Where Heart Shift Happens. Teaching the Science of Sustainable Health. What works for 7 future generations? "Do not go where the freeway may lead - Go instead where there is no path and build - A Green Road"
It was unbelievable the first time the credit card companies jacked up our interest rates, doubled minimum payments and tacked on huge fees to try and beat a new February law that will help end many of their abusive ways.
Now, they're at it again, and getting even more creative. But with your help, we can stop them cold!
Just days ago the House passed a bill to freeze interest rate hikes on your card balances, and give you new protections starting Dec. 1 – just in time for the holiday season. House members read your emails and listened to your complaints, and acted quickly. Now, we need the Senate to do the same – a vote could come any day!
This continued attack on your wallet is no accident. A major credit card reform law that you helped pass goes into effect in February. The card companies begged Congress to delay its implementation so that they could “update their systems” to comply with the new law.
But instead, they’ve spent the time hitting us with new tricks – like a fee for paying off card balances each month. Or variable rate cards that only “vary” if interest rates increase, but don’t give you the full break if they drop in your favor.
If the companies can retool their computers to accommodate these tricks, there’s no reason they can’t abide by the new rules right now. After last week's bipartisan House vote , we have real momentum. Now the Senate must hear that we can’t afford the card company tactics, especially with the holidays approaching.
RECEIVED THIS FROM A FRIEND OF MINE. HE IS WELL EDUCATED AND HAS SERVED OUR COUNTRY WELL AND PROUD. HE HAS ALL THE ACCRONYMS AND HAS SERVED IN THEM. HE HAS ALL THE CLEARANCES AND HAS SERVED ON ALL OF THE ALPHABET TEAMS.
Chuck, Let me add to your observations, and please, feel free to pass this along to all the folks you know, and hopefully, THEY will pass it along to all the folks they know. So, here goes...
As for Barack Obama, I didn't vote for him. Honestly, I don't vote anymore. I stopped voting after the corruption of the 2000 election that put America's first dictator in office. That year, I sent a very heated letter to the Republican National Committee and resigned my membership in the Republican party.
I HAVE worked in politics for several years. Wrote speeches for one candidate, managed another candidate's campaign, worked with Pete Wilson's campaign for Governor of California, and a few others. As a young boy, my father was also in politics, though a democrat, I met such people as JFK, Senator Joe Tydings, Strom Thurmond, Congressman Mathias, and a bunch you probably have never heard of or remember.
I tell you these things NOT to impress you, but to explain that what you SEE on television is NOT what is really going on. American politics, ever since I was a boy seeing it first hand, has slowly morphed into a cathouse of corporate whores. Most politicians pander for money, and for them to STAY in office, these politicians need BIG contributors with BIG money! And the BIG contributors are NOT friends for US citizens!
Personally, I am stunned that people are upset with the prospect of a government alternative to health insurance that would COMPETE with the existing health insurance companies! All this fear was made up so insurance companies can financially rape you! Think not?? Well, just do a web search on the fraud case of United Health !! Yes, look at how many people they screwed and the fines that they HAD to pay!!! Who is bankrolling the loudest protestors, and/or media experts/coverage on this subject?
Besides being the willing prostitutes of the BIG INSURANCE COMPANIES, the radical right wing has been so blatantly exploited. This is a truly unbelievable drama to see unfold. I am absolutely shocked at the ignorance and stupidity of the people doing the dirty work for these insurance companies.
But, to put this in perspective, this SAME kind of "fake outrage" was how the Nazis came to power in Germany. It is this same manipulation that convinces people to do the unthinkable and kill another person.... we call that mixture of fanatical profit making coupled with patriotism a 'legal' war! Those of us who have had to do it, know the difference.
But, there's BIG money in war! A few old, greedy men get rich while many innocent young men die.... all for a god damn buck! In this last war, it amazed me how the "chickenhawks" were beating the drum for war. They didn't have the guts for it when it was their time. (Almost all of them never served themselves, nor did their sons/daughters). Check it out!
I guess when you get in the White House it is much easier to grow testicles with someone else's blood! But, don't take my word for it, General Smedley Butler wrote a book, "War is a Racket". Read and see who profitted from World War 1. It was the same with World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf War I (which was a particularly interesting armed robbery), and then the absolute raping of the Iraqi Central Bank in Gulf War II. Just follow the money, but don't be so naive'!! It's all about the money!!! Follow the money these days, and you will know who is really pulling the strings behind the scenes, as opposed to what the media says.
The Spartans had a rule of law. As a Spartan politician, IF you voted for war, YOU got a brevet commission and you marched off WITH the Army to war. Now THAT is democracy. Do you remotely THINK these candy-ass inbred Washington politicians would EVER have that kind of conviction? Not today!!
Over the last 30 years, I have watched, to my horror, as American politics has turned into a circus freak show. Unless YOU make a conscious and honest effort to LISTEN to BOTH sides of an issue, YOU will be easy prey for those that have an agenda. In the case of health care, unless you have ACTUALLY seen universal health working in OTHER countries (like France, UK, Canada) , you don't KNOW what you are talking about. Sometimes REALITY is far different from what WE THINK we know!!!
I have found it absolutely insane that people ALREADY on Medicare have been convinced to fight against a government alternative!! WHAT ON EARTH DO THEY THINK MEDICARE/MEDICAID IS???
Do not get tricked into arguments of absolutes! It's a way to confuse you. In this world, there are NO absolutes!! There is NO absolute democracy!! If so, then WHO voted for the IRS??
There is NO absolute communism, otherwise, HOW DOES WAL-MART SELL YOU ALL THOSE CHINESE PRODUCTS!!
And socialism? What stupid argument is that regarding health. You have NO problem using our national road system (paid a toll lately), that's socialism. Your water system, sewer system, police protection, fire protection, all government agencies, education, and the military... they are ALL socialism. By practice, socialism is a means to do collectively what we can NOT do individually! So, in the event of a catastrophic medical emergency, you either bank several million dollars for that dreaded event, or ALLOW for a medical safety net that EVERYONE can have and afford!
Now, if that bothers you, then go find out how much that road you drive EVERY DAY to work costs, and PAY your government back for using it! Are you getting it? THAT's "socialism"! Socialism is NOT by definition a bad thing. There IS NO government on earth EVER, that has NOT had some level of socialism. IF you HAVE government, you WILL have some level of socialism! There's NO way around it!! Government IS socialism in practice!! That simple common sense explanation does NOT require a college degree in political science. (Fact is, there is NO science in politics!)
Before I close, let me add one more point. To serve as an elected representative of the people is a distinct honor and a sacred trust. The majority of our elected representatives have failed us miserably. This country is in serious need of an enema. The political circus freak show MUST stop. This nation does not have the luxury of indulging in such cynical extravagance as fear mongering and media manipulation.
As Senator Moynihan said, "you are entitled to your own opinion, but NOT your own facts". The blatant lies that have spewed across the media and the internet undermine the democratic process. We stand at the threshold to a complete fascist state unless we change our ways immediately.
We MUST have debate based in fact. Shouting down opponents, fear mongering, lying; are all the ways of fascism! This country MUST bring back the "fairness doctrine" to the media, so BOTH sides can be heard! (Republicans eliminated this, and have been fighting to keep it banned ever since.)
This crazy shouting about health care has to be brought back to reality. In 2004, the government spent over $335 MILLION PER DAY for a WAR in IRAQ!!! That is absolutely outrageous. Think about that for a moment. This nation has absolutely NO protest against spending $335 MILLION each and every day to KILL people, but go absolutely crazy when the idea of saving lives and affordable health are brought to the table.
What IF that $335 MILLION per day WAS funneled to health care? How many people would be alive today? How many people would have a better quality of life? It is a sick revelation to see America WILLING to spend BILLIONS to kill people, and not a dime to save them! Americans don't even blink at the hellish cynicism that comparison shows!
To the democrats elected BY THE PEOPLE who desperately wanted change, GROW A SPINE! The Republicans are the whores for BIG pharma, insurance companies, and weapons manufacturers. By their own actions, they have made their intentions clear! Do you actually believe they will change THEIR agenda???
Let me put it another way. To do the same things over and over; and yet, EXPECT a different outcome IS insanity! The people, the clear majority, WANT affordable health care, lower taxes, less government, and a sensible government that is not owned by corporate America. Ladies and Gentlemen, READ your Oath of Office! And GET ON WITH IT !!! Do YOUR DUTY!!! To SERVE the PEOPLE is an HONOR, NOT A CAREER !!!
To my fellow Americans, STOP ranting about YOUR rights! You have NO rights except those that the government deems you will have! Get that straight! Every existing right you have at present, comes with a corresponding RESPONSIBILITY to use it!
Freedom of speech does not allow for lying, misinformation, or deceit. Lying is NOT a responsible exercise of this "right."
The right to bear arms requires the discipline and security of owning a firearm. Using a handgun to rob a 7-11 is not a responsible exercise of this "right."
On the other hand, the failure of upholding the rule of law, gave you a corrupt federal taxing authority that willfully violates unlawful seizure without due process everyday. That could be changed, but Americans are too lazy to do the right thing.
Bottomline, we have a perfectly good Constitution that no one (when was the LAST time YOU read it) reads or obeys. So, for the last 100 years, the government has filled the void and stepped in... they are all too happy to explain what it means to you! Hey wake up! Our forefathers were NOT career politicians or lawyers, and our Constitution was written by them! Think about that for a while!
There are NO rights without responsibilities!! Stop being so lazy! If you want a democratic republic, YOU must get educated and informed! That is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! And that requires the discipline to listen AND learn from BOTH sides!! A one-sided conversation is not a conversation! That doesn't exist! Or, as my father always said "when everybody is thinking the same way, nobody is thinking."
If you REALLY believe in American values, then get educated. Seriously, the hard part is actually listening to people you disagree with. That action, by its nature, educates you. But, if you approach EVERY issue with your mind made up... well, then, don't even bother going through the motions... it will only frustrate you!
As I said at the beginning, I don't vote. Since 2000, I made the conscious decision that I will not validate this circus freak show. The American society has lost its way, and I have not only departed the political process, but the country as well. I am ashamed of the extreme divisions in this nation. This is NOT the America I grew up in! This is NOT the America that I swore an Oath to defend. This is NOT the America that I once was willing to lay down my life for. That America is gone. To see this happen in my life time is an absolute shame.
No, I did not vote for Barack Obama. But, I have great hope in him. He is NOT part of the old regimes and power broker elites. And if he succeeds, maybe the America I remember will re-emerge, like a Phoenix. But, I have seen too much hate, fear, and lies in this country to allow myself much optimism.
I give this message to my fellow Americans. The sick, profiteering regimes prior to Obama got us to this dismal point. If the people of this nation can not rally behind this President and see ALL Americans as Americans, then the future of this nation is bleak. And it will die, not from some outside force or enemy, but by our own hands. I am leaving this country because I can not bear to see it self-destruct. I now sadly admit that I believe the only time Americans will wake up is when they feel great pain. The painful days are coming.... and no, do not be so foolish as to believe Barack Obama brought them! These days were conceived and grown 25 years ago... and now, this nation shall reap what it sowed
"U.S. politicians have given us unending debt, a real estate bubble disaster and a failed health care system. Now they want to mandate that all Americans must participate in the current failed sick-care system, and those who don't will be fined!
A U.S. Senate committee, you see, has just passed a sweeping new "health care reform" bill that has nothing to do with health, or reform, or caring.
It's all about making the drug companies rich and keeping the corrupt health insurance companies in power. Read my full feature story on this disastrous new health care reform bill here:"
Conservatives in Congress, including some Democrats, are trying to kill Obama's public health insurance option not by opposing it outright, but by pushing weak half-measures and calling them "public plans."1 The latest is a proposal for small, regional "co-ops" that would have no chance of competing against insurance companies to bring costs down.2
If we act immediately, we have a good shot at defeating ploys like the "co-op." The key is to make it clear that we support a strong public health insurance option and lay out exactly what that means.
Click below and we'll fax a flier in your name (for free!) to Sens. Boxer and Feinstein that sets the bar for a strong public health insurance option. Faxes come directly into the office, so staffers are guaranteed to see them. And if enough of us send faxes, staffers will pass the flier on to their senator.
It's up to us to remind our senators that an overwhelming majority of Americans—83%—supports a public health insurance option,3 and that weak half-measures like the "co-op" plan are no substitute for real reform.
The flier says: "A strong public health insurance option must be part of health care reform this year," and outlines key criteria that a plan must be based upon:
Available to all of us: A strong public health insurance option should be available to anyone who chooses to participate. If you like your current plan, you can keep it; if you want to participate in the public health insurance plan, you can choose that.
A national plan with real bargaining clout: In order to truly control costs and compete with private health insurance plans, a strong public health insurance option must be available nationwide.
Ready on day one: Every day we wait on real reform, health care costs continue to rise. A strong public health insurance option with a broad network of providers right out of the gate is key to building a competitive program that will help control costs.
A truly public plan: To ensure it's held to the highest standards of accountability, a public health insurance option must be truly publicly run—accountable and transparent to Congress and to voters.
If thousands of us send faxes to Senate offices this week, we can make sure that message is heard loud and clear. Can you fax Sens. Boxer and Feinstein today? Click below and we'll send one for you:
Lobbyists, Mass Mailings and Gerrymandering; these things do not create more democracy or even help it. They are all gimmicks that do not help this country or the people.
The Presidency can take too much power. The White House insulates itself against the public and the Congress, and the longer it is there in power, the worse it gets.
The party has to speak for the people, and keep power of the Presidencyin control, even if it is the same party that is doing the objection or investigation.
Republicans investigated corruption, and did not hesitate to prosecute war profiteers. They also objected to Presidential policies independently.
Earmarks are stupid and irrational, and the smaller they are the more ridiculous they are.
The political system is profoundly broken. Mayor Bloomberg is saying he will spend up to 500 million to become President.
There is clear censorship against citizens. The system is broken.
If we do not fix this broken system, the system will get weaker and this country does not have a good future. Congress cannot reform itself.
When you know nothing about history you should not be surprised when you lose all sense of perspective. There is a long wave theory of change. Monopolies piss people off, and eventually they deserve to get dismantled and taken apart. The railroads are a good example of how this happened.
Gerrymandering does not work in primaries. In primaries it is impossible to hold onto power with artificial mechanisms like money and power. Primaries are volatile and can do miracles when people decide to vote in mass, because they are pissed off enough to stand up and say something.
We need to abolish the ability of our reps to get Pac money. Five PAC events a day to raise funds, is sicker than going home to campaign and eliminating this. Our Reps do not read the laws or debate anymore. They are spending all of their time raising funds to win their next election. This is sick.
I rode with Reagan. Reagan would chat with members of Congress. He would say; I tried to get the pilots to bomb Congress, and they would not do it. He did not like them resisting what he wanted to do, or the oversight that they gave him.
Every President believes that the executive branch should be running the country absolutely and completely. Do they not trust the President? Why not just let the President rule? Why not just get out of the way? The Founders designed the system to keep the power and ambitions of the President in check. When Congress fails in this regard, democracy is weakened and dictatorship is a possibility.
Congress is time consuming and that is on purpose. It is the most inefficient, ineffective system that the founders could devise. They designed it that way and did that on purpose to avoid one dictator taking control of all three branches of government through quick actions. At least a dictator will have to move slowly, even if he manages to take over somewhat.
Notes above by Newt Gingrich
Thomas Foley notes on his speech;
The Democratic majority did some things that were excessive in the past. They did not like the right of the Republicans to frustrate the will of their majority. There is a majority rule but minority rights. Republicans did not feel they had a right to influence the majority.
It is impossible to get a working Congress if one party is shut out completely as it is being done now. This only creates an enormous reservoir of resentment.
Each branch of government has its role. One branch cannot over control or dominate the others. This is not healthy for our society. The founding fathers set up branches of government for a reason. It is not being traitorous to be against the President and his policies or actions when in war, and in Congress.
During the Founding Fathers period, there was a separation of powers. No member of Congress is exempt from the law. Those who violate the law deserve to be prosecuted. They have violated a trust that constituents gave them. If Congress fails, then America fails. If Congress is dysfunctional, then America is dysfunctional. Right now, both of these are true.
Let’s not get back to a payback time. It is not our turn now. There needs to be forgiveness or the cycle will just get worse. Violence will beget violence in a spiral of escalation that will end in total and complete chaos.
Congress people no longer spend time in Washington. They live at home. Parties are ideological now and members do not spend time together to get to know one another anymore. Their kids no longer play together or have teams where the parents see each other and share something in common. They no longer live in Washington. They used to live and work there and share family events together. That is not the case anymore.
Both parties want complete control of all branches. That is not healthy. They protect their own from any critics. If different parties have power in different places then there is a necessity of having a debating process. There is oversight and President has to pay attention to Congress. Things often work better if the House and others are divided in power than if one party gets everything. They are forced to work together.
Being Commander in Chief means being Commander of the Armed Forces, but not of the whole country and all of its affairs. The Congress is actually in control of the country together with the Senate, not the President.
WWII lasted a few years. Vietnam lasted a few years. Excessive power to the President lasted only a short time. Now that has changed. The President is now assuming excessive powers forever, because the war on terror will never end.
There used to be meetings between Party leaders to hash out differences. Now that does not happen anymore.
It used to be that Presidents had aides who talked with Congress members on a daily basis, to find out what they wanted and how they felt. The President would decide what to do based on the leadership of the Congress, and not dictate to them about what they had to do on his behalf.
The House and Senate do not get along. They never have. They do not like each other. They are enemies, and that is on purpose. The Founders designed it that way. The Senate and Congress get along only rarely and are otherwise enemies. This is to prevent anyone from gaining too much power, again leading to a dictatorship.
The tension between the House, the Senate and the President is supposed to be there. It is supposed to be difficult, stressful and hard to deal with. There is no easy way to get anything through all of this unless one does it in secret, violates all kinds of rules and procedures and processes. This then endangers democracy because it is too easy for a dictator to take over.
Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein
Co Authors The Broken Branch
The decline of debate in the House, has happened because policy is decided from an ideology, rather then from a debate involving many sides and players and points of view. Committees are not allowed to deliberate, and are stacked or operated so that no debate is heard. The Committee system has broken down completely under Republican rule.
Congress is representing a 50/50 interest in the nation as a whole. If one small segment of the 50% gets power and runs everything, that is not democracy or freedom. Being more extreme and radical just makes the system break. The nature of the system is to find balance in the middle of things, between the two extremes.
Congress operates in the middle by agreement of two sides. The middle is the strength and power of the Congress. Making the sides polarized and more extreme weakens Congress and makes it less and less powerful, giving more power to the President, who becomes King.
This country was based on getting rid of a King, not setting one up in power. King George was the Supreme Commander, The Religious Leader and the Ruler over all in England. The Founders set up this country to divide that power into many branches, and never allow one person to gain even two of them together again.
Congress is no longer holding hearings and deliberating on anything. This part of Congress is broken. It was set up by the Founders to be a debating, slow moving, deliberative body, which represented the people. That is no longer true.
The people have little or no influence on Congress anymore. People are ignored when Congress takes action on bills no one has read, created by a small group of people who are lobbyists or corporate board members, or military Pentagon members.
Fund raising is now the coin of the realm. Lobbyists are pulled in to fund campaigns, which then creates extortion to pass laws favorable to their constituents. This further weakens the power of the people. Peoples needs are ignored while corporations and their needs are focused on.
The money culture has become very corrupt. Getting into power and staying in power is all that Washington is about anymore. Incomes are now competitive with corporate incomes, with PACS giving a corrupt sense of how things work. Leaders are now expecting to be wined and dined everywhere, instead of serving the people.
When the Congress and Senate is in session, they are running over to political clubs to raise money, instead of debating and listening to other members points of view. They do not talk with each other, except to threaten and brow beat to sign laws that they have not read. Congress used to be about debate and listening to other points of view. That has disappeared completely.
There used to be a regular order in the Congress. Now that is gone completely. Bills are passed in secret or in the dead of night. Minority members are banned from meetings or committees to hear about or debate about bills. Ethics is completely out of bounds.
The Congress is supposed to give oversight to the Executive Branch., This has completely disappeared. There is no more oversight. There is no accountability over the President. Debate is now seen as traitorous.
There is now a view of executive power and the war making apparatus, that it ignores all of what the Founders said it should be. The war on terror is never ending. The power is now all in the President. There is no role for the other branches anymore, other than to be traitors who resist the President in his war efforts.
The end of democracy is near, unless there is a shift in this attitude, spiritual decay and loss of democratic process. There is an answer, but there must be first an awareness of this lack, and then a willingness to address it.
Will the full Senate join the House in challenging the direction of U.S. policy in Iraq?
Anger and frustration over the failure of U.S. policy in Iraq is evident around the country and growing in Congress. An intensifying civil war and the specter of a failed state have led many in Congress to recognize that the U.S. sadly has little control over events in Iraq. Time to influence events on the ground is running out.
But Congress is beginning to challenge the direction of U.S. policy in Iraq with legislation similar to FCNL’s Iraq STEP resolution declaring that the U.S. will not continue to occupy Iraq forever. The House has already attached language to the supplemental funding legislation that would restrict negotiations for permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Earlier this month a key Senate committee cut out money for long-term military construction projects that might lead to permanent bases.
Next week the full Senate is expected to vote on the president’s request for emergency supplemental funding to support the war in Iraq. FCNL lobbyists report that a bipartisan group of senators is prepared to support legislation prohibiting permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Working with other national organizations, FCNL has set up a toll-free number to flood the Senate with phone calls stating it is time for the full Senate to declare that it is the policy of the U.S. to establish no permanent military bases in Iraq.
Take Action Now
Help flood the Senate with phone calls next Monday, April 24. Ask your senators to attach an amendment to that supplemental funding legislation rejecting permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 800-620-4394 and ask for your senator by name. Find out who your senators are.
Tips on making your call
Don't get discouraged if you get a busy signal - it means the call-in day is working! Try again in a few minutes.
Members of Congress are turning the president’s fiscal year 2006 (FY06) request for emergency supplemental funding to support the war in Iraq (H.R. 4939) into a vehicle for challenging the direction of U.S. policy in Iraq. FCNL does not support any additional funding for war and occupation in Iraq. But we know this legislation will be approved; and so FCNL is urging senators to attach an unambiguous message to the supplemental funding request stating it is the policy of the United States to remove all U.S. troops and bases from Iraq and initiate a withdrawal this year.
The House already amended this legislation, March 15, to include language that states “None of the funds in this Act may be used by the U.S. government to enter into a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq.”
The powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, on April 4, cut $177 million in funding for long-term military construction projects from the FY06 supplemental appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee wrote in the report that accompanied this bill: “It is the current policy of the United States to establish no permanent military bases in Iraq” and “While these projects may indeed be of military value, they intend a more permanent presence than is the policy of the United States.”
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