Monday, July 31, 2006

Kerry: Universal Health by 2012

Senator John Kerry is fighting for the health and welfare of all Americans!

John Kerry in Iowa on 7/29/06

Writing in the Boston Globe today, Kerry recognizes that with international trade, the cost of healthcare is driving many businesses to limit the traditional health insurance benefit that comes along with a job.

As he points out:
"While companies such as General Motors struggle under enormous healthcare obligations, companies such as Wal-Mart are opting out of employers' traditional healthcare responsibilities. Wal-Mart currently insures fewer than half of its employees -- that's 800,000 workers left outside the system, some turning to Medicaid just to get healthcare at all. It's not right, but it shouldn't be a surprise. Good corporate citizens are coping with a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. GM pays $1,500 in healthcare costs on every vehicle it manufactures. Toyota pays only $200."
Kerry reviewed three prongs of his plan:
"Right now the most expensive 0.4 percent of insurance claims account for 20 percent of all healthcare costs. We need to lower costs to businesses with a new federal reinsurance plan for catastrophic care -- those with the most serious, and expensive, illnesses. Reinsurance is a simple concept: It's insurance for insurers; a way for health plans to manage their risks and lower your costs.

Second, no child in America should lack health insurance. Leaving 11 million American children uninsured is wrong and, from the administration that brought us ``No Child Left Behind," it is breathtakingly hypocritical.

Most single moms raising two kids on $36,000 a year don't qualify for any help. My Kids First plan would change that, covering all children up to three times the poverty level.

Finally, it is untenable for 35 million adults to go without insurance. We need to use every weapon in our arsenal until everyone is covered, including making the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program affordable and accessible for everyone in America with targeted tax credits for small businesses, middle-class families, and people between jobs. Members of Congress give themselves great healthcare and give taxpayers the bill -- if it's good enough for senators and congressmen, it should be good enough for every American who wants to choose it."
John Kerry understands that American business will benefit by alleviating the burden of health insurance in the era of world-competition. In addition, he understands that America must address the health of its citizens and do a better job at it!

How does Senator Kerry propose paying for this program?

Senator Kerry points out:
"All of this and more could be paid for by simply repealing President Bush's cripplingly expensive tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 a year.
Thank you Senator Kerry!

While Republicans in Congress today are worried about insuring that millionaires may inherit more millions instead of worrying about an adjustment of a minimum wage that keeps Americans in poverty. And instead of worrying about the health of all Americans, they guarantee the health of major drug companies, prohibiting the Federal Government from negotiating with private drug companies to offer Seniors a discount on medication.

Senator Kerry gets it! Our leaders are supposed to look for ways to bring help to those Americans who need it most! Our Government is here to solve problems and not protect and increase the disparity between the wealthy and the poor in this nation. The American Dream belongs to every American and John Kerry is working for all of us.

Thank you John! Keep on coming! 2006 is here and 2008 is around the bend!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

ABA: Bush Signing Statements "...contrary to the rule of law."

Edmund Randolph was one of the 'founding fathers' of this nation.

Randolph was an influential statesman in early United States history. As reported:
"Randolph continued to advance in the political world. He became mayor of Williamsburg and Virginia's attorney-general. In 1779 he was elected to the Continental Congress, and in November 1786 Randolph became Governor of Virginia. In 1786 he was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention.

Four days after the opening of the federal convention in Philadelphia, on May 29, 1787, Edmund Randolph presented the Virginia Plan for creating a new government. This plan proposed a strong central government composed of three branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, and enabled the legislative to veto state laws and use force against states that failed to fulfill their duties. After many debates and revisions, including striking the section permitting force against a state, the Virginia Plan became in large part the basis of the Constitution."
Randolph was leary of an over-powerful central Executive and actually advocated for a three-man council instead of the single President. As also noted in the same article:
"...he was especially wary of creating a one-man executive. He preferred a three-man council since he regarded "a unity in the Executive" to be the "foetus of monarchy."
Randolph sounds almost prescient when he was quoted by the Judiciary Committee in 1974, investigating the impeachment of President Clinton, when they noted:
"The Executive will have great opportunitys of abusing his power; particularly in time of war when the military force, and in some respects the public money will be in his hands. Should no regular punishment be provided it will be irregularly inflicted by tumults & insurrections."
It is indeed in times of war that we find this President seeking to expand his powers by assuming Legislative, Judicial, and Executive powers combined.
James Madison warned of the dangers of a Chief Executive who usurped power from the other branches of government. Writing as Publius in Federalist Paper #47, Madison stated:
"The reasons on which Montesquieu grounds his maxim are a further demonstration of his meaning. "When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body," says he, "there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise lest THE SAME monarch or senate should ENACT tyrannical laws to EXECUTE them in a tyrannical manner. " Again: "Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for THE JUDGE would then be THE LEGISLATOR. Were it joined to the executive power, THE JUDGE might behave with all the violence of AN OPPRESSOR. " Some of these reasons are more fully explained in other passages; but briefly stated as they are here, they sufficiently establish the meaning which we have put on this celebrated maxim of this celebrated author."
President Bush has defied the Constitution with his use of "Signing Statements" that amount to rewriting laws and determining their Constitutional interpretation in 'one fell swoop'.
As first reported in the Boston Globe on April 30, 2006:
"WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional."
John W. Dean, President Nixon's former White House lawyer has written about Bush's signing statements:
"It is remarkable that Bush believes he can ignore a law, and protect himself, through a signing statement. Despite the McCain Amendment's clear anti-torture stance, the military may feel free to use torture anyway, based on the President's attempt to use a signing statement to wholly undercut the bill.

This kind of expansive use of a signing statement presents not only Presentment Clause problems, but also clashes with the Constitutional implication that a veto is the President's only and exclusive avenue to prevent a bill's becoming law. The powers of foot-dragging and resistance-by-signing-statement, are not mentioned in the Constitution alongside the veto, after all. Congress wanted to impeach Nixon for impounding money he thought should not be spent. Telling Congress its laws do not apply makes Nixon's impounding look like cooperation with Congress, by comparison.

The longer term impact of signing statements is potentially grave - and is being ignored by the Bush administration. But it cannot be ignored forever. Defiance by Bush of Congressional lawmaking will come back to haunt this President."
Earlier today, the American Bar Association, through an eleven member bipartisan panel found reason to challenge this President's use of "signing statements".

As reported:
"The bar association panel said the use of signing statements in this way was “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers.” From the dawn of the Republic, it said, presidents have generally understood that, in the words of George Washington, a president “must approve all the parts of a bill, or reject it in toto.”

If the president deems a bill unconstitutional, he can veto it, the panel said, but “signing statements should not be a substitute for a presidential veto.”"
How long shall Congress tolerate this President's abuse of Executive powers? How long shall Congress sit by idly while this President ignores their legislative responsibilities and chooses to follow or ignore laws on his whim?

Senator Kerry spoke up against this President's abuse of 'signing statements' during his objection to the Alito nomination.
John Kerry had this to say:
“President Bush has taken the practice of issuing signing statements to a new level. Most recently, he used a signing statement to reserve the right to ignore the ban on torture that the Congress overwhelmingly passed. He also used signing statement to attempt to apply the law restricting habeas corpus review of enemy combatants retroactively—despite our understanding in Congress that it would not affect cases pending before the Supreme Court at the time of passage.

“The implications of President Bush’s signing statements are astounding: his Administration is reserving the right to ignore those laws it does not like. Only one thing can hold the President accountable: the Supreme Court. I am not convinced that will happen if Judge Alito is confirmed.

“Reigning in excessive government power matters more today than ever before as we work to find the balance between protecting our rights and our safety. As Justice O’Connor said, the war on terror is not a blank slate for government action. We can—and must—fight it in a manner consistent with the Constitution.
The threat to America is not from embryonic stem cells that offer the promise of the cure to disease.

The threat to America is not from the rare political extremist who burns an American flag.

Nor is it from a Court, acting to protect the widest divergence of religious belief possible who sees that requiring school children to recite pledges "under God" might have a 1st Amendment problem.

No. America is under threat not from without but from within. From a President who prevents testimony to Congress, starts unnecessary wars on false pretenses, and who flaunts the Constitution, embracing power and authority not truly given to him by the very Founding Fathers who worried about this Executive malfeasance.

We need the leadership of Senator John Kerry now more than ever! Keep on coming John! We have got your back!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Did Bush Obstruct Justice?

Obstruction of Justice is a serious crime.

According to Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 73, Section 1505:
"Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so; or

Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—

Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both."
So what do we make when we find that according to Attorney General Gonzales, as reported:
"WASHINGTON -- President Bush personally blocked an internal Justice Department investigation of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program earlier this year, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday.

The review had been requested by Democratic critics of the program, and Justice Department lawyers said in April they were denied the security clearances needed to conduct the review. The administration had not acknowledged until now that it was Bush's decision to thwart the investigation."
So you tell me.

Doesn't "thwarting an investigation" of the Justice Department amount to "obstructing Justice?". If not, what would?

America deserves better.

Keep on coming Senator Kerry! We got your back!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Opposing the Gay Marriage Amendment Movement!


I comment on the movement in America to ban gay marriage and how this wedge issue is tearing apart this country. I speak for tolerance and understanding.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ken Bernstein: "Silent No More"


I would like to pass on this "Diary" from Ken Bernstein, also known as TeacherKen who wrote an important commentary on Daily Kos.

Ken is a blogger who I have been fortunate enough to share posts and correspondence with and who I greatly respect. I strive to make the points that Ken seems to easily make each time. Here is what he wrote:
"There is an expression that those of us in the Society of Friends will on occasion use, that we have the responsibility to speak truth to power. We also do not believe in oaths, and some will not even offer affirmations, because oaths and affirmations imply that absent these we are not bound to speak only truth. I will speak truth as I know it, and let those who have ears hear.

I will not remain silent while the Constitutional underpinnings of our liberal democracy are undermined.

I will not remain silent while the rights of others are denied.

I will not remain silent while some are labeled in fashions to demean their humanity or to justify treatment that is inhuman.

I will not remain silent when I encounter those who would divide people into "us" and "them", whether that be political opponents domestically or those who are called the enemy.

I will not remain silent in the presence of those who seek partisan or personal advantage in manipulating elections, courts, laws and regulations.

I will not remain silent when racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, or demeaning language of any kind is used towards any other human being.

I will not remain silent when I encounter those who justify a particular course of action when they do it but condemn it when done by someone whom they deem as their opponent.

I will not remain silent at rationalization of selfishness.

I will not remain silent at the destruction of the environment or any part thereof - it is the common heritage of all humanity.

I will not remain silent when destruction of lives and property in other countries is justified on the basis that it is our national self-interest or that it is better to fight them over there than over here.

And I will certainly not remain silent when people argue that it is better to keep quiet now in order to win an election and/or achieve power at some future point - how can I explain that to those whose lives, families, homes, freedom are destroyed or lost in the interim?

I cannot assume that my choosing to speak - to no longer remain silent - will be affirmed. I must expect that others will criticize, condemn and reject the words I speak, the actions I take. I know that I will be accused of exercising a judgment which is not mine to apply, or that I do not know all the facts.

I will listen, I will attempt to understand what others have to say, what they express as their thoughts and motivations. I accept that we will not always agree. But that does not remove from me the moral responsibility to speak out when I encounter any wrong.

I will not always speak in the same way.

Sometimes public confrontation does not empower the person to easily change his mistaken ways, while a private encounter gives the space necessary.

Sometimes phrasing my concern in terms of a question may elicit a recognition by the person to whom the question is addressed of the need to change, or allow her to give me the information that allows me to recognize that I have misunderstood or misperceived.

Sometimes I will speak without words, by simply shaking my head, or refusing to nod, or not laughing at a "joke", thereby allowing the other person an opportunity to self-correct.

If I have doubt, I will inquire. I know I can be wrong.

But if I know, I cannot pretend that I do not know, that I do not understand. And if then I remain silent I become complicit. That I will no longer be.

I will speak out because I still can. I will write because perhaps some will read the words I offer. I will participate politically because that is part of speaking out.

I am 60. I have had a life far richer in material benefits and in the opportunity to learn than the vast majority of people who have ever lived. If I die tomorrow, the measure of my life will not be how much I have consumed or accumulated. In my mind, if I could then look back, the measure will be how willing I was to stand up for others.

This is not altruistic, because what can be denied to others can be denied to me.
And I do not hold myself out as thereby superior. This is quite selfish, because I am affected.

And it is not original in thought.

Let me offer the words of Hillel, from the Pirkei Avoth:

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
And if not now, when?

I am not willing to remain silent anymore."
Thank you ever so much Ken. I will try to join my voice with yours and hope others shall join too.

If not now, when?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kerry to Support Winner of Democratic Primary in Connecticut Senate Race

As reported, Senator Joseph Lieberman, the 2000 Vice-Presidential nominee, is under pressure from Connecticut businessman Ned Lamont due to Lieberman's continued support for the Iraq War.Apparently, Senator Lieberman is laying the groundwork for an independent run for the Senate in the case that he should fail to win the Democratic Primary.

This is not helpful to Democrats and would assist the Republicans in taking the Senate seat in Connecticut that otherwise should be kept in the Democratic column.

Senator Hillary Clinton has announced her eventual support for whoever wins the Democratic party primary.

As reported in the same article:
"Clinton has been a loyal Lieberman supporter but said Tuesday that she would back the Democratic primary winner. Kerry said Wednesday that he also would support the Democratic nominee."
Personally, I like Senator Lieberman. But Mr. Lieberman has made himself too cozy with this Administration.
If he should fail to win the Democratic Primary it is incumbent upon him to announce his support for the Democrat that wins just as he would expect Mr. Lamont to support his candidacy if he should be successful instead.

Thank you Senators Clinton and Kerry!

We have a mighty struggle ahead of us in our goal to retake the Senate from the Republicans. Whatever we may think of Senator Lieberman, it will not be helpful for reform and change to occur for any of us to undermine our common values and goals.

America needs change more than ever!

We got your back John! Keep on coming.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kerry Blogs at Huffington Post


This Fourth of July, Senator John Kerry wrote a column on the Huffington Post.

He explains what patriotism means to him:
"This Fourth of July it's right to spend some time thinking about what it means not just to be an American, but to be a patriot -- because the concept of patriotism itself is under assault in ways that remind me of a different time in our history.

When we protested the war in Vietnam some would weigh in against us saying: "My country right or wrong." Our response was simple: "Yes, my country right or wrong.
When right, keep it right and when wrong, make it right."
Senator Kerry understands what patriotism means.

He understands the nuance between loving one's country and defending the Freedom that makes this nation special, and the belief that we need to pass Constitutional Amendments to prevent flag-burning.

He understands that support of the family means providing good paying jobs for American in safe working environments and not bashing homosexuals preventing them from getting married.

He understands that providing for the health and welfare of Americans means providing health care for children and a real drug plan for seniors and not obsessing about clumps of embryonic stem cells destined for the garbage.

He understands that supporting our troops means providing them with body armor, realistic tasks, and not sending them into unnecessary wars on contrived explanations. He understands that supporting our troops does not mean asking them to die for the reason that others have already died and their deaths should not be in vain.

Senator Kerry understands what love of America means.

It is not a lock-step nationalism that has us all flag-waving all of the time. It is the love of a nation that tolerates dissent, that operates within the laws, and that does not exploit homophobia or xenophobia or plain fear of terror to motivate the masses.

America needs Senator Kerry for 2008 in more ways than we know. Let us work to inform Americans why.

We got your back John!


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Kerry Ready for 2008 Campaign!

There was an interesting article over the AP by Mike Glover recognizing that Senator John Kerry is in the 2008 race and faces a challenge.

As he reported:
"DES MOINES, Iowa - Seeking the presidency is harder the second time around. As the race for 2008 builds, Democratic Sen. John Kerry has left little doubt about his intentions to try again after his narrow loss to President Bush in 2004. He isn't the only also-ran considering another marathon."
John Kerry is up to the challenge!

John Norris expressed it best:
"John Norris, who managed Kerry's campaign in Iowa and ran his field operations in the general election, said candidates learn valuable lessons in a national campaign that could be put to use in a second bid. Sadly, he said, voters do not see it that way.

"That sentiment you talked about is really strong out there," Norris said. "You know, 'He's had his chance.' I think that's shortsighted.""
The article points out the history of second candidacies:
"Adlai Stevenson got a second chance against President Eisenhower in 1956, but many suspect that Democrats were pessimistic about the odds of unseating a popular president. Their doubts were realized when Stevenson lost again.

Republicans, on the other hand, are more willing to give their nominees another try. Richard M. Nixon lost the presidency in 1960 and won the White House in 1968. Bob Dole sought his party's nomination in 1980 and 1988. He secured the GOP nod in 1996 but lost the general election to President Clinton."
Nobody said it would be easy!

Senator Kerry is right about Iraq.

Right about the Environment.

Right about Church and State.

Right about Women's Issues.

He has the experience, the courage, and the demeanor to be the President this nation needs.

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!