Before the 1970s, Democrats were full of confidence when pushing for federal programs. Indeed, 44 years ago this week, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation that created Medicare and Medicaid. The event took place at Harry Truman's presidential library in Independence, Missouri.
Sitting beside the 81-year-old former president, Johnson announced: "No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years."
The program succeeded. Government worked. Before Medicare started, only about 50 percent of Americans who were 65 or older possessed hospital coverage. Within five years of the program's creation, 97 percent of the elderly had hospital coverage. The same changes occurred with physician's coverage. Today, more than 40 million elderly Americans rely on the program -- as do their families who don't have to take responsibility for these costs.
In a national Commonwealth Fund survey, elderly Medicare beneficiaries reported greater overall satisfaction with their health coverage, better access to care, and fewer problems paying medical bills than people covered by employer-sponsored plans. The findings bolster the argument that offering a public insurance plan similar to Medicare to the under-65 population has the potential to improve access and reduce costs.
And another BIG GOVERNMENT program that works BETTER than private for-profit healthcare is the SOCIALIST Veteran's Administration!
Boy the right-wing lie machine is kicking into high gear to stop real health care reform!
The latest right-wing talking point is that the Democratic healthcare plan will force seniors to see a counselor about how to to end their lives! Obama and the Democrats want to KILL old people! Of course it is all a LIE:
---- All the right-wing LIES are paying off since the public is not turning against Obama's Healthcare Plan. The Obama administration and Democrats have allowed the opponents to dominate the public debate, and the media have been accomplices in silencing single-payer advocates and focusing on the conservative opposition and their propaganda against any public healthcare plan.
The lobbyists for the "health care" industry (insurance companies, etc.) are winning the fight on health care "reform." They have successfully put off Congressional action for months, giving them more time to kill any serious health care reform, especially any public option" for consumers to choose instead of their expensive insurance plans.
We are gong to have to fight like hell for a SINGLE-PAYER national health care plan now! Obama's watered-down weakened "public option" plan is dead. The conservative Democrats are siding with the Republicans against any serious reform. Now is the time to push for a real universal health care plan, which will cost less and cover everyone!
It's really mind-boggling how Obama and the Democrats in Congress have screwed up "healthcare reform." Because they ruled out the cheapest, most efficient and effective plan (single-payer, medicare for all), and have been compromising with Republicans and "Blue-Dog" Democrats, there isn't much "reform" and little "change" in the plan making it's way through Congress. The health care lobbyists have killed universal health care again.
Obama's healthcare "reform" is falling far short of the "CHANGE" he campaigned on. Instead of leading a fight for a single-payer public health insurance program, Obama and the Democrats are proposing minor "reforms" to the current for-profit health care system that will not insure everyone, and will not control costs. The main driving force in the rising costs of healthcare and the lack of universal coverage are the profit-making private insurance companies, which keep raising premiums and deductibles, while denying full coverage, while giving $million bonuses to their CEOs.
The only viable solution to the healthcare crisis is a single-payer system, and socialized medicine. Take the profit out of healthcare!
Tennessee GOP state Sen. Paul Stanley, the architect of that state's failed ban on gay adoption, went to the authorities to complain that the husband of his mistress, an intern, was blackmailing him. Stanley was the chief architect of a bill to ban gay couples from adopting children in Tennessee.
Sen. Paul Stanley Resigns from Powerful Committee State Sen. Stanley has resigned today as chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee in the wake of allegations that he was the target of a blackmail attempt that linked the senator to an alleged relationship with his 22-year-old legislative intern.
President Obama gave a stirring emotional speech to the NAACP today at the 100th convention of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S.
Obama expanded his message of equal rights beyond the black communities. He said many Americans still face discrimination. Racism, he said, is felt "by African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."
He wasn't booed, and got a lot of applause, so at least the African-Americans at the NAACP understand that racism is not the only form of discrimination and African-Americans are not the only group fighting for their civil rights. He was echoing the words of MLK, that injustice against anyone is an injustice against all.
Well, not everyone understand MLK's vision of civil rights. Some still think that "civil rights" = BLACK rights.
Many of us are perplexed by LZ Granderson's column on CNN today, Gay is Not the New Black Black gays are not upset with Obama's lack of progress on his campaign promises to LGBT people, so gay whites should not attack Obama? Gay rights should not be compared to (black) civil rights?
Hopefully President Obama will not wait until he's out of office to say he supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
Speaking of flip-flops, Obama is still making excuses for NOT repealing the other legacy of Bill Clinton, the military's anti-gay Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Obama talks about "changing" DADT, not REPEALING it.
Happy Birthday to Woody Guthrie, the original folk hero, born July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma, who through the 30s and 40s rode the rails and blasted the bosses and spoke his radical, eloquent mind. He left behind three wives, eight children and perhaps a thousand timeless songs, like "This Land Is Your Land". He was a major influence on other music legends including Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Like me, he was a socialist Okie from Oklahoma.
The insurance companies are ratcheting up their propaganda campaign against a single-payer universal public insurance program, or even a public option in the healthcare "reform" being debated in Congress.
Everyone should read and watch what former insurance company insider Wendell Porter says about the lies of the insurance companies:
Socialist Sherry Wolf has written a great book, Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation, laying out a socialist analysis of gay oppression and liberation. She lays out the roots of LGBT oppression, the construction of sexual and gender identities, the history of the gay movement, and a socialist vision to unite all oppressed and exploited groups to win sexual liberation for all. She analyzes different theories of oppression, including Marxism, postmodernism, identity politics, and queer theory, and challenges the myths about genes, gender and sexuality.
Like a lot of my own research and writings, she challenges both biological and environmental determinism, exposing the myth of the "gay gene". Sexual liberation, including LGBT liberation, requires a radical theorization of the social construction of gender and sexuality, as well as a radical political movement to challenge capitalism.
Chapters include: The Roots of LGBT Oppression, The Birth of Gay Identity, The Myth of Marxist Homophobia, Whatever Happened to Gay Liberation, and Sexual Liberation for All!
Sexuality and Socialism is a good starting point for a new LGBT Liberation movement.
The lawsuit argues that DOMA's definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman infringes on the right of states to recognize same-sex marriages. Will the Obama DOJ defend DOMA again? This could get interesting...
There was some non-Michael Jackson news this week!
I've been working late and have been too tired to blog much this week.. but here's some things to keep your eye on:
The healthcare battle is heating up! The "healthcare" (sic) lobby is spending something like $124 million a week to kill a public health insurance program. Contact your Senators and Representatives and demand the choice of a public health insurance plan! (See the Healthcare for America Now link on the right to take action!)
V.P. Biden said that the Obama administration did not realize how bad the economic situation was. Didn't they read Paul Krugman and other progressive economists who warned that the economic stimulus was not going to be enough? Things are not looking good on the economic front, and if the unemployment rate (already at a 26 year high of 9.5%) keeps going up, it could be a real problem for the Democrats in 2010, and Obama in 2012! (I fear that the Democrats will be taking the blame for the Bush-Republican Great Recession.)
Rep. Patrick Murphy, an Iraq Vet, is leading the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He was on Rachel Maddow tonight and was very impressive. He is the right person to lead the fight!
There was a right-wing coup in Honduras which ran the democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya, out of the country and will not even let his plane land. Of course, since the ousted President was a LEFTIST, the American media was pretty silent on the situation, while conservative Republicans sided with the coup leaders! Guess right-wingers don't really care about democracy!
I'll have more to say on these and other issues in the next few days.. stay tuned!
The Wasilla Dingbat gave another bizarre statement to the press trying to explain why she made such an erratic move, raising more questions than answers. There are many rumors of another "iceberg scandal" coming, and people close to her claim she is out of politics. Or is she really dumb enough to think she has a shot at becoming president in 2012?
Of course, Palin's lack of any qualification to be President, her lack of intellectual ability, and her poor job performance as Gov. of Alaska, don't keep the penis-hating, vagina-loving right-wing "Feminists" at Tennessee Guerilla Women from defending the anti-feminist, religious fanatic from the "women-hating" liberal media....Never mind that Palin had more support from anti-feminist conservative MEN than from women!
(The TGW blog sounds more and more like a Phyllis Schafly Eagle Forum Newsletter!)
Seaman Provost of Houston, Texas, reportedly complained to his family that was he being harassed; his sister told a local newspaper that they’d advised him to tell his supervisor. If Provost revealed his sexuality, however, he could have been discharged from the armed services.
The news comes on the heels of the military’s recommended discharge of gay Arabic translator Daniel Choi, and discontent within the gay community about the Obama Administration’s actions on gay rights. President Obama says he will not stop the military discharges, which have resulted in the expulsion of more than 250 servicemembers since he was inaugurated in January.
A spokesman for a group that provides legal counseling to gays in and out of the military said the federal law that mandates discharging gay servicemembers certainly didn’t help.
“While ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ is in place, anybody in the military who is a homosexual has no place to go to get assistance or counseling,” Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s Ben Gomez told the San Diego Union Tribune.
Will Obama and the Democrats fulfill their promise to repeal DADT, or continue to play political football with the lives of gay soldiers and the security of the United States?
While Obama can and should be doing more to get DADT repealed, it is up to Congress to repeal the law. People, especially many angry gay activists, seem to believe that the President can repeal a law passed by Congress, he cannot. In 1993, Congress took away President Bill Clinton's ability to issue an executive order to end the anti-gay policy. Obama cannot just issue an executive order to repeal DADT, CONGRESS has to pass a law to repeal it. Civics 101 folks!
Obama may be able to change some things about how the policy is implemented, maybe even hold further discharges pending some investigation or based on national securuity, but he cannot repeal the law that CONGRESS made!