Organizing for America, health care and yes, we still can

T.A. Barnhart

On January 8, 2008, Barack Obama’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination came to a crashing halt in New Hampshire. Less than a week earlier, he had won a decisive, improbable victory in the Iowa causcuses. Five day later, Hillary Clinton had overcome his momentum to win a narrow victory, a win she repeated eleven days later in Nevada. The narrow loss in New Hampshire seemed, as the results were being announced, to presage the end of Obama’s quixotic quest.

Then he spoke the three words that ultimately drove his campaign to the nomination and the White House: Yes we can. On a night when Sen Clinton should have been celebrating the upturn in her fortunes, Obama’s “concession” speech had become the real story. And by November 4, when Obama had soundly defeated John McCain for the presidency, it was clear that the most important word in that phrase was the smallest: “We” —

You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness - Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there's no problem we can't solve - no destiny we cannot fulfill.

Treasure Mackley, Organizing for America, organizing AmericansA little over a month ago, Treasure Mackley took on her newest, and probably greatest, challenge: leading Organizing for America in Oregon. A veteran of many campaigns — most recently Kate Brown’s primary victory for Secretary of State in 2008 and Measure 58 and 60 — Mackley came on the job at a critical time and with a mission that could not brook failure: Rally Obama supporters in Oregon to help the President get his agenda for change transformed into law. Task Number One, the one that cannot fail: Pass health care reform.

She’s pretty happy about the progress so far. She’s been going around the state, meeting with and listening to people in Eugene (60), Medford (over 60), Washington County (70-plus), Portland (over 100) and elsewhere. People are turning out to join the grassroots campaign Obama spoke of in the cold night of a defeat in New Hampshire over a year-and-a-half ago:

[People] know in their hearts that this time must be different. … [W]e are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America. … Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time.

“Health care reform is huge,” said Mackley when we spoke Monday evening in her office, located in the basement of the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters. “It requires grassroots momentum, support at home — a bottom-up effort.”

Organizing for America, the offshoot and continuation of “Obama for America,” has begun building organizations in states across the nation, seeking to replicate the success of the 2008 campaign in the context of a more-or-less permanent campaign for policy change. In terms of health care reform, the first issue OFA is addressing, the work is centered around the President’s three commitments:

  1. Choice: People can keep their current plan and doctor if they want, or they can seek out a new provider — the one of their choice, not that of an HMO or insurance bureaucrat.
  2. Affordability: Costs must come down in all areas. Critical to cost-reduction is a strong public option.
  3. Access: Quality, affordable care must be available to every American.

Any bill that is sent to the President’s desk must meet these three criteria, said Mackley. In the meantime, the job of OFA is to let the members of Congress know that their constituents want the reform the President is proposing. Here in Oregon, Mackley’s job is to lead the effort to give citizens the resources and support they need to organize, communicate and push the cause of reform.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” she said, “just a month on the ground and we’ve had 4-6 events every weekend, a house party in Bend today, 2 showings of the movie “Sicko”, and this coming weekend we’ll be holding major canvasses in conjunction with Health Care for America Now! in six locations around the state.”

But the reason our campaign has always been different … is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States, can do to change it. That’s what this election is all about.

People did not wait for OFA to show up to get started, Mackley told. “Some groups from the campaign are still active, doing great work.” The organization has four interns organizing through the summer, and she’ll be bringing on new organizers later in the year. But staff is not her real focus.

“We’ve seen campaign build grassroots support before. The Obama campaign was different. This was community- and volunteer-based empowerment of folks on the ground. It made a difference. They felt personally empowered.”

The scope of health care reform is so huge, it’s bringing all kinds of people forward, including those who supported candidate Obama last year and have begun working as hard to support his agenda for change now that he’s President.

“I’m so proud of the community organizers on the ground,” she said, smiling broadly.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

In this campaign for health care reform, the battle that matters to Mackley is not the one that will resume in DC when the August recess ends but the one going on at the grassroots level: around dining room tables, between neighbors, in the workplace, on the doorstep.

“Neighbor-to-neighbor, one-on-one, door-to-door: That’s how you build a movement.”

In South Carolina, after a victory that sent Obama to the front of the pack, a lead he never relinquished, the future President said “that real leadership is about … the ability to rally Americans from all walks of life around a common purpose – a higher purpose.” This is the goal of Organizing for Amerca: to bring together Americans who do not have great power inside the Beltway but still overturned the status quo of politics last year by electing the wrong person President. And if can you’re not clear on the concept, that means you.

  • (Show?)

    August 22nd

    get involved with OFA. there is a statewide canvass on Saturday. in Portland, we'll be meeting at SEIU 503 (6401 SE Foster) at 9am. for more info, contact Treasure Mackley at 503.546.0413.

    to find other locations around the state, create your own login at, then click on "Find Events" to find the canvass in your neck of the woods.

    August 29

    Health Care Can't Wait Rally

    OFA, Health Care for America Now!, Archimedes Movement and more will be holding a rally for health care, across the street from Sen Wyden's office.

    Terry Shrunk Plaza (SW 3rd, between Jefferson & Madison) 10am - 11am

    "Join us to rally for real health care reform. We will have community leaders & local elected officials there with us to show Portland that we want quality affordable health care for all Oregonians!"

    for more info contact HCAN's Betsy Dillner (503.634.0005)

    Archimedes Movement | We Can Do Better!

    for Oregon's home-grown health care advocacy group, contact the organization started by former governor Dr John Kitzhaber. Julie Magers, Project Coordinator, says "tell them to contact me". ok, Julie, whatever you say: 503.709.8574 or [email protected]

    Exec Dir Liz Baxter's latest blog is a great response to the problem of what to do in the face of all the conflicting news we hear about the progress of health care legislation.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    This could be the big push-back that finally exposes the 30% who are hopelessly manipulated by the right wing propaganda machine. You know...the ones who bought President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy because he talked about Joe Six-Pack. Meanwhile, to those who think the wheels have come off, remember, we aren't in an economic collapse - yet anyway - and there were plenty of "experts" who saw Iceland-style unrest by this summer. There is a new Supreme Court Justice which is a major accomplishment. So progress has not been zero. If anything, expectations are now so battered that if President Obama can pull this off, it will be seen as a triumph. I will say he seemed to approach Washington, D.C. as a popularity contest with the Super Bowl parties, etc...I think he is learning on the job and will skip the hopeless reaching-out part and get down to work having the People pressure the Democrats in Congress to do the right thing. He has to realize by now that as soon as one provision is shot down, the GOP will just go after the next. Dropping the public option was not going to gain him any Republican support so why cave? The GOP has no interest in any bill - they're just trying to destroy him. Finally, we should remember that President Obama could have easily said, "We've got way too many problems - we can't tackle this now." It would have been the safer, easier route. President Obama is literally risking his life to do this. That is why it is illogical to say that he's just another corporate suit going through the motions. There didn't have to be any motions on this, so that proves it's genuine. I've been fooled before but I think this could be that rarest of political moves: something that's done because it is the right thing to do. So let's do it. Then imagine that next morning - if healthcare reform passes. It will be like the morning following Election Night 2008 when I scanned from one right wing blowhard to another on the radio, just relishing their words. If Rush Limbaugh loses on this, tune in the next day. His voice will be like sweet music and everything he says will just make you smile with joy.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Remember this! Americans want choice. Today Survey USA released their poll showing 77% want the public option included in that choice.

    Thank you for your good work!

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    Nancy Pelosi today: ""There is no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option."

  • LaWanda (unverified)

    [Racist crap deleted - editor.]

  • JJ (unverified)
    (Show?) the megaphone really necessary for this clown to be heard by the 7 people sitting there listening to whatever flag burning garbage she is spewing? Libtards,'ve lost on your public option..the American people don't want it, the smart faction of the Democrat party doesn't want it and it's killing whatever credibility your party as a whole ever had with the American people. Check out the most recent Cook report if you're still in denial about this.

    I know you all can't stand that your liberal, magic unicorn, fairy dust dreams are being shattered by all of this (and by your own party no less)...but keep in mind, this is still a center-right country, you are not the majority and you never will be. You are free to express yourselves, but stop trying to ram your ignorance down the throats of the grown ups and adults who actually live in reality and care about this country. Find another issue to sound crazy on...the ship has passed on this one.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Why is it that liberals cannot be honest about their intentions?

    The so-called public 'option' has only one purpose: to destroy private insurance.

    It is not 'to broaden competition' , it is to eliminate it.

    If the government came to your town and set up a corporation doing what your employer does, and charging half price:

    --- how long would you have your job? --- how long would your employer be in business?

    Socialized medicine is something Americans have wisely resisted for decades.

    Liberals have finally learned that the only way to pass it, is to outright lie about it.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Critical questions to anyone considering a public option should be:

    1. Are you willing to give up tax deductibility of your health care expenses/insurance cost in order to finance a public option?

    2. Are you willing to add a 1% - 3% employee paid payroll tax to fund a public option?

    3. Are you in favor of an employer payroll tax of up to 8% (play or pay) for those employers not willing to provided healthcare insurance for their employees and families?

    Question #3 is probably a slam dunk. If the responent is not willing to answer "YES" to either of Questions #1 or #2, then they should have no say in the debate.

    I could easily answer "YES" to all three questions.

  • GWeiss (unverified)

    How is Medicare not socialized, government-run healthcare?

    And, if Americans really resist socialized, government-run healthcare, why are so many enrolled in and relatively satisfied with the care they receive under Medicare?

    And for those who are not covered by Medicare but resist healthcare reform, please explain--why is corporate-rationed healthcare better than government-rationed healthcare? At least the government has to pretend to care about its citizens, healthcare corporations don't need to care about customers--they have a captive market audience unless there's a public option.

  • Rick Hickey (unverified)

    SHAME on you! Still bragging about defeating M-58 Immersion, not Bilingual education.

    Did you miss the record increase in Schools not meeting NCLB here - 71 now. Moslty ESL heavy schools.

    Did you miss the US Supreme court ruling that Arizona can stay with English immersion at 90% less cost per student per year because it IS more effective. Why should an immigrant student in say Mass.(my friend Dr. Porter of immersion fame state) be so well educated that in only 3 years a non enlgish speaking student is qualified to go to MIT. That doesn't happen here while we waste over $3,000 a year p/student or $210 million total extra on Bilingual education.

    Shame on you and your narrow minded party politics failed agenda, while the immigrant kids and taxpayers suffer.

    Anyone else remember when the Illegals were marching and demanding Amnesty they chanted "Si Si Peude" - "Yes Yes we can" and our President uses that line too? hmmmm.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    The conventional wisdom from DC says that President Obama is losing popularity with the voters and that his health care reform legislation is in trouble.

    Maybe we should ask President Hillary Clinton, the unanimous choice of the conventional wisdom of Beltway Insiders as someone who absolutely, positively could not lose to the skinny Black Guy from Illinois, how her Presidency is going so far?

    Corporate media is the problem, not the solution.

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    hey Joe, you never asked me if that's why i support the public option. the answer: yes.

    private health insurance is an abysmal failure. it does not operate in a free market, it cannot provide the promised service at a reasonable price and without placing incredibly onerous restrictions on customers, and it completely fails to deliver actual health care. what it delivers is massive profits -- the real intent of conservatives, though they won't admit it.

    i have no trouble with the govt providing health care. Medicare works great, and i have greater faith in people i can elect and speak with than the anonymous behemoth that is any corporation. the health insurance industry is obsolete, and it's their own fault. they need to be given the Grover Norquist treatment.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    Socialized medicine is something Americans have wisely resisted for decades.

    Really, have you ever served in the military? What would you call government payed doctors and hospitals if not socialized medicine. Ever hear of the VA. You people keep saying the military has to have the best of the best. Well, you give them socialized medicine so that must mean it is the best system of healthcare delivery.

    What most of us are talking about is a system in which the government finances health care but is not involved in care delivery

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    Democrats need to decide if their party is: (1.) led by incredibly stupid people who don't realize that the Republicans are bait-and-switch artists who first move what passes for a "dialogue" to the right, and then, having established a new rightwing "Left", call that "far left socialism"; or (2.) led by very smart, very sophisticated people who belong to the same club as the Republicans, and hold the same values.

    " sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

    "So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it [except for lap dogs like those at BO]. And now he needs to win it back." (Obama’s Trust Problem,

  • Joe White (unverified)

    mp97303 wrote:

    "Ever hear of the VA."

    Glad you brought it up.

    It already provides free care to any veteran. ANY.

    If government care is so terrific, why don't all veterans go to the VA for their care?

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Wrench monkey quoted the Times:

    "G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable."

    We already have consumer-run companies. They are called mutual insurance companies.

    Why should we pay billions for the government to start a mutual insurance company?

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Barnhart wrote:

    "hey Joe, you never asked me if that's why i support the public option"

    I didn't have to ask. I knew the answer. I've read your other posts. Don't you remember what you wrote?

    Barnhart wrote:

    "private health insurance is an abysmal failure......."

    This is your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

    What you are not entitled to is depriving others of the choice to use that which you choose not to.

    I thought liberals were pro-choice? I guess not. They are for THEIR choice for you, whether you agree with it or not.

    And that goes for health care.

    How come when it comes to abortion, liberals are all 'get your laws off my body'.....

    .......but when it comes to every other part of the anatomy, liberals are all 'put your laws all over my body, and force them on my neighbor whether he wants it or not'

    Why is that, T.A.?

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    jeez Joe, you've really lost your grip now. show me the part of the health care reform that puts laws all over your body. pay attention: from Obama's 3 principles:

    choice - you like your plan? you stay with your plan. period. full stop. end of discussion.

    i'm sorry if choice leaves you with no choice....

    right now, i have NO choice for health care. none. zip. i can't afford my workplace's mediocre plan, i can't afford private insurance, and i can't afford out-of-pocket. that's the triumph of America's great health "care" system: the health insurance industry does not care if i get care or not. no amount of sputtering and cliche-tossing from you or any other conservative can put lipstick on that damn pig. my opinion about the suckiness of our system is backed up by facts, Joe. your opinion is based on ideology.

    and don't forget, it was a conservative president, with a terrified little Congress, who passed the most repressive set of laws on Americans since WWII. the right talks a good show about freedom and the market; they never - never - practice it. cuts too deep into their wallets.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    T.A. wrote:

    "Obama's 3 principles:

    choice - you like your plan? you stay with your plan. period. full stop. end of discussion."

    No, that's not the end of the discussion.

    Obama's goal is a single payer plan. Same as your goal.

    You know it and I know it.

    The fact that he is now trying to cover it up and lie about it doesn't change his goal. Nor yours.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    T.A. wrote:

    "right now, i have NO choice for health care. none. zip. i can't afford my workplace's mediocre plan, i can't afford private insurance, and i can't afford out-of-pocket."

    Who said you had to stay at that job?

    Who said you couldn't earn money thru a second job, or by starting a business?

    Yes, you have a choice.

    You've simply chosen not to exercise it, T.A.

    I'll bet I could examine your household budget and find money in it that could go toward health care. What are you willing to give up to have health insurance, T.A.? Smokes? Booze? Expensive junky food? (eating healthy is cheaper than chips and pop anyhow, try it) Movies? Cable? I can find some money, I promise.

    The balance could come from extra work, selling unused items or any number of sources.

    When it comes down to it, we generally have money for the things we consider important.

    You have an ideological bias against insurance companies, so it's easier for you to say 'it's too expensive'.

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    Joe, you are a sad, arrogant prick. i rarely call people names; they gotta earn it. you did. you do not know me, you do not know dick about me. and you lecture me like you have a clue? jesus, how pathetic. god i hope you're using a nick cuz if that's your real name & people know you, you should just be embarrassed. wow. "I, Joe White, know the Truth of your life & shall tell you how to live your life Correctly. And I, Joe White, shall tell you what to think so you think Correctly, too."

    fuck you, Joe. fuck you. (it's my choice to tell you that.)

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    How is your son doing, T.A.?

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    Joe White. Not everyone who served in the military qualifies for VA care these days. It's too bad because the care is very comprehensive and cost effective. Just the kind of system someone would design if they were designing one from scratch.

    As far as getting a job that offers insurance: Oregon's unemployment rate is what, about 12%? Jobs are hard to come by and jobs that offer a chance to purchase health insurance are considerably rarer.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful and liberating for both employees and employers to free our capitalist enterprises from the unreasonable and illogical burden of providing overpriced and underperforming health care insurance to their workers?

    Our current system is nothing but a total and complete mess with more holes in coverage than coverage. We can and must do better. To do nothing is to go broke.

    We need to sever the link between employment and health insurance and provide multiple insurance options.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    t.a.; BRAVO! you and I have argued opposite sides of many things. We have for the most part done so with honor. It is sad, but this Joe White persona is an ignorant prick who learns just enough talking points to sound dangerous. By my unscientific count he is currently showing his pimpled posterior on no less than 4 separate posts right now.

    It's easy, show him up for the ignorant blowhard that he is and then don't respond any more.

  • (Show?)

    Time I took my own advice...

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  • Joe White (unverified)

    Unrepentant liberal wrote:

    "Not everyone who served in the military qualifies for VA care these days."

    What groups specifically are you speaking of? There are groups eligible that DIDN'T serve, so I will be interested to hear who you are referring to.

    In either case, you must agree that millions who do qualify never go to the VA for medical care of any kind unless there is no other option.

    If government care is so wonderful, why is that the case?


    Unrepentant liberal wrote:

    "Wouldn't it be wonderful and liberating for both employees and employers to free our capitalist enterprises from the unreasonable and illogical burden of providing overpriced and underperforming health care insurance to their workers?"

    I say it's their choice. If employers want to provide it and employees want it tied to employment, they should have that choice available.


    Unrepentant liberal wrote:

    "We need to....provide multiple insurance options."

    I completely agree with this part.

    Employers should not be the ONLY ones who can purchase a group policy.

    ANY group of individuals , small employers, whatever should be able to band together VOLUNTARILY (not by government coercion) and purchase a group policy to get favorable rates like large corporations do.

    Why do liberals oppose a solution based on people have expanded, voluntary, private choices? Why is the only solution liberals see always a government paid solution?

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply and your lack of ad homs. You represent the liberal side well when you answer in that way. Congrats, and to you the respect that you deserve.

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    Sue is correct, many of the nonsense posted by trolls gets there because they're paid mercenaries.

    Judging by the thotful evaluation offered by JJ and Joe W., I'd suspect that they fall into this group... or they're using the idiot side of their brain... or both.

    While they conjure up some more invectives, I'll offer up a few more facts on the state of health care in this country:

    -46 million Americans are currently w/o health insurance -60 million Americans, both insured and un-insured have inadequate access to primary care providers in their communities -100 million Americans have no dental insurance - the US spends 2.3 trillion a year, 16% of its GDP on health care - the US has the highest cost of health care, with the lowest outcome among industrialized nations. Our infant mortality is among the highest and our lifespans are dropping annually - the majority of personal bankruptcies occur because of medical expenses

    Finally, a personal note - a very close friend suffers from a fairly rare form of cancer and has been prescribed a specific medication by her Doctor in order regulate the affected organ in her body. The insurance company has refused the coverage. Her Doc has pleaded. The insurance company will not give in. The drug costs anywhere between $800 and $1000 a month.

    So just WHO is coming between the patient and her Doctor?

    The shills on the right can blather their nonsense, scream their idiotic slogans and spew their name-calling vile 'til they turn blue, it doesn't change the fact that the health care industry IS an INDUSTRY, guided by the principles of cost-benefit analysis thru every hospital corridor, every pharmaceutical lab, every specialized care clinic, and every insurance company high-rise.

    How can any American, with ANY modicum of decency can look at this system and declare that all is well?

  • Glen HD28 (unverified)

    Ummm, getting back on point here, the lovely and charming Treasure Mackley will be speaking at the Washington County Democratic Party meeting on Wednesday Aug 26, visit the website for details (just click on my name.)

  • alcatross (unverified)

    GWeiss wrote: And, if Americans really resist socialized, government-run healthcare, why are so many enrolled in and relatively satisfied with the care they receive under Medicare?

    Why are so many are enrolled in Medicare? Easy... because if you opt out you lose your Social Security benefits. Just a sample of the health care 'choices' government has in store for us down the line...

    'Relatively satisfied' with the care they receive under Medicare? Relative to what?

  • LaWanda (unverified)

    [Racist crap deleted - editor.]

  • steve (unverified)

    Must have been a good week for the good guys, since the screamers are in high dudgeon tonight. Please, comrade Obama, deliver the socialism you promised! Take my freedom to be buggered by Anthem Blue Cross, please!

  • Jim (unverified)

    Not to say that I am not in favor of utterly wiping out the private insurance industry, but to say that a single payer plan will wipe it out is not necessarily true. See the Netherlands and Switzerland as an example. What it will wipe out, or at least it should, is the private insurance industry's ability to bleed people dry for basic medical care, and hopefully all medical care.

  • SwamiSam (unverified)

    Sure looks like Joe White got under T.A.'s skin a little bit by calling him out for wanting to freeload on others to pay for his health insurance.

    Why so angry, T.A,? Is it because maybe you DO have a cable TV package? Or that you DO spend a good deal of money in ways that could easily be re-prioritized in order to pay a health insurance premium?

    Or that you DO figure "Why should I spend the money on insurance when I know if I crash my bike, others will pay for my hospital stay."

    Joe White sure did turn you into a sputtering blob, T.A. I'm pretty sure that saying "fuck you" is not a real convincing rebuttal.

    The fact is, you are a 50 or 60 something grown man who doesn't want to pay for himself. Are your marketable skills after most of a lifetime of working age still so low that you can't command compensation in the marketplace sufficient to pay your own living expenses?

    Perhaps so. If so, just admit that. We will all be very much more sympathetic for an outright welfare case than for a ne'er do well who fashions himself into some sort of health insurance scold in order to cover up his own failure.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    You know Swami, I rarely come to the defense of others on this baord. Heck I'm not even a democrat. TA and I are far apart on several issues, however before you attack a person I suggest that you learn a bit about them. A careful read of TA's posts will give a historical picture of one who has done a lot of things for his community and others. While some might term that a 'failure', others might interpret that as one willing to live by their convictions.

    TA is like a whole lot of folks in our state/country (musicians, artists, actors, community outreach) who either do not make enough to afford their own coverage; or work for a struggling company that can not afford coverage for their employees. The reasons can be multi faceted in this economy for why a working person does not have coverage or can not afford same. In many companies, an entry level employee making less than $11/hr is hard pressed to afford the $350/month employee payment for self/dependent coverage (that amount is common). In others, the employee is covered, but not dependents. The list goes on and on.

    TA and I may disagree about what health care reform should look like, but we do agree that the status quo is unworkable.

    I suggest in the future that you learn more about your targets before attempting to insult them. Then if you still wish to attack, at least have the cajones to use your real name rather than hide behind some smarmy moniker.

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    That's it Swami, personalize, insult and name-call. That's all you and your brethren have - er - other than the fact that some of you are actually getting paid to post your uninformed rants.

    Are the 46 million w/ no insurance all welfare cases?

    Are those struck with debilitating and and life-threatening illnesses such as my friend all slackers?

    Are those millions of families forced into the desperate position of declaring bankruptcy just an amazing massive number of folks who fouled up their spending priorities?

    The significance of most of the righty postings here and the signage we see displayed by teapartiers and their ilk is not that their arguments are poor, but that they stubbornly refuse to recognize the massive problem with the US health care system. They don't even begin to address the issue itself.

    Whether they've simply bought the well paid for line that the pharma and Industrial providers are our friends, or whether they are paid shills has no bearing. Only a small percentage of them present arguments, or more thoughtfully, engage in actual dialogue and pose questions.

    Their purpose in blogging, much like the shriekers in the townhalls, is to distract and infuriate. I imagine some get a swell little charge out of slinging a particularly pointed insult and reading our ruffled responses - especially when they poke nerves to such a degree that they've inspired progressives to slog thru the mud with them.

    Whether their individual discontents are fueled by limited world views that have been inspired by years of FAUX News, Rush, or those really slick ads by pharma & Rick Scott; or whether their comfort is shaken and threatened by the prospect of real change and they are truly fearful of the future, really doesn't matter until they wish to settle down and address the issues.

    But most won't because their leaders won't - whether they are guided by a recognizable blowhard like Limbaugh or the more subtle, nameless indoctrination of reasonless ideology that inspires the pawns to shriek "socialist!".

    They are themselves a sad and pathetic example of how American as a whole are ready to read the short take, buy the bumpersticker line, cue up on sides and hurl insults, and never ever get to the problem let alone get around to solving anything. But the dumbing down of America is another post... another time...


    BTW, my friend informed me that the monthly cost quote for that drug she needs is not $800-1000, but $800-2000/month. When I looked at her dumbfounded, she just said "that's the insurance companies, for you..."


  • SwamiSam (unverified)

    TA is like a whole lot of folks in our state/country (musicians, artists, actors, community outreach) who either do not make enough to afford their own coverage;

    Why should people who choose such endeavors be entitled to others paying their living expenses? T.A. is a grown man. He went to college, according to his bio. Also according to his bio, other than advocating for a whole bunch of liberal politicians and big government programs, there isn't much listed. Are those the things you say he has done "for others" and "the community?"

    Sorry, I don't see why that should entitle him to a claim on productive adults to pay his living expenses. He is an able bodied adult. If he has chosen pursuits that don't provide enough income to pay for everything he might want, that is his choice. Sounds a lot like what Joe White said.

    While some might term that a 'failure', others might interpret that as one willing to live by their convictions.

    I termed it a failure in the context of failing to pay for his own living expenses. He is free to live by his convictions all he wants, and if those convictions result in an income that doesn't afford him some things, presumably he is adult enough to accept the consequences of those convictions.

    Why should others have to pay the consequences of those convictions? Bottom line, all I see T.A. saying in his scolding posts is "I can't afford health care so you have to give it to me."

    THAT is not how an adult acts.

    But socialism, at its core, does indeed infantilize the citizenry. T.A. just seems to be ahead of the curve.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    KC Hanson wrote:

    "Are the 46 million w/ no insurance all welfare cases?"

    I don't know whether they are or not, but if they are they qualify for Medicaid, so the lament 'I can't afford insurance' really is out of place.

    I raise probably more kids than nearly anyone on this board, on probably less income than most that have fewer kids.

    And I buy insurance. And I don't use medicaid or welfare or cash from any government program to do it. And mine is the only income.

    And insurance isn't cheap. I know that well.

    So anyone telling me 'I can't afford it' has a little proving to do before I'll believe them.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)

    Free marketeers often accuse liberals of waging class warfare because they envy the rich. I think envy is much more prevalent among the marketeers who hate the idea that someone else might benefit from a social program.

  • LaWanda (unverified)

    [Racist crap deleted - editor.]

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Kurt and KC: Re your comments to Swami. Very well said.

    Swami: Did it ever occur to you that the present version of capitalism is different from the benign and virtuous version promoted by Adam Smith? In its present form, capitalism is predominantly a predatory system that regards people as expendable. Despite providing essential services for society's needs and benefit, many people are grossly underpaid while others wreaking havoc in the national and world economy are grossly overpaid.

  • (Show?)

    Why is it that liberals cannot be honest about their intentions?

    Sorry...but this is exceptionally silly and stupid. As if all conservatives are honest and all liberals are dishonest.


    You might not like or approve of someone's intentions...or the results of those intentions. But this "when was the last time you beat your wife" line of commenting is utter bullshit.

    If you can't bother to contribute something substantive and interesting--then just go the hell away. It's a total waste.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    Re: "Why should we pay billions for the government to start a mutual insurance company?"

    Joe White: You know something's happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. White?

    I was calling attention to the bait-and-switch tactics of the Reich and the foolhardy (at best) response of the DP. I was NOT supporting the rightwing call for "health co-ops".

    Furthermore, your claim that, "Obama's goal is a single payer plan" is as delusional as the idea that he wants to harvest the organs of young people for the use of Bill Ayers. What you and your allies fail to understand is that the elites of the DP and the RP want essentially the same things: corporate control of the economy, including bailouts for the rich; and world-wide domination of others' resources by militarism and military threat.

    Obama is a "realist" from the Henry Kissinger school of hegemony, and a "behaviorist" from the B.F. Skinner school of dominance and control. He no more wants Single Payer than he wants to bring home all the troops from the 149 countries in which they're presently based (no doubt there to spread democracy and human rights).

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Wrench Monkey wrote:

    "your claim that, "Obama's goal is a single payer plan" is ...delusional"

    So you think he's lying when he said he was a single payer advocate?

  • (Show?)

    If government care is so terrific, why don't all veterans go to the VA for their care?

    Why do the overwhelming majority of veterans do? That's the real question.

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)

    I read Steve Novick's post about how duplication of services is the #1 driver of health costs in America. And overhead of private insurance plus overhead of medical professionals that is required to deal with private insurance is the #2 driver.

    Could it be that services are often duplicated because it is known that there is a huge pot of money to be accessed (provided by exhorbitant private premiums) and that doctors will contend with private insurance because they will make more money if they duplicate services?

    Whatever the factors and combinations thereof, we know that the USA is far and away the leader in per capita medical spending and with no better or sometimes worse outcomes than other countries.

    Our country is about $1.5 trillion in debt per year at the national level. We need to save some serious money so that we have resources to help balance the budget. If the deficit continues on, sooner or later a hyperinflation will arrive.

    In order to save serious money we need a Canadian- or British- or French-style health system. Could well be that their government-paid systems have built-in controls against duplication. And, of course, their insurance costs a lot less.

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    The VA doesn't let all veterans have access to their services; you can't make too much money and get the VA health care benefits (Too much money in my case anyway was about $53K or so a year with a family).

    As an addendum to TA's great report, I'm pro-singlepayer and want NO health insurance company policies of any kind being sold except for, oh, say insuring animals or providing those who can afford it supplemental excesses coverage that could foot the bill for two-weeks of recovery on Maui in a 5-star resort after ingrown toenail surgery.

    But no matter what you want or believe the reform package should accomplish, there is still so much more to discover in terms of information and proposals. TA's right to encourage going to events and listening.

    For instance, I didn't know until last week that a state the size of Oregon probably doesn't have enough residents to fund its own singlepayer system, should we want to.

    I was and still am extremely angry about many aspects of the health care "discussion" in the month of August, 2009, both with my own and especially those not my own. But after listening instead of trying to vent, I realize there's more to do and more time to do it in than artificial barriers like Aug. 31. The other night I called this month Round One, alluding to Muhammed Ali's famous "ropa-dopa" battle, while a friend of mine compared it to labor; we're just checking into the hospital now, the real "screaming" comes later she said.

    Comparisons aside, those who are organized and able to better communicate with each other and the uninformed about political realities, not those who rely on fabricated, designed-to-infuriate bullet points, will prevail. While the airwaves are crucial in any campaign, it's the combination of telecommunications and boots on the ground that produces the wanted outcome.


    OT, and apologies for breaking in like this -- do any of you lawyer types know if a government entity, anywhere from a utility district to a city, county, state, even the feds or sub-organizations thereof -- can file for and own patents? I simply wonder if this is a source of new, non-tax revenue for governments, and naturally the govts involved would assume all the liabilities that go along with filing, obtaining, and licensing patents as well as any of the "goodies."

    How about political parties? I tried my best but I just cannot trace down a solid answer through codes or cases, but then again, I'm not a lawyer; it could be a user-error problem.

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    test post, computer glitches...

  • Blue collar Libertarian (unverified)

    Well T.A. here's one for ya.

    "Almost two years ago, my father was killed by a hospital-borne infection in the intensive-care unit of a well-regarded nonprofit hospital in New York City."

  • (Show?)


    Thank you for turning to and sharing your take. I do applaud you and other parents like you who do whatever they need to protect their kids.

    The thing is, families just like yours have been put over the precipice of financial ruin because of the one "extra" illness, disease or accident. I just don't believe that families should have to decide between the health of their kids and losing about everything.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    KC Hanson wrote:

    "The thing is, families just like yours have been put over the precipice of financial ruin because of the one "extra" illness, disease or accident."

    The same argument is being made to keep homes from foreclosure. 'well we don't want them to go thru that'

    Just how much of our lives do we want the government to control?

    Do we want a government that controls all aspect of health, housing, employment and everything else you can think of?

    If we want a government that runs every aspect of our lives, there are countries now that operate like that.

    Personally, I don't want to live in the totalitarian utopia that the 'progressives' are steering us to.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    SwamiSam wrote:

    "I'm pretty sure that saying "f*** you" is not a real convincing rebuttal."


    Well, it was in the fifth grade.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    "Just how much of our lives do we want the government to control?"

    That depends to a great extent on who we elect to Congress. There is much to be concerned about the power of government, but I wonder how many of the people protesting health care reform because of "government control over our lives" protested when the Bush administration with the complicity of people on both sides of the aisle in Congress went through the telephone records of American citizens?

    Would you consider the government-designed Interstate highway system as government control over our lives? If we had a single-payer health care system and the government's primary function was to establish a cost-effective system for medical care from the doctor or hospital of our choice, would it not be a stretch to say that the government is controlling our lives.

    And, if it is not the government supervising our health care system, how much do we want unelected corporate executives controlling our lives - especially when their primary interest is corporate profits? The evidence is out there that insurance corporations sacrificed people's lives for corporate profits.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    Whitey asked, "So you think [Obama's] lying when he said he was a single payer advocate?"

    Obama said a lot of things many years ago that convinced people who should know better that he would return to those things once he got elected. He has not. He loves the market, just like the Reich. The Wall treet Journal loves his foreign policy. He's a conservative to most people in the world.

    A liar? Yes. Like most RP/DP non-representatives, Obama's a liar. However, no one on the Left considers Obama to be a leftist, a progressive, or even a liberal. To the majority of the Western World, he is a conservative. You need to become familiar with alternatives to RP and DP propaganda if you want to be an honorable and effective advocate for your positions.

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    From another website about comparing Obama to Hitler:


    AKMuckraker Posted: August 23, 2009 02:09 PM

    BIO Become a Fan

    Get Email Alerts Bloggers' Index

    The Truth About Nazis On my 21st birthday, I woke up in the morning and drove to Dairy Queen. I got soft serve vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping and I ate it for breakfast. Why? When I was a child I asked once if I could have ice cream for breakfast, and my mother said, "You can have ice cream for breakfast when you're 21." And so I did.

    My father spent his 21st birthday in a prisoner of war camp. Deaf in one ear, and completely flat-footed, he could have easily been a "4-F" and escaped service for medical reasons. He was a peaceful man but he, like so many of his generation, felt the need to serve his country, and to fight against the fascism that was threatening to engulf the democratic nations of Western Europe, and had even attacked the United States.

    When he was 20 years old, he'd been taken prisoner by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, was marched for miles, imprisoned, and starved. Like many men of his generation, veterans of World War II, he didn't talk about it much. He held his memories close to his chest. If he talked to anyone about them, I didn't know. It was only many years after his service and just before his death that he shared some of those memories with me.

    Starvation does strange things to people. He told me that after a while in the camp, he had the same recurring dream, every night -- a stack of pancakes topped with two fried eggs, sunny-side up. He'd dream that dream over and over, a still frame, a picture of a breakfast that never came. He told me that his fellow prisoners got so hungry that once they had killed and eaten a cat that had strayed into the camp. You don't forget a story like that.

    Or the story of the man in the camp who snapped. In peace time, we'd have called him a boy. Suddenly and without warning in the middle of the day, out in the yard, his mind went. He ran for the fence in a desperate effort to escape. There was nowhere to go, and in broad daylight with armed guards everywhere, he didn't stand a chance. My father, who was quick to pick up languages, had learned some German. "Don't shoot! He's crazy! He's lost his mind! He doesn't know what he's doing!" my father called out to the guards as he ran out in the yard waving his arms. The man kept running for the fence, and he climbed, and the guards didn't shoot. They waited until he reached the top. And then they shot him. They left him there for three days as a warning to anyone else who might have been thinking about escape.

    Any survivor of World War II has stories. Millions were never able to tell them. Their lives ended on battlefields, and in gas chambers, at the hands of the Nazis. My dad was able to tell me some of his experiences, but most of those memories died with him, like they died with many vets and victims of the war. I didn't even know he'd received a Purple Heart until after his death. But he survived. He survived to marry the girl he left at home, to buy a house, to get a college degree, to start his own company, and to raise a family of five children.

    I asked my dad if he ever got his stack of pancakes with the fried eggs on top. I imagined it being his first meal after the Russians had liberated the camp. The Germans had heard that the Russians were coming, and they left quickly in the night. The prisoners hadn't known what was happening until two days later when the Russian army came and let them out, confused and near death. No, he told me, he never did have the pancakes and eggs. It took months in the hospital to build his system back up to where he could eat normally. He began at 5'11" weighing less than 100 pounds, and started with an IV, then a liquid diet, then cream of wheat, and finally solids. A fellow prisoner, he said, on his way from the camp to the hospital in France had managed to get a hold of a box of donuts and had gorged himself. He died a free man, but still a victim. By the time my dad was able to eat that stack of pancakes and eggs, the desire had passed.

    I remember as a child I was not allowed to watch Hogan's Heroes. It wasn't a joke in my house. There was nothing funny about prisoner of war camps. There were no handsome well-fed prisoners with secret tunnels under their bunks, and pirate radio equipment who always managed to play their captors for the fool. There were frightened, emaciated young men whose minds and bodies were broken an ocean away from home, who were shot on fences , and who ate cats, and watched their friends die. There was nothing to laugh about. Those were Nazis.

    I am tired of people comparing Obama to Hitler. I am tired of seeing signs with swastikas and Nazi symbols at health care rallies. I am tired of people saying that a health care plan intended to uplift millions of Americans to give them dignity, and choice and the ability to care for their families, is like Naziism. I am tired of Rush Limbaugh.

    As time passes, and as the greatest generation becomes a memory, passing into history one soul at a time, it is up to the generations that follow them to keep "Hitler" and "Nazi" out of the clutches of those who would make them political buzzwords for people they don't like, or policies they don't understand. Those words remind us of the worst that people can be. There is nothing horrible about Germans in particular that caused them to do these things. This is humanity's dark potential, and something that we all need to remember, whether we were there or not, or whether our family was affected or not, because this is what people can do to each other. To strip those words of their power and meaning in order to create political fear for self-gain is inexcusable and needs to be confronted and refuted whenever it arises, by all of us, whether we support the current health care bill and the current president or not.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    While I agree that comparisons of Obama to Hitler by the Reich are usually distasteful and ignorant, I think that liberals need to acknowledge that Obama's health care proposals are to the right of Hitler's.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    MB: Thank you for that posting. As a student to the two world wars of the 20th century I found it very interesting. Although, I am no fan of Obama, I find the Nazi tactic odious and presumably a sign of historical ignorance.

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    Normally silent to trolls, if you think HR3200 in its three forms, or the three versions of the Senate's Affordable Health Choices Act is to the right of "Hitler," then you don't know SHT about the Nazis or the legislation.

    And that you would agree with the article about Nazi conduct towards Americans and then go on and make a comparison about Obama and Nazis anyway tells me that whoever you are behind that troll ID, you've a serious lack of personal ethics or the ability to be honest, even when anonymous.

    Sorry, I just don't have time in my life for people like you unless they know they have that problem and want to change, or I serve jury duty when people with the same personality disorders you share eventually make it court.

    You should be glad there are bleeding hearts liberals like me who get to serve jury duty. You never know...

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    damn spellcheck addiction... sigh, I'm lost without that tech

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    What differentiated Nazi public health from genuine public health was the exclusive nature of what the Nazis considered "the community."

    However, Obama and those who are opposed to true universal, single payer coverage are also excluding many who are not considered part of their "community", namely the tens of millions who cannot (and will not be able to) afford the extortionist demands of the insurance/pharmaceutical corporations. In fact, tens of thousands die every year because of DP/RP support for corporate-based "health care", and Obama's proposals suggest more of the same.

    As for your bizarre threat to punish my "personality disorder" when you are serving on jury duty: See you in court.

    My posting under a pseudonym is due to the many threats received by others as well as myself by "good people" like you.

  • Martin Burch (unverified)

    If you think that was a threat, you don't comprehend what you read very well. I don't threaten trolls, but I do have some legal experience with one.

    What you read as a threat was a comparison between those who wind up in jail because they lack personal ethics and you, who seems to share the same trait. The "you never know" piece at the end was because one does never know what motivates a criminal or causes criminal behavior; things are not always as cut and dried as a prosecutor tries to paint it. Some people just aren't bright and blame anyone and everyone else for their mistakes.

    You're out of your league in here, troll, ranting about Nazis and the present administration when you don't even know the names, numbers, or status of the bills you're bitching about. Go to church, or a shrink, and find out why it is you need to lie and hide out of fear. It's the best favor you could ever do for yourself.

    OK, I've wasted enough time with you. By all means, take your needed last word.

  • KenRay (unverified)

    Reading through this thread just cements something I have believed for years. The vast majority of name-calling, mean-spirited, vitriol comes from the left. But they only see the smaller amount that comes from the right. They don't notice their side's hate speech any more than a fish notices the water it swims in.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)


    You ought to get out more.

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Bill Bodden wrote:

    "There is much to be concerned about the power of government, but I wonder how many of the people protesting health care reform because of "government control over our lives" protested when the Bush administration with the complicity of people on both sides of the aisle in Congress went through the telephone records of American citizens?"

    And now Obama wants the government to own the medical records of all citizens (and he hasn't even released his original birth certificate)and the left is a-ok with it.

  • LT (unverified)

    How many of you folks are aware of this NY Times article?

    It talks about which plans have more choices than other plans being debated, and starts out with a wonderfully snarky description of many people's current health care plans.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)

    I'm having trouble posting a comment with a list of links. Let's try it this way:

    For those who think that we "trolls", i.e., dissidents, who continue to advocate for Single Payer in the midst of the delusional have no "personal ethics" and "don't even know the names, numbers, or status of the bills you're bitching about":

    Comparing Single-Payer with the Public Option

    (Report Card for Single-Payer and “Public Option”)

    (More of the Same Is Not Health Care Reform, It’s a Placebo - By Leonard Rodberg)

    (Hold out for single payer - By Nick Skala)

    (Bait and switch: How the “public option” was sold - By Kip Sullivan)

    (The “Public Plan Option”: Myths and Facts)

    [Health Policy Q & A with PNHP Co-founders Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler (.pdf)]

    [Tell them why they’re wrong when they say single-payer is not politically viable! (.pdf)]

    (Single-Payer Teach-In Dr. Len Rodberg, of Physicians for a National Health Program, made a great presentation on single-payer and the “public option” at a teach-in in New York City)

  • Joe White (unverified)

    Well, it looks like Obama is giving up on the public option, for now at least.

    Hopefully the 'principled Democrats' who vowed to vote against anything without a public option will follow thru and kill the rest of the destructive 'reforms' contemplated by their party.

    Then maybe we can start fresh and get some REAL reforms, that are greatly needed.


    Meanwhile, Obama is busy burnishing his image, demanding to be allowed to address all of America's schoolchildren.

    It's interesting that when Bush did something similar, Democrats vehemently opposed it

    <h2>Again, it looks like their principles give way to politics as they praise Obama for 'reaching out' to kids.</h2>

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