Palin jumps the shark by posting on her Facebook page: “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.”

• Rush Limbaugh compares President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

• A swastika is spray-painted outside the office of Rep. David Scott’s office in Georgia.

The increasing heat of the chatter this summer should be a cold wakeup call. We are courting a season of violence in America. We are eroding our common sense and common decency. By pumping up hyperpartisanship as a means of gaining market share or as a recruitment tool, we are playing with forces that can easily get out of control. We are giving cover—and sometimes a sense of purpose—to the crazy among us.

We have enjoyed a relative period of innocence in American politics. We have been mercifully free of assassination in recent years—even as we have pumped up hyperpartisanship and coarsened our civic dialogue. But we are not immune from the larger cycles of violence that occasionally erupt and shock even the most stable societies in history. 1968 is 40 years and one bad day away. That’s the problem with hate; it ultimately leads to violence.

John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. He writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.


14 aug. 2009

Rachel Maddow Investigates: Behind Looney-Right Obama smears? Think Willie Horton...

Peggy Noonan says: "Obama's health care plan must be terrible because no Republican supports it." Blue Texan reacts on Firedoglake:

Today, Nooners is quite alarmed to discover that the GOP opposes a Democratic President's health care reform.

The Obama White House has done the near impossible: It has united the Republican Party. Social conservatives, economic conservatives, libertarians—they're all against the health-care schemes as presented so far. They're shoulder-to-shoulder at the barricade again.

What? Republicans united against Obama? Unprecedented!

Looking back, a key domestic moment in this presidency occurred only eight days after his inauguration, when Mr. Obama won House passage of his stimulus bill. It was a bad bill—off point, porky and philosophically incoherent. He won 244-188, a rousing victory for a new president. But he won without a single Republican vote.

And just a reminder: when George W. Bush and the GOP were ramming through a $1.25 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, the lack of Democratic support wasn't cause for alarm. It was good.

This is the way it's supposed to be, with division sharp, clear and meaningful. There are two parties, and each believes in different things...It's a choice, not an echo.

Choices are out, echoes are in.

Well Peggy, can't you really get real? Face this:

Some of the currently leading GOP opinions about their democratic elected President

If I was influenced by this gang of patriots I should have to ask some questions:

  1. Isn't it time to stop this dark rook in the White House by assassinating him?
  2. If he's too protected, can't we eliminate all fascist democrats, beginning with gays, abortionists, evolutionists, atheists and liberals until he is the only left over?
  3. Can't we assassinate all the blacks in America and non-white strangers that abort our supreme white culture until he is the only one left, hiding in his bunker, so, that we can frankly rape our daughters without getting AIDS?
  4. Who is "we the people" armed and prepared to defend our Constitution?

This is a strategy to "reclaim the land of the free!"

Yes, this is the strategy of the contemporary Republican Party, proudly and loudly led by Rush Limbaugh and humbly served by "Uncle Tom" Steele.

And are you black and a true believer of the message of Jesus you can strengthen you faith with another "uncle Tom":

That's enough for today, folks.
Thank God, I am an atheist.

Obama's aunt against birthers

Well, you see, one doctor per two hundred thousand citizens in a third world country is more experienced than one doctor per five hundred Americans. That's why it is very wise to give birth in a miserable Kenyan hospital in 1961 and so you can understand that a young white woman goes to that country to give birth to a new POTUS to be elected in 2008. You want he best for your baby, isn't it?
So, she came to spend her student's loan especially all the way to Kenya, where she couldn't contact the family of her husband, because he was without her knowledge already married and not divorced in his fatherland, the English colony under English law, before. Thus, she had nothing else to do than give birth in Africa, alone, far away from family and friends in Hawaii.
Perhaps you will consider that she had a strong motive doing so. Well let's look at the original claim from Philip J. Berg:

Pennsylvania's former deputy attorney general and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter Philip J. Berg has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania accusing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of lying about his U.S. citizenship, which would make him ineligible to be president.
Mr. Berg is one of a faction of Clinton supporters who haven't heeded the party's call for unity, filing the suit just days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate Mr. Obama as the party's presidential candidate.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia last week, also names the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission and says Mr. Obama´s mother went to Kenya late in her pregnancy and ended up giving birth there. It also claims that later in life, Mr. Obama declared himself a citizen of Indonesia.

The Obama campaign has firmly said the Illinois Democrat is a natural-born citizen. Last month, the campaign posted on Mr. Obama's Web site a copy of his "certification of live birth." It says he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, two years after Hawaii was named the 50th state.
Mr. Berg said he was contacted about filing the lawsuit by a member or associate of the group PUMA, which was formed to support Mrs. Clinton shortly after she withdrew from the race. Its mission includes denouncing the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama's nomination. "I really do not believe he is a natural-born citizen," said Mr. Berg, adding that he is not connected with Mrs. Clinton or her campaign.

Just over one-quarter of Clinton supporters say they're now backing Mr. McCain, up from 16 percent in late June, according to a CNN poll conducted after Mr. Obama announced Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., of Delaware, as his running mate. Two-thirds of Clinton supporters are now backing Mr. Obama.
Mrs. Clinton, for her part, encouraged her supporters this week to back Mr. Obama.
"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines," she said during her address to the convention Tuesday.
Mr. Berg, who says he donated about $200 to Mrs. Clinton's campaign, may represent the fringe of the pro-Hillary faction that hasn't warmed to Mr. Obama.

He has filed suits for clients against President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, claiming they knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks before they happened. He also publicly asked Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Sandra Day O'Connor to disbar themselves for their decision in the controversial 2001 case Bush v. Gore.

Mr. Berg has posted documents on his Web site, ObamaCrimes.com, he says back up his claims. But he said he doesn't know where they originated.

Backers of the idea that Mr. Obama isn't a natural-born citizen say Mr. Obama's certification of live birth doesn't quell the issue. They say a certification can be obtained after birth. But the Hawaii State Department of Health said Monday that there is no difference between a certificate and a certification of live birth in the eyes of the state. For instance, either can be used to confirm U.S. citizenship to obtain a passport or state ID, said Alvin Onaka, a research and statistics officer at the Department of Health.
In Hawaii, only the person named on the certificate or his family can request the certificate of live birth.

Several fact-checking groups, such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com have determined that the certification posted on Mr. Obama's Web site is authentic.

Mr. Obama's opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has faced questions about his qualification as a "natural-born citizen" as well.
Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father, a Navy officer, was stationed.
Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general who is advising the McCain campaign, said in February that he's confident Mr. McCain meets the constitutional requirement. Legal scholars say there is no precedent on the subject because all previous presidents have been born within the 50 states or territories that became states.

11 aug. 2009

President Obama Hosts a Health Reform Town Hall in Ohio

President Obama Hosts a Health Reform Town Hall in Ohio from White House on Vimeo.

Obama Proposes Sweeping Changes In Health Care To The American Medical Association

full transcript at http://www.theuptake.org
President Obama gave a landmark, sweeping speech on health care reform to the American Medical Association in Chicago. More so than at any time before, he explained his vision for comprehensive reform that addresses every weak point in our health care system. It is a vision that implements best practices that have allowed some towns and companies to cut costs by as much as half compared to others. It is a vision that makes sure everybody has access to quality, affordable coverage, whether your family hits a rough patch or you have a pre-existing condition. It is a vision in which patients’ and doctors’ interests are aligned. And it is a vision where Americans’ choices of doctors and coverage are maintained, and they also have a choice of a public option that can help keep private insurers honest. It is a vision that focuses on prevention, making sure Americans stay healthy throughout their lives.