CPC Report; An unabashedly liberal perspective


30 November 2009 (Mark Twain's birthday)


Some good advice for the RWLM from Mark Twain

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

"Get the facts first. You can distort them later."

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

Some Observations on Health Care in America


On health care reform

  Some time ago*, a free clinic was held in New Orleans for the purpose of demonstrating the necessity of reforming our health care system and to provide assistance to those who have been denied health care due to lack of insurance. It lasted for one day, which was a Saturday. Of the thousand who came in, four of them were taken immediately to the hospital and there was a woman declined to accept treatment. The four who were sent to the hospital needed immediate medical assistance. The woman who declined to be treated had breast cancer too advanced to be treated. What these five individuals had in common was the lack of affordable health care in which caused them to go years without seeing a doctor. These are the people who the opponents of reform ignore. In Social Darwinian terms, these five individuals  are the less fit in the battle of survival. They are supposed to just die, just as Representative Alan Grayson had described in the House chambers, referring  to what is apparently the Republican Vision of Health Care in America.

In spite of increasing number of people losing health care insurance in which has resulted in many simply going without any coverage. This results in people going years without adequate health care. Instead of the preventive care they would receive from regular visits from a doctor, medical problems fester and these people end up in the ER.

GOP lawmakers and the Right Wing Lying Machine would have you believe that no health care crisis exits, even though people are going bankrupt or to avoid this route, selling their  homes and other possessions. People are getting sick and even dying. But this seems not to bother those of the right. Their heads are too firmly entrenched between their gluteus maximus muscles to even notice.

*16 November 2009, Kieth Olbermann of MSNBC is the primary supporter and force behind the organization of this and those to follow.



On GOP hypocrisy over proposed Medicare cuts

  Republicans are opposed to Medicare cuts in the Democratic health care reform bill, even though for the most part, they are opposed to medicare in the past and have often proposed cuts in this federal program. In fact, with the exception of their moderate wing, when Medicare was created in the mid 1960's, they even opposed the creation of Medicare. The moderates of the party have over time have been expelled and are no more.

Democrats have the support of AARP and also other major organizations representing seniors.  These cuts will extend the life of Medicare by several years is what is being argued by the supporters of health care reform on the left. Guaranteed benefits will not be affected nor will co-payments be raised.

The crocodile tears shed by the GOP Senators should not deceive one in actually believing that GOP lawmakers really care. The GOP only cares about regaining power. They are only concerned about blocking the Democratic agenda. Regarding reforming the heath care system, delaying tactics with the hope of killing health care reform are being used with the hope forcing the Democratic lawmakers to give up the fight in order to have the time for considering other legislation. With 60 votes needed to end a filibuster in the Senate, the Republican Senators intend to talk the bill to death by putting forth numerous amendments which would have to be debated before being on voted on. More time would be wasted with the insistence that each amendment be read aloud by the clerk before debating it. Later on, the GOP and their right wing allies will during the 2010 congressional races have the option of accusing their Democratic opponents of having accomplished nothing. No doubt, one of the  amendments to prolong the debate will be to remove these Medicare cuts from the bill.* This would be more time wasted in debate.

*On 4 December 2009, by a vote of 58 to 42 an amendment introduced by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) on behalf of his fellow Republican Senators was defeated. This amendment would have returned the bill to committee with orders attached to have the spending cuts removed, which is another delaying tactic at the GOP disposal. Such would have resulted in Democrats having to renegotiate the bill among themselves in order to provide extended coverage to 30 million additional Americans without having to increase the budget deficits.



 On the RWLM lies on rationing under a single payer system of health care

The Right Wing Lying Machine would have the American public believe that people will die while waiting in line for health care, as if minor problems such as acne would be considered as seriously as cancer. This would be the first come and first served principal. However applying this to the health care delivery system would be absurd. The correct approach would be more like the triage approach as employed by the military in war. Under this approach, the most life threatening conditions would be given priority. Someone who is in the advanced stages of cancer certainly would not have to wait. That person would be treated immediately. That is a common sense approach to health care.

Under the single payer approach, there is absolutely no reason that this would be any different. There is no reason why it should. Yet, this delivery system was off the table from the very beginning of the legislative session in the negotiations with health care reform opponents.

The RWLM fears of socialism is much more of concern than any concern for the more unfortunate among us. The slippery slope argument, which is a fallacious argument*, is often raised to combat this bogey man. The proof of this is just north of us in the form of the Dominion of Canada and also overseas in Europe as well. In those countries, socialism in the medical delivery system has coexisted with private industry for decades quite well. Full blown socialism does not exist there. Furthermore, people are not dying in droves waiting for treatment. Those countries do in fact have the common sense to see that does not happen. They use the triage method. Furthermore, those nations health care system have high approval rate from the citizens of those nations.


The Filibuster and Southern Conservatism

The word filibuster had been derived from the Spanish word  "filibustero" which is defined as a pirate or freebooter. This term was applied first to American adventurers from the South by Latinos. Such men sought out fame and power by attempting to overthrow the governments of well established Central American republics. In regards to American politics, it was applied to those who tried to hijack debate in the U.S. Senate for the purpose of either delaying or preventing a vote on a bill by a minority of the Senate body. By using the rules of parliamentary procedure, that minority prolongs the debate with the hope that the majority would give up their quest to pass their bill. This tactic has been used historically mostly by Conservative Senators, many of which were ironically from the South.  

In 1917, the rule of cloture was established in the Senate for the purpose cutting off debate with a 2/3 super majority vote. In 1975, this threshold was lowered to 3/5 of the Senate favoring terminating the debate. Otherwise the Senate rules would allow Senators, or even just one Senator, to speak as long as they want and on any topic they should choose to speak on, meaning that it does not have to be germane to the subject of the bill being filibustered.

The South has traditionally been a bastion of conservatism. Before the Civil War, it was in defense of their way of life which included slavery and after the civil war it was in defense of their way of life which included Jim Crow. It is a philosophy with an extreme tendency towards individualism in which was to a large extent was the death knell to the Southern Confederacy. States Rights, the battle cry of the Confederacy hampered the war effort of the rebellious South. The unity of a central government necessary for victory was lacking. This affected the amount revenue and recruits given by the individual states.

Quite often the matter filibustered pertained to the civil rights of African Americans living in the South. Infamous examples of this were the filibusters directed against anti-lynching legislation of the 1930's. The Southern Democrats, under the banner of state's rights were allied with Conservative Republicans in an anti New Deal coalition from 1937 the mid 1960's. It was then that the liberal agenda of President Johnson overcame the Southern based conservative wing of his Democratic party to enact the much needed civil rights legislation. 

The passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in particular would transform a Solid South favoring the Democratic Party to a Republican bastion over time. The most racist reactionary elements of the Southern Democrats' predecessors are now residing within the Republican Party. The party of Lincoln is no more, as the southern critics of the war of northern aggression have come to dominate the GOP and conservatism as well. States rights has found a home in the party of Lincoln.

The praise that Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi heaped upon the retired Republican Senator of South Carolina, Strom Thurmond in 2002, is reflective of this reactionary trend. By saying that America would be better off if Strom Thurmond were elected as the States Rights Party candidate in 1948, Senator Lott was imaging a better off America in which African Americans were racially discriminated against and  reduced to a secondary status in Southern society. Further evidence of this is when the future (and now current) Republican Senator of Alabama Jeff Sessions declared in 1986 that "civil rights were being shoved down the throats of Americans." It is impossible to interpret this passage without noticing what had been left unsaid. To say that civil rights was being forced upon Black Americans would be absurd. White Americans, such as those from the South, already had their civil rights as ordained by the US Constitution. The only correct way to view these remarks is that the civil rights of Black Americans " were being shoved the throats of" White Americans. (This proves that a true bigot will inevitably reveal his inner bigotry in which he would otherwise deny.) 

Powerless by virtue that the vast majority of African Americans in the South could not vote before the 60's, they were deprived of having any say their own destiny. The 60's witnessed Jim Crow being removed from the backs of African American citizens. This was done in part by overturning the "separate but equal" policy ordained by the US Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Furgenson in 1896, by Supreme Court rulings in the 1940's and 50's culminating in the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, et. al in 1954. This very much crushed the pretense of separate but equal living up to its name. The reality was that separate was never equal.

Separate and unequal conditions between the races prevailed through out Southern society and was called Jim Crow. Blacks ate standing outside restaurants while Whites ate inside. Both races had their own restroom facilities and water fountains to drink from. However, Blacks facilities seemed to be fewer than those for Whites.

In education, Black children would watch White children being bussed to their better-off white schools as the Black children walked to their own run-down black schools. There the Black children would learn from old textbooks rather the new ones supplied for the White children. When the White children's new textbooks became old, those textbooks would in turn end up in the hands of Black children. Black children were taught by Black teachers who were paid considerably less than their White peers and were deprived in a similar manner to the same access to education in the pursuit of a vocation, as their students were being denied in the pursuit of their education. Both of their plight were in sharp contrast to their better off White counterparts. In both public schools and universities, separate and unequal policies prevailed.

In the justice system, all White juries convicted Black defendants for crimes alleged to have been committed against Whites, while Whites accused of crimes against Blacks were acquitted; that is to say if any charges were brought in the first place.  Pictures of White folk gathering around a Black male hanging from a tree like "strange fruit" is proof that often Whites need not fear going to prison for the crime of lynching. An infamous example of criminal charges being brought, followed by an acquittal, is when Emmett Till was murdered by two White boys for the crime of whistling at a White woman. After their acquittal, those White boys confessed to committing the murder in an interview with Life magazine, knowing full well that they would never be tried again. This is the South both Lott and Sessions long for and this reflects the mindset that the former reactionary and racists Southern Democrats brought into the Republican Party, beginning with Strom Thurmond and Jessie Helms.

The filibuster is primarily a conservative tool to uphold the status quo, even though political geography already gives conservatives an edge. For example, California has he same representation as Wyoming in the Senate even the population of the former is roughly 37 million and the latter is around 540 thousand. The former is considerably more liberal than the latter. Each state of the union has two Senators as mandated by the Constitution, which is why in the most populous state is on an even basis in regards to representation as the least populous state. Since the less populated rural states in the West tend to be more conservative, they also tend to elect Republicans.

This transformation of the American political landscape begun in earnest in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan and is now complete. In the 2006 and 2008 congressional elections what GOP moderates there were in congress were defeated, notably Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who might even be described as a liberal. Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who lost his House seat in 2008, was the last of the true moderates there.

The conversion of the South into a Republican stronghold with has made the Republican Party more reactionary. This is the basis upon which that party has made its move to the far right, as the more liberal wing of the party was being driven into exile in both the Senate and House. Since Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania had defected to the Democratic Party in the Spring of 2009, the Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe alone compose the entire moderate faction of the GOP in U.S. Congress today, based upon the fact that they sometimes cross party lines in order to vote on legislation sponsored by Democrats. As the Republican Party made gains in the South, it has lost strength elsewhere, especially in the Northeast, Midwest and on the West coast. A transformation of American politics is now occurring as a result.

Wikipedia is a primary source supporting for this article.

The Case Against the Senate Filibuster

To state that the filibuster is antidemocratic would be stating the obvious. To justify the filibuster as protecting the minority right to be heard is a farce. What is also obvious is that the filibuster is primarily a tool for a reactionary conservatism fearful of change or as Woodrow Wilson had once said, "It is a philosophy of making no change and consulting your grandmother when in doubt."

The Southern Republicans are the successors of the Southern Democrats of the past and although not as truculent on the matter of race, they are nevertheless just as reactionary. They play a dominant role in the modern Republican Party and like their Democratic ancestors, they also have a penchant for the usage of the filibuster. In the current session of the Senate, the number of filibusters have shattered all prior sessions, being more numerous than those in the 50s and 60s of the previous century. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had recently demonstrated this on the Senate floor. On this he said;

"We have crossed the mark of over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction in less than one year. Never since the founding of the Republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding Civil War, was such a thing ever seen in this body." (1)


The Republican strength in the South enhances the power of the Southern conservatives even more. After all, these
conservatives  have been trying to preserve their way of life since the antebellum days of the South. In the antebellum South it was maintaining a slave based economy. In the postbellum South it evolved into a sharecropper economy in which slaves became serfs in the sense that they were forced to purchase there supplies from their landlords at inflated prices, thus being similar to the serfs of medieval Europe.

Conservatism in American history a strong reactionary flavor. For much of its history, the filibuster was a means to try to turn back the clock of history and therefore retreat into the past.With the South allied with more rural and mountainous Western states, the adherents of conservatism representing these regions are well ingrained in the Republican party and possesses an edge in the Senate in regards of power. The extra power that the filibuster brings should not be allowed.

The Republican usage of the filibuster now is obviously mostly for political gain. They seem to believe that by denying the President and the Congressional Democrats of any legislative achievements, they can deprive them of anything upon which credit may be taken and upon which the Democrats can claim victory in the 2010 midterm elections.(2)
  
One the major goals of the President and his party's agenda has been Health Care Reform. The threat of filibuster has made the passage of this problematic. With 60 Senators making up the Democratic Senatorial Caucus, just one
defection from the Democrats can kill any chance of reform being passed, when facing the united Republican Senatorial Caucus. Thus deals are made, such as the sleazy one with Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, in which his constituents were exempt from being taxed for the proposed health care system. (This is probably unconstitutional.) Senator Nelson is just one of a half dozen Senators who tend to be more conservative than the rest of the Democratic caucus.(3)

There is a great need for reform of the health care system of this nation. Numerous people are literally dying for lack of such care. Many more have to sell their property, such as their homes or just declare bankruptcy. Candidate Barack Obama ran on this in the 2008 Presidential election and was elected to see this reform be done.

According to most polls, this is what the majority of the public want reform of the health care delivery system.
A determined minority is blocking this much needed reform as the past months have proven. Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina has even gone so far as to openly declare that this will be Obama's Waterloo. With all due respect, this should not be about the President, but rather it should be about what is best for the nation. Besides, the fact that the Democrats have 60 seats in the Senate against the mere 40 seats for the minority should be enough to pass their agenda. Such has already been sanctified by the electoral process. They should not need a super majority of 60 to do so.

If the senatorial races greatly favor the Democratic Party as in the 2010 election, that party has obviously overcome this bias towards conservatism and therefore earned the right to push its own agenda. This raises the question- should the arrogance of the minority triumph over the duly elected majority? In the past, such had been the case in the quest of granting African Americans their
constitutional rights under the 14th and 15th Amendments. A majority was usually available to pass the much needed legislation needed to correct the unconstitutional wrongs inflicted upon African Americans, such as the denial of the right to vote. However the use of the filibuster has prevented this from happening until the mid 1960's.

The will of the majority, providing that it does not violate the rights of the minority, should always prevail. The minority has the right to be heard.
It should not have the right to abuse its privileges as is currently happening in the U.S. Senate. That is how a democracy works. If not, then elections would not really matter. Now is the time to end the filibuster once and for all.

(1) Wikipedia,"Filibuster"

(2) Amazingly this spectacle is open to public scrutiny. This is rather fine fodder for Democratic attack ads.

(3) The deal with  Ben Nelson was made after 30 November. This article was actually finished well into 2010.


Strange Fruit; music & lyrics by Abel Meeropol & 1st sung by Billie Holiday

  • Southern trees bear strange fruit,
  • Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
  • Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
  • Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

  • Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
  • The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
  • Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
  • Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

  • Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
  • For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
  • For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
  • Here is a strange and bitter crop.
  •                                        


    Postscripts

    To Rush Limbaugh
    ,

    Some time ago, you were reading what was supposed to be President Barack Obama's college thesis at Columbia on your radio program which very much favored the redistribution of wealth in this nation in the way Robin Hood would approve. In other words- it is Socialism.

    Our President in his college days, supposedly wrote on the the poverty he had witnessed and supposedly blamed this on our economic system. He supposedly argued that our Constitution was
    "inherently flawed" and that "the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

    In a typical rant of yours, you referred to the college-aged Obama as a "little boy,"* and declared that, "he still shares those same feelings" now as he had when when he allegedly wrote his thesis. It is ironic that you would describe the rather calm and thoughtful Barack Obama as a juvenile considering your own on the air conduct which is quite frankly often rather juvenile. (The numerous examples of this will be given in an article next year on this website.)

    While reading this on the air, you were interrupted by an assistant who informed you that this was a hoax. Yet, in spite of the fact that the thesis was a fake, you decided to stand by it as a basis for the your criticism of Obama's alleged philosophy.  In your on-the-air defamation of our President, you used the very tortured logic of the "fake but accurate" defense, which goes like this; since it was known that this is what Obama believed anyway, even though the document  was fraudulent,  it somehow proves your case against the President. "I know Obama thinks it"
    is what you declared on the air. And that is just all there is to it. So there.

    I must say that you are quite the verbal contortionist. Actually the only thing proven is your inability to admit when you are wrong and in doing so, quite frankly you come across looking rather idiotic and quite juvenile
    as well. Your bias against the President is so strong that you simply wanted to believe this hoax was true, therefore you did not even bother to fact check it.**

    *Often in the past the term "man-child" has also been used by Rush in describing President Obama. Given his juvenile behavior and the illogical attempt to criticize the President, one might think that phrase should be applied to Rush. Now where is his babysitter when she is really needed?

    **Admittedly others of the right has rather quickly embraced this idiocy in which some conservative blogger created as a fake news story some time ago. But Rush was not the only one taken in by this hoax. However the others had the sense to admit their error when it was exposed as a hoax. After all the blog post had the tag describing itself as "satire", a fact overlooked at first by those on the right whose bias against the President is so strong that they were very much inclined to believe this stupidity.
    The story in question was about Joe Klein of Time Magazine obtaining  ten pages of Barack Obama's thesis and on the basis of this, allegedly wrote a post at Swampland. When asked about this, Joe Klein denied every having written such a document and described having done so as "nonsense". For the record, Obama's thesis at Columbia was on "The evolution of the arms reduction negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States".


    To whom it may concern,

    What is the easiest job in the world? The answer- Being a fact checker for either Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.


     


                 Glynn Braman

                                 


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