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 . . .

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 . . .