Liberalism lost its greatest living voice today--Sen. Ted Kennedy. He was a champion of the poor, civil rights, women, labor and gay rights, and universal health care. It is a great loss to the struggle to move the Democratic Party back to it's progressive base, but the struggle for social justice lives on...
The medical-industrial complex and their partners in the corporate media are pressuring Obama to kill the "single-payer" solution to the U.S. health care crisis and replace it with either a "public option" or, more likely, some kind of "co-op" exchange. Neither of these will solve the health care crisis. Neither will provide 100% universal health insurance for every U.S. citizen. Neither will control skyrocketing medical costs.
Progressives must FIGHT against these weak "reform" alternatives and push for a single-payer, public health insurance program (MEDICARE FOR ALL).
At a Barney Frank town hall meeting in Dartmouth, MA, a constituent asks, "Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?"
Frank responds: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He then calls her approach "vile, contemptible nonsense." He closes by saying: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."
The number of deliberate attacks against homosexual men in Iraq has risen precipitously this year at the hands of Iraqi militias and death squads, according to a report released today by an international human rights organization.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed nearly 50 gay Iraqi men for the report, publishing their harrowing stories about the crackdown on gays and documenting the wide-reaching campaign of targeted executions, kidnappings, abductions, death threats and torture of gay men and men suspected of homosexual conduct.
The 67-page report, entitled "They Want Us Exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," says the killings have spread from the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City to many cities across the Middle East country, with Baghdad experiencing the most severe "killing campaign." Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred men have died from homosexual targeted attacks.
HRW says Iraqi police and security forces have done little to investigate or quell the violence against Iraqi homosexuals and many Iraqis doubt the government's sincerity and success to purge key officials with militia ties. According to the report, no arrests or prosecutions have been announced and the human rights watchdog says it has heard of accounts of police complicity in abuse, which ranges from harassing "effeminate" men at checkpoints, to possible abduction and extrajudicial killing.
"Iraq's leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate, said HRW's Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program, in a statement. "Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi."
The men interviewed by HRW described how corpses have been dumped in the garbage or hung as warnings on the street. According to testimonies, the attackers invaded homes, abducted men and interrogated and brutalized them to extract names of other people suspected of homosexual conduct. The doctors who spoke with HRW researchers said they have found mutilated bodies with their anuses glued shut.
HRW says many of the Iraqis interviewed in the report believe the Mahdi Army, the militia led by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite religious cleric, bears primary responsibility for the murders and spearheaded the killings earlier this year. Mahdi Army spokesmen have "promoted fears about the 'third sex' and the 'feminization' of Iraq men, suggesting that militia action was the remedy," according to the report.
Iraqi men who have acclimated to Western fashion trends are viewed as less "manly" and often singled out as homosexuals by religious and militia groups. Iraqi men who wear their hair long, shave their facial hair or dress in tight, fitted clothing become targets by religious militias. Cafes and barbershops once frequented by homosexuals have also come under attack. According to Hamid, an Iraqi interviewed in the report, murderers and thieves are respected more than gay people.
Consensual homosexual conduct between adults is allowed under Iraqi law but illegal in all countries surrounding Iraq except Jordan and Turkey. Islam forbids homosexuality. HRW says the targeted killings were committed without evidence or trial.
Iraqi homosexuals did not live in fear or feel forced to leave their homes and villages when former president Saddam Hussein ruled the country, says Hossein Alizadeh of International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Homosexual men faced death threats and warnings after the 2003 U.S. invasion, Alizadeh said, because Saddam's ouster left power vacuums for religious militias.
After taking a lot of heat for it's attempt to DEFEND the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama Administration DOJ now says it is unfair to gays and should be repealed, though they still have to defend it as current federal law.
The Democratic Party has been bought off by the Insurance Companies, and the rest of the "health care" industry. They killed the most popular, most efficient and in Obama's own words, the ONLY way to get UNIVERSAL health care (Single-Payer, Medicare for ALL), and now they are dropping the watered-down "Public Option"..
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes. On his blog, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the numbers "truly amazing."
Though income inequality has been growing for some time, the paper paints a stark, disturbing portrait of wealth distribution in America. Saez calculates that in 2007 the top .01 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.
As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"
Beginning in the economic expansion of the early 1990s, Saez argues, the economy began to favor the top tiers American earners, but much of the country missed was left behind. "The top 1 percent incomes captured half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2007," Saes writes.
Despite a rising stock market, largely growing employment and a historic housing boom things were not nearly so rosy for the rest of U.S. workers. This trend, according to Saez, only accelerated during the George W. Bush's tenure as President:
"...while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.7 percent per year from 1993-2000, these incomes grew only 1.3 percent per year from 2002-2007. As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth."
I am now officially DISGUSTED with Obama and the Democratic Party. According to the NYT, the Obama administration and the Democrats in the Senate have cut deals with the insurance, drug companies and hospital industries to (a) not push single-payer public health care (b) minimize the costs of their companies for “health insurance reform” in exchange for their support (including and ad campaign supporting the final bill, which will NOT even have a “public option”).
The RIGHT has picked up what many of us fawning over Obama missed in his townhall meeting—Obama is now campaigning AGAINST a single-payer universal health care plan (contradicting his own past statements, including his last press conference where he ADMITTED that only a single-payer plan could provide UNIVERSAL coverage.) Obama is now using the right-wing talking points against a single-payer plan. The “public Option” is not going to be in the final bill, it is already being cut out in the Senate, because of the deals being made behind the scene with the insurance companies. WE’VE BEEN SOLD OUT. This is what happens when Democrats, who claim to support progressive values like universal healthcare, do NOT stand for those principles, and cave in to corporate interests for campaign donations.
Not only are progressive-liberals having second thoughts about Obama, so are gays and lesbians. This week's Advocate has a cover story on the gap between Obama's campaign promises to LGBT voters and his record so far.
The new issue of Rolling Stone has a cover story on "Obama So Far" contrasting the bold candidate Obama vs. the compromising President Obama. He certainly has not delivered "Change We Can Believe In" yet... And time is critical to turn things around. The center-piece of the Obama economic plan, health care "reform" is not very promising. This may indeed be Obama's "Waterloo" and here's why the Democrats are going to be in deep trouble:
The right-wing nuts were out here in Memphis today to "protest" at a Townhall meeting by our 9th Dist. Rep. Steve Cohen on healthcare. Most were not from the 9th District, but from other conservative districts around Memphis. As they have across the nation, they chanted and yelled all the same right-wing lies and talking points. They were rude and wouldn't allow anyone to talk or present opposing facts.
Here are some sites to bookmark and use to counter these debunked LIES:
My question is why are right-wing protesters, many old, able to mobilize large protests and the liberal/progressives cannot counter them? What happened to the "radical" protesters of the 1960s and 1970s? Why are the liberals being so polite and quiet and allowing the right-wing to KILL not only a single-payer insurance system, but even a weak "public option"?
An inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act is now on the move in the U.S. Senate. Long-time sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced the bill today along with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The Human Rights Campaign launched a lobby effort today to muster support for the legislation, asking supporters to send e-mails to their senators urging their support. The e-mail notes that, in 29 states, there is no law to prevent an employer from firing someone because he or she is gay and, in 38 states, no law to prohibit an employer from firing someone for being transgender.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task, the first national gay political organization to push for a federal law to prohibit job discrimination against gays, in 1974, said it hopes the stated support of President Obama will “play a role in assisting with [the bill's] swift passage in both the House and the Senate.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is the lead sponsor of the ENDA bill introduced in the House in June, said he is optimistic about its chances of passing that chamber. But he expressed less optimism about reaching a new political threshold of 60 votes in the Senate. The bill needs only 51 votes to pass, but the Democratic majority has sought to ensure 60 votes before bringing legislation to the floor in order, they say, to ward off any filibuster attempts.
A form of ENDA without gender identity passed the House in the last session of Congress but engendered so much opposition for omitting gender identity that it was never brought up in the Senate.
The ENDA bills introduced in the House and Senate this year both seek to prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Current federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability.
The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA's governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called "reparative therapy" which seeks to change sexual orientation.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its comprehensive report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where the association's annual meeting is being held this weekend.
The medical-insurance corporate profiteers are launching an all-out guerilla war on serious health care reform.
Unable to pass health care reform before their August recess, Democrats in Congress have allowed the insurance companies an d anti-reform lobbyists to expand their campaign of lies against a public option for health insurance. Anti-reform groups, like "Conservatives for Patients Rights" (led by former insurance executive Rick Scott) have teamed up with the anti-Obama right-wing "tea-baggers" to sabotage the townhall meetings being held by Democratic representatives during the August recess.
Israelis Rally After 2 Murdered at Gay Youth Center (Tel Aviv, Israel) Reeling from the worst attack ever aimed at homosexuals in Israel, members of the country’s gay community and their supporters rallied Sunday in the heart of Tel Aviv a day after a masked gunman killed two people at a center for gay youth and escaped.
Less Than Half of Republicans Believe Obama Was Born in the U.S. Only 42 percent of Republican respondents in a Research 2000 survey, conducted for the liberal website Daily Kos, said they thought Obama was a natural born citizen; 28 percent said they did not believe Obama was born in the United States; 30 percent said they were not sure.
In other words, MOST REPUBLICANS do not even believe Obama is legally qualified to be President of the United States!