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The Vote is Your Voice — Defend It and Use It

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“Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.” — Abraham Lincoln

Please allow me ask you a question, “Would you rather vote, or die trying?” Countless people have lost their lives and lifeblood in order to gain a right that many people in this country now take for granted and don’t even bother to exercise: suffrage, the right to vote.

A review of the  voting history of the United States reveals that the first people allowed to enter the polls were Caucasian male landowners. Represented by the Electoral College, which was established in 1788 by the Founding Fathers, making this country a Republic and not a Democracy, the people did not directly elect the President. Instead, each state cast one vote each for its two senators, and additional votes based on the number of representatives that each state had, based on its population. This is why accurate and current census figures continue to be so crucial to our system of representation.

During colonial times, with the exception of a few widows of property owners in certain colonies and a small number of free black men, only white male landowners could vote. It was not until after the United States became an independent nation, with the Constitution written and amended, that all of the individual states finally granted voting rights to all white men, regardless of property ownership. It was through these amendments to our Constitution that all citizens, regardless of race and gender, would eventually be granted suffrage.

In 1866,Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the American Equal Rights Association, dedicated to universal suffrage for white and black women and men; they fought and dedicated the remainder of their lives to win the right to vote. However it was not until 1920, with the passing of the 19th Amendment, that women finally won equal suffrage.  A few years later, in 1923, the National Woman’s Party made the first proposal for an Equal Rights Amendment, which has yet to be ratified.

At its entry into the union in 1848, Wisconsin had the most liberal of all voting laws, even granting suffrage to foreigners intending to become citizens who had resided in the state for more than a year.  Nevertheless, women living in Wisconsin still could not vote.

It would be twenty-five years later, in 1870, five years after the end of the American Civil War, before the 15th Amendment would be ratified. The 15th prohibited states from denying suffrage to a citizen because of race. The extension of the franchise to black citizens was strongly resisted, however. Among others, the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia, and other terrorist organizations attempted, with violence and intimidation, to prevent the 15th Amendment from being adopted.

The so-called Grandfather Clause, which surfaced in Louisiana in 1898, nullified the 15Th Amendment, which allowed black men to vote in that state. The clause lasted well into the twentieth century, spreading into seven southern states, and significantly reducing  African American participation in southern politics as recently as 1910.  The clause stated that in order to vote, a citizen had to have an ancestor who had voted before 1898.  It also relieved citizens of meeting the literacy, property, and poll tax criteria.  Thus, the Grandfather Clause allowed poor illiterate white men to vote, while effectively disenfranchising black citizens.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), organized in 1909,  mounted the first legal challenge to the clause, Guinn v. United States. in 1915. The Supreme Court ruled the clause null and void in Maryland and Oklahoma, because the law was adopted in order to give whites, who might otherwise have been disfranchised by the state's literacy test, a way of qualifying to vote that was not available to blacks, and therefore,the court opined, it clearly violated the 15Th Amendment.

This struggle for equal voting rights did not end with the Supreme Court’s decision, and even with the ratification of the 15Th Amendment, poll taxes still excluded the impoverished black citizens from suffrage, leading President Harry S. Truman to risk his political future in an effort to secure voting rights for all. In 1947, he called on Congress to pass a Fair Employment Practices law, which would establish a Civil rights Commission to end poll taxes. It was not until 1957, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, that this came to fruition.  Even then, citizens living in Washington, D. C. could not vote in national elections until passage of the 23rd amendment took place in 1961.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson  finally signed the Voting Rights Act, which enforces the 15Th Amendment by stating that literacy tests or complicated ballot instruction are against federal law.  Congress expanded the scope of the Voting Rights Act in 1975 to protect those who could not read or speak English.

Until 1971, only 10 states allowed citizens to vote at the age of eighteen. The 26Th Amendment brought consistency to all the states by ratifying and lowering the voting age for all to eighteen years of age.

In 2000, for the first time in our history since the initial ballot was cast, the Supreme Court chose the President of the United States. The court stepped in because of the closeness of the vote count, which was also complicated by alleged voting irregularities and tabulating problems, such as the famous "hanging chads" on paper ballots, which were confusing to poll workers. Although Al Gore won the popular vote, George Bush had the majority of the Electoral College votes, and won the election. Many people believed that George W. Bush’s presidency was not legitimate because of the Supreme Court’s interference with the voting process. Certainly, we must vigorously defend the right and exercise of suffrage if we are to remain a free people.

Today, we have another group of individuals who would have us go back to the days of the literacy tests, as was evident during the Tea Party National Convention, held recently in Nashville, Tennessee.  The keynote speaker, former Colorado Republican congressman Tom Tancredo, proclaimed, “People who can’t spell the word ‘vote’ or say the word in English, are responsible for electing Barrack Hussein Obama and putting a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.”

Obviously, times have not changed all that much since the early days.  The struggles each group has faced and overcome in order to gain suffrage still rage on in this country. It is still visible in the faces of our elderly population, who implore us not to lose the hard-fought right; not to discard it like yesterday's fad.

It is crucial for all citizens to vote in this country, for you to vote.  It is the expression of our wants and needs as a nation.  It is our suffrage. It is our collective voice.

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About Jeannie Danna

  • Jeannie,

    How well meaning you are! And how insufficient your article is!

    Don’t get me wrong, here. You did a workman-like job laying out the history of the vote and the right to vote. But voting is only the final step in the process of electing someone. The painful reality is that if all you do is vote, you might as well have stayed home. The choices you had in the 2008 presidential election are eloquent testimony to that assertion.

    On one side, you had a narcissistic, arrogant and inexperienced fool – and on the other side you had a narcissistic, arrogant and inexperienced fool. And facing both of them was the worst economic and financial crisis of your history. It didn’t matter for whom you voted. You would have gotten a narcissist, arrogant and inexperienced fool either way.

    The first and most important step is joining and becoming active in a political organization that represents your point of view reasonably well. Then you need to work so that it represents you point of more more than just reasonably well; then finally you need to work like a dog to get your candidates elected to public office.

    Then, you vote.

    I’m talking to you as a man who has been an activist in major both political parties in the United States, and has tried to exactly what I recommended to you in the paragraph above.

  • Ruvy,

    How insufficient and disappointing your comment was, however what would I have expected from you? You certainly live up to what’s expected of Ruvy…

    Look up the meanings of two words, OK?

    Critic and cynic have subtle differences,correct?


  • zingzing

    tangental, i know, but has anyone heard about this “coffee party?” it seems to be some sort of left wing reaction to the tea party… but in researching it, they don’t really make their positions all that clear, at least not enough to figure out which direction they are coming from. but i’m not sure that’s the point. of course, the leaders of the tea party are getting all ridiculous about it, even though it seems like there are a lot of points upon which these two would agree. it seems the coffee party just want to be a less ugly version, at least sort of.

    bound to fail? probably. we’ll see.

  • I read about this outfit at Pajamas Media…. I agree with them – it’s Sanka, if not worse.

  • I have never missed an election since I was franchised – not even that single-issue school bond vote which drew only about 12% of the electorate. If more of us felt like we do, this nation would be in much better shape than it is and will be.

  • zingzing,

    You are a puzzle…

  • Reali$t,

    Thank you! 🙂 A country that is this divided cannot stand, also true a country that is too together would be communist, no?

    The tea party is archaic…

    :)Any one for some Kool-Aid?

  • Roger,

    How are you? I was hoping that you would comment on my article, and not worry about Ruvy. After all, he’s already taken care of…national health care and all.

  • I already did, Jeannie, indirectly.

    Not exactly the kind of comment I wanted to leave behind. Talk to you later.

  • cannonshop,

    Come over here, I can’t hear you! We have something better than bullets, they’re called votes.

    How the hell did I end up on another thread!

  • zingzing

    ruvy, roger, y’all need to stop being such dolts.

    ruvy, i don’t think there’s anything objectionable about the coffee party, because they don’t seem to have much to say other than the way that american politics is run is broken. they seem genuinely interested in building a better america, but, unfortunately, i have no clue how they intend to do it… other than being polite or some such thing.

    jeannie, how am i a puzzle?

  • Because you refuse to see that coffee can be very good for you, in moderation…:)

  • Jeannie,

    I’m sorry you feel the way you do about my comment, but I was merely sharing my hard-won experience as a political activist. Everything you said was enlightening – but it just is not enough to go to the polls to vote. It is a good start – but that is all.

    There is a whole lot more to this than just voting, and it does take time, and it does take effort. And one cannot really afford to say “I’m not interested in politics anymore”. Politics is getting interested in you.

  • zingzing

    “Because you refuse to see that coffee can be very good for you, in moderation…:)”

    i wonder who’s going to soundtrack this thing… gavin degraw? coffee house music is so fuggin’ awful.

  • Ruvy,

    Are you commenting on your comment here or the one I just left you on the other thread?

    Because I can bring it over here if you wish.

  • Jackson Browne would be my choice or Neil Young.

  • Ruvy

    Let’s get on the same page, OK?

    This is very interesting, Ruvy. It appears that you can bash America morning, noon and night, but if anyone displeases your “love of country”, then watch out!

  • Ruvy,

    Why am I a fool for wanting my country to get it’s act together, while you profess that your country is superior to any country on earth?

  • I’ll let you chew on that thought for awhile.

  • Jeannie,

    Have you actually read my comments or are you making something up in some fantasy world somewhere?

    I have not called you a fool. I have suggested to you that one needs to do more than vote to actually change policies in your country, telling you that this is my experience as a political activist in America. I told you that what you wrote about voting was enlightening but just not sufficient.


    Lady, just what the hell is your problem?

  • I am going to publish this on my blog in a day or two, so that my husband can show it to his students. They are not going to be exposed to your constant filth, Ruvy.

    :0It’s bad enough I have to see it.

  • and all that from a religious man…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruvy, can you elaborate a bit on your hard-won experience as a political activist?

  • elaborate a bit on your hard-won experience as a political activist?

    It’s all there for Jeannie’s benefit in comment #1, Jordan. It’s simple to describe – hard to do.

  • Jordan,

    You used to read the article that you were commenting under. What happened to you?

  • Zingzing,

    I had no idea when you mentioned Coffee Party yesterday, that there actually was one!

    No, I am not nor do I plan to join another group of wackos formed to counter the Tea Party. One group like that is enough. I will just continue to write about this nation as a whole and eventually someone will read my articles instead of using the comment space below them for their own personal platform.

  • zingzing

  • Mark

    The vote would be your voice; don’t throw it away on some forced choice ‘least-worst’ strategy. If you find that no candidate is likely to represents your interests, don’t cast a ballot.

    It is the act of voting that legitimates the coercive arm of our our ruling class.

  • Arch Conservative

    A fat load of good the right to vote did for the Branch Davidians and the Weaver family.

  • Mark

    Isn’t the coffee peoples’ proposed search for some kind of a grassroots ‘inclusive consensus’ a good idea?

  • Arch Conservative,

    Those are two completely different examples of bullets. Please understand that I have also watched in horror while our government has gone too far…Terri Schiavo is also a good example.

    I am going to stand up to and for my government; it belongs to all of us.

    I think I should change my profile picture. Perhaps, you think that I use the American flag as if it only represents me. My computer crashed and with it all of my pictures, so I will work on finding one to use in place of the flag.

    Thanks for commenting in this thread, Arch, you really surprised me.

  • Mark,

    That’s not an answer.

  • Mark

    To what question?

  • To your comment that we should no longer vote in this country, just because we don’t like the choices. If we stop participating, then our silence and apathy will give the powers total control over our lives and they have enough of that already, don’t they?

  • Clavos

    …and they have enough of that already, don’t they?

    They sure do, Jeannie, and the Obamacare proposal you so ardently support will give them even more — much more. In fact, an unprecedented amount of power to interfere in the personal lives of ALL citizens.

    Bye-bye “land of the free.”

  • Noble as your intent may be, Jeannie, there are words Ronald Reagan used time and time again which apply to our voting process – trust, but verify. We must take back the government which we supposedly elected. I have no faith whatsoever in the voting procedures in several states within this so-called union. I have even less faith in the two political parties which are structured to shut the independent voice out of our governance. It is time for a peaceful revolution – and, if we cannot accomplish the same, then it is time for an Article V convention.

  • Mark

    It is a myth that silence equals apathy. It is (could be) a tactical shunning of ‘the powers’ which have usurped — through the voting system — the ‘right’ to use force to control its citizens.

  • Mark

    (probably the easiest way to correct the problems in 37 would be to replace ‘control its citizens’ with ‘control US citizens’…)

  • Bye-bye “land of the free.”

    Only if we don’t pass this bill. We have to stay involved in this country and it’s processes, even if some of them are distasteful.

    Obama care is the only answer placed on the table, isn’t it? It seems to me that the Republicans have had total control of the last three decades in this country with which to help our economy and over all health care. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Silas,

    You worked for the Regan Administration, is this correct? Please tell me, why you didn’t see what thirty years of tax cuts would do to this country?

    Ruvy, runs around here yelling, “Your broke! Your broke! Your all broke! ha ha ha ” and whose fault is it?

    Certainly not Obamas!

  • zingzing

    bye-bye land of the free, welcome to the current constant state of paranoia, old man.

  • Clavos

    Bye-bye “land of the free.”

    Only if we don’t pass this bill

    No Jeannie, you have that exactly backward; the correct answer is, “Especially if we pass this bill” — in fact, it’s not even “we” who will pass it — it’s those clowns and thieves in Washington.

  • Mark


    zing, you’ve looked at US prisons, the rate of incarceration and the so-called crimes that folks get locked up for…right?

  • I will talk about health care.

    This is not a government takeover of your health care, rather it is getting the insurers out of the way, so that your doctor and you can decide on what type of care you need or what tests should be preformed. also with the implementation of secure data banks, multiple tests and procedures will no longer allow the for-profit health care monster to make even more profit off of the individual.

    We are going to end this cost shifting!

  • zingzing

    mark, i was talking about clavos and his constant “having gov’t run health insurance will destroy my freeeeedom” kind of stuff.

    i’m not sure what, if all, the prison system has to do with it. and you worded it just vaguely enough that i’m not sure anyone understands what you’re on about, so enlighten us.

  • zingzing

    “in fact, it’s not even “we” who will pass it.”

    clavos, remember that your opinion doesn’t represent that of everyone in the united states.

  • I hate to break this to you, Clavos, we are those clowns in Washington, you and all of us. 🙂

    We sent us to Washington and they are only us. We have to control our elective instead of watching the latest rerun of NCI or American Idol. I hate to say this, but while Hollywood and the networks entertain, the retailers entice, and the sports are played the wolves are stealing us all blind!

  • Mark

    zing, I think that its pretty clear that I’m ‘on about’ the our government’s use of coercion, and the mandatory transfer of funds to private insurance companies — this bill — is an example.

    jeannie, your often repeated point — “we are those clowns in Washington, you and all of us” — would be trueish if our ‘system of representation’ in fact, represented more than the ruling class.

  • My repeated point has to be repeated because I’m not sure that anyone can hear it. We are not all the ruling class and Scott Brown is supposed to be an example of this, correct?

  • zingzing

    mark, no, that wasn’t clear. and i’m still not sure how the prison population relates to… the mandatory transfer of funds to private insurance companies… eh?

  • Zing, was this directed at me?

    The mandatory transfer of funds to private insurance companies… eh?

    The public option will be amended into the bill that should be present now as well as being able to crossing state lines in order to buy Health insurance.

    However, even with these not present, we will still be able to stop the hemorrhaging of the individuals’ out-pocket expenditure and the brunt of health care costs, that are allowing the giants to make record profits.

  • Mark

    jeannie, Brown is a real estate lawyer and, of late, a professional politician despite his ‘man of the people’ airs. Yes, he’s a fine example.

    zing, as I tried to make clear, coercion is the connection. My points are that it is reasonable to be ‘paranoid’ about our coercive government on all levels, and, before that, that withholding your vote is a reasonable way to express dissent.

  • The public option will be amended into the bill it should be present now, as well as being able to cross state lines in order to buy Health insurance.

  • Withholding your vote?

    What have we fought and died for in this country?

    Please, don’t be as you like to call me, naive.

  • zingzing

    jeannie, #50 was for mark, which is why i started it “mark…”

    mark, ok… i guess i can see a connection, but clavos still seems a bit paranoid, or at least he’s taking things a little too far.

    but withholding your vote? you really think anyone will notice? if you mean not voting at all, i’m pretty sure that’s not going to make a difference. if you mean voting the other way, well, that’s what voting is for.

  • This is an eccelent quote and it rings true today.

    “You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now.” -Harry S. Truman

    :)I’ll be back…I love BC!

  • excellent! darn spell check.

  • Clavos

    welcome to the current constant state of paranoia, old man.

    I wouldn’t be paranoid if the fucking government weren’t trying to control me, zing.

    Six months ago, though I preferred to continue paying my own way with my private insurance and not opt into Medicare, the bastards at Medicare made me sign up, zing. And then, to add insult to injury, because I was a year late in doing so at that point, they are forcing me to pay a “penalty” premium.

  • Mark

    jeannie, the dems can barely gather the votes to pass this POS; why should anyone believe that such a public option amendment could be passed?

    “What have we fought and died for in this country?”

    The ruling class. Which we have empowered to send us off to slaughter people around the globe by voting.

    zing, people will take notice of voter-abstinence when the numbers get low enough…I speculate that under 30% turnout would get folks to take notice — especially in a country that recently showed itself willing to turn out 60% of the eligible voter given the proper situation and propaganda.

  • Mark

    (over 60%)

  • zingzing

    clavos: “I wouldn’t be paranoid if the fucking government weren’t trying to control me, zing.”

    hrm. are they trying to make you into a machine that does their bidding, or are you overstating the case a bit?

    “Six months ago, though I preferred to continue paying my own way with my private insurance and not opt into Medicare, the bastards at Medicare made me sign up, zing. And then, to add insult to injury, because I was a year late in doing so at that point, they are forcing me to pay a “penalty” premium.”

    well, that’s pretty silly. why would they do that? is there something you’re leaving out? were you allowed to keep your private insurance? i’ve never heard of this, but then again, i’m not of age for it and neither are my parents. did you know it was coming?

  • zingzing

    mark, things will continue to happen even if there is voter apathy. so, it’s kinda silly to squander any chance you have of using what voice you have.

  • Interesting, Mark.

    Importing the terms of critical analysis to a public forum.

  • Does any experience a problem with Google Chrome today? Had to switch to FF.

  • zingzing

    ha! roger, i’m bitching about firefox and safari over on another thread. at least i know it’s not me, and it’s not something really related to which browser you use. (you’ll have trouble with firefox as well, trust me.) what’s up with the site? it’s been like this for a while now.

  • I had a heck of a time to try to open it. It just wouldn’t do it. Had to run a scan and do a cleanup but even that didn’t help. So maybe the trouble lies with Google Chrome, usually the most reliable of browsers.

    I updated the FF to the newest version and so far BC site is OK, I don’t know for how long. So may be the site itself is awfully slow today. Shall see.

  • Mark

    zing, I’m hypothesizing the possibility of a ‘crisis of legitimacy’ leading to, say, a constitutional convention (or other action) brought about by a well publicized boycott movement. Certainly, the Rulers will go right on ruling just as long as they can.

    Rog, what better place for them?

  • Mark,

    Why would a constitutional convention be good idea, if you no longer want to exercise your right to vote? It seems to me that these two items go hand in hand, NO?

  • Is Roger speaking to, Jeannie, today? Hi Roger. 🙂

  • Mark

    jeannie, given the crisis that I describe, I’d advocate that the ‘other action’ be taken. However, it might be possible to create a structure that more closely represents the interests of the underclasses through a convention, so I wouldn’t preclude the experiment.

  • Clavos


    These two statements contradict each other; you wrote them in the same comment:

    1I hate to break this to you, Clavos, we are those clowns in Washington, you and all of us. 🙂

    2the wolves are stealing us all blind!

    The second statement is correct; the wolves ARE stealing us blind: they are the clowns and thieves of which I spoke, and sadly, we elected ’em, but in no way do they allow us to participate in their game.

    It hasn’t been a government “of the people, by the people, for the people ” in more than a century, and if “the people” don’t wake up to that fact and do something about it, it never will be again — the rulers will never give up their power and position voluntarily.


    “in fact, it’s not even “we” who will pass it.”

    clavos, remember that your opinion doesn’t represent that of everyone in the united states.

    Of course not, zing, but you’re being disingenuous, you’re smart enough to know what I meant, those clowns no longer represent any of the people who put them there, they’re just in it for themselves, and mostly, they’re in it for the power.

    Mark #48:

    Right on, bro.

    zing #61:

    well, that’s pretty silly. why would they do that?

    For the same reason they are proposing to coerce everyone to buy insurance under Obamacare; they think it won’t work if people are allowed to opt out. Silly? You bet, I agree with you. Also coercive, unconstitutional and unamerican.

    …is there something you’re leaving out? were you allowed to keep your private insurance?

    No and no. I WAS allowed to buy Medicare supplemental insurance, but my private insurance was a top drawer “cadillac” plan, and with it, I didn’t need or want either Medicare or its supplement, so tried not to enroll — it worked for a year, until I hit the mandatory age for Medicare, whereupon they came after me to enroll.

    …i’ve never heard of this, but then again, i’m not of age for it and neither are my parents.

    Well, believe it, it’s there and the Obamacare proposal is even more coercive, from what I’ve read.

    …did you know it was coming?


  • Why, Jeannie? Did anything happen?

  • Mark,

    You should clarify the notion of ruling class.

  • Mark

    Practically speaking, a subset of the owner class, the ruling class is made up of those people who control decisions about the allocation of resources for production, the production process and about the distribution of surpluses produced in the production process.

  • zingzing

    well, clavos, i must say i’ve never heard of what you describe and yet know people in their 70s and 80s with private insurance. so what gives?

  • Yes, Clavos,

    I am a walking contradiction! :)I’m still right and you are still wrong, right?

  • Essentially, the (big) business class, then.

  • Well, the business class and their lackeys – bureaucrats, politicians, etc.

  • What’s wrong, Mark, is the context of this discussion. Reconceptualization is necessary to make any headway.

    Otherwise, you’re just stuck with the old and stale category of class warfare.

    I should have a piece ready in a couple of days.

  • Clavos

    yet know people in their 70s and 80s with private insurance. so what gives?

    But, is their private insurance in lieu of or in addition to Medicare?

    I wanted private insurance without Medicare, and that’s not allowed, you must accept the Medicare, and if you have a cadillac insurance plan, what’s the point? Further, what’s the point of continuing $1000 a month premiums for private insurance if you have Medicare? The private insurance carrier will not accept being primary carrier if you have Medicare, so it becomes, in effect, a supplementary carrier. Good Medicare supplement insurance is available for around $250-275 a month, while a Part D prescription plan can be had for $120 a month, with my prescription level.

    Thus, they forced me into their scheme.

    Oh, and BTW: I’m a looong way from my 70s and 80s.

  • Clavos

    I’m still right and you are still wrong, right?

    How can you be right when you don’t even agree with yourself, Jeannie?

  • zingzing

    i know you’re not 70+ clavos. it’s just that i do know some people with private insurance who are that age. maybe it’s in addition to medicare, but i really haven’t talked to them about it that much… it was more a bit of knowledge that randomly got thrown around.

    but now, if you’re forced into medicare at a certain age, we’d have no uninsured old folks. yet we do. what gives?

  • Clavos,

    You can opt-out of medicare if you do this.

  • zingzing

    that seems pretty simple.

  • Roger,

    No, nothing happened that I know of. Right now, You appear to be really involved in your article right now, so we’re cool. 🙂

  • Yes, plus I need a short break from BC, Jeannie.

  • “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

    :)Nite BC

  • Jeannie, I worked for the Reagan Campaign as a volunteer in 1980 and was a volunteer coordinator in 1984. I’ve never worked for the Federal Government. I did serve as a State employee for several years in the 80’s and 90’s.

    Please tell me, why you didn’t see what thirty years of tax cuts would do to this country?

    Whoa. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

    Let’s start with the day FDR died and move forward.

    Truman – The last “common sense” President.

    Eisenhower – World War II vets swept Ike into power out of nostalgia.

    JFK – young, handsome, a sex symbol. Mediocre President, elevated to sainthood by a bullet.

    LBJ – The most socially visonary Preident of the 20th Century who should have been known as the first Black President.

    Nixon – The most intelligent President and the one with the least common sense.

    Ford – A tragedy.

    Carter – Honest and paid the price for it.

    Reagan – Messianic grandfather elected by a population with the high school senior mentality just realizing that Mommy’s apron strings were about to be cut. We panicked and brought in a Daddy figure to assist our transition to adulthood.

    Bush 41 – Misunderstood, poor communicator, brilliant intellect into which he rarely tapped.

    Clinton – A Wall Street and Main Stream Media created sensation. The first Rock Star President who had an Administration directly responsible for setting the trend of deregulation of the financial industry and the artificial inflation of prices from diapers to real estate. And let’s not forget the Clinton show was co-produced by the GOP majority – equally guilty, period.

    Bush 43 – Defense industry and Wall Street darling. Preoccupied with Saddam Hussein, disengaged from the American public. Plays dumb but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Obama – A reincarnation of Jimmy Carter with less resolve.

    So why didn’t I see that the tax cuts would lead to this? Because I never believed American politics would evolve into the playground of special interests.

    Nixon laid the groundwork for the corporate takeover of America. Carter was ousted for daring to challenge that which was about to occur. Reagan dismantled Carter’s policies and became the bastion of freedom while his successor was impotent.

    When Bill Clinton was elected President, guess who he sought advice from first? Give up? Ronald Reagan. The GOP may have hated Clinton, but they knew he was an opportunist. While the GOP was preoccupying the American psyche with an ejaculate stained dress, Congress went about putting the nail into the coffin of the middle class.

    So, I don’t blame Obama, Jeannie, quite the contrary. I blame Americans for being so easily strayed from those issues which consistently require our attention. That’s why Mitt Romney will be President on January 20, 2013. You see, by then the insecure Americans will think we need a White man back in the Oval Office. What we really REQUIRE is a President who will tell us the damn truth without worrying about re-election. Is that too much to ask for?

  • Clavos

    @ #s 83, 84 Jeannie & zing,

    Apparently, neither of you read the document at the link, it refers only to people who are receiving disability benefits from Social Security, who can refuse the medicare coverage only if they refuse their disability benefits. Sure sounds like coercion to me — coercion all but the wealthiest disabled would be unable to avoid.

    But, in any case, I’m not disabled and don’t receive disability benefits from Social Security.

    Nice try, though.

    I’m not making this up, guys.

    And, for those of you who believe the liars in Washington when they tell you that Obamacare will never refuse needed treatment — Medicare already does, my wife was refused on more than one occasion.

    Obamacare will, too.


  • Silas,

    I agree with you and if we have a say in it, the American public is going to separate the good from the bad during the next election.

    because I never believed American politics would evolve into the playground of special interests.

    You really boiled down those presidents, sort of like making a reduction! 🙂

    Unfortunately, Silas, I don’t think it’s that easy.

    In the first place, as soon as we insult each other’s heroes, then we are enemies, in Washington and at BC, it should not be this way.

    If I were to tell you, what I thought of Nixon, then you might not speak to me again. Therefore, I’ll give you a quote from a common-sense president.

    “All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.” -Harry S. Truman

    I think that we use language as a weapon in this world and creating bumper sticker politics works very well here in America.

    John Carry lost because of two little words, flip-flop! really, is this all it took to convince the nation to elect George W. and his base, the haves and havemores?

    On the other hand, was the Florida chad problem convenient?

    I am going learn to write clear and decisive articles about all of these hopes and dreams that I have for this country.

    I wasn’t sure if you worked for Reagan or his campaign, at the time I was frantically trying to call in to your show! I had no idea it was a previously taped show…I’ll get it right next time. By the way, you have a wonderful radio voice.

    :)Thank you for this comment and all the of the energy you spent writing it…I really do appreciate your intellect.

  • Nice try, though.

    This is the closest, Clavos, has been to agreeing with me about anything in these threads! I must be growing on him

    I believe that I am about to…faint

    R U Sure?

  • zingzing

    “And, for those of you who believe the liars in Washington when they tell you that Obamacare will never refuse needed treatment…”

    how is that different than regular insurance? isn’t that one of the things they’re trying to get rid of?

    and of course, clavos, why do you fail to mention that almost no insurance companies are even willing to be the primary carrier to someone over 65? so… medicare isn’t forced on you so much as it is an inevitable because private insurance isn’t going to cover someone who’s going to die (sooner or later).

    that’s the bit you left out.

  • Excellent point Zing!

    This bill will end a lot of the unfair practices of the insurers, unfortunately many people skip over the parts of comments that they don’t agree with.

    I myself am guilty of this, however now I am trying to make an effort to read the entire post.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I oppose literacy tests as a means of racial discrimination, but I don’t think I have a problem with them if they’re used to keep ill-informed people from voting.

    Mark, the people in power would be elated if no one voted. You’re not going to shame them into attentiveness by not voting. As a rule, an increase in voters means that people are angry. If enough people refuse to vote, the message will be that everyone’s content.

  • Mark

    Baronius, that certainly is a traditional mainstream spin on low voter turnout and a hard nut to crack for any boycott movement.

  • zingzing

    it would be nice if all republicans just refused to vote…

  • Fortunately, it’s not a nut that’s going to be cracked either by boycott or any other kind of people’s action. The system is going to fall of its own accord.

    The present reactionary movement – tea parties and all that – only forestalls the inevitable and creates the impression that a semblance of sanity and order is likely to be restored. But once even the conservatives (I mean, the little people) realize that their voice is equally ineffective when it comes to running the whole show, it’s all going to come to a peak.

  • Baronius

    Even if the press figured out the story (which never happens) and politicians accepted that everyone doesn’t like them (which goes against human nature), what then? You’ve still guaranteed the election of people who are less inclined to your way of thinking than would have been elected otherwise.

    If I were elected to office with an 85/15 win over my rival, with only 10% of the people voting, I would still consider it my duty to serve my district as the man I campaigned as. The low turnout would confuse me, but it wouldn’t make me change my agenda. If people didn’t want me, they could have voted against me. They didn’t, and I won.

  • Baronius,

    When you say the words, literacy test, then you are discriminating.

    I don’t think I have a problem with them if they’re used to keep ill-informed people from voting.

    The reason we have a Republic, with an Electoral College and not a Democracy, is so that all people can participate along with their well-informed Representatives, in the electoral process.

  • Roger,

    Please, don’t place Tea Party and semblance of sanity in the same comment.

    I heard on Morning Joe today, that the Tea Party favors Glen Beck as one of their top conservative leaders.

    Hello? He’s an entertainer…does any body get this?

  • It’s a similar position to the one held in the beginning of the Republic by the properties class – namely, that those without property are too ill-informed to vote.

    But then again, what else can one expect from the people’s friend and tribune – the imperious Baronius?

  • It’s a similar position to the one held in the beginning of the Republic by the properties class – namely, that those without property are too ill-informed to vote.

    But then again, what else can one expect from the people’s friend and tribune – the imperious Baronius?

  • It’s a similar position to the one held in the beginning of the Republic by the properties class – namely, that those without property are too ill-informed to vote.

    But then again, what else can one expect from the people’s friend and tribune – the imperious Baronius?

  • It’s a similar position to the one held in the beginning of the Republic by the properties class – namely, that those without property are too ill-informed to vote.

    But then again, what else can one expect from the people’s friend and tribune – the imperious Baronius?

  • Mark

    Well phew, Rog #97. I was worried that folks might have to do something.

    Baronius #98, the buzz created by a 10% turnout would be deafening in Washington (and State Houses and local governments).

  • Roger, Did you sneeze while clicking the post comment?

  • Mark,

    We should all boycott the media, not Washington.

  • Mark, you’re too slow for me, and I don’t mean your less-than-immediate response on this particular thread.

    You may have had a life-threatening emergency for all I know, a snow storm or any natural or unnatural disaster, family trouble, any of the above. I don’t care to know and neither is it my business to inqure.

    But when I am engaged, I am engaged. Your weakness is you expect perfection in every one of your remarks, for me perfection emerges out of dialog. I couldn’t care less if I say something stupid, for only from saying something stupid that we ca really learn. I don’t care what others think. We’ve got to try to say what’s unsayable; otherwise, we’re just masterbating. (We’ve been over this before.)

    Consequently, you always keep on leaving me coitus interruptus, always hanging, always short of a climax.

    It is a frustrating experience.

    We’ve been over this before

  • I get your point (#105). But I’ve long ceased regarding Baronius’s comments as worthy of response other in a satirical way.

    He may regard himself an aristocrat but I’ve got news for him: he doesn’t understand the concept.

    You can’t combine nobility with representative democracy – such as serving the ten percent of the electorate. That’s nonsense.

    Nobility, in a true sense, is all-encompassing. It serves all the people. Which is precisely why I keep on referring to the Gracchi brothers, both tribunes of the people, and Julius Caesar. (For all his wisdom, Cicero never understood that.)

    True nobility inevitably results in a populous sentiment, not in factional politics.

  • Mark

    Rog, my participation here has always been based primarily on minimalist comments rather than more structured dialogue or debate which I have less faith in than you. Take my comments for what they are worth to you, and, as I told Cindy, if that’s nothing, it is not a problem. Sorry that I’m too slow to engage you and that that frustrates you; we needn’t plod on in these discussions.

    I look forward to reading your upcoming piece.

  • I was only expressing frustration, Mark.

    If I didn’t value your input, I would be indifferent.

    You say “we needn’t plod on in these discussions.” Well, I say we do.

    It is my understanding that you’re pretty much committed to the same general purpose that I am (or Cindy, for that matter). And if you are, than what are we doing here, really, if “we needn’t plod on in these discussions.”

    I don’t need intellectual stimulation for its own sake. I thought we all were about something bigger and better.

  • And BTW, my “more structured dialogue or debate” haven’t exactly been altogether misplaced. I’d like to believe that I’m being rather judicious about it. I’ve always tried to tailor my dialogue and responses to the audience – the essence of communication.

    Cindy is a paramount example. It’s my unshakable opinion that she deserves the best I can offer.

  • toto

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    The bill is currently endorsed by over 1,707 state legislators (in 48 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in 19 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  • Perhaps our difference amounts to a difference in style. I’d like to believe that.

    But I’d also like to believe that I happen to be adept enough to make the relevant distinction.

    I’ve always tried to give to each as much as they can handle, never more.

    Shall I say, like a Hebrew God?

    What a sacrilege, if Ruvy perchance intercepts this thread?

  • Clavos

    and of course, clavos, why do you fail to mention that almost no insurance companies are even willing to be the primary carrier to someone over 65

    I didn’t leave anything out, zing. As is often the case, you weren’t reading carefully, I said I was already covered by a “cadillac” policy, for which I was paying a $1000 per month premium, and I AM over 65. You can be covered at any age if you can pony up the premium. I can. And I was.

  • Baronius

    “I heard on Morning Joe today, that the Tea Party favors Glen Beck as one of their top conservative leaders.”

    Beck is an entertainer, yes, but so is Joe Scarborough. And there’s no such organization as the “Tea Party”, and they’ve never declared any individuals to be their leaders.

    Anyway, what’s the problem with banning the ill-informed from voting, if it’s done in a fair way?

  • Anyways, would you be amenable if I were to forward it (the article) to you prior to submission?

    In a sense, it’s more radical than anything I’ve ever submitted to BC. But I do want to make certain it’s fit for public consumption.


  • Mark

    Sure, Rog #117.

  • zingzing

    clavos. heh. thought you said you weren’t even close to 70 or 80. i read that.

    so you were forced to take medicare, and forced out of continuing your coverage with the cadillac policy, correct? or, because you were forced into medicare, did the cadillac become your secondary policy?

    and if you can be covered by said cadillac policy at any age, why aren’t you? or are you?

  • What’s wrong is that the so-called “ill-informed” are merely those who happen to disagree with your Highness.

    For crying out loud, Baronius, don’t you listen to the words you so nonchalantly post?

  • Clavos


    “And, for those of you who believe the liars in Washington when they tell you that Obamacare will never refuse needed treatment…”

    how is that different than regular insurance? isn’t that one of the things they’re trying to get rid of?

    Did I say it was different?

    I was pointing out that the liar in the White House has been telling the public that there will be no rationing with his “Obamacare” brand of UHC, which is a bald-faced lie.

    Medicare has rationed care for years (and still has a runaway budget), and it’s a lead pipe cinch Obamacare will, too.

    They are all fuckin’ liars, zing, regardless of ideology or party, — but only when their lips are moving.

  • Clavos

    The insurance companies take advantage of people because they can.

    Remove the obstacles to competition, and make them compete with each other — across state lines, for starters, and insurance WILL become both more comprehensive AND less expensive.

  • Baronius,

    The media is propping the Tea Party up, they have from it’s inception. I see how they are placing their people in races all across this country. Please don’t minimize this fact.

    Who is going to decide a fair way of denying a citizen their right to suffrage, YOU?

    Please, think about what you are saying here.if it’s done in a fair way?

    Also, Joe Scarborough is a former member of the House, correct? So he has political experience.

  • Clavos

    What’s wrong is that the so-called “ill-informed” are merely those who happen to disagree with your Highness.

    maybe. Maybe not.

    I contend that individuals who neither can speak nor read the English language, even if they agree with my ideas, should not be allowed to vote in the United States of America.

    Under those circumstances, there is no way they can be informed enough to be able to cast a reasoned vote.

  • Mark

    I think a ban on the ‘insufficiently warped’ should be instituted immediately at the polls.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I believe that there’s a difference between being ill-informed and disagreeing with me. Do you? You judge us on our submissiveness to you. You insult Mark based on, as near as I can tell, the pace of his responses. If you’d like to debate the substance of my comments, feel free. But I’m not going to bother with personal attacks from you any more.

  • TOTO,

    We have the Fifteenth Amendment for this purpose, so that each state can’t decide who can and cannot vote.

    This is the UNITED STATES.

  • Baronius,

    Please don’t leave! You are talking to ME also, and I don’t talk over every ones head and ignore them.

  • Clavos,

    Just take the damn Medicare! I don’t like ARP sending me literature either.

  • Now I’m mad at this thread! bye

  • Roger,

    Stop trying to act like a human being. Pixels need to maintain their rightful place. It is vital that you do not go around actually engaging with others, as if they are real persons, as if what they say really does matter to you. As if what they say or do or how they act affects you. Like you are a real person or something. Mark is here to play whatever game it is he likes to play. For his own reasons. Your needs in the exchange are irrelevant. It is best you understand that before you take what he says as too important. You may find yourself on his vivisectionist table whilst he decides he’s had enough and just leaves you there, and tells you it’s no problem for him.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I don’t plan on leaving, but I’m not going to waste (as much) time.

    Clavos, we should have to get licenses to vote. Pass a simple 5-minute civics quiz (in English). Nothing as complicated as the citizenship test, although, why shouldn’t it be?

  • Oh bull! Baronius. My grandmother was from Italy, how dare you insult people that immigrate here! This is ethnocentrism and I wont tolerate it!

  • Cindy,

  • Baronius,

    Dead people voted for NIXON! What test did they have to pass?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, you’ll notice that I didn’t insult immigrants.

  • Jeannie? Your message is missing. I thought I would read your article. have a few minutes left from lunch.

  • Baronius,

    Demanding the test in English is not insulting to who?

    NO LITERACY TEST! The next thing you’ll be suggesting is a poll tax, and the way this country is going nobody will be able to afford to vote.

  • Cindy,

    Please do! 🙂

  • I don’t see voting as being useful except to send people all scurrying to defend their party. It is like a wizard of oz trick…that keeps people’s attention away from complete revamping of the system into something designed with human dignity and freedom in mind.

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for. Well, marginally it does. But, put another way–no candidate is going to improve what is broken. What is wrong is systemic.

  • But, never-the-less your article was well written. Reminiscent of my sister’s paper on the suffragettes and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Well done.

  • Mark

    I’m with Cindy, Rog; don’t take anything I say as too important.

  • With all due respect, Baronius, we can agree to disagree.

    “A government that is too efficient is a dictatorship.”-Harry S. Truman

    I’ve been reading him a lot lately…

  • Cindy,

    Thank you.

  • to #141

  • Cindy,

    I have never been registered to any party, I am, and will remain an independent voter. People love to pigeon-hole me here as a blind Obama supporter, and I always say to them, “I am not blind!”

    I think everyone else is, with the exception of Zing, B , Silas, Jet and Glenn, as far as I know today.

    Silas, because he seems fair and balanced in his politics

  • Baronius

    I’d rather see someone vote who knows quantos presidentes than someone who doesn’t know how US presidents we’ve had. But I respect Clavos’s position that a voter would ideally know our system and our language.

  • “You insult Mark based on, as near as I can tell, the pace of his responses.”

    Baronius. The very statement goes to show how wrong you are.

    I love Mark, he’ll be the first to tell you if he’s got the balls.

  • Hey, we’ve got the discussion going, guys.
    Ever Cindy got resurrected from the dead.

    Forgive me for the error of my ways, but I simply refuse to communicate with mere pixels. I won’t.

  • Baronius,

    Maybe Hollywood or the net-works should create a show about voting?

    I’d rather see someone vote who knows quantos presidentes than someone who doesn’t know how many US presidents we’ve had. But I respect Clavos’s position that a voter would ideally know our system and our language.

    And what? You don’t respect mine?

    I added the missing word for you, apparently I’m not alone…

  • Roger,

    Who are you calling a mere pixel? Further more, you didn’t spell all the words in your last comment correctly.

  • Roger,

    Just wait until next time no one will talk to you. I’ll still be here, then you’ll seek out my company, heh?

  • Baronius,

    It’s not a personal attack on you or your person. If I didn’t love you, I’d just walk away. You’re too valuable to let go and get wasted. I couldn’t allow that.

    But you do act as a satyr most of the times; correspondingly, my responses have got to be satirical, can’t you see?

  • Jeannie,

    I’ll play Jesus for a while, chastising the Pharisees and expelling the money changers from the temple.

    I have righteousness behind me, and righteous indignation, and my father in heaver.

    This should carry me for a while.

  • Don’t place yourself that high.

  • What did I do to you?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I mean that I’m inclined to agree with Clavos’s position on this issue. I don’t know if I’d demand English-only, but what he said makes sense. I don’t respect opposition to literacy tests that’s based on their historic misuse. If you want to argue against them, fine. But no one’s talking about using them for the purpose of racial discrimination.

    Roger, I don’t know how to elaborate on my comment #126 without breaking BC comment policy.

  • Baronius,

    Demanding them at all is discrimination.

  • Baronius,

    As I said earlier, this is a Republic, and everyone can join in without first having to know everything about politics.

    The most wonderful thing about learning is that you never stop or know everything, isn’t it?

  • Baronius,

    I don’t want to go away mad, and I’m not. I just get fired up here, and mean no harm. I’m really glad you debate with me, remembering your first words, “I’ve seen your web-site and I don’t think we have anything in common, maybe you should find someone else to talk to.” remember? 🙂

    It’s paraphrased , however, that was the flavor…bye for now. 🙂

  • Baronius,

    Your #126 is in response to my #101 and #120. How on earth do you take those as any kind of personal attack is beyond me.

    It goes to show that you have never been taken on the carpet and chastised by the Jesuit brothers for your little mischiefs when you were a brat.

    Boy oh boy, what a sorry childhood you must have had – all that growing up into respectable adulthood and no fun and games, not even spanking on the butt.

  • Missed your point, Clavos (#124) in between all the static.

    Of course. But I don’t think Baronius has meant it in that restrictive sense. Indeed, it did come across as a vestige from our past.

    Plato might have agreed, since the Republic was his ideal. But Plato is anachronistic, and in the very same vein, so is Baronius.

    For better or worse, we are a democracy in form and spirit, oligarchy in fact. So why not just maintain the pretense? What’s there to be gained by tightening the screws?

    The best kind of fascism is fascism that is not recognized for being so. Let the sleeping dogs lie.

    So either Baronius is a revolutionary at heart or rather naive about the inner workings of politics.

    Let them all have their bread, their circuses. And let them all vote.

  • STM

    Jeannie: “Making this country a Republic and not a Democracy”.

    Jeannie, for some reason, Americans love to split hairs on this issue.

    Yes, it’s a republic. It’s also one of the first of the modern democracies (along with your cousins the Brits). In the modern sense, none of the modern democracies are literally democracy like that of ancient Greece.

    democracy is no longer used in the archaic sense, and hasn’t for a long time.

    Which is why successive American presidents have used the term democracy to describe the American political system.

    It’s also why the CIA uses the term to describe any representative government … including ours, which is not a republic under a constitution but a constitutional monarchy, and yours.

    Both are democracies.

  • STM,

    I know it’s a Democracy, however, because of the Electoral College we don’t have one vote for each citizen, am I correct?

    Did you check out the second link? It has an inter-active map that is very interesting, you can see how the country has changed after each election, and it also shows all the different political parties that we have had. It still seems as though there has always been two in power at a time, and that’s the problem here, at least IMO.

    :)good to see you.

  • STM

    “It still seems as though there has always been two in power at a time … the problem here”.

    That’s pretty standard, except in some of the unworkable democracies of Europe (Italy springs to mind here) and south america. In most of south america and central america, I’d use the term democracy pretty loosely.

    The electoral college might seem unrepresentative, but it’s probably not any more unrepresentative than many other places since it’s used to elect the key players in the executive. My theory is that the executive in the US has too much power, and that often a president will be run (like Bush) by unelected members of cabinet.

    I don’t get the idea of that much power being in the hands of people who can be chisen on a whim by the head of the executive. There’s no doubt Rumsfeld had huge influence in Bush’s cabinet, and Cheney – who wasn’t elected to actually run the country but as back up – also wielded too much power.

    Still, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

    The US needs to introduce proportional representation and preferential voting, especially for the senate, to become more representative (enabling smaller parties to hold the balance of power so there is no voting for legislation simply on party lines). Compulsory voting would help too … or at least what we do here, compulsory ticking off of your name at the polling booth, because they can’t make you vote in a secret ballot as you’re free to enter a blank vote if you wish. Not voting is punishable by a small fine – $75 – but carries no criminal record).

    The other problem with the US is that essentially, the President has too much power. In effect, Americans vote in a monarch every presidential election, but not a monarch who has been stripped of power and given a ceremonial role both inside and outside the executive arm of government.

    There’s a lot wrong with it. But then nowhere’s perfect … including this joint, where we elect the leader of a party as head of government rather than a direct candidate, and the Queen (or here representaive) still fulfills an executive role. I like it, but Americans don’t understand it and it’s been very divisive here as half the country wants a republic.

    Mind you, when we look at what you guys go through, it’s a sobering thought. Perhaps we shouldn’t try to fix what ain’t broken.

    One thing I DO like about parliamentary democracy as opposed to the US system is that parliament can be dissolved in the event of a crisis or lack of confidence, and a government is then decided on again by the people at the polls.

    So you can have a government going really badly and you can remove it before its full term by being given the opportunity to vote it out of office.

    Not sure that’d be good for the US, though, given the polarity and intensity of opinion of political thought in America at each end of the two-party spectrum. If that happened in America, you’d be going to the polls twice a year 🙂

  • Baronius

    STM, I unfortunately agree with your last paragraph. If American politicians had the power to call a vote, they wouldn’t do anything else.

    Our system does allow the legislature to keep a check on the executive branch while giving him latitude in foreign policy matters. I like that balance – although we should do a better job of keeping it in balance.

  • STM,

    This is one of my biggest objections to our Government, there are too many people secretly wielding power behind those that we have elected. How do we stop it?

    My theory is that the executive in the US has too much power, and that often a president will be run (like Bush) by unelected members of cabinet.

    Compulsory voting would be great. However, you see people here calling for literacy tests, they don’t want to be inclusive, there also would be many people yelling that the government has taken away their freedom, by forcing a vote.

    If we could dissolve each other, we would be voting every weekend!

    What many people are fighting right now, is health care reform, and I can’t understand why? If we don’t try to fix this now, it’s estimated that another ten million people will be without any health care in the next five years. That makes this imperfect bill look even better tonight!

  • Baronius,

    STM, makes a lot of sense, certainly more than just his last paragraph, especially concerning the hidden power of unelected individuals.

  • Baronius,

    What would you do to stop unelected individuals from pulling strings behind the scenes?

    Wouldn’t you agree,that we should have a transparent society so that you know exactly where your tax dollars are being spent and by whom?

  • Clavos

    My grandmother was from Italy…

    Big deal, Jeannie. Everybody’s ancestors were born elsewhere, we’re ALL immigrants (except for the Indians).

  • Snappy! 🙂 You didn’t like my wise-crack about Medicare, and especially, AARP! HUH…

    Lets face it, What a drag it is getting old…Rolling Stones

  • “I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

    :)Nite Clavos

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, based on prior comments that STM has made, I don’t think he meant that the way Silas would. He’s referring to the Cabinet, not some behind-the-scenes power.

    As for transparency, I think it became a buzzword when Obama used it to criticize Bush. But now that he’s in office, he’s beginning to see how difficult it is.

  • STM

    Jeannie, we don’t really have compulsory vioting here. We’ve had the secret ballot here for 150 years. What we do have is compulsory attendance at the polling place. Successive studies have found that once people have made their way there, very few then waste their vote.

    Everyone’s name is on an electoral roll and if you move house, you have to change from one roll to another. On polling day, you have to go the polling place – usually the local school hall – and have your name crossed off the roll before going to a booth to register your vote (or not).

    Then you can do what you like. You can either register a vote or drop a blank voting ticket into a secure box, which is overseen by volunteers from the Electoral Commission who are independent and impartial (there has never been a suggestion of electoral fraud as far back as I can remember – but then we don’t use dodgy voting machines 🙂

    It’s not against the law not to vote. It’s against the law not to go to the polling place and have your name crossed off the list.

    It works well because it engages the whole electorate both politically in general and in the voting process. That way, the government fears the people, not the other way around.

    I see it as no different from, say, parents being forced to send their chhildren to school or drivers being made to get a driver’s licence.

    Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a privelege and a responsibility. There’s no point moaning about outcomes if you don’t vote. We’ve had it here since the 1924 and it seems to work well.

    It certainly keeps the politicians on their toes as they know if they go too far they’ll be for the high jump.

    However, the one thing I dislike is that I don’t get to directly elect a leader: the party chooses the leader and you’ll vote for the party AND the leader you like. But leaders can be changed mid-term in partyroom spills.

    Of course, what’s great about all this is that we have a choice – over there, down here – and can discuss this stuff openly and freely without fear or favour and actually DO get a voice.

    Perhaps, for all the imperfections, we should be thankful for small mercies.

  • Baronius,

    An example of unelected power that I can show right now is the control boards that have been able to take over counties in New York State; we allow unelected individuals on these boards to dictate policy and procedure to our elected officials.

    How is this possible?

    If they can be over-ridden, then why do we hold elections?

    We need to be extremely vigilante of our political process and raise our voices, or the status quo will remain.

    You said yesterday in referring to non-participation in the vote:

    The people in power would be elated if no one voted. You’re not going to shame them into attentiveness by not voting. As a rule, an increase in voters means that people are angry. If enough people refuse to vote, the message will be that everyone’s content.

    This principle applies to every aspect of our lives.

    As you can see, I have a loud voice, a lot to say, and I know that someone can hear me!

    This morning during, C-Span’s Washington Journal, I had the opportunity to talk about health care, and gave BC a nice plug. 🙂

  • I’ve never understood Americans who don’t vote. In Australia, where I’m from, it’s compulsory. You may think that this is authoritarian until you realize that where voting is optional, the result can depend on the weather. Making it mandatory, helps produce a fairer and more accurate result.

  • Geoff,

    I hope we can move forward with health care reform.

    If the American people finally see that the federal government is not the enemy, then maybe we could improve a lot of the ways we go about running this country.

    It is truly ironic that the person who convinced this country to distrust their government was, Ronald Reagan, and he stole this idea from, the hippies.

    History shows that many aspects from the sixties culture were taken and profited from, just not the Peace, Love , and Understanding. How sad…

  • Here is a great quote:

    “Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a privilege and a responsibility. There’s no point moaning about outcomes if you don’t vote.”-STM


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I don’t know any specifics about New York. Other than that, I’m not even sure what we’re talking about.

  • Baronius,

    Erie County was taken over by a control board a few years ago, and although there are elections the board still remains in charge. That’s funny, a lot of people say that to me. :)lol

  • Baronius,

    Here is a link to the

    Have you ever seen this happen anywhere else?

  • cannonshop

    #10 Hi Jeannie, sorry I’m late, been sick (actually broke down, went to doctor yesterday-wife had to drive me-I was so bad off I wasn’t even the least bit scared-either that, or the classes worked and she’s actually a good driver with confidence issues keeping her from making the appointment to turn the Learner’s permit into a driver’s license. It’s a few days until she’s thirty, so maybe THAT will ‘encourage’ her to go putt around with the examiner…)

    Read your article, you ignored Wyoming, which gave Women the vote (and put the first woman in the congress) PRIOR to the 15th amendment.

    (Then again, you blue-stater lefties ignore westerners anyway…esp. when we’re ahead of you by decades on causes you think are yours.)

    But, I’ll ask you something: would you give a loaded gun (or a button that fires a loaded gun) to someone who can’t read, or is so apathetic they don’t care what the backstop is?

    The vote is a loaded gun, because government power is backed by a guarantee of lethal force. (not money, not gold, bullets, and it’s not a suggestion, it’s a GUARANTEE of lethal force. Resist any law long enough, and it WILL happen.)

    Mind you, I’m more concerned with the potential threat of who-makes-the-rules than the idea of the rules themselves, so on a practical scale, I’d have to agree that we can’t afford ‘literacy tests’ or rolling back the current system to an earlier model, but I think it’s dreadfully false to assume someone who hasn’t bothered to educate themselves on the positions of candidates or (as in this state I live), the text of a citizens’ ballot initiative, to post a vote that isn’t fundamentally destructive, rather than constructive.

    (basically, if you can’t be bothered to know what’s going on, how can you register a valid opinion?)

    So it’s really a lot thornier issue than you think in your article (haven’t even got past the 25th comment yet, so I don’t know if anyone else has brought this up…)

    But…here’s what I believe:

    the 25th Amendment was a mistake. It’s a mistake we have to live with now, but it was a mistake-giving someone with no experience living on their own power over others is ALWAYS a mistake, it’s like giving a loaded handgun to a child in the middle of a shopping mall, without giving them the skills to understand why firing it is wrong.

    We don’t let eighteen year olds drink alcohol…but we let the make decisions that impact more lives than they could driving drunk.

    BUT, we must live with that decision, because erring on the side of “More Freedom” is always better than “Less Freedom”.

    What we maybe ought to consider, though, is requiring paper ballots across all 50 states. It’s certainly less convenient, but so far, I don’t know anyone that can remote-access a slip of cardstock and alter the inks laid thereon. (if I ever DO meet such a person, well…that might let me believe in magic again.)

    The best security for information remains a locked cabinet, and what is a vote other than a bit of information?

    WE as a nation should ALSO assure that the people who vote are actually there-that they actually exist, are citizens of the correct legal age, are not serving time as felons, i.e. that they’re legally entitled to vote under the Constitution of the United States of America. THAT we as a society CAN do. It’s called “Request picture I.D. at the polling place” and restrict absentee ballots to people who really need them (Soldiers serving overseas, for instance, actually need them-giving them to Uncle Ferd who wants to go on vacation? not as much. If you can’t be bothered to adjust your schedule to vote, maybe you shouldn’t be voting this election.)

    People VALUE things that they must expend effort to do. They do NOT value that which is handed or given to them.

  • cannonshop,

    I am Sorry to hear your not feeling well and happy that your wife is learning to drive.:)

    I didn’t intentionally-ignore Wyoming, one of the more progressive States, and I’m glad that you read the links too!(I was just trying to get to my point and became impatient, this almost turned into War and Peace.)

    Wyoming is progressive and gave the right to suffrage to foreigners, as long as they intended to become an American citizen that’s intended

    Whether someone speaks English as a first language should not be a deciding factor, as long as the Electoral Collage represents them and they are taxpayers; then they should have the right to vote. After all, they can join the service and die on foreign soil for this country, Yes?

    The vote is a loaded gun, because government power is backed by a guarantee of lethal force. (not money, not gold, bullets, and it’s not a suggestion, it’s a GUARANTEE of lethal force. Resist any law long enough, and it WILL happen.)

    this why we should have a compulsory vote in America, it would insure participation and then the apathy towards politics might dissipate. I would like to suggest a movie, mini-series, or a reality show about voting.

    I’m more concerned with the potential threat of who-makes-the-rules than the idea of the rules themselves,

    So am I! Moreover, lobbyists, lawyers and big money appear to be making our laws, and this must end! The process has shut us out. If we were ever in it is a big question in my mind.

    basically, if you can’t be bothered to know what’s going on, how can you register a valid opinion? See, canonshop, this is what I don’t like, and allow me to tell you why.

    The first time I voted, McGovern was running and I didn’t know anything about politics, however, I did know that I was an American citizen and that felt good!

    We cannot make our politics only for the highly educated, because then it is an elitists club, and we don’t work that way.

    You are very intelligent and the person standing in line next to you might be as dumb as a box of toothpicks, but you have one wonderful thing in common, you both care about your world. That is reason enough to vote.

    The 25th Amendment was a mistake?

    Then we bring all of our young men and woman home tomorrow, because I am sick to death reading their ages in silence to honor their deaths in unjust wars fought on foreign land for oil!

    The best security for information remains a locked cabinet, and what is a vote other than a bit of information?

    We had a factory here called AVM, Automatic Voting Machine. I liked these, now computers have replaced them and the factory closed years ago. Paper is better, although I saw bags of ballots thrown in the garbage on a documentary about the 2000 election.

    WE as a nation should ALSO assure that the people who vote are actually there-that they actually exist, are citizens of the correct legal age, are not serving time as felons, i.e. that they’re legally entitled to vote under the Constitution of the United States of America. THAT we as a society CAN do. It’s called “Request picture I.D. at the polling place” and restrict absentee ballots to people who really need them (Soldiers serving overseas, for instance, actually need them-giving them to Uncle Ferd who wants to go on vacation? not as much. If you can’t be bothered to adjust your schedule to vote, maybe you shouldn’t be voting this election.

    Dead people voted for Nixon, and that was a crime. However, in New York State, repeat drunk drivers are felons, I’m not condoning this mind you, but I would like to make the case that if someone can go to rehab and stop drinking then they should be participating voters once more.

    Therefore, again you have to look at the reason for the felony. In addition, there are people falsely charged for crimes committed in the future, we have also seen this practice.

    As far as absentee, my mother ran a grocery store alone for several years and used absentee for that reason.

    Apparently, we both disagree very agreeably here. 🙂

  • STM

    Zing: “Coffee Party:

    You’d prefer The Birthday Party, right??

    I’d like to set up the The Beach Party.

    I know a guy who was elected to state parliament here as a member of The Outdoor Recreation Party.

    He got on the ticket for the upper house and kind of got dragged along on preferences (that’s the advantage of perferential voting, I guess, although in this case plenty of people disagreed).

    Yep, exactly as it sounds, too. At taxpayers’ expense, he was able spend some years legitimately “exploring” and researching the outdoor recreation facilities and their potential of this state … you know, beaches, rivers, bushwalking trails, etc.

    Which meant some years of exploring the outdoors of a paradise on the edge of the south pacific. None of us could believe he’d done it.

    Then he got into a bit of strife and had to throw it in amid a blaze of publicity … but that’s another story.

  • STM

    Cannon: “We don’t let eighteen year olds drink alcohol…”

    No, but they still do … and you let ’em go off to fight wars, right. Old enough to fight for Uncle Sam, old enough to cast a vote.

    That aside, hope you’re feeling better Cannon. Car broke down too? Hate hose kinda days when nothing goes bloody right.

  • cannonshop

    Jeannie, as the example of G. Gordon Liddy shows, even a Felon can, through legal processes, have those rights suspended by conviction restored. (Liddy was convicted of Obstruction of Justice, this under NFA 1938 suspends his right to keep and bear arms-he managed, through legal means, to have both his second amendment, and right to vote, restored.) Similar procedures should be in place for non-violent felons including your repeat drunk-drivers. AS for the question of the falsely accused, there should, probably, be penalties for bearing false witness, as well as mandatory reparations for those acquitted after the fact. (certainly, doctoring evidence should be a felony-Mark Furman not only blew the OJ case doing it, but should’ve faced prison for doing so-shoddy work SHOULD ALWAYS have penalties when it impacts the rights or lives of someone else.)

    But…let me ask you-what justifies something being a felony? There is a constitutional definition, but then, there are state definitions as well. Certainly under current law, a Misdemeanour domestic violence charge is sufficient to suspend a citizen’s right to bear arms, I think that might be a good point to start-the Vote is a gun to the head of someone else, you probably shouldn’t let a child-beater or wife-beater or child rapist have that gun (or any other), likewise someone convicted of spying for a foreign power, or grand theft, or massive embezzlement (Grand theft, but without the blue-collar trappings-stealing by wire or by bureaucratic procedure).

    Likewise for Fraud, or selling crack to eleven year olds, or pimping twelve year old girls on the street.

    (Prostitutes, on the other hand, probably SHOULD retain this right-after all, we let Lawyers,Politicians, CEO’s and Union Bosses vote…)

    My problem with absentees, is that it’s so damned easy to falsify a registration that just about every election the last two decades, some radio-station or college group’s registered a household pet, zoo animal, or utterly fictitious person as a voter in order to gather publicity or advertise a programme. Without the ability to verify (or even just ‘see’ someone with the VR card in-hand), the stuffing of ballot boxes is not just likely, but inevitable, especially in close races, and along with that, the allegations of fraud (Bush/Gore 2000, Washington Elections 2004, various accusations in 2008…)

    The allegations, in turn, damage the legitimacy of the vote itself-particularly in close races. (not so much in utter blow-outs) I know of at least ONE district in King County where the number of votes cast for our incumbent Governor in 2004 exceeded the population of that district. Do Not Fool yourself, this shit happens, and it happens because the system is deeply vulnerable to exploitation (whether by right or left.)

    Oh, and Jeannie?

    Nixon was a Machine Politician, just like most of the Democrats today. In states with entrenched political machines, the dead vote early, often, and sometimes in multiple districts in the same election.

  • STM

    Literacy tests for voters? That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? What if you’re dyslexic or have a learning disability but you can still think clearly about the political process?

    However, I do agree that migrant citizens to a new country need to learn the lingo.

    No English, or no attempt to learn it, no citizenship, therefore no right to vote.

    If you can’t give enough respect to the country that has welcomed you, and opened its doors to you, by doing something as simple as trying to learn its language, then you don’t deserve any respect from that country in return.

    At least make the effort … and if you have an ideological or religious opposition to learning the language (or having a spouse or partner or child learning it), best you never came in the first place – and the good thing is, door’s always open both ways.

  • STM

    Geoff Hasler: “where voting is optional, the result can depend on the weather”.

    Bingo Geoff, and it’s only attendance at the polling place that’s mandatory. But Americans will see even that as an abrogation of their rights.

    I don’t think we’ll convert them.

    You and I both know it works, though.

  • The first time I voted, Dukakis was running and I didn’t know anything about politics, however, I did know that I was an American citizen and that felt good!

    🙂 I always mix those two names up!

  • cannonshop,

    G. Gordon Liddy had enough money to afford a good lawyer. In fact, now we are watching him in, buy gold commercials.

    I agree with you concerning felons, what is the deciding factor that constitutes a felony? Moreover, is rehabilitation possible?

    We should not allow absentee votes no matter what the circumstance, then it would be fair for all.

    However, have you really given STM and Geoff’s system a thought?

    Disenfranchise no one and you don’t have to vote, but you have to show up. Furthermore, if you show up, then you are most likely going to vote; this is total participation. It’s not a lost right; rather it’s the true exercise of suffrage by the entire nation.

    Nixon was a Machine Politician, just like most of the Democrats today. In states with entrenched political machines, the dead vote early, often, and sometimes in multiple districts in the same election.

    :)I think Republicans might also resemble this statement.

    Whatever the outcome of the next election may be, as Independents, my husband and I feel disenfranchised. I called to ask if we could work the polls and they informed me that only Republicans or Democrats could be present, this is one more reason to want more than two parties calling all the shots!

    P.S. I want to encourage your wife to drive, I was 38 before I learned, and I haven’t run over my husband yet…Tell her, it’s never too late! 🙂

  • STM,

    I can’t agree with this.

    No English, or no attempt to learn it, no citizenship, therefore no right to vote.

    We have the ability to translate, literature, TV commercials, and the web.

    My grandmother tried with all her might to learn English, and the closest she came to it was to call, The Lawrence Welk show- Jonsa Wax. This was the commercial they showed during the program. She was very proud to live in America.

    :)We want to move to Australia! My husband was asking about Vegemite, do you eat that? How does it taste?

  • zingzing

    stm: “Zing: “Coffee Party: You’d prefer The Birthday Party, right??”

    you fuckin’ right. HANDS UP WHO WANTS TO DIE!!!!!

  • zingzing


  • STM

    Jeannie: “My grandmother tried with all her might to learn English”.

    My point precisely … at least she was trying Jeannie. Those who try get full marks. Those who couldn’t care less don’t deserve anything.

    Vegemite?? All I’ll say about Vejjiemoite for the unitiated – Americans 🙂 – is that there’s a trick to it: Less is more.

    The trick I have played on Amercans from time to time is quite cruel. I tell them it’s our peanut butter. “Go on, have a spoonful”.

    They usually rush for a glass of water whilst holding their throat and going “Aaaargh”. It’s very salty, but mixes nicely with butter and a thin smear on toast is a delicious, kind of beefy-tasting savoury treat. We all grew up on it though. I think if you haven’t. it’s really an acquired taste.

    Lots of Italians here too Jeannie. Place is full of people of Italian descent.

    And people from everywhere else. There are also lots of Americans – quite remarkable how often you’ll hear an American accent in say, Kmart, now – here too these days as they no longer have to give up their US citizenship to become Australian citizens.

    Americans like it here because they feel at home. If you put your fingers in your ears, you really couldn’t tell you weren’t in the US. I suppose it’s like a cross between Britain and the US, but in the sunshine. Like America, like Britain, bit like Canada too, but just a shade different from each.

    We tend to like Americans here too. Can’t work out why, but we do 🙂

  • cannonshop

    #193 Everybody dies, Zing, it’s how you live.

    #192 So, you’d disenfranchise deployed military personnel? I hardly consider that ‘fair’. Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a responsibility, if some folks won’t put their personal business aside for the twenty minutes to half an hour it takes, well…

    If someone won’t take the initiative, then maybe they shouldn’t have to be dragged in and forced to, and maybe it shouldn’t be easy or idiot proof. People value things they work for, people value things that are difficult. I’d rather have an illegal who’s put the effort in voting, than a citizen who has to be led by the nose to the polls-at least the Illegal cared enough to show up on his or her own.

    It’s a matter of initiative and responsibility-if someone doesn’t have the sense of responsibility to take the initiative, they really aren’t responsible enough to point the political/legal gun at someone else.

  • STM,

    Oh, Like beef jerky.:)

    I think our countries are a lot alike, this one needs weeding, that’s all. I’m not talking about people, I’m referring to greed.

    this is my nightly ritual, i leave a little quote for BC, I’ll be right back.

  • cannonshop,

    Do you mean #191? I said all or none, sorry, that was a little extreme. Absentee vote should be for the military, I agree with your original comment.


  • “All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.” -John Adams

    I love that everyone is here debating, I’ll catch anything directed at me tomorrow. I hate to leave, but I’m too tired to stay…

    :)Nite, STM, cannonshop, zing, and BC

  • cannonshop

    What do the newsies always natter about every election?

    Yeah, voter turn-out. Every election I’ve been alive to witness was preceded in some form or another by someone turning up and implementing some new idea to ‘make voting easier’ and turnout stays low. Mind that it was, by comparison, a lot higher before I was born, when people were struggling and fighting and working for it.

    I think there’s a lesson there. If it isn’t handed to people, they value it more. Before they decided to close the polling places here and do it all by mail-in (bastards), most of the people I saw at my local polling station on election day were “new Americans”- Vietnamese, Russian, Middle-eastern, Eastern European. A few old ladies manning the stalls, and a lot of immigrant-americans and minorities-in other words, people to whom voting actually Mattered, as opposed to the lazy white adult children sitting around listening to their “Radio Free America” or “Rush Limbaugh” who bitch, whine moan and complain that their vote doesn’t matter, but don’t bother to take the five to twenty minutes out of one day a year to go in and mark a ballot in person. (Said dirtbags only vote ever four years or so…maybe.)

    Digressing for a moment, Tea Parties are fine-I want to see if those folks will get off their lazy asses and go to the damn polls after their sudden anger’s had a year to cool back into complacency, or if they just “Forgot to check the mail” and didn’t bother again.

  • STM

    Cannon: “Forgot to check the mail” and didn’t bother again.

    That’s why you need to force Americans to at least attend a polling place and get their names ticked off the electoral roll.

    Once inside, most people will deliver a vote – that’s our experience since 1924.

    It really does work.

    Mind you, in the US you might need to open up a few more places like school halls and the like for polling. I’ve heard the queues can really get out of hand at polling places during American elections, whicfh probably does put some people off.

    Still, like I said, no point whingeing about election results if you weren’t there to tick the boxes.

  • STM

    Hey Jeannie, speaking of Americans moving here … the Premier of New South Wales, which would be the Aussie equivalent of being California Governor, is an American.

    She’s very popular personally but she’s leading a lameduck government that is set to be ousted in the state election in 2011.

    She’s also wasn’t directly elected as leader (although she was elected as a member of parliament) – she has replaced two other state Premiers who were knifed by the party, which is how things work here as you vote for the party (although of course, we do vote for the leader too if we like them and parties actively go looking for leaders who do personally appeal to the voters).

    She’s married to an Aussie and is very capable and very presentable. She’s not the first American to serve in the NSW state parliament either … there have been quite a few over the years.

    We love her, but we hate the government … and sadly, the government she’s inherited is so bad, and so incompetent, it’s unlikely she will be able to turn things around.

    She’ll be a good Opposition Leader though after 2011.

  • STM

    Here she is … Premier Kristina Keneally, our very own Yank heading up Australia’s most populous state. She was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Toledo but her mum’s an Aussie, and I think her grandfather on the American side of her family was an Aussie too. Not 100 per cent certain of how the lineage works but I’m pretty sure that’s the case.

  • STM
  • zingzing

    cannonshop: “Everybody dies, Zing, it’s how you live.”

    warming the damp and rotten seed
    warming the damp and rotten seed
    that blooms into the DEMON FLOWER
    now both fire and flowers consume me.

  • cannonshop

    #205, Gothy, Zing. I may ask my wife to paint that.

    #201 Stan…dude. Sometimes you guys down south, you really don’t understand us, and I think this is one of those times. Americans by nature are a passive-aggressive bunch with a fairly long fuse, and a brutal explosion of temper. (ask the Iraqis about this, or Manny Noriega.) forcing people to show up and vote? no. not a good idea. I honestly don’t think we have enough cops to enforce that, and it wouldn’t last long on the books. (think: 19th Amendment-prohibition.)

    It’s a responsibility thing-if you shirk your responsibilities, imho, you deserve the natural outcome of that choice. (as RUSH (the band, not the fat guy) said in their song “Free Will”, ‘if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.’

    Same thing here. Compulsory takes it from being a Right, and makes it a requirement.

    on the other hand, Americans also put more value in things they have to inconvenience themselves to do-they value it more, it’s weird, but it’s true-kids have no real problem abusing the crap out of a car that mom and dad gave them no-strings, but they take care of one that they had to pay for and/or fix/rebuild. Christmas gifts often end up in the thrift store or gathering dust, but clothes bought from earnings are cared for and maintained. Get it? FORCE an american to do the thing they love to do, and they’ll start hating it, and finding ways to avoid doing it, or seek a means to escape.

    It’s part of what makes our culture so sick and wrong in the eyes of the rest of the world. Americans are always trying to find ways to avoid Jury duty, a task that doesn’t exist in most of the legal systems world wide throughout history. There’s a reason for this.

    but beyond all of that, if people aren’t willing to be involved, then…well, it’s their option, and honestly, if someone is that apathetic, I don’t think they SHOULD vote (though they should be ALLOWED to.)

    it’s the difference between being permitted to do a thing, and being required to do a thing, okay?

  • STM,

    I’d vote for her in a heartbeat!

    She’s American, for a start. A young working mother of two, Keneally is also a feminist theologian and former teacher with a passion for social justice.

    We need more people here who realise that you can have both the fee market and social justice for all.

    I’m calling every congress member, senator, and the White House today, my message is short and sweet, “Pass the damn bill and let’s move forward!”

    🙂politely, of course

  • zing,

    I hope that’s a song an not a comment about my new profile…


  • cannonshop

    #207 Jeannie, the difference between you and I, is that I don’t feel that “any bill is just fine as long as it can be rammed into place before the next election” and you, apparently, do feel this way.

    Law is a gun to the head of everyone. at bare minimum, it must pass the test of ‘does it work as intended?’ with laws that are essentially new entitlements, the next question is, ‘can we afford it?’ and that question MUST be viewed using the worst projected numbers, not the most optimistic in terms of actual economic growth, and what the tax-base is most likely to consist of in both the immediate, and long-term projections.

    My state’s doing better than most, we’re hovering at 9.5% unemployed and a condition of stagnant growth with a deficit this year equal to the surplus of two years ago (Two billion dollars)-the money to deal with that, is likely going to have be raised by raising taxes AND cutting services. (Gov. Gregoire’s budget shows this-though since WE run on a consumption tax, the tax increases may well back-fire, esp. since there are so many reasons NOT to smoke cigarettes already-which is a major source of state income.)

    The U.S. as a federal uses an income-tax, tariffs (largely sabotaged by free trade agreements-treaties with the force of law that can’t be abrogated), and user fees. Entitlements make up a major portion of non-discretionary spending on the Federal level, as does debt-service on our existing debt, as well as each yearly deficit.

    Increasing expenditures does NOT improve this debt situation, and this debt situation devalues the currency, and aids in prolonging economic stagnation.

    So, your bill has to fit two vital criteria:

    1. Can We Afford This Right Now? the answer is NO we CAN NOT. as nice as it is, the U.S. is a debtor nation with a declining production of wealth curve-i.e. you can chatter about service economics, but at the end of the day, if you want to see a service economy in action, visit a tourist town out of season, and drive past the tourist parts.

    it’s not pretty.

    2. Will it work as advertised. The answer again, is “NO”-too many cooks, too many compromises, too many pieces inserted to fit the demands of too many conflicting interests, and too much of it is based on pollyanna views of the future economic situation.

    People who don’t want to live in homeless shelters or cardboard boxes, don’t set their baseline budgets on the assumption of a boom that isn’t coming, much less one that has already gone away.

  • cannonshop,

    I don’t feel that “any bill is just fine as long as it can be rammed into place before the next election”

    However, I do know that we have to end this cost shifting, because the American people, the ones that can still afford health care, are going to take on even more of the burden of health care costs, while the CEOs are going to continue to rake in huge bonuses and record profits for their companies.

    We will pass and Amend. This is my wish.

    I’m writing a response to you in another program, so that my grammar will be correct. I’ll be back in a two or few. 🙂

  • I am actually becoming more conservative in thought, and I wonder if it’s noticeable. 🙂

  • cannonshop,

    RE. #200

    They decided to close the polling places here and do it all by mail-in.

    This is a very red flag! Voter suppression has to be one of our largest problems, and when coupled with Voter apathy, it becomes lethal.

    Who closed your polls? We have fire-halls, schools and church halls here in NY, but I have seen what happens in large cities where people wait in huge lines for hours and give up or when they finally make it to the door, the place closes or their name is not in the register. This is not coincidence or accident, I think it is purposeful and one more ploy to win elections.

    Mail-in for all is a really bad idea, because the best intentions can be lost in the house or forgotten when other more pressing problems arise.

    I saw at my local polling station on election day were “new Americans”- Vietnamese, Russian, Middle-eastern, Eastern European. A few old ladies manning the stalls, and a lot of immigrant-americans and minorities-in other words, people to whom voting actually Mattered.

    I think new Americans appreciate what they now have and have had to work very hard for their new citizenship. I also think that we have spoiled and coddled this generation that is now coming into its own, we can directly blame this on our commercial culture.

    In addition, we have a very narrow view in this country and the “world war II mentality” not only persists, it is also something many of our children have embraced, Yesterday I heard a congressional representative claim that America was the greatest country in the world and that we had the best health care as is. It’s OK to acknowledge other nations in this world and to recognize other ways of governing.

    There are other countries doing better in many areas than us right now, and we really need to take some advice from all resources available if we are to survive as a nation.

    Once again, I point to STM and Geoff’s compulsory voting as the answer.

  • STM

    Jeannie: “new Americans”- Vietnamese, Russian, Middle-eastern, Eastern European.

    You guys use that term too eh? We call ’em “New Australians” here … a nebulous category but at least it’s benign.

  • STM

    Cannon, the big thing for us is there are only 20 million of us. Can you imagine a turn out of, say, 30 per cent of people of voting age.

    I don’t known what the population was in 1924 when they introduced it but the population in WWI was only about five million … perhaps not even that much.

    Hardly anyone gets fined here for not turning up. People just do it now, like getting their kids educated, or doing the driving test.

    I still think it works and it works well. Of course, as I say, it’s a secret ballot so they can’t actually force you to vote.

    But well over 90 per cent do.

    However, as for understanding you guys, I do, only too well; I’ve been saying in all my posts that it would never happen in America for the very reasons you cite.

    Each to their own … but I think you have to do something to get out of the morass.

    Maybe preferential voting and proportional representation are the answer.

  • STM

    As for that stuff about kids looking – anyone – looking after stuff they pay for, it’s the same here.

    We are probably worse than you guys when it comes to being anti-authoritarian.

    Which is probably the reason they HAD to introduce compulsory voting, or no one would have turned up when the pub or the beach or the barbecue is looking infinitely better than standing in a line at a polling booth getting bothered by party wokers handing out how-to-vote handbills.

    That’s my take on why they did it. ‘Cause they had to.

  • There is a good example of the apathy that has infected our government on C-Span 2 right now. They are voting, on HR 2847- Jobs bill, and the chamber is almost empty. It just passed and immediately it has been asked to reconsider the vote and lay it back on the table.

    Now, I’m not a political science major, however I can recognize obstruct and stall when I see it!

  • This health care reform bill will go through with the blessings of most of people in this country. I don’t care how many polls, commercials, or organized protests flood the Capitals’ steps, it will pass.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop: “Gothy, Zing. I may ask my wife to paint that.”

    make sure it comes out funny in practice.

  • Baronius

    Most of the people don’t support the current health care legislation. It’s something like 36% in favor, 48% against.

  • Most people agree that doing nothing is no longer an option.

  • Good morning, Baronius!

    It’s amazing to see all of the good information and points that are consistently over-looked by well meaning and polite Conservatives.


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, what do you mean by #221?

    As for #220, I’ve never heard anyone call for doing nothing. We’ve been discussing the Dem and Rep proposals for health care on BC for months.

  • This thread has become my Twitter page. I changed so many settings , that I can no longer log in. I can see it! but I can’t add to it.

  • zingzing

    baronius, do you even think those people (on either side) have read it? do you think those numbers represent what people actually think, or is that more what they think they should think?

    with killing grandma, socialism, death panels, “keep your gov’t hands off my medicare,” blah, blah, blah, it’s obvious that there is a shitload of ignorance and bullshit just being made up.

    people don’t know what they want, because they don’t even know what the options are.

  • It’s not meant to be an insult, Baronius. Not at all, I just wanted you to read some of my other comments here, maybe #212 would be good?

  • zingzing

    baronius… what rep proposals? the one i’ve heard of was a joke (i think). maybe they were serious. other than that… it’s all just “no.” those aren’t proposals. they’d rather do nothing.

  • We want something besides, start over and wait.

  • Baronius

    Zing, that’s a funny comment for this thread. I thought the point was that all American people should have a voice. Now you’re saying that we shouldn’t listen to the ones that disagree with you, because they probably don’t understand health care as well as you do?

  • Baronius

    Zing, even the President has been talking about the Republican proposals, remember? Jeannie did an article about all those GOP ideas that he’s incorporated into his plan.

    The Republicans have emphasized portability, interstate competition, expansion of HSA’s, and tort reform.

  • Baronius,

    The Status Quo is over, and ironically, I now want to understand the Conservative view and figure out how to move more towards the middle, right after this vote.


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, if Congression leaders were competent, they wouldn’t have to start over and wait. There are about a dozen bills that have already been written, none of which has proven popular enough to pass both houses. They could pull together a half-dozen of the strongest features and get it passed in a month.

  • Baronius,

    You are twisting words, admit it.

  • A dozen bills? Show me one, or give me an HR # and I’ll go look it up right now.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, you make it tough to follow what you mean when you post so often. Now I’m doing it too, and the conversation is incoherent. What words do you think I’m twisting?

  • What you said to zing in #228, sorry.

  • Baronius,

    Why is seeing the House and Senate operate on C-Span like watching water evaporate?

    Why can’t they do anything?

  • Now where did you go, Baronius? I hope to find a bill.

  • “killing grandma, socialism, death panels, “keep your gov’t hands off my medicare,” blah, blah, blah,” -Zingzing

    quoted for truth! :)lol you are sweet, can I adopt you?

  • Baronius, is looking for that Republican answer to this bill…I’ll look back here later…maybe in a couple of months.


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I went away because there’s no point in replying to new messages when they’re coming in at a rate of one every two minutes. I’m back.

    – The House and Senate are supposed to move slowly. The reason that the House is dragging its feet right now is that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes to pass health care reform. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes.

    – I poked fun at Zing, but I didn’t twist his words. He’s honest enough to admit that he’d make the people’s will his highest priority if they agreed with him. However, he has been here long enough to have seen a lot of discussion about the GOP proposals.

    – I looked online and found a half-dozen GOP bills in one google. The main one is HR 3400. There have been several different Democratic proposals. If you want to look at them, they’re out there.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “Now you’re saying that we shouldn’t listen to the ones that disagree with you, because they probably don’t understand health care as well as you do?”

    that’s not at all what i was saying. go back and read it again. i’m saying that there’s so much misinformation out there that people don’t even know what they’re for or against. getting what you got from what i said takes some stretching, but i am glad you’re so limber.

  • Baronius

    Zing, that goes both ways, I imagine. Some people believe that the current bill will increase the number of people covered, cost people less, and reduce the deficit. If they knew the truth, would they still support it?

  • Baronius

    Oops – I forgot the phrase “without rationing”. Just plug it in anywhere.

  • Baronius,

    The House and Senate are supposed to move slowly.

    With all due respect, it’s time to get the lead out.

    HR 3400 is part of this bill, please look at my previous article.

    [Advances medical liability reform through grants to states: Jump-start and evaluate medical liability reform to put patient safety first, prevent medical errors, and reduce liability premiums.] (Sources: S. 1783, (Enzi bill); H.R. 3400, (Republican Study Committee bill); H.R. 4529, (Ryan bill); S. 1099, (Burr-Coburn, Ryan-Nunes bill)

    See, this bill is a blend of both House and Senate, Democrat and Republican proposals.

    Baronius, there is no longer a valid reason to stall. The outcome of this will be the end of the insurer’s stranglehold on the American public; this can no longer be tolerated, and once this bill is passed, then we will move to Amend and add the public option.

    :0 I was an insurance agent, and I worked for a subsidiary of AON, so I do have a little knowledge on this subject.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, can’t you see that you’re contradicting yourself? I said that there are Republican bills. You said no. I mentioned one. You mentioned four.

  • ‘Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)’
    – Walt Whitman

  • Baronius,

    When you look at, HR3400, you’ll see that it deals more with torte reform than health care reform, this is why we need so much more than just this one Republican contribution to our problem.

    The fundamental change that this bill will give to us, is that the cost shifting will end.

    We can not allow the insurers to raise premiums and deductibles whenever they please to keep their own profit margins at the level that they are now.


    “It is estimated that another ten million people will no longer have any health care within the next five years, if this continues.” (source, MSNBC-ED)

  • You implied that there was a bill out there that was different from this one. 🙂

  • I like Walt

  • Baronius

    I haven’t checked it out, but this lists some of the GOP House alternatives.

  • Baronius,

    Yes! these are all wonderful ideas, so why can’t we amend them?

    We can add them to this bill after it is past. But if we don’t pass anything , then we will still be having this same conversation in a year.

    * Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
    * Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
    * Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
    * Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

  • cannonshop

    Jeannie, “pass first,amend later” is why our tax system is such a mess, why gov’t agencies have byzantine administrative barriers to doing their jobs, and why our government is so far in debt, really with very little of value to show for it.

    I would rather congress took another year, to craft a lean piece of legislation that actually does what it purports to do, within the confines of a realistic budget assumption, without huge loopholes or major defects, than rushing the garbage that is the current bill in the back-door as is being done now.

    There are both Democrat and Republican ideas that can and should be incorporated.

    From the right, Tort Reform, and from the Dems, an end to the antitrust exemptions. BUT, there’s a lot of just flat GOVERNMENT reform that must be done before even the BEST bill will do what it’s supposed to do. Eliminating the mechanism that encourages agencies to waste money at the end of the year or lose that funding in the next budget should be one-there is ZERO excuse for redecorating federal offices as frequently as they are, and flat out waste that MUST be addressed (not to mention fraud, and enforcement issues), basic items of responsibility already existing that need to be, frankly, cleaned up before Uncle Sam takes on yet-another-long-term-responsibility. Our government has departments it does not need, agencies that are redundant in function that end up working against one another, internal ‘kingdoms’ in the Bureaucracy, and both rice-bowls and sacred cows that need to be got rid of or trimmed down so that they work again FOR the citizens and the public, instead of against them, or not at all.

    when your engine is dumping oil, running on two cylinders, sucking fuel like a drunk sucks booze, and close to failure with a rod-knock, you don’t put a supercharger on it. That’s where our Federal government is-sunk in a morass of failure and denial, infested with a culture of blame-shifting and shirking of responsibility, ineffective, inefficient everywhere but in one area (and you can’t apply military measures to the civil governance of a free society-our military functions well because it has a very, very narrow focus on a very limited number of tasks with a very strict set of guidelines.)

    there are too many existing, structural problems to add MORE problems caused by careless “Do it NOW” thinking without resolving those problems FIRST.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, if you remember how this discussion started, it was the notion that we should ditch this bill and write something better. I obviously oppose passing this bill then writing something good.

  • Baronius

    Cannon, we’re not even talking about doing it now. We’re talking about passing it now, and implementing it in 2014. That 89-year-old woman who can’t wait for health care reform probably won’t see it.

  • Baronius and cannonshop,

    Please, do not gang up on this little messenger. 🙂

    I know that we can’t wait another year and I also know that we are more worried about taxes in this country, rather than doing what is morally right for everyone.

    Take us out of Iraq and Afghanistan NOW.

    That is the fiscally responsible answer that you both seek, not killing this bill.

    “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”- President Ronald Reagan

    :)I’ll be back after we eat!

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I’m not trying to gang up on you. But have you considered that lowering taxes would be morally right? Do you realize that this bill is estimated to spend about twice as much per year as the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that every governmental social program has cost far more than was estimated?

  • cannonshop

    #257 Baronius, wrong example-U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is a finite (as opposed to infinite) expenditure-eventually, no matter how the politicians meddle to keep them going, wars end. Entitlements don’t end, they go on, and on, and on. Nobody is (Seriously) saying “Hey, you know what? I’m not going to collect my social security when I retire…” NOBODY. Nobody who qualifies is saying “Nah, I don’t need to use Medicare, I’ll pay for it myself.” NOBODY.

    and that’s the deal. People get sick of fighting (one side or the other, usually both), wars end.

    So, the example really doesn’t work here.

    Jeannie, IF we ended the wars TODAY and pulled out of every foreign base world-wide, and decommissioned and sold off all our armaments, it wouldn’t pay for this bill, much less sustain payment on it for the time-period in which it will be active, assuming it waited after passage as projected until 2014.
    that’s if we managed to get “NEW” pricing on every piece of Military Hardware, market price on every base (commercial market, not auction, which tends to be less), and stopped pay and benefits to every soldier or civilian DoD employee, it wouldn’t pay for this bill.

    WE can wait, Jeannie, Now, I’m sure the Boomers and the ‘me’ generation that followed them, now seeing the gray hairs and realizing what a colossal fucking mess they created, they’re scared, and they should be. I realized when I was twenty five that I’d come of age in a national household where my parents’ generation held a long-running party, they’d sold every tool in the garage, the car didn’t work, the house is falling apart, the credit-cards are maxed beyond failure, the bank account is empty…

    and they expect MY generation to cover the bill, clean up the mess, and somehow take care of them in their stupor.

    You people left us NOTHING. YOU people, Jeannie, Boomers, Disco-kids, you guys gutted the strongest economy on earth, you handed it out to your friends and smoked it up and drank it away and shit on the floor and partied all night and you left the mess on US, and the younger kids, the ones that are just now growing up.

    WE who were born after 1968, are the worst-educated, lowest-prospect-of-a future, first generation of kids to walk into a nation with a lower chance of improving our condition in american HISTORY. Our ‘future’ was burned up so that the boomers and the Disco-generation could have their fun and feel good about themselves, so that they could keep deluding themselves with bullshit ’causes’ to cover their vanity and their pettiness and shallowness and egotistical drug-dream image of themselves.

    From my personal perspective, Jeannie, the Left Danced my FUTURE away, I won’t be able to provide a better one for my kids (IF I somehow ever have the bad judgement to actually produce any).

    I’m living in a dive apartment at an age when my grandparents not only had a house, but OWNED IT, I’m working at a job that, if I were in this position twenty years ago, I’d be able to afford to support an entire FAMILY, plus own a house, rather than squeaking by just me and the wife and two cats. with a two year degree (finally got it) I’m actually carrying the education I would have had as a c-student in high school in 1962, and it’s pretty much useless, Jeannie. a two-year degree is toilet paper in today’s economy, because standards are so god-damned low, but accreditation is so heavily leaned on.

    Jeannie, as far as I’m concerned, the people who built this mess we’re in?

    SHOULD be freezing in the dark four days out of seven, and wondering how they’re going to pay for food. I do, and I’m already paying FOR Them.

    I do not intend or desire to pay more.

  • Baronius

    Cannon, you’re being far too sympathetic to the boomers. But would you do me a personal favor, and move the dividing line to 1964? Believe me, people my age are expecting as much Social Security as you are.

  • John Wilson

    Individual wars end, but the war machine keeps consuming resource and there’s no sign of it slacking. Right now the permanent war machine consumes $760B/yr., about 8 times the high estimate ($90B total financial exposure) for UHC. Anyhow, the small war instances are consuming $192B/yr, more than twice the UHC high estimate, and we can safely assume that we’ll find more wars after these two are over.

    We could finance UHC with table scraps from the DoD budget.

    Baronius, #229 says:

    “The Republicans have emphasized portability, interstate competition, expansion of HSA’s, and tort reform.”

    Portability is better with UHC because then we can negotiate international portability with other nations having UHC.

    Interstate competition is a loser because insurance companies will just seek out the best deal for themselves in the same way that credit card companies found South Dakota.

    HSA’a are just for a small number of rich people who can self-insure. If you expect ordinary folks to depend on HSAs you are telling the young worker that he must amass a few million before 40 to assure himself enough to insure himself and his family. Might increase white-collar crime a lot.

    Tort reform is futile because it contributes so little to costs. Anyhow, tort reform is a stalking horse for execs in non-medical industries who want to end or minimize tort recourse for ex-employees, customers, cheated partners and shareholders, etc. Take a look at who the people are supporting tort reform.

    UHC solves all those problems and reduces the total burden on the GDP, so money will be freed up to improve business and increase employment. The excess cost of current insurance is a drag on the whole economy, just like a tax of 8% or so, and it’s going to get worse.

  • cannonshop,


    That is WHO I meant when I said that we are more concerned about PAYING TAXES than doing what was MORALLY RIGHT for this country.

    I just didn’t phrase it correctly

    YOU just blamed me and my generation personally for:

    REAGANOMICS- That has cut the life-blood out of this economy for the last thirty years, with the promise that if we cut taxes on the wealthy then they promise to share and grow this economy by creating jobs. Where are those jobs today?

    COCAINE-Brought here smuggled by drug lords and mulls, helped by an organization that I will not name.

    DISCO- No one should blame me for that!

    SQUANDERING THE WEALTH- I never had it

    I’m sorry to read about how hard it is for you, just please consider that the left is suffering also, OK?

    I definitely know that we cannot wait another year for someone to finally decide that social justice is due this country.

  • Baronius,

    We need to end these wars (all three of them)and bring our children and resources back home.


  • John Wilson,

    This is a very nice comment, and I wish that I had enough energy left to respond to you right now, but it has been a long day. I will leave you a response in the morning, if you don’t mind.

  • “In politics the middle way is none at all.”
    -John Adams

  • Cannonshop,

    I will continue to answer your comments in the morning, and if you read them and respond that would be nice. I don’t think debating with you is a waste of time and I hope that you don’t either. as a side note, everyone in my generation was not dancing on drugs and throwing the world away


  • “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson

    I throw this one out there to make a point, Jeannie. It’s all well and good to select quotes from our forefathers for the sake of argument. And in this case, the financial sector in concert with large corporate interests have indeed become more dangerous than standing armies.

    Look at 9/11. Does ANYONE even discuss the simple fact that Osama bin Laden maintains that the best method to bring this country down is to attack its economy? No. The bin Laden terrorist network accomplished their goal. The tragedies of 9/11 precipitated the fall of our economy and the degradation of our fragile society. We’re more polarized than ever before and that so-called “unity” in the days after 9/11 were a joke. The MSM was complicit in assisting the Bush White House in centralizing power within the confines of the District of Columbia.

    And now the Republic of Texas is going to put the nail in the coffin of real education reform with its new textbook standards. So, I defer to a Samuel Houston quote: “The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government”.

    We can pick and choose quotes to suit any purpose. To develop new quotable quotes which encourage positive change require intelligence, courage and wisdom. The majority of this nation lacks all of the above and its our own damned fault.

  • STM

    Silas: “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Best stick to the tried-and-true method then, Silas.

    After all, what are mattresses for??

    Coonskin caps make good hiding places too.

  • STM

    “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”

    – Sir Winston Churchill.

  • LOL, STM. I don’t do coonskin caps. (Watch it, Roger.)

  • Churchill also said: Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. The common ingredient? Courage. What’s lacking most in America today? Courage. We’re screwed.

  • STM

    “The British are coming!” – Paul Revere of Boston, MA.

    “Oh yes … so am I!” – Lady Cecilia Johnson of Bodminton manor.

    “The Americans are revolting!” – Fred Smith of London, England.

    “Only some of them!” STM of Blogcritics.

  • LOL. Stan, in your rugby-playing days did your team ever used to sing the song “Oh, Sir Jasper” on the way to away games?

    It’s basically the phrase “Oh, Sir Jasper, do not touch me” sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” – with one word removed every time you start a new verse.

    Most of my high school’s first XV were in the same A Level geography class as me. I had to listen to that song for six hours on the way to Wales for our field trip.

  • STM

    Of course we sang that song Doc.

    Along with “If I were the marrying kind (and thank the lord, I’m not, Sir)

    The man that I would marry, would be a rugby halfback”

    “He’d put in**, I’d put in, we’d both put it in together … etc”.

    **The ball, in the scrum, that is. Get your minds above the gutter!

    I also seem to vaguely remember SOME people singing other ridiculous songs and playing stupid, juvenile drinking games, like “the dance of the flaming a.seholes”.

    It’s probably why I like my job. My wife came to the office pub one Friday night and said: “I can see why you love working there … it’s like an away rugby trip that goes on forever”.

    Lol. True, although it’s a bit more corporate these days. Everyone still does the same stuff but we all have three expensive suits instead of one with a pair of shiny-arsed trousers.

  • STM

    “The Pheasant Plucking Song” being my favourite … lots of fun for all and sundry, especially after 10 beers.

  • STM

    Doc, also the adulterated version of “Abdul Abulbul Amir”. I played footy once with a couple of pommies who used to trot those two songs out at every drunken opportunity. Those two and another couple of their mates who used to turn up to watch the games got us kicked out of numerous pubs as soon as the landlords worked out the words.

  • Why has this thread boiled down to this point?

    What, I am derided here because I refuse to change my mind and denounce this health care bill?

    If I thought it was bad for this country to stop the absolute pillaging of the American individual in-order to save the corporate monsters, then I would have changed my mind to say no!

    Give Dennis Kucinich credit for recognizing that to change ones mind does not make them weak or a flip-flopper, it makes them intelligent enough to see the correct answer was not their first choice.

    I notice who posts in this thread with little quips and insults, yet can’t seem to read the article itself and give a decent response.

    Here is a little quote for those that don’t have the fortitude to stand against the current of popular thought.

    “It’s time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.” – President Barack Obama

    :)Today is a brand new day.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nothing about this health care bill looks like a “brand new day” in Washington from where I sit. The bill looks like it’ll be a good start for people, but it still shuts a lot of people out of health care and still lines the pockets of insurance companies by maintaining enough of the status quo for the time being.

    And when the insurance companies learn new ways and new terms with which they can screw the people, they will do so.

    Kucinich is doing the right thing by doing what his constituents want, but his critique of the bill is warranted and should be listened to rather than brushed aside.

    I think some people are too eager for reform and don’t realize how little real reform is actually in this bill or in this government’s health care plans. It’s going to take a lot more than this to bring about real change and to ensure that all people in the United States get the care the rest of the developed world enjoys day to day.

  • Jordan,

    I was not calling this bill a brand new day in #276, if you have been watching your southern sister, then you can see that this is an old argument with a less than perfect answer. However, this is more than the Republicans offered us during all of the previous administrations.

    You make many great points, and this bill is far from, ideal that’s for sure, yet this is the closest we will get this year to any reigning in of the insurers out-of-control profiteering practices.

    What I see as the largest and immediate benefit of this bill is that it will end the cost-shifting that burdens the American people today.

    We will stop these outrageous premium hikes and obnoxious deductibles charged to the individual so that the CEO can rake in a huge bonus and the profit margin can remain outrageously high for the company’s bottom-line.

    :)So, when phrased in this way, it IS a brand new day.

  • Jordan,

    The need to amend a bill is a large part the articles’ point that you are commenting under.

    Virginia has already announced that it will oppose this bill, and that is not surprising, the State of Virginia also refused to integrate their schools when the civil rights act passed, that’s why we amend.

    The federal government is not the enemy today, the enemy is the fear being spread by those that wish to hold onto the status quo.

  • Jordan Richardson


    As I’ve said here and elsewhere, insurance companies will always make enormous profits. This bill won’t change that and, in the long run, it could actually wind up delivering more profits to those companies.

    The unfortunate thing about how this has gone is that the spineless Democrats have pussyfooted around getting anything substantial done and now they’re hurrying through a half-assed bill that could put even more people behind the line without health care.

    At this point I have to echo what Michael Moore said on Wolf Blitzer’s show: “Oh, I know. I’ve got a bill: Let’s give 70% of the women the right to vote and leave 30% out. There’s a great idea. Because we’ve got to do it in increments, Wolf. We can’t let all the women vote all at once. We can’t free all the slaves. Let’s keep 30% of them enslaved.”

    This sort of “we’ve got to start somewhere” stuff is going to give the insurance companies a foothold in a “new industry” that will enable them to continue to press profits skyhigh while several still go without coverage.

    Unfortunately, Jeannie, I think you’re buying the talking points of the Dems a little too much. The “need to amend” a bill that hasn’t even been passed or put through seems a little strange, doesn’t it? Why not put a better bill through? Why take the risk that you even can make the amendments in the first place?

    I’m hard-pressed to find another example of a country putting through such a half-assed bill on the premise that they can make it better later on.

    You do need to stop the hikes and the deductibles, Jeannie. But this bill doesn’t stop them, it just allows the insurance companies to rename them.

  • Jordan,

    Please read the bill, and then you will understand this fact, The insurer will not be the profiteer that it is now. Please watch former insurance executive turned public health advocate Wendell Potter, who argues that all is not lost in the healthcare bill and details what he likes about the legislation.

    Note: This is not the final language , but it the bill that I linked for you.

    :)If you have time.

  • Jordan Richardson


    The White House website describes the bill as something that “makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.”

    As per my comments above, it also leaves out a considerable chunk of the population in the process.

    See, the main idea with this health care bill is to make the existing apparatus “more affordable” for the middle class. That’s the bill in a nutshell; that’s what Obama is proposing in simple terms. It also follows that the American people will have the same “choices” of insurance that Congress has.

    This does not change the status quo. This simply cheapens it and makes the status quo, a broken health care system run for profit, “more affordable” for the middle class.

    It also claims to not allow insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. How long before the insurance companies come up with a new racket?

    The entire core of their existence is built on the concept of NOT PAYING for your coverage, Jeannie. That has not and will not change with this bill and it will not be long (it’s probably happened already) before the insurance companies come up with another way to not cover people. Pre-existing conditions be damned, they’ll come up with another way to make it happen.

    This is the way America’s politicians always tend to do things, at least as of late. If we’re being naive about it, it appears as though they’re putting all their trust in the insurance companies and the banks to be honest, moral citizens of the United States and do what’s in the public good. If we’re being realistic, the truth is that the politicians continue to bed down with lobbyists, executives and corporations to ensure who gets their backs scratched first.

    This bill continues the status quo, Jeannie. It widens the net for predatory insurance companies and all they have to do to get their piece of the pie, as always, is play by a few “new” rules.

  • Baronius

    John, those numbers you give are wrong. We’ve been over this before. Although I have to say that the $90B per year number is new, and probably less accurate than your other numbers. Where did it even come from? Does it take into account that we’re only going to receive benefits four years after the taxes go up? Does it take into account the double-counting of Medicare cuts, or the fact that those cuts are never going to happen? What about the optimistic assumptions underlying the projections? Or the fact that every social program has cost more than was projected? The 1994 expansion of Medicare costs about 4x the estimate. Apply the same multiplier to your lowball number, and it’ll cost 3.6 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

  • Jordan,

    This bill is our starting point.

  • Baronius,

    The numbers are most likely not wrong, I may not understand the financial aspects of this government , however I do understand that there are plenty of resources left in which to draw on.

    Is this going to be your new strategy today, to speak over my head and ignore my comments directed to you?

  • Baronius,

    That was very rude of you yesterday, both you and cannonshop, misinterpreted my last response to both of you, and then as he blasted me you cheered him on. Way to go!

  • Baronius,

    You would think that we were asking you to fund health care out of your personal bank account, the way you are arguing here.

  • I stand firm, this is the right bill at the right time, and even with flaws, it is more than we would get right now if the Republicans ran the show.

  • Mark

    jeannie, as a betting gal, and assuming its passage, what would you wager that the law following from this bill will be amended to include a ‘public option’ in the next session (or the one after that)?

  • This is Thursday, and I can debate with the best of you, anyway in three days we will be talking about the better half of this subject, the passed bill.

    Then, we will move forward with job creation, renewable energy, and a cleaner environment.

    Yes, this economy is recovering and Obama is doing a great job.
    Consider this fact, Reagan saw 10% + unemployment during his presidency, so, we will survive.

  • Mark,

    How much do you have to bet with? 🙂

  • I wish I could be part of the law writing processes in this country, then You all really would be free.

  • Mark

    …so run for office

    as for our bet, if you take a quick look in this poke you’ll see the beautiful pig I’m willing to put on the line.

  • Mark,

    I don’t bite, so You can use more complex sentences and ideas than this with me.

    :)I’m honest! Do I have your vote?

  • Mark

    I’ll advocate for you when you are advanced for sainthood.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not trying to talk past you. I made a comment to Cannonshop about his comment, and a comment to John about his. I don’t recall you addressing me since our discussion about GOP health care bills.

  • Mark,

    As a woman who has over-come many barriers in this life, I can tolerate imperfection, misspelled words, dropped articles, and reversed order in sentence structure. So, please continue…

  • Mark

    jeannie, it seems that you can tolerate a fair amount of propaganda and pr bullshit from your party, as well.

    I really am interested in knowing why you are optimistic about the amendment process, and whether you think that this bill is good enough to live with for the next generation.

  • Baronius,

    Then you should read the comments from last night, because to me you appeared almost delighted.

    “Cannon, you’re being far too sympathetic to the boomers. But would you do me a personal favor, and move the dividing line to 1964? Believe me, people my age are expecting as much Social Security as you are.”

    Too sympathetic?, it felt like acid was being thrown in my face, how dare he blame me and my entire generation for what Reaganomics did to this country.

  • My party? I don’t have a party, Mark.

  • Mark

    Oh, right. Your independent. Sorry.

    jeannie, it seems that you can tolerate a fair amount of propaganda and pr bullshit from your [party] President, as well.

    fixed it

  • mark,

    Now it is obvious to me that you have not read this article.

    I really am interested in knowing why you are optimistic about the amendment process,

    That was the point! Amending the Constitution is what has given all of us the right to suffrage.

  • I think I fixed something as well.

  • Mark

    So, I take it that you are willing to wait a generation or two for universal health care in the US.

  • 🙂 Well, I’m going to take a brake from BC for a short while, and if there are any fresh comments addressed to me then I’ll politely try to answer all of them.

  • Baronius

    Cannonshop’s right about the net effect of the boomer generation. About the only thing that generation did right was voting for Reagan, and they did that largely because they perceived Reagan’s economics as a way for them to profit. I’m not responsible for how that makes you feel. If you take this stuff personally, you’ll go crazy. This country is divided politically, and that means that 150000000 Americans think that you’re wrong, and 150000000 think I’m wrong.

  • Mark

    see ya

  • Mark,

    Yes, if it’s for our future! Sometimes, you have to look beyond your own life.

    :)I’ll see you in a while.

  • Baronius,

    I didn’t vote for Reagan.


  • Um, you’re a little inaccurate there Baronius. Half of the VOTING public thinks you’re wrong and half of the voting public thinks you’re right.

    As far as I know in the last 75 years no president has ever been elected by a majority of the American Public.

    The vast majority of the American Public is in the polical center and just “regular” folk who’ve been discouraged by long lines, exhaustion from working at a dead-end job all day, or being bombarded by huge corporate ads running 24/7 saying that their candidate is the scum of the earth and so is yours – so why vote?

    Far-side single-issues are the only thing that bring out voters, so the presidential elections are decided by nut-jobs who are convinced that the country will fall into chaos, socialism or hell if abortion isn’t repealed, you can’t use a machine gun to shoot a deer, someone might marry their pet duck if gay marriage is approved, or the government will be looking into their bedroom if red-light cameras are installed down the corner.

    It’s a sad fact, but true.

    I present my facts as opinions;
    Unlike others who present their opinions as facts…



  • Baronius

    Jet –

    …or Republicans are killing polar bears, or opposition to affirmative action will force the blacks back to the plantation, or if Congress doesn’t pass this health care bill we’ll all have to use our dead sisters’ dentures,…

    My main point was that nobody’s singling out Jeannie. If you post on a political message board, a lot of people will disagree with you. (Heck, you can’t post on a Lost message board without an argument.)

  • Indeed Baronius-God forbid we should become a republic like China or a Democracy like Iraq. It’s all about labels.

    …what if the U.S. had Iraq’s voter turn-out percentage? We’d have chaos!

    As for dropping comments on political forum, that’s one you don’t have to tell me…

    ha ha chuckle snort

  • 3

    :)Hi Jet! Good to see you.

  • What, I am derided here because I refuse to change my mind and denounce this health care bill?

    Nothing wrong with holding your position, Jeannie.

  • Yeah, it’s like trying to stand still on the bank of the red river during flood stage… If you can succeed, everyone admires you or thinks you’re a fool… or you mother bitches at you for getting your feet wet in such cold water.

  • Or they tell you in no uncertain terms that that scarf doesn’t go with those pants!

  • Thank you, Jet and Silas, for your show of mutual support, even if we all have different ideas on how to get there, I think we are all moving in the right direction.

    :)Good, cause my feet are freezing right now!

  • Leave it to Jet to make the fashion analogies. As far as this health care bill goes, it will probably pass. It doesn’t matter. The GOP is going to sweep this Fall and HCR will be dismantled to favor health industry and pharma even more. Doesn’t matter which of the two major parties are in power, folks. They both get paid off by the same clowns.

  • How sterotypical of you Silas

  • Silas,

    Are you on tonight? I’m going to take a nap so that I can call you…:)11:00 is late for this old lady.

  • The GOP is going to sweep the floor, not the country.

  • In fact, if they stall and obstruct much more , then they might be replaced by Independents.

  • How sterotypical of you Silas

    tee, hee, hee, Jet! I’d say I love you like my luggage, but Cindy is my Samsonite. So I guess you’ll be my kryptonite!

    Are you on tonight?

    Yep, I’ll be there.

  • Good, Silas, because we can disagree agreeably, agree?

  • ABSOLUTELY, Jeannie! And in agreeably disagreeing we may come up with an alternative that is better than either of our ideas!

  • Silas,

    What??? There are only two sides here, we are for or against, right?

  • Baronius,

    I see the top 3 million people making the same income today as 270 million people combined.

    Why do you see one line right down the middle? I don’t.

    This country is divided politically, and that means that 150000000 Americans think that you’re wrong, and 150000000 think I’m wrong.

    I challenge your numbers.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I’m referring to the fact that the political division in this country is fairly balanced. In terms of electoral votes, as well as members of the House and Senate, we’ve been very close to 50/50 for the last 20 years. My point was that when you post on a political site, you can expect disagreement.

    And personally, I don’t care how much money someone else makes. Why should you? There are plenty of rich liberals, and plenty of poor conservatives.

  • Baronius,

    This the point that I am making to you, it is because of this great divide in the ability to work and aquire a living wage that our middle class is shrinking and more and more have no health care at all.

    And you answer: And personally, I don’t care how much money someone else makes. Why should you?

    Are you blind to your own words?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, we weren’t talking about that. If you want to, we can; but we weren’t. At least do me the courtesy of letting me know if you got my point about political division.

  • Yes, I got that, but why don’t you see that you are lacking in the department of social justice? When you say you don’t care, then I ask WHY?

  • I had better stay out of this one, Jeannie. Besides, my remarks are like a red flag to a bull as far as Baronius is concerned, so I shall pass, especially since you’re doing quite well without my help.

  • Baronius,

    Corporate America has become one giant welfare queen! while, there are millions of good people who work every day(now looking for work every day) and fall by the wayside.

    This country is not made up by a bunch of bums!

    What gets me the most is looking at the obituaries in my local paper, I now see many more young deaths and I don’t believe that this is just coincidence.

  • Roger,

    I have wondered where you were, and I don’t think that, Baronius, would mind you joining in the conversation.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, we were talking about political analysis. I said that the country was split evenly. You cited the 3 million statistic, which I assumed was in the context of the political split. I replied that I don’t care about income, assuming that we were still talking about the polital split.

    I personally don’t care how much wealth anyone has over the amount required to fulfill their basic needs.

    Is that better?

  • Actually, one could argue that the ideological bent of the poor Democrats and poor Republicans is not quite the same.

    It’s quite understandable for the poor to wish to better their lot; it’s less understandable for the poor to keep on voting the Republicans in in while the division between them and the rich keeps on growing.

    Do they really believe that their prospects of improving their lot are better with the Republicans in power? Has the lot of the conservative poor improved greatly as a result? Can history be invoked here for support?

    It would seem that if the poor support conservative ideas, it’s not on economic grounds but mainly by virtue of political ideology grounded in the notions of freedom and liberty.

    Of course, they may also be stupid enough to still believe in the American Dream, which only compounds the first-mentioned instance of stupidity.

    So yes, Jeannie, the 50-50 split in terms of political ideologies and the immense income disparity in the US are not quite the same thing; and the very existence of those ratios is a heck of an interesting observation.

    You have a perfect right to make it into a telling point and milk it for all it’s worth. No surprise that Barionius doesn’t want to go there.

  • I’m been tutoring in the middle school Jeannie, children with learning disabilities, and it’s been very rewarding. That’s why I’m not here in the mornings.

    See ya shortly.

  • YES.

  • That’s great, Roger, think of me when you look at those little faces…:)I bet you are a wonderful teacher.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I brought up the same point a few months ago, and you shouted it down, remember? Populism and elitism?

  • Baronius,

    We are two different people that want the same thing, a good life. 🙂

  • Jeannie, I would never condone such income disparity. I don’t only consider it uncivilized but downright obscene.

  • Sorry, Baronius, I thought it was Jeannie’s comment.

    Seriously, I do recollect something of that nature but don’t remember the details.

  • Baronius

    OK, here goes:

    The Democratic Party is economically populist and socially elitist. The Republican Party is economically elitist and socially populist. By this I mean that the Democratic Party makes an economic appeal that sounds good to the many, and a social appeal that sounds good to the few. Vice versa for the Republican Party. (Whether or not the policies are actually good for those people is beside the point for this analysis.)

    More specifically:

    Dem economics – safety net, protectionism
    Rep economics – low taxes, trade
    Dem social – abortion, relativism
    Rep social – traditional moral code

    wealthy liberal – urban
    poor liberal – urban
    wealthy conservative – suburban
    poor conservative – rural

  • Now, I’m too tired to type…I’ll be back later. 🙂

  • You can’t plug people in like this. And moral code? I’m as moral as you. Also, there are a lot of wealthy conservatives in my rural area.

    See, we should be individuals and seen as such.

    well later.

  • OK, Baronius. I’m going to have to rethink it.

  • zingzing

    baronius, as far as social policies go, a “traditional moral code” may appeal to a lot of people, but it leaves many, many others out in the cold. it’s exclusive, while liberal social policies are more inclusive to a wider swath of people. and “abortion, relativism” is a pretty dim (and narrowly-worded) view of how liberals approach society. terrible description. try again.

  • But to pick up on this note, zing, that’s why alternatives to “traditional moral code” can be considered (by some) as “elitist” (to mean something contrary to “popular sentiment”).

  • Baronius

    Fine, Zing and Jeannie. Find whatever terminology you like. The point I’m trying to make…

    (Why have I had to write that phrase so much lately? Am I off my game? Am I burnt out because most of the interesting conservative voices have disappeared from BC? Do people even think about each others’ postings any more?)

    …is that neither party appeals 100% to what we broadly define as a “class”. Each party has elements that cater to different groups. I’m not trying to argue in support or opposition of anything. I’m presenting a handy way of viewing American politics that catches some aspects that otherwise could be missed.

  • In a sense, all progressive ideas are elitist in that sense.

    The interesting thing though, they may very well be and often are “populous” as regards the content.

  • “Today the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that health care reform will deliver deficit reduction. In its analysis of new reconciliation legislation now being considered by the House of Representatives to amend the Senate-passed legislation, the CBO determined that the is bill fully paid for and will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion over the following 10 years.

    The upshot: This progressive health care reform package will deliver quality health care at lower costs to our nation, addressing concerns that the skyrocketing trajectory of our country’s health care costs over the next 20 years, if left unchecked, would result in health care spending equal to 28 percent of gross domestic product in 2030.” – The Council on Economic Advisors

  • This is a discussion for Baronius and Roger and Zingzing.

    “Moral realists are those who think that, in these respects, things should be taken at face value—moral claims do purport to report facts and are true if they get the facts right. Moreover, they hold, at least some moral claims actually are true. That much is the common (and more or less defining) ground of moral realism.”


  • Very nice, Jeannie. I do keep on surprising me now and then.

    Yes, I am a “moral realist,” I suppose, with some reservations.

  • Roger,

    I thought you would like this! I was trying to figure out what, Baronius posted and stumbled upon Plato.

    moral relativism” is connected with a normative position about how we ought to think about or act towards those with whom we morally disagree, most commonly that we should tolerate them.

    🙂 Plato!

  • Morality is for real, Jeannie, more important than politics.

    In fact, according to classical thinkers, such as Plato and Aristotle, it is supposed to serve as the basis of politics.

    The notion of moral relativity that conservatives are so quick to invoke is a gross misconception and but a symptom of their own parochial and ethnocentric view. True morality ought to embrace each and everyone, irrespective of their religion, ethnic or national background, or creed. It is properly based on the idea of “moral equivalence of persons,” which is to say ALL persons, without exception.

  • Well some have forgotten the tolerance part of that equation, haven’t they?

    I wear most people down, after a while, and
    I think that even, Baronius is starting to like me, at least I hope so.:)

    How’s school?

  • Tolerance and understanding are the Christian virtues. Yes, you are making an impact on Baronius.

    The kids are great, they’re still innocent and young at heart, and so much of a promise.

    It’s a crime that sour-puss and disgruntled adults eventually turn them into monsters.

  • Roger,

    I have turned into a pumkni, I’ll see you tomorrow…that’s great , everything you just said. :)nite

  • Indeed, great show, Jeannie.

    And yes, tomorrow is another sunshiny day.

  • zingzing

    alright, baronius, point taken. but that was pretty one-sided.

  • Baronius

    Zing, you zeroed in on the one negative implication for liberals. Personally, I don’t like the fact that Republican economic policy is perceived as elitist. I think it’s good for everyone. But there ya go; I can’t change public perception.

  • zingzing

    i’m not as concerned with economic policy as i am social policy. forgive me if i let my blindspots show. of course, the economy is showing up more and more on my radar, because it’s affecting society more these days in negative ways, but that’s never really been my main concern in politics. i might even agree with republicans in some ways when it comes to the economy, or at least i’m open to those ideas, but socially, i think republicans are pure evil. and that takes precedence.

  • Baronius,

    Republican economic policy is perceived
    as elitist.

    When the Senate has blocked almost every piece of legislation, coming out of the House, and the Republicans and Dinos continue to say no, no, and no, then what do you think that the rest of the American public should perceive?

  • George Will claimed that this is an “envy society” when he lectured at the C-PAC Convention; he was incorrect when he spoke; this is an “excessive society.”

    It is not envy of wealth to cry out for social justice in this country. The wealthy have become so complacent in their comfortable lives, that they can no longer even see the need to grow the American economy for the greater good.

    Speaking personally for my husband and myself, we are very tired of living hand to mouth, now having to choose between food and a much-needed pair of new shoes.

    Meanwhile, the advertisers flood our mailbox with junk; yesterday they were selling one-hundred and fifty dollar gym shoes.

    this morning, my husband left the house to go to work wearing shoes with new laces.


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I would hope that all the people realize the Repubican economic policy is the best for everyone, but that’s beside the point. We were talking (I think) about political division, and I thought this approach would help.

    There are guys like Thomas Frank and Roger’s fave George Lakoff who are trying to analyze why anyone would vote for Republicans. They’re missing the point. Pointing to a party’s wealthy cabal (corporate fat cats for the R’s, Hollywood for the D’s) doesn’t illuminate the divisions between the vast number of Republicans and the vast number of Democrats.

    Neither does looking at red and blue states. Neither party is regional. A lot of time is wasted on that approach. Maybe the press is going to figure out that Massachusetts has been voting Republican for 20 years, but I doubt it. That would require flexible thinking on their part.

  • Baronius

    That’s false, Jeannie. The article doesn’t say that. It says that 32 million fewer people will be uninsured in 10 years, according to CBO projections. According to the same projections (which the article links to), there will be a zero effect this year. No uninsured people will be immediately insured under this plan.

  • Baronius,

    I’ll be back in a little bit. Please don’t sound so depressed, we will all be OK.


  • lol you are cracking me up.

  • Baronius,

    Please look what this bill will do:

    #1 American families and small businesses, not health insurance companies, will be in control of their own health care.

    #2 Expand health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, guaranteeing that 95% of Americans will be covered.

    #3 Make health insurance affordable for middle class and small businesses — including the largest middle class tax cuts for health care in history — reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

    #4 Strengthen consumer protections and reins in insurance company abuses.

    #5 Give millions of Americans the same types of private insurance choices that members of Congress will have — through a new competitive health insurance market that keeps costs down.

    #6 Hold insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.

    #7 Improve Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole,’ better chronic care, free preventive care, and nearly a decade more of solvency for Medicare.

    #8 Reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion over next ten years, and by more than one trillion dollars over the following decade; reining waste, fraud and abuse; overpayments to insurance companies and by paying for quality over quantity of care.

    🙂 Maybe you should vote yes.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, the health care proposal won’t do any of those things. But I can’t stop you from believing everything the White House puts on its website. At least acknowledge that your comment #368 is wrong, though.

  • :)no

  • Baronius,

    I admit to you that I am wrong in #368, although I feel very confident tonight that the bill will pass.

    This health care bill will also save 1.3 trillion taxpayer dollars over the next 20 years. not that bad, huh?


  • Baronius

    Jeannie, you’re wrong again. The CBO estimates that the health care bill will reduce the deficit by $1.3T over twenty years. That says nothing about how much it will cost us.

    And let’s look at how the package reduces the deficit. First of all, it collects four years of taxes immediately without providing any benefits. Secondly, it federalizes student loans and counts all repayments as federal revenue. Thirdly, it double-counts reductions in Medicare for about $1T. But honestly, Congress will never have the guts to cut Medicare, so that’ll be $2T more debt.

    What will it cost Americans? Health care will increase in price. There are new “revenue streams” in the package. Insurance companies will probably go bankrupt, so we can expect a public option within 10 years to make up for the lack of coverage. It’ll drive the remaining insurers out of business, then start increasing rates. We’ll have universal coverage at 4x the cost of our current 85% coverage.

  • Baronius,

    We will talk in a while, OK?

    I’m right and your right, we are both right, how does that sound?

    : )This is just a bill that will allow us to buy health insurance.

  • Boeke

    UHC would immediately save the US $500billion/year by eliminating waste, fraud and excess overhead from the private insurance monopoly.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, you’re not right. Neither is Boeke. Total net US insurance premiums per year are in the neighborhood of $600B. Is there $500B of waste, fraud, and overhead? Of course not. I don’t see why I should believe any number coming from the supporters of this health care reform package.

    You guys will probably get this legislation signed into law, but on the basis of false information.

  • Jeannie,

    You might find the following NPR presentation interesting.

    It doesn’t belong on this thread, properly speaking, but still . . .

    It shows how the notion of healthcare deteriorated once it became subject to the profit motive.

    The history of Blue Cross is a case in point.

  • The passing of this bill is the first step in a long struggle, if you want to say goodbye to it then maybe you didn’t have the fight in you…

    We look to history my friends, and there we can see that it was years and much ratification to the Amendments of the Constitution that brought real fundamental change to this country.

    If you don’t see UHC in your lifetime, then at least think larger than your own short-lives, and fight for all of our futures!

  • Roger,

    That’s a nice NPR (audio) link; I kept a copy, thanks. : )

  • I thought you’d like it, Jeannie.

  • Blue Cross will survive; they just won’t remain huge monstrous profiteers. There’s a difference between the former and later sensible free market profits aren’t there?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, if I thought I could block the bill, I’d keep fighting. If the fight is against obviously wrong statistics being posted on a blog site, well, that’s really up to you guys to stop, isn’t it?

  • John Wilson

    According to:

    Medical News Today

    Overall U.S. health care spending will reach $2.5 trillion in 2009, …

    …Total health care spending will account for 17.6% of the gross domestic product in 2009,…

    The study found that in 2009, government health care spending is expected to increase by 7.4% to $1.19 trillion, while private health spending is expected to increase by 3.9% to $1.32 trillion (Wall Street Journal, 2/24). CMS projects that in 2018 overall U.S. health care spending will reach $4.35 trillion, accounting for 20.3% of the GDP (The Hill, 2/24).

    $1.32Trillion, of which 28% is insurance co. overhead and 12% is overhead reflected back on providers, so about 40% of the $1.32T is overhead, which will be reduced to 3% if medicare prevailed.

    So that’s a saving of about $500B with medicare-for-all.

  • Baronius

    Come on, John. This one’s even worse.

  • STM

    I have to tell you that the same issues were raised in Australia in the 1970s when UHC was introduced, in regard to the private health insurance companies.

    Not only did they survive, they went on thrive. Since many Aussies still choose to suuplement Medicare with private insurance, there are all kinds of extras now covered by insurance. Which has resulted in a better deal for everyone, especially the consumer. A Tax break is also still available on a sliding scale depending on income from the federal government for those who opt to relieve some of the pressure on the public system by taking private insurance. However, even private patients are entitled to use the public system. It is always the first port of call in case of trauma or immediate life-threatening illness.

    You guys will have this for a few years, work out how it can be better as you go, and in 10 years’ time will be kicking yourselves wondering why you didn’t do it earlier.

    Australians are a lot like Americans in regard to belief in free markets tec, but our public hrealth system – despite it being far from perfect – is now so popular, it stands no chance of being dismantled by either of the major parties in government.

    And far from jobs being lost in the private insurance industry, jobs were created in the long term.

  • wrong statistics being posted on a blog site,

  • Baronius,

    These statistics are from the government website and they are right. This is not the end of the world, rather it’s the start of a new day.

  • “The American Medical Association supports the sweeping $940 billion healthcare reform bill scheduled for consideration on the House floor on Sunday, AMA President J. James Rohack announced.

    Rohack conceded the bill was imperfect, “but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans,” he said during a teleconference.

    “By extending health coverage to the vast majority of the uninsured, improving competition and choice in the insurance marketplace, promoting prevention and wellness, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting clinical comparative effectiveness research, this bill will help patients and their physicians, Rohack said.”

  • “A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.”
    -Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792

    : ) the Federalist Papers.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I’ve demonstrated repeatedly how BC people are misreading statistics that aren’t realistic anyway. You did it in that 32-million-people posting, Boeke did it with that $500B, and John did it with the other $500B, which assumes that Medicare has less overhead than the private sector.

    At this point, I’d have more respect for your side if you’d admit that you don’t care about the numbers, and you know the country doesn’t want this, but you’re supporting it because you think it’s the right thing to do. Wouldn’t that be more honest than quoting Thomas Paine, who didn’t even want a federal government?

  • Silas,

    It is now the eleventh hour and the GOP is still fretting over bucks, instead of our health as a people, one nation under God and all that…

    I see extensive coverage of the Tea party protests this morning. It’s really too bad that they didn’t show the, “No Blood for Oil” signs before we invaded Iraq; we would have had more capital and a much lower deficit to work with today.

    “Congratulations on your impending health care passage this weekend. Your persistence is admirable. I hope you gain the same fever with election reform.”
    – Silas Kain

    Thanks for this! SOON, we will all congratulate OBAMA and the AMERICAN PEOPLE-even the ONES that refuse to see that this is also for THEM.
    well maybe not that soon

    : )THIS is more exiting than the Superbowl!!! notice how I was careful to spell that word right?

  • Baronius,

    Considering that my source is the Official White House Website, I tend to favor the reference that equally belongs to all of us.

    : )good morning, Baronius

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, do you think that they have a dog in the fight?

  • Mark

    Baronius #393…you know the country doesn’t want this…

    I don’t know what this phrase means. Quite obviously, some folks do want it and some don’t. Are you saying that those who want it are in some way not a part of the country? Of course the dems have to pass this thing if they can and find out whether they correctly represented their constituencies at the next election — the one poll that counts. Ass backwards perhaps, but that’s the system, no?

  • Yes, Baronius, is this what you are saying?, “The American people don’t matter as a whole, regardless of what party they do or don’t belong.”

    : )Morning Mark

  • Baronius

    Mark, pardon me if I go off-topic for a moment. This is the feature of internet conversation that scares me the most: the cycle of amplification and generalization.

    The comments go like this:
    A: B’s policy is wrong
    B: A is wrong
    A: B said that people like us are wrong
    B: A is lying about what I said
    A: liars like B always accuse others of lying
    B: A and his crowd are attacking us again

    When I say that the country doesn’t want this, I could either mean that Democrats are unsatisfied with the bill, Republicans oppose the policy, and independents are appalled by the way it’s been handled, all of which has resulted in unprecedented outcry from citizens; or that Mark is un-American. Which do you really think is my meaning?

  • O’ for &*&%%$ sake! Please, look beyond the next election, that’s why we can’t get anything, passed ,implemented, or even spoken about in this country.

    : )well, I have to go…big day today and all. Bye, Baronius, Mark and BC

  • OMG, here we go with tests again…

    I choose neither of the above, because I respect both you and A as individuals. Make yourselves some popcorn and enjoy this day.

    : )bye again

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, I wasn’t talking about the next election. What are you talking about?

  • Baronius,

    I was reading this:
    “Of course the dems have to pass this thing if they can and find out whether they correctly represented their constituencies at the next election — the one poll that counts.”- Mark

    How am I supposed to be believed here? I keep saying goodbye and then answer another comment?

    : )bye, Bar

  • Mark

    I take the comment as meaningless, Baronius, beyond pointing out the obvious that not all favor the bill. Is saying that the ‘country doesn’t want this’ simply equivalent to ‘B’s policy is wrong’, or does it convey more? Your use of its borderline hyperbolic quality isn’t meaningless, and I figured it justified a return shot.

  • It carries all the meaning of a political slogan.

  • Bob Schaeffer asks on Face the Nation this morning, “Once this bill passes won’t it just keep on being amended…how do we stop this?”

    Hello, Bob the whole point of our constitution and the reason why we can change and grow with time’s ever-changing needs is that we have ratification to Amendments of the Constitution.

    It carries all the meaning of a political slogan.

    Hi Roger, what does that mean?

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, you do realize that this bill is not becoming part of the Constitution, right?

    Mark, way to go, nailing me on the borderline hyperbole. You did read my comment #393? So you saw the point I was trying to make, right?

  • Baronius,

    That was a good quote and if Tom was alive today, I think that he would be for increasing the size and efficiency of the one that exists today. This in not 1792.

  • Mark

    Yes, Baronius, I got your point in #393 and responded to the side issue of your embedded language with what I still see to be its propaganda function.

  • you do realize that this bill is not becoming part of the Constitution, right?

    What does this mean?

  • More importantly, what embedded language and may I read it?

  • #407

    Political slogans, Jeannie, are usually bereft of meaning.

  • Mark

    jeannie, I’m referring to Baronius’ claim that ‘the country doesn’t want this’ in #393 where he tells how much more he’d respect your side if they admitted this.

  • Embedded language, Jeannie: Baronius is up to his usual tricks.

  • Here’s a good one for you, Jeannie, the representatives of the people, to use Baronius’s phrase: “the people don’t want this bill.”

    Watch the second video in particular, the one entitled “Tea Party Racism.”

  • Baronius,

    Everyone in this country wants reform to health care, lower premiums, and deductibles, no more exclusions, caps, and donut-holes.

    Come on…admit your W

  • Jeannie,

    You do have to see this video. It is an eye opener.

  • Roger,

    I looked briefly and all I can say is I’m grateful that I’m not there in Washington.

    How pitiful that some people can still be so ignorant this many years after Dr. Kings’ assassination, the 16Th street bombings and all of the suffering the black citizen has had to endure in this country…my country embarrasses me sometimes…

    : (

  • It’s a disgrace, Jeannie. But of course, Dave will forcefully argue that these people are just a fringe.

  • Hitler started out in a fringe.

  • Thanks to the inter-net and the transparency of most of this Administration, we can keep a good eye out for anything that even resembles that level of intolerance.

  • It’s not big-brother to make sure nobody’s building huge ovens in your backyard.

  • Roger please note my comments-310,311,313,316,317, 320 etc for future reference… sorry Jeannie…


  • OK, Jet. I stand corrected.

  • It’d be nice if you put that little statement where you posted the false accusation in the first place…

    wouldn’t it Roger?

  • Feel free to copy it Jet on as many threads as you like. I have no objection.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, Paine’s “The Rights of Man” is almost exactly the opposite of what you indicate. I’m glad I took the time to rifle through it, because it’s an interesting read. But Paine is fanatically opposed to strong government.

    It verifies that you don’t bother researching the comments you make. Since the facts and numbers you cite are wrong, the only thing you’re providing is unsupported opinion, and I don’t see a point in replying to that.

  • “A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.”
    -Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792 (#392)

    What has this quote got to do with the price of tea in China?

  • Baronius,

    Excuse ME?

    It does not verify that I don’t bother researching the comments I’ve made. So what now, YOU will no longer speak to ME?

    : )

  • Jeannie,

    Baronius is grasping at straws, methinks.

    He had clearly lost the moral end of the argument, so now he’s trying to get you on a technicality.

  • Roger wants a cup of tea…I like this quote, so why do I have to explain it? It describes how I think about this legislation; it will change fundamentally how we treat Americans and their right to basic health care.

    : )

  • Exactly. It is going to be a momentous occasion one way or the other. The quote is perfect to express what you intended.

  • Jeannie,

    Good article for you.

    Especially the three graphs at the bottom of the page are illuminating.

  • As good as done deal, Jeannie. What remains is just a formality.

  • Leroy

    Baronius, that must have been long ago and faraway. Can you supply an URL? So far, all I see is a bald assertion (on your part) that others are wrong.

    “393 – Baronius
    Mar 21, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Jeannie, I’ve demonstrated repeatedly how BC people are misreading statistics that aren’t realistic anyway. ”

  • Hiya Jeannie 🙂

  • Baronius,

    Look at the source.

    “Thomas Paine, had a grand vision for society: he was staunchly anti-slavery, and he was one of the first to advocate a world peace organization and social security for the poor and elderly. But his radical views on religion would destroy his success, and by the end of his life, only a handful of people attended his funeral.”

    So he also believed in social justice.

    : )

  • Hiya Cindy,

    : )long time no see.

  • So how could he be against government, Jeannie? Either you are right or is Baronius. It just doesn’t compute.

    Anyways, congratulations. Any time now!!!

  • Thomas Paine was not against government, Roger, that’s the point in my link, isn’t it clear?

    Thanks for all of us! : )I’m listening to live stream.

  • HR 3590 just passed. One vote down, two more to go…

    : ) Nite BC

  • I thought my comment was equally clear, Jeannie – I agree.

  • Exactly the reason, Jeannie, why I can’t identify myself as an American any longer.

  • Bunk…Roger

    We aren’t dying! Single-payer is the final goal.

  • I’d take this country to the extreme Left you wouldn’t believe it. Obama is just a politician. What we need is Julius Caesar.

  • The obstruct and stall games continue, however the American people will win…the ones that know that this is a good bill

    Last night, Senate Republicans found two minor provisions related to Pell grants that violate Senate procedure. The provisions must be removed from bill, and then returned to the House for passage. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote today on the bill.

  • I’m not certain, Jeannie, that they’ve got to be removed – only cleaned up to make certain they could not be appealed for unconstitutionality.

    But if you are correct, that would indeed be an unfortunate outcome, since direct student loans from the government is one piece of legislation that we badly need. We certainly don’t need banks and corrupt financial institutions making profit in the course of people getting their education.


  • Excellent point, Roger, at first I wondered why they were there, but now, I too question their removal…: (

  • John Wilson

    Jeannie, Roger:

    Can you post some good citations on the Pell Grant material?

    I’m concerned because it seems to me that the original intent of Pell Grants, which was to benefit STUDENTS, has been perverted over the past few years into a scheme to put tax dollars into the undeserving pockets of bankers.

  • John,

    Pell grants have helped many students go to college as far as I know, but I’ll look around and see what I can find.

  • Well, John, just what’s in the news today,

    say as per the following.

    I don’t know about details – e.g., whether the rates would be lower – but it does appear that more money would become available as a result.

    Anyways, the Senate apparently approved the measure, still to be reconciled by the House.

  • Pell grants are named after the late senator Claiborne Pell, a Democrat from Rhode Island. They’re scholarships given to college students who can demonstrate severe financial need. Unlike student loans, they don’t have to be paid back, and unlike scholarships from individual colleges, they don’t tie you to a given institution. They’re intended to give needy students a shot at higher education, and unlike many programs aimed at the needy, they’ve remained politically popular.

    The maximum Pell grant is over $5,000 per year now, and it may get closer to (or slightly over) $6,000 by the time the deals are done. Full-time tuition and fees at most community colleges across the country top out below $4,000, and some (hello, California!) top out well below that. On one level, that’s great; it means that needy students can attend the first two years of college tuition-free.

  • Currently about 11 percent of university students receive Pell Grants, Leafgreen said.

    Mike Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid, said that in the past the government paid banks to provide federal loans to students, but the program overhaul passed with the health care bill would eliminate banks and the federal government would provide loans directly to students.

    “From a student perspective, the loans will be basically exactly the same as they were before,” Scott said.

    Leafgreen said future Pell Grants would come from the U.S. Treasury.

    The new program could create changes for students by increasing the amount of money students receive from Pell Grants. More students could also be eligible to receive Pell Grants if the formula that determines who is able to receive a Pell Grant changes and allows more people to qualify, Leafgreen said.

    President Barack Obama said money that is saved by cutting out the banks would be put back in the Federal Pell Grant Program, Leafgreen said.

  • Roger,

    Couldn’T you find a link that said it a little less takovery?

  • Ah yes, the late great “Stillborn Pell”. Wore the same suit every day for his entire tenure in the Senate, or so it seemed. Very wealthy, very elegant, COMPLETELY cheap with his own money while spending the government funds with a vengeance. But, I’ll give the Devil his due. He was a brilliant statesman. Would have made a phenomenal Ambassador or Secretary of State. Because he was a Rhode Islander, he never really achieved what he was capable of because Rhode Island was always viewed as a Democrat state which would never turn GOP under any circumstance.

  • Stillborn Pell? lol : ) well a lot of people owe their careers and livelihoods to ole stillborn…

  • Why, Jeannie, it is a take-over. I call it how I see it.

  • Don’t get me wrong, Jeannie. I liked the guy personally. Found his dry wit and quiet presence refreshing at political functions. He did a lot of good while spending a lot of money. In the days of Sen Pell, those in the opposition always referred to him as “stillborn Pell” because he was just so damned quiet — even in Senate hearings. He walked and talked softly but wielded a mighty stick.

  • Jeannie, John Wilson,

    this is more apropos the issues connected with the future of direct student loans.

  • Silas,

    That’s cool! You met him?

  • Roger,

    This must be the reason and I think getting rid of the middle man is what a lot of people want to do , isn’t this true?

    “right now the rates aren’t very attractive at all. In fact, the rates for the loans given under this program — so these are mandated by the federal government — range from 6.8 percent for some undergrad loans to 8.5 percent for graduate-school-level loans. Now these are very high when you consider that the market for 30-year mortgages, at the moment, is about 5 percent or less.” – student loans

    so, why not save money for our future…

  • Did I argue against the idea, Jeannie.

    I don’t recall.

  • No, I don’t think you argued against me, did you?

  • Jeannie, I was very active in politics from 1980 through 1989. I’ve met plenty: Claiborne Pell, John Chaffee, Patrick Kennedy, Sen. Dick Lugar, Jeb Bush, other Senators, members of Congress, Governors and my favorite of all time – Maureen Reagan. There are plenty more – I’ve lost track.

    Jeannie, from personal experience I can tell you that most politicians start out with the best of intentions. They really do. Somehow they get down to Washington and a cynicism and basic mistrust permeates the fibers of their being. I’ve seen it happen all too often. What’s going on today is not anything new — it’s just become worse and far more poisonous. The spirit that existed in Washington during the 80’s is dead. Perhaps it was dying in the wake of Watergate — I tend to think so. What I didn’t realize until last week was that the vitriol and politics of hate didn’t start with the GOP. It started with Democrats behind the scenes. And there are many Democrats who will admit the same in private but lack the courage of their convictions to step forward and present why it happened. Ted Kennedy knew it, Evan Bayh knows it — the question is, what are we going to do about it?

  • All I’m saying that whatever comes out of Washington is watershed, made to look good rather than being good.

    The Dems are such as complicit as the Reps are: each and every one of them is on a take.

  • on the take …

  • Silas,

    Have you written an article about all of them? I would have been star stuck for sure, much more than I am with entertainers and performers. my job is to take care without intruding…I try… : )

    We are all on the take, aren’t we?
    What the hell does that mean…on the take?

    : ) I’m going to take a nap now, so I can call you up! Please answer the phone…

  • Actually, Jeannie, I was star-struck once by a politicians and it lost its luster faster than a speeding bullet. I learned something very valuable – most politicians in private have a real problem with the “fame”. It’s not why they initially entered politics – so they say. Again, I refer back to Maureen Reagan. She said to me that her father came to realize in his first term as Governor that the power usually rests with the king-maker as opposed to the King. She warned that treating a politician like a celebrity does a public servant a disservice. That always stayed with me.

  • John, Roger,

    This is a logical view.Hundreds of students rallied on Capitol Hill Tuesday to support a massive overhaul of student loan programs. The measure would end the role of private banks in federally backed student loans and make the government the primary lender. Student protesters have also converged in Washington to call for passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act would grant permanent citizenship to undocumented workers’ children if they completed two years of college, trade school or military service. -Democracynow

  • Silas,

    That was a great show last night, and thanks for letting me hang out on phone! Now I need to figure out how to listen…

    : )