May 28, 2009

COURT CUTS BABY IN HALF

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GRANOLA STATE SUPREMES CUT OFF GAY MARRIAGE

NOgayWEDDINGcake Copyright 2009 Cosanostradamus blog me no blogs

"SOLOMONIC" DECISION PLEASES NO ONE, ANGERS EVERYONE

Human Rights Still Unacceptable in California, Sorta, Kinda, Maybe, Who Knows?

In a boon for lawyers in the formerly Golden, now Plate State, the California State Supreme Court has opened the door to thousands of lawsuits over their latest muddled ruling on homosexual marriage. Same-sexers who have not yet married in Cali will never be able to do so now; those already married there may remain married, but never remarry; and the rest of the world does not have to recognize their marriages, nor will California recognize out-of-State gay marriages.

This is the same Court that just OK'ed gay marriage last year. This whale-sized flip-flop has astounded observers, as it appears to contradict everything the Court just said about marriage a year ago. Today, they've made it unimportant, but still denied it to gays. If it's so unimportant, why bother to deny it? If it is important, how can you deny it to one special class of people, legally? And what about tomorrow?

(continues)
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The SCOCA has also opened a Pandora's box of propositions. Ever since right-wing nuts began imposing their destructive preferences upon the rest of Cali by means of ill-attended and misunderstood ballot initiatives, the ideal of freedom and prosperity for everyone that the Bear Republic once represented to the world has gradually been lost. The State no longer offers the educational opportunities it once did. Public services and infrastructure are suffering from neglect. Good jobs have been flowing outward for years, while jobless people continue to flood inward. Property owners were told they simply didn't have to pay for all the wonderful things that made California golden. Now they can't even pay their bills. But the High Court says it's all good, State Constitutional Amendments aren't really "Amendments," in law. They're just, um, well, er, amendments with a small "a." So the basic law of the land there is now written on Silly-Putty, and can be twisted by wealthy out-of-State fanatics and special interests to mean whatever they want, whenever they want. Again, a lawyers wet-dream. Everyone and everything will end up in a court system that refuses to make decisions and stick to them. Venue-shopping? No need! Just try the same judge again next year. Everything will end up in Federal Court, eventually, and perpetually. So, what are your rights in Kolleefahneeya? I don't know, what day is it? Gotta check the paper. SoCal & NoCal folks might all be illegal aliens, today. Or not. Consult your attorney. If you can afford one.


SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
"California Supreme Court upholds ban on gay marriage in 6-1 vote"
Fudge.

' Ending a six-month legal battle and instantly igniting the next political fight, the California Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage, but left intact the unions of gay and lesbian couples who wed last year. In a definitive 6-1 decision that cheered opponents of gay marriage, the justices said they would be overstepping their authority if they were to overturn the constitutional ban voters enacted Nov. 4. In the same ruling, the court established a two-tiered system of marriage for same-sex couples that seemed bound to satisfy no one. Gay marriage advocates vowed Tuesday to take the fight to "win marriage back" to California voters in 2010. With same-sex marriage now legal in Iowa, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, supporters say they have momentum after a "sea change" of public opinion in recent months. '

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Proposition 8 ruling: separate and unequal"
Legalistic horsesh*t from a bunch of cowardly lawyers guarantees chaos & discrimination in California.
' In reading the opinion, it was almost hard to imagine that it was produced by the same court that so eloquently affirmed the principle of marriage equality in May. Chief Justice Ronald George, then writing for the majority in a 4-3 ruling, had declared that all Californians should enjoy "a fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship." The latest ruling focused on more technical legal issues, namely whether Proposition 8 represented an "amendment" to the constitution (permissible through the initiative process) or a more substantial "revision" that could be put to voters only through a constitutional convention or a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Curiously, the conclusion that Prop. 8 amounted to a mere "amendment" - and not a change in the basic nature of the constitution, as opponents had argued - required the justices to downplay the importance of marriage. This time, George suggested that domestic partnerships and anti-discrimination laws offer same-sex couples the "same substantive core benefits" as their heterosexual counterparts. The justices acknowledged that Prop. 8 does "diminish the rights of same-sex couples," but not so drastically that it would produce a "sweeping constitutional effect." It was up to Justice Carlos Moreno, the sole dissenting voice, to rise above the thicket of legalese and capture the essence of the issue. To allow a majority of voters to deprive one minority group of its rights is to put "at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities," he wrote '

SAN DIEGO NEWS NETWORK
"Local leaders on both sides of Prop 8 dispute react to ruling"
So, "inalienable" means "able to be withdrawn or restricted," in Lalaland, now.
' Garlow, however, anticipates legal challenges to the state’s existing same-sex marriages. In June, before voters passed Proposition 8, proponents of the ballot measure were denied a stay of the high court’s May 2008 ruling, which overturned Proposition 22, the state’s existing ban on gay marriage, and paved the way for same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex couples began marrying last summer, and were allowed to marry until 52 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Nov. 4. Proposition 8 supporters fear the Supreme Court’s new ruling may create legal loopholes and additional challenges to law. “It creates a bizarre situation,” Garlow said. “How can the court legally justify affirming same-sex marriages that occurred during that four month window, when the law now reads only marriage between one man and one woman is valid and recognized in California?” The court’s majority rejected the challenge that Proposition 8 is a revision to the constitution - not an amendment - which would require a two-thirds vote by the state legislature to stand. The court also recognized voters’ rights to amend the Constitution through the initiative process, and said “inalienable” rights are not exempt from limitations or restrictions. '

LA TIMES
"California's gay marriage ruling signals next step for both sides"
The indecisive decision is a windfall for political consultants and advertising media.
' The next campaign in the gay-marriage fight has already begun. Less than 90 minutes after the California Supreme Court released its ruling on Proposition 8, both sides had already e-mailed supporters soliciting funds anticipating a new ballot measure on gay marriage that could reach voters in 2010. "We don't have time to mourn the failure of the state court to restore marriage equality to California," wrote Rick Jacobs, chairman of the Courage Campaign, in a 10:15 a.m. e-mail. He added that it was "time to go on offense" and asked supporters to send money for pro-gay-marriage advertising that could begin airing on television later this week. Ron Prentice, chairman of ProtectMarriage.com, waited until a little after 11 a.m. to hit up his supporters, writing: "We must turn our attention to protecting this victory . . . and must raise several million dollars to get our message out. . . . Please click here to make a contribution." In addition to buying advertising on TV, both sides are also hiring community organizers who will help supporters reach out to sway individual voters. '

THE SACRAMENTO BEE
"From San Francisco to midtown Sacramento, reaction is deep"
Citizens seem to understand the problems the Court has created better than the judges.
' "All this does is create two classes of citizens. I'm really saddened by this," said Kate Moore, who married her partner Tina Reynolds in an October ceremony at the Crest Theater in downtown Sacramento. Jorge Riley, a Proposition 8 supporter who traveled to San Francisco, representing fellow students at American River College in Sacramento, said he was pleased and relieved. "Justice has finally been served," he said. "This is the will of the people." Of the 18,000 couples in California who already hold marriage licenses, Riley said, "a lot of laws will have to accommodate those people, and it just doesn't make sense. I think those marriages will end up being invalidated." As he spoke outside the court building, a woman with the word "QUEER" painted on her forehead confronted him, repeatedly blowing a harmonica into his face before police led her away. '

THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
"Locals vow new fight over gay marriage"
Marriage is now a revolving door, spun by hatred and ignorance.
' Both sides on the Kern County front of the same-sex marriage battle agreed Tuesday that their fight is not over. While the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, it left a door in the debate wide open: If voters have the right to make same-sex marriage illegal, they also have the right to legalize it again. Local gay rights activist Juan Cerda said the court ruling was disheartening and he plans to fight it through education — getting out into the community, knocking on doors and talking to people. “It's not just your vote, it's other people's marriage,” he said during a rally Tuesday evening in front of Outback Steakhouse on Stockdale Highway. “When do I get a chance to vote on your marriage?” Lisa Chidester, a stay-at-home Bakersfield mother who became a volunteer coordinator on the Yes on 8 campaign last year, said she is proud of the exhaustive work it took to pass the constitutional amendment in November. "I don't want my children to go to school and learn about gay marriage. That should stay at home," she said. "This is too important to let go." '

HEALTHVOTE.ORG
"Democracy by Initiative: Shaping California’s Fourth Branch of Government"
The problem with "Props" in a nutshell.
' When Progressives designed the direct democracy laws almost 100 years ago, they envisioned a process that would act as a safety valve, enabling citizens to supplement the work of the legislature when it failed to act. Today’s initiative process, however, has outstripped the authors’ vision. An emerging culture of democracy-by-initiative is transforming the electorate into a fourth and new branch of state government. Voters now exercise many of the legislative and executive powers traditionally reserved for the first and second branches of government. Some observers worry that ballot initiatives are undermining political party responsibility and the traditional forms of representative government in California. They say the initiative route discards checks and balances and its deliberateness in favor of ill-conceived, rash, and poorly drafted schemes. Initiatives, they fear, have shifted the policymaking burden to the voters, leaving them overwhelmed by the growing number of measures on the ballot. The problem, they maintain, is exacerbated by poor drafting, misleading campaigns, bewildering counter-initiatives, and by court rulings declaring initiatives unconstitutional or partially unconstitutional. '

BALLOTPEDIA.ORG
"California 2009 ballot propositions"
Low turn-outs for off-year Prop-only elections, with no candidates for high office running.
' Voter turnout predictions * In contrast to the 78% voter turnout in November 2008 in San Mateo County, elections manager David Tom says he expects a much lower turnout for the May 19 election, in the vicinity of 30-35%. * Ventura County Assistant Registrar of Voters Tracy Saucedo said on May 15 that about a third of voters who had been issued mail-in ballots had returned them, or about 13% of Ventura County's 422,342 registered voters. This rate of voting is about the same as the June 2008 ballot proposition election, in which a total of 29.5% of voters in the county ultimately voted. * Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar said, ""I just don't see any driving force that's going to bring out the voters." He predicts that turnout in the county will come to 25% of registered voters. It was 72% in November. '

BIBLOS.COM
"1 Kings 3:16-28"
No Solomons, these judges actually split the baby.
' 16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. 20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. 22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. 23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. 24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. 26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. 27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. '

(cross-posted on blog me no blogs by cosanostradamus).
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Posted by Cosa Nostradamus at 12:01 AM

May 27, 2009

Diana's 'Must Read' List

Family of Secrets

Once we begin coming to terms with the real history of this country and the influences that shape it, we will have a better sense of the difficulties faced by Barack Obama, and the tremendous pressures upon him to continue serving those narrow interests, rather than the public good.

Land of the Safe and Home of the Cruel

Under the partial but real accommodation of the former vice president by President Obama lies the drama of a collective loss of faith in justice. We are in danger of losing track of the distinction between a suspect and a terrorist. It has already been lost by Harry Reid, who, in a speech of abject capitulation, spoke of the suspects in Guantanamo simply as terrorists. There are, at present, two million prisoners in the United States. A public error of these proportions sets us on the path to forgetting the difference between a suspect and a criminal, and between an accusation and a proof, and forgetting the axiom that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty.

Dick Cheney, the Monster That Can't Be Silenced

If Wes Craven decided to make a horror movie out of the last year of U.S. politics, he would definitely cast Dick Cheney as the monster that can't be silenced. The former vice president is Leatherface, Jason, and Freddie Krueger all rolled into one: lawless, methodical, and unpredictable with firearms. He's had more sequels than Chucky: White House chief of staff, House minority whip, secretary of defense, CEO of Halliburton, vice president, and now rogue pundit.

Expect more down-and-dirty fighting from Dick Cheney. This is one nightmare from which we haven't quite woken up.


Posted by Diana at 12:09 AM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2009

Outlook for the California State Legislature in 2010 - May 2009 Special Election Edition

With the release of the new registration numbers, and a couple of special elections just around the corner, I now have updates for the open and/or competitive State Senate and State Assembly districts, as well as the eight Obama-Republican districts. The Secretary of State's website has the presidential results by district, so I am including the presidential results in each district.

Breaking news: We now have a (albeit slight) registration advantage in AD-10!

And an edit: I am including CA-04 in the list because of McClintock's less-than-1% win, even though the presidential race and registration gap are not particularly close.

Cross-posted at Calitics and Swing State Project.

DistrictIncumbentDEMGOPMargin2008 Result
CA-03
Dan Lungren
37.73%
39.58%
R+1.85
O+0.5
CA-04
Tom McClintock
31.14%
45.83%
R+14.69
M+10.1
CA-24
Elton Gallegly
35.83%
41.82%
R+5.99
O+2.8
CA-25
Buck McKeon
37.77%
39.29%
R+1.52
O+1.1
CA-26
David Dreier
35.67%
40.50%
R+4.83
O+4.0
CA-44
Ken Calvert
34.63%
42.40%
R+7.77
O+0.9
CA-45
Mary Bono Mack
37.81%
42.08%
R+4.27
O+4.6
CA-48
John Campbell
29.40%
44.77%
R+15.37
O+0.7
CA-50
Brian Bilbray
31.40%
40.27%
R+8.87
O+4.2


Competitive and/or open state legislature districts are over the flip...

Our current numbers in the Senate are 25 Democrats/15 Republicans, with winning 2 GOP-held seats necessary for 2/3; and in the Assembly 51 Democrats/29 Republicans, with winning 3 GOP-held seats necessary for 2/3.

SENATE

Republicans (4)

DistrictIncumbentDEMGOPMargin2008 Result
SD-04
Sam Aanestad
33.02%
44.12%
R+11.09
M+11.8
SD-12
Jeff Denham
47.60%
32.94%
D+14.66
O+17.6
SD-18
Roy Ashburn
31.88%
47.62%
R+15.74
M+23.1
SD-36
Dennis Hollingsworth
28.94%
46.06%
R+17.12
M+14.2


Democrats (5)

DistrictIncumbentDEMGOPMargin2008 Result
SD-16
Dean Florez
49.59%
33.10%
D+16.49
O+19.5
SD-22
Gilbert Cedillo
59.01%
14.66%
D+44.35
O+58.7
SD-24
Gloria Romero
53.63%
21.04%
D+32.59
O+41.3
SD-34
Lou Correa
42.84%
33.45%
D+9.39
O+16.8
SD-40
Denise Ducheny
46.57%
29.50%
D+17.07
O+25.7

ASSEMBLY

Republicans (16)

DistrictIncumbentDEMGOPMargin2008 Result
AD-03
Dan Logue
34.80%
40.25%
R+5.45
M+1.6
AD-05
Roger Niello
37.90%
38.77%
R+0.87
O+4.2
AD-25
Tom Berryhill
36.81%
42.32%
R+5.51
M+7.9
AD-26
Bill Berryhill
42.06%
39.23%
D+2.82
O+4.4
AD-30
Danny Gilmore
46.28%
36.59%
D+9.69
O+3.9
AD-33
Sam Blakeslee
35.92%
40.69%
R+4.77
O+1.4
AD-36
Steve Knight
39.69%
38.51%
D+1.18
O+0.8
AD-37
Audra Strickland
35.87%
41.34%
R+5.47
O+3.7
AD-38
Cameron Smyth
36.85%
39.91%
R+3.06
O+4.9
AD-63
Bill Emmerson
38.00%
40.37%
R+2.37
O+4.1
AD-64
Brian Nestande
35.96%
41.99%
R+6.03
O+1.8
AD-65
Paul Cook
36.82%
41.64%
R+4.82
M+4.1
AD-68
Van Tran
32.80%
41.16%
R+8.36
M+2.9
AD-70
Chuck DeVore
30.20%
43.36%
R+13.16
O+3.9
AD-74
Martin Garrick
30.93%
41.58%
R+10.65
O+2.2
AD-75
Nathan Fletcher
30.72%
39.80%
R+9.08
O+4.1

Democrats (15)

DistrictIncumbentDEMGOPMargin2008 Result
AD-07
Noreen Evans
52.80%
23.71%
D+29.09
O+43.3
AD-09
Dave Jones
56.66%
18.67%
D+37.99
O+49.0
AD-10
Alyson Huber
39.33%
39.32%
D+0.01
O+4.0
AD-15
Joan Buchanan
40.61%
36.04%
D+4.57
O+16.9
AD-20
Alberto Torrico
48.61%
20.17%
D+28.44
O+42.3
AD-21
Ira Ruskin
47.27%
26.75%
D+20.52
O+45.8
AD-23
Joe Coto
51.22%
18.93%
D+32.29
O+44.4
AD-31
Juan Arambula
49.08%
33.78%
D+15.80
O+26.1
AD-35
Pedro Nava
48.22%
27.88%
D+20.34
O+35.6
AD-47
Karen Bass
64.92%
11.25%
D+53.67
O+71.9
AD-50
Hector De La Torre
62.00%
16.13%
D+45.87
O+55.9
AD-76
Lori Saldaña
41.94%
26.85%
D+15.09
O+34.4
AD-78
Martin Block
43.08%
31.46%
D+11.62
O+21.8
AD-80
Manuel Perez
45.38%
36.29%
D+9.09
O+20.7

In the Senate, our obvious plan of action is to win the 12th and possibly the 4th if we have a strong candidate, and hold the 34th. In the Assembly, we have a lot of offense opportunities and of course, we will need to defend our 4 freshmen in vulnerable districts (Huber especially, Buchanan, Block, Perez). As for the potentially vulnerable Republican districts we should target, we should prioritize them like this:

(I) Open seats in Obama districts: 5, 33, 37, 63, 70

(II) Incumbents in Obama districts: 26, 30, 36, 38, 64, 74, 75

(III) Open seat in McCain district with small (<6%) registration edge: 25

(IV) Incumbents in McCain districts with small (<6%) registration edge: 3, 65

(V) Other open seat: 68

Posted by Sara at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2009

DEMAND SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE NOW

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TELL HEALTHCO WHORE MAX BAUCUS TO GET OUT OF THE WAY:
MONTANA DEMOCRATIC SENATOR HAS DOCTORS ARRESTED,
HEARS ONLY HEALTH INDUSTRY LOBBYISTS ON UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE

YOUTUBE: DEMOCRACY NOW
"DN! Doctors, Activists Confront Senate on Single-Payer Healthcare"
Anti-Democracy Inaction.

CORRUPT POLITICIAN SHUTS OUT AMERICAN MAJORITY,
WELCOMES CORPORATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTERS

YOUTUBE: WILLIAM HUGHES
"Dr. Flowers on Health Care"
The why's & wherefores of Single-Payer, in a nutshell.

Rocky Mountain Whore Takes Corporate Money, Screws You

This is why the DINOs have to go. Max Baucus and other so-called Blue Dog Democrats are helping corporate Republicans destroy your health care. They want your money to go to their corporate campaign contributors, not your doctors. They want profiteering corporate middlemen, insurance company lawyers and HMO bean counters to decide whether you get treatment or not. They don't care if your Mom or Dad, son or daughter, brother or sister die for lack of health care. They are evil corporate whores and they need to be rooted out and ejected from Congress.

(continued)
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Today starts the fight for single-payer universal national health care. This means we all get together to manage our own health care, and see to it that everybody gets coverage. Anybody who wants to keep getting bled by insurance companies and health maintenance organizations is free to do so. Nobody will be prevented from seeing their own doctor or going to their choice of clinics or hospitals. Ignore all the lies spread by corporate thieves and their extreme right-wing whores, like Max Baucus.

Single-payer means exactly what it says: One mighty army of American taxpayers negotiating from unity & strength, saving money and getting better more affordable health care by working together, the same way we save at Costco or Sams Club, only moreso. Ain't nothin' "socialist" or "foreign" about it. Saving money and getting a better product is as American as cherry pie with Cool-Whip.

Contribute to this campaign for single payer. Add your voice to the experts: Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are fighting today for your right to health care. Start working now to get rid of the right-wing corporate whores that are standing in the way of this in your State. The links below target those whores.

Write Max Baucus right now and let him know you are a voter in his State, and you are mad as Hell at his exclusion and ARREST of single-payer medical experts at his US Senate Finance Committee hearings. Be sure he understands that this will be his last term in Congress if he doesn't stop selling out to the Health Care Industry that is bleeding us all dry. Do it now. Please. Thanks.

SIGN THE PETITION FOR UNIVERSAL SINGLE-PAYER NATIONAL HEALTH CARE IN 2009

LABOR NOTES
"Single-Payer Advocates Have to Get Arrested to Get Heard"
The Healthco Mafia beats up on doctors, nurses & patients.

' Eight doctors and other advocates of a national single-payer health care system–which would improve and expand Medicare to everyone–were arrested yesterday when they disrupted a Senate committee meeting on health care reform. The single-payer advocates wanted to know why experts representing their position were being excluded from the roundtable of 15 witnesses speaking before the Senate Finance Committee's roundtable on health reform. Donna Smith, a community organizer for the California Nurses Association, explained to Labor Notes why single-payer advocates had to get arrested to get heard in Washington. Donna Smith: "Our feeling is that it’s purposeful to shut out the single-payer position. National health insurance is the position advocated by about 60 percent of the public in independent polls, and almost 60 percent of physicians. There are millions of people who support single payer but it’s the one position that doesn’t bode well for the private insurance industry. And the private insurance industry contributes mightily to campaigns throughout the nation. They spend a lot of money ensuring their position in the system. These people [who were arrested yesterday] weren’t saying, ‘give us single payer.’ They were saying, ‘give us a witness!’ Give us a voice in this testimony being taken for this nation. We’ve never been afraid of that before. If these elected leaders aren’t hearing from all positions, how can they make the best decision? '

MONTHLY REVIEW
"Doctors, Single Payer Activists Arrested, Make History at Senate Finance Roundtable"
Corporate government & corporate media join forces to supress dissenting majority voices.
' It has finally happened right here in the United States. Citizens who believe healthcare is a human right have been arrested and are being processed like criminals through the Southeast District of Columbia police station. Their crime? Asking for single payer healthcare reform -- publicly funded, privately delivered healthcare -- to be discussed during the Congressional hearings on reform. Doctors and other single payer activists were handcuffed and went to jail today speaking up for single payer to be at the table in the Senate Finance Committee's roundtable discussion on healthcare access and coverage. In stark contrast, Karen Ignagni, head of the industry lobby group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), was escorted into the room like royalty by staff members of the Senate committee. Clearly, the position of the United States Senate is not with the majority of Americans who support a national, public insurance system. While neither the Finance Committee nor the press allowed their proceedings to be disrupted for very long, the air in the room and the atmosphere had changed -- the giddy and gleeful assembly of industry lobbyists who had been chattering in rapt anticipation of the coming of their carefully chosen witnesses could not deny that some brave and patriotic fellow citizens had just been hauled out for arrest for nothing more than demanding that a point of view held by a majority of patients, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers be included in the national discussion. The protestors were stoic and respectful but direct. One by one they stood. One by one they asked why single payer reform was not 'at the table' of 15 witnesses Senator Max Baucus and his Finance Committee gathered to map out what sort of coverage Americans might expect in the Senate reform bill now being crafted. Sen. Baucus eventually spoke and indicated that he was respectful of those who believe in single payer -- as he acknowledged many of his constituents in Montana do -- but he made no attempt to explain why no single payer voice has been included in any Senate discussion to date. He urged any others in the audience who might have any designs on speaking up like the protestors did to not do so, and then he moved on to his roundtable discussion. The press seated comfortably at the press table first looked amused and then puzzled by the procession of protest in the chamber. The C-SPAN cameras fixed on both the Committee's table at the front of the room and the witness table directly across from them could have easily picked up the protests but the network chose to keep their cameras fixed only on Chairman Baucus -- though the protestors' words could be heard in the audience. Only two reporters of the 20 or so assembled were curious enough or industrious enough to rise and exit the room to see the arrests being carried out in the hallway. '

OP ED NEWS
"Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, Arrested Tuesday at Senate Roundtable on Health Care"
The Doctor speaks for herself. Is anyone allowed to listen?
' I have with me Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-chair of the Maryland branch of the 16,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program. She is a pediatrician, and mother of three teenagers, who left the practice of medicine about two years ago to work on health care reform full time. She spends a lot of time speaking to legislators, both local and congressional, and to the public about health care reform. Dr. Flowers explains, “I got involved because I saw how private insurers were making medical decisions that were inappropriate and because I felt like I (and others) couldn't practice quality medicine because of the tricks that insurers use to avoid paying for health care. It is wrong and people are suffering and dying because of it.” Welcome, Dr. Flowers. You must be exhausted after your ‘adventures’ on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Tell us how you and your colleagues came to be rounded up by the police. "It started last week. We, meaning some of the people who advocate for a national health system based on single payer financing, learned who the Senate Finance Committee had invited to the Roundtable on the Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage and it wasn't very reassuring. Those invited represented either a conservative viewpoint or the interests of the private insurance industry and big business. None of them represented single payer – the most efficient way to expand coverage by expanding Medicare to everyone. Several of the national groups organized call-ins to members of the committee by constituents in their states. Other groups organized having faxes sent. Despite thousands of phone calls and faxes, we learned on Monday that Sen. Baucus's office had said that there would be no more invitations to speakers for the event. The Roundtable was planned as a public event, but the public was not allowed to speak or to ask questions. In addition, it was the type of event that you must get to early and stand in line for hours just to get in. It sounded like it was going to be one more in the series of very scripted and controlled events that has characterized this "health care debate." Shortly before the meeting started, one of the people in our group, Russell Mokhiber, stood up and said something to the effect that there were no people representing single payer at the table and that there were doctors in the room who were willing to take a seat. He was arrested. Following that, we rose, one by one, and spoke out for single payer. Each of the eight of us were arrested. We were handcuffed and held for around seven hours. We were charged with Unlawful Conduct and Disruption of Congress. Our first goal was to have a seat at the table. That has been a request to Congress throughout this year, really since the presidential election. All we've asked is that when the government looks at options for health care reform that single payer is given equal attention. We would like the Congressional Budget Office to review the cost of improving and expanding Medicare to everyone. We know that this is an affordable way to provide health care to everyone. If we couldn't get a seat, at least we could expose the insincerity of the current attempt at health care reform and show that single payer was actively being excluded. And I know that we could solve these problems by creating a national health system that is based on health care as a human right. The public wants a national health system and providers want a national health system, but the Senate won't listen and actively excludes our voices. '

PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM
"What is Single Payer?"
The truth about single-payer. From your doctors.
' Single-payer is a term used to describe a type of financing system. It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or “payer.” In the case of health care, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity—a government run organization—would collect all health care fees, and pay out all health care costs. In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different health care organizations—HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of health care fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system. (Just imagine how complex billing must be in a doctor’s office, when each insurance company requires a different form to be completed, has a different billing system, different billing contacts and phone numbers—it’s very confusing.) In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it. All Americans would receive comprehensive medical benefits under single payer. Coverage would include all medically necessary services, including rehabilitative, long-term, and home care; mental health care, prescription drugs, and medical supplies; and preventive and public health measures. Care would be based on need, not on ability to pay. '

NATIONAL NURSES ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
"Tell Congress to Support Single-Payer Healthcare for Everyone in America!"
Help America's nurses help you get better, more affordable universal health care. Send the email, provided:
' You and your family could have guaranteed health care today, complete and comprehensive just as is available to families in other industrialized countries. Health coverage that won't bankrupt you if you get sick, discourage you from seeking preventive care because of high out-of-pocket costs, or put you at the mercy of insurance companies who will deny treatment you need because they don't want to pay for it. America's nurses see patients harmed and dying unnecessarily every hour of every day. Why? Because the insurance companies give big money to our politicians. The result -- reform proposals that protect the insurers instead of the rest of us. There's a better way, expanding and updating Medicare to cover everyone. It's the most comprehensive, cost effective, reform of all. With guaranteed choice of doctor and provider, no co-pays and deductibles, real cost control that eliminates waste and fraud, and comprehensive benefits for less than we and our employers pay now. They may have the money but we have the votes. But the nurses need your help. Please send a message to Congress today: '

HEALTH CARE NOW
"May 30: National Day of Action - Nationwide Rallies for Improved Medicare for All"
Join the party! Get up, get out, get busy. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
' Join thousands of single-payer supporters in a nationwide week of action to support improved Medicare for all (HR 676). Single-payer activists will be gathering all over the country to say, "Healthcare, yes; Insurance companies, no," and to show solidarity with demonstrations at the AHIP (American Health Insurance Plans, a private health insurance lobby) conference in San Diego. If an action isn't already in your city, plan your own day of action! It can be a town hall meeting, demonstration in front of a local insurance company, film showing, vigil, or your own unique idea. Let us know what you'd like to start planning by contacting info@healthcare-now.org. '

OPEN SECRETS.ORG
"Power Players: With Health Sector's Money Supporting Him, Baucus Offers Prescription for Reform"
The Grand Whore Of Montana: Healthco Slut Max Baucus by the numbers.
' Position: Baucus will continue to be chair of the Senate Finance Committee, a position he has held since 2007 (he was also chair of the committee when Democrats controlled the Senate from June 2001 until January 2003). This committee has jurisdiction over the nation's largest public welfare programs, including Medicaid and Social Security. Any major reform to health care or Social Security will need Baucus's support to be successful. Money Summary: Since 1989, Baucus has raised $24.8 million and spent $22.5 million of that. In the last 20 years, individual donations have comprised 47 percent of his money. Geographically speaking, Wall Street is a big boon to the Montana senator: the New York metro area, center of commerce and finance, has contributed more to Baucus than any other region, with DC, home to many finance lobbyists, not too far behind. Campaigns Donors: Despite having no serious opponent in the 2008 election cycle, Baucus raised $11.6 million for his campaign, nearly twice the amount ($6.7 million) he raised for his previous re-election bid in which he faced a challenger with some real financial clout. Most of Baucus's top 10 contributors have remained the same since the 2002 election--predominantly health and finance-related industries--but nearly all ramped up their contributions this cycle, in the midst of an economic crisis and in preparation for impending health care reform. Absent a threat to his elected office, Baucus's surge in contributions is most likely a reflection of his rise to chair of the Finance Committee, a position that many industries will need to push in order to see their desired policy changes implemented. '

US SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
"Public Comment On Health Reform"
Tell the Committee what you think. NOW, Goddammit!
' To submit comments on the Senate Finance Committee’s Health Reform Policy Options email PDF or Word files to
Health_Reform@finance-dem.senate.gov
The deadlines for public comments are: Delivery System Reform Policy Options, May 15, 2009; Coverage Reform Policy Options, May 22, 2009; Financing Reform Policy Options, May 26, 2009. '

  • Email your Senator today.
  • (cross-posted at blog me no blogs by cosanostradamus)
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    Posted by Cosa Nostradamus at 12:02 AM