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2013.10.21.BF.BerkowitzBILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Whether you call him a marketing guru, a hotshot data-miner, a crass opportunist, a reverse mortgage huckster, or a Tea Party entrepreneurial role model, Todd Cefaratti isn't letting any grass grow under his feet. Now that the government shutdown is history (at least temporarily), Cefaratti has moved on to greener pastures; telling supporters that the Democratic Party has "declared all–out war on the Tea Party."

According to Cefaratti-signed email, with "Citizen Patriot" affixed to his signature, Democrats "are in panic-mode trying to save Obamacare and have just announced the formation of a special attack unit to target and defeat the Tea Party. In fact, they have already pumped 200,000 dollars in initial seed money into the so–call 'Rapid Response' unit."

To save the Tea Party, Ceferatti has established the "Emergency Response Fund," to fight back against the ... onslaught that is about to come our way."

Published in Guest Commentary

2013.10.21.BF.BuchheitPAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Private systems are focused on making profits for a few well-positioned people. Public systems, when sufficiently supported by taxes, work for everyone in a generally equitable manner.

The following are six specific reasons why privatization simply doesn't work.

1. The Profit Motive Moves Most of the Money to the Top

The federal Medicare Administrator made $170,000 in 2010. The president of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas made over ten times as much in 2012. Stephen J. Hemsley, the CEO of United Health Group, made almost 300 times as much in one year, $48 million, most of it from company stock.

Published in Guest Commentary

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Woundedknee189110 14Mass grave for the dead Lakota after the massacre at Wounded Knee CreekColumbus Day is a good day to consider American exceptionalism, in the broad sense of superiority. Columbus embraced the doctrine from the start, writing about the Arawak Indians in Haiti: "Great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes and very handsome...I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased."

Conquer them he did, forcing them to find gold for the Spanish explorers, cutting off their hands if they failed.

In the 1600s the Puritans also deemed themselves exceptional, justifying their beliefs with a quote from the Psalms: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." In the Pequot War they annihilated the Native Americans of southern New England.

Equality would be forthcoming, it seems, with the words of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." But exceptions were made. George Washington's intentions for the Iroquois Indians in 1779 were to "extirpate them from the country." The Native Americans called Washington the "town destroyer." Washington was just the first of many, many Presidents who believed it was America's role to tell others how to live.

Published in Guest Commentary

10.9.2013.BF.NixonROBERT SCHEER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Before he was disgraced into resigning his presidency over the Watergate burglary scandal, Richard Nixon had successfully engineered an even more odious plot known as his Southern Strategy. The trick was devilishly simple: Appeal to the persistent racist inclination of Southern whites by abandoning the Republican Party's historic association with civil rights and demonizing the black victims of the South's history of segregation.

That same divisive strategy is at work in the Republican rejection of the Affordable Care Act. GOP governors are largely in control of the 26 states, including all but Arkansas in the South, that have refused to implement the act's provision for an expansion of Medicaid to cover the millions of American working poor who earn too much to qualify for the program now. A New York Times analysis of census data concludes that as a result of the Republican governors' resistance, "A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help."

Published in Guest Commentary

10.9.2013.BF.CruzJIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Whacking yourself on the head with a ball-peen hammer would be stupid. But doing it again and again — that's insane.

Welcome to your U.S. House of Representatives, presently led by a pack of Tea Party Republicans. They are so crazed by Obamacare that they repeatedly hammer themselves over the head with it, having voted 46 times (so far) to dismantle, defund, delay, deny, and otherwise destroy this landmark health care bill — all to no avail. They would be hilarious, were they not so pathetic.

But now, their anti-government, anti-Obama obsession has turned into insanity. Acting as though the USA is nothing more substantial than a banana republic, this Tea Party clique of petty potentates has forced a shutdown of our national government. The craziest part of their stunt is the duplicitous claim that finally providing health care for millions of uninsured Americans will have, as one leader of the mad-dog pack put it, "horrific effects."

Published in Guest Commentary

2013.10.7.BF.Boehner-TeaPartyNNAMDI F. AKWADA FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In his attempt to encourage the Republican Party to bring up the clean continuous resolution (CR) appropriation bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote and approving the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama indicated that the United States was not a Banana Republic and a deadbeat. Banana Republic is the racial pejorative phrase that was coined and used by the British and other western countries to describe the same colonial protectorates that they stole from to enrich their coffers. These countries were left with vast populations of poor people, intractable political difficulties to benefit the chosen ones and the west, with colonial mentality elites who govern with the venial of entitlement and administer resources with the tint of impunity.

An objective analysis of the "Banana Republic" terminology will reveal the indispensable facts that the United States of America is the current numero uno Banana Republic. This is the country where a small segment of the country led by the Tea Party and Republicans are hell-bent on ingraining their own status quo on the larger society by ensuring that millions of their fellow citizens are without health insurance and coverage. These Republican representatives and Tea Party zealots in congress who are mostly millionaires have hijacked the term "the American People," though they represent the minority within the minority that has continued to decline amidst their quest to take their country back.

Published in Guest Commentary

2013.10.7.BF.BuchheitPAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell recently declared, "The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty."

Ironically for thinkers like him, the last 35 years have redistributed U.S. poverty by redistributing wealth to the rich. The middle class, once the backbone of a strong American society, has been broken, beaten down, pushed further and further toward poverty levels. Here are five well-documented ways that this has happened.

1. Income Redistribution Is Worse Than Usually Reported

We are told that the richest 1% doubled its share of income in the past thirty years. But from 1980 to 2006, according to both IRS and CBO figures, they nearly TRIPLED their share of income -- and that's after-tax income.

After 2006, the recession set everyone back temporarily, but in the first two years of the recovery, the richest 1% captured an incomprehensible 121% of the income gains (others saw debt rise faster than income).

Published in Guest Commentary

2013.10.2.TPPJIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people's right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

This is a super-sized NAFTA, the 1994 trade scam rammed through Congress by the entire corporate establishment. NAFTA promised the "glories of globalization": prosperity across our land. Unfortunately, corporations got the gold. We got the shaft — thousands of factories closed, millions of middle-class jobs went south, and the economies of hundreds of towns and cities were shattered.

Twenty years later, the gang that gave us NAFTA is back with the TPP, a "trade deal" that mostly does not deal with trade. Of the 29 chapters in this document, only five cover traditional trade matters! The other chapters amount to a devilish "partnership" for corporate protectionism.

Published in Guest Commentary

2013.10.2.BF.GOPSTEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Lyndon Johnson's vision of the "Great Society" Program came to an end in 1967, after he had decided that in order to fend off GOP red-baiting tactics, he had to expand the War on Vietnam. Since that time, our nation has been governed either by Republican Presidents and Republican policies or by Democratic Presidents who pretty much went along with the Republicans on major issues. Funnily enough, Richard Nixon, who some of us grew up learning to hate as one of the epitomes of the McCarthyite terror, was also the last President to implement major forward looking national programs, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. In fact, it is most ironic that if it had not been for Watergate, under Nixon - assuming that a compromise could have been reached with Ted Kennedy - we would have had a national health insurance program that would have been much more progressive than "Obamacare" at its very best.

Nothing much happened domestically under Jimmy Carter, although I myself heard him pledge, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in 1976, that by the end of his first term, a comprehensive national health insurance program would be in place. From the time of Ronald Reagan onward there have been no comprehensive progressive domestic policy reforms, although there have been some negative ones, like the "end of welfare as we know it" and "the days of 'big government' are over" under Clinton. All of this time the Republican Party's mantra, whether in the White House or not, has been mainly characterized by "lower taxes" (no matter how much they might have been already lowered) and "smaller government" (except of course for big-government programs that they just love like the keeping military-industrial complex humming along, fighting the so-called "drug war," providing huge subsidies to the petroleum industry and factory farmers, and so on and so forth). But they were never public, or very public, about their true agenda. They always tried to keep the focus on "lower taxes, smaller government," with of course lots of push on the distractive issues of religious determinism, like opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.

Published in Guest Commentary

9.30.BF.CruzANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

After 21 hours of bluster from Senator Cruz it was hard to say what the point of the whole exercise was except to enhance his reputation in the eyes of right-wing supporters. At the very least he established that he had to be taken seriously because he has been featured on every main-stream news outlet and interviewed by every big name in the business.

He held up well whether he was making political points or reading Dr. Seuss; give him credit for staying power even if his cause was less celebrated than he might have hoped. He and pal, Utah’s Senator Lee, kept repeating their mantra that they were listening to the ‘voice of the people’ although people are always claiming they hear voices of one sort or another e.g. NYC’s notorious serial killer, son of Sam, who claimed to have been instructed by a demonic dog in his neighborhood. In this case Cruz and Lee are only talking about killing the affordable health care law or postponing its implementation for a year which is pretty much the same thing. “Not ready for prime time” they say, borrowing one of those over-used sobriquets used by unimaginative blowhards who think they’ve hit the verbal mother-lode.

Published in Guest Commentary
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