Archive for the ‘NOW’ Category

What Riverdaughter SAID.

And get rid of the State Caucuses!

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Part 8, the continuing saga of H.R.3590.

We’ve traveled a sad road from health reform hyperbole and buzzwords, in the Ohio debate, in 2008, to feeding and electing a lot of scalawag Blue Dog Democrats at any cost this year. We have had to learn all over again that presidential candidates DO often avoid saying what they mean, and not what we think, or want to hear. We had to learn again that media interjects it’s own desire for ratings over what the candidates are attempting to communicate. WE are the losers in this interchange.

Candidate Obama offered “universal health coverage“. Clinton disputed his term.

Perhaps this is part of the learning experience for us. When a lawyer or other skilled wordsmith uses a term like “universal” we must think critically about what the person really means and how the words are parsed. This IS a universal coverage bill. It applies to all of the United States, her territories, and her protectorates. It is NOT a universally applicable bill.

In fact, despite the benefits of the Mikulski amendment, 51% of the population will be treated differently under this bill, and this is not a good thing. When this bill becomes an act, much of what women need in health insurance will be subject to line item scrutiny. Native Americans, children, the homeless, and veterans will also be subject to line item scrutiny, while that of men will not. Women are still a special interest group, born out of recognition in the 60’s of their treatment as second-class citizens. The struggles to achieve equality for women have been left moldering at the gate of the ERA, shut by society’s errant deadline in 1982.

Though the ERA did not die, except for a few soldiers, most of us just didn’t know how to continue fighting for it. We walked away, defeated in our ignorance, or we tried to gain bits and pieces of equality through more line items in other bills. We had yet to learn to “never, never, never, give up”. Now, though our understanding of the ERA’s role and absence is reawakening, it does not yet inform our lawmaking in Congress. There are ways to again take up it’s banner, to fight the deadline, to start anew if need be, but not enough of us know that yet.

It is the recognition of the conundrum that the line items designed for us, and to protect us, are weak sisters as compared to full equality, and the privileges, responsibilities and authorities that equality bring.

In this regard, over at the Confluence, Riverdaughter has written clearly about the blow to Griswold and Roe that this bill will inflict.

After the 2008 presidential election of a thousand cuts, we have become more attuned. We have found a voice and we are gathering strength.

Congress has struggled mightily to achieve what our President put forth as his health agenda, and they are almost there. As he said, every criterion has been met. He is telling us that this was the health agenda for which we voted him into office. Someone gave him and Congress the green light to proceed.

This Congress and President were not sent to DC to get us single payer health insurance.  Even as an option, is was a toss off. Refresh your memory. Forget the YouTube, the Websites, the pundits who may have told you what a candidate did or did not say. Read the debate transcripts again.

[Editor’s note: This is part two of the transcript for the Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute on January 21, 2008….

(Clinton)….: Well, first of all, if you don’t start out trying to get universal health care, we know — and our members of Congress know — you’ll never get there.

If a Democrat doesn’t stand for universal health care that includes every single American, you can see the consequences of what that will mean. I think it is imperative that we have plans, as both John and I do, that from the very beginning say, “You know what? Everybody has got to be covered.”

There’s only three ways of doing it. You can have a single-payer system, you can require employers, or you can have individual responsibility. My plan combines employers and individual responsibility, while maintaining Medicare and Medicaid.

I think that the whole idea of universal health care is such a core Democratic principle that I am willing to go to the mat for it. I’ve been there before. I will be there again. I am not giving in; I am not giving up; and I’m not going to start out leaving 15 million Americans out of health care.

Secondly, we have seen once again a kind of evolution here. When Senator Obama ran for the Senate, he was for single-payer and said he was for single-payer if we could get a Democratic president and Democratic Congress. As time went on, the last four or so years…

CLINTON: As time went on, the last four or so years, he said he was for single payer in principle, then he was for universal health care. And then his policy is not, it is not universal. And this is kind of like the present vote thing, because the Chicago Tribune, his hometown paper, said that all of those present votes was taking a pass. It was for political reasons.

Well, when you come up with a universal health care plan and you don’t have any wiggle room left, you know that you’re going to draw a lot of political heat. I am not running for president to put Band- Aids on our problems. I want to get to universal health care for every single American….

(Obama)….“Now, it’s fine for us to have a debate about how the best way to get there is, but to suggest somehow that I’m not interested in having anybody covered, or to suggest, as Hillary just did, that I was in favor of single payer — I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single payer. What I said was that if I were starting from scratch, if we didn’t have a system in which employers had typically provided health care, I would probably go with a single-payer system.”

What’s evolved, Hillary, is your presentation of my positions, which is what’s happened frequently during the course of this campaign.]


(Bolds above mine.) Well. We were never starting from scratch.

Dennis Kucinich said it best in June 2007:

New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate

Aired June 3, 2007 – 19:00   ET


…KUCINICH: I reject this whole approach.

And the American people should know that with half the bankruptcies in the country connected to people not being able to pay their doctor bills or hospital bills, premiums, co-pays and deductibles are going so far through the roof, 46 million Americans with no health care, another 50 million underinsured, there is only one way to get health care coverage for all Americans. And that is to have a universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system, Medicare for all.

Wolf, I have written the bill. It is H.R. 676, with John Conyers, supported by 14,000 physicians.

And you know what? What Senator Clinton, Senator Edwards, Senator Obama are talking about, they’re talking about letting the insurance companies stay in charge. They’re talking about continuing a for-profit health care system. And I think…]


Not Obama, nor Clinton, nor Edwards thought single payer could be achieved now, even if they did believe in it. Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, was willing to fight for it.

Due to the corporate structure of the media, a whole lot of us never even saw or read the debates, because of the recession-based loss of financing for extras like newspapers, cable and dish. A bunch of us have never yet had access to broadband. We are awaiting the “Obama Version” of rural broadband access. That meant out of the many democratic debates, many of us had the potential to see only two. Those of us in this condition did our best, but how were we to clearly evaluate the candidates’ words as spoken from the mouths of others? In reading the transcripts every debate said pretty much the same. Obama says 95% of his plan is like Clinton’s. No one should be surprised, who was more connected, like for example, NetRoots.

If I believed that our vote had truly counted, I would have said so be it. This is what most of you wanted. The Congress we have is doing our job. However, I don’t think that. Someone took away electoral votes, Convention balloting, the right to present complaints in a court of law. Besides, someone paid 747.8 million dollars to elect the candidate of choice, 140.9 million more than all the Republican presidential candidates put together. Someone else paid the running tab of all those “congress critters”, as Blue Lyon likes to call them, along with River City Mud, FireDogLake and Corrente who articulated many of the deficits of the Senate bill.

At the last several came out against this bill; Naral, Now, Women Count: and others. These folks also:

“Physicians for a National Health Program” (PNHP) came out against the health reform bill, H.R.3590.

[Pro-single-payer physicians call for defeat of Senate health bill

Posted by Mark Almberg on Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009

Legislation ‘would bring more harm than good,’ group says

For Immediate Release

Dec. 22, 2009


David Himmelstein, M.D.

Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.

Oliver Fein, M.D.

Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org

A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the ad..]

The AFL-CIO and SEIU said they were disappointed but sticking to it.

AARP, when I checked had maintained their position, stated on the 16th, in favor of the bill. They are most concerned about closing the “Doughnut Hole” that the last Medicare fiasco produced. This bill, reportedly, will do that.

Plus, AARP does carry it’s own health insurance company.

Money is God. Money is power. We choose to support corporations, the least transparent of all, or we choose to support government organizations and single payer systems subject to scrutiny. Someone championed the former. Someone voted for the former. Had either Clinton or Edwards won the presidency, we would have still had some version of what we now are getting – a combination employer/private insurance system articulating with Medicare and Medicaid. Though the debate details might haven been different, they still would have been over line items. I struggle to imagine whether we would have had a better line item presidential advocate for women. I hope so. I think so.

The Republicans are equally to blame in this debacle. Disingenuous arguments about the quality of these bills are no recourse, when they would not have voted for a single payer system either. Nor does it profit them to be so obsessed with controlling women’s genitals. Ridiculous stuff about death panels hardly helps. 39 Senators voted against H.R. 3950, all Republican. Thirty years from now when this bill/act is finally acceptable, that vote will look stupid. The political left swing that will come will cast those votes in a different light. Despite the bill’s horrible faults, Democrats still have eleven months to make it work for the benefit of the party. Clinton’s primary debate comment is right in that Universal Health Care is a core Democratic value.

It was never going to be easy to get back in balance so quickly, much less that left swing, that some say our country does on a fifty-year pendulum. The ravages of “rightness” are yet too great, too raw and open. We have been off balance to the right for so long this time, we have raised forty years worth of youngun’s to live with one short leg. Understandable leftist desperation of this system has made us grasp for an untenable coalition with DINOs and worse, while we let the oligarchs gain even more power.

This Congress and this President have produced something entitled “Universal Health Care”, whatever that might mean. While some us are telling the benefits of this bill, we know as Democrats it could be much, much better. We are about to be stuck with it. If we want single payer we are going to have to work some more.  If we want equality for women, it doesn’t come in this bill. We have to beat at it’s line items and sections until they are forged into something more acceptable.  Then we have to work for equality elsewhere, so that it may someday apply.

Though the House is in Holiday Recess, some few are working on the Reconciliation of the House and Senate bills now. H.R. 3590 and H.R 3962 are about to merge, travel to the President, and become law of the land, sometime next year, five days after the President signs it. So, for those of you who do have insurance, think about sitting down with your companies and getting some direction.

The next health care battles are here.

Never, never, never give up!

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The continuing saga of H.R. 3590.

Members of the Senate have now submitted 150 amendments to H.R. 3590, including approved S.AMDT.2786, which changed the name of the bill to the PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS, and substituted the health care text for that of the original bill involving homeownership. As you may recall that amendment was approved on November 21st when the motion for cloture was agreed to.

Since that time the following additional five amendments have been approved, one amended amendment has been approved and one has been tabled:

S.AMDT.2791 – Mikulski Amdt. 2791 As Amended (by AMDT.2808.); To clarify provisions relating to first dollar coverage for preventive services for women.

S.AMDT.2826 – Bennet Amdt. No. 2826; To protect and improve guaranteed Medicare benefits.

S.AMDT.2870 – Whitehouse Amdt. No. 2870; To promote fiscal responsibility by protecting the Social Security surplus and CLASS program savings in this Act.

S.AMDT. 2899 – Stabenow Amdt. No. 2899; To ensure that there is no reduction or elimination of any benefits guaranteed by law to participants in Medicare Advantage plans.

S.AMDT.2926  – Kerry Amdt No. 2926; To protect home health benefits.

S.AMDT.2939 – Pryor Amdt. No. 2939; To require the Secretary to provide information regarding enrollee satisfaction with qualified health plans offered through an Exchange through the Internet portal.

And one motion to successful tabling of an amendment S.AMDT.2963 – Motion to Table Nelson Amdt. No. 2962; to prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions.

On the other side, the following five amendments have been rejected and 4 motions have been rejected:

S.AMDT.2836 – Murkowski Amdt. No. 2836; To ensure patients receive doctor recommendations for preventive health services, including mammograms and cervical cancer screening, without interference from government or insurance company bureaucrats.

S.AMDT.2901 – Thune Amdt. No. 2901; To eliminate new entitlement programs and limit the government control over the health care of American families.

S.AMDT.2905 – Lincoln Amdt. No. 2905; To modify the limit on excessive remuneration paid by certain health insurance providers to set the limit at the same levels as the salary of the President of the United States.

S.AMDT.2927 – Ensign Amdt. No. 2927; Relative to limitation on amount of attorneys contingency fees.

S.AMDT.2942 – Gregg Amdt. No. 2942; To prevent Medicare from being raided for new entitlements and to use Medicare savings to save Medicare.

McCain Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.

Hatch Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009

Johanns Motion to Commit to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009

McCain Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.

As you can see, with only twelve amendments dispensed out of one hundred and fifty, the battle and debate for our national health care is not done. It seems a little unrealistic for Reid to say they will be done by the Holiday Break- but hey, he’s the expert.

Senator Boxer’s successful push to get the “Nelson Abortion” abortion tabled , was tremendous. It might take some of the pressure off. HERE is the vote:

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs —54
Akaka (D-HI)Baucus (D-MT)

Begich (D-AK)

Bennet (D-CO)

Bingaman (D-NM)

Boxer (D-CA)

Brown (D-OH)

Burris (D-IL)

Cantwell (D-WA)

Cardin (D-MD)

Carper (D-DE)

Collins (R-ME)

Dodd (D-CT)

Durbin (D-IL)

Feingold (D-WI)

Feinstein (D-CA)

Franken (D-MN)

Gillibrand (D-NY)

Hagan (D-NC)Harkin (D-IA)

Inouye (D-HI)

Johnson (D-SD)

Kerry (D-MA)

Kirk (D-MA)

Klobuchar (D-MN)

Kohl (D-WI)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Leahy (D-VT)

Levin (D-MI)

Lieberman (ID-CT)

Lincoln (D-AR)

McCaskill (D-MO)

Menendez (D-NJ)

Merkley (D-OR)

Mikulski (D-MD)

Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)

Reed (D-RI)

Reid (D-NV)

Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sanders (I-VT)

Schumer (D-NY)

Shaheen (D-NH)

Snowe (R-ME)

Specter (D-PA)

Stabenow (D-MI)

Tester (D-MT)

Udall (D-CO)

Udall (D-NM)

Warner (D-VA)

Webb (D-VA)

Whitehouse (D-RI)

Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs —45
Alexander (R-TN)Barrasso (R-WY)

Bayh (D-IN)

Bennett (R-UT)

Bond (R-MO)

Brownback (R-KS)

Bunning (R-KY)

Burr (R-NC)

Casey (D-PA)

Chambliss (R-GA)

Coburn (R-OK)

Cochran (R-MS)

Conrad (D-ND)

Corker (R-TN)

Cornyn (R-TX)

Crapo (R-ID)DeMint (R-SC)

Dorgan (D-ND)

Ensign (R-NV)

Enzi (R-WY)

Graham (R-SC)

Grassley (R-IA)

Gregg (R-NH)

Hatch (R-UT)

Hutchison (R-TX)

Inhofe (R-OK)

Isakson (R-GA)

Johanns (R-NE)

Kaufman (D-DE)

Kyl (R-AZ)

LeMieux (R-FL)Lugar (R-IN)

McCain (R-AZ)

McConnell (R-KY)

Murkowski (R-AK)

Nelson (D-NE)

Pryor (D-AR)

Risch (R-ID)

Roberts (R-KS)

Sessions (R-AL)

Shelby (R-AL)

Thune (R-SD)

Vitter (R-LA)

Voinovich (R-OH)

Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting – 1
Byrd (D-WV)

If you want to know more go HERE.

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Link over to the Confluence HERE. They caught it as Senator Boxer was able to effectuate  tabling the  Nelson Amendment on abortion. I’ll have more later.

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SacBee is reporting that the Monarchs did not find a team buyer. The players will be dispersed to other teams. I liked one commenter’s point attached to this article, that the winning team (The women’s) was being killed and the losing Kings team (The men’s) was not.

Draft will disperse Monarchs players after bid for Bay Area move fails

By Debbie Arrington


Published: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009 – 11:11 am

[Instead of moving as a team, Monarchs players will be dispersed Monday in New York, the WNBA announced.

Today, the WNBA scheduled a dispersal draft of Sacramento’s franchise, one of the original eight WNBA teams and the 2005 champions….]


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I’ll have more in a bit, but the vote to cloture just ended and the Senate has passed it’s first hurdle. After debating whether to debate the bill they now agree, that they will. (I know, it seems redundant, but this is how this goes. The Senate had to decide if they and the bill were ready.)

Today’s debate over whether to introduce the Senate Health bill to the Floor, illustrates the circuitous route a bill sometimes takes. HR 3590 is a case in point.

HR 3590, was entitled “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes”. It was agreed to and sent to the Senate for consideration on Oct 8th of this year. The two page document can be seen HERE.

The Senate then ordered the document to lie on the table. The bill was amended using AMDT. NO. 2786. The document’s title was revised to  the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, the original contents removed, and the Senate’s 479  page  health care platform was inserted.

Also see the previous related posts :

Senate Health Debate May Begin Soon

More Info on H.R. 3962

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The ninth anniversary, on Oct 31st, 2009, of UN Resolution 1325, dedicated to women peace and security, was marked this year by a series of events starting with open debate at the UN Security Council and leading up to adoption of the  “Third Resolution On Women, Peace & Security, SCR 1888″.

As is usual, a report of the Secretary General, in preparation of the debate was delivered on dated Sept 16, 2009. #S/2009/465, Entitled “Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security”, HERE, is an 18 page document outlining events, conclusions and recommendations relating to how women last year, in various places around the globe, were affected by war, it’s aftermath, and the difficulties of finding a voice. I encourage you read it.

WomenWatch has a webpage HERE, devoted to information about this important global resolution directed toward the advancement of peace and security for women. It’s section entitled “Background to Resolution 1325, From the UN Charter to Security Council Resolution 1325” provides a wonderful synopsis of the path taken from the beginning of the UN, to the resolution’s adoption.

The geographic area of United States is not technically in a theater of war. Therefore, the events that happened last year in places like Somalia or Afghanistan do not apply to us. However, one cannot help but find resonance in some of the actions that are taken against women in our country. Deliberate destruction of medical supplies and measles vaccinations targeted for women and children strike a chord with unequal medical treatment provided here. Gang rape as an act of war, an old enemy of women, as well as men and children, is not too far off from the gang rape that occurs in our streets. Many countries around the world now have better representation of women in government than we.

The Security Council reports that there is an absence of “a clear monitoring mechanism” for implementation of 1325, therefore, it has continued to play a strong advocacy role. Part of this problem may relate to it’s own difficulty in promoting women to positions, such as higher council levels and monitoring, which in turn relates to how successful the member countries have been at providing them.

In any event, sixteen countries have thus far made an effort toward advocacy of women’s goals by developing national action plans. They are Austria, Belgium, Chile, Côte d’Ivorie, Denmark. Finland, Iceland, Liberia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Plans of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Nepal were reported to be under development.

So despite the fact that that we are permanent members of the Council, we have not so far produced a national action plan. Not us. Nowhere in the report are we mentioned. Yep, that’s global leadership! Now it’s true that we just had an election and we have some new blood[1] [2] staffing the upper levels of the Security Council. I take the UN’s point, however, if we want to lead, that we must do a better job of achieving gender parity. We must be willing to develop our own national action plan.  In doing so we will see the similarities.

[1] Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Adoption of a UNSC Resolution to Combat Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict


[2] Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, during a Security Council Debate on Women, Peace, and Security, in the Security Council Chamber

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Update: Senator Boxer has just sent an email stating the STUPAK AMENDMENT NOT INCLUDED IN THE SENATE BILL! She is asking to petition signers to help prevent the amendment from being included once the debate starts. Here is her petition page:


Politico.com reports Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will vote to begin debate, leaving them only one shy.

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Sac Bee has just reported the possible demise of the Sacramento Monarchs, WNBA pioneers. Apparently this is another example of when the tough get going, the women get gone. Maloof Sports has decided to concentrate it’s energies on the Kings, the men’s basketball team.

I understand there are economics involved and attendance and all that. However, I think this reiterates how choices tend to be made when profit is the first motive, especially in hard times. The Monarchs deserve a new owner, if one can be found, that sees women’s basketball as the first priority.

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An interesting Dipnote arrived today. HRC spoke yesterday to the US and International troops in Afghanistan. In the clearly elucidated message, she included the community and family based beliefs that are a foundation of her political tenets. Recognition of the effort, that community and family play when a member goes to war, is too often ignored.

The other interesting comments centered around apparent statements that newly re-elected President Karzai has made; that he hopes that within three years Afghan security forces will lead in certain areas, and within five years, throughout the country. This is not, of course, an announced US timeline. However, it might suggest a framework within which the US and International forces are considering their operations.

Imagine that.

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