August 30, 2009
August 28, 2009
Our first date was nothing special, just the brief flirtation of a robo-call. But there was the promise of something more. He promised he would call. He even promised the date and time.
Then he stood me up.
I sat by the phone and waited for it to ring. I checked the dial tone. Twice. The phone was working. It just didn't ring.
Was it something I said? Something I wrote?
Why didn't he call? Why don't they ever call?
August 25, 2009
August 23, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 11, 2009
I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter because, frankly, we historically have had a employer based system in this country with private insurers. And for us to transform to a system like that I believe would be too disruptive.
So what would end up happening would be a lot of people who currently have employer based healthcare would suddenly find themselves dropped and they would have to go into an entirely new system that had not been fully set up yet and I would be concerned about the potential destructiveness of that kind of transition.
Alright, so I'm not promoting a single-payer plan. I am promoting a plan that will assure that every single person is able to get health insurance. At an affordable price. And that if they have health insurance they are getting a good deal from the insurance companies.
That's what I'm fighting for.
Thus his plan is to create a Public Option that will allow them to develop an entirely new system and over time move everyone - except members of Congress - onto it. It's not that he doesn't want single payer, it's just that he knows that he cant get there all at once. Because doing it the Pubic Option way would be less destructive.
August 09, 2009
I can't tell you how moved I have been at the overwhelming support I have received from newspapers throughout the country in these past few days. I hold no illusions that all of these journalists agree with me on my views against the current healthcare reform legislation. The journalists' delight at our appearance at Townhall Meetings is not about my views, it is about my right to express these views. I am extremely grateful that there are those of you out there still with a fierce belief in constitutionally guaranteed rights. We need you, the press, now more than ever. This is a crucial moment for all of us.
For all of the ugliness of the 2008 election, there was a brief period afterward where I held a great hope, in the midst of the tears and elated faces of Democrats, in the midst of the rarified air we breathed as we watched in Denver, in the midst of my children's delight at being so close to this historic event, in the midst of all this, I held on to a glimmer of hope in the naive assumption that something good could come out of it.
I imagined our leaders seizing upon this moment of unity in America, this moment when no one wanted to talk about Democrat versus Republican, white versus black, or any of the other ridiculous divisions that dominate our public discourse. I imagined our leaders going on television telling the citizens that although we all want to be at a Town Hall, we can't, but there is work that is needed to be done all over America. Our help is needed at community centers to tutor children, to teach them to read. Our work is needed at old-age homes to visit the lonely and infirmed; in gutted neighborhoods to rebuild housing and clean up parks, and convert abandoned lots to baseball fields. I imagined leadership that would take this incredible energy, this generosity of spirit and create a new unity in America, a new unity that would send a message to Americans everywhere: we will become stronger, cleaner, better educated, and more unified. We will strengthen our commitment to justice and democracy. We will be reborn.
And then came the speech: I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. And the beatings began. And the old Chicago way was restored as our leader encouraged us to show our patriotism by stifling dissent and by volunteering to join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious speech or email.
In the 7 months since the election, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided, and a world population that had profound respect and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state.
This past weekend, we went to Florida for a family reunion of sorts. Amidst the alcohol and the dancing, sugar-rushing children, there was, of course, talk of the nationalization of healthcare. And the most frightening thing about the weekend was the amount of times we were thanked for speaking out against the bill because that individual speaking thought it unsafe to do so in their own community, in their own life. Keep talking, they said; I haven't been able to open my mouth.
A relative tells me that a history teacher tells his 11-year-old son, my nephew, that dissent is endangering the future by opposition to the bill. Another teacher in a different school asks our niece if we are coming to the school play. They're not welcome here, said the molder of young minds.
Another relative tells me of a school board decision to cancel a civics event that was proposing to have a discussion of the bill for those who have fought against the spread of socialism because the students were including conservatives ideas in their debate.
A teacher in another nephew's school is fired for wearing a T- shirt with Socialism Sucks on it. And a friend of the family tells of listening to a congressman South as she calls for the harrassment of a prominent anti-socialism activist. Death threats have appeared on other prominent anti-bill activists' doorsteps for their views. Relatives of ours have received threatening e-mails and phone calls. And a 13-year-old boy, who has done nothing to anybody, has recently been embarrassed and humiliated by a President who dismisses his views fake outrage paid for by insurance company lobbyists.
Dissenters have been listed as traitors, too well dressed, and various other epithets by the President and members of congress.
Two weeks ago, our congressman canceled an appearance at a conference on healthcare reform. And we were told that both we and the First Amendment were not welcome at their Town Hall Meeting.
A famous middle-aged rock-and-roller called me last week to thank me for speaking out against the bill, only to go on to tell me that he could not speak himself because he fears repercussions from the administration. "They control the licenses of the stations that play our music. I can't come out against this bill."
And here in Washington, Jake Tapper finds himself banished to the back of the room and uncalled on after asking Robert Gibbs whether our having people report dissenting comments to the White House violated the law.
A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in Congress, labor unions and community organizations. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications.
Every day, the air waves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear.
I am sick of hearing about Republicans being against this bill. The GOP’s heavy hitters, the real power brokers and cover-of-GQ- magazine stars, have been largely silent on this issue. But the Right Wing, the concept, has always been a popular target.
I remember when Cap and Trade happened. President Obama criticized the Right Wing for contributing to its defeat -- this, as the House was ordering three private jets. Could the actions of our leaders contribute somewhat to the angry dissent of citizens? Or is it all just the GOP and lobbyists?
I remember reading at the time that one of the legislators added a 300 page amendment to the bill before anyone could read it. I talked about this in the press at the time. And curiously, the President accused me of being unpatriotic for criticizing Congress. In fact, the same activists that call us traitors today engaged in daily personal attacks on their president during the last administration.
Today, prominent politicians who have decried violence in demonstrations -- the "Blame Rightwingers," if you will -- recently remained silent our current President unleashed real violence in our current debate. They want us to stop talking but are okay with violence.
And these same people that tolerate the real violence of union thugs don't want to see the result of it on the nightly news. Unlike the rest of the world, our news coverage of this war remains sanitized, without a glimpse of the blood and gore inflicted upon our citizens. Violence as a concept, an abstraction -- it's very strange.
As we applaud the hard-edged realism of the Tea Party Protests we cringe at the thought of seeing the President on the nightly news. The administration wants no part of reality in real life. They demand that bill be passed without debate, and that debate remain imagined and conceptualized in real life.
And in the midst of all this madness, where is the political opposition? Where have all the civil libertarians gone? Long time passing, long time ago.
With apologies to Robert Byrd, I have to say it is pretty thriling to live in a country where a senior citizen has more knowledge than most politicians. We need leaders, not pragmatists that cower before the threat of being reported to the White House. We need leaders who can understand the Constitution, congressman who don't in a moment of fear abdicate their most important responsibility, to listen to their constituents. And, please, can we please stop the congressional astroturfing?
In this time when a citizenry challenges the lies of congressmen as it lives in fear of its own freedom, when an administration official releases an attack ad questioning the patriotism of people who dare to hold a dissenting view, when people all over the country fear reprisal if they use their right to free speech, it is time to get angry. It is time to get fierce. And it doesn't take much to shift the tide. My 11-year-old nephew, mentioned earlier, a shy kid who never talks in class, stood up to his history teacher who was questioning dissenter’s patriotism. "That's an American you're talking about. Stop it." And the stunned teacher backtracks and began stammering compliments in embarrassment.
Blogwriters across the country reacted with such overwhelming fury at the SEIU, Acorn, the President and the leaders of Congress. A bully can be stopped, and so can a mob. It takes one person with the courage and a resolute voice.
The journalists in this country can battle back at those who would rewrite our Constitution in The Socialized Medicine Bill as they would call it in middle America. Journalists can insist that they not be used as publicists by this administration. The next White House correspondent to be called on by Robert Gibbs should defer their question to the back of the room, to the banished journalist du jour. And any instance of intimidation to free speech should be battled against. Any acquiescence or intimidation at this point will only lead to more intimidation. You have, whether you like it or not, an awesome responsibility and an awesome power: the fate of discourse, the healthcare of this republic is in your hands, whether you write on the left or the right. This is your time, and the destiny you have chosen.
We lay the continuance of our democracy on your desks, and count on your pens to be mightier. Millions are watching and waiting in mute frustration and hope - hoping for someone to defend the spirit and letter of our Constitution, and to defy the intimidation that is visited upon us daily in the name of national healthcare and warped notions of patriotism.
Our ability to disagree, and our inherent right to question our leaders and criticize their actions define who we are. To allow those rights to be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to limit access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our democracy's defeat. These are challenging times. There is a wave of statism that seeks to divide us . In the name of my 11-year-old nephew, and all the other unreported victims of this hostile and unproductive environment of fear, let us try to find our common ground as a nation. Let us celebrate this grand and glorious experiment that has survived for 227 years. To do so we must honor and fight vigilantly for the things that unite us -- like freedom, the First Amendment.
August 07, 2009
"Any time I'm talking to my constituents in an unfiltered way I consider it productive," he said in a phone interview afterward.
Murphy acknowledged that a few angry voices dominated the gathering, at least initially. But he said that didn't bother him. "Was that out of a ; text-decoration: none; ">Norman Rockwell town meeting painting? No. But there are big issues being discussed in Washington ... and people have a right to be concerned, even angry about it."
Good for you Congressman. I hope you mean it.
August 05, 2009
WASHINGTON — Former Representative ; text-decoration: underline; ">William J. Jefferson was convicted Wednesday afternoon of using his office to try to enrich himself and relatives through a web of bribes and payoffs involving business ventures in Africa.
A federal court jury in Alexandria, Va., deliberated for five days before finding Mr. Jefferson, 62, a New Orleans Democrat who served in Congress for 18 years until being defeated in 2008, guilty of 11 of 16 counts of bribery-related crimes. The jurors thus rejected defense assertions that Mr. Jefferson’s business-promotion activities in Africa did not qualify as “official acts” under public corruption laws.
Mr. Jefferson faces a long prison term, unless his conviction is overturned on appeal.
There is some justice left in the system after all.
From President Barack Obama email@example.com
date Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 10:21 AM
subject This is the moment
This is the moment our movement was built for.
You signed up - now you must do as I ask.
For one month, the fight for health insurance reform leaves the backrooms of Washington, D.C., and returns to communities across America. Throughout August, members of Congress are back home, where the hands they shake and the voices they hear will not belong to lobbyists, but to people like you.
Unless of course they hear voices who dare to oppose my takeover of healthcare. Then they are hearing false anger engineered by special interests like evil insurance companies and their K Street lobbists
Home is where we’re strongest. We didn’t win last year’s election together at a committee hearing in D.C. We won it on the doorsteps and the phone lines, at the softball games and the town meetings, and in every part of this great country where people gather to talk about what matters most. And if you’re willing to step up once again, that’s exactly where we’re going to win this historic campaign for the guaranteed, affordable health insurance that every American deserves.
What I mean is, we don't have much of a chance to get this through Congress unless we orchestrate a large scale spontaneous show of support.
There are those who profit from the status quo, or see this debate as a political game, and they will stop at nothing to block reform. They are filling the airwaves and the internet with outrageous falsehoods to scare people into opposing change. And some people, not surprisingly, are getting pretty nervous. So we’ve got to get out there, fight lies with truth, and set the record straight.
Actually I'm getting pretty nervous that Harry and Nancy aren't going to be able to pull this off. Especially if people keep posting those clips of me saying I support a single-payer system. We've got to shut this opposition down or people might actually listen to them.
That’s why Organizing for America is putting together thousands of events this month where you can reach out to neighbors, show your support, and make certain your members of Congress know that you’re counting on them to act.
Because when a powerful organization puts together demonstrations in support of my greatness it is a good thing for America and for the world. When anyone organizes any kind of demonstration in opposition they are an angry unruly mob paid for and bussed in by special interests.
But these canvasses, town halls, and gatherings only make a difference if you turn up to knock on doors, share your views, and show your support. So here’s what I need from you:
Can you commit to join at least one event in your community this month?
We need people there to shout down and get in the faces of those who would stand in my way.
In politics, there’s a rule that says when you ask people to get involved, always tell them it’ll be easy. Well, let’s be honest here: Passing comprehensive health insurance reform will not be easy. Every President since Harry Truman has talked about it, and the most powerful and experienced lobbyists in Washington stand in the way.
We've been trying to get socialized medicine for decades. I am The One and I will make it happen. Especially if we can shut down any opposition.
But every day we don’t act, Americans watch their premiums rise three times faster than wages, small businesses and families are pushed towards bankruptcy, and 14,000 people lose their coverage entirely. The cost of inaction is simply too much for the people of this nation to bear.
Remember when I said the special interests were trying scare people into opposition. Scare tactics are bad. I would never do that. I would just present the facts and not try to frighten anyone into supporting socialized medicine.
So yes, fixing this crisis will not be easy. Our opponents will attack us every day for daring to try. It will require time, and hard work, and there will be days when we don’t know if we have anything more to give. But there comes a moment when we all have to choose between doing what’s easy, and doing what’s right.
Do not be fooled when they say they are opposing the content of the legislation. They are attacking us because reform will cost them money. And because I'm black.
This is one of those times. And moments like this are what this movement was built for. So, are you ready?
Please commit now to taking at least one action in your community this month to build support for health insurance reform:
Let’s seize this moment and win this historic victory for our economy, our health and our families.
And the glory will be mine and mine alone.
President Barack Obama
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of fishy stuff about healthcare here:
Is there anything that can be done about this without violating the First Amendment protection of free speech?
If you have written or said anything bad or in opposition to The One's single-payer national health care dreams, do your neighbors a favor and just report yourself.
August 02, 2009
August 01, 2009
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