Santa Claus Has Come To Health Care Reform



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copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Tis the season to be Jolly” This was the sentiment expressed by President Barack Obama.  The actual words were, the health care Bill passed on Christmas Eve was “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s.” Together with the proposed regulations our Representatives approved weeks ago, citizens of this country can rest assured “the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable” will soon be law. This would be wondrous news if only the legislation brought joy to the land or authentic health care coverage to the American people.  

Millions muse; it will not.  The American people are reminded of the professionally wrapped gift boxes left under the tree or stashed on a shelf near a Menorah, Kinara, or near the Fanouz, These too, may glitter like gold.  Still, the contents can be as lackluster as the new directive, meant to better manage America’s medical system, would seem to be. Whether we celebrate traditional holidays or only observe those who do, most of us have learned, all is not as it appears to be.  

Sure, some may wish to reassure the public in the same way they would if a lad or lass learned that Mommy and Daddy not Saint Nicolas, bought the presents, and they will return what the tot thought a disappointment.  The conference committee has yet to meet. Congress seems posed to impose initiatives, that establish every individual must be insured.  Allowances will be made for those who cannot reasonably afford medical coverage.  Only Americans who experience an extreme hardship will qualify for government assistance. For the masses, a substantial financial penalty (2 to 2.5 percent of a persons income) will be charged to citizens who violate the mandate.  

People who now think themselves comfortably ensconced in an employer paid policy may be fine with the bequest, for now.  However, once they learn, what they thought beautiful ribbons and bows are strings attached to the package, sorrow might set in.  If a forty percent [40%] proposed excise tax is adopted almost two-thirds of the employers recently surveyed by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm, said they expect to reduce employee benefits rather than pay the levy.  

Nevertheless, an ebullient Barack Obama asserted Americans need only  Trust us.”  The White House is as Santa’s Workshop.  Good gifts are made here.

The American people are skeptical.  Today, throughout the land many wonder whether they can trust that life is lovely in this holiday season or that the President can produce as he promised.  The country’s Chief Executive appears certain he can; indeed, he has.  The Obama family delayed their traditional Christmas departure to Hawaii until the President was sure his health care reform plan was safely secured in the Senate.  Sadly, for common citizens, this legislation was as a Christmas stocking full of coal.  It was not wondrous or reason for a celebration.  For the American people rest and relaxation was not possible.  The sense of good cheer was lost.  It went the way of Single Payer and the public option. Average Americans had awaited the treats President Obama pledged to provide.

Few recognized that in 2003, the precedent was established.  Then, in an Illinois campaign speech, in front of an AFL-CIO chapter, the candidate declared his dedication, “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.” (applause) “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see.”

All those years ago, just as Mister Obama had done more recently in his presidential bid, after he offered reason to believe in the best of possibilities, did he dash all hope.  He articulated his angst and said, “But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”   Before Americans knew him well Barack Obama “presented” reasons that passed for resolve.  As his momentum increased so too did the mission.  Give the gift of hope and then withdraw it.  

It was September 7, 2009.  As President Obama stood with union members, who gave him an enthusiastic reception at Cincinnati’s Coney Island Park, he stated his commitment “I continue to believe that a public option within the basket of insurance choices would help improve quality and bring down costs.”  This pronouncement was not an exact proposal offered for execution.  

Later, Senator Obama espoused the need to insure everyone affordably in Iowa, at the The Heartland Presidential Forum.  A Plan for a Healthy America appeared prominently at his website during his Presidential bid.  Even after he took residency in the White House, Mister Obama sang the praises of the “public option.”  He did so in a speech given in front of a confrontational crowd, the American Medical Association.  

These stalwart supporters remembered what the President has now presumed was but history buried long ago.  In a Cable News Network interview, aired on Super Tuesday Primary Election Day 2008, Senator Barack Obama stated, “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.”

The Presidential aspirant articulated what millions of Americans avow; “The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money. So, our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident that if people have a chance to buy high quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. And that’s what our plan does, and nobody disputes that.”  

No one, except perchance, President Barack Obama.  After less than six months in the White House, the once seeker, and speaker of a much-admired truth, disputed his own plan.   Nonetheless, just as little ones do during the holidays, those devoted to the dream retained hope.  

Whilst Mister Obama called the public option his preferred choice and stressed his want to ensure broad coverage, he has never demanded that it be part of a final bill. The need for competition, or a choice other than private insurers policies would be nice, however, Mister Obama did not require these.

Earlier and now again, Barack Obama waved the possibility that pleased the American people, and then did not fully work to make the dream come true.  

As summer began, and the spring was no longer evident in Barack Obama’s steps.  It was then that Obama first explained he was Open to a Mandate on Health Insurance. Independents and the more Progressive began to understand; the Emperor wore no clothes.  Perchance, it was thought by the more enchanted, Santa’s bright red suit was only a bit soiled, stained, and worn

One need only ponder the duality of words dispensed.  President Obama acknowledged that his acquiescent approach to health care legislation had likely been a mistake and that he had “probably left too much ambiguity out there” by allowing the House and the Senate to draft bills.  Yet, just as the mythical reindeers and the Claus’, Mister Obama has chosen to do nothing other than let the narrative lie.

Definitive details, or even a refined design, were not outlined.  Not in the Presidential campaign; nor from the halls of the White House.  He did venture out on occasion and give voice to his signature issues: hope and change.

However, only days before the President bequeathed his gift on the American people, in the White House, President Obama defended himself against abundant criticism.  In an Oval Office interview with The Washington Post, Mister Obama rejected the notion that he has compromised too much to secure health-care reform. He said that it was not true that he anointed Congress the sole authority to pursue what was thought to be his broad legislative agenda.

In the dialogue, Obama vigorously sanctioned the soon to be health care reform law. He said it was just as he pledged to deliver.  Like Santa Claus, President Obama had looked at his list.  He had checked it twice.  The President postured that he was not naughty.  Indeed, he had been very, very nice.  Mister Obama had no misgivings, and offered I am  “not just grudgingly supporting the bill. I am very enthusiastic about what we have achieved.”

“Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill,” Mister Obama said. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.”  Challenged by the claims that he had not done as he vowed to do, the President stated,  “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

With an abundance of contradictions many muse, that, just as children, the American people have been carefully led through the Santa lore, Americans slowly and surely came to believe in “change.”  Barack Obama, as a Senator swayed the malleable minds of those desperate to believe in a dream.  He offered opportunities.  He showed us why it was vital that we serve someone or a cause greater than ourselves.  

As a candidate, Mister Obama presented the American people with possibilities.  As he spoke, unimaginable sugarplums that would satisfy a nation hungry for health care improvements danced in the heads of voters.   On Christmas Eve morning, as Mister Obama celebrates his transformative triumph, citizen cry out. “Is this the health reform Obama promised?” The answer is indubitably “No!” What has been passed in the Halls of Congress is not even close to the change Americans were led to believe in.

In an Albuquerque town hall, August 2008, heard the poised United States Senator speak.  Then, and there, he was eager to please, He offered “If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system,”   However, he added, there is a distinction between his desire and what he would do.

Little more than a year earlier, Candidate Obama concluded what he now says he never did.  With circumstances as they are, there would be widespread opposition.  In his days as a candidate, Barack Obama deduced; we must tread lightly and carry the big stick called change.  Such was the pattern on the path to the Presidency.

The “fierce urgency of now” was prominent in the Obama rhetoric Mister Obama proclaimed. “People don’t have time to wait,” Obama said, “They need relief now.”  Then, in the same breath, careful not to claim that he could convert the current health care behemoth, the Presidential challenger relented. , “So my attitude is let’s build up the system we got, let’s make it more efficient, we may be over time-as we make the system more efficient and everybody’s covered-decide that there are other ways for us to provide care more effectively.”

Back then that was the rationalization,  believers bellowed with Barack Obama.  There is a Santa Claus.  Fairy tales can come true.  It can happen to you if you are young at heart and elect Mister Obama to serve as President.  The public trusted the person who now occupies the Oval Office, when he said we will not fail.  There will be change “Not this time.”  

With words warped in time and space, the thought is President Barack Obama has become practical, or perchance he is as he always was, anything but Santa.

Yes, there is a Santa Claus?  Reality, Reform, References and a Skewed Reality  . . .

On The Issues

Iss

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Wherever Americans turn, they are asked the same question; what issue is most important to you.  If you could, what would you tell the President of the United States to do?  What do you think must be his priority, or the country’s greatest concern.  Television commentators turn microphones on citizens.  Radio announcers inquire; what does the audience think.  Newspapers poll.  Organizations count survey ballots.  Legislators look for constituent answers in electronic mailboxes.  Each attempts to usher in a new era.  They want the common people to help shape the discussion.  

Is the war in Iraq or Afghanistan the subject you believe he, or we should address first.  Do you have faith that Universal, Single Payer, Not for Profit Health Care would cure this nation’s ill?  Could education, or an equal opportunity to compete be the solution to our problems?  Must Congress restore the Constitution with the support of our Commander-In-Chief?  Might it be that Climate Change is our most pressing problem?  Civil Rights afforded to gays, straights, Blacks, Browns, persons, no matter their race, color, or creed certainly needs to be a serious consideration, as does the oft-identified issue number one, the economy.

Democrats say they will deliver solutions.  Republicans repeat the contention, they know what we should do first and last.  Independents insist neither political Party addresses their anxieties.  The apathetic feel there is no reason to participate.  Partisan politics polarize the nation’s ability to act.  

A few might muse; pragmatism may be the most powerful position.  Surely, the stream of replies to this issue-oriented inquiry will vary.  Each will test reason.  Yet, no lone logic will satisfy everyone within the electorate.  Thus, I submit  an inclusively that is more true for me.

Were I able to speak to the President of the United States of America, if I could stand before Congress and address what matters most to me, I would say there is no interest of greatest import.

For me, all issues are interrelated.  None can be considered more important than another.  Perhaps if people acknowledge that no man is an island we will become better as a world, as a country within a whole.  A lack of green technology starves the people and the planet.  Inadequate health care and education exacerbate the emptiness felt by any or all.  A hungry globe spawns war for dominance.  People want what they need.  Too frequently, individuals and nations are willing to fight for what they think is right, whatever will ensure their own existence.

Mother Nature is no exception.  As she struggles for survival, she does all she can to sustain balance.  Her cries unheeded cause greater harm.  Wounds, left unattended bleed.  The pus from these lesions spills out on Earthy beings.  If we the people allow any of our ills to thrive, surely, no one will survive.  

Please Mister President, do not ignore that we are one.  United we will stand.  If we divide the issues, we all will ultimately fall.

Sources for surveys . . .

Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, the Campaign, and Medical Coverage Issues



Keith Olbermann Special Comment on Hillary Clinton

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Talk abounds.  Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and the comments made by Geraldine Ferraro are being discussed on every avenue.  The former First Lady states we need to return to what is more real and relevant.  I concur.  Hence, I invite us to again consider Universal Health Care Plans or the prospect of what is not and will not be if we adopt the “Choice” proposal Hillary Clinton presents.

Rarely do I pen a missive with little research or one that relates more to the personal than the profound.  However, today I wish to take a moment to muse of what is for me, a reality.  Dear reader you may have read the intimate details of my life, or more accurately my history with medical insurance, or the lack thereof.  In Health Care in America; Uninsured, Underinsured, Universal Woes I disclosed what has been true for me, as an adult for all but a year.  Although I was, am, and intend to be a well-educated, professional person, employed, and by all appearances extremely healthy, I have lived life on the edge.

I am among millions of persons in the United States of America that is forced to think, “What if . . .?”  When the unexpected occurs, I must face more than my fears of injury and illness.  I need to gather the strength to heal a financial folly caused by the circumstances prevalent in a country that claims to care for its citizens, and yet, does not.  I could go on and provide details offered in my earlier essay; however, there is no time today.

I need to scurry.  As corporations make many necessary cuts, I again find myself among the millions affected.  Most of my life, I was with those uninsured and I may return to that group.  Threatened by the loss of health care coverage, I must quickly travel to the doctor’s office, if only to ensure my peace of mind.  The diagnosis I seek is validation.  I hope to verify that for now, I am healthy.  Thus, I apologize for being away most of today.

I offer what I think an interesting discussion stimulated by Keith Olbermann’s tirade.  Bombarded with a barrage of barbs in reference to Geraldine Ferraro and her racial, sexist, silly references, Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton declared . . .

“It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we’ve both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal.

“We ought to keep this on the issues,” Mrs. Clinton said.  “There are differences between us.  There are differences between our approaches on health care, on energy, on our experience, on our results that we’ve produced for people.  That’s what this campaign should be about.”

Please Senator Clinton, let us have the conversation you think most important.  May we chat about your approach to health care.  Later, perhaps, after my doctor’s appointment we can focus on the folly of energy and “experience.”

Hillary Clinton, while what I am about to say may not seem to pertain to health care, it does.  You continue to harp on claims that you are more qualified than Barack Obama.  You state that he has yet to cross over the threshold of Commander-In-Chief.  Silly and absurd as this assessment may be, it brings to mind your plan for “Universal” Health Care.  Separate from the speeches you or Barack Obama offer, I find ample reason to question your supposed “correct” solution for Americans such as I that are uninsured, underinsured, or are about to lose the insurance they have.  

Senator Clinton, you have yet to authentically address the concerns that affect the common citizen.  To force me to purchase what I have never been paid enough to afford, and will once again forfeit, matters, at least to me.  Be I a Black person, insulted by the remarks your close friend and a former member of your vast financial committee made or a white woman who is supposed to understand gender bias, either way, I cannot support your stance on Health Care.

Keith Olbermann may question whether you, Hillary Clinton, are affected by your advisors, and hence, have recently been led astray.  I do not.  My experience is that from the first Hillary Clinton, as a Senator, and as a First Lady, you have never provided the answers to what is a  paradox for the American public.

Throughout this campaign, you have obfuscated, just as you did more than a decade ago in the White House.  In meetings, closed to the community, you created a culture of conflict.  It appears that is your history, your experience.

I invite you Senator Clinton to contemplate the words of Jamie Court voice long before the recent brush up.  Mister Court spoke of your signature Health Care Plan, the price, and the coverage.  He attended to issue, as I wish you had or would.

Mandatory health care won’t curb costs,

What do Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Hillary Clinton all have in common?  They all support the government forcing the middle class to buy a private health insurance policy — but none want to limit how much insurers can charge or spend.

And that’s the problem. Mandatory private health insurance proposals are all stick and no carrot.

The average health insurance premium for a family of four is just over 12 grand per year. What middle-class family making, say, 60,000 bucks per year can afford that bill?

What we need is the carrot of affordable health care. That means government standardizing charges by insurers, doctors, hospitals, and drug companies. No more $6 Tylenol in the hospital.

The reason health insurance is so unaffordable today is that no one is watching the costs. With standardization, insurance would be cheaper and people would want to buy it — not have to because the government is threatening them with a tax penalty.

Oh wait, I can hear the plaintive cry of the free market. You can’t tell a doctor, insurer, hospital, or drug company what’s reasonable to charge. That’s socialism. Well, how reasonable then is it to tell every American you have to buy a product whose cost is obscene if you want to be a U.S. citizen? Isn’t that corporate socialism?

Mandatory health insurance is a government bailout of a free market that’s failed its customers. Fewer people and employers are buying private health insurance because it costs so much more and delivers so little.

So rather than let customers demand a new and better product, politicians are forcing us to buy it. Whatever happened to creative destruction?

There’s a business plan of course. Mitt, Arnold and Hillary each received six or seven-figure campaign contributions from the insurance industry. The plan is insurers send the bill and we have to pay it.

Jamie Court is president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

Yikes, I am late, just as the conversation you Senator Clinton promised us is ,  Please let all of America speak of the issue that is most real to millions such as me.  Health Care proposals presented by the Presidential hopefuls do nothing to alleviate the pain of the uninsured, underinsured, or soon to be without coverage.

Senator Clinton, at least with Barack Obama’s Health Care Plan there are no false assertions or assurances that all will be covered.  I prefer the truth.  When a person is honest, the consequences are great.  I experience Barack Obama has integrity, although admittedly his Health Insurance plan does not provide for the people.  Veracity alone is a quality that gives me reason to hope.  If a change is proposed, I can have some faith the submission will be sincere.

First Lady Clinton, if you have found your voice, please use it to speak to real people about issues that are relevant to their daily lives.  Do not tell us you are ready to command [the troops] when persons such as I need Health Care.  We, the people crave a plan that is genuinely Universal, not one that maintains profits for the Pharmaceuticals and Insurers who contribute to your campaign.  

Senator Clinton, when you are ready to devote your “energy” and “experience” to the “issues” that effect average people such as me, each and every day, then, maybe we can have that conversation you proposed when you first declared your candidacy.  For now, you repeatedly state you are “in,” and all I see is that you, or perchance, your plan to insure Americans is  outrageous, out of touch with those who have no health care options, and out of the luck Geraldine Ferraro believes Barack Obama has.  

I believe we create our own destiny. It is not the color of Barack Obama’s skin that is his good fortune, Senator Clinton.  It is his ability to reflect, relate, and be real rather than simply say “get real,” as though that were the cure for what ails America.  Senator Obama’s Health care Plan is seriously flawed; however, Presidential hopeful Obama does not give us the false impression that if he is elected, we all will be covered.  

First Lady Clinton, a time ago you stated for you, this is personal.  Please know, for me, it is as well.  I need to know honestly that the President of my country is concerned for the commonweal and will represent me.  My health, and whether I am able to receive medical care, is a very personal issue.   Rather than rant or rage against a person’s race, let us speak of Single Payer, Not For Profit Universal Health Care.

Sources; A Choice Health Care Plan that does not heal . . .

Clinton and Obama Offer Universal Health Care Plans; No Insurance



Clinton Obama Cleveland Ohio Debate – Health Care Battle

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Senators Clinton and Obama, bicker as you might, neither of you have proposed Universal Health Care plans.  Those who support you [plural] state a semantic argument attests to your authenticity.  Many espouse “universal” means “to affect, relate to, or include the whole.”  Granted, all Americans will be changed by your plans.  However, not everyone will be insured if either proposal is implemented.  

Indeed, every United States citizen can connect to the need for coverage.  Universally, we recognize we are in quite a predicament.  Whatever options are offered, the entire electorate will be forced to consider a personal response.  Universality, or an appeal to the aggregate, perhaps better defines what each of you have designed or delivered.

Have you Hillary Clinton or you Barack Obama introduced an actual Universal Health Care plan?  No.  Constituents concerns will be integrated into the agenda.  However, the proposals you have presented to the public, do Not guarantee that life for those who currently are without health insurance will be any better than it is now.  The only certainty Americans have is that some of what is will be altered, just slightly.  

Insurers will still control costs.  Pharmaceuticals can continue to profit, and the poor persons in Middle America will remain insecure, underinsured, and yes, even uninsured.  As one who for most of my adult life has not had insurance, I can assure you, that if a person lives paycheck-to-paycheck, they cannot afford insurance at any price!

I could recount the times that I lay writhing in pain, slipping in and out of consciousness; yet, unwilling to call for help for I feared the cost.  I might share the stories of how or when I went without treatment for the financial expense seemed far greater than the physical toll on my body.  I might mention my fear of an accident, or an age related concern that I need to attend to.  Preventative medicine, pooh-pooh.  I am among many who hope that my mind will control the matter.

I am among millions who still feel the repercussions of decisions made in the 1990’s.  You may remember then, the headlines screamed of the impending crisis.  Employers Winning Wide Leeway to Cut Medical Insurance Benefits.  People cringed.  The then President stepped in.  I am certain Senator Clinton you recall the day.  Bill Clinton appointed his wife to head a panel, which promised to better circumstances.  

Yet, fight as you say you did Hillary Clinton your combative energies did not cure what ails society.  What was, is.  Circumstances convened more than a decade ago continue unchecked.  So long ago, Americans read of a reality they lived.  Today, this phenomenon is normal.

A rapidly growing number of victims of cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses are discovering that under recent court interpretations of a law that was originally intended to protect employees’ benefits, their insurance coverage can evaporate when they need it most.

The recent [1992] Federal court rulings have given employers that now act as their own insurers wide leeway to cut back on existing coverage — or to skimp on coverage in the first place.  These “self-insured” employers, a large majority of companies from giant corporations to an increasing number of smaller businesses, have been exempted from state insurance laws governing what ailments insurance companies must cover. . .

At the same time, a Supreme Court decision has made it much harder for patients under all kinds of health insurance plans to sue to get benefits they say have been unfairly denied . . .

In effect, the court rulings and the health plans that take advantage of them are another manifestation of a system of private health insurance in which the sick are increasingly separated from the well.

Americans have no assurance that this situation will improve.  Actually, there is ample evidence to indicate it will not.  The prospects for business are grim.  The economy suffers, as do the people.

The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable since the time of our July [2007] report.  Strains in financial markets, which first became evident late last summer, have persisted; and pressures on bank capital and the continued poor functioning of markets for securitized credit have led to tighter credit conditions for many households and businesses.

Slowing job creation is yet another potential drag on household spending. . .

The risks to this outlook remain to the downside.  The risks include the possibilities that the housing market or labor market may deteriorate more than is currently anticipated and that credit conditions may tighten substantially further.

Lest we forget, illness is the cause for one half of all personal bankruptcies.  Most of those who are infirm realized they cannot cover the debt.  These persons have health insurance.  A Harvard University study, conducted in 2005 revealed the inadequacy of many private insurance plans.  Doctors and lawyers examined the current crisis and offered, many policies offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

“Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine.  “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, described what many of us know but do not wish to discuss.  

“Our study is fairly shocking.  We found that, too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain.”

Certainly, Senators Clinton and Obama you have not touched on this tender taboo in your “debate” rhetoric.  Businesses bleed.  Benefits hemorrhage; and Americans lose Health Care coverage, financial stability, or their lives.  The “Universal” not health care for all plans you each offer exacerbate or ignore what is.  Employment is provisional.  Company provided Health Insurance is more and more a luxury.  When institutions do offer the option, an individual is expected to pay a large part of the expense.  As Americans assess the plans put forth, if they bother to, your [plural] proposed policies do not offer much relief.  Sadly, for countless of the under or uninsured voters, such as I, we have been down so long, now a discussion looks like up.  In truth, talk is cheap.

Mandates that require a citizen with an uncertain salary to provide for their personal insurance needs will leave many in a legal predicament.  For the millions who struggle to survive lower rates bring them no hope.

As prices for fuel, food, and shelter rise, those who could not afford to go to the movie theatre, buy clothing, dine away from home, or vacation certainly will not find the funds to purchase medical insurance,  Gainfully, employed citizens who cannot afford to purchase beyond the basics will not be able to pay for coverage.  The tens of millions who fear a minor fall, for they know, even one Emergency Room visit can break the bank will not be moved to purchase what remains out of reach.  Please Senators, before you begin your ascent to the Oval Office reflect on what is real for most Americans.

[O]f the 47 million uninsured people in the United States, 7.3 million come from families with incomes of $75,000 or more, and an additional 6.9 million earn between $50,000 and $75,000, according to 2006 census estimates.

Some of those with moderate or high incomes may have been shut out of the insurance market because of age or pre-existing health conditions.  Researchers believe a majority are self-employed or among the growing number of Americans whose employers do not offer affordable insurance.  Their only insurance options may be high-priced individual policies.

Those comfortably covered love to discuss the individuals who waste their dollars or do not pay for what they believe they do not, or will not need.  In a recent New York Times report readers were introduced to a twenty-three year old lovely who believed she paid her way through taxes.  She smiled and spoke of the free medical clinics available to her.  Ms. Coons mused,

“I’m young and in pretty good shape,” Ms. Coons said one recent afternoon, on her way to the treadmill at the Fitness Factory in Midtown Atlanta.  “I looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  But the only thing I could see myself really needing it for are prescriptions and dental  . . .

She continued, “The insurance premium was more than what I would pay for my prescriptions, so I just decided not to deal with it.”

Times journalists asked Americans to consider the circumstances of those who use the system and do not pay premiums.  Fraud was implied, or a “free ride” was defined and accounted for.

Many free riders are assumed to be young and at little risk of major illness, but they do consume health care.  A recent analysis by the New America Foundation, a Washington policy group, found that 16 percent of the patients who received uncompensated medical care in 2004 had family incomes of at least four times the federal poverty level (which would currently be $41,600 for an individual and $84,800 for a family of four).

They accounted for $5.8 billion of the estimated $41.4 billion in uncompensated care that year.

However, what was not discussed was the ounce of prevention and the pounds paid for a hopeful cure.  Ms. Coons might have been me years ago.  She may not have stated or contemplated an illness, or unexpected injury.  I too appeared fit.  An interviewer might have seen me on the way to the pool.  He may inquire of my Health Insurance plan, or lack there of.  I, possibly would not have explained that I severely injured my back long ago, and then, due to the damage lost my job.  At the time, my employer feared medical charges I might incur, and now I must swim daily to remain physically stable.

In embarrassment, in my youth, I could have, would have, given a glib response.  For decades, I did not wish to speak with strangers of the bulimia I battled.  The preexisting condition that I paid for dearly, helped to affirm medical coverage was not available to me.

I know not of Ms. Coons.  I can only speak for myself.  Bulimia or other “disorders” do not burden my life today.  I do not imbibe any alcoholic beverages.  I never did.  Drugs do not deliver me from depression or dismay.  Prescription and street fare were not my medications of choice.  I have no addictions to strain my budget.  I am but one of millions who scrimps, wishes to save, finds it futile, and fears the veracity.

[T]here is also a shift to the privately insured.  Hospitals and doctors raise their fees to compensate for the losses they incur by treating uninsured and underinsured patients, and insurers pass those increases along to consumers.  A 2005 study found that the shift added 8.5 percent to the average premium.

Presidential aspirants, please ponder what the pundits have not.  Numbers on paper may look lovely.  Economists can scribble statistics on scratch paper.  Power Point presentations can graph the details in glorious color.  Experts can pen impressive essays, and America trusts that you, the candidates can eloquently deliver the text.  Yet, as you may know . . .

Neither campaign has provided enough detail about its plan to enable more than guesswork about how it might influence consumers . . . They have not detailed what kind of subsidies would be needed or who would be entitled to them.  Mrs. Clinton has not fully explained how she would make everyone comply with her plan or exactly how she would cap the amount a family would have to spend on premiums.

Each candidate would raise the money needed to subsidize premiums by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for high earners, taxing businesses that do not insure their workers and reducing costs through electronic record keeping, preventive medicine and chronic disease management.

But there is little certainty about how much those initiatives might save, or when. . . .  There are also questions about whether the new savings and tax increases would be enough to subsidize insurance for all who need help.

Both candidates are backed by teams of prominent economists from top universities and policy groups.  But with little real-world precedent to guide them, their assessments are necessarily an amalgam of statistical modeling and back-of-the-envelope calculation.

“In a campaign, people put out proposals that aren’t highly specified, that don’t have enough detail to model them effectively,” said E. Richard Brown, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an Obama adviser.  “These numbers are based on a lot of assumptions.”

In speeches, debates and dueling advertisements, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have brandished projections that even their originators acknowledge are tenuous.

Senators Clinton and Obama, when your own authoritative advisors admit the claims are unsubstantiated, formulas are fragile, and the numbers are shaky, there is reason for concern. Stalwart as you each may be, this character trait may not be a strength in times such as these.  Lives are at stake.  Illness and injuries occur in every moment.  Accidents are not preventable.  People bleed as the two of you argue over the specifics of inadequate agendas.  

If you truly wish to insure every American, be honest with yourselves and us [the citizens of the United States].  The only genuine Universal Health Care Plan is a Single Payer, Not For Profit program.

Your passionate pleas, your tears, and talk do not comfort a citizenry or a system sick and in dire need of help.  Please, feel our pain and protect us.  We, the people need a President that cares.  Provide the preventive, practical, and profound programs.  Do not continue to play with language.  We the people languish, as either of you smile and say, “My plan provides Universal Health Insurance.”  I could just cry, but I worry.  What if I were to weep endlessly?  Dehydration might send me to the hospital.  I cannot afford to see a physician, let alone the premiums you [plural] wish to charge me.

Universal Woes; Wounds, Worry, and the Source of Scars . . .

Shame on Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton. A Shame for Americans

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Shame seems to be the issue of the day.  The North America Free Trade Agreement is also among the topics discussed.  Health Care plans are reviewed.  As the Presidential campaigns progress, let us reflect, and recall why these matters move the media and the people.

It was a cold day in January.  The year 2007, after much debate and ample discussions, Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded the time was now.  The climate was ideal.  The former First Lady sat poised on a couch.  The colors in the room were warm.  A lamp placed behind the sofa was lit.  Sunlight streamed into the room.  Photographs of the family were visible on a table nearby.  Finally, the stage was set.  The New York Senator looked into the eyes of her visitors.  Gently she smiled.  Hillary Rodham Clinton opened her home and her heart to an American audience desirous of change.  The woman many had hoped would be the first woman President of the United States affirmed “I’m in.”

Hillary Clinton invited us all to join her in a conversation.  She mused, she had a feeling; it was going to be very interesting.  Indeed, it is.  Weeks ago, the candidate realized a deep dip in the contributions.  This drop in donations caused much clamor.  On February 21, 2008, during the Democratic Debate, First Lady Clinton offered her admiration to the man who appeared to be more prominent in the eyes of the people, Barack Obama.  Then, a mere forty-eight hours later Hillary Clinton attacked her adversary.  

The Senator from New York claimed, while in the crowd at an event in Cincinnati, Ohio, just days prior to that State’s primary, she was handed two mailers.  A brilliant woman, organized, and aware, ready to take on the responsibilities of the Oval Office the day she crosses the threshold, did not realize that ten days earlier, the Ohio Daily Blog published an essay which spoke of the brochures.  Jeff received his copies.  Yet, Hillary had not yet sampled hers.  

The experienced, professional politician fumed as she spoke, of the accounts.  As a mother scolding her child potential President Hillary Clinton shrieked, “Shame on you Barack Obama!”  The genteel First Lady pointed her finger and challenged her rival Senator Obama to “meet me in Ohio, and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”

As Americans listen to the words of the woman we once thought would receive her just coronation into the White House, we are reminded, this political campaign has never truly been about issues.  Personality, popularity, electability, and the ability to connect to wealthy contributors have long been the focus among the candidates and by extension the electorate.  Voters are subject to the voice of those who speak of what is important to them personally.  We might recall the times a candidate or two expressed what is true.  For them, this campaign is personal, full of personal attacks.

A day later, the Clinton Camp announced they would engage in a calculated campaign of smear.  Conduct unbecoming a possible Commander-In-Chief, when named Barack Obama is quite befitting of a potential President Clinton.

In the robo-call voiced by Clinton, she said she wants to set the record straight.  “Sen. Obama has sent out attack mailers that distort my record on NAFTA, but I believe Ohio deserves the truth,” Clinton says, “NAFTA has hurt Ohio families and I have a plan to fix it.  My opponent does not.  I’ll appoint a Trade Prosecutor to enforce our trade agreements, and crackdown on China’s unfair trade practices.  I’ll eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and invest in creating good jobs right here in Ohio.”

The Clinton attack mailer cites press reports of Obama praising NAFTA and other trade deals.  “Don’t be fooled by Barack Obama.” [or Hillary Clinton?]

Might we take a moment to reflect.  Let us begin with the records.  The text of Barack Obama comments may enlighten us on the issue of tactics and behavior, the topics Hillary Clinton would like to discuss in an Ohio debate.  The background also offers insights.

(Alan Keyes wanted to withdraw completely from trade agreements.) “Keyes, the Republican nominee, said the United States should move away from negotiating multinational trade agreements, arguing the country can cut better deals by bargaining one-on-one and imposing tariffs on countries that undercut American farmers with cheap products. ‘Why is it in American economics that you say ‘tariffs’ and everybody thinks you cursed,’ Keyes said. ‘We need to make sure we get a fair deal.’ He also called for complete elimination of the inheritance taxes, as well as the income tax.

“But Democrat Obama said Keyes’ ideas could lead to trade wars that would harm farmers, who are always looking for new markets willing to buy American crops. He said the United State should continue to work with the World Trade Organization and pursue deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the country must be more aggressive about protecting American interests. ‘We don’t want to set off trade wars. What we want to make sure of is that our farmers are treated fairly,’ Obama said. ‘The problem in a lot of our trade agreements is that the administration tends to negotiate on behalf of multinational companies instead of workers and communities.'” (AP, 9/8/04)

Hillary Clinton took a stand on the North American Free Trade Agreement and has for years.  The Former First Lady spoke in support of her husband’s Bill’s legendary policy.

Clinton promoted her husband’s trade agenda for years, and friends say that she’s a free-trader at heart. “The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better,” she said in a 1997 speech to the Corporate Council on Africa. “Look around the globe: Those nations, which have lowered trade barriers, are prospering more than those that have not.”

Praise for Nafta

At the 1998 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she praised corporations for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of Nafta.” She added: “It is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.”

Clinton “is committed to free trade and to the growing role of the international economy,” said Steven Rattner, a Clinton fundraiser and co-founder of Quadrangle Group LLC, a New York buyout firm. “She would absolutely do the right thing as president.”

However, as Hillary Clinton herself reminds us, speeches are not solutions.  While at a General Motors plant, the Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton proposes, “That’s the difference between me and my opponent, I offer solutions. It’s one thing to get people excited.  I want to empower you to live your dreams so we can all go forward together.”

“Now, over the years, you’ve heard plenty of promises from plenty of people in plenty of speeches. And some of those speeches were probably pretty good. But speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.”  Only jobs and a stable income can keep Americans safe and secure; hence, the need for American policymakers to assess the North American Free Trade Agreement.  As Senator, Clinton could finally take actions that would rescind a policy that haunts her husband and his heritage.  Thus, she did or did not.  Please ponder the documentation.

  • Voted against CAFTA despite Bill Clinton’s pushing NAFTA. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
  • Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)
  • Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted YES on removing common goods from national security export rules. (Sep 2001)
  • Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record. (Dec 2002)

What is a voter to think?  Hillary Clinton Biographer Carl Bernstein avows, Hillary Clinton’s economics, the ones she preached to her husband in the White House are much closer to John Edwards then you would think. She argued with Bill Clinton when she was First Lady, her husband, she said ‘Bill, you are doing Republican economics when you are doing NAFTA.’ She was against NAFTA.  Yet, as the author expresses in his own assessment of the candidate . . .

A new biography’s unflattering portrayal of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton as someone who “camouflages” her real self for political gain is starting to attract attention – and not for the salacious stories, most books recount about the Clintons.

“A Woman in Charge,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, gives scant attention to the tense days the former First Lady spent in the White House when Bill Clinton was sneaking around with his intern, Monica Lewinsky. Instead, the former Washington Post reporter, who helped blow the lid off Watergate, attempts to portray Hillary Clinton as someone who is willing to rewrite her own history to advance the political career she put on hold when she moved to Arkansas with her college sweetheart who would later become president.

“This is a woman who led a camouflaged life and continues to,” Bernstein told TODAY host Matt Lauer on Friday in an exclusive interview. “This book takes away that camouflage.”

The Bernstein book, which the writer refers to as the first “real biography” of Hillary Clinton, is a recent edition. There is ample, additional information; Hillary Clinton was for, no against, the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA].  Hence, again, we can only do as Hillary advises; look at the votes for verification.  As we observe, duplicity and a commitment to convenience, seem apparent.

This inconsistent configuration is no less obvious in the banter and behavior of Barack Obama. The expressions of Barack Obama and the conduct of Hillary Clinton are, as the First Lady imagined them to be many months ago, interesting.  

Words are not separate from work, whether we speak of one candidate or the other.  Even constituents can be considered complex beings.  We have wants, needs, among these are Universal Health Care.  Barack Obama understood this on that cold frigid day in Springfield, Illinois.  In February, on the 10th day of the month, in the year 2007, Illinois Senator Barack Obama stood in front of the Old State Capitol building.   A throng of supporters frozen; yet full of fervor positioned themselves where they could best see the man they admired.

Dignified as he spoke Presidential hopeful Obama reminded Americans that more than a century ago, on these same steps, Abraham Lincoln called on a divided house to stand together.  Barack Obama stated that in Springfield, Illinois he learned that “common hopes and common dreams still” live.  Then, the man who speaks and writes of the audacity of hope offered . . .

I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States. . .

Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let’s be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president’s first term.

Yes, we can . . .  be the generation that declares we will provide medical coverage for one and for all.  Yet, Barack Obama is, as of yet unwilling to propose that we, the people be insured equally.  Senator Obama, has not worked towards Universal Health Care.  Indeed, he argues against it, and presents a proviso, the plan may changed if need be.

Like former senator John Edwards (N.C.), who outlined his health-care goals in February, Obama would pay for his plan, which could cost more than $50 billion, by increasing taxes for people earning more than $250,000 and reversing tax cuts that President Bush approved. Obama would require almost all employers to offer insurance to workers or face a tax penalty, an idea that many businesses abhor and that is also in Edwards’s proposal. This employer mandate drove much of the opposition to the Clinton plan in 1994.

Like Clinton, who in a speech last week laid out some of her health-care ideas, Obama is focused as much on reducing the costs for those who are insured as on expanding coverage to the estimated 45 million Americans who are not. He called for the federal government to pay part of the costs for patients with chronic illnesses, so that employers would not have to do so, but also emphasized the importance of preventive care. It is important to “listen to our wives when they tell us to stop smoking,” he said, referring to his own unhealthy habit.

Like many Democratic politicians, he blamed drug and health insurance companies for stopping the passage of more expansive health-care proposals.

The lack of new ideas in Obama’s health plan in part reflects his approach. He has emphasized his freshness as a rationale for his candidacy, but that freshness has been much more about his tone and his rhetoric about hope and bipartisanship than his policy proposals . . .

One concept that Obama’s plan does not include is a popular idea from both Democrats and Republicans who work on health-care issues: an “individual mandate” that would require every American to buy health insurance.  . . .

The Clinton and Edwards campaigns quickly criticized Obama for not offering a plan that would require insurance for all. ” . . .

Obama’s advisers argued that such a mandate is less important than adding subsidies and other ways to make health care more affordable.  . . .

“The key is not the mandate,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard, who advised Obama on the plan. “It’s the affordability and the accessibility.”

It seems Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, neither of whom offer a Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care can tout as they do with credibility.  Each vocalizes, “I will be the people’s President.”  Yet, as the nation peruses the plans it remains evident, that if either of these aspirants [or the Republican rival] enters the Oval Office in 2009, all men will remain unequal.  Those who lost jobs to Free Trade agreements will likely remain unemployed or become underemployed.  Circumstances for the constituents will continue to be dire.  Millions of citizens will be unable to afford or access medical care at any cost, to say nothing of the twelve or more million migrants who go without health care.  Mailers be damned.  Shame on Barack Obama?  Shame on Hillary Clinton?  It is a shame that the people were never given a voice or entrée into the election.  

Dennis Kucinich, potential President of the people, a live-time Union member, the one person to actively propose an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], the war in Iraq [remember that refrain?], and Single Payer, Not For Profit, Universal Health Care, I miss you.

Sources of Shame . . .

Chicken Little Cries; “We Have No Choice.” Kucinich Locked Out

copyright © 2007. Betsy L. Angert

Americans acknowledge “The sky is falling.”  We, the people must unite and take our country back.  Democrats must choose the most desirable candidate.  The best candidate is defined as the one who can win the White House.  The Top Three are fine; perhaps, not as good as, they could be, but they will do the job.  Dennis Kucinich, for many is ideal.  His proposals are well thought out and he fully addresses the issues that affect the common folk.  However, Americans hear at every turn, Dennis Kucinich does not have a chance.  

Presidential aspirant Kucinich was excluded from  the American Association for Retired Persons [AARP] debate in the Hawkeye State. In Granite country, ABC News declared Dennis Kucinich would be barred from the dialogue.  Silver State voters were not able to see the profound Presidential hopeful on stage.  He was relegated to the streets allowed to speak only to the neon lights.  The Palmetto State decreed, “Dennis, this is not your kingdom.”  Indeed, you are locked out in this land of liberty.  Now, Texas tells its tall tale.  Dennis Kucinich will not be the hero in the Lone Star State.

The consensus amongst those whose capital counts votes is, it is important to win the White House.  Dennis Kucinich and his supporters only slow the process.  Actually, they threaten the comfort that is the status quo.  While many Progressives hesitantly accept this may be true,; nonetheless, these Democrats who seek change state, we must do as we have done before.  We need to unite behind a single candidate, two, or three.  Choose from those who have a chance to “beat” the brutal Republicans, and then, once the field is narrowed, all Democrats must vote for the nominee.

After all, there is war in the Middle East.  Iraq and Afghanistan have been torn asunder.  Iran may be next.  Israel is unstable.  North Korea is a concern.  We must not forget Lebanon, and our own shores.  No one is safe or secure.

Here at home, the Health Care system is in shambles.  Jobs have gone aboard.  The stock market is down.  Morale is low.  The economy is in the tank.  Fuel costs are high, as is rage among the American populace.  It is time for a change.  Democrats need to take the country back if we are to survive.  If the Republicans “win” the White House, the average American will be locked out.  The people cannot be treated as Dennis Kucinich has been.

Kucinich supporters must face the facts.  Come in from the cold.  Forget their commitment to principles that honor all people equally.  Those devoted to the common cause must be sensible.  If the Democrats are to triumph, every Progressive must accept that America may be at war in Iraq through at least 2013.  If those on the Left wish to be victorious we must follow the Clinton, Obama, or even Edwards lead.  If that means more troops are sent to Afghanistan, so be it.  We Liberals have to submit to the notion that a Single Payer, Not For Profit Heath Care plan will not be in our future.  If Insurers and Pharmaceuticals still decide for us, oh well.  At least a Democrat will be in the Oval Office,

Remember the math, 1+1=2.  Facts are facts.  Philosophical arguments are useless; they are merely a waste of time.  If you vote for potential President Dennis Kucinich, you just throw away your ballot, and forfeit our chance to win.  Hence, Progressives, Liberal, Democrats unite.  

Each day, as Elections approach, Democratic Americans join arms.  In Iowa, citizens held hands as they caucused.  In New Hampshire, constituents came together to cast their ballots.  Nevada and Michigan residents had their turn.  Voters determined who might represent them.  In South Carolina Republicans rekindled their zeal for democracy.  Days from now, Democrats will do the same in that southern region.  

Throughout the territory, Americans take advantage of every opportunity to be informed.  Inhabitants in the first primary States became personally acquainted with the aspirants.  In every locale people sit around television sets and watch the Presidential hopefuls debate.  The populace truly makes an informed decision, or so we are lead to believe.  Yet, in a nation where corporate moguls with mountains of money own the airwaves, and the companies that supply our medical, mechanical, and mundane needs dictate what is advisable, the people do not have the freedoms they could have.

Americans know this.  Common folks understand all too well, we do not have access to information.  Americans remember the false intelligence that led us into the Iraq War.  Each of us recalls the atrocities hidden from view.  The body bags flown into Dover Air Force Base in the dead of night were sadly not a dream.  The Human Rights violations witnessed belatedly through photographs too long suppressed, from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prison were a glimpse into stark reality of what is.

The people speak out; yet, they remain silenced, and powerless.  In part, as Americans we have learned to accept that we alone can do little.  We are convinced not to vote for our convictions, but to cast a ballot for the presumed electable, corporate determined, candidate.  

There is reason to believe that there is strength in numbers, and there is.  However, if we consider the large numbers of us who do not follow the wisdom within, our perspective changes.  When one-by-one we  relent, and become part of the mass movement, then we as a whole settle for less than what might have been.  When the Party nominee is the person, who from the first, we fully endorse, whose proposed policies we truly support, then there is no problem.  We can follow the lead of our allegiance.

However, when the person who best represents our authentic principles, from the beginning has been locked out, and declared “not viable,” when that individual is unknown to most Americans, and is not placed on many a ballot, we must decide whether we will submit, and settle for what is available to us.

Many ask Kucinich supporters not to vote for principles, for a person emblematic of all that they value.  Those who wish to see Dennis Kucinich in the Oval Office on January 20, 2009, are told to endorse a chosen candidate, one the Party leaders, and the media deem electable.  

Liberal Progressives receive requests, “Ignore the fact that Big Three are each tied to profiteers.”  We can only expect so much.  If we are to be good Democrats, we must make sure that Republicans do not take office.  That is of utmost importance.  It matters not that the Party’s, neither of them, act in the interest of the average Joe or Joanne.

Sure, they say . . . “A national Single Payer, Not for Profit Health care would be nice.  An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq would be welcome. No war with Iran, ah, but to hope.  The promise of a repeal of the Patriot Act and the restoration of civil liberties . . .Well, we can only imagine. To think the United States might cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] and the rebuild the auto, steel, aerospace, shipping, and manufacturing industries . . . dare we dream. Could we possibly initiate carbon-free and nuclear-free energy policies.  One can only wonder.”

Those who believe that what we conceive, we can achieve know that with Dennis Kucinich, in the White House all this would be possible.

Yet, supporters, such as I, feel as a lone Chicken Little the smallest voice among the dissenters.  I cry in fear as do my fellow Democrats, “The sky is falling.  The sky is falling.”  Progressives say they have heard that before and while they believe it to be true, an umbrella will protect them.  I think not.

For me, a small cloth collapsible canopy made of thin fabric will not shield me from harm.  I have tried to safeguard my brethren and myself for years.  Many of my ballots were parachutes intended to slow the fall.  However, none truly did a adequate job.  The wind and watershed of the wealthy who control the economy and the agenda always had their way.

My lovable eighty-nine year young cousin mused aloud of his near century of votes.  He reflected, throughout his adult life only once has he voted for a Presidential candidate who spoke to his ethics, beliefs, and humane principles.  In his days as a voter, he did as people have done.  He cast a ballot against the Presidential candidate he thought worse for the nation, for the world.  In each of the decades that my relative was able to vote, he did not feel the person he cast a ballot for in the general election was the quality candidate America needed.  The nominees were corrupt, or tied to powers-that-be. The interests of the people were ignored, and consistently, while change was promised, the average American did not benefit.

I offer the reflections of another frustrated citizen who cares, who observes his choice for President and our dreams are being crushed.  Michael Collins, I thank you.


“Chain, Chain, Chain …” The Texas Primary



Forced Loyalty Oath Locks Out Kucinich

By Michael Collins

“Scoop” Independent News

January 19, 2008

Dennis Kucinich may not win the Democratic nomination for president, but he’s leaving a pro-democracy legacy across the country. To begin with, this candidate actually discusses critical issues demonstrating his respect for voters. With regard to the voters’ right to know, he just asked for the first recount in memory for a presidential primary simply because it makes perfect sense. The New Hampshire results need a serious second look.

Kucinich struck another blow for democracy by challenging the restrictive loyalty oath required by the Texas Democratic Party to get on the primary ballot. He actually reads the contracts he signs. When presented with the loyalty oath required to run as a Democrat in the Texas primary, Kucinich prudently edited the document to reflect the requirements of free citizens living in a democracy: . . .

The concern expressed by Kucinich was simple. If the eventual Democratic nominee supports the Iraq War, signing this oath would require Kucinich to support that nominee and therefore the war. To make matters worse, supporting the war would negate his duty as a Member of Congress to protect and uphold the Constitution. Like a few others, Kucinich knows that this is an unconstitutional war since it was never declared by Congress (See Article I, Section 8, “To declare war”). What other choice did he have but to reject the loyalty oath? What justification did the other candidates have to accept the oath? . . .

Democracy’s Champion among the Candidates ??

Dennis Kucinich is the one consistent advocate for expanded democracy and measures to fight election fraud among all of the presidential contenders. Kucinich has a strong record as an advocate for working men and women by promoting civil rights, voting rights, and human rights at home and abroad. He’s never shied away from taking both principled and practical positions on elections. These are, after all, the essential element to achieve his goals.

His call for a recount in New Hampshire was without rancor or negative speculation. He simply recognized the problem, invoked the right to recount, and paid the bill. . .

From his first days on the national stage, Kucinich has stood for the people and against the interests of greed and exploitation. In return for his efforts, he’s been ridiculed and marginalized.

Imagine, a man who fights for the people, the Constitution, the rights of all Americans, and for this reason is intentionally removed from view.  Then, envision that same quality person seated in the White House, having been elected by an educated electorate.  Oh, I do dream of the time when a President of the United States represents the common folk.  I also understand, that if I,  join with all other Democratic Americans and vote for the candidate that is thought to be  the lesser of the “evils,” then I will have helped  my fellow countrymen to get what we have had for all the years that my eighty-nine year young cousin recalls.  

I will not contribute to change if I concede Dennis Kucinich cannot be my candidate of choice.  I will have simply surrendered to the status quo.

Mahatma Gandhi teaches, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Perchance, if we wish to expect a different outcome from elections we must not do as voters have done for at least a century. .  Open-minded Progressives may wish to consider, facts, as we know them only prove what we already believe.  Mathematicians may discover that just as the sum of angles of a triangle in a three dimensional plane do not total 180 degrees, if we do as we have never thought to do, we may realize 1+1 does not always equal 2.  Perhaps, if we change, so too will the State of the Union.  Indeed, America may actually become a nation where all men, women, and children are created equal.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

~ Albert Einstein [American Physicist]



Dennis Kucinich (D) on Texas Democrats loyalty oath

When We Are the Change . . .

Americans Ask to Hear From Dream Candidate, Dennis Kucinich



ALL of Dennis Kucinich’s replies @ 11-15-07 Dem. Debate

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Once more Cable News Network hosted a Democratic Debate.  I cannot begin to express how I felt about the exchange or the analysis that ensued.  Anderson Cooper, who in an earlier Democratic Debate expressed his disdain for Dennis Kucinich, helped to assess the performances in a program that followed the main event.  Two pundits, James Carville a political consultant to Bill and now Hillary Clinton and David Gergen, counsel to President Clinton shared their “objective” views  on the candidates.  Interestingly, Journalist John Roberts divulged that in Nevada, and perhaps in the hall, fifty-one percent of the Democratic voters support Senator Clinton. 

Might we extrapolate, the reactions to the Presidential hopefuls were filtered through a screen other than the one attached to our televisions.  Yet, in cyberspace, we were able to read the views of common folks.  Interestingly enough, Cable News Network provides a rare opportunity for Internet Citizen Reporters to express themselves.  Through these more personal evaluations, we are able to experience a slightly more authentic glimpse into the electorate.  I offer a few assessments for your review.

Andrew Tossetti of Amherst, Massachusetts Kucinich is a consistent thinker. Specifically, he voted against the Patriot Act as well as the war, two things we as a nation are perhaps regretting and are at the forefront of modern political topics. This kind of foresight is essential in a leader. “What if we had a president who got it right from the beginning?” he asks. This was a powerful thing to say that needed to be said. He is indeed worthy to be our president, the son of a truck driver who worked his way up while not abandoning very important moral and humanistic considerations.

As a voter, I am encouraged by the overall field. Biden has a great sense of humor; Clinton is assertive, Obama commanding. My dream ticket is Kucinich for president and a toss up between Clinton, Obama and Edwards for vice.

Charles Bean of Eureka, California I would like to have heard more from Biden, Mitchell, Kucinich or Dodd. Most people know about Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. The first four I named represent more of the public in my thinking. We just don’t hear much from them during the debates, as usual.

Paula Hyatt of Austin, Texas Finally a question is specifically addressed to Dennis Kucinich, 37 minutes into the debate. We have barely heard from Biden, Dodd, or Richards. I want to hear from more than Hillary, Edwards, and Obama. Give each candidate equal time, quit deciding for us who is going to be the candidate.

Again, we might realize the people applaud Dennis Kucinich.  They wish to hear more from the person they would choose to be President.  Yet, time after time, the only Presidential candidate that is card-carrying Union member, the one person that has consistently voted against the Iraq war, acts consistently to cut the funds, and bring the troops home is denied a forum.

Single Payer, Not for Profit Universal Health Care is what Americans crave.  Dennis Kucinich is the one aspirant with such a plan.  However, on occasions such as this he is not allowed to speak, at least not often.

I implore the media; let the one and only mainstream populace Presidential hopeful say his piece [peace], share his plans, and answer questions from those in the audience that yearn to his wisdom.  Might we truly invite the people to think, weigh the issues intelligently, separate ourselves from the hype, and then vote.  The Presidential election is not a sports event.  Nor is it a game.  Americans must have an opportunity to do more than presume to pick a winner.  Too often, this nation chose the pretty, the well position, or the prominent namesake.  Might we cast our ballot for the profound? 

I ask the press to give peace and profundity a chance.

Please reflect on the reality.  The American media refuses to bestow time for the brilliance of one that reads more than briefs before he votes on any Bill.  Sigh!

Dennis makes the most of his limited time in CNN debate

Although he received the least amount of time of any of the seven Democratic Presidential candidates during last night’s CNN debate — less than six minutes of the two hours — Dennis Kucinich made the most of it with crisp answers to questions about the war in Iraq, China Trade, the Patriot Act, the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear waste dump, and other issues.

Kucinich noted that most of the other candidates who previously voted in favor of those measures recently have changed their positions.  “You’ve seen here tonight people who voted for the war, voted to fund the war, now they have a different position.  People voted for the Patriot Act.  Now they have a different position.  People voted for China trade.  Now they have a different position.  People who voted for Yucca Mountain.  Now they had a different position.

“Just imagine what it will be like to have a president of the United States who’s right the first time.  Just imagine,” Kucinich said to thunderous applause.”

He also drew an equally enthusiastic response when he said that the President and Vice President are “out of control, and Congress isn’t doing anything.  It’s called impeachment and you don’t wait.  You do it now.  You don’t wait.”

The times for talk.
Biden:  9:15
Clinton:  15:55
Dodd:  7:10
Edwards:  10:43
Kucinich:  5:37
Obama:  18:09
Richardson:  14:06
Blitzer:  14:53

Imagine all the people living life in peace.  I do dream the impossible. I have faith with a President Kucinich this is achievable.

Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”
  ~ Miguel de Unamuno [Spanish Philosopher and Writer]

The Man, The Dream, The Possibilities . . .

  • Democrats spar in heated debate Cable News Network.  November 15, 2007
  • Democratic Debate in Las Vegas, Transcripts. Cable News Network. November 15, 2007
  • Democratic Presidential Debate Winners and Losers; Barry Bonds Indicted. Cable News Network. November 15, 2007
  • Poll: Clinton has large lead in Nevada prior to debate. Cable News Network. November 14, 2007
  • Part II: CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Cable News Network. July 24, 2007
  • Dennis makes the most of his limited time in CNN debate Strength through Peace. Dennis Kucinich for President.
  • Issues. Strength through Peace. Dennis Kucinich for President.
  • A Healthy Nation. Strength through Peace. Dennis Kucinich for President.
  • Survival of the Middle Class.  Strength through Peace. Dennis Kucinich for President.