Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moyers: Media Is Responsible For Our Demise

Who better to critique the traditional media than one of it's preeminent icons, Bill Moyers? He penned an excellent article this week describing how our fourth estate is turning into a fifth column for those that wish to subvert democracy. While journalists can do good work from time to time, he lays the blame on the corporate media giants that willfully turn what is supposed to be an investigative arm of democracy into profitable ventures and nothing more. The article nails the problem of media in our society squarely on its head, especially by using examples like this.

From In These Times:

The new owner of the Tribune Company, real estate mogul Sam Zell, recently toured his new property Los Angeles Times, telling employees in the newsroom that the challenge is this: How do we get somebody 126 years old to get it up? “Well,” said Zell, “I’m your Viagra.”

He told his journalists that he didn’t have an editorial agenda or a perspective about newspapers’ roles as civic institutions. “I’m a businessman,” he said. “All what matters in the end is the bottom line.”

Zell then told Wall Street analysts that to save money he intends to eliminate 500 pages of news a week across all of the Tribune Company’s 12 papers. That can mean eliminating some 82 editorial pages every week just from the Los Angeles Times. What will he use to replace reporters and editors? He says to the Wall Street analysts, “I’ll use maps, graphics, lists, rankings and stats.” Sounds as if Zell has confused Viagra with Lunesta.

Moyers can tell the tragic story with wit and charm, though the problem is if enough people read this article to see the nightmare in the media that surrounds them. We are sinking fast thanks to these greedy multi-national corporations and the only way to stop them is if we scream loud enough and take back our fourth estate from their clutches.

Could We Prosecute Bushies For War Crimes

Rachel Maddow asks the question and backs it up with news from the Red Cross who wants Bush officials to be tried for their crimes in the war against Iraq. And now we see there is some small movement on the Hill from Pelosi that Kucinich may get some time to discuss impeachment.

RIP Tony Snow

As many have known, Tony Snow had been fighting an epic battle against colon cancer for a few years and tragically the cancer won this morning. Mr. Snow was only 53 years old and leaves behind three young children. His career in politics was something I vehemently disagreed with, but nevertheless, I'll say a prayer for him and his family today.

From ABC News:

Tony Snow, a conservative writer and commentator who cheerfully sparred with reporters in the White House briefing room during a stint as President Bush's press secretary, died Saturday of colon cancer. He was 53.

"America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character," President Bush said in a statement from Camp David, where he was spending the weekend. "It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work."

Snow, who served as the first host of the television news program "Fox News Sunday" from 1996 to 2003, would later say that while the Bush administration he was enjoying "the most exciting, intellectually aerobic job I'm ever going to have."

Snow was working for Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio when he replaced Scott McClellan as press secretary in May 2006 during a White House shake-up. Unlike McClellan, who came to define caution and bland delivery from the White House podium, Snow was never shy about playing to the cameras.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ZipCar Goes On A Low-Car Diet

With skyrocketing fuel costs and a decrease in the total miles Americans drive, ZipCar has decided to join the party of the newly energy-efficient. Gas is over four dollars a gallon and with $147 dollars for a barrel of oil (during the day today) that sweet unleaded 87, 89 or whatever octane you use will continue to climb. So to combat our addiction, ZipCar is challenging it's members to jump on the wagon for thirty days.

From Cool Hunting:

With gas prices at a record high and public transit a cost-effective and greener option, now's a good a time to ditch your car. Zipcar is trying to ease the transition with the "Low-Car Diet." Beginning 21 July 2008, they're challenging North Americans to go car-free for a full 30 days. They will replace participants' car keys with a complimentary transit pass, a free one-year Zipcar membership, drive time credit and a number of other perks from local partners. In the New York City area, Zoo York will aid the car-less participants by donating skateboards.

The events kicks of on the 21st with a ceremonial key-drop event at a currently undisclosed location. On 15 August 2008, they'll hold a completion event where people can compare their car-free experiences. Zipcar is offering the "Low-Car Diet" in ten of its American cities, plus Vancouver and Toronto. Current Zipcar members can also participate by sending an email. Get more info and apply by emailing rharmon [at] zipcar [dot] com.

Damn, that doesn't sound too bad. It doesn't make me want to sign up,I really don't drive very often unless I'm out of New York, but if I was, I'd definitely try it.

Luke Henry At Stonewall Dem Meeting

Luke Henry, as you can see made a valiant effort at the Stonewall Democrats meeting last night but the group decided to endorse the incumbent, Shelly Silver.

Discrimination Alleged At DoJ Civil Rights Dept.

In a perfect world (or even less than perfect) the civil rights division of the Department of Justice is supposed to fight racial strife where it shows its ugly head wherever and whenever within our country. Unfortunately under the Bush Administration, the trouble of race and discrimination is under it's very own roof.

From The Tri-State Defender:

Joi Hyatte, who works in the voting rights section, states in the lawsuit that her boss subjected her and other African American employees to “numerous forms of discrimination and harassment.”

The suit, filed May 29 in U.S. District Court in Washington, alleges that supervisors used special hiring programs to circumvent regular procedures and avoid giving African Americans on staff an opportunity to apply for analyst jobs.

Hyatte, a 13-year veteran of the department who received outstanding evaluations, says in the suit that she was “repeatedly denied the opportunity to apply and compete” for promotions because she is African American.

A few weeks after her suit was filed, the Justice Department’s inspector general issued its own report stating that applicant screeners for the department had illegally used political or ideological factors in a recruitment program, preferring law school graduates with conservative credentials to those with more liberal political ties.

Race may very well be a part of this but it seems to me that the corrupt and crony ways of the Administration trump everything that the Executive Branch stands for these days. Making sure the "right people" get well-paid means more than upholding the law when it comes to minority treatment, respecting the Hatch Act and anything else that may be written in the legal code to protect the government from itself. Ms. Hyatte deserves everything she wants and then the rest of us deserve a Justice Department that serves the country and not the cronies within it.

$147 For A Barrel Of Oil, Would That Be Imaginary Bad News Mr. Gramm?

John McCain can say that Gramm's callous comments do not reflect his feelings, but we know that isn't true because they both say pretty much the same thing when it comes to our nation's economic crisis. Well today oil prices touched $147 for a barrel and that is much more than just "psychological," its means a harder hit for American consumers and Phil Gramm can go Dick Cheney-himself if he thinks differently.

From Yahoo News:

NEW YORK - Oil prices briefly spiked to a new record above $147 a barrel Friday, as rising hostilities between the West and Iran and unrest in Nigeria sent investors rushing back to energy markets.

A decline in the U.S. dollar and concerns about an oil worker strike in Brazil contributed to the higher price.

The resurgence in crude prices stokes concern that $4-a-gallon gasoline is here to stay for U.S. drivers and means home heating could get much more expensive this winter.

Heating oil futures surged on the New York Mercantile Exchange to a record of more than $4.15 a gallon. Natural gas futures turned lower, but are still about twice as high as a year ago.

"If you think your gasoline bills are expensive now, wait till you get your home heating bill this winter," said Stephen Schork, an analyst and trader in Villanova, Pa.

That may not mean much to wealthy people like McCain and Gramm, but it does matter to millions who make far less than those that have beer baron heiresses to rely on.

Al Franken Goes After Lobbyists In New Ad

Now this is what I want to hear more of from our members of Congress and Senators, both those serving and those running for office:

We're Regressing To Wood Burning Stoves

On a cold winter's night, what is more romantic than a crackling fire burning underneath a decorative mantle, reading stories and what not as the snow blows outside? Well I'll tell you what is not right about burning wood, to keep people warm across the colder regions of our country because heating oil is too expensive. Heating oil companies are going out of business because people can't afford the high prices and would rather chop down some more trees to keep the cold out this coming winter.

From RawStory:

Record prices for home heating oil are rippling across America's northern regions, stoking demand for wood stoves and other alternatives, and forcing some heating oil companies out of business.[...]

The Massachusetts Oilheat Council estimates that heating oil prices in New England are now around $4.65 a gallon, up 116 percent since 2005. It expects prices to keep rising as the market tracks record-high crude oil prices.

Many homeowners are searching for alternatives to oil. Sales of wood-burning stoves -- in use since before American independence from Britain -- are brisk, even as customers don shorts and bask in summer weather outside.

"Demand for wood pellet stoves has tripled. We're pre-sold out until probably the New Year," said Tim Bushey, manager at Frost & Flame in Gorham, Maine, which sells wood stoves and stoves that burn wood pellets.

Is this really where American consumers need to be looking? Unfortunately it is the only economically viable option, thanks to the non-existent planning by the Bush Administration. He doesn't mind paying higher prices to keep the White House warm (because the taxpayers foot the bill) this winter but as for the rest of us, especially those up north, he doesn't really care. If he did, something would be done to help people, and he would have implemented policies several years ago to find alternate energy sources to wean us off of oil. Of course, he's an failed oilman, so why would he?

McCain Tries To Erase His Infidelity From History

First of all, I do not believe one's personal life is subject to how they perform in office. Yet if a candidate tries to use or misrepresent their personal life to show character to the public, then that is a different story. John McCain has tried to paint a picture that he separated from his first wife before involving himself with current-wife Cindy, but the truth is far from what comes out of McCain's mouth.

From The LA Times:

In his 2002 memoir, "Worth the Fighting For," McCain wrote that he had separated from Carol before he began dating Hensley.

"I spent as much time with Cindy in Washington and Arizona as our jobs would allow," McCain wrote. "I was separated from Carol, but our divorce would not become final until February of 1980."

An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had "cohabited" until Jan. 7 of that year -- or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

The Times delves into the relationships McCain has had, with his first wife and what seems to be the impetus of the article, Nancy Reagan. Nancy scorned McCain when she learned the details of how he abandoned her friend Carol for Cindy. Even now, nearly thirty years later, her late and tepid endorsement of John shows the bad feelings that are still there.

Now I could personally care less about Nancy Reagan's endorsement, that is for Republicans to decipher. What concerns me most is that McCain smudged the facts (a.k.a. lied) in his memoir to give himself a somewhat better face in all of this. What he should do is admit his infidelity of the past and own up to it. Of course if he hadn't tried to base his candidacy on his imagined "character," he could have focused more on his legislative accomplishments....oh wait, there really aren't any to speak of (and don't get me started on campaign finance reform).

Congressman Rangel, Can I Get An Apartment?

Yet another scandal surfaced late yesterday when the Times reported that our dear Congressman Rangel has four rent-stabilized apartments. There are more than a few people that rent or own several homes, but it is generally financed with their own money. Charlie is paying less than four grand for all four apartments a month, and that isn't the end of it.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Rangel, the powerful Democrat who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, uses his fourth apartment, six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence.

Mr. Rangel, who has a net worth of $566,000 to $1.2 million, according to Congressional disclosure records, paid a total rent of $3,894 monthly in 2007 for the four apartments at Lenox Terrace, a 1,700-unit luxury development of six towers, with doormen, that is described in real estate publications as Harlem’s most prestigious address.

The current market-rate rent for similar apartments in Mr. Rangel’s building would total $7,465 to $8,125 a month, according to the Web site of the owner, the Olnick Organization.

The Olnick Organization and other real estate firms have been accused of overzealous tactics as they move to evict tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments and convert the units into market-rate housing.

Now Olnick would never try and forcibly kick Charlie out of his rent-controlled buildings, especially considering he is one of the most powerful members of the House. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the Congressman needs to kick himself out, preferably from at least three residences including the campaign office.

Rangel replied to an interview request with his regular style, “Why should I help you embarrass me?” and then hung up. This is already embarassing, ethics may be a scarce commodity in Washington, especially for the 12 years Republicans held power, but that does not give him the right to skim off the top to his own advantage, even if it is in Harlem....and for all the good he has done for Harlem. The simple fact is that Mr. Rangel is a servant of the people and earns a decent (almost $170K) living for it.....that should be it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Broadway Cares...About Civil Liberties

Not only do they work to fight HIV and AIDS, now the creative class that makes Broadway what it's known for is teaming up with the NYCLU to speak out for our civil liberties:

President Bush Makes An Ass Out Of Himself At G8

It has become CW that George Bush is an ass, lacking etiquette, eloquence and anything that resembles being "Presidential." Well he confirmed that wisdom at the end of the G8 conference by making one of his more ridiculous statements ever this year this month this week. Though to his credit, his statement is technically true.

From The Daily Telegraph:

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

They may be shocked, but this childish behavior is nothing new for us. He seems to be proud that we are the world's biggest polluter and takes an evil and sadistic form of pleasure in it. Whoever tries to debate that George Bush isn't evil needs to try this one on for size. He may have been trying to be funny, but the environmental health of our planet is no laughing matter.

Obama Slams McCain For Gramm's Comments, McCain Embraces...Then Distances Himself From Them

When you are filthy rich like John McCain's financial advisor (and former Senator) Phil Gramm things aren't too bad when it comes to having money in the bank. However, that doesn't afford you a good connection to the plight of millions of Americans that are truly suffering from the Republican-induced fiscal crisis that we are going through at the moment. Like any good Republican, Gramm dismisses the facts and uses an ad hominem attack on anyone that "whines" about hurting for money and that the only recession we are in is a mental one.

As news got out about this, Barack Obama promptly smacked McCain and Gramm for the insensitive remarks and the ridiculous ideas that will do next to nothing to solve the economic problems our country faces. Obama also caught Dr. Phil in the crossfire, saying that "We don't need another Dr. Phil! We need solutions!" Well I agree with that one hundred percent, as for McCain...not so much.

The McCain campaign handled the response in spectacularly poor fashion, by embracing him and saying the remarks were taken out of context. Then when the fallout grew, they backed away from Gramm and his comments. McCain said his comments do not represent the campaign, but the outlook for how to deal with the economy is spot on. There is a reason Gramm is the chief economic advisor for the campaign, ya know? The only difference is that Gramm was being honest about how he felt....and McCain continues to try and dupe the public into thinking he cares about people who are truly feeling the full weight of Republican fiscal, foreign and domestic policy.

Be Like Kanye....Or So The 6 Train Told Me

Life is always interesting in New York City and the advertisements in the subway reflect this one on the 6 train today:

I had to a double-take when I saw this, and then snap a photo with my cellphone just to prove it was there. Sorry the resolution is a bit off, though it isn't bad for an old Treo.

Update (4:54 PM 7/10/08): Turns out Kanye is just trying to start a viral campaign with Absolut footing the bill.

Another Racist GOP Site Exposed

No one ever said this race was going to be pretty, but that doesn't mean it is sad when you see the racist elements of the GOP pop out from time to time. The buttons in Texas, the t-shirts in Georgia and now a local Republican website in New Jersey is a small sample of what some on the right will throw at Barack Obama.

From ThinkProgress:

After local Democrats “alleged racist campaign tactics,” the Republican Club in Pemberton, NJ removed a banner yesterday from its website that compared Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to O.J. Simpson. “Obama loves America like O.J. loved Nicole,” the banner read. Though the image has now been removed, Blue Jersey saved a screen shot of the offensive banner:


This one was taken down once someone said something, but it certainly will not be the last. Dirty (and unfortunately racist) tricks are what the GOP knows best. They can not win a debate on the issues, so for whatever prejudiced and ignorant reason a local Republican leader in New Jersey decided to do this.

As long as they keep it up, we will continue exposing and shaming them for it.

Birth Control Frightens John McCain

It isn't the size of the BC pills that gets to McCain but the politics surrounding them. As anyone knows who has bought them recently, the price has skyrocketed in the last few years and that isn't random at all. The conservative culture surrounding the Bush Administration has helped to allow for the pills to escape the coverage of health insurance policies while they do reimburse for Viagra. That got McCain supporter (and potential VP choice) Carly Fiorina upset this week so that got one reporter thinking and asked McCain about the situation and his vote against forcing companies to cover it. The answer....or lack there of, is stunning and should be a loud, clear message to women across the country.

From Time:

Q: Earlier this week Carly Fiorina was meeting with a bunch of reporters and talked about it being unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. And -

McCain: I certainly do not want to discuss that issue. (uneasy laughter)

Q: But apparently you’ve voted against (McCain laughter continues)

McCain: I don’t know what I voted -

Q: Voted against coverage of birth control, forcing health insurance companies to cover birth control in the past. Is that still your position?

McCain: I’ll look at my voting record on it, but I have, uh, (5 second pause) , I don’t recall the vote right now. But I’ll be glad to look at it and get back to you as to why, I don’t -

Q: I guess her statement was that it was unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?

McCain: (after 8 second pause) I don’t know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don’t recall the vote, I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate. I will respond to - it’s a, it’s a (nervous)

John McCain doesn't want to discuss the issue because he knows this position was a cave-in to the religious right. He never knows what he voted for when the truth pokes holes in his "maverick" facade and usually he'll tell an outright lie to cover it, but this time he just stumbled....badly.

John McCain: A Total Disgrace

McCain manages to not only trash Social Security but compare his future Presidency to Ronald Reagan in the process.

Dave Chappelle A No-Show At Powell Fundraiser

I haven't seen any news reports or blogs on the matter, so I'll just give my eyewitness accounting of the night. I showed up at seven to find a huge line of people waiting to get into 27 W.24th St. The event was supposed to start at 7 and go til 10, so I figured we'd get in soon enough. Unfortunately the line barely moved and I did not get inside until around 8:30. At the time Powell was speaking, but it was nearly impossible to hear him thanks to the acoustics of what looks like a decent sized club.

Volunteers at the door were generally helpful and gave out large palm cards and DVDs about Kevin. The bar was packed as was the entire venue. There had to be at least three hundred people in there. By the time I grabbed my $4 coke and found a decent spot, Powell was wrapping things up and everyone expected to see Chappelle walk out on stage soon thereafter. To my chagrin that was not the case.

The minutes and tracks from the DJ (very good I might add) rolled on and was interrupted once before 10pm to announce that someone had lost their cellphone. The crowd, as I'm sure you can guess, was booing that after 45 minutes of music.

Finally at 10:15, more than an hour after Powell went backstage, he came out again to announce that Chappelle had missed a first and second flight (from who knows where) and will not be attending. He told us he tried to get Comedian Chris Rock to come out and perform (who was backstage) but Chris declined to steal his buddy Dave's event.

So in the end, Powell told everyone that wasn't comped that the event will be rescheduled and that everyone write down their email address on the notepads of the volunteers to get into the next event. People were visibly upset, but mostly wrote down their info before leaving.

I generally wouldn't have a problem with this (logistics of events can be a real pain in the ass sometimes) but the way it was handled was poor. The crowd could have been notified an hour earlier, but that would have upset the bartenders and the venue, so people were kept in the dark until fifteen minutes after the event ended.

Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't change my support for Kevin. Towns is a real piece of work and he needs to be replaced by a better Democrat and Kevin Powell is it in 2008. I am glad to have contributed to his campaign and relish the thought that we can replace bad Dems with better ones, especially after Wednesday's FISA debacle. Still, the campaign needs to fine tune the event-planning portion of the campaign....hopefully the snags get ironed out when Chappelle makes it to the next event.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fox News Attacks Michelle Obama, We Fight Back

The latest video from Brave New Films shows the racist behaviors of Fox News and their contributors like Michelle Malkin. Well we have her back and will not allow their hateful messages to go unchecked:

John McCain: " Social Security Is A Total Disgrace"

So much for the third rail and the long-surviving institution created by the New Deal. At least as far as Republicans go that is. George Bush tried to privatize Social Security three years ago and at that point he lost all respect from the majority of Americans. Now John "McSame" McCain is not only following in George's footsteps, but he wants to take it even further because he feels that the entire program is "total disgrace."

From The Carpetbagger Report:

It’s possible John McCain decided he doesn’t really want to be president after all. It’s a tough, demanding job, and maybe McCain came to the conclusion he’s just not up to the task. It seemed like a good idea to him last year, but maybe he bit off more than he could chew. It’s too late for McCain to bow out, but he can ensure his defeat by saying the most breathtakingly dumb things imaginable.

Take Social Security, for example, one of the most popular and successful government programs in American history. McCain recently said he supports privatizing the system. Then he said, he doesn’t want to privatize the system. Then he said he would privatize the system, he just doesn’t want it to be called privatization.

Listening to him talk, it sounded as if John McCain, after more than a quarter-century in Congress, simply didn’t know how the Social Security system works. And this week, McCain proved that he simply doesn’t know how the Social Security system works. Here’s what he told a town-hall audience in Denver on Monday:

“Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed.”

OK, let’s take a deep breath here. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Current workers pay into the system to provide benefits for retirees, and when those workers retire, the next generation will pay their benefits. That’s what Social Security is. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked.

And as Carpetbagger notes, this isn't the only time he has said this. If this is his opinion, then he wants to permanently end Social Security as we know it. The funds that pay for the system would disappear and the greatest social safety net we have ever created in the United States would be no more.

Unbelievably the media is not even bothering to call him out on we have to, and so does Barack Obama. I can't wait for this to come up at one or all of the debates this fall. If it gets mentioned on national television, all I can say is that would be the end of John McCain.

Sacha Cohen Exposes Homophobia In Arkansas For His New Movie

Today is a pretty dark day when it comes to the Constitution, our rights as Americans not to be spied on...stuff like that. So to lighten the mood a bit, it seems that we may have caught a hint of what is going to be in Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie starring his other character, Bruno. If you haven't seen Da Ali G show before, Bruno is a gay reporter from Europe that travels around in a (to put it lightly) flamboyant manner. It isn't to mock flamboyant gay people, but to expose the ugliness of homophobia and make those that embrace it ashamed of their behavior. Well some people in Arkansas may have been shamed last month, but they acted that shame out with violence.

From The Huffington Post:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Crowds in Arkansas came for the lure of cage fighting and $1 beer, but police say what they got instead was men ripping each others' clothes off and kissing _ a stunt suspected of being orchestrated by Sacha Baron Cohen of "Borat" fame.[...]

The day after the June 5 Texarkana bout, Fort Smith's convention center hosted "Blue Collar Brawlin.'" Fort Smith police Sgt. Adam Holland said organizers told him a character named "Straight Dave" would goad a planted audience member into the ring for a fight.

The two men would then wrestle, rip away some of their clothes and share a brief kiss reminiscent of one between Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell in the film "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

Producers said "there would be a romantic embrace," Holland said. "They said it was kind of to essentially make fun, poke fun at wrestling _ two guys rolling around on the floor, all sweaty."

The crowd's love of wrestling was certainly exposed, as well as all that repressed anger underneath. Unfortunately for their egos, they signed waivers allowing them to be filmed....and most likely shown to the world in all their ugliness when Bruno comes to the big screen. Cheers to Sacha for this stunt, I can't wait to see it in a theater near me.

The FISA Capitulation

Rachel Maddow and Jonathan Turley discussed it last night on Countdown:

We Are About To Make A Terrible Mistake

For the last hour or so I've been watching the eloquent speeches of Senators Feingold, Dodd, Bingaman and Specter (with minor notes from others) denouncing the current FISA bill. Those few that have read the bill know that what the President signs will inevitably shred the Fourth Amendment and do (more) irreparable harm to our Constitution and our country. Those that vote against the amendments and for the bill will say that they are doing the right thing, but whatever comes out of their mouths will be lies they hope you will swallow, like these two below.

From Get FISA Right:

MYTH: Opposition to the compromise bill is because of the desire to punish telephone companies
Source(s): A good-enough spy law, Nancy Soderberg, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2008; Flip-flop accusations get too much mileage, Ruth Marcus, Erie Times-News, July 5, 2008
Soderberg says, "the compromise bill's opponents -- mostly Democrats -- want also to punish the telecommunications companies that answered President Bush's order for help." This is a gross misrepresentation of the reasons for opposing the "compromise" bill. Arguing before the US Senate for maintaining the balance struck by the original FISA bill, Russ Feingold said, "Based on the history of, and potential for government abuses, Congress decided that it was not appropriate, not appropriate, for telephone companies to simply assume that any government request for assistance to conduct electronic surveillance was legal." (Audio)
FACT: Opposition to the FISA compromise is based on concern for fundamental civil liberties

MYTH: Telco immunity covers wiretapping suspected terrorists
Source(s): President Bush can still dream, can't he?, Kathleen Parker, South Bend Tribune
Parker says, "The bill effectively grants immunity to phone companies that wiretap suspected terrorists." The compromise bill grants broad immunity to telephone companies for any wiretapping done at the request of the government, including numerous alleged instances of wide-net gathering of all communications, both foreign and purely domestic. To suggest that immunity only covers "suspected terrorists" is a laughable statement, unless you accept that all Americans and foreigners are suspected terrorists.
FACT: Immunity covers all illegal wiretapping, including purely domestic communications

In a few minutes from now the Senate will vote on the amendments to strip retroactive immunity and the bill itself. Senator Dodd is trying to shame his fellow Senators at the moment for ignoring the Constitution and he is dead on. It is a shame that any Senator who should represent Americans before telecommunication corporations to vote for this bill. These men and women will sign their names to one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory.....and they will be held accountable, even if they think no one is paying attention....they would be wrong, because we are watching them.

Bush Edits Thomas Jefferson

If I had to choose a motto for the Bush Administration, it would have to be "Screw the facts!" Sure, there are others that come to mind like "Warmongers Unite," "What's a Constitution" and many more. "Screw the facts" fits those other suggestions and then some, because it allows George Bush to do and say whatever he pleases, even editing text from the speeches of Thomas Jefferson.

From The Science Blogs:

Hat tip to Sandefur for catching this. President Bush was at Monticello for a 4th of July celebration and he delivered an address. But it's quite telling that his speechwriters, in quoting Jefferson, cut out an anti-religious statement from a long and famous quote. Here's the way Bush put it:

Thomas Jefferson understood that these rights do not belong to Americans alone. They belong to all mankind. And he looked to the day when all people could secure them. On the 50th anniversary of America's independence, Thomas Jefferson passed away. But before leaving this world, he explained that the principles of the Declaration of Independence were universal. In one of the final letters of his life, he wrote, "May it be to the world, what I believe it will be -- to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all -- the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government."

Now let's look at the full quote, including the part that was cut out. This is from a letter he wrote to Roger Weightman reflecting on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (which, it turns out, was the day both he and John Adams died):

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

Now we wouldn't want people to know that Jefferson envisioned a secular government. That would get in the way of Bush's deluded reality on how our democracy is supposed to function. So instead of fully quoting the founding father, he just deleted the segments he disagreed with....kinda like when he signs alters bills passed by Congress.

McCain On Iranians: Smoke Em' Out

George Bush has "smoke em' out" and now John McCain has his own idiotic line when it comes to smoke....killing Iranians by exporting more cigarettes to them. The sad thing is, the biggest backlash McCain is probably worried over all of this is if his Altria contributions will take a hit by inferring that cigarettes can kill you.

John McCain Blasts Himself For Absymal Attendance In The Senate

If we were in an alternate universe and hypocrisy were a way of confessing to your own flaws, then McCain would have come clean yesterday about being the #1 Senator for not showing up to vote on Senate business. Of course we live on planet Earth, so McCain was just being a massive hypocrite when he criticized Congress for taking July 4th off.

From ThinkProgress:

McCAIN: 80-some percent of the American people think the country’s on the wrong track. Approval ratings of Congress — I saw one poll, 12 percent, the lowest in 40 years they’ve been taking these polls.

And meanwhile, what’s the answer? Go out on a Fourth of July recess without passing a housing bill.

I mean, look, Americans are fed up, and I understand it.

You understand that Americans are fed up? Or do you understand that maybe you have a chance to win votes by pretending to sympathize with Americans who actually go out to their jobs and work. "Pretend" is definitely the word here, because you hardly ever show up for work, including when you missed crucial votes on the.....wait for it........Housing bill.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bush Now Protects Personal Privacy....Of Tomatoes

A brilliant headline just in from Effect Measure on the status of the salmonella outbreak that had broken out on the national media stage and then disappeared. George Bush doesn't care about the privacy of Americans (except for those at telecom companies) but he does empathize with the infected tomato crop.

From Effect Measure:

The FDA and CDC still don't know the origin of the massive Salmonella outbreak, now extending to 40 states. They have lots of reasons, and under current conditions it's not an easy problem since the production channels for things like tomatoes are labyrinthine. There's lots of mixing, matching, diverting, and who knows what else going on as a tomato goes from a farm or hothouse to your table or local salad bar. We know this because FDA and CDC have been telling us so as explanation for why they still don't know where a single clone of Salmnella saintpaul has managed to infect almost 1000 people so far with no end in sight. You'd think that FDA and CDC would be anxious to make that job easier. Of course you'd be wrong:

Fruit and vegetable producers should be required to use technology allowing U.S. regulators to trace origins of contaminated produce such as tomatoes, considered the probable cause of a current outbreak, consumer groups said.

Failure to identify the source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 922 Americans since mid-April shows why ``emergency regulations'' are needed to put in place new food- safety rules, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America said today in a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach.


Growers should be required to mark fruits and vegetables with bar codes on stickers so they can be traced back to the farm of origin, the consumer groups said. Similar programs are now used voluntarily by some restaurants and retailers, and a standard code on all FDA-regulated items would improve record- keeping and speed investigations, they said.


Producers, packers, and processors should also be required to identify in writing gaps where contamination may occur in their operations and how to prevent it, the groups urged.

Kimberly Rawlings, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said she couldn't immediately comment on the groups' proposal.

The agency has favored voluntary guidelines over mandatory rules for food producers, even though certain producer organizations have backed tougher standards to improve consumer confidence in food products. (Catherine Larkin, Bloomberg)

So basically, to keep an anti-regulatory stance in the White House and it's agencies, they refuse to do everything in their power to look for the source of the outbreak. Voluntary rules will just not cut it. Agri-business does not want to wipe out anymore of their crops and they certainly won't regulate themselves. Believing that is worse than a forty year old waiting for Santa and the Easter bunny.

There are so many testaments to the complete and utter failure of the Bush Administration. This episode certainly ranks up there with the rest of the failing grades that George has "earned" in the last seven and half years.

Russ Feingold Lays FISA Out On The Floor

While respecting the need to provide security for our nation, Feingold eloquently lays out the case on why we must strip retroactive immunity for the telecommunication companies from the FISA legislation:

The Rise Of The Obamacons

Robert Novak wrote recently about the possible Obamacon movement and Colin Powell's potential participation in it, but now the story is picking up more steam. Colin Powell is certainly an influential figure and big name in the Republican Party (especially with conservatives) but is nowhere near as influential as the big thinkers inside one segment of the GOP's big tent. The problem for McCain here is that the tent that held strong for the last few decades is coming apart and springing huge leaks, as the conservatives are becoming more and more disaffected with where their party has gone in the last few years.

From RawStory:

An increasing number of disaffected Republicans fed up with what they see as President Bush's broken promises and unimpressed with John McCain say they may be switching teams in November to vote for Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Among the reformed righties now hoping for an Obama victory are free-market economist David Friedman, former Reagan aide Douglas Kmiec, Contract With America co-author Larry Hunter and Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of the former president.

Bush's "view of the legitimate power of the executive branch, including the authority to deliberately violate federal law, I find frightening," Friedman, son of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "Perhaps, if we are lucky, Obama will turn out to be the anti-Bush."

Perhaps there is a silver lining to some of Obama's gestures to the center after all. I'd prefer if he sticks to his base, but Presidential Politics 101 tells a different story. If Obama can bring a sizable portion of conservatives on to his bandwagon, then that will only make us stronger against McCain and bring change more swiftly than if he hadn't. If cons like Friedman want the anti-Bush, then I believe that we've found something in common.

G8 Feasts On 18 Courses To Talk About Hunger Crisis

Hypocrisy abounds in our society, especially where the gap between rich and poor is at it's widest. That gap is most apparent in the world when the G8 meets to do good around the world (or so it says) and shape world policy amongst similarly powerful world leaders. This year's topic is the growing food crisis around the planet and what to about it. Since it was so important the G8 decided to have a working lunch to discuss it, and lunch, they most certainly did.

From The Daily Mail:

Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.

But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.

The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.

Now that sounds like a lunch that I want to be at, but there are billions of people around the world that would settle for just one course. Needless to say, representatives of organizations that work on the ground in famished areas were not impressed.

But Dominic Nutt, of the charity Save the Children, did not approve.

'It is deeply hypocritical that they should be lavishing course after course on world leaders when there is a food crisis and millions cannot afford a decent meal,' he said.

'If the G8 wants to betray the hopes of a generation of children, it is going the right way about it. The food crisis is an emergency and the G8 must treat it as that.'

The only emergency I can see them worrying about is where the vomitorium is. As for helping the world's hungry, the policies of the richest nations has always been to the detriment of developing countries.

"New Energy" For America, Brought To You By Obama

From Barack Obama, his latest campaign ad focusing on our energy crisis. While showing McCain to be another George Bush, Obama's plan will provide real change for our country and our relationship with the energy we need to keep moving:

Waxman Wants To Eliminate The Next Karl Rove

The current Karl Rove has already done irreparable damage to the American political debate and the Constitution by his sinister and illegal actions. He has already left the current White House, escaping from justice with the help of the unconstitutional actions of George Bush such as floating above the law with a Congress too inept to do its part to stop him. Despite the shamefulness of many invertebrates on the Hill, there is hope for the future from one Representative who walks with his shoulders back and his head held high.

From The Hill:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has primary jurisdiction over the executive branch, is considering legislation to eliminate Karl Rove-type advisers in future administrations.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hints broadly that such a bill could ban the use of federal funds to finance such a politically partisan office.

“Why should we be using taxpayer dollars to have a person solely in charge of politics in the White House?” Waxman said in an interview. “Can you imagine the reaction if each member of Congress had a campaign person paid for with taxpayer dollars?”

Congressional oversight of its members can be stringent at times when it comes to mixing politics and government business, at least superficially. Seriously though, the White House has no business employing Karl Rove or anyone else like him in a political role. For the past seven and a half years George Bush has treated the White House as a never ending political tool to extend power as far as he can possibly reach for. Having Karl Rove around for the majority of that time was a huge asset in that regard. Now in 2009 as we try to return to a more democratic country, ridding ourselves of a political office in the White House is smart idea, though still far short of holding Karl Rove and the rest of Bush's cronies responsible for their heinous crimes.

Protester Stripped Of First Amendment Right At "Open" McCain Event

Carol Kreck went to a John McCain townhall yesterday believing that it was open to the public. As a member of the public, she is afforded certain rights, like the First Amendment. Unfortunately this event wasn't truly open, it was only for his supporters because when she brought a sign that said "McCain=Bush" she was shown the door.

From Progress Now Action:

DENVER, Colo.-On orders from Senator John McCain's security detail, Denver police escorted a 61-year-old woman away who was waiting in line to attend a so-called town hall meeting with McCain that was billed as open to the public.

Carol Kreck, who works as a librarian in Denver, held a homemade sign reading "McCain = Bush." On orders from McCain's security detail, police cited her for trespassing and escorted her to the sidewalk. She was told if she returned she would be arrested.

"And all I did was carry a sign that said McCain = Bush," Kreck said. "And for everyone who voted for Bush, I don't see why it's offensive to say McCain = Bush."

This episode by McCain's Secret Service appears to be a rerun of McCain's 2005 town hall in Denver with President Bush in which the Secret Service had three Denver citizens removed from an "open" event where McCain was campaigning with Pres. Bush for his plan to privatize social security.

Carol was right in more ways than she thought. Apparently the right to free speech and assembly are not welcome when John McCain is near. Under President McCain, you can look forward to more "First Amendment Zones" and favorably-packed audiences wherever he goes. Not only is McCain taking Bush's horrific policies with him, but the elaborate smoke and mirror set as well.

John McCain Stands Against The 4th Amendment

John McCain responded to a question yesterday about FISA and immunity for the telecoms in Denver. In a couple minutes, he eloquently, but falsely defended the telecoms and stood against the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution. He was glad that this got am I.

Canadian Court Rules US Troops Qualify As Refugees

Ever since Vietnam (and probably before that) a commonality among Americans who are anti-war is that in case of being drafted, they can flee to Canada. In today's globalized world however, things like extradition factors into that safety plan. However, once you have actually served and know that bad things are going down, can you go to Canada under refugee status? A Canadian court ruled that escaping a 2nd tour of Iraq for one soldier and running north is more than justified.

From CBC News:

In a decision that may have an impact on dozens of refugee claimants in Canada, Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes said Canada's refugee board erred by rejecting the asylum bid of Joshua Key. He ordered that a new panel reconsider the application.

Key was sent to Iraq in 2003 as a combat engineer for eight months where he said he was responsible for nighttime raids on private Iraqi homes, which included searching for weapons.

He alleged that during his time in Iraq he witnessed several cases of abuse, humiliation, and looting by the U.S. army.

When Key was back in the U.S on a two-week leave, he said he was suffering from debilitating nightmares and that he couldn't return. A military lawyer told him that he could either return to Iraq or face prison.

Instead, Key took his family to Canada and applied for refugee status.

While the immigration board concluded that some of the alleged conduct by the U.S military included a "disturbing level of brutality," it said the conduct did not meet the definition of a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Barnes said the board erred “by concluding that refugee protection for military deserters and evaders is only available where the conduct objected to amounts to a war crime, a crime against peace or a crime against humanity."

This is a tremendous status that gives our soldiers a way out (if they so choose) from the nightmares their superiors and the general attitude in Iraq inflict onto the civilian population. Too many of our young are coming back with battle scars that we can only begin to comprehend. War is hell I agree, but what we are doing over there is just plain wrong, and our troops know it, they just wish the American people would see how wrong it is so we get out as soon as possible.

Instead, our country must be shamed by a Canadian court that can justifiably decree that the United States commits war crimes and feels an obligation to help American troops that refuse to be a part of the chaos anymore.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fox News Renegs On 'Books For Troops' Story

Almost everyone knows that Fox News is a pro-Republican, neo-con venture that spreads propaganda for the right, promoting war and whatnot without a care for the facts in any given story. Now they claim to be supporting the troops (especially as they bash Democrats for the opposite) so their segment with "StormBear" about the Books for Troops program sounded like it with fit with that theme. It was all good to go until something very important came up.

From DailyKos:

This morning, 45 minutes before the car was supposed to pick me up, another Fox News employee, Kelly, called me to tell me the segment had been canceled. "Something came up."

Well, Hell. I used the last of my shave gel, got all dolled up and had no place to go!

I smelled a rat, hard to avoid with Fox News, and I wondered what story I got bumped for, so I switched on Fox News. Here is their line-up for the 10am hour of America's Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly. Keep in mind, I was slated for 10:20am.

10:08 Running of the Bulls

10:13 Video of a car chase in Portland, Oregon

10:13 Oregon man flies in a lawn chair from oregon to idaho


10:22 Obama and McCain layout out economic plans

10:25 Baseball player, A-Rod might be involved with Madonna according to tabloids.

Books For Soldiers got bumped for a snakebite story! A bite where no one died! Here is a link to the wire story.

I understand how cable news works and big stories could break at anytime. If Mugabe called for new elections or it started to rain in Big Sur, that I can understand being bumped. But a guy gets bit by a pygmy rattlesnake at the local Walmart and the soldiers get bumped?

A non-threatening snakebite is not news, but today it was at FoxNews. Of course, if you look at the details of the story surrounding Books for Troops, it is only natural that Fox would pull the story. As StormBear notes:

Soldiers need to turn to the charities for things the military cannot provide.

BFS is run by a flaming liberal and had Michael Moore as a supporter.

A soldier's charity run out of corporate funding because the economy is in the toilet.

Yes, those bring up a whole host of issues, the Neo-cons, and I suspect their puppets at Fox News would rather not dwell about. You cannot ask me the second question, "Why is BFS in financial trouble?" without hitting an idealogical snag.

Yes, at Fox News when facts do not mesh with Republican talking points, the story is pulled for breaking news such as snakebites and a quick plug for WalMart (even if the news included something painful). How's that for supporting the troops?

Another Video McCain Does Not Want You To Watch

McCain claims his strength rests on foreign policy and national security, but can anyone buy that once you hear what he actually has to say?

McCain Now A Daily, Heavy Kool-Aid Drinker

That pink sugary stuff is flowing faster and faster out of the tap over at the McCain household these days. Sure, he's had his delusions for a long time now, but this one about the economy, the war and somehow balancing the budget in four years has got to be one of his loonier suggestions to date.

From Politico:

“In the long-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” the McCain campaign says in a policy paper to be released Monday.

“The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.”

The pledge is a return to an earlier position he'd later backed away from. On April 15, McCain backed off a February pledge to balance the budget in his first term when asked about it by Michael Cooper of The New York Times, who reported that McCain said “at a news conference … that ‘economic conditions are reversed’ and that he would have a balanced budget within eight years.”

McCain advisers admit that the document is a repackaging of previous policies, without dramatic new initiatives. Some Democratic officials had thought McCain might try to make a splash by proposing a bold middle-class tax cut.

Nah, McCain would never try to help out the middle class with a tax cut, like with George Bush, those things are only for the very wealthy. What I do expect is for McCain to try and mess with Social Security like George Bush did. I do expect him to make false claims such as balancing the budget by using the same failed policies as George Bush did. And I certainly expect him to make bone-headed arguments about using savings from the war (that is meant to last 100 years) to pay for deficit reduction when the only money being saved is what we are not financing with debt. Paying off one creditor with another creditor's money that might sound like a good plan to you.......

Senator McCain, here in the real world we would call that check-kiting.

Iraq Looking To Get Tough For Withdrawal Timeline

It is something that George Bush and his Republican drones have been against, it is what Democratic leaders have waffled on and something the Democratic base has wanted since we were ignored when we said "Do not go into Iraq." Now the Iraqis are speaking up and clamoring for it. That 'it' is a withdrawal timeline for U.S. soldiers to leave the country.

From RawStory:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi'ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.

In a statement, Maliki's office said the prime minister made the comments about the security pact -- which will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31 -- to Arab ambassadors in the United Arab Emirates.

Unfortunately this is only talk, talk without definite dates of departure. Yet it is an important step for Maliki, who has never gone this route before. Of course George Bush will be fighting this tooth and nail, because without a presence in Iraq he cannot keep defense contractors rolling in the amount of dough they've grown accustomed it. Too bad for him he only has a little more than six months to go in his term.....when President Obama will work with al-Maliki to get our troops out of there.

Chris Dodd Stands Up To Bush And His Telecom Friends

This is the type of passion we need to see this week in the Senate as it debates and attempts to pass the terrible FISA legislation that George Bush so desperately desires:

Opening Albany Up To New York, Bit By Bit

Despite clean election reform going down the tubes this year in Albany, not all was lost for good government groups. Of course clean elections are the ultimate goal for making the system more accountable and responsive to the citizens of New York, but opening the legislative process up to those that want to know what's going on is important by itself. By the close of business for the legislative year, several bills could be signed that significantly expand on the Freedom of Information Act.

From The Star Gazette:

One bill would end the phenomenon of people sitting empty-handed in audiences at public meetings, while board members are told to turn to certain pages and discuss the written material. The legislation would require government bodies to make records available at least 72 hours before the meeting. They could charge a fee for copying documents.

"This would eliminate so much of the frustration and make the Open Meetings Law more meaningful," Freeman said.

Other freedom of information and open government bills passed during the legislative session that ended recently would reimburse attorney's fees when someone sued for a violation of the Open Meetings Law and won, enable people to access more government records online, and require government agencies to keep up-to-date, online lists of records they keep.

The legislation to reimburse attorney's fees and costs would act as a deterrent against government agencies not complying with the Open Meetings Law, Freeman said.

"I think it will encourage better compliance through better knowledge of the law," he said of the bill, which was sponsored by state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, and state Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie.

This may not be earth-shattering legislation, but it is an important set of steps that makes our government more accountable to the millions of New Yorkers that it is meant to serve. The more sunlight we pour onto the State Capitol, the better it works. Albany by its nature hates the sun (probably why so much of the complex is underground) and we must work hard as active citizens to pull it out the darkness it so desires.

Aides Give Bush A Box For His Birthday

For his last Presidential birthday George Bush received an interesting present from his staff. Birthday cake and a candle were allowed onboard (TSA rules differ on Air Force One I presume) but the gift seemed a little bit odd.

From Yahoo News:

The party for his birthday Sunday was informal; the gift was not.

The staff presented him with a wooden box made from a giant oak tree that fell on the White House lawn in 2007. Some of the wood from the tree, planted by Benjamin Harrison's daughter in 1892, had been sent to Texas to be fashioned into a box about 12-by-18 inches. They filled it with notes and cards from members of his senior staff.

Bush's birthday also was recognized early, as it has been in the past, on the Fourth of July at the White House where people gather on the South Lawn to watch fireworks.

A box? Well I guess it comes from a historical source, planted by a President's daughter more than a century ago. Still, coming from the side that opposes nearly everything he does, the box is a fitting gift as he leaves the White House in a few short months. Of course the box isn't big enough for him to fit inside, but the symbolism is good enough for me.

Oh and by the way, celebrating your birthday on the fourth Mr. President? I'm sure your ego has nothing to do with that, right?

John McCain's "Jobs First" Program Is The Same As Bush

John "McSame" McCain is at it again, trying to look like the current Republican in the White House. What he and his handlers still do not understand is that we are able to dig up what he says and compare it to what Bush says....and the American people will see a carbon copy of George W. Bush.

CA Bends Over For Blue Cross, Screws Patients

The state of our health care system has hit a new low in our country this month. For years now the health insurance industry has been allowed to grow unabated and amass substantial wealth at the expense of their subscribers. Individuals have been fighting their insurance companies since they started covering us under Nixon, but the bigger they got, the harder it was to fight for what was right and ethical. In extreme cases of what should be criminal negligence and in some instances, murder, our government has stepped in to help out people, but that day has come and gone....and California has taken the lead in the shameful capitulation of our representatives to the insurance industry.

From CBS News:

(AP) California regulators admitted Thursday that for more than a year they didn't even try to enforce a million-dollar fine against health insurer Anthem Blue Cross because it feared they would be outgunned in court.

In early 2007, the Department of Managed Health Care pledged to fine the state's largest insurer for "routinely rescinding health insurance policies in violation of state law."

But they never did.

The department's director, Cindy Ehnes, told The Associated Press on Thursday that, when it comes to rescissions, the agency has had success in forcing smaller insurers to reinstate illegally canceled policies and pay fines, but Blue Cross is too powerful to take on.

This case shows the industry that they can do whatever the please to their clients. If someone gets sick and the costs aren't good for their bottom line, they can drop that person and no one will do or say anything. What makes it worse is that this so-called regulatory agency in California is the only one of its kind, no other state will even give a facade that it is truly committed to regulating these evil giants.

What we need is true health care reform, and we need it quickly.....before companies like Blue Cross get to murder more and more of us by spreadsheet.