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March, 2010:

Tank the General, Not the Gay Marines

Re: Marine Corps General James Conway: Marines Would Not Be ‘Forced’ To Live With Gay Soldiers, ANNE FLAHERTY | 03/26/10 05:05 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps’ commandant said he won’t force his troops to bunk with gays on base and would give them separate rooms if Congress votes to allow openly gay service.

Three things.

First, the troops already live in barracks with gay and lesbian service members, they just don’t know it. The fact is that there are many gays who have obeyed the rules and have not outed themselves in order that they continue to be able to serve. They serve honorably, and the marines living with them are not harmed.

Second, this “separate but equal” logic from General Conway stems from Jim Crow days when blacks were given the same privileges as whites, but only in different locations, like restrooms and drinking fountains.

Third, segregating gays into their own barracks will only fan the flames and achieve a more hate-filled atmosphere among the troops. Setting them aside will paint targets on them and will foster violence.

Homophobic reactions and fear mongering through the media, mixed with hatred are not very flattering traits for one of our nations highest ranking military officers. Instead of getting rid of the thousands of gays that serve today let’s get rid of a few old pasty white men who stand in the way of doing what is right. Firing one general who is bucking orders, instead of hundreds of soldiers who are not, is a clear and much more logical path to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

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The Approaching Reagan Centennial: Adoration for a Tea Bagger

Re: Consortiumnews.com, By Robert Parry, March 18, 2010

The American political establishment and the major U.S. news media are planning a gala centennial bash in honor of the late President Ronald Reagan. But Consortiumnews.com will try to tell the truth.

If we can survive financially into next year – to the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth – we will surely be a lonely voice describing Reagan’s presidency as it was, not in the happy-talk version now in vogue.

In our view, the Reagan era took the United States down a very dark road, a route that in three decades has left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead in places from Central America to Africa to the Middle East.

Along that grim highway, the Reagan administration also left the remains of battered American democratic institutions, including effective labor unions, an independent press corps and a vibrant middle class.

Ronald Reagan lured millions of rank-and-file Americans down that path by promising that an unregulated corporate America would be their best friend, that government was the enemy, that tax cuts for the rich would trickle down.

The war on the middle class started with Reagan. The war on the poor whom Reagan called “welfare bums” began. Before Reagan, leaders understood that taking care of our social needs was not only the moral right, but it was also good for the economy. Reagan policies killed all that and pushed back on the upward struggles of the poor, as if the rise from poverty wasn’t hard enough.

His efforts to cheapen labor through union busting and stagnating wages, combined with less support for the newly poor by changing the rules for welfare and food stamps, were enough to tarnish his legacy, never mind the military and financial support of right-wing militia death squads in Central and South America.

Never mind his war on the environment, his war on good governance, and his war on public protections from ruthless corporations, but concentrating on what he did to the middle class’ struggle to overcome poverty and rise into affluence is enough to strangle and cut off any cheers for the late president. He left a legacy of shameful greed that still echoes through media outlets today.

There are some striking similarities to the right wing hate-filled rhetoric surrounding the health care debate and the fear mongering propaganda from the right over Medicare in the early 1960’s. From wiki:

Reagan opposed certain civil rights legislation, although he later reversed his opposition to voting rights and fair housing laws. He strongly denied having racist motives.[52] When legislation that would become Medicare was introduced in 1961, Reagan created a recording for the American Medical Association warning that such legislation would mean the end of freedom in America. Reagan said that if his listeners did not write letters to prevent it, “we will awake to find that we have so­cialism. And if you don’t do this, and if I don’t do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”[53][54][55]

Reagan’s talk of socialism and “the end of freedom in America” could have come from the mouth of Sarah Palin and a plethora of other Republican leaders and throngs of social misfits, tea baggers and such who use socialism as a wedge issue and a red herring, hiding their support for the insurance industry. Almost 50 years have passed since Reagan issued this recording and even the most ardent anti-government right winger has to admit that Ronald Reagan could not have been more wrong about Medicare.

The dire warnings of a future that has us all living in a socialist nightmare never came to pass, and it won’t. Medicare became a much beloved entitlement and a political third rail. Medicare was, and continues to be, vastly successful. But, since the lesson of Medicare is so apparent, why are there new protests and cries from angry voices railing against what history has shown to be benign social imperatives of health care reform? The socialist nightmare that Reagan warned of never materialized, and it won’t. The tea party people should wake up and take a lesson on being on the wrong side from the original tea bagger, Ronald Reagan.

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On Being Duped With Regards to Health Care Reform

Re: Ten immediate benefits of HCR | Crooks and Liars, By karoli Sunday Mar 21, 2010 5:45pm

Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President’s signature on the health care bill:

  1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
  2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
  3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
  4. Free preventative care for all
  5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds (sic).
  6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
  7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.

Is there anyone out there like me who has kids that are under 27 and has no insurance? Hell, most kids these days live with their parents until they are 27 and then some. It breaks my heart to have to help them find ways to pay for services. I give them what I can, but medical care is impossible to pay out of your pocket, and the kids understand that. It is a wonderful benefit to be able to keep the kids on and know that they have access to “the world’s best” medical care.

I have often wondered why the right-wing whack jobs, tea-baggers and such, who I know make less money than me, would ever consider a health care subsidy to buy insurance as something to be reviled like “socialism” or a “government takeover”, or worse. (There comes a time when, out of desperation, folks call for help who are unable to help themselves, and a little socialism would save them. This counts for the economy as well. Public ownership of some of these investment firms on Wall Street may be what the doctor ordered.) These people who hate the government feel like they are getting the shaft somehow. I think Harry Truman said something to the effect that those conservatives out there who vote against their own interests are getting beaten about the head and shoulders, but they don’t know who is doing the beating. They are confused, or just ignoring the parts of the health care bill that benefit them. The Republican leadership is telling them that health care reform is a bad idea, a move that we know is to protect big insurance. But, the everyday Joe somehow thinks that he needs to protect big insurance, too! WHY? I don’t know. The pundits on FOX, the Republican leadership, and the rest of the echo machine is pissing down their backs and telling them it is raining.

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