I say this with all due respect to the President of the United States - the Progressive Block made President Obama plan to argue for the public option in his speech before a joint session of Congress Wednesday night:
I had a pretty spirited go around with White House Press Secretary Roberts Gibbs and the latest on this dilemma over the public option. The bottom line: Gibbs says the President will make the case for a public option in his speech to Congress on Wednesday but he won't issue a veto threat if it isn't in the final package.
Of course, this is only a first step. The President is clearly willing to jettison a robust public option if he can. The Progressive Block still needs to make the President do it through a House-Senate conference and the Villagers' insistence in beating up the DFHs (all 77% of the American People.) But this is a good first step.
Speaking for me only
The New York Times tracks down veterans of the 1994 health reform effort, along with aides working on the same problem today, to compile a list of the lessons learned. None of them is very useful, and the real lessons are missed.[...]
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Earlier this week, ThinkProgress noted how conservatives are freaking out over President Obama’s upcoming speech to America’s schoolchildren, in which he will explain to them the value of ?persisting and succeeding in school.? Conservatives, such as Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), have been fearmongering over the speech, claiming that it is “school indoctrination.”
On Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich about the controversy, noting that in 1991 Gingrich defended a similar speech by then-President George H.W. Bush by saying, “Why is it political for the president of the United States to discuss education?” Gingrich replied that if it’s “a totally positive speech” that parents can see “in advance” (which they can), then “it is good to have”:
GINGRICH: My daughter Jackie Cushman just wrote a column in which she said, “if the president gives a speech as a parent to students to encourage them to learn and stay in school, it is a great thing for him to do.” It was a good thing for Ronald Reagan to do. It was a good thing for George H. W. Bush to do. And I’ve been communicating with Arne Duncan and the team at the Department of Education. I believe this is going to be posted, people are going to be able to see it in advance, it’s going to be a totally positive speech, and if that’s what it is, then it is good to have the president of the United States say to young people across America: Stay in school, study and do your homework. It’s good for you and it’s good for America.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who was Secretary of Education under the first President Bush, also defended Obama’s speech, saying “of course the president of the United States should be able to address students and of course parents and teachers should decide in what context.” Watch it:
But when Wallace asked Gingrich if some of his “fellow conservatives” should “back off,” the former House Speaker dodged the question, claiming that “Sean Hannity, by the way, has publicly said this is a good thing.” In fact, on his show this week, Hannity said that he “would not normally have a problem [with] any president that wants to address schoolchildren, wants to encourage them to study hard, to develop — to learn, to have a great education” then added, “But when you read the specifics here…it seems very close to indoctrination, or at least has the potential.”
Here's my definition of maturity. Yours may vary, and I'm mature enough to realize that, and[...]
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It's not that I'm a Van Jones fan, but the way that the Obama administration buckles to the rightwing nuts over a few statements the environmentalist made. I can't help but see it in light of how, in the face of actual substantial issue (not paying[...]
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President Obama is going to speak to Congress on Wednesday about Health Care Reform. He should start with this chart and simply ask, "Will everyone who thinks this system is working please stand up?"
I was reading this story about Obama trying to get the progressives into line behind his healthcare
surrender compromise, and I was intrigued by the language. What does "moderate" mean, class?
WASHINGTON (CNN) ? As Obama prepares to go before Congress and lay out more details about his stance on health reform, he held a conference call Friday with some of the most liberal members of the House, who say they won't vote for a bill without a government-run insurance option.
Two congresswomen on the call, which took place Friday afternoon, tell CNN that the president probed them about how entrenched they are, even asking them to define what they mean when they call for a "robust" public option.
"I think he would like to convince us that there is something sort of that could lead to a public option that would satisfy us, and guess what? It doesn't," Rep. Lynne Woolsey, D-California, told CNN in a telephone interview after the conference call.
Woolsey, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, insisted that the president did not explicitly warn them that he may have to give up a so-called public option in order to pass a bill through the more moderate Senate, but it seemed he was laying the groundwork.
There's that Overton window again! If the Senate is "moderate" (i.e. too flipping wingnut crazy to even consider the truly moderate compromise of a public option), that must mean the actual moderates in the progressive caucus are literally INSANE!
"He has to decide where that line has to be drawn and he knows we have to decide where the line can be drawn," said Woolsey.
The conference call included leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Another Democratic source familiar with the call said the president did made clear it will be hard to pass a public option out of Congress because of deep opposition from moderates, and talked about what's most important to him ? market reforms that force more competition, lower costs for health care, and expanded coverage for the uninsured.
But both Woolsey and Rep Barbara Lee, D-California, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told CNN that they told the president point blank that they do not believe a health care proposal without a government-run option is real reform.
"All of our caucuses are very unified about a robust public option, and that is essential in healthcare reform efforts," Lee told CNN in a separate phone interview after the conference call.
Here's the White House thinking, as leaked by another one of those very busy White House sources *cough* Rahm Emanuel *cough*:
A Democratic source close to the process told CNN Friday that the White House was very conscious of the potential congressional fallout: "How do you [get the deal passed] without a revolt in the House? It can be done, but very delicately."
The bottom line, said the source, is that the president would have to "move to the center" on the issue eventually, "and it's not a bad thing to have liberals screaming at him." That development will help sell the deal to Americans and "convince them it's a good, moderate deal, if liberals are mad."
No, Rahm, we won't be screaming. In fact, we'll be very, very quiet. Screw us on healthcare reform, and all you'll hear is the Zen sound of a few million activists sitting on their hands for the next four years.
No more checks, no more phone banking, no more letters or calls of support. You're on your own now, pal. Go ask your new "moderate" friends for help.
BILL MOYERS: The editors of THE ECONOMIST magazine say America's health care debate has become a touch delirious, with people accusing each other of being evil-mongers, dealers in death, and un-American.
Well, that's charitable.
I would say it's more deranged than delirious, and definitely not un-American.
Those crackpots on the right praying for Obama to die and be sent to hell ? they're the warp and woof of home-grown nuttiness. So is the creature from the Second Amendment who showed up at the President's rally armed to the teeth. He's certainly one of us. Red, white, and blue kooks are as American as apple pie and conspiracy theories.
Bill Maher asked me on his show last week if America is still a great nation. I should have said it's the greatest show on earth. Forget what you learned in civics about the Founding Fathers ? we're the children of Barnum and Bailey, our founding con men. Their freak show was the forerunner of today's talk radio.
Speaking of which: we've posted on our website an essay by the media scholar Henry Giroux. He describes the growing domination of hate radio as one of the crucial elements in a "culture of cruelty" increasingly marked by overt racism, hostility and disdain for others, coupled with a simmering threat of mob violence toward any political figure who believes health care reform is the most vital of safety nets, especially now that the central issue of life and politics is no longer about working to get ahead, but struggling simply to survive.
So here we are, wallowing in our dysfunction. Governed ? if you listen to the rabble rousers ? by a black nationalist from Kenya smuggled into the United States to kill Sarah Palin's baby. And yes, I could almost buy their belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, only I think he shipped them to Washington, where they've been recycled as lobbyists and trained in the alchemy of money laundering, which turns an old-fashioned bribe into a First Amendment right.
Only in a fantasy capital like Washington could Sunday morning talk shows become the high church of conventional wisdom, with partisan shills treated as holy men whose gospel of prosperity always seems to boil down to lower taxes for the rich.
Poor Obama. He came to town preaching the religion of nice. But every time he bows politely, the harder the Republicans kick him.
No one's ever conquered Washington politics by constantly saying "pretty please" to the guys trying to cut your throat.
Let's get on with it, Mr. President. We're up the proverbial creek with spaghetti as our paddle. This health care thing could have been the crossing of the Delaware, the turning point in the next American Revolution ? the moment we put the mercenaries to rout, as General Washington did the Hessians at Trenton. We could have stamped our victory "Made in the USA." We could have said to the world, "Look what we did!" And we could have turned to each other and said, "Thank you."
As it is, we're about to get health care reform that measures human beings only in corporate terms of a cost-benefit analysis. I mean this is topsy-turvy ? we should be treating health as a condition, not a commodity.
As we speak, Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, has been fined a record $2.3 billion dollars as a civil and criminal ? yes, that's criminal, as in fraud ? penalty for promoting prescription drugs with the subtlety of the Russian mafia. It's the fourth time in a decade Pfizer's been called on the carpet. And these are the people into whose tender mercies Congress and the White House would deliver us?
Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. We thought we heard you say during the campaign last year that you want a government run insurance plan alongside private insurance ? mostly premium-based, with subsidies for low-and-moderate income people. Open to all individuals and employees who want to join and with everyone free to choose the doctors we want. We thought you said Uncle Sam would sign on as our tough, cost-minded negotiator standing up to the cartel of drug and insurance companies and Wall Street investors whose only interest is a company's share price and profits.
Here's a suggestion, Mr. President: ask Josh Marshall to draft your speech. Josh is the founder of the website talkingpointsmemo.com. He's a journalist and historian, not a politician. He doesn't split things down the middle and call it a victory for the masses. He's offered the simplest and most accurate description yet of a public insurance plan ? one that essentially asks people: would you like the option ? the voluntary option ? of buying into Medicare before you're 65? Check it out, Mr. President.
This health care thing is make or break for your leadership, but for us, it's life and death. No more Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We need a fighter.
That's it for the Journal. I'm Bill Moyers. See you next time.
I started a reply on Lorraine's thread Eight Miraculous Days and it turned into a stand-alone post.
The subject had turned to exercise as a way to deal with headaches.
Read on if you are interested.
Of course, the problem with exercise and headaches is that the increased blood flow makes the pain worse while a headache is in progress.
Thus "exercise" must be a prophylactic part of a total cure. I asked about the oxygen thing for precisely that reason, Lorraine. I know myself that heavy intake of oxygen as a daily habit both in some sort of aerobic exercise and...in my own life as a professional, wind instrument-playing musician...as part of my work is a great headache preventative. But this works only so long as I keep my body relatively free of toxic buildups. And one person's poison can be...and often is...another's daily bread. That's where things get complicated.
I am not advocating becoming a hypochondriacal food and environment obsessive...the end result of that sort of approach is the mad Howard Hughes at the end of his life, sequestered in a sterile room being brought food by people wearing latex gloves...just that real care and moderation in your intake of foods of all kinds coupled with equal care in making sure that you get rid of all of their byproducts once your body has finished processing them will do wonders in the long term for your headache problems.
There is a very simple idea that will help you to do this, and that is...try to never consume more than you have excreted. Now that may sound like a no-brainer, but all you have to do is step outside into any American street to see that No-Brainer America's entire culture is predicated on exactly the opposite idea...on overconsumption...and we all of us live and breathe that culture quite unconsciously every day of our lives.
I get a lot of flack here for my constant emphasis on NEWSTRIKE!!!, MEDIASTRIKE!!! and CULTURESTRIKE!!! memes, but until you manage to free yourself totally from the hypnomedia's constant drone that is always telling you to "Consume!!! Consume!!!" as the subliminally dictated background message behind almost every piece of media information, you simply cannot balance out your consumption on any level with your ability to handle that consumption's byproducts.
The Sufis say "As above, so below." This whole financial mess in which we are now suffering? It's just a societal headache caused by poisons that the society was unable to excrete due to its own "overconsumption".
As above, so below?
OK...so if we cannot directly influence the society in this overconsumption matter, maybe it's because we cannot even control our own tendencies towards overconsumption. Tendencies that have been drummed into us by the media since early childhood. An activist with a headache...or any other physical/emotional/mental disability...is an ineffective activist.
From this moment forward Lorraine, simply try not to eat or drink more than you eliminate.
If it is so "simple", why are about 80% of the Americans that you see on the street literally walking bags of shit on legs? Distended abdomens falling over their belts, 30%, 40%, 50% heavier than their frames can handle? You do not see that in any other major culture of the world.
I have been pretty much everywhere too, so I can say this with some accuracy. One of the major shocks to my system that pushed me out of the mainstream of American life came in 1966 or 1967 when I returned from a month-long tour of Asia with Buddy Rich...Southeast Asia, mostly, which meant the Vietnam war zones...and landed in Honolulu right around the Christmas holidays.
The grossness of the vacationing American bodies that I saw stumbling down the streets of Honolulu was astounding to me. I was literally dumbfounded. How come I had never really noticed this before, I kept asking myself. And the answer was that...in my case at least...I had not watched any American hypnomedia whatsoever during the tour. And this was way before the hypnomedia got really good at their job.
Even with so simple a thing..."simple" at least as far as we have been brainwashed to consider it simple...as drinking water, the overconsumption drumbeats just keep on coming.
Drink water. Drink plenty of water. Drink good, clean water. Our water.
And the hits keep comin'
Drink only as much water or other fluids as you piss out. One cup in, roughly one cup out. Half a cup out, only half a cup in.
Now do the same thing with food.
Refuse to overconsume.
On any level.
You be bettah off.
Bet on it.
Soon, you might not even need the oxygen tank.
Wouldn't that be nice!!!
Now...I have met you, Lorraine, and as I recall you are not in any way grossly overweight. But that is most often a matter of metabolism, not consumption. You may burn more calories per hour than do most people, and you may also not consume a whole lot of poisons. But if you are having headaches then the chances are very, very good that you are simply not eliminating enough of the poisons (and poisonous byproducts) that you consume.
I got yer "Duh", right there.
It's like Dr, Stephenson told me....remember,. I talked about him earlier in the month, the naturopath who so effectively helped me with a hives problem in the early '70s?
Got a problem?
Or as another very wise man once told me, "Eating never did anybody any good." He was talking about the foodie/gourmet thing in terms of being yet another barrier to a certain kind of awakening, but...that's what we are really talking about here, isn't it? A "certain kind of awakening?"
Awakening from the sleep of culturally mandated ill health?
I mean...our ancestors mostly did not suffer from debilitating illnesses, and that is a big no-brainer. If they did...why they would not have managed to survive, reproduce and raise our other ancestors.
I got yer "Duh!!!" right there, too.
As far as the media and its controllers are concerned, we are what's for dinner.
Bet on that as well.
Take yourself offa the fucking menu.
Thank you and goodnight.
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