We Knew Him When


copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

“We knew him when.”  These are the words countless in cyberspace will offer in January 2009.  As Congressman Jerry Northington, a Democrat from Delaware, is sworn into office, Citizen Journalists throughout numerous net neighborhoods will chortle.  Each of us who recalls when possum was but a blur in the blogosphere will reflect on when we first met the Vietnam veteran, small businessman, family fellow, and sage.

For me, it was so long ago, I do not recall the date exactly.  Jerry, whose real-life name I did not know for months, and I had our first encounter online.  We connected and communed at Daily Kos.  I know not when the Neurological Veterinarian first joined the forum.  However, I did search for his first comment on what some lovingly refer to as DKos.  While the signature is now globally changed, and thus provides a clue to who this marvelous man might be, then, in June 2006, Tuesday the 20th to be exact, the future Congressman Northington was known only as possum.

In a discussion on the Iraq war, military contracts, fraud and waste, our future Representative in the House voiced his sorrow for what he felt and continues to feel is near criminal [my words], or at least an embarrassment.  The veteran, all too familiar with military affairs, wrote a response to Republicans HATE accountability, and voted that way; and withdrawal, by Markos himself.  In this essay, kos informed readers . . .

Republicans defeated a Democratic measure calling for an investigation into waste and fraud in military contracts today as the Senate engaged in an emotional debate over the Iraq war.

By a 52-to-44 vote, the Senate rejected the proposal by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, calling for a panel like the one led by Harry Truman when he was a Senator, which uncovered many abuses in military spending during World War II.

Mr. Dorgan said that military spending is the worst it has ever been “right now — right now! I think the American taxpayers are being fleeced.”

Jerry joined the hundred or so that expressed their shared distress.  As people poured out their hearts, shared personal accounts, and pounded on computer keyboards, possum penned . . .

Both my state senators voted against this bill.  I am truly embarrassed.

The now candidate did not limit his focus to the current wars even before this campaign.  Only weeks after his initial plunge into Internet Discussions possum, addressed the issue of intolerance towards the Jewish population in his home state.  Doctor Northington wrote on Anti-semitism in Delaware.

Discrimination against anyone, man, or animal, disturbs this compassionate Veterinarian.  When his daughter is affected by policies that are problematic, Jerry, the proud papa, bound by far more than blood ,speaks out.  Again, in those early days as Jerry Northington blogged at Daily Kos he offered his views on As profits drop at Aetna, cancer patients & babies face cuts, By nyceve.  The father of one young and financially dependant expresses his frustration . . .

Sadly my stepdaughter has Aetna health

coverage through her father’s work.  We constantly face medical offices refusing to take the insurance.  The list of providers is getting shorter by the day.  Like others, we are looking to move her coverage from Aetna.

Family is very important to possum.  He wrote many a tale of trials and tribulations in his childhood.  Among the earliest reflections he inscribed was The Florida Possum and Politicians.  However, this tome told little of a personal past.  The mere mention of possums in the news prompted our own critter, who is currently destined for Congress, to write a missive.  It was August of the year 2006 when Jerry Northington revealed his thoughts on elections.  Then the focus was on the debacle in the Everglade Sate.

A day before that reflection, the soon-to-be Representative invited us all into his real life.  On August 10, 2006, Jerry Northington exposed more of his history.  Sharing a war tale with strangers.

Sadly, I missed that missive and many more.  I had not yet found the fine fellow who scribed a comment titled It is the little things that count. The gentle words that might have touched my heart so tenderly, had I seen them, now strike a cherished chord.  The potential Congressman, a person of superior insight, spoke of what for me is so meaningful.  Sentimental trinkets remind us of what is very valuable, the persons in our lives.  Jerry Northington shared . . .

We sometimes sleep under an afghan knitted by my mother and a quilt hand made by my grandmother.  [It is]just lovely to think of them at those times.

Tis true.  Our friends, families, and familiars are significant and sweet.  Had I known the presumptive or possible Representative of Delaware then, I would have shared stories of my own memorabilia.  However, I had yet to stumble upon the now Congressional candidate.  It was not until November 2006 that Jerry and I would come into each other’s lives.  

Apparently, I did not respond to the first comment Jerry sent to me in a diary on veterans and their letters.  That perhaps initial introduction occurred on Veterans Day, 2006.  However, within days, long before Jerry considered a run for the House, in possum’s home net neighborhood, we spoke of the electorate.  Women voters were the topic we discussed.  Pleased by possum’s interest in my own essay, I penned by gratitude.

Dearest possum . . .

Your words mean much to me.  I thank you for expressing these thoughts.

I agree; females are not the only group that does not vote.  There are many who do not cast a ballot.  In a non-presidential election year, the majority of the population rarely employs their right.  In America, we are fortunate to have forty percent turnout.

You may enjoy this treatise as well.  It discusses the broader population.  Civics. Activism.  The Cure For Voter Apathy.

Earlier today, I was working on a project needed for the morning.  I discovered that tomorrow is President John Adams date of birth.  I offer his words,

“A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed,

praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows

is one of the earliest,

as well as the keenest dispositions

discovered in the heart of man.”

 ~ John Adams [2nd US President, 1st Vice President]

Later I learned this incredible and kind person was far more than a possum or a Vietnam veteran.  After  many an exchange, Jerry was kind enough to share his essays with readers at my cyberspace home, BeThink.org.  As time marched on, and the two of us developed a friendship, I discovered Doctor Northington was and is a person of true depth.

Even as the days together in our cyberspace communities became months, and a familiarity grew, I knew nothing beyond the fact that possum was interested in education, the environment, health care, any and every issue in a myriad of universal concerns.  When we began to converse in electronic mail, I still had not seen the stranger’s impressive résumé.  It was only after Jerry Northington chose to place his proverbial hat in the ring that I discovered the depth of this man’s background.

Neurological Veterinarian, small businessman, and future Representative Northington has quite a tale to tell.  With each passing day, the news of Jerry Northington offers a more comprehensive picture of the person behind the prose.  Today, we can read of this thoughtful scholar and superior Congressional challenger in the news.  Jerry Northington discusses offshore oil drilling, the space program, and policies such as No Child Left Behind.  We can hear him on the radio.  Perhaps, Jerry will visit a town near you.  Then you can meet the person I finally became acquainted with face-to-face almost a year ago.  You too might have an opportunity to chat with the Congressional hopeful as I have many times now.

I wish to offer but a few chance moments in the present.  Please peruse the links listed below.  Share your thoughts.  Contribute to the campaign if you can.  Please, if you have friends or family who are constituents in Delaware, invite them to consider, and perhaps cast a ballot for Jerry Northington in September and then again in November 2008.  Be among those who can chime in, “We knew him when.”

We refer to him as Jerry, for now . . .

Thirty-Five Years of Hillary Experience. Do We Want Eight More?

Bill Clinton: We Need New Experience in Washington

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Each and everyday we hear the drum beat, the drone of a dynamic Presidential hopeful.  Hillary Clinton howls and hollers; “I have thirty-five years of experience.  Numerous beings question that truth.  Those not in Camp Clinton retort.  Perchance, she might claim she has six decades of familiarity, for indeed, Senator Clinton was first planted on this planet some sixty years ago. 

The esteemed former First Lady wants Americans to believe that her time in the White House was invaluable.  The years she spent in “public service” make her infinitely qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.  At times, it seems the Senator believes she already held this honorable post.  She, with her husband at her side, guided the country.  Bill and Hillary brought prosperity to America.  The two, wish to do so again.  Bill Clinton [affirms] Hillary wants me to restore America’s image.  Citizens are lead to believe, the Clintons can, and will, heal all wounds globally.

Hillary Clinton persuades US, the American electorate, the job of Commander-In-Chief is a challenging one.  Amateurs need not apply.  Hillary knows.  She has been there and done that.  As the Presidential hopeful spoke to the citizens of Iowa, Clinton clamored . . .

“There is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for – our next president.  That could be the costliest job training in history,” Clinton said.  “Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families.  And they cannot afford to keep waiting.”

The Presidential candidate claims to be trustworthy, and above reproach.  Yet, as we assess her record we discover there is much to question, and more to criticize.  The Former First Lady has been an elected official for seven short years.  All of the other candidates on the Democratic Primary Election ballot have held public office for far longer than the ‘New York applicant has.  Yet, Clinton, the women, not playing the gender card, continues to claim she is infinitely more qualified.  She is “experienced” and can easily take the reigns.  Only she can state she lived in the White House and served, to some degree, as President of the United States.

Opponents on the Right ridicule what Democrats seem reluctant to state.  Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Grand Old Party front-runner according to national polls, offers, “Honestly, in most respects, I don’t know Hillary’s experience.  She’s never run a city, she’s never run a state.  She’s never run a business  . . .  So I’m trying to figure out where the experience is here.” 

Multi-millionaire, Entrepreneur, and another electable, Mitt Romney, muses “She has never run anything.”  Romney notes; Clinton has not run a corner store, a state, or a city.  He inquires can the presidency be considered an internship.

Nevertheless, a haughty Hillary Clinton is certain that she can, and will do the job.  In her mind, she has done it.  Apparently, she has convinced others. 

In an Oct. 3 release announcing the American Federation of Teachers endorsement of her candidacy, she said, “Throughout my 35 years of working on education, I’ve seen the dedication that American teachers demonstrate day in and day out.”

In September, Clinton issued a release on Hispanic Heritage Month that stated, “Thirty five years ago, I traveled through South Texas, registering Latino voters ?”

Describing her healthcare plan, Clinton said that “a family is a child’s first school, and I have a long history going back 35 years as a child advocate ?”

Clinton’s proponents have echoed the figure.  When Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) endorsed Clinton late last month, the congresswoman said in a statement, “Her 35-year record fighting for children and families makes her uniquely qualified to hit the ground running.”

Similarly, Nevada State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson lauded Clinton’s 35 years of experience when he backed her last month.

We have all heard of the “Big Lie” theory, repeat a tale often enough and the people will believe.  Characteristically, this reference is made in regards to Adolph Hitler or George W. Bush; however, once more, it seems applicable.

Asked for comment for this article, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, “The people who are most important – the voters – think Hillary’s 35 years of advocacy, strength and experience is what counts, which is why one poll after another shows her leading by wide margins on the question of who is most experienced.”

The Clinton campaign suggests that the Senator’s experience dates back to before her marriage to Bill Clinton in 1975.

Interestingly enough, years into the marriage, when William Jefferson Clinton ran for President, it was said he had little if any experience.  We may recall that when Bill Clinton first appeared on the national scene, he was considered less than qualified for the most powerful post on the planet.  His Republican rival, George H. W. Bush was among many that noted the former Governor of Arkansas was not ready or able.  He was only willing.  Granted, some learn well while in office , most merely repeat their personal history.

Hillary obfuscates on the issues, obliterates the competition; she is combative when she perceives there is an enemy.  Senator Clinton sees foes under every Bush or Barack and presumes any comment to be part of a  conspiracy. 

Senator Clinton claims to support the intent of North American Free Trade Agreement, while she is critical of the outcome. 

When asked of the “Do not ask; do not tell” decision, Clinton falters.  Later, she states, the policy, had its time and place.  Yet, today, desirous of the Gay and Lesbian vote, the former First Lady thinks now the nation is ready for a change.

On immigration, Hillary is for drivers’ licenses; she thinks these would make our streets safer.  However, when questioned further, Clinton is flustered, again.  Certainly, the Boys are ganging up on her.  [might they be part of the Right Wing Conspiracy of years gone by?]  Then, with time to consider she needs every vote the First Lady is once more firm.  Hillary Clinton offers a definitive “No” when asked if she thinks it would be wise to issue a legal form of identification for immigrants.

This is the voice of experience.  Hillary Rodham Clinton knows to her core what it takes to get elected.

Today American must ask them selves; ”Is this the type of experience we crave.”  Do we wish to recycle a family, a familiar fuddle of truth, a fantasy that led us to believe one Clinton felt our pain.’ 

As Hillary avows much of what America experienced under Clinton One did not work well, she assures us she will do better.  We must have faith.  Senator Clinton understands situation, our circumstances, and us.  She always has.  She fought for us in the 1990s and she will again, if we grant her the ultimate power.  The Former First Lady reminds us each day . . .

“We need a president who understands the magnitude and complexity of the challenges we face and has the strength and experience to address them from day one.

As President of the United States the Former First Lady intends to force those that cannot afford Health Care to buy into her program.  As a peaceful Progressive, Hillary Clinton plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.  Senator Clinton states, she may bring the troops home in her second term, depending.  Yes, “your girl” is practiced, polished, and professional.  In the past, Hillary Clinton ‘influenced’ policy, possibly.  The question is, does she have the seasoning needed to responsive to the people, to be an effective President, or will her habits hinder her efforts.  Might Hillary in the Oval Office be the best choice for America, or will she be merely a Clinton successful in her personal quest for power.

The Clinton Experience . . .

  • Clinton and Obama spar over experience, By Kay Henderson.  Reuters. November 20, 2007
  • Bill Clinton: Hillary wants me to restore image of US, By Oliver Burkeman.  The Guardian.  Friday October 5, 2007
  • Clinton Says Economy Needs Experience, By Beth Fouhy.  Associated Press.  Forbes. November 19, 2007
  • NAFTA, Farmers and Agriculture, NAFTA’s Seven Years War on Farmers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Public Citizen.
  • The Big Lie Technique, By Robert Scheer.  The Nation. November 16, 2005
  • Hillary: “I Have to Earn Every Vote,” By Karen Tumulty.  Time Magazine. February 1, 2007
  • Don’t ask, they’ll tell,  By Linda DouglassMSNBC August 9, 2007
  • Hillary Clinton invokes Bill in poll battle, By Alex Spillius in North Conway, New Hampshire.  Telegraph. November 12, 2007
  • Bayh, Clinton Call for More Troops in Afghanistan. U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • Welfare’s Changing Face, By Dan Froomkin.  ?Washington Post. July 23, 1998
  • For ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Split on Party Lines, By Robin Toner.  The New York Times. June 8, 2007
  • Mandatory health care won’t curb costs, By Jamie Court.  Market Place. September 18, 2007
  • Candidates Hedge Bets on Iraq Withdrawal, By Jeff Zeleny and Patrick Healy.  The New York Times. September 26, 2007
  • Seven Things We Learned From the Democratic Debate, By Dan Balz.  The Washington Post. August 8, 2007
  • Clinton, Obama ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Eliciting Outrage, By Satta Sarmah.  Columbia Journalism Review. March 15, 2007
  • A Clinton Distancing Act, By Peter Baker.  Washington Post. November 20, 2007
  • Different Rules When a Rival Is a Woman? New York Times. November 5, 2007
  • Clinton: Vast right-wing conspiracy is back, Cites anti-voter actions, phone jamming and intimidating phone calls.  Associated Press.  MSNBC. March 13, 2007
  • Open Thread. Happy Birth Date Dennis!

    I invite you to celebrate the birth and life of Dennis Kucinich. 
    I applaud his commitment to peace and shared prosperity.

    If you have yet to met this man, I invite you to behold the brilliance that was born on this day, October 8.

    Kucinich Campaign update 10-08-07

    Please present you tributes, thoughts, and tales on this day, October 8, 2007.

    I offer my preferred salutation, with thanks to Dennis for the shared wisdom.

    Strength Through Peace!

    Elected and Electable; Dennis Kucinich

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    People ask why I support someone seen as unelectable, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.  The mere title, “Congressman,” alone states that this man was elected.  Thus, he is electable.  Indeed, Dennis Kucinich was voted into office on more than one occasion.  Personally, I am proud to state I cast a ballot for this esteemed and gentle giant, and that I will again.  Many have voted for Dennis Kucinich in the past.  I trust , just as the Presidential candidate from Ohio does, that they will again.

    In the city of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich was elected Mayor in 1977, three long decades ago.  That was not the first time the Presidential aspirant received the physical and philosophical support of numerous people.  The Kucinich story began long before Dennis took office as the head of that Midwestern community.  Recently, in a desire to share the home-state-historical-records of each of the Presidential candidates, New Hampshire Public Radio hosted a series of programs,  Voters in New Hampshire have long been known as people that want more than a moment on television to help them determine who is the best person for the job of President.  Depth and details gratify those in the Granite State.

    Therefore, the North Easterners turned to an acclaimed resident of the heartland Vincent Duffy, from WKSU Radio in Kent, Ohio to learn of the Congressman from the Buckeye State.  Duffy reflects on the history of this dedicated, devoted American.

    Dennis Kucinich was a college sophomore in 1967 when he paid $42.50 to declare himself a candidate for Cleveland city council, and lost.  Two years later, he won that seat, and last October he returned to Cleveland’s City Hall to announce his latest political goal:

    (Kucinich, from announcement speech)  “I stand here, ready to light up America!  I’m Dennis John Kucinich and I’m running for the president of the United States!”  (Sound of crowd cheering.)

    Duffy muses, just as now, Kucinich was considered an improbable choice.  A Don Quixote character, an idealistic candidate.  Dennis Kucinich dreams of greatness.  Others proclaim his visions are impossible to achieve.  He cannot be heard over the roar of crowds clinging to conventions.  Oh, how true that was and continues to be.  Only today, we learn . . .

    Iowa Democratic leaders trying to “rig the game” by excluding Kucinich, Presidential candidate charges
    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Des Moines – Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said Iowa Democratic Party leaders and other groups aligned with the entrenched political power structure are “rigging the game in Iowa” by excluding him from two Presidential events this week.

    “The whole purpose of the primary and caucus season is to provide voters with opportunities, not to enable a carnival of interest groups to subvert the process,” Kucinich said. “When Party leaders and their allies pre-select which candidates they will allow the voters to hear, it’s a disservice to the voters.  Iowans deserve better than a rigged game.”

    Congressman Kucinich, (D-OH), was not invited to Sunday’s Democratic Steak Fry in Indianola, nor to a Democratic Presidential Forum Thursday in Davenport. Representatives of both events have falsely claimed that Kucinich does not have a sufficiently “active organization” in Iowa.

    However, statewide and national polls consistently show Kucinich running ahead of Senators Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, who were invited to participate. A recent American Research Group poll in Iowa showed Kucinich getting 3% of the vote, ahead of Biden and Dodd, who were at the bottom with 1% each.  In the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll in Iowa two weeks ago, Kucinich and Biden were both at 2% and Dodd was at 1%.

    In the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, Kucinich was at 3% nationally, Biden was at 2%, and Dodd was below 1%. Another national poll, Rasmussen Reports, showed Kucinich tied with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in fourth place, behind Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Senator John Edwards. Richardson was also invited to participate in the Iowa events.  Kucinich also won a post-debate poll on ABC’s website after the last Iowa debate.

    “We’re doing better than some of the establishment candidates, and we’re moving up,” Kucinich said. “Instead of spending millions of dollars on high-priced consultants, and slick advertising, we have a highly motivated grassroots organization.”

    Dennis does not have the dollars to competitively fund his run.  People rarely equate charisma with one so slight, so soft-spoken, and one that the Almighty’s make certain remains well hidden from the scene.  Yet,  Dennis has come from behind before.

    (Duffy)  Twenty-five years ago, the thought of Kucinich being drowned out in this room by cheering supporters would be hard to imagine.  The early rise – and some thought fateful fall – of Dennis Kucinich began when the self-described champion of underdogs became the youngest mayor of a major American city in 1977, at the age of 31.  Critics and comics called him “the boy mayor.”

    (Mike Polensec)  “He inherited a city that had made some terrible financial decisions prior to him being elected.”

    Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensec was a young councilman when Kucinich was mayor, and says the relationship between the mayor and council was combative:

    (Polensec)  “Every Monday night was like D-Day.  You know, it’s like you wanted to come into council chambers wearing a helmet and a flak jacket.  It was ugly every Monday night down here.”

    (Duffy)  The confrontational mayor fired his police chief on live TV and alienated the business community.  But his biggest battle came when local banks threatened to call in a $15 million loan if Kucinich didn’t sell the city owned municipal electric company to its commercial rival.  Kucinich refused to sell and Cleveland defaulted on the loans.  His critics mounted a recall effort that Kucinich survived by only 236 votes.  He lost re-election by a landslide.  Two decades later, Polensec and others believe Kucinich was right not to sell Cleveland public power:

    (Polensec)  “Did Dennis do the right thing?  Of course he did.  There are some people who even went so far as to say he was a political martyr over it.”

    Dennis Kucinich in his youth, as a Mayor, was as principled as he is now.  That alone is something to consider.  Here is a “politician” with ethics.  Dennis Kucinich fought from what proved right, for he was committed to the people he represented.  For Dennis Kucinch, the cause is not his own ambition; it is the commonweal. 

    Ah, the novelty of altruism has always appealed to me.  Apparently, I am not alone.  Humanitarian, Dennis Kucinich thinks selflessness is best.  Kucinich remained faithful to a doctrine that puts the rights of all people equally first.

    While most in Ohio, in those early years, struggled to accept that someone might truly embrace philanthropy, particularly in a political forum; thus they continued to vote for the ultra-charming, infinitely captivating, and commercially sold product, oops I mean candidate, Dennis Kucinich remained undeterred.

    (Duffy)  Kucinich was determined to return to politics.  He served briefly on city council, and mounted losing campaigns for Ohio governor and secretary of state and Congress.  But in the ’90s, Cleveland officials started crediting Kucinich for low utility rates, and he won a seat to the Ohio Senate with the slogan, “because he was right.”  Two years later voters elected him to Congress.  He continued to champion the underdog, fighting to keep steel mills and hospitals open, and even standing in front of Jacobs Field vowing to keep Cleveland Indians baseball on local television:

    (Kucinich, at Jacobs Field)  “This is the house, the house that taxpayers built.  And because it’s the house that taxpayers built, and because this team is heavily subsidized with tax dollars, it’s time for us to put our foot down and say look, we want the games back on free TV.  We support this team so much, in so many ways, and that’s what this bill is designed to do.”

    (Duffy)  Kucinich represents a district where many trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe.  His vegan diet and recent change to a pro-choice stance on abortion set him apart from most of his constituents.  But his Web site does celebrate the area favorites of polka, kielbasa, and bowling.  And at the Red Circle Bar and Lanes in Parma, Ohio, Kucinich’s name still creates disagreements:

    “When he was mayor, he was kind of anti-big business?”  “That’s good?”  “He doesn’t take care of?”  “Look what big business is doing to this country today?”  “You’ll get your turn in later.  I feel that half the businesses left Cleveland because of that.”

    (Duffy)  But most agree Kucinich has matured since his days as the “boy mayor.”  He easily wins re-election to Congress and city leaders now welcome him.  Earlier this year, current Mayor Jayne Campbell ended the symbol of a long held grudge against the former mayor:

    (Campbell)  “And everyone who has served as the mayor of Cleveland has a portrait, except Dennis Kucinich.  It has been 22 years since Dennis Kucinich was mayor of Cleveland.  It is time now to put Dennis Kucinich on the wall, because he served as mayor.”

    Perhaps, it is also time to place Dennis Kucinich center-stage.  Might people throughout the country realize that this “boy Mayor,” is perhaps better prepared to lead a nation than others might be.  Congressman Kucinich proposed a more comprehensive Health Care plan than the other candidates have yet to conceive.  In March 2007, Physicians for a National Health Program featured an article on the topic.  Author Roger Hickey, compared and contrasted programs the Presidential hopefuls put forth.

    Why Obama, Edwards, Hillary, Romney, Schwarzenegger Don’t Support Single Payer?
    Corporate Crime Reporter.
    Physicians for a National Health Program

    February 21, 2007

    The majority of the American people want a single-payer health care system – Medicare for all.

    The majority of doctors want it.

    A good chunk of hospital CEOs want it.

    But what they want doesn’t appear to matter.


    Because a single-payer health care plan would mean the death of the private health insurance industry and reduced profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

    Presidential candidates John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger talk a lot about universal health care.

    But not one of them advocates for single-payer – because single-payer too directly confronts the big corporate interests profiting off the miserable health care system we are currently saddled with.

    “Currently, we are spending almost a third of every health care dollar on administration and paperwork generated by the private health insurance industry,” said Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. “Countries like Canada spend about half that much on the billing and paperwork side of medicine.  If we go to a single-payer system and are able to cut the billing and paperwork costs of health care, that frees up about $300 billion per year. That’s the money we need to cover the uninsured and then improve the coverage for those who have private insurance but are under-insured.”

    “The idea behind single-payer is you don’t have to increase total health care spending,” Woolhandler said in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter.  “You take the money we are now spending but cut the administrative fat and use that money to cover people.”

    None of the declared Presidential candidates – with the exception of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) – is supporting single-payer.

    Last year, Kucinich and Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), introduced a single-payer bill, HR 676, which garnered support of more than 75 members of the House.

    And Woolhandler says grassroots activists have been mobilizing at the state level.

    “State single-payer organizations have been very active,” she said. “Early in the process, you can get a lot of politicians interested – they want to show up at your rallies to show support for national health insurance.  But as you get closer and closer to actual passage of a law, it is harder to keep the politicians on board.”

    “The legislature in California passed a single-payer bill last year, but everybody knew that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to veto it. So, it was very easy for the politicians to say – yes, I’m going to support it. The insurance industry did not come in and throw their millions against it. But every time there is a real possibility of a bill coming through, the insurance industry has weighed in very heavily against.”

    Woolhandler called the universal health care law passed in Massachusetts by Governor Mitt Romney “a hoax.”

    “The core idea is the individual mandate – forcing uninsured people to go out and buy insurance,” Woolhandler said.  “And if they don’t buy insurance, we are going to fine them.  The first year it is an $80 fine. The second year, it’s half the value of the lowest priced policy – we’re talking about a $2,000 fine. So, they are saying anyone who earns more than three times poverty has to bear the entire price of a private insurance policy.”

    “Romney’s bill was written by Blue Cross,” Woolhandler said.  “Romney was saying he was going to offer health insurance starting at $200 a month.  And of course, that was a hoax. No insurance policy in Massachusetts comes in at $200 a month.  When Blue Cross was asked to produce the policy, it turned out the policy was going to cost $380 a month for a policy that had a $2000 deductible.  So, you are going to tell this poor bloke who is earning $29,400 a year that he has to go out and spend $4,000 a year on an insurance policy. And if he gets sick, he doesn’t even have any coverage until he has spent $2,000. And that’s not family coverage. That’s individual coverage.”

    Schwarzenegger would do the same – fine individuals for not having insurance.

    Former Senator John Edwards would have a Medicare-like system compete with private insurance.

    “Edwards plan is not going to work,” Woolhandler says flatly. “We know there is not going to be fair competition between Medicare and the private plans.  You have to take on the private health insurance industry and tell them – you are out of here.  . .

    Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) doesn’t want to get specific.

    “She is nowhere on this issue,” Woolhandler says.

    Ditto Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois).

    Yet, those that know best how vital health care is, the elderly, are not given the opportunity to meet the candidate with the best plan for Universal Health Care coverage.  As Congressman Kucinich travels around Iowa, in his quest to meet the common folk, the young, the middle age, and the elderly, he is again refused entrance into the discussion.

    He [Dennis Kucinich] also questioned the decision by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Iowa Public Television to exclude him from Thursday’s Democratic Presidential Forum, which will focus on the issues of health care and financial security.

    “The Presidential debate on health care has been largely fake, with phony claims from  candidates that they are providing ‘universal health care’ when, in fact, they are preserving the for-profit system of private insurance companies who make money not providing health care,” Kucinich said.

    “I am the only Presidential candidate to offer a true universal healthcare plan for America, HR676, Medicare for All.  It is a comprehensive, not-for-profit, national health insurance plan, and everyone is covered,” Kucinich said.  “No premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments.”

    Indeed he is.  Although John Edwards likes to claim that he was the first to propose Universal Health care coverage, he writes and includes on his website, that his proposal falls far short.  Fortunately, few read what the contenders for the highest office in the land actually pen.

    Choice between Public and Private Insurers: Health Care Markets will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare, but separate and apart from it. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. This American solution will reward the sector that offers the best care at the best price. Over time, the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan.

    Were the American public more engaged personally, perhaps we would see what Dennis Kucinich envisions, what I experienced first hand at a rally in Palm Beach, Florida.  This magnificent man can inspire a crowd to come out in support of his campaign.  In the quiet community of Palm Beach, three to five hundred persons walked the main streets in a Conservative enclave to proclaim “Strength Through Peace.”  These people saw the possibilities Dennis Kucinich speaks of.  They listened to him tell tales of woe and wonder.  Each was moved to stand in ovation.  I believe it is as Duffy states.

    (Duffy)  Kucinich remains a long shot among Democratic candidates for president, but believes he will gain support as more people pay attention.  He was a strong critic of the war in Iraq before it started, and now thinks just as he was eventually proven correct about Cleveland Public Power, he’ll also be proven correct about the war.

    For the Home-State Record Project, I’m Vincent Duffy.

    Through the magic of video, I share another aspect of the Dennis Kucinich story.  In an interview with Tom Snyder, Presidential hopeful, then Mayoral candidate spoke from his heart.  Kucinich bared his soul, and offered solutions to problems that continue to plague many American citizens.

    Dennis Kucinich, even in his youth, discussed dynamics from the perspective of the ordinary John and Jane Doe.  Then, as now, Kucinich is considered a threat to the bankers and businesspersons that wish to marginalize the common folk.  [Remember the health insurance companies that do not wish to lose their profits, and the candidates that receive money from these institutions that will work to honor their cause, not ours . . .] 

    Dennis Kucinich, unlike others makes no excuses.  He need not.  Kucinich does not entertain the contributions from lobbyists, hedge funds, bankers, and other questionable sources in local or national campaigns.  This amazing man, in the past and the present stands for principles.  As you listen to this conversation, you may realize Dennis Kucinich knew that Cleveland was a microcosm of America.  Just as helped to give Cleveland back to the people, Kucinich is ready to bring power back to the people of America.  Actually, he is better prepared.  You may recall, now, even former enemies admit, Kucinich is older and wiser.

    TV pioneer Tom Snyder interviews Dennis Kucinich at Tony’s

    I also wish to share what I do not revel in.  The approach of this next presentation is for me, a bit too blunt.  Competitive commercials may be conventional wisdom in a campaign; nonetheless, they are not my preference.  However, after reviewing the results of a Daily Kos poll, I realized few actually read what candidates offer at their websites.  I accept the front-runners’ sound-bites sell more than positions.  Thus, I think the information, and perhaps the direct approach, may be necessary.

    Kucinich (Koo-sin-ich) for President 2008

    Granted, many candidates now tout portions of the Kucinich platform.  However, one might ask, do we wish to vote solely for a “Progressive” Party candidate merely because they are registered as Democrats.  Frequently, “liberals” have done little to represent the people that elected them. 

    I prefer to cast my ballot for a candidate with a vision, one with a consistent and proven record, a history that is admirable.  Personalities may be pretty, popular, and idolized.  Yet, as we too often learn, physical beauty is only skin deep.  I yearn to vote for or a soul that soars.  I prefer to elect a visionary that has a history of making dreams come true.  Dennis Kucinich may be tilting at another windmill; nonetheless, he has ample support.

    You, dear reader may recall Sancho was asked, why he stayed with Don Quixote, the Man From La Mancha, or was it Cleveland.  Sancho replied, “I like him.  I really like him!”  Sancho may have not been able to put into words what is obvious to me.  American’s can dream the impossible dream and create profound truths!

    Sources, Successes, Kucinich, President of the United States of America . . .

  • New Hampshire Public Radio
  • WKSU Radio
  • Iowa Democratic leaders trying to “rig the game” Iowa Democratic leaders trying to “rig the game” by excluding Kucinich.  Yahoo News. September 15, 2007
  • Kucinich: Barack Obama’s Withdrawal Strategy is Too Little, Too Late.  By Eugmc.  Cleveland Leader. September 13, 2007
  • Poll; How often do you visit presidential candidate web sites? Daily Kos. Wednesday, September 12, 2007
  • Why We Should Exit Iraq Now, By Bill Richardson.  Washington Post. Saturday, September 8, 2007; Page A15
  • pdf Why We Should Exit Iraq Now, By Bill Richardson.  Washington Post. Saturday, September 8, 2007; Page A15
  • possum for Congress in ’08

    copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

    For some months I have been a member of the Be-Think community blogging as possum.  My real name is Jerry Northington.  I am a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran and veterinarian from Wilmington, Delaware.  Much more about my person can be found on either the campaign website or on the campaign blog.

    Those who know me well and those who read my writings will recognize the many times I have spoken of action being the antidote to despair.  My despair is overflowing at last and has risen to the point where more action is required.  To keep myself sane and to try to bring some measures of a new course to our country I have begun a campaign for Congress as a member of the House of Representatives from Delaware.  We have only three counties in Delaware and with our small size, a single Representative.

    Previous diaries in the DE-01 rollout series:
      History for Kossacks: Delaware, Caesar Rodney, and possum. by Unitary Moonbat.

      Kossack Jerry Northington (possum) for Congress by Turkana.

    Delaware is currently represented by Mike Castle.  He is a six term Republican who seems to be out of touch with his electorate.  In spite of repeated claims by the Congressman and his staff of being a “moderate,” his voting record speaks with a different voice.  In 11 votes about funding and continuation of the Iraq occupation, Representative Castle has supported the Bush administration 10 times.  He has repeatedly opposed any effort to set a timetable for return of the troops from Iraq.  The latest barrage from Castle’s office claims “paid out of state” organizers (representatives of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq are the protestors and not his electorate.  That claim flies in the face of the fact that according to recent polls nearly 60% of Americans oppose the war in Iraq these days.  Delawareans are not different overall from others in this nation.

    People ask at regular intervals why I as a relative unknown and political novice would take on this challenge.  Why would I subject my family and myself to the trauma of a campaign?  The answers are both easy and complex.  The simple answer is I feel obligated to return something to this country.  My life has been blessed.  I have a fine education and many opportunities that may not have existed in another place and time.  I owe this country my loyalty.  For several years now I have stood in the shadows and contributed money to other candidates.  Today I can no longer stand by, I must do more for myself and my country.

    As I said in a recent speech to the Iraq Summer campaign:

    This is a time to try the souls of all Americans.  Our actions today will help define our era.  We need an upsurge of citizens willing to take hold and serve their country in very direct ways.  I am feeling myself that just contributing money to Democratic candidates, as I have done, is not enough.  Even standing almost every Friday and Saturday at the Pacem peace vigils, as I have done, is not enough.  Today we need more citizens who believe in peace to run for office and to take charge. Each of us should think about that.  I know I am.

    During the course of thinking about and beginning a campaign I have found the unyielding support of my family and friends both online and off.  A neighbor who I suspect may once have been a Republican offered the very first contribution check and a large one at that.  Since that time he has continued to be supportive with advice as we started preparing mailings and campaign materials.  The campaign accountant is a registered Republican who will change his registration in order to vote in the Democratic primary.  Other people including some who really cannot afford to contribute have offered the money at their disposal.  The support from so many has been the greatest honor of my life.

    Today the online part of the campaign is well underway.  The campaign website is up and running.  Changes are coming rapidly to that site so please stop in often and tell your friends and neighbors to stop by for a visit.  A campaign blog continues with regular posts giving my thoughts and experiences along the way.  Commenting on the blog is open to one and all.  Feel free to visit and offer your thoughts or to ask for my thoughts.  I aim to make this one open and honest campaign.  All about my candidacy is based on openness and honesty, two virtues long lacking in our government. 

    The issue on which my campaign is based is the war.  As a Vietnam veteran I know from firsthand experience what war can do to the troops and to civilians.  We must end this war and end it as soon as possible.  So many other issues are not being addressed in this country today.  The monies being squandered on a failing Iraq occupation need to be redirected.  In addition we must work to see our freedoms restored.  We have lost so much in the past six long years.  If we fail to begin soon to change direction we may lose all in the end.

    The major issue facing my or any other political campaign is money.  Please send what you are able.  We are early in the campaign cycle.  The first reporting period ends on September 30.  If the campaign can show a good first quarter there will be other sources of funding which may become available.  Donations may be given through Act Blue  In addition volunteers are being accepted for online or other campaign activity.  All contributions of time or money are gratefully accepted.  Every small bit counts as those bits soon add to a large quantity. 

    As I have said many times and will say again and again, now is the time to take a stand for peace and justice in our country.  By supporting my campaign and the campaigns of others heading for Congress next year, you can take your own stand.  To quote myself one more time:

    Take a stand today.  Let your anger show.  This is no time for compromise but rather a time for definitive action.

    Act today to support your favorite politician whether that person be me or some other progressive Democrat.  We need an ocean of change in 2008 in this country.  We can bring that change about one small ripple at a time when we coalesce into a tsunami.

    Jeff DeLuca Introduces Peace and Next President of the United States, Kucinich

    (On Saturday, September 8, 2007, I was honored to witness wisdom at work. According to the Palm Beach Post, Hundreds in West Palm Beach [came together to] protest the war. Those that stood silently, with fingers raised in the sign of peace appeared to focus on the current combative circumstances in Iraq. However, the marchers knew, peace throughout the planet was, and is, their truer vision.

    Each advocate expressed his or her desire for global tranquility. They walked down Okeechobee Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue. Drivers passed by and honked their horns in support. Some waved expressions in-kind. Others voiced thanks to the marchers. Young and old, hiker and those in motorcars united in a common cause.

    After the demonstration, the local activists quietly entered the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Their purpose was one. Protesters, myself among them, waited to hear the Ohio Congressman, and Presidential hopeful, a person like no other, Dennis Kucinich, present his plans for a permanent global peace.

    Introducing the inspirational candidate was another wise and wondrous man, Jeff DeLuca. The young and impressive Mister DeLuca is kind enough to share his words here at BeThink. I hope you will find this missive as magnificent as I do. I think this treatise might advance greater thought and discussion. Please share your reflections.

    I am pleased to present Jeff DeLuca.

    I thank you Jeff for all that you are, share, and do. – promoted by Guest Author)

    Please view a video presentation . . . Hundreds rally in West Palm Beach for Iraq war to end

    copyright © 2007 Jeff DeLuca

    I want to start by thanking you all for braving the heat to be here and march with us for this important cause.  The time has never been more urgent for us to hold events like these and to unify under that notion that that it is time to bring the troops home alive now.

    We have watched the carnage unfold now in Iraq for four and a half years.  Since George W. Bush told us we had accomplished our mission.  We are here to let him and all his enablers know that we will not stand idly by as another 100, another 1000, of our family and friends dies as pawns in a bogus war waged for the Military industrial complex.

    Any student of history can tell you that never has a foreign power ever won a Civil war and there is no reason to believe that this time will be any different.

    It is nothing less than laughable that George Bush, a man so contemptuous of history and historical precedent, a man who rejected even the very mention of Vietnam in comparing Iraq until recently is now invoking Vietnam as an example of why we need to stay.

    Condoleezza Rice even said in an interview with Tim Russert, when asked about her plans for her future, “I don’t know.  I’m a terrible long term planner.”  Now she tells us.

    There would be no greater tragedy than to allow the results of the kind of imcompetency shown by the Bush/Cheney Regime to pass to a new administration untouched by the hand of accountability.

    We must keep the pressure n Congress to do the right thing regardless of political interests.  Real People’s lives are at stake.

    1/3 of soldiers returning from Iraq have some sort of psychological damage.  We’ve known for a long time that soldiers can only experience sustained combat conditions for 6 months at a time.  We’re now deploying for 15 months at a time.  This vicious cycle has to end.  It has to end now and we are the only ones who can make it so.

    But before I introduce the distinguished gentleman from Ohio, I want to leaver you with this.  Peace only begins with getting out of Iraq.  We can’t live under the false illusion that our work is done after the troops come home.  Peace goes beyond stopping war.  We have to end the “every man for himself” mentality that dominates America.

    We have to continue to work towards equality.  We have to remain involved and keep each other informed.  Lest we wake one day having lost the freedom we took for granted, to the hands of tyranny, that wait in the shadows of apathy.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, a man who has never wavered in his opposition to this war, the Congressman from the 10th District of Ohio, and just maybe the next President of the United States, Dennis Kucinich!!