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Monday, 24 August 2009 04:45

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 24, 2009

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Subject: Health Care Reform: TARP III

The emerging bill from our corporate congress will do for the insurance companies what TARP did for the banks. When you can afford to spend over 130 million dollars on lobbying/bribing congress you pretty much get whatever you want. Republican rabble-rousing has given them the thin veil of populism that they need to to serve the interests of their clients - the insurance companies. Democrats don't have the guts for a fight and everyone knows it. This is TARP 3 and the president is going to sign it into law. As moving as they are I'm pretty much sick of hearing about people's health scare stories. Americans seem to have guts only in the literal sense of the word. When Bill Clinton was president and we had eight years of prosperity and a budget surplus people seemed to hate him for it. I guess Obama was paying attention when the shrub escaped unscathed from wrecking the economy. Try to fix it and people hate you for it. Make it worse and everyone loves you. Wallowing in misery seems to have become America's favorite pass-time. By the time the food industry is done with us no one will be able to afford health care anyway - and it wouldn't help even it they could. God/nature will punish us for the way we treat and consume animals so who needs Al Qaeda? We are our own worst enemies. The Christian churches in this country should haul down their crosses and hoist the $ sign instead - that's their real ensign and god anyway.

Our culture has become extremely ugly and people around the world are increasingly intent on rejecting it and perhaps most cruelly, ignoring it. Who wants to emulate a population that is content to endure the slings and arrows of corporate corruption daily and still flock to line up at the Apple Store for the next generation iPhone. Every pod person has to have the newest iPhone, the only thing it seems that's worth fighting or even killing for. If someone were to give me one I'd grind it under the heel of my foot. I know plenty of people who like to complain to me about AT&T, but will not switch to another provider siting several, unspecified "reasons". I figure it's the same reason they can't pull their pants up - the love of misery. Big banks and insurance companies know how to exploit American's fear of change - the best insurance imaginable that change is coming. In case you don't know by now, it's the kind of change that won't be good for America or Americans.

As we muddle from one un-winnable war to the next as gluttony of one form or another abounds on every side we are left to wonder when the blustering will stop and weight of reality will sink in - or onto the American people. What it means to be an American has been stood on its head by our gradual acceptance of a corporate culture that knows only greed and belligerence. The spirit seems to have left the body leaving only pod people and angry zombies behind. I thank God that I have enough spirituality left in me to know better than to worship money. It is truly an end unto itself. Death is just a brief refresher course on what living is about. Eternity is not an interval of time, but a state of full knowledge. We get to experience it for an instant and then we get another opportunity to see if we learned anything from the experience. Time is the domain of the living and it seems to be weighing heavily on us at the moment.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Friday, 21 August 2009 04:59

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 21, 2009

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Subject: C Street

Hi, Buzz!!

The more I hear about the "theology" of the C Street "Family," the creepier the whole organization looks.

I wonder why Christians aren't calling the Family's beliefs what they are: heresy. That word calls up images of the Spanish Inquisition and other such medieval abuses, but it does apply here. A belief that claims to be Christian but denies that Jesus is what we believe Him to be (the Son of God), or says that He didn't teach what the Bible says He did - or didn't really mean it - is heretical. The Family's leader says Jesus really didn't mean all that stuff about taking care of the poor and sick, and loving your neighbor. The Family's leader tells the C Street "chosen" that they can ignore Biblical moral teaching as well, because the rules don't apply to those whom God has chosen for leadership.

Mark Sanford cited King David's adultery with Bathsheba as a reason for not resigning his office. He forgot that David was called out by the prophet Nathan for the adultery and the death of Bathsheba's husband. Nathan did not tell King David that the rules didn't apply to him. Sure, David didn't resign, but "King" is not an elective office. Sanford is comparing apples and oranges.

We need to stop calling the Family "fundamentalists," or "Christians." They are neither of those things. They are HERETICS.

Jane Hawes
Edmond, OK (red-state Democrat)


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 20 August 2009 04:41

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 20, 2009

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Subject: Healthcare's Bad Guy Name Not Spoken

Yes, I believe that the insurance industry is greedy and their end customers are the ones who suffer because of it.

But, IF you call up your health insurance company because something wasn't paid or you are being denied coverage for a procedure, go ask your Human Resources Director why the company CHOSE NOT to have this coverage built into the employee health coverage plan.

Don't bother to ask the health insurance representative on the other end of the phone line why something isn't covered, the COMPANY you work for won't allow the insurance company claims rep to say "this is the PLAN AND COVERAGE YOUR EMPLOYER CHOSE FOR YOU.

The reason your health insurer won't pay, is because your employer CHOSE NOT to BUY that level of coverage.

I know this to be a fact because I was told to STOP telling people exaclty that when I worked for CIGNA. (Company HRs called in and complained that they had employees coming into their office) Yes, the edict is still in place today.

It all comes down to profits. Profits for the Insurance Comapany and profit on the Employer's bottom line.

Employer's get TAX WRITE OFFS do they not? Insurance companies get Government subsidies. And I don't know what hospitals get. But I do know We just get screwed.

Maybe if employees begin going into their Human Resources Director's office and start going Howard Beale on their ass, Employers too will STAND UP and DEMAND a PUBLIC OPTION.

Monica Schrack
IL


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 04:35

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 19, 2009

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Subject: Health Care In Amrica

While listening to Talk Left yesterday, I heard an excellent idea of how an individual can fight back and help achieve health care reform. One man dressed in his Sunday best and stood quietly in front of the road to a mega church with his sign which said, "Who would Jesus deny health care to?"

As Ed Schultz says, "The churches and their leaders are stangely quiet on this subject. What happended to feed the hungry and heal the sick? I am no longer a believer but I was steeped in religion as a child and young adult (we even had a Bible teacher come into the classroom weekly to tell us stories!)

I know what the Bible says and I know it is not being followed by the believers! On the contrary, their hearts are hardened against anyone who does not fit their idea of "A True American."

Sandy
North Idaho


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 04:47

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 18, 2009

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Subject: An open letter to President Obama on health care reform

August 17, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

I write to you in support of a comprehensive health care reform bill that includes a public option and universal coverage. Mr. President, universal coverage has been debated in this country since before the Great Depression. We are living in a historic time, a time when our country has recently inaugurated you, and given your party a sizable majority in both houses of Congress. You are well aware that, historically, the election cycle after a president first takes office has not been kind to the party in charge at the White House. We've all seen the pictures on Fox "News" (sic) and the other cable outlets of the right-wing crazies screaming at their elected representatives around the country. And we've all heard the outrageous lies that the opposition has spewed, as they’ve played to people's worst fears.

That is all the more reason that NOW is the time to pass a bill that lowers the spiraling costs of American health care, includes coverage of ALL American citizens, and includes a public option. Mr. President, if you retreat now, your party may never have another opportunity to act decisively on this issue. I feel compelled to share the story with you of my close friend Phil, who died of heart failure on July 14, 2004, two months shy of his 41st birthday. To this day, I am bitter about his death, and contend that the reason he is no longer alive is because the health insurance industry's "death panels" killed him by refusing him coverage. And, unfortunately, his story is not unique.

As well as being a uniquely gifted musician, Phil had worked as a youth minister for a number of churches in both the Milwaukee and Detroit areas. Phil had struggled with obesity his entire life, and eventually developed diabetes. With benefit of an employer's health insurance coverage, he was managing the disease. But when he lost his job, he was unable to afford the costs of COBRA coverage, and his insurance lapsed. With little income, he could no longer afford the high costs of purchasing the insulin his doctors had prescribed. And when several months later he found another job, he was ineligible for insurance coverage because the insurance company ruled his diabetes was a "pre-existing condition."

Eventually, several years of the untreated diabetes took its toll, and Phil suffered a series of "silent" heart attacks. Phil had just moved back to Wisconsin to care for his ailing father when he was hospitalized, and quickly transferred to a major teaching hospital. By the time doctors discovered the damage to his heart it was already too late. The only thing that might save him was a heart transplant. But because Phil was without health insurance, the hospital sent him home with a family member to wait for a call telling him that they had found a heart donor.

He died that same evening.

Had Phil not been denied coverage, he would probably be alive today. Over the years he would have been a strong, positive influence on the lives of countless young people. NOW is the time to quit talking, and to do something about it. While it would be nice, we do not need the Republicans to go along with us on this issue. Unfortunately, rather than working to solve the problems facing our country, they have chosen instead to be the "Party of NO."

In the memory of my friend Phil, I encourage you and the Democratic Party to do the right thing and finally pass a health care reform bill that includes universal coverage and a public option. Now is our moment.

Sincerely, Gregory W. Smith

P.S. – With all due respect, Mr. President, let's get this important issue behind us soon so that we can roll up our sleeves and go to work on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.

Gregg
Milwaukee


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Monday, 17 August 2009 05:03

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 17, 2009

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Subject: Top 10 Reasons We're Against Health Care Reform

10: I feel fine!
9: I've only got 25 more years till Medicare.
8: Taxes - bad; insurance premiums - good!
7: Look how well our current system works - the insurance companies are making massive profits!
6: Just three words - "I hate our government".
5: If I'm healthy, how can I call in sick to work?
4: Like the Declaration of Independence says: "Strife, poverty, and the pursuit of crappiness".
3: The insurance companies put our health over profits - they're our friends!
2: Obama wasn't born in the United States - he was born in Hawaii!
And the Number 1 Reason we're against health care reform: 1: SARAH PALIN IN 2012!!!

Doug Long
Rio Rancho, NM


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Friday, 14 August 2009 04:09

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 14, 2009

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Subject: A National Referendum Vote on Healthcare

Rather than have the outcome of the healthcare issue determined by the red-faced right, why not hold a special national referendum vote and let the ballot box speak for all Americans? The issue is certainly important enough to justify such a special and official voter poll. The central issues: single payer, public option, coop, pre-existing conditions, etc. could be outlined on a ballot sanctioned by congress could determine what will and will not be contained in the final legislation.

This would be real democracy in action as opposed to allowing the volume ofspittle decide the issue. The essence of democracy is the ballot box. Not that I have any real objection to allowing people to spew forth their ignorance in the fashion that we've been witnessing since the August recess began. In fact I hope these people follow through on other issues dear to their hearts - I do hope that the health plan they have covers heart attacks - talk about pre-existing conditions! I've never seen so many over-weight people taxing their cardio-vascular systems to such a degree. Democrats should be setting up Red Bull Stands outside these town-hall events. I hope the right will carry this same passion into gun-control events. If all those red races screaming about the right to pack heat doesn't scare Americans into supporting rational gun laws then nothing will.

The ballot approach is undeniably democratic and would put to rest any claims of who and what represents the will of the American people. There's nothing "socialistic" about it. Most Americans are not of a mind to scream and yell at their representatives in congress or at their President. Let's allow the actual majority decide the issue. That would represent real "democracy at work".

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 06 August 2009 04:28

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 6, 2009

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BuzzFlash mailbag is "Gone Fishin'" for a well-deserved break. Mailbag returns on Friday, August 14.

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Subject: town hall screamers

Hi, Buzz!! I have a question about the shrieking mobs of right-wing nutters at Democrats' town-hall meetings: Why aren't those people getting arrested for disorderly conduct? Because that's what it is. Why aren't the police there in force to prevent this sort of thing?

The right-wingers will, no doubt, claim "freedom of speech," but what they're doing is more like yelling FIRE in a crowded theater. That, by the way, is NOT protected speech under the First Amendment. Threatening behavior, thuggishness, and intimidation are not First-Amendment rights.

These people have to be stopped, and force is all they understand.

Jane Hawes
Edmond, OK (red-state Democrat)


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 06:01

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 5, 2009

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Subject: Congressional Hypocrisy

I am so disgusted by the Republicrats and the "Yellow Dog" Democrats who are obstructing the public option and/or single payer for health care insurance reform.

It wouldn't be so damned galling IF those members who are standing in opposition were sponsoring a bill to repeal their rights to that which they condemn: a healthcare plan that is administered by the government, single-payer, paid for by the taxpayers, and socialist.

But, they don't and they won't. That is what makes this so bizarrely repulsive. They do this "all" the time. They get an annual pay raise -- last year's was over $4,000 per year. Yet they piss and moan about raising the federal minimum wage to a corporate budget busting 7.55 per hour. At that "competitive wage" a person can make a whole less than $16,000 a year before taxes.

What a bunch of despicable, arrogant, greedy bastards. Talk about speaking with forked tongues. Perhaps We, the People wouldn't be so angry if once, JUST ONCE, they would put their money where their mouths are and set the example by GIVING UP their taxpayer totally subsidized standards of living.

L M Johnson
Tacoma WA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 04:34

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 4, 2009

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Subject: The National Guard -- for Mike Curtis

Mike, you had some questions in yesterday's Mailbag regarding the National Guard. Here's a brief explanation of how that works.

Any Reserve force (Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, AF Reserve or Marine Reserve) is a federal military unit. They can only be activated or called up by order of the President of the United States.

Each and every state has its own National Guard forces. They are considered "assets" of each states Governor. Each states also has its own State National Guard Bureau and Commander. National Guard forces can be called up by a state's Governor to help out in cases of emergency. For example, in Wisconsin, our Guard forces have been called to duty to help with tornado clean-up or to help fill and place sandbags as a pre-emptive action when the Wisconsin or Mississippi Rivers threaten to flood. However, in the case of national emergency the President can also call up the National Guard to reinforce and/or supplement Active Military and US Reserve forces.

National Guard is generally also considered in some legal circles to be the "well-established militia" referred to by the Second Amendment.

I hope this clears up some of your questions. It is confusing, but it does make some sense when you start to think about it.

One more note: I don't know if a President can directly activate National Guard assets, or if he has to go through the Governor of the state, with the governor then going his State National Guard Commander. I would suspect that is HOW it is done, but can't state that equivocally.

Can't answer your question as to whether all National Guard units are back from the ME now. I rather suspect not.

L M Johnson
Tacoma WA


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