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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Taking a break

The Dunning Letter is on indefinite hiatus but please use the "Search" option to look for subjects of interest.  There are over 700 posts to choose from.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You could profit off your health insurance

In yet another part of the new health-care law that favors consumers, insurance companies will be forced to spend a minimum of the premium you pay on health care and quality. For smaller companies the figure is 80 cents on the premium dollar. For employer plans covering over 50 people, the requirement is 85 cents. This is similar to a law passed a few years ago requiring charities to spend a minimum of your donations on the cause for which they are collecting.

If the insurer fails to meet the minimum, they will be forced to issue rebates to customers. The idea is to encourage better health care over excess spending on administration, marketing and executive bonuses by the insurance company. Some insurers are already complaining, which might indicate an inequality in paid premiums on their part to health care delivered.

Others are threatening to stop offering insurance to the individual market, with Georgia, Iowa, Maine and So. Carolina afraid this could lead to loss of coverage. But industry analyst, Les Funtleyder, says Health and Human Services has considerable latitude in making adjustments for insurers’ marketing needs. It would seem that the consumer can expect a higher quality of health care with this new ruling since many plans only spend from 60 to 80 cents on the dollar.

The new rule goes into effect January 1, and in 2012 up to 9 million customers could get rebates averaging $164. It’s nice to know for once that the consumer is getting a break with the greedy health insurers paying the bill. It is also pathetic that this must be done to keep these companies honest. The $164 could be a discount on premiums or payment direct to policyholder.

In the future, customers can shop for health insurance using this new gauge of just how well insurers pay benefits, but must be mindful of the new jargon. The ratio companies spend on care is “medical loss ratio.” They’ve known this all along but as long as they were able to get away with spending only 60 percent of your premium on your health care, the greedy ones did it.

And remember, the Republicans have said repeatedly that they would repeal the health care act.

Read more on this subject here.

Read more health care posts here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution? Part 3

"Gunfight" by Professor Adam Winkler
 In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, it was established that the Tea Party is planning a revolution, and one of its major thrusts will be to roll back the nation’s gun laws, the effective few that are on the books that are responsible for holding down gun violence. Now I know what the gun bubbas are saying to this, that there was a surge in weapons ownership recently and that’s what keeps our neighborhoods safe. Pure bunk!

First of all, I don’t know anyone where I live that owns a handgun, and if I did, they would be the last one I would call on. Furthermore, I don’t feel one iota safer walking down the street next to Wyatt Earp who is carrying a gun, which, because of the way he flaunts it, could easily be wrested away from him or her by a bad guy who could end up shooting me. Like former President Ronald Reagan said, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

Finally, it is rare that you see coverage in the media where an armed citizen has saved the life of an innocent bystander, and also infrequent when a gun owner uses their weapon to protect themselves. Most everything you read indicates the crooks, depending on just how desperate they are, will go to any length to get what they want, and no amateur gun-carrying Dick Tracy will help. This is particularly true of drug addicts.

My point is that more guns on the street are certainly responsible for the recent rash of shooting violence across the U.S.

So back to the Tea Party and getting rid of all gun laws. According to UCLA Constitutional Law Professor Adam Winkler, their extremism is illustrated by the fact that many of their candidates are endorsed by Gun Owners of America, headed up by Larry Pratt, which argues that the NRA doesn’t support gun rights enough. Would you believe, the GOA thinks the NRA is too compromising? Pratt is also known for his part in starting the lunatic 1990’s patriot militia movement, which died after Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Professor Winkler believes that although guns rights individuals value their firearms for self-protection, the Tea Party and a rejuvenation of the militia movement covet them for revolution. This was evident by Sharon Angle’s run for the Senate against Harry Reid in Nevada when she told supporters if you don’t get rid of Harry Reid, the people will be forced to turn to “Second Amendment” remedies. Harry Reid won.

You can see Chris Matthews take on the Tea Party by a priceless comment he made recently in the following You Tube video.

While the Tea Party dresses up all their rhetoric for hot button issues like economics and too much government, “Make no mistake,” says Professor Winkler, “when it comes to guns, they’re talking about revolution.”

Read more Tea Party posts here.

Be sure and look for Professor Adam Winkler’s book, “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” which will be published by W.W. Norton in the summer of 2011.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution? Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I introduced Adam Winkler who is a constitutional law professor at UCLA, who says the Tea Party wants an “extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.” This is being pursued in several states by Tea Party candidates such as Paul Rand in Kentucky and Joe Miller in Alaska, who advocate adoption of the radical Firearms Freedom Acts, which are basically insurrectionist in their purpose. In Wyoming, if a federal officer attempts to enforce federal gun laws, he could get up to a year in jail.

One might expect that out of a state which former Vice President and infamous liar under GWB, Dick Cheney, hails from.

The Tea Party crackpots disguise their actions as states’ rights, but the intention is purely to eliminate all gun control. A move that could put more weapons in the hands of drug users and domestic batterers, as well as undermine gun dealer record-keeping laws that are used to solve crimes, Winkler says. As an example, the Professor also comments that Rand Paul is hell-bent on “no gun control period,” even if firearms end up in the hands of criminals.

Although the Tea Party tries to connect with the Ronald Reagan era, they fail to mention that Reagan “vigorously” endorsed the Brady Act, named for his press secretary injured seriously by a handgun. And one of my favorites, while Reagan was Governor of California, he supported laws banning gun bubbas from carrying loaded weapons around on public streets.

As a matter of fact, the former President said: “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” AMEN!

But Joe Miller, still trying to associate himself with Reagan, prompted his supporters in July to arrogantly parade with their guns openly displayed. They’re seen with military-type rifles on their shoulders and handguns strapped to their belt in an attempt to mirror Wyatt Earp. See the video below, and tell me if this doesn’t look like the biggest gang of misfits you’ve ever seen. Pathetic!

Tomorrow, Gun owners of America, another gun group even more radical than the NRA.

See earlier Tea Party posts here.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution?

Adam Winkler is a constitutional law professor at UCLA, and recently wrote about how the Tea Party movement plans to overturn gun control laws. Just what is needed in this country…an extension of the NRA. Winkler says the issue was “conspicuously absent” in the recent election, but an undercurrent running through the campaign rhetoric was that the Tea Party wants an “extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.”

This could be the result of the dilution of the D.C. v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the Second Amendment does protect the right of an individual’s right to own guns for self-defense. In that decision SCOTUS added: “…nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions on the commercial sale of arms."

The lower courts have followed that interpretation to uphold laws re. the possession of firearms by “felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.” Also “laws prohibiting particular types of weapons, including sawed-off shotguns and machine guns, and specific weapons attachments.” And “laws barring guns in school zones and post offices, and laws outlawing "straw" purchases, the carrying of concealed weapons, possession of an unregistered firearm, and particular types of ammunition.”
With these courts upholding every one of these laws, as Professor Winkler put it, “Since Heller, its Gun Control 60, Individual Right 0." See the Professor’s You Tube video, below, that concludes the major problem of gun control advocates is potential bills through state legislatures.

The CATO Institute financially backed the Heller legislation and thinks the above addendum added by Justice Scalia merely caused confusion in the ruling. The gun fanatics disagree—wouldn’t we be disappointed if they didn’t?—saying it just confirms that the Supreme Court “believes that almost all gun control measures on the books today are perfectly lawful.” With all these disappointments, amid the flag waving by the NRA of what they had accomplished on Heller, the Tea Party quietly made their plans.

On Monday, the Tea Party gun control revolution.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Former Rep. Tom Delay from Texas proves how far a politician can fall

He was one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, and had the nickname of “the Hammer” due to his bullying style of handling people. Former Rep. Tom Delay, once the number two person in the House of Representatives, was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He, of course, plans to appeal the verdict. The decision was based on $190,000 of corporate donations that were involved in a Texas-style “money swap.”

Delay had two co-conspirators that assisted in getting the money to the Washington-based Republican National Committee, which disbursed it to seven Texas House candidates. The prosecution said that the $190,000 was instrumental in the GOP taking control of the Texas House. That, in turn, paved the way for redistricting that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004.

The judge has several options in sentencing Delay of up to life in prison, but a Texas defense attorney remarked that he would probably only get a few years, if he gets any prison at all. Delay was also mixed up with former lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, in 2005, an association that ended his 22-year political career. The Hammer later surfaced in 2009 as the Dancer in ABC’s TV show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the other side of the aisle is Charlie Rangel, congressman from New York’s Harlem district, a 40-year veteran who is being charged with financial and fundraising misconduct by the House. Rangel, who is 80 years old, pleaded with the House to not call him corrupt, and it did not. Convicted on 11 counts of ethical wrongdoing, the ethics committee recommended 9 to 1 for censure.

Rangel is accused of using the power of his office to solicit money for a college center named after him. There were ten years of misleading financial statements re. his assets and other shenanigans over a New York apartment. As the former chairman of the House’s tax-writing committee, it was considered particularly flagrant that he hadn’t paid taxes on income from one of his properties for 17 years.

Two wrongs—one from each side of the political aisle—do not make a right. And you can kiss “transparency” and “accountability” goodbye in the future with the incoming Republican House ready to ditch the Office of Congressional Ethics. This is an independent body established to watch over Congress, and apparently as far as the GOP is concerned, doing too good of a job. What does this say about the Republicans many of you voted for, and Congress in general?


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The gun nuts are coming out of the woodwork – Part 2

I would hope that all of my normal readers would take the time to read yesterday’s post before starting on today’s, so you can get a feel for just how ludicrous the gun freaks can be when someone attacks their right to do whatever they want with a gun. It’s hard to fathom how this conglomeration of radicals has become so strong when they only represent around 25 percent of the adult population. At any rate, I would sincerely be interested in hearing from those of you that believe in some form of gun control.

Now on to answers to more comments from Monday.

AM thinks it is OK that 5,000 firearms ended up in Mexico from American gun dealers, a flippant attitude the folks in Juarez who have lost family members recently to cartels might not share. Anyway, I am certainly not sure about AM’s figures with the news coverage of high powered weapons finding their way across the border from Arizona recently showing up at Mexican crime scenes. The ATF confirmed this indicating that weapons seizures on the border have doubled this year. Not exactly how the Mexican government would make a purchase, but thanks for the math lesson.

And the AKs that AM says come from Central and South America, it is obvious he should advise ATF that 90 % of the 158 assault rifles seized in Mexico where they were taken from the drug cartel Los Zetas in May alone, didn’t really come from the United States as the ATF claimed. However, AM, it’s really Ok to be stupid; I have to feign stupidly any time I am dealing with gun screwballs.

RNK, please don’t ignore my gun show loophole “fantasy,” just go to the link to yesterday’s post on this subject and see just how mixed up you people have become. And speaking of logic, yours is diluted to the point of hilarity re. why we should not get rid of the weapons confiscated in crimes. These “inanimate objects’ you speak of are responsible for the recent rash of shootings that are taking place throughout the U.S. As far as burning American currency, AM, it is illegal, or is this something the NRA didn’t teach you?

I don’t know about you, RNK, but in my entire life I have never been faced with the necessity to defend myself with a gun. Also, not one of my family, friends or acquaintances has ever indicated this need. Yes, it happens, but does the number of instances justify a gun lobby that supports defeating laws that simply seek time to check a potential gun owner’s background? I think not and no amount of NRA gibberish will convince me of this.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The gun nuts are coming out of the woodwork

Photo by Dave Parker
 There’s nothing I like better than debating with a bunch of gun fanatics. Some comments to The Dunning Letter posts on the subject are based on facts—no doubt delivered daily by the NRA to its members—but most are purely emotional and vindictive, attacking the writer who is genuinely interested in finding a way to keep killer weapons out of the hands of criminals. What I cannot abide is the fact that these devotees to the gun god won’t relinquish one drop of control.

David said “…your statement about gun shows is entirely false.” He goes on to say that the “gun show loophole” is a private sale, and is limited by law. Apparently the congressional investigation into this in July 2010 by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) didn’t have your information, David. The forum resulted from the brother of one of those shot in the Virginia Tech U. massacre walking into a Virginia gun show easily purchasing a glock handgun like the one used at Virginia Tech, plus several others without any background check.

And then there is the anonymous comment from one afraid to give his or her name, and with good reason since what is said makes little sense. The apparent point was that the Google search I did showed nothing in relation to Arizona shooting, with some other babble over film making and gang violence. I will let my normal readers decide by looking at the site, here, again, which shows page after page of Arizona shootings. I am sure you don’t have the slightest idea what you are commenting about.

Sean D Sorrentino—it’s rare you get a full name—thinks I should back away from my keyboard and get a grip on myself. OK Sean, I did, and came up with the fact that there are 300 million firearms in the U.S., of which 100 million are handguns. And since some states don’t require gun owners to register their firearms, these guns are not counted. In a 2007 report, the U.S. was the most armed country in the world with 90 guns per 100 people. Based on my point, and facts, about the gun show loophole, above, do we really need to chance this happening.

More answers to the gun lunacy tomorrow.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Arizona continues to lead the nation in putting more guns in the public’s hands

State Sen. Russell Pearce, who authored Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB1070, stuck a provision in the bill that “pushes” local police departments to resell confiscated weapons to authorized gun dealers. Not satisfied that one Phoenix, Arizona suburb, Peoria, found a loophole in his law and passed a measure to continue destroying the weapons, a moonstruck Pearce now plans to “fix” that loophole in the next legislative session.

You would think that based on all the shootings I was able to Google, just in Arizona alone, some sanity might prevail and they would curtail all these insane gun laws that have been passed recently. In April of 2010, Arizona State Sen. Pearce once again authored, and Governor Jan Brewer readily signed, a bill allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit. Some fanatics never learn.

There are only two other states requiring the sale of confiscated weapons, Kentucky and Tennessee, both of which must have state governments almost as brainsick as Arizona’s. The NRA says why not sell these weapons to an authorized agent, and therein lies the problem. Gun show participants are authorized agents, and carry a loophole that would allow individual to individual weapons sales without background checks.

The Chaska, Minn. Police Chief doesn’t think that confiscated weapons should be recirculated in the market, as does the Peoria, Ariz. City Attorney. Peoria Police Chief, Larry Ratcliff, provides an illustration where weapons used in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. crimes were traced to resales from Memphis, Tenn. Law enforcement. An Apache Junction, an Ariz. Police Captain commented, although they are not big “moneymakers,” you can make a “couple dollars” out of them.

Arizona is also known for supplying assault rifles to the Mexican drug cartels, although these sources scream vehemently that they aren’t aware they are going across the border. That kinda cinches the case for stronger gun laws doesn’t it?

Read earlier posts on gun control here.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Not sure she’s happy there, but do think she should stay there

Photo by DonkeyHoten
 Barbara Bush told Larry King on Monday night that Sarah Palin is beautiful, thought she was “very happy” in Alaska, and hopes she’ll stay there. I’m not sure she’s happy there, and am pretty sure she’d rather be cross-country. In a white house with a wrought iron fence on a street named Pennsylvania Avenue. With a cute little room to hold tea parties. And, of course a ballroom for dancing.

On the roof a telescope would be set up from which she could keep her eye on Russia. A special space would be set aside for Katie Couric interviews. A section of the Government Printing Office would be delegated to turn out more of the claptrap books she is now famous for. Finally, an American historian would be hired to try and keep Palin from making the stupid statements she has been known for in the past.

OK. Stop right there. This is getting bizarre. Barbara Bush did say the above, but the rest is my creation. Taken from this pathetic woman’s life since Arizona Senator John McCain made the fatal mistake of bringing her into the lime light as his vice presidential running mate, and then, thankfully, lost significantly to President Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

But it isn’t until the paltry Palin re-hashes Michelle Obama’s statement, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback," in her new book, that she reaches the bottom of the barrel. Richard Cohen’s OP-ED in The Washington Post is a “must read.” He calls Palin’s criticism of the first-lady’s comment “appalling” and shows her “ignorance of history.” He refers to the fact that Michelle’s ancestors were slaves, and how she was made aware of her “blackness” while attending Princeton University.

Palin never had to experience this kind of racial prejudice, a situation most whites will never be able to comprehend, while at the same time much of this country continues to hold an apartheid attitude in dealing with African Americans. I might expect this from the South—where, incidentally, I grew up—even though they have cleaned up there act somewhat.

But is it mere coincidence that 36 percent of the Tea Party members come from the South, and one was quoted as saying, “I’m a proud racist, I’m white.”


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl just can’t give up earmarks

Photo by Mike Licht
It only took three days for Sen. Jon Kyl from Arizona to blow the ban on earmarks that even Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky had agreed to. McConnell is one of the leading pork barrelers, having bragged in the past about the millions he had directed to Kentucky projects. His shift on the issue was one of the most decent things McConnell has done in the last two years.

This was all prompted by Tea Party influence, especially Sen. Jim DeMint from South Carolina who was instrumental in changing non-binding party rules to eliminate “congressionally directed spending.” That was all on November 15, the week in which Congress was supposed to take a vote on earmarks, but there is some doubt now it will pass. President Obama supports the ban and more, but even some from his own party are in dissension.

Earmarks are spending items inserted in other bills, most likely by a Senator, going to a specific state. Just three days after the GOP renounced earmarks, Sen. Jon Kyl landed $200 million that will settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government. Kyl inserted it in a larger bill supported by the President, and then insisted it isn’t an earmark.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said on the floor of the Senate, “I do know an earmark when I see it. And this, my friends, is an earmark.

Kyl supposedly recently joined with the thinking of the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain, also a Republican, and a stringent foe of earmarks. The junior Senator was impressive during the recent Bush administration when he agreed with everything GWB said or did. At best, Kyl’s congressional accomplishments are limited, consisting for the most part bring back pork to Arizona. Apparently that’s what gets him reelected.

Read more here, here and here.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Should General Motors have been allowed to go belly up?

Photo by John Eisenschenk
The Tea Party thought so. Rick Perry, elected in the midterms to Texas Governor and potential TP presidential candidate in 2012 agrees. Perry is yet another fanatic from that group that wants to get rid of all government, including Social Security. Hopefully, those seniors over age 65 and drawing their SS will realize the stupidity in the backing of the Tea Party. Probably not, since much of this movement is based almost 100 percent on emotional involvement.

In a Newsweek article linked below, Perry poses with a rack of guns, which means he probably doesn’t plan to support gun control. As a matter of fact, the Tea Party has a radical agenda to overturn gun control laws, while its candidates seem to have soft-pedaled the issue during the recent elections. According to a UCLA Today article by constitutional law professor Adam Winkler, “They seek an extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.”

With GM in the process of one of the most touted IPOs in history, the government’s investment was a good one, which saved a company and the jobs held by thousands of its employees. Perry doesn’t believe this, nor does he think saving the banking system was a good idea. Most consumers are anti-banks today—and with good reason—but only a fool would think we should allow our entire financial structure to collapse.

The last Bush administration has shown just what will happen when you lift too many government controls and regulations. How many TPs lost their homes to foreclosure? How many TPs lost their jobs due to the collapse of the economy? How many TPs would suffer financially if they did away with Social Security and Medicare? Whatever these people have been told, I haven’t heard one valid solution for any of the above come from any part of the GOP, including the Tea Party.

Read more here and here.

Read UCLA Today article here.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Health insurance industry still fighting health care reform

Wendell Potter, former media relations director for CIGNA, has written an expose of the health insurance business and it isn’t at all favorable to the consumer. In his book, Deadly Spin, he points out that the industry is governed by corporations that care little for the patients, but are greedy for profits. Between 2000 and 2008, private insurers hiked premiums by over 90 percent but payouts to care providers were up by only 72 percent.

Profits of the five biggest health insurers totaled an astronomical figure of $12.2 billion in 2009, an increase of 56 percent from 2008, reports Potter from his position as a Fellow with Center for Media and Democracy.

Photo by Shannon Kringen
Potter says that we are the only industrialized nation that connects health insurance with the act of being employed. And because of a ridiculous maze of federal and state regulations, there exists a “central ideological conflict.” The only thing the liberals and conservatives can agree on is that there is something wrong. What’s wrong? The author states he is convinced that “…managed care companies are fundamentally dishonest.”

Potter’s Senate testimony in 2009 revealed how health insurance companies make promises that they do not plan to keep. They actually show contempt for regulations that are in place to protect consumers. And they cease doing business with small companies whose medical claims surpass underwriter expectancy. To overcome all these obstacles, the insurance companies employ high paid PR executives—like Potter was with CIGNA—to do the dirty work of lobbying.

Michael Moore’s film, Sicko, helped him to decide to leave CIGNA and launch his current attack to expose the health insurance business for what it is. A greed laden industry obsessed with profits over providing the services they tout in misleading advertising and promotion. Potter says he needs to apologize to Moore for the role he played in the insurance industry’s attack campaign on Sicko.

It should be obvious to all that conservatives agree with this avarice and by attempting to scuttle President Obama’s Health Care Reform, plan to continue their support.

Read more here and here.


Monday, November 22, 2010

It’s time to send Arizona Senator Jon Kyl to the home

Killer Kyl wants to arm this country to the hilt as he continues to live in the past of Cold War doctrines that do not apply anymore. He still thinks we have to scare everyone to death with a storehouse of nuclear weapons that is way beyond this country’s needs. It is estimated the U.S. currently has around 9,200 warheads, but our nuclear deterrent requires only about 500 to 1,000.

Photo by Evelyn Proimos
 Republicans see this as yet another blow to Obama which the GOP is using to weaken the President’s administration. What actually happened is that Kyl surprised Obama with his opposition to the New START nuclear weapons pact with Russia. Killer has done this before when he bushwhacked Clinton in 1999 over the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

 Apparently an out-of-touch Kyl hasn’t done his homework, as usual, when he talks about a treaty that takes from the U.S. more than it gives. The treaty says:
  • "Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] launchers and SLBM [submarine-launched ballistic missile] launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein. This provision shall not apply to ICBM launchers that were converted prior to signature of this Treaty for placement of missile defense interceptors therein."
The Senator also jeopardizes the pending “123 agreement” with Russia, which establishes a 30-year guideline for nuclear commerce between the two countries. If Killer Kyl succeeds in stopping New START, it could make sense that Russia would reinitiate missile trade with Iran that it had terminated last month.

It would seem that bringing down President Obama’s administration is more important to the GOP than the secutity of the U.S. government, and it is time for congressional leaders like Jon Kyl to be turned out to pasture.

Read more here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Please say it isn’t so

It was in West Virginia that she apparently made up her mind to seriously consider a run for the highest office in the land. In 2012. No doubt as a Tea Party Republican. Yes, pretty soon you could be seeing political ads that tout Sarah Palin for President of the United States. Has a certain ring, doesn’t it? The kind of mayday bells that should set off warnings for all informed and thinking Americans. Stop Palin now…before it’s too late!

Her exact quote was: “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.” Maybe we could get the family to convince her of the idiotiocy of this whole idea. Oh, I forgot, husbands and apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Palin talked about the lack of “meaningful differences” in policy between GOP candidates. Didn’t know she had any policies other than to espouse the Tea Party hogwash she seems to have attached herself to. And then she talked about proving her record, on which she would run. Does that record include how her opposition to Senator Lisa Murkowski probably helped the candidate to win her race in Palin’s home state?

My theory is most people listen to her for entertainment, much as the fans of Rush Limbaugh do. But like Limbaugh, it aint funny anymore, and any rerun on television is better entertainment. The Republicans are scared to death of a Palin run for the presidency, but the Democrats can hardly wait and are already licking their chops.

Read more here.


Know the enemy – Part 3

Apparently the question is not ‘is there racism in the Tea Party?’ but rather ‘just how racist is the group?’ Lee Fang on says there is “definitive proof” there is, and provides some examples you can see here. Maybe the TPs put that behind them, but there is more confirmation in a CBS News/New York Times study done in April of 2010. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

88 percent of Tea Partiers disapprove of President Obama’s performance, compared to 40 percent of Americans overall. 50 percent of all Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, while only 7 percent of the TPs think he is doing a good job. The latter were pinned down to why and of their own volition they actually made the following statement about why they held these views.

First and foremost, “they just don’t like him,” numbering 19 percent of the organization’s supporters. This is no edict on a person’s beliefs, but when you combine that with past racial epithets, a new question arises of ‘why almost a fifth of the Tea Party just doesn’t like Obama?’ Racism does still exist whether we like it or not, as evidenced by one Tea Party activist who said: “I’m a proud racist, I’m white.” 36 percent of the TPs come from the South.

Fortunately, we are saved by an American public that doesn’t agree with the TPs. 84 percent of the group’s supporters claim the views of the Tea Party are shared by most Americans. When asked only 25 percent of the latter agree…not necessarily what most would consider sincere support for this aggregation of reactionaries.

If it is a racist disapproval that moves Tea Party supporters, and only they really know that, it is time for progressives to stand up and be known that they are still fighting for the rights of all Americans.

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Know the enemy - Part 2

Sarah Palin, a Tea Party favorite, said it is revolution time. Apparently the TPs took that literally, resulting in the Tea Party endorsing violence against the U.S. government; 24 percent of all Tea Partiers, 32 percent of the more radical activists think it is justified. When you combine that with the fact that 58 percent have a gun at home, the concept becomes scary. I researched, but couldn’t find, how many TPs are NRA members.

Tea Party activists are the angriest and most pessimistic about the country and President Obama. 72 percent of this gang are angry with Washington and 96 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing. 55 percent think the income tax we pay is not fair, but only 44 percent hold a favorable opinion of the Republican Party. 77 percent like Glenn Beck and 75 percent like Sarah Palin. And 50 percent of these wackos think Palin is qualified to be President.

63 percent of all TPs get their political news from Fox News, 77 percent of the activists, which could explain where they were derailed in the first place. It also explains how 75 percent are conservative with 39 percent very conservative. 66 percent always or usually vote with the GOP, and an even more-scarier statement that the U.S. needs a third party. Maybe Beck and Palin are planning to run as Tea Party candidates.

The TPs are angry about health care reform, lack of representation in government, government spending, and unemployment and the economy. 92 percent of them feel America is on the wrong track, compared with only 59 percent of the overall population. Half of all Americans approve of President Obama’s job, compared to just 7 percent of Tea Party supporters.

NEXT: How racist is the Tea Party?

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Know the enemy

Photo by Peppercorn pixie's
 Chinese general and author Sun Tzu, born in 544 BC said: “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Progressives today are faced with unethical, sometimes illegal tactics from Republican conservatives, particularly the Tea Party movement. Since this group is so new on the scene, The Dunning Letter will document some of their demographics, while exposing their extreme beliefs. Hang on. This may take a while.

CBS News and the New York Times surveyed 1,580 adults, more than half of which were self-identified Tea Party supporters. A summary of the results started with: “They're white. They're older. And they're angry.” 89 percent are white, 75 percent are age 45+ with 29 percent 65+. Their political dogma comes later, but in the meantime more profiling of just what these reactionaries look like.

They are from the South, 36 percent, the West, 25 percent, the Midwest 22 percent and the northeast 18 percent. Apparently voters become more mentally sound as they move north and east. Supposedly they are better educated, but a college philosophy teacher once told the class, “You can educate most individuals but you can’t teach them to think for themselves.” 56 percent earn more than $50,000 annually.

41 percent are female, 59 percent male, 39 percent Evangelical Christians, 61 percent Protestant and 22 percent Catholic. Some 38 percent attend weekly religious services. It wasn’t too long ago that progressives had to contend with the sometimes fanatical actions of the religious right, and then Jerry Falwell died in 2007 and the movement seemed to weaken. Tea Partiers could be a rebirthing.

NEXT: Is revolution on the horizon?

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know you’ve done a bad job when voters go through the back door

Since many midterm voters were voting against President Obama and his administration, they weren’t necessarily voting for the opposing candidate. It would be interesting for one of the research organizations to officially poll just how many were protest votes. I call that going through the back door, since you didn’t really vote for something, you voted against something.

Photo by Serge Malki
 The question: Is this politically sound when the result is placing an individual in one of the highest offices in the land, one who will be running our country? The next two years will tell.

A guilt-by-association theme became evident in exit polls that were conducted during the elections. Although not a scientific measurement, 40 percent of exit interviews stated their purpose in voting was to snub Obama. Animosity did carry over for Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada and current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Another question arises of just how much of this anger against Democrats was a result of GOP mud-slinging? Everyone is sick of it but many are also swayed by the negative advertising, according to the experts. Although pathetic, it is human nature. What we need is a national drive to encourage the public to think for itself, not be driven by hate campaigns.

Read more here.

Read earlier post on the midterms here.


The hush before the storm

A lame-duck Congress can be a do-nothing group or the Democrats could surprise everyone, including themselves, and get some important things done before the end of the year. Because, come January 1, 2011, the GOP swoops in to take over the House, and the Senate is hobbled with its less than 60 majority mandate. They could turn the almost seven weeks left into something more than mediocrity.

The Bush tax cuts must be handled, and there are several proposals on the table for negotiation. This issue alone will no doubt strike a cord for just how much cooperation we can expect between Democrats and Republicans in the next two years. There’s the Medicare reimbursement cut for doctors that legislators had better consider carefully for the sake of future health care for Seniors.  For Hispanics, the Dream Act.

A $250 one-time payment is being looked at for Social Security recipients to offset no cost-of-living increase next year, unemployment benefits need to be extended, and action is needed to stop earmarks for good, especially now with Rep. Mitch McConnell’s support. There are several other issues that the Dems could run up the flagpole, but the key is how the outgoing lawmakers handle this session, and just how they lay the groundwork for January 1.

Is it possible that Congress could amaze us and turn a hush into competent productiveness?

Read more here and here.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Democrats need to fight and here’s why

Sure, they’re discouraged, feeling like they have been hung out to dry by a fickle and uninformed public. The midterms shouldn’t have been a huge surprise; although it is obvious the Dems thought they “might” be saved at the last minute by Hispanics, Blacks, and the youth vote. It didn’t happen, at least in most of the country. Where something did happen was in California where Latinos put a Democrat in the Governor’s chair and reelected another Dem to the Senate.

So now in a lame-duck Congress, the left has to prevail, at least in two issues. One, they mustn’t allow the repeal of the Health Care Reform Act. A majority of Americans agree with this, and the GOP had better take notice. Since John Boehner, the new Republican House Speaker-to-be, has said it is his priority to repeal this law, the Democrats must stand together in strong opposition to Boehner.

The second is the GOP push to make the tax cuts permanent for the wealthy. It should be pointed out to the public, particularly those who aren’t millionaires, that this move will increase the deficit by $700 billion, and why do such deficit-conscious Republicans want to put this country in that kind of position. I personally believe there is room to move the identification of “the wealthy” from the current $250,000+ figure to perhaps $1 million.

Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post said it is time for President Obama to stand his ground, and quit taking crap [my word] from the bullies. Right on!

Read more here.

Read earlier posts on Health Care Reform here, and tax breaks for the wealthy here.


Does Karl Rove eat at McDonald’s?

Photo by Consumerist
 Fast-food is known to be a favorite of some politicians, like former President Bill Clinton who frequented McDonalds’s. But Karl Rove is a snake of another color, and his tactics were used recently in a restaurant in this famous chain in Canton, Ohio. Wait, this is also the state that House Speaker-to-be John Boehner represents. Well, anyway, it turns out the employees from this McDonald’s were “urged” to vote for the Republican candidates for governor, Senate and Congress.

There was actual coercion involved when it was pointed out to the workers that this could affect their pay and benefits. They were told: “If the right people are elected, we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above the current levels. If others are elected, we will not.” That’s not coercion, that’s a threat. McDonald’s corporate called the incident an unfortunate “lapse in judgment” on the part of the owner.

The president of the Canton City Council, Allen Schulman, a Democrat and also a lawyer, says the act violates Ohio law. Very Rovian. It is bad enough that the Supreme Court has allowed business to contribute to political campaigns anonymously, using malicious, negative attack ads, primarily against Democrats. Now we have to worry about unethical business owners politically threatening their employees.


Read more here.

See earlier posts 0n Karl Rove tactics here.


Monday, November 15, 2010

How many divas does the Republican Party need?

A prima donna, or diva, is described as “a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.” Some famous divas have included Madonna, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton. But none of these or any others in the past can compare with the elephant the GOP has in the room that refuses to go away. Sarah Palin. Early on in the midterms, she identified the adoration by Tea Partyers, and rode that momentum to success.

All is not rosy, however, as one Alabama Republican stated that “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate,” referring to Delaware and Nevada election results. This didn’t even slow Palin down as she quickly signed up to do a docu/reality show, “Palin’s Alaska.” The show is already being questioned for having a hidden agenda to lay the foundation for a presidential bid in 2012.

Geez! Her daughter, Bristol, couldn’t even stop dancing long enough to vote in the midterms.

In a Washington Post article by Kathleen Parker, another word being used to describe Palin by the GOP is “dangerous.” That pretty much says it all, and I am sure President Obama could not find any other opponent he would rather run against in 2012. But the key to Palin’s success could be the outcome of Tea Party recruitment in the next two years. In checking the Internet, I found hundreds of sites announcing recruitment drives in states throughout the country.

When will this madness end?

Read more here.

See earlier post on Sarah Palin here.


New House Speaker-to-be completely detached from reality

Either the media in Ohio where John Boehner is from is dropping the ball, or the man has just elected to secede from an authenticated world. Me thinks it is the latter. He called the American health care system the best in the world. Richard Cohen in The Washington Post, went to the “CIA World Factbook” to discredit Boehner’s statement.

To begin with, the United States is 49th in life expectancy, trailing Japan, France, Spain and Great Britain. And that’s just for starters. In infant mortality we are better off than Africa, but lag behind Cuba, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Canada, Portugal, the U.K., Australia and Israel. Either Boehner has a lousy research team, or he just chooses to ignore facts and go with the typical Republican strategy of “scare tactics.” Me thinks it is the latter.

If you make these stupid statements enough times, the population eventually begins to believe your lies. Unfortunately, America’s health care system comes in first only when you consider health-related bankruptcies.

There are 51 million in the U.S. without health insurance. John Boehner would have these families, including the babies who will never make it to their first birthday, hang around and wait for a GOP that is full of road blocks to President Obama’s policies, but completely devoid of how to tackle any of the major problems that face this country.

Read more here.

Read earlier posts on health care reform here.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Get off Pelosi's back!

While President Obama has recently been somewhat mute on achievements of the Democrats, current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has been targeted by many, including those in her own party, as the "fall guy" for their problems.  This would include the economy, and related issues like unemployment.  No one gives her credit for pushing for more stimulus money, which many say could have created more jobs by now.  The White House said no.

Instead of concentrating on joblessness, Obama and the Senate went all out for health-care reform, while Pelosi in the House passed several jobs bills that didn't make it out of the Senate.  The Speaker was busy all this time and was instrumental in passing the President's health-care reform, financial reform and cap-and-trade bills.  She also serves as a major force in combating GOP efforts to undermine Social Security and medicaid.  Nancy sticks up for the little guy and gal, and Democrats should stick up for Nancy.

Read more here.

Medical records: A treasure chest for identity thieves

AARP is re-reminding all seniors that even more precious than your financial records are you medical data, which are a goldmine for the ID crooks. The younger generation should also take notice since there is no prejudice when it comes to stealing identities. The records are either heisted by someone who needs medical treatment they are unable to pay for, or the bad guys who steal it to sell on the underground Internet market. Either way it can be deadly, literally.

As an example, someone has surgery with special needs like insulin, uses your medical ID without your knowing. Later you go in for surgery and in an emergency you are given insulin based on the thief’s records. Could be deadly. According to research, medical identity theft has more than doubled since 2008. One sure way to prevent disaster is to check your medical insurance reports just like you would your financial records for fraud.

Read more here.

Read past posts on the subject from The Dunning Letter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Uninsured v. Insured: The huge difference Health Care Reform means

New and old House republicans say they are committed to creating jobs, but they want to deny those Americans currently out of work medical assistance by repealing the Health Care Act of 2010. More than 61 percent of the uninsured have no more than a high school education, thus, not likely to find a job with benefits. Some 40 percent of uninsured have family incomes below the federal poverty level of $22,050. The plaintiffs make their case as follows.

The new health care law will provide incentives for employers to offer coverage to low-income workers. Young adults are the highest uninsured, but could remain under their parent’s plan to age 26. Over half of uninsured adults have no access to medical care, delaying conditions needing attention that develop into serious health problems. The law also prevents insurers from rejecting individuals or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.

Since the bulk of the new health care reform bill doesn’t go into effect until 2014, these are only a few of the items that will make a difference.

Read more in an excellent report from the Kaiser Commission here.

Republican John Boehner wants to blow off millions without health insurance

There are almost 59 million Americans that do not have health insurance coverage, according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Rep. John Boehner from Ohio, the new Republican Speaker of the House says, who cares, let’s repeal healthcare reform now. Let these adults, and their kids, do the best they can, and if some of them suffer serious illness, or die, they are simply a victim of the system.

Plans by the GOP include thwarting the new law by eliminating the funds for it. The CDC says there were 4 million more that lost their health coverage in the first half of 2010. The survey by the agency was huge interviewing just under 90,000 individuals from about 35,000 households ages 18 to 64. These are hard facts and anyone who can’t sympathize with this kind of situation is completely devoid of empathy.

NEXT: Just how much difference health insurance makes to the family

Read more here.

Marginal voters likely deserted the Democrats in November

Photo by DB King
 Marginal voters include those who hardly ever vote and those who are voting for the first time. These folks helped to award the Democrats 21 House seats and 8 Senate seats in 2008. They stayed home in 2010, according to a pre-election projection by American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Participation in a history-making election was just as important in 2010 as 2008 when Barack Obama was elected President. Just for the other side.

Turnout in the 2006 midterms was 40 percent, with a small improvement in 2010 to 41.5 percent. What’s worse, the most marginal of the marginals are the ages of 18 to 24 who voted 2 to 1 for Obama. Between 22 and 24 million in that age range voted in 2008, but normally seem to lose interest in the midterms. Who knows what actually happened but along with losing the younger vote, plus Hispanics and gays, apparently the Dems didn’t have a chance.

Read more here, here and here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deepwater Horizon type incidents likely to increase under Republican control

Photo byUSCGLantAreaPA
It is a fact that that Halliburton knew weeks before the explosion that killed 11 workers that the cement mixture being used to seal the well was not stable. But they used it just the same in the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. This was confirmed by a presidential commission investigating the accident. There have also been several House and cabinet level investigations launched.

Time will tell but at least the foundation has been laid to find the faulty party(s). That is…until January when the GOP takes over the House, and this body reverts to its philosophy that big business can do no wrong. Especially a company like Halliburton once run by former Vice President Dick Cheney, which was also part of a defense scandal during the Bush administration.

It is even harder to imagine what could happen if Republicans take over the Senate and White House in 2012.

Read more here.

Someone should talk about the good the Democrats have done…They are

Froma Harrop of the Providence Journal reports in a Rodney Dangerfield sort of way, “Democrats don’t get no respect.” But there’s a reason. They didn’t have the courage in the midterms to appreciate what their party had done for the country. Like leading us out of sure economic disaster. Or making healthcare available to ordinary Americans. Or saving General Motors from going down the tube.

It’s a fact that Republicans, with the help of a few Democrats, deregulated Wall Street to the point that it almost put this country in the tank. In addition to coming to the rescue of the uninsured, Healthcare Reform will help improve employers’ medical costs, and make them more competitive with foreign firms.

This ultra right-wing and Tea Party nonsense of touting absolutely no government is getting old. How many of them have Medicare and are on Social Security? Would they give either up? I think not.

Read more here.

What’s wrong with a little “hyper-liberalism”?

I am not exactly sure just what he means by the term, “hyper-liberalism” in his recent piece in The Washington Post, but Charles Krauthammer does make it clear that President Obama’s two-year experiment in it didn’t work. Proof of that was the scathing defeat taken by progressives and the Democratic Party in the 2010 midterm election. It is not clear to me if the vote was actually against the legislation, or just Obama and liberalism in general.

As an example, one of the policies in contention is Cap and Trade, which places a mandatory cap on emissions to help the environment. Another, the Health Care Reform bill that many experts agree has promise, probably needing fine tuning, but despised by the GOP. These are some of the things progressives and liberals do, for the good of others and the world. Krauthammer quotes someone as saying, “…this wasn’t an election so much as a restraining order.”

Isn’t that just what Republicans have been doing the entire two years of the Obama administration?

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rush Limbaugh should take his act to Hollywood

Photo by Belltown Messenger
 Imagine my surprise when strolling down the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd., I spied a star with Rush Limbaugh’s name on it. Well, it was pretty far down the street from all the important celebrities, and it was laid somewhat crooked in the sidewalk. But it was there. My hero, in all his glory finally being recognized for what he is, an entertainer, and not a very good one at that. This is satire, of course…and tragic.

Newsweek did a piece recently about Limbaugh that should scare any sane and informed American to death. In it, this maniac even dreams of replacing William F. Buckley, a conservative I had a great deal of respect for, in right wing thinking. That’s like comparing a moron to a genius, and believing you have a match. But you can’t argue with his audience of between 15 and 20 million.

What you can question is whether they really believe him, or just turn on their radio for a good old-fashioned laugh. Like the old “Jack Benny Show.” But, oh no, that really was entertainment.

Read more here.

Running numbers on the midterms

Harold Myerson of The Washington Post did an interesting take on the November elections using certain numbers to define results. It’s his way of explaining what happened. As an example, “zero” is for the number of newly elected Republican senators in competitive races who got the 18 to 29 age vote. “One” represents the number of white democrats in the next Congress from the Deep South.

Here’s an interesting one, “twenty-two,” the percentage of Hispanic voters in California compared to 18 percent in 2008. This overwhelmingly carried Democrats like Governor-elect Jerry Brown, and Senator Barbara Boxer to victory. It points out what could have been for Democratic candidates in other states with a heavy Latino population like Arizona. It also illustrates that the Sunshine State is more advanced in their political thinking than most other states.

There are more “number” comparisons you can read about here.

How do U.S. drug costs compare with other forms of universal health care?

Photo by Fibonacci Blue
Our neighbor to the north is the best example, and the comparison is very unfavorable when it comes to U.S. citizens. In Canada, the per capita spending on drugs is $509, in contrast with $728 in this country. Drug prices in Canada average from 35 percent to 45 percent lower than here, which has prompted Americans to spend around $1 billion per year north of the border. One of the reasons is a system of centralized buying that controls costs. The GOP has made sure so far that this doesn’t happen here.

In conversations with two Canadian families that have recently left that country to resettle in the U.S., I hear nothing but admiration for their form of socialized medicine. They agree it is not perfect, but it does exceed U.S. health care in both costs and full coverage of its citizens. Also, the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has the authority to set fair and reasonable prices on patented drugs.

Our new health care law does provide saving for seniors in dealing with the “doughnut hole, which could translate to all citizens in the long term. Of course, if you are flush and don’t worry about the costs of your medications, or you don’t really care if your fellow Americans have medical coverage, go ahead and bash President Obama’s health care reform.

Read more here.

Read earlier posts, “Drug makers desert public over profits 1 and 2.”

Monday, November 08, 2010

This is what you heard but probably didn’t understand re. the midterms

Photo by Lord Jim
Thanks to the Supreme Court, there was a frenzy of spending by outside Republican and Democrat special interest groups with their source of income the right-leaning large corporations. It was highly organized with one of its chief coordinators on the GOP side Karl Rove and his organizations American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. Republican groups outspent the Democrats by $54 million for a total of $245 million.

Since the GOP are the masters of attack ads, compliments of old crafty Karl, and because of their outspending the Dems, the focus here is on their groups. Rove’s Crossroads spent over $38 million, followed by the Chamber of Commerce, $31 million. The American Action Network, chaired by the infamous Fred Malek, another questionable conservative, spent $14 million. All this on attack ads.

In all likelihood this election was decided by smear tactics incorporated into negative campaigning, and it is entirely possible that many voters made their decision based on not the issues, but an antagonistic response to the repugnant ads. It was so effective, that plans are afoot to use these same methods by the same groups for the 2012 Presidential election. It is a political system completely out of hand.

Read more here.

Voter intimidation in Wisconsin. By Republicans, who else?

The Center for Media and Democracy is reporting a plan uncovered by the group, One Wisconsin Now, accusing the Wisconsin Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party for suppressing votes in the 2010 midterms. The charge stems from the discovery of right-wing groups training “election observers” to challenge people suspected of fraudulent voting.

These groups also mailed into “communities of color” to try and determine ineligible voters through undeliverable mail. In most cases the undelivered mail was due to wrong or lack of an apartment number, or the person had simply moved.

Photo by Dutchlad

Wisconsin’s body overseeing elections cried there was nothing illicit going on, and those making the charges were simply delusional about minorities voting more than once. And it was also found that right-wing assertions over fraudulent votes in Minnesota’s last Senate race were grossly exaggerated, as well as in Wisconsin’s 2004 elections. Karl Rove politics on the go.

Read more here.

The fight ahead for progressives – Part 3

Photo by DanPerry
In additional midterm history, 1978 saw the Democrats retain control of Congress, but Jimmy Carter’s Panama Canal Treaties ended up defeating some Dems in the election. It also spawned the young republicans from the South espousing confrontation rather than compromise. In the same year California Governor Jerry Brown boldly opposed Prop. 13, which capped local property taxes, requiring a two-thirds majority in the legislature to raise state taxes.

When Prop. 13 passed with 65 percent of the vote, Brown promptly turned into a crusader for tax cuts. Now that’s compromise.

Photo by DBKing
But in 1994 the GOP did take over the House and Senate after a Dem monopoly for all but 6 years since 1954. And these were dedicated right-siders that were responsible for implementing the conservative revolution on Capitol Hill. Enter Bill Clinton on the concession express announcing that big government was over. One of the big questions before the 2010 November elections was whether they would be a 1994 or 1946, when Dewey didn’t beat Truman. Now we know.

Read more here.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The fight ahead for progressives - Part 2

George Santayana, a philosopher from Madrid, Spain, said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The progressive movement has a lot to learn from the past ten years, and even before. In 1946 Republicans also took over the House with a screaming crusade that Democrats were soft on communism. This jolt moved Harry Truman to the right on national-security issues.

In 1966 the midterms brought Lyndon Johnson’s efforts to build a Great Society to an end. The GOP then had the Vietnam War, inflation and race relations to work with. A Republican coalition was emerging that would continue easily into the Nixon administration. Although “Tricky Dick” subscribed to the GOP’s fiscal responsibility, he did accept that there was a need for government's expanded role and accepted the basic need for a welfare state.

At least there was compromise…something that is missing in the recent behavior of Republicans, particularly the intolerance of the Tea Party and the religious right. Santayana also said: “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

Read more here.

More to come.

The fight ahead for progressives

President Obama told the Democrats not to be apathetic. They were. If Republicans do win, the next two years will be fraught with the same nonsense the GOP has been pushing for the last ten years. They won. And it won’t be an easy battle, as evidenced from the history of midterm elections for the last one-hundred years. There are already signs of this from the mouths of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

In 1938, even after his landslide reelection victory in 1936, FDR suffered a setback after overestimating his persuasive powers when attempting a “court packing” scheme that even Democrats opposed. He was going for a “Third New Deal" when the economy took a big downturn, while at the same time he was unsuccessfully trying to purge conservative Democrats from his party who were fighting his policies.

While Obama hasn’t taken the latter approach yet, the Democratic Party did desert many of its own in the midterms when it was obvious they couldn’t win.

Read more here.

More history to come.

Mitch McConnell leads GOP “bickering as usual” drive

No doubt McConnell is ticked off since Senator Harry Reid of Nevada won his election, as did other Democratic Senate candidates to keep control of that body. McConnell must have been dreaming of becoming the next Senate Majority leader so he could cause more congressional gridlock for the Democrats. It is the continuation of this style of politics that voters on Tuesday saddled this country with.

Boondoggling Boehner’s top priority was to repeal Obama’s Health Care Reform. The misguided McConnell’s top priority is to repeal President Obama, in 2012. The latter is just further indication of a Republican electorate that has no idea how to address the major issues of this country…other than oppose everything the President does, including the man himself. McConnell is even counting on the 23 Democrats up for reelection in 2012 to support him.

Progressives have never had a better opportunity to prove their ideology than in the next two years.

Read more here.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

NRA makes it impossible to trace gun ownership effectively – Part 3

Mexican Border
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the difficult task of manually tracing guns has slowed the process in this country as well as Mexico. The ATF confirms that most of the weapons seized south of the border come from U.S. gun dealers. Traces are most helpful within the first few days but due to the hand-operated system they are stuck with, it takes an average of two weeks.

To further compound matters, in thirty-eight years, the ATF has not added a single agent. It had 2,500 in 1972 and it has 2,500 today. Since that same early date, the FBI went from 8,700 agents to 13,000, the DEA from 1,500 to 5,000, and U.S. Marshals from 1,900 to 3,300. The ATF has only 600 inspectors to cover more than 115,000 gun retailers, or one for each 191 dealers. A former agent said “It is easier to close a restaurant kitchen than a gun store.”

There is something wrong with this reasoning and it is spelled NRA.

Read more here.