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Number of posts: 219
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By Lee Leslie:
- Health care reform – dead in the house and frozen in the senate until Anthem/Blue Cross announces billions in earnings along with huge policy price increases and the tea party takes the Kennedy senate seat.
- Wall Street reform – seemingly dead in the Senate, then record-breaking Wall Street profits, revelations of sinister-sounding, but all too routine conflicts and manipulation, then Goldman Sachs was indicted.
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- Anti-war? 30,000 more troops are going to Afghanistan. We’ll assess the situation on the ground before bringing our troops home and it will take at least 3 years after that.
- A hawk on defense? We are only sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and we’re getting out in 18 months.
WADR for those in romantic relationships with a banker and actually want it in the ass, the banking industry, aka: we caused the greatest depression since the last and are too big to fail this election cycle so we get money for the Fed for as close to nothing as is measurable and may or may not lend it to you for 33.3% plus fees, are, surprise, taking advantage of real, or will be real loopholes in the passed, but not litigated, totally ruled or commented, but well-monikered Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. Duh? Just what do you think more than a million dollars a day will buy in DC? Dinners? Jets? Sex? Condos in Puerto Rico? Elections? Sure, but the money is really for the details and the details are for loopholes.
I defriended my cousin on Facebook. My father’s mother’s brother’s son. I feel bad about it, but he had stepped over the virtual line we had drawn by posting another pseudo-political diatribe/comment on my wall. My cousin’s belief system has little room for fact and he has found that Facebook is the perfect pulpit for his sputem-stained dogma. Please don’t misunderstand, I have tremendous respect and admiration for people of faith – especially, religious faith, faith in aliens, faith in spouses, children, the dollar – that sort of thing.
Alert Dewsletter readers may have noticed their “Sunday Dews” arriving Saturday. Oops, my bad. Our automated email system failed overnight and a manual replacement version had to be created. As I hit the send button, I yelled out to my sleeping wife, “Your Sunday Dewsletter was just sent.” With her eyes still closed, she yelled back, “it’s Saturday.”
We have a bug in our email system that has caused subscribers to receive multiple Dewsletters the last two weekends. We thought we had it fixed. We’ll work it on it some more. No telling what’s going to happen on the real Sunday. Please bear with us.
Goldman Sachs had revenues of $13.4 billion last year not including the $10 billion in bailout money. Without admitting wrong for helping former Treasury Secretary now hedge-fund billionaire Hank Paulson bilk investors by packaging and selling toxic mortgages designed to fail, Goldman has agreed to settle civil fraud charges for an amount equal to about two week’s revenue, $550 million, plus $1.3 million for lobbying and politicians. Were Goldman Sachs the first and last name of a person, they would be in jail and pennyless. As a corporation, their stock went up over $3 billion after the announcement.
A recently discovered, candid, but politically incorrect draft with last minute changes.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 2^4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for rich^one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and more than equal station to which the Laws of Capitalism^Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Our health insurance was canceled last month. We have joined the ranks of the uninsured. Collateral damage in health care reform and the race to parse the regulations, drive trucks of cash through the loopholes and squeeze every dollar out of every soul still breathing.
Payments were current. We had not made a claim that exceeded our deductible in couple of years. Nothing had changed. And we weren’t even told until three weeks after it had happened. There’s no appeal. No reason required. No COBRA. It is just gone. And it was done on purpose.
If you don’t have a phone, you can’t hang up on them.
Land lines have become quaint. It is almost funny to think that, here we are in 2010, and yet, some people still use those old style telephones that require wires to plug into the wall in order to work. Way back in 2004, more than 90% of households had a landline. In 2009, 25% of households are cell phone only.
“Why is this a political story,” you might ask? It is against federal law* to use the automated dialers, which most pollsters use, to call cell phones. Add to that the number of households who primarily use their cell phones (cell dependent) and screen their landlines, and you begin to see a larger problem accurately projecting poll numbers.
Something sinister must have occurred to start the cycle we are in now.
A cycle in which our political center has moved. When being “pro-business” became more politically popular than being “pro-worker.” When being for “free markets” could rally crowds and “consumer protection” would bring on “boos.” When prosecuting a “war on terrorism” stokes jingoism instead of fears of “nation building,” while “presumption of innocence,” “due process” and the “right to counsel” was the treasonous coddling of our enemies. When “gun rights” became more important than “insuring domestic tranquility.” When “faith” could claim a higher standing than “fact,” or “truth,” or “science.”
The only thing to fear is them themselves.
It is going around. There are at least ten other states, Utah, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska among them, considering anti-immigration laws in the same spirit as the one passed by Arizona (ThinkProgress.org). Arizona’s new law requires law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.” So, what would make you reasonably suspect someone? Language? Accent? Skin color? Hair type? Height? Weight? Surname? Intelligence? Car type? Living conditions? No driver’s license? Proximity to the border with Mexico? All of the above? Yes, that would be profiling. Constitutional? No telling from this court.
Let’s take a quick look at recent legislative initiatives and the relationship of opposition-killing news events:
Health care reform doesn’t go into effect for 3 more years, so why is it costing really really big businesses so much right now? In the last month, company after company has announced quarterly earnings and included huge accounting charges for health care costs.
“Why? For what? And should we be scared shitless?” Glad you asked. First off, except for exercising their Supreme Court given right to paid free speech, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on lobbyists to fight the health care reform bill, it hasn’t cost big business a nickel. Nothing. Nada.
What an amazing session. To watch and listen to the 10+ hour session and the debates, one could have a sense of how truly difficult it is for a bill to pass – much less anything as important, historic or intelligible. It is no wonder that it took more than one hundred years to pass a health care bill that will have such dramatic and direct impact on every American’s* life.
While the celebrity stars of the drama will get the appreciation (or vitriol) of the political junkies and news and opinion readers, I believe it is time to acknowledge those who do not – those long-suffering, unsung Congresspeople, so often scorned, forgotten and reelected.
Updated 3/19/201o to include the House Reconciliation Bill & CBO estimate.
The Democrats say it is going to pass – maybe this week. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read all 2,009 pages (depending on which version you count) of the Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA: HR 3590) and or even the 74 page summary – and, the 153 page House Reconciliation Act of 2010 (AKA: HR 4872), I thought you might like to know what’s in it for you. And when.
Ed and Harriet have a zip line that begins at the top of a six-foot ladder tied to a 300+ year old live oak at one end of their backyard. It dead ends 100 feet later into a blanket padded tree at the other end.
High speed zipping through the yard while screaming at the top of one’s lungs is great fun, but not a team sport. Only one thrill ride can occur at a time. Fighting for who goes next gets old faster than they do. Watching is totally tame. Ed, who just turned nine and sister, Harriet, who turns eight next week, wanted more. Some way to scream louder. Get dirtier. And challenge the borders of their visiting playmate/grandfather.
A few months ago a certain head of a certain private SC university called me a “fatalist.” I’m not. I’m an American. Americans are always optimists. I’m just near the top of my personal bell curve of cynicism. It seemed at the time, for good cause, but not now.
A new study just out for 2009 (Obama took office in 2010) says that despite the record unemployment, layoffs, furloughs, downsizing, off-shoring, Wall Street crash, real estate crash, and worst depression since Prozac was allowed to advertise on TV, it seems that millionaires in the US grew by 16% to 7.8 million and those whose worth is over $5 million was up 17%. It goes on to project that the concentration of wealth should it continue as it did during the Bush years, it will have us looking like Mexico in 2048*. Now I know what you are thinking: that will solve the illegal immigration problem. See? I’m not a fatalist.
For anyone who would like to know how the economic meltdown could happen and when it will happen it again, you just have to see this show: PBS Frontline: The Warning. As you’d expect, it stars a bunch of rich powerful middle-aged white men in courageous battle to protect Ayn Rand’s dream of unfettered capitalism against one woman, Brooksley Born, who dared to raise her hand and suggest that the super secret, totally unregulated, multi-trillion dollar derivatives markets needed adult supervision. It is riveting. Find out how we hunted down those responsible and made sure they can’t do it to us again. Spend a few minutes strolling memory lane with the greatest leaders of our lives: Ford, Reagan, Greenspan, Clinton, Rubin, Gramm and others. Here’s a 4 minute preview: Click here to see the timeline. Click here to watch The Warning on the PBS website. Click here to see what […]
Driving on the interstates is inherently irrational. To think that the drivers of all those other cars would voluntarily and routinely entrust theirs and their family’s lives to me is nuts. Based solely on a ten minute driving test in high school, with no knowledge of my driving skills, my car maintenance or my attention span, and regardless of whether I’m returning a call, Twittering, checking email, drinking coffee or booze, locating an iPod playlist, picking my nose, watching a DVD, lost or lost in thought, they have enough faith in me to share the highway at speeds guaranteed to to kill and maim. With my car aimed directly at theirs, they ride along fearlessly believing they are more likely to fall asleep from boredom than my minimum breaking distance. Why do they do it? What makes where they are going so important? Why do they trust me completely at […]
The American middle class is dying off in huge numbers. It has been going on for more than a decade, but we are facing a catastrophe of biblical proportions. I have a plan to stop it and to save those left.
Hyperbole? You decide.
When someone speaks for the middle class, most often they continue to use a post-World War II snapshot. Average salary. Average house. Average everything. Most Americans believe they are a member. Because of the enormous changes in concentration of wealth, they are wrong. More Americans than they realize are actually poor by prime time standards. More are joining them every day. But this piece is not about the poor.
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Washington’s focused on them like a laser. Yesterday, Harry Reid (soon to be former Democrat Senator from Nevada and current Majority Leader), announced the revised Senate bill designed for bi-partisan appeal and to help create the nine plus million jobs needed to offset just those that have been lost since the worst depression since the great one began.
The cost of the total package, according to estimates released by Reid, would be about $15 billion over 10 years. This is what he said was actually in the bill (I’m not making this stuff up)…
Mostly for the guys… Like the other major holidays, pretending is critical to the success of Valentine’s. On Christmas, we must believe in Santa and that they’ve been good. On Easter, that the Bunny delivers eggs. On her birthday, that she looks younger. And like anniversaries, on Valentine’s, we must pretend that we are capable of deep romantic thoughts. This is very important, because on Valentine’s, it is the thought that counts. This year, it will be harder than normal because Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. No room for empty gestures here. It will last all day. So here are some ideas to get you thinking right…
The President’s budget for 2011 has been unveiled. What’s news is not what’s in it, but what’s not: $3.5 billion out of the GAO estimated $97 billion needed to send former President Bush back to the moon by 2020. Worthy goal? Undeniable. Priority at a time of record deficits, unspeakable unemployment and in the midst of two wars? Hardly.
Sure, you might say, “Hey, this is a jobs program. This will cost Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico big time…
The Monday after New Year’s, a new urban camper arrived in Piedmont Park. At least, I think he was. He had all the telltale signs:
More stuff than he could easily carry. To survive in the urban wilderness, you have to have your hands free. Be able to eat, zip your zipper or defend yourself without putting your stuff down. He’d have to lighten his load and stash it somewhere or he’d lose it. Likely he had already made some choices on what was truly valuable and necessary in his life. He’ll need to make more.
$3.8 billion. That’s how much the people you elected to Congress and the Senate took from finance, insurance and real estate lobbyists in the past 10 years. That’s right, billion.
What did they buy? Protection from regulation that would protect consumers and investors. Protection from laws that would stop the outrageous risks, self-dealing, market making, collusion and investor deception. Protection from paying ordinary taxes on their extraordinary incomes. And protection from failure to tune of more taxpayer money than, according to The Intelligence Daily,
“… the cost of all US wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasion of Panama, the Kosovo War and numerous other small conflicts), the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined.”
There’s reason Sadam Hussein was good at security. He had everyone killed that he suspected. He also carryout pre-emptive murder. Ditto Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Milosevic, Idi Amin, Jean-Paul Akayesu, Abdul Hamid II and more than you would tolerate listing here. It still works today in way too much of the world – China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Burma, Iran and others.
We, in America, practice faith-based security. We believe (or choose to pretend) that we are safe. That democracy works. That we count all the ballots. That capitalism isn’t rigged. That justice is best served in courts. That civil rights, privacy, liberty and the right to own guns, trump a more absolute form to guarantee public order. That obeying our laws makes us safer. When something goes wrong – 9-11, Pearl Harbor, Firing on Fort Sumter, etc. as examples – our government has special powers to temporarily suspend these rights so that our faith can be restored.
On behalf of 46 million Americans without health insurance, 56 million Americans pre-existing conditions, and all of us who are terrified we’ll join the others, I’d just like to say, “thank you.” I know you shopped hard, had to make difficult choices on size and features, and probably spent way too much, but I just love you for thinking of me. I got a little something for you, too – my vote.
With so many Americans now unable to afford health insurance, the private insurance industry is facing a catastrophic problem: how to keep profits high, executive compensation exorbitant and campaign contributions excessive?
Fortunately, $200 million in lobbying and campaign contributions have convinced a majority in the senate (41 members) that the problem is not the fox or the hen house, the problem is the shortage of chickens.
Want to write for the Dew, but get a wee bit intimidated with the post instructions? If you can send an email, now you can submit a story to the Dew.
You’ll get a confirmation email that we received it. We’ll then check out the story for appropriateness, double check how it looks, and will contact you if we have any questions or feel it needs editing. That’s it. So please dew submit.
If you need even more reassurance, contact Lee@LikeTheDew.com
the affordable care act
Last night, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid announced a compromise health care reform bill with just enough public option that looks like it will pass -Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are on board.
“I’ve got you this time, Brer Rabbit,” said Brer Fox, jumping up and shaking off the dust. “You’ve sassed me for the very last time. Now I wonder what I should do with you?”
Brer Rabbit’s eyes got very large. “Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.”
Private insurance didn’t cave. They loooooove what the Senate is now proposing. Sure, Brer Reid and his fellow Senate foxes probably think they got the better of the private insurance lobby last night…
One can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV news without a story about the economy. The Clinton campaign mantra, “it’s the economy stupid” will soon be the mantra of the Obama White House – just as soon as he can stop answering questions about the wars, health care, the environment, Wall Street reform, what he thinks about Tiger Woods, etc. ad nauseum.
ProPublica reports that we have now spent a whopping 30% of the stimulus money. Those filing for unemployment actually decreased a little last month (or gave up trying) – click here to hear today’s NPR coverage. The FDIC shut down 6 more banks and 130 have failed so far this year – click here to read HuffPo’s story. Reuters reports a 26% jump in hunger assistance as family homelessness rises in cities across the US. And pundit after pundit prognosticate on when it will turn around – here’s a sampling from the Daily Beast.
DiscoverCard.com reports on its website (disclosure: I don’t have a Discover card) results of their research under the heading “November Highlights” that, “Economic Confidence Plunges; Low Expectations for the Holidays.” Here are some of the lowlights:
It is an awful time to passionately believe in something. Be it liberal, conservative, or independent. No one is happy.
For all our freedom, America is a lousy place to be a zealot. Sure, you can talk the talk almost as loud as you wish. You can carry signs, march, demonstrate, blog, tweet, harangue, chant, argue, and pontificate – but in the end, it will be decided by politicians, pollsters and lobbyists.
As required by the official LikeTheDew.com site survey contest rules, all valid entries were printed out and placed in grocery bag (better to reuse than recycle). Precisely at 5 PM yesterday (11/30/2009), the contents of the bag were shaken, tossed and shuffled vigorously. We had no drum roll – only the rustling sounds of the bag. A hush fell over the audience (both of us). The drama built. The blindfolded hand (easier to put a blindfold on a hand) reached into the bag and pulled a solitary winner now separated forever from all the others. We inspected the entry. A voice called out, “should we draw again or is Mike okay?”
Congratulations go to Mike Williams of Cocoa Beach, Florida who won the Dew T-Shirt (click here to order yours). Here’s what Mike wrote upon hearing the news:
Competing with Thanksgiving travel, Black Friday speculation, unemployment, layoffs, budget shortfalls, the health care debate, election violence in the Philippines, the mine disaster in China, H1N1 vaccine supplies, a former governor’s book tour, the beginning of the last two years of Oprah, the American Music Awards, Kennedy troubles with the Catholic church and on-going coverage of Michael Jackson and Princess Di, is President Obama’s decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan. Bill Moyers offers (aired 11/20/09 on PBS) a prospective through the LBJ’s decision to do the same in Vietnam.
Close your eyes. Hold your nose. Open your mouth. Now swallow. – That’s how my mom tried to keep me from gagging when taking medicine. That’s what our Democrat leaders are telling us now about health care “reform.”
Another gigantic example of big event legislation. A massive bill way too big to fail – or read – or understand – or debate. Chock full of things for just about every special interest so Dems can finally deliver a health care bill.
Something extraordinary happened Wednesday night in the House of the Representatives. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), gave a speech on health care. He continued speaking about the 44,000 Americans who die each year because of lack of health insurance. This time, he broke out the number who will die next year by the Congressional district of those who oppose the reform bill. Republicans went to great lengths to shut him up, but they didn’t (they start trying in Part Three). Watch it.
What a mess. Somebody should have stopped me.
I have been fortunate to have had many people who encouraged me toward self-improvement. An early example was an employer’s requirement to complete Dale Carniegie’s training to learn “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” As those of you who know me might expect, it did require staying after class a few times. I almost dropped out when I was required to stand up in front of the class and yell with believable enthusiasm, “Boy, do I feel good.” But somehow, I got through it and completed the course. Other than making some great friends in the class and remembering their names for a few months, the long-term affect was not as dramatic as was hoped. I do still remember to “live in a day tight compartment” and that “any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.”