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Kick Assiest Blog
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Disney/ABC News chairman may join Dems in Supreme Court battle
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

George Mitchell: The Dems' Supreme Point Man?

The former Senate Majority Leader, now a noted peacemaker, may be tapped to help lead the party's strategy on a new high court nominee

The battle on Capitol Hill over filling one, possibly two, U.S. Supreme Court vacancies is heating up fast. Faced with a high-powered lineup of GOP tacticians and advisers, Senate Democrats are now working to assemble their own team.

One key person under consideration to lead the effort, several Democratic sources tell BusinessWeek Online, is former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, chairman of the board at Walt Disney and chairman of law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. He has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Mitchell also serves on Staples' board of directors.

Mitchell is traveling and was unavailable for comment for this story, a spokesperson said. Through an aide, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is coordinating Democratic efforts, declined to comment.

FIERCELY PARTISAN, TOO. Mitchell's recent history makes him an interesting choice, given the stakes. Since he left the Senate in 1995, Mitchell has developed a role as a global player in conflict resolution. In the late 1990s he led the negotiations that ultimately resulted in a historic peace accord in Northern Ireland. He also served as chairman of an international fact-finding panel on ending violence in the Middle East. And more recently, he shepherded efforts to win board support for Rober Iger to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney in a contentious corporate battle.

Still, as Senate Democratic Leader during the '80s and early '90s, Mitchell was a fiercely partisan warrior who often prevailed in legislative battles with a GOP White House led by President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush.

Whoever leads the Democratic team will face formidable competition. Last week, the White House appointed former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson to shepherd the President's nominee through the Senate confirmation process. President Bush also named former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie to serve as a kind of campaign manager for the Supreme Court fight. Gillespie will temporarily leave his lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie & Associates.

DEFINING MOMENTS? Bush is expected to soon nominate a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In addition, Chief Justice William Rehnquist is believed to be considering retirement, and rumors have been flying that his departure is imminent. With the high court's future direction in the balance, partisans from both sides of the aisle say these choices could be the defining moments for Bush's second term.

Senate Democratic aides say they're also trying to pull together an "advisory group" of top operatives to work the Supreme Court fight in much the same way Gillespie is coordinating efforts at the White House. No names are final yet, but Reid spokesman Jim Manley says one person under consideration is Thomas E. Donilon, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and now a partner at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers.

"NO FIGHT, NO MONEY." Sources say the Democrats are interested in other prominent figures. Among them: Thurgood Marshall Jr., an attorney at the law firm Swidler Berlin and a former staffer in the Clinton Administration. He's the son of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

One campaign vet already on board for the battle is Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton. Lockhart has signed on with People for the American Way, one of the many liberal activist groups poised to try to block nominees they deem to be too conservative.

While Bush has already chided some conservatives publicly for criticizing potential nominee Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, some Democrats worry about their own activist groups trying to exert pressure on Senate leaders. "The groups on both sides have agendas other than trying to win this fight," says Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic political adviser and lobbyist. He points to the e-mail fund-raising requests pouring forth from the liberal groups: "They're all trying to raise money. The groups have an interest in having a fight. If there's no fight, there's no money."

PLENTY OF HIGH PROFILES. Still uncertain is how the Democrats would benefit from having a counterpart on their team to Thompson, who in addition to being an ex-senator is a professional actor. "The knee-jerk response is they have one [elder statesman], so we should have one," says a Democratic source. But what a grey beard could bring to this battle for the Democrats is an open question -- after all Thompson will be squiring an actual nominee on Capitol Hill. Democrats will be trying only to shape the battle. "I don't know what a Thompson equivalent would do on our side," says Elmendorf.

Also factoring into the decision is that Democrats have some of the Senate's most visible players on the Judiciary Committee -- possibly obviating the need for a media-friendly face for their effort. The Judiciary panel that will consider the nominee includes Senators Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), all high-profile, media-savvy figures. It's also unclear whether Mitchell, should he accept the role, would take time off from his other corporate duties. Still, the interest alone indicates that the stakes in this high court drama couldn't be higher.

Business Week ~ Eamon Javers ** George Mitchell: The Dems' Supreme Point Man?


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Nickname: lumberjay
Review: It's President Bush's choice. He won. The three senators you mentioned on the Democrat side, the plagarist, the drunk, and the Eddie Haskell of politics remind me of how thankful I am that it is not their choice.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 6:31 PM

Nickname: tropdecul
Review: Suggest the liberals seek out Michael Jackson and use Neverland rather than Eisner and Disneyworld/land..perverted drama was never better than during the Jackson "in your justice system face" trial. What a farce! All noise and no substance is what our courts system is unfortunately all about.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 6:01 PM

Nickname: JR
Review: I want my money back for my season to Walt Disney World. I did not pay money in order for the liberal Mitchell to be a part of the Supreme Court battle. Advise who I can write to or e-mail for this refund. No politics should be involved in any organization, if they are not to make it known. J. R. Florida
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:54 PM

Nickname: Ron Boss
Review: My advice to Mr. Bush is to stand tall as he always does and give the democrats all the battle they can handle. I would remind President Bush that this is no tiime to be timid and not to back down on nominating a justice that will stand by the Constitution. Thanks.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:46 PM

Nickname: TZ
Review: Making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Republicans are going to kill the filibuster on judicial canidates for the Supreme Court and that will take care of that.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:39 PM

Nickname: JC
Review: The Democrats don't get it. THEY LOST, John Kerry did not win....They don't get to pick the NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. GEORGE W. BUSH WON AND HE GETS TO PICK THE NEXT 2 SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. Get over it ..demo's YOU LOST CHRISTIANS OF C.C.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:31 PM

Nickname: Jeff
Review: Sheeze, you would think that this is like running for freakin' dog catcher in Podunk, USA. Get a grip folks, the President appoints and the Senate just gets to confirm. The Republicans should remind themselves that they won the freakin' White House, Senate and House. They are in charge and should act like it. Ain't it hilarious how the opposition forms BEFORE there is even a nominee? Give me a break, Teddy!
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:25 PM

Nickname: tom
Review: Seeing as how liberals are pulling for American failures everywhere we need strong constitutional jurists.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:17 PM

Nickname: Peter
Review: An excellent piece of reporting. Seems the Democrats are fielding the same old team with same old arguments. No wonder they are losing. But can you imagine the hue and cry if a former Republican Senate majority leader was chairman of the board of one of the three broadcast networks and weighed in on a fight like this?
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:09 PM

Nickname: JR
Review: It would be foolish for Mitchell to further associate Disney with this political battle. It will only reinforce the general belief that Hollywood is in the tank for Democrats.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:05 PM

Posted by uhyw at 3:44 PM EDT
Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Threatening IRS Audits to Conservative Group
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Group Says

A conservative advocacy group says it will not be intimidated by pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin's office.

Move America Forward, a group that supports the U.S. military and wants to eject the United Nations from the United States, is currently running broadcast ads criticizing Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or mad regimes like Pol Pot's.

"But these aren't the faces of torturers, the ad says: "They're the heroic men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. They're our sons and daughters fighting for the cause of freedom around the world. Support our troops, at"

Durbin's office is trying to silence Move America Forward, the group says, by hinting to an Illinois newspaper (the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake) that the Internal Revenue Service should audit Move America Forward.

Someone from Durbin's office was quoted as telling the newspaper - in connection with Move America Forward -- "Have you ever seen that H&R Block commercial where the guy leans in and says, 'I see an audit'?"

"For the office of a United States senator to threaten reprisals from the IRS against an organization that is supporting our troops in harm's way is absolutely reprehensible," said Mark Washburn, executive director of Move America Forward.

"One of the grounds used to threaten impeachment of President Richard Nixon was that he politicized the IRS and tried to use IRS audits of his political enemies to shut them down or silence them. That is precisely what Senator Durbin's office is doing now, Washburn said.

"There is no place for that in American politics, and Senator Durbin must be held accountable."

Move America Forward also accused Durbin's office of pressuring Illinois television stations not to run the television ad criticizing Durbin's remarks about U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay.

According to Move America Forward, two television stations have buckled under the pressure, including the ABC and NBC affiliates in Chicago. Both stations are refusing to run Move America Forward's ad, it says, although CBS's Chicago affiliate is running it.

Move America Forward said it will not be intimidated. It said it will continue to air the ad on Illinois network affiliates and nationwide on cable news networks despite the pressure from Durbin.

Last month, Durbin -- reading from an FBI memo on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay -- commented: "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Three days later, Durbin clarified but did not apologize for his comments. But a week later, Durbin formally apologized -- to people who were offended by his remarks:

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," Durbin said on June 21. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

Becoming emotional, Durbin also apologized directly to the U.S. military. "They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

On the Net:

Link to the Move America Forward TV ad

Thread about the ad from Right Nation.US Blog

Cybercast News Service ~ Susan Jones ** Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Group Says

Posted by uhyw at 2:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 2:38 AM EDT
Ten Commandments for Judges
Mood:  loud
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Ten Commandments for Judges

† By James Atticus Bowden

President George W. Bush makes one of the most important decisions defining his legacy by uttering a name. If that name for Supreme Court justice is a constant conservative to the end of the life-time term, then the Bush presidency defines the start of an era. The momentum for change, like a glacier, will creak forward. Anything less, including a scheme of one conservative for two open seats means enough conservative Christians stay home, even if Hillary runs, and liberals win the 2008 election. The U.S. Culture War widens, deepens, and threatens because the judges will get worse.

A conservative justice affirms the majority winning elections across the nation. A "moderate" justice overturns the elected will of the people. Stressing the majority with a liberal who brings more judicial tyranny is worse than frustrating the minority who have no right to rule.

There is no "consensus" judge because there is no consensus in America. Perhaps, we should build a majority to get judges to display these Ten Commandments.

I. Thou art not God. You don't know when life begins or ends. Don’t make up "rights" to kill humans or kill helpless people yourself, just because you can. The state legislatures decide legal medical procedures by exception.

II. Thou art not Priest-Kings. Don't tell people when, how, what, or where they can pray. The state legislatures settle how much public prayer, including schools, is appropriate. Quit the cultural cleansing of Christianity.

III. Thou art not Congress. Don't write laws. Don't order governments to spend money or to appropriate taxes. You adjudicate disputes; you do not create the law of the land.

IV. Thou art not the President or Governor. Don't write regulations or try to administer government, including school systems. Don't order authorities to do to anything, except to carry out the orders they asked you to sign, like search warrants, within your narrowly defined written powers.

V. Thou shalt not follow foreign laws. Don't ever decide a case based on foreign law, tradition, or public opinion. Being ruled by foreign law is as despicable as by a foreign king.

VI. Thou shalt not change our Constitution. Ever. Don't make up penumbras. Don't change the meaning of the words. Private property is a right. Individual rights aren't group rights. A plaque doesn't establish religion.

VII. Honor the Family. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Don't pretend you know better than parents.

VIII. Honor Justice. Don't let the guilty go free because of a technicality. Compensate them in prison for some legal error.

IX. Honor the Rule of Law. Rule under the law, not over the law. Don't let your politics prejudice your rulings. You don't know global warming from evolution, so don't make up science either.

X. Thou shalt post the real X Commandments. Place the key foundational law of American civilization in a prominent place inside every courtroom. Look at it often and remember how small you are in power, place and time to the greatest law-giver, God, and to this great nation of the United States of America.

Regardless of whom President Bush appoints, all the judges at every level of government should harken to these Ten Commandments for Judges. If the judiciary becomes so corrupted by power that the tyranny of the few judges becomes the dictatorship of the many, the Culture War will get terrible.

The Great U.S. Culture War is essentially a Second American Civil War (ACW II). There is practically no violence, yet, because the Constitution provides for majority rule in free, fair elections. Both sides contend for power through elections. If elections become meaningless and personal values of family, faith and security are threatened, there will be hell to pay.

Judges who kill the helpless supporting partial birth abortion or euthanasia will go too far. Judges will make biblical speech, like saying homosexual behavior is a sin, hate speech, like it is in Canada and Europe. Judges could make criticizing Islam illegal, even from inside a church, as it is in Australia. Judges make a mockery of immigration laws already. They make illegal aliens almost un-deportable with greater rights than citizens, like paying in-state tuition fees.

The President and Congress can take power away from the Judiciary by law (Article II, U.S. Constitution) or Amendment. President Bush should begin by appointing wise conservatives of bedrock convictions and conscience. Better to tame the tyrants legally, or through the civil disobedience like the Civil Rights Movement, than the bloodier alternatives.

† Someday, we, the people, win. When?

Chron Watch ~ James Atticus Bowden ** Ten Commandments for Judges

Posted by uhyw at 2:09 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 2:13 AM EDT
Muslim scholar: Killing civilians OK
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Where are the libs screeching about this Shmuck's with us or against us policy?

Muslim scholar: Killing civilians OK

Head of Islamic center in London responds to attack

Responding to questions about the terrorist attack on London, a Muslim scholar in the British capital asserted Islam makes no distinction between civilians and military targets.

"The term 'civilians' does not exist in Islamic religious law," said Hani Al-Siba'i, head of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London.

Al-Siba'i, in an interview with the Arab news channel al-Jazeera, elaborated, "There is no such term as 'civilians' in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not."

Dar Al-Harb refers to the Muslim concept of the world being divided into two "houses," the House of Islam and the remaining territories, the House of War, or Dar Al-Harb.

Al-Siba'i speculated that a Western nation could have been responsible for the attack, but he acknowledged it could have been carried out by Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization, according to a transcript provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.

"If al-Qaida indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it," he said. "It rubbed the noses of the world's eight most powerful countries in the mud."

But al-Siba'i said British Prime Minister Tony Blair "made a grave error when he spoke before the investigation and claimed that the perpetrators of these acts were acting in the name of Islam."

The Muslim leader said "the possibility that it was done by the intelligence agency of another Western country hostile to Britain" should not be ruled out.

He also conjectured it could have been done by "some Zionist Americans who wanted to overshadow the G-8 summit."

Al-Siba'i finally said al-Qaida could not be ruled out as the perpetrator.

He asserted the terrorist organization controls the "war agenda" in Iraq and "imposes its policies" on the Middle East.

As an example, he pointed out that al-Qaida's beheading of an Egyptian envoy prompted Cairo to lower its level of representation in Baghdad.

On the subject of targeting civilians, the al-Jazeera host asked Al-Siba'i: "You, as a Muslim and as the director of a center for Islamic history. ... Is targeting wretched civilians considered brave or manly?"

Al-Siba'i replied that after the Madrid bombing, bin Laden called on the people of Western nations to pressure their governments.

"He told them: We did not attack you. You have been attacking us for more than two centuries, and your campaign continues. He said to them simply: Withdraw your soldiers from the Arabian Peninsula, withdraw from Afghanistan and Palestine. …"

Asked whether he considered bin Laden a religious scholar who issues fatwas or the head of al-Qaida, Siba'i said, "First of all, he is one of this (Islamic) nation. ... We have no clergy or a pope, or anything like this. Anyone can carry out his religious duty, even if he is by himself."

The host argued that the religious law assembly in Mecca at the end of last month issued a fatwa forbidding the killing of civilians.

"Should we follow it or Osama bin Laden?" the host asked.

Al-Siba'i said, "These assemblies resemble the assemblies of the church. These assemblies forbid young people from going to Iraq to fight the jihad. … The Higher Religious Authority (in Saudi Arabia) are the ones who allowed the presence of Crusader forces in the Land of the Two Holy Places (Saudi Arabia)."

World Net ** Muslim scholar: Killing civilians OK

Posted by uhyw at 1:42 AM EDT
BBC edits out the word 'terrorists' for the term 'bombers'
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

BBC edits out the word terrorist

The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers".

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say.

Rod Liddle, a former editor of the Today programme, has accused the BBC of "institutionalised political correctness" in its coverage of British Muslims.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "The word terrorist is not banned from the BBC."

UK Telegraph ~ Tom Leonard ** BBC edits out the word terrorist

Posted by uhyw at 1:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 1:52 AM EDT
Monday, July 11, 2005
Obama: 'The Democrats At Times Have Lost Their Way? We Are Trying To Decide What Our Core Values Are'
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Obama lends star power to Nelson

The Democratic U.S. senator campaigns for his colleague at a town-hall forum in Eatonville.

EATONVILLE - About 500 people rose to their feet in a standing ovation worthy of a rock star as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., hit the stage Saturday at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

The charismatic black politician from Chicago, who at 43 has achieved almost icon status since his wildly popular speech at last year's Democratic convention, was in town to bolster the upcoming Senate campaign of his colleague U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The occasion was Nelson's eighth and final town-hall meeting around the state during the past week.

"This is your meeting," Nelson told the racially mixed crowd from around the area. "Barack and I want to hear from you."

But the mood was more love fest than town meeting.

Dozens of cell-phone cameras in the audience framed the lanky Obama as he described Nelson as an "honest, hardworking and insightful senator."

Nelson, 62, who faces a tough re-election campaign next year against U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Sarasota, returned the favor, calling Obama "a rock star who carries himself with dignity and humility and is so smart."

They were preaching to the choir.

Only seven people stood to address the senators during the hourlong meeting. But everyone listened closely as the two men responded to issues that ranged from worries over the out-of-power Democratic Party to the rising cost of health care and Florida's inadequately funded pre-kindergarten program.

The most provocative question was the first.

"I see a Democratic Party afraid to say they're Democrats, who voted for the war in Iraq and voted for tax cuts for the wealthy," said Glenn Anderson of Orlando. "Why should I remain a Democrat?"

It was a tough question. But Nelson and Obama tried to answer it.

"The Democrats at times have lost their way," conceded Obama. "We are trying to decide what our core values are."

The criterion for judging the party isn't whether it's to the left or right, "but are we true to our core values," he said. Nobody defined core values.

Balance, Nelson answered, is necessary for government to work. His example: "I call 'em as I see 'em. When I disagree with the president, I vote against him. When I agree with the president, I vote with him."

Obama gave another example: "I was opposed to the war [in Iraq] when it was launched. But once we're in, we have an obligation to make it work, to honor those who lost their lives and bring a semblance of democracy to the region."

Both politicians pushed emotional buttons close to voters' hearts.

Obama weighed in on health-care costs -- "We're all getting hurt" -- and the out-sourcing of American jobs. The biggest challenge in the United States, he said, is how to make sure workers can support families in a global economy.

"We're seeing manufacturing jobs leave [America]," Obama said. "We're losing those jobs and ending up at fast-food restaurants with no benefits. Oh, yes, and gas prices are going up."

The audience responded with hefty applause.

To a litany of social ills, Nelson responded more than once, "I have and will continue to fight for the least of those among us."

The answers were what the predominantly black audience wanted to hear. But it was the men themselves people came to see.

Clara Russell of Windermere heard Obama's convention speech on TV last year.

"That's why I'm here," she said. "I'm a fan."

Bob and Irene Stevens of Oviedo said they came to support Nelson.

"And we wouldn't want to miss seeing Obama . . . he's such an inspiring speaker," said Irene Stevens. "I have great hopes for his future."

Orlando Sentinel ~ Sandra Mathers ** Obama lends star power to Nelson

Posted by uhyw at 2:25 PM EDT
NAACP Delegates Warn 'Progressive Gains Are Eroding'
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

NAACP Delegates Warn Gains Are Eroding

MILWAUKEE - Civil rights advocates on Sunday called the blurring lines between religion and politics a threat to equal opportunity, and said conservative judges and lawmakers are threatening progressives' gains nationwide.

"You have three branches of government that seem to have an orchestrated approach to, in effect, chisel away at civil rights protections. It's systematic," said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington, D.C., branch of the NAACP, speaking at the group's annual convention.

The 96th annual gathering of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People comes as the Baltimore-based nonprofit has been struggling to raise money.

Its new president, retired Verizon executive Bruce S. Gordon, has pledged to improve efficiency in the organization and raise an endowment, as well as to stress economic equality.

During weekend panel discussions and meetings, convention delegates discussed laws that bar felons from voting, racial patterns in death penalty sentencing, reparations for slavery and the federal funding of religious groups, among other issues.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said religious groups that receive federal funding for social programs are increasingly hostile to participants who don't share their views on social issues - a violation of equal protection laws and a broad threat to civil rights.

He also criticized legislation proposed last year by North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones that would allow religious leaders who receive federal funding to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

"When you allow discrimination based on religion in federal programs, you lose all your moral authority to enforce civil rights legislation," Scott said. "Typically, you rely on the judiciary to get you through times like this, but unfortunately the judges being appointed only affirm many of the things happening."

NAACP officials also announced Sunday that Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has been criticized for telling a trade group that Mexicans in the U.S. are doing work that "not even blacks want to do," had declined two invitations to attend the convention.

Fox cited scheduling conflicts in declining the invitation, NAACP officials said.

More than 8,000 people are attending the six-day convention, which runs through Thursday. ~ Associated Press ** NAACP Delegates Warn Gains Are Eroding

Posted by uhyw at 5:23 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2005 5:48 AM EDT
Universal Health Care Push Being Revived by Libtards
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Universal Health Care Push Being Revived

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A push for universal health coverage is being rekindled in some states by the soaring cost of health care and the lack of political support in Washington for federal changes.

Advocates of a single-payer system — where the government would collect taxes and cover everyone, similar to programs in Canada and across Europe — have introduced bills in at least 18 state legislatures. Some are symbolic gestures, but heated debate is taking place in California and Vermont.

In Ohio, doctors, union officials and religious leaders are gathering signatures to get a single-payer health system placed on a ballot next year.

"The level of misery with private insurers is rising, and that's why we're seeing this increased activity," said Larry Levitt, vice president of the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzes health care issues. "But whether one state can succeed, I don't know."

Not since Oregon in 2002 has a state voted on a single-payer health system. Voters there soundly rejected it, as did Californians in 1994. Both times, the proposals came under fierce assault from the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

However, Oregon supporters are aiming for another ballot measure in 2008, and a bill in California would have the government pay for health care in a state where 7 million people are uninsured.

Across the nation, the number of uninsured is 45 million and rising, and 16 million lack enough insurance to cover all their medical bills.

Premiums for employer-sponsored health plans rose an average of 11.2 percent in 2004, the fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Companies are raising employee fees for health care, increasing co-payments and decreasing benefits.

Mainstream medical groups, including the American Medical Association, oppose single-payer systems. The AMA fears they would stifle the development of new medical technology and create longer waits for patient care should government budgets become strapped for money.

Advocates dismiss those arguments as scare tactics.

"There's no other solution out there," said David Pavlick, a member of the United Auto Workers in Cleveland, which has endorsed the Ohio campaign. "The system we have now is immoral, it's foundering and it's on its last legs."

A single-payer system would be financed through a mix of payroll tax increases and new taxes on personal income. The new taxes would take the place of insurance premiums that many people currently pay for health coverage, and there would be no out-of-pocket expenses.

States would use their leverage to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and other health services. Hospitals and doctors' offices would be relieved of the hassles and expense of dealing with multiple health insurers.

Claims that the system would cost less have merit, said John Sheils, vice president of the Lewin Group, a Virginia consulting firm that conducted a study last year of how a single-payer system would work in California. The study found that the state would save $343.6 billion in health care costs over 10 years.

But Sheils said a single-payer system isn't a panacea. States could be hard pressed to keep funding levels adequate during recessions, when tax revenues decline.

"There are positives and negatives with all types of health systems," Sheils said. "The question that has to be asked is what are we getting out of our existing multipayer system that is worth all the money we are spending on it?"

In any event, voters are still leery. A Kaiser Foundation poll released earlier this year found that 55 percent of Americans opposed a single-payer health system. Thirty-seven percent favored it.

Knowing that, some states are taking incremental approaches.

Maine started enrolling people this year in a state-private program that offers affordable health coverage to small businesses and families. The goal is to bring coverage to the 130,000 Mainers who lack it by 2009.

"It's really going to the states to push health care reform along," said Janne Hellgren, coordinator for a universal health care movement in Massachusetts. "Washington just isn't willing to change the status quo."

On the Net:

Kaiser Family Foundation

American Medical Association

Physicians for a National Health Program

Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Matt Leingang ** Universal Health Care Push Being Revived

Posted by uhyw at 4:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2005 4:24 AM EDT
Hillary attacks Bush, comparing him to Alfred E. Newman
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton attacks President Bush, comparing him to Alfred E. Neuman

ASPEN, Colo. - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton went on the attack against President Bush in a speech Sunday, accusing him of damaging the economy by overspending while giving tax cuts to the rich.

The Democrat from New York also accused Bush of depriving U.S. soldiers of equipment needed to fight the war in Iraq and cutting funding for scientific research.

"I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington," Clinton said referring to the freckle-faced Mad magazine character. She drew a laugh from crowd when she described Bush's attitude toward tough issues with Neuman's catchphrase: "What, me worry?"

Clinton, who was speaking during the inaugural Aspen Ideas Festival, organized by the Aspen Institute nonpartisan think tank, didn't mention the presidential election in 2008.

She said the United States should remain in Iraq until peace can be maintained by the Iraqi people, saying the mission was part of the "long struggle against terrorism" by the U.S.

"The threat of terrorism is as close as our daily commute," said Clinton, adding that people around the world admired the "famous resilience" of the British in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks.

When it came to the economy, Clinton accused the Bush administration of focusing on helping the wealthy while hurting the middle class, which she said has been key to Americans' success and stability.

She said the middle class is now being threatened by an ailing economy caused by the growing national debt, growing health care costs, the loss of pensions and the loss of manufacturing diversity. Clinton also said the U.S. needs to focus on exploring alternative energy sources to become less reliant on oil.

Information from: The Aspen Times

Grand Junction, CO - The Daily Sentinel ~ Associated Press ** Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton attacks President Bush, comparing him to Alfred E. Neuman

Posted by uhyw at 3:18 AM EDT
Revealed: Inside a MOVEON Supreme Court house party; take 'Bush Liar' t-shirts off
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Libtard liars trying to hide who they are, bullshitting their textbook talking points, and making a massacre of the English language. When you read this story, replace the words "extremist" and "moderate"... with the words "conservative" and "liberal."


Over the weekend, the liberal activist group MOVEON.ORG hosted over house parties across the nation to stop President Bush from nominating a "radical right judge" -- and the DRUDGE REPORT obtained an exclusive invite to one of their hottest parties!

Charles Fazio of Alexandria, VA was the host of one of the most widely attended MOVEON parties in the Washington, DC area. The DRUDGE REPORT has learned because of Fazio's registration success, his party was chosen to be a finalist on the WASHINGTON POST's list of house party events the paper would cover.

In a desperate bid to sanitize his gathering and control how its attendees would be perceived by the POST, the MOVEON host emailed talking points to his guests. A copy of those talking points was obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

Fazio warned his guests: "Its very important that if you talk to the reporter, you stay on message. Remember, it is quite possible that our event will be the one the POST uses to represent the entire MoveOnPac effort this weekend."

The key message for the event: "The momentum is finally shifting away from extremism. We will not accept a extremist nominee. This is not about conservatism vs liberalism or Republicans vs Democrats, this is all about extremism vs moderation and we're on the side of moderation."

The MOVEON host reminded his guests: "We don't want to come across as leftist, liberal activists. We want to come across as we are- regular folks who are finally saying enough is enough to the extremists; that we're not falling for their extremist rhetoric anymore and we're finally going to expend the effort necessary to get our country back."

Fazio: "Please stay on message and just know that ANYTHING you say can be taken out of context and used against the effort."

One last suggestion from Fazio to his liberal MOVEON party-goers: "Oh, because a photographer will be here, might I suggest we put away our 'Bush is a Liar' t-shirts. Let's look like they do."


Posted by uhyw at 3:10 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2005 2:18 PM EDT

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