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Thursday, 01 October 2009 04:23

BuzzFlash Mailbag for October 1, 2009

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Subject: A Wealth Care Plan for the Senate

As it turn out Americans needn't have worried about any kind of "socialized" medicine coming out of this congress. The plan that's being crafted in the senate will benefit about 100 Americans who already have an excellent health plan - thank you very much - and some insurance companies and cancer clinics who stand to more than recoup their pay outs to the galaxy of lobbyists who have been "working" on this plan. Harry Reid, caught with his pants down with his "rifle shot" amendment for a cancer clinic in NV, says that he's supported them in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I think he's just assuming that he'll still be in the senate to carry out this threat. I hope the people of Nevada were paying attention as Harry was stuffing this money deeper into his pockets so that none of it got blown away in the wind. This "health care" plan is little more than big money grab by incumbents in the senate and the corporations that they represent. Democratic leaders say that they're "encouraged" from there months of negotiation with republicans - now go figure - not a single vote from republicans but they're encouraged. It's hard not to be encouraged with so many companies stuffing money in your pocket.

It's the same across the board in government today. The SEC says that they're "considering" new regulations on flash trading - the Gsux super-computer stock market vacuum cleaner - but may have to consider it for several more months. This is the equivalent of putting up a For Sale sign. If you don't give us some money right now we may be forced to regulate. You've got 60 days to come up with the cash. I wrote to Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer on this subject over a month ago and so far it's all quiet on the eastern front. What could they say about it anyway? You don't have a super-computer installed within feet of the systems running the NYSE? Tough luck sucker - we do and there's not a GD thing that you can do about it.

America needs health care reform - what they're getting is a proctology exam with a power drill that misses the mark by several inches. Democrats should join republicans in opposing this republican bill.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 24 September 2009 04:23

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 24, 2009

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The BuzzFlash Mailbag will be Gone Fishin', but will be back with all new letters on October 1.

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Subject: Help from the 'guvment

We are slowly drying out here in metro Atlanta from an onslaught of rainy weather with extensive flooding. The weather was unprecedented. Homes, schools, and businesses were flooded. It's estimated that millions upon millions of dollars will be needed to repair and rebuild. I had to do some mopping in the lower level of my house, but the worst areas seemed to be in Atlanta's Cobb County. This is an area where some businesses and homes still fly the confederate flag out for all to see. I feel so much compassion for those who lost their homes and businesses, but I am also reminded that our governor, Sonny Perdue (I call him "Shady") was one of the Southern governors who announced a few months ago that he/we didn't need any stimulus funds from Washington.

When Katrina happened in New Orleans, there was some commenting from these parts that "those people should have gotten out", that the government didn't owe them anything. I have a feeling also that a few of my fellow Georgians were at the "tea Party" to declare that the federal government needed to "get out of their lives" and that they wanted "their country back from Obama". The bible says that God works in mysterious ways. Well, it was difficult for Gov. Shady Perdue to say his name ( Obama ) and he didn't, but he had to come before the TV cameras and state that he had called 'the president' to request assistance for those in need. President Obama graciously replied that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT would be of assistance. It's ironic that we complain about the federal government when we are against a particular party that's in office.

That's more than true in these parts. You can tune into a local radio talk show and they are calling Mr. Obama everything other than "president" at all hours of the day. But when disaster strikes, many are forced to call the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania...currently his name is President Barack President Obama. Life is so humbling at times.

Dee Turner
Atlanta, GA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 04:31

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 23, 2009

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Subject: Satyricon and the Senate

These days irony is running as high as the flood waters in GA. Not that it's that much better here in CA where people are fleeing multi-million dollar homes as brush fires ravage our state. But honestly shouldn't we be demanding that our government do something about climate change legislation instead of everyone standing in line at FEMA for federal dollars to rebuild destroyed homes? At what point does this all become too obviously untenable?

There are over 500 amendments to the Baucus Bill pending in the senate - that's five amendments per senator. Does everything have to be about big money for big companies? Americans should be demanding that the senate just stop. As bad as it is they're only going to make it much, much worse. It's turning into a cancer clinic bill - next they'll be passing out asbestos inhalers as health care reform. Even as flood waters surround them, CNN is somberly pronouncing that getting both health care and cap-and-trade legislation through congress this year is "not going to happen". Who paid them to say that? We can't afford to do this or that - but we can afford to have half the country under water and the other half on fire?

Even if it all is just an "act of God" then mightn't you at least expect that people would have an Ark in their backyard? Big government is so horrible until your house gets washed away or burned down. If there was ever a recipe for a "natural" disaster of epic proportions then this is it. All you have to do is add water and bake on high for half an hour. I hope that everyone was at least able to keep their powder and protest signs dry because President Obama is still out there trying his best to unite the country in support of policies to actually get something done. All these religious faiths seem to have very different gods - but they do seem to share the same devil. The congressional dental plan has to be at least as good as their health plan as I've never seen so many pearly white senatorial teeth in all my life. Gimmicks and bright smiles - and rather unnatural looking tans - seem to be about as much as America can expect from its legislative branch of government. Fees vs. taxes - it's all really, really, very, very sick.

There are some words that should be banned from the political lexicon. Amongst them: settlements, insurgents, surges and "small business". It's all become such nonsense that only professional comedians seem to be able to understand it. Even on the most serious of matters - like Afghanistan - it seems that bedrock common sense seems the commodity most lacking. Rather than another mini-surge in troop numbers wouldn't a ban on security contractors wearing g-strings at public orgies make more sense? We lost more hearts and minds in that single episode than even half a million troops can compensate for. What's the point in having the most professional military on earth if an outfit like Armor Group is around with video cameras rolling as they kiss each others asses in a very public display of decadence that wouldn't be acceptable anywhere in the world - much less in the capital of a devoutly Muslim country? This on top of the arse pyramid seen round the world from the Abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq? Armor Group responds by firing the man who was apparently the single professional employee in their entire shabby little company. How many of our professional soldiers are going to lose their lives as a result of this one incident? I'm sorry, but the only suitable response that I can think of is some equally public flaying of asses right here in this country. Why not build a pyramid out of them in one of our own federal prisons?

This is way beyond cute to the point of being just ridiculous. Everyone in Afghanistan is an "insurgent" - if they weren't before they are now. A belated and mild scolding from Hilary Clinton is just not going to hack it. We lost the war in Afghanistan when those photos were published. the blame should be attached where it belongs - on the U.S. State Department - not on the military. What kind of a "face" do we present to the rest of the world? We have overweight republican leaders in tights "dancing with the stars", a legislative branch of government that is as corrupted as anything to be found in Afghanistan and yet we think we can carry on two expensive wars even as our own country is inundated with fires and floods? I'm so thoroughly sick of the senate and their inability to get anything done. They're a Senate for CEOs and I fully expect them to appear on the capital steps in G-strings wagging their fat asses with a prostitute on either arm any day now.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 04:25

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 22, 2009

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Subject: Blue Dog Danny Boren responds.

From: Congressman Dan Boren
Subject: Response from Congressman Dan Boren
Date: Monday, September 21, 2009, 9:52 AM

Dear Mrs. Webb:

Thank you for contacting me about health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you regarding this important issue.

We as a nation spend 2.5 trillion or 17% of our GDP on health care every year and yet an estimated 46 million Americans remain uninsured. From a fiscal standpoint, government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid make up a staggering 20% of the federal budget, a figure expected to rise dramatically over the next 15 years as the number of retirees grows. With health care consuming large portions of family and state budgets, it has clearly become an issue that America can no longer ignore.

At the present time, there are multiple health care proposals in the House and Senate. The legislation that is on the minds of most Oklahomans is HR 3200, "The America's Affordable Health Choices Act." I would like to clarify my position on this bill: I am opposed to it.

First, I do not support a public option, or anything which will lead to government-run health care. My primary reason for opposing the public option is fear that it will crowd out private health insurance and lead America slowly down the road to single payer health care. I am strongly opposed to single payer healthcare.

The second reason I am opposed to HR 3200 is because it will fine small business owners if they do not offer health insurance to their employees. While employee-based health care is the backbone of health care access in the United States, fining small business owners who cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees is both counterproductive and bad policy.

Although I am opposed to HR 3200, there are several health care proposals currently being debated in Congress that I support. I am in favor of all health insurance products being guaranteed issue so that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions can obtain the coverage they need. I support tort reform, to help shield doctors from frivolous lawsuits. I am in favor of allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines so that consumers can shop nationwide for the most affordable health insurance policy possible. And finally, I am in favor of providing up-front tax credits to help Oklahoma families and small business owners purchase health insurance in the private market.

As the health care reform debate moves forward, rest assured that I will keep an Oklahoma perspective when deciding what to support or oppose. Again, thank you for contacting me, and please keep in touch.

Respectfully Yours,

Dan Boren
Member of Congress

Karen Webb
Moore, Ok.


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Monday, 21 September 2009 04:57

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 21, 2009

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Subject: Abandoning ACORN Because of Right Wing Stunts

See below Joe Conason's piece for a list of how the Senators voted -- all but seven caving in.

The Democrats who buckled either aren't aware, or just don't care, that the Republican attack on ACORN is a crucial feature of the GOP's ongoing drive to "win" back power in subsequent elections.

And it's not because ACORN has done a very effective--and, let the record show, entirely honest -- job at registering new voters. The GOP could not care less about how people really vote in the US, as long as it is not a landslide turning out against them.

Rather, the GOP keeps trashing ACORN as a way to cloud the issue of their own program of vote suppression and election fraud. And that tactic has worked beautifully. On the one hand, everybody and his brother "knows" that ACORN has committed "voter fraud" (even though, in fact, ACORN has not).

On the other hand, almost no-one knows that the Republicans committed voter fraud and voter registration fraud (the latter being the crime that ACORN was, in fact, accused of in the last campaign). See here:

http://markcrispinmiller.com/2008/11/the-real-vote-fraud-and-what-it-means/

and here:

http://www.mail-archive.com/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /msg00314.html

and here:

http://www.mail-archive.com/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /msg00373.html

And why does no-one know about the real fraud perpetrated, on behalf of McCain/Palin, by Mark Jacoby's YPM and Nathan Sproul's Lincoln Strategies? Because, throughout the last campaign (as now) it was all ACORN all the time--the media and the Democratic Party both refusing ever to discuss what the Republicans were doing.

MCM

p.s. Here's an apt commentary, by Andy Ostroy, on the Democratic vote against ACORN: http://ostroyreport.blogspot.com/2009/09/acorn-vote-house-democrats-just-stuck.html

Mark Crispin Miller
NYC


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Friday, 18 September 2009 04:43

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 18, 2009

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Subject: Baucus Health Care "Reform"

I supported President Obama, and I am a solid liberal; I have never voted for a Republican in my life, and won't start now. But if anything resembling Max Baucus's Insurance Company Enrichment bill actually passes into law, I will stop voting altogether. Maybe I'll try to find a sane country in which to live. The day I am fined by the government for not buying expensive private health insurance is the day I start shopping for a new country. Is it possible that the Dems are so STUPID that they would actually pass such a stinking, stupid bill?

For once, I agree with the Republicans. No bill at all would be better than Baucus's giant wealth transfer from the taxpayer to those wonderful insurance companies.

Actually, without a public option, it's not healthcare reform anyway. It's insurance reform.

Bud Hendershot
St Augustine, FL


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 17 September 2009 04:29

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 17, 2009

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Subject: A Word to Replace Bipartisanship

How does irrelevant strike you? What republicans want is a health care bill that democrats fashion in an attempt to obtain bipartisan support, then reject it leaving democrats to take the blame when it fails to work and ends up running up the national deficit. Instead why don't democrats design a bill that's designed to solve the problem, pass it without republican support, take credit for it when it does work and proves popular with the American people and leave republicans looking like the recalcitrant, anti-reform, just-say-no party that they are?

If recent history teaches us anything, it's that begging and pleading with republicans will get you absolutely nowhere. On the other hand when republicans see their party base shrinking to a few rural "S"outhern districts, they may feel more inclined to adopt a more reasonable stance on other important issues that our country faces. Why waste time with futile inducements and pleas for bipartisanship, corrupting good legislation in the process, when the perception of political irrelevance will get the job done so much better? If republicans want to sit on their front porch, fondling their shotgun and watch the river flow by then by all means let them. They've had eight long years of having their way entirely on every issue and look what it's achieved - near total economic collapse - not just for this country, but for the world economy as well. If democrats aren't willing to place the blame where it belongs - squarely on the republicans - then they'll get to share the contempt and blame that the rest of the world has rightly placed on our country and its broken political system. Bad policies can't go unpunished and certainly can't be allowed to go forward as if nothing has happened. If we don't won't our country to fade into irrelevance then a certain political party is going to have to face up to the consequences of what has transpired over the last eight years.

Congress must pass clean, workable health care legislation and do the same on finance reform. If they make a plate of bipartisan spaghetti instead, they're just going to get it shoved back into their faces and look like the fools that, quite frankly, they have been for the last eight years. If democrats need a prosthesis to walk erect, then for God's sake get one - while they still have a good health plan to pay for it. They won't get another opportunity to get this right - nor do they deserve one.

No one can say that President Obama hasn't made a very sincere effort at bipartisanship. After all that effort you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of republican votes he's gotten in return. It's really difficult to understand how Max Baucus can emerge from several long months of negotiating with republicans, carrying a republican bill, and yet still not have a single republican vote. He announces to the nation that "there's a lot in this bill for republicans to like" and does it with a straight face. If he were an Afghan or Iraqi he'd be a have a great future ahead of him as a suicide bomber. There's everything in the bill for the republicans to like - that's why they're not going to touch it with a ten foot pole. Let the foolish democrats carry their water for them.

What President Obama needs right now is someone such as Willie Brown to replace Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. For someone who's supposed to be politically savvy, Rahm seems to have come up very lame. Willie Brown is out there and I'm sure that he'd answer the President's call to service. When Willie was in the CA Assembly he was able to make republicans spit, sputter, turn red in the face and commit political hari-kari - without even raising a sweat. He was a great mayor for San Francisco. There's every reason to believe he'd be as effective in Washington as he was in Sacramento. Just point him towards the republicans that are causing the most trouble and they'll soon be little more than greasy spots on the sidewalk.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 05:18

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 16, 2009

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Subject: Obama in Pittsburgh

It was nice having our President back - if only for a day. This was the President that I'd hoped we'd elected back in October of last year. What a contrast to the man speaking on Wall Street just a day earlier. Since the 2K election we've had to endure the spectacle of democratic leaders weakly supporting strong ideas while republicans win converts through their strong support of essentially weak ideas. Even in today's environment where the consequences of embracing weak ideas, however strongly, have made themselves manifest in so many ways, republicans seem in total shock and disbelief at what their failed policies have wrought. Emblematic of their failure and most resented of all is the President himself. Democrats on the other hand seem to have acquired their own special strain of Stockholm Syndrome and just can't seem to imagine doing anything that their erstwhile tormentors would not approve. Seeing Obama back in fighting form before the AFL/CIO conference audience was enough to ignite new hope that he and other democratic leaders can severe their vestigial ties to republicans and actually lead the country out of the morass that the republicans largely created. Leadership is more than just turning words and phrases inside-out and upside-down - effectively stripping them of any real meaning whatsoever - so that they can be offered up in support of the republican's twisted ideology.

I'm just assuming that they don't really expect the public to believe that President Obama is simultaneously a Nazi, a socialist, a fascist, a communist and the devil himself - that's a lot of political ground to cover even if he were the devil. It's also a bit of stretch to believe that Americans have "fought and died" to protect us from universal health care. Wasn't it President Roosevelt who led the nation out of a republican depression, through WWII and was the architect of the Social Security program? The great nation that they "want back" was largely built by democrats who aspired to ideas bigger than self and dedicated to visions beyond what merely serves the moment.

It seems to me that President Obama has more than a little of the wisdom in him, that Justice Sotomayor alluded to in her "wise latina" statement that drew such scorn and even charges of "rascism" from republicans. The very concept that a life can be enriched and that a person can become stronger and wiser from experiencing discrimination and prejudice is anathema to racists everywhere. It was why the students who got to hear the President's recent back-to-school speech listened with such rapt attention. There was very little applause, but you could almost hear the gears turning as they listened to the very personal life stories that the President shared with them. It clicked. It applied to them and they knew it. I'm sure that it will have a meaningful impact on many of them and it was a lesson plan that every school child in the nation should have been allowed to hear and benefit from. In my opinion it was one of Obama's very best speeches - rivaling even President Clinton's address to the students, parents, faculty and staff at Columbine High School.

But Obama's address before the AFL/CIO conference is cause for every democrat to not abandon hope. We all know that the President is a very good man - if he weren't how could he have such a wonderful family and be the person that he rather obviously is? That's never been a question for me. My problem with Obama is that he likes to be liked too much. That's not a bad trait for a person to have - but it is a bad trait for a President to have. To move our country forward he's going to have to get things done - things that will not be popular with everyone - at least not until after they're done and people are reaping the benefits of living in a greater, more prosperous society. To make that happen he's going to need to be more of the President that we saw in Pittsburgh today. Of all the "experts" in his cabinet and amongst his counselors, he should perhaps be listening first to Michelle, our First Lady, there's a lot of strength there and some "wise latina" as well.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 04:41

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 15, 2009

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Subject: Obama on Wall Street

So what happened to Main Street? As the financial situation worsens across the land, the President chooses to address the situation from Wall Street. If he has friends anywhere, he should find them here. Just like on health care the President likes to talk big without actually taking a firm position on anything. There has been no financial reform and there's not likely to be any either. As an indication of how the cozy relationship between big banks and regulators has changed not an iota read this article in today's NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/business/15bank.html?_r=1&hpw

When the courts have to step in and force regulators to do their jobs then its fairly clear that regulation is as lax as ever. To make matters worse the cast of regulators has not changed beyond the most culpable of them having been promoted to higher positions in government - most notably Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The banking bundlers have gotten bolder and are now engaging in even more dangerous and unproductive schemes such as buying up life insurance policies from elderly people, bundling those with other securities and selling them to private investors - a move that's sure to distort the insurance markets and result in higher premiums for people who want to protect their families with life insurance. None of this is an accident. Regulators are fully aware of what's going on, they're just very deliberately choosing to do nothing about it. As a result the most non-productive, overpaid people in the country are raking in millions and billions at the expense of everyone else and the economy in general.

With each successive presidential address, I become more disillusioned with Obama. He effectively killed the public option for health care by saying that he supports it, but that people should be prepared to not get it. Well, thanks to that comment we won't get it and as a consequence health care reform is DOA. What will emerge is an insurance company bill that will guarantee them even bigger profits while their excessive profits are the core problem for escalating health care costs in this country. There's a distinct pattern emerging here where the culprits are rewarded big time at a huge expense to everyone else. While financial regulators are twiddling their thumbs, Gsux still has their super-computer plugged into the NYSE sucking the profits out of the markets. This undermines the entire purpose of the stock markets in the first place - providing working capital for American Industry. Who even wants a stock market that serves only to syphon off profits into the greediest and most capacious pockets in the land?

With the sole exception of Justice Sotomayor's appointment to the Supreme Court, the truth is that President Obama has only made matters much worse since taking office. At every opportunity he proclaims that the "tide has turned" on the economy. Last I heard over 500K jobs were lost in the last quarter. It doesn't take a forecasting wizard to know that the tide doesn't turn until it stops receding. We're apparently going to get four more years of b**h style BS at the most critical juncture in our nation's history. The candidate of change has himself proven to be a changeling. He's effectively spurned the friendship and support of the progressive movement and sought to make new ones amongst those who are implacably opposed to him no matter what he does.

It's not as though he's performing well on any other front. Just as the Taliban are perfecting their expertise with IED's and successfully recruiting vast hordes of suicide bombers, he seems set to send even more U.S. troops there. You might almost think that the Pentagon is being run by Al Qaeda operatives. Where are the MRAP vehicles? Why aren't we doing a better job at recruiting and training the Afghan army? Why aren't we operating from strategically placed, well fortified bases and using our technological advantages more effectively? Why are we leaving the Iraqi army will little more than pickup trucks and AK47's as we withdraw from that miserable experience? Why is NASA still intent on abandoning the Space Shuttle program and replacing it with a 1960's era man-in-a-can program? Where are the high-speed rail projects and the green revolution? None of it is happening because our priorities are all wrong. If white roofs will help - why not put it in the building code? We are making no progress - big or small. It would almost be nice if the government were ineffective. But they're not - they are very effective at exacerbating the problem set while at the same time praising themselves like a never ending Academy Awards program.

We need real change more urgently than ever. We have a changeling instead.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Monday, 14 September 2009 05:23

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 14, 2009

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Subject: Government Option

Why is it so bad that the government should provide health insurance for those who can’t afford it? The government provides college loans and grants for kids who otherwise could never afford to go. That move certainly didn’t drive the private sector out of the student loan business. The government has several agencies that help families get home loans, if they can't afford to get one otherwise. That move certainly didn’t drive the private sector out of the mortgage business. There’s no evidence that providing a health insurance public option will make the insurance industry unprofitable.

Chuck Weiss
U.S.A.


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