The horror facing Native Americans today

January 11, 2010

The following blog posting is made available in its entirety due to permission granted by Tim Giago at Native Son News:

Theresa Two Bulls: a lady of distinction

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Native Sun News

There are those who choose to take jobs that almost immediately make them unpopular, at least unpopular to those factions that are always on the opposing side.

Theresa “Huck” Two Bulls chose to run for the presidency of the Oglala Sioux Tribe knowing full well that it would probably be the most difficult job she has ever undertaken. Politics on the Pine Ridge Reservation can be vicious. There are no opposing political parties because Democrats or Republicans do not figure into the political spectrum. The politicians are homegrown and they come with all of the passion and ferocity that was a part of their personal trials.

Two Bulls, like all of her predecessors, inherited a tribal government deep in debt. She inherited all of the problems that have plagued Pine Ridge for 100 years. All of the problems can be measured as extreme. There is perpetual poverty, crumbling schools; a law enforcement system short on manpower and funds. She inherited a dominion where gangs one would expect to find in Chicago are now growing their form of crime and violence on her turf.

She inherited a housing problem one can only describe as disastrous. Her housing director, Paul Iron Cloud, an honest and dedicated civil servant, has struggled, pleaded and begged the Housing and Urban Development Administration to step in and provide the financial assistance needed to construct new homes and repair those that are in such bad disrepair that they would be condemned as uninhabitable in any community outside of the reservation. You will find homes in horrible condition that are housing two and even three families. The shortage of homes is a disaster.

Two Bulls inherited an administration that faces an unemployment rate that hovers at nearly 80 percent. There are more than 20,000 residents of Pine Ridge and most of the available jobs are with the tribal government, the schools, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are small businesses scattered throughout the reservations nine districts, but none that employ the reservation’s residents in large numbers. The 1980 U. S. Census named Shannon County, the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, as the single poorest county in America.

She inherited a health care system through the Indian Health Service that barely survives each year because of inadequate funding. Thus the rampant, epidemic diseases of diabetes and heart conditions that have helped to reduce the life expectancy on the reservation the lowest in America and the equivalent of the worst Third World countries. The death of newborns and the number of stillborns are so high that at one time in 2009 as many eight per month were reported. If this was happening in any other community in America there would be a horrendous outcry.

Two Bulls is the second woman to ever serve as President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Her predecessor, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was impeached because of her pro-stance on abortion .There are those who still believe that she was impeached because she was a woman. Four months into her administration Two Bulls faced rumors of impeachment that never materialized. It is still a factor that lurks in the shadows in her political life, but she is determined not to let it color her ability to make sound decisions for the people.

When an epidemic of teen-suicides erupted on the reservation, she declared a state of emergency to address and, hopefully, solve the recurring problem. When a severe blizzard struck last week Two Bulls set emergency measures in motion in order to get propane, wood and food, to the many residents stranded in their homes far out on the reservation.

When Native American veterans of the Korean War were honored recently in Rapid City, Theresa Two Bulls was the only tribal president to show up and to walk down the row of veterans shaking their hands and placing a kiss on the cheek of all 41 veterans being honored. Many of the veterans felt privileged that she would take the time out of her busy schedule to honor them.

Two Bulls still has a tall hill to climb. The myriad of problems on Pine Ridge would appear to be insurmountable, but she chose to run for the office of the president and she won. Having served as vice president a few years ago, she knew exactly what she was getting into and said after the election, “Every day I have people come to my office because my door is always open and they are the young and the elderly and many people in the middle, and the tell me over and over that they are praying for me and it scared me at first, but now I accept it and it really helps me.”

She has said she did not win this job in order to be in a popularity contest, but instead she took the job in order to; in the best of her ability, improve the lives of the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and therein lays her motivation. Anyone wishing to let Two Bulls know how they feel can reach her at theresatb@oglala.org.

She deserves and needs the support of everyone.

(Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is the publisher of Native Sun News. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association, the 1985 recipient of the H. L. Mencken Award, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1991. Giago was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2008. He can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com)

I agree that Theresa Two Bulls deserves everyone’s support and thanks for stepping up to take this leadership position.

In asking Tim for permission to make this available, I hope my readers would think about:

  • With the billions of dollars the U.S. spends on stimulus, war, etc., I am most perplexed about why Native Americans suffer like this?
  • How is it special interests thrive and the Native Americans suffer?
  • Where are their elected representatives in Washington providing assistance?

What do you think?

Democrat Dave



MoveOn.org, Lieberman and Health Care Reform

December 18, 2009

This ad sums up Lieberman pretty well.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Critical Insights about Obama Presidency

November 28, 2009

Please read the following post from Dr. Alan Weiss, the world’s preeminent independent management consultant, about the Obama presidency:

http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/my-report-to-the-president/

Wonderful advice that President Obama would be well advised to apply.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Grave concerns about Cap and Tax treaty

November 3, 2009

I am in favor of engaging in practices that protect our environment. I urge great caution signing a treaty that undermines the U.S. Constitution and our ability to be agile in the world economy.

I’ve been pretty distracted with many other important issues as of late and have not kept up with this particular issue. Many Americans are equally distracted and lack insight into this proposed treaty.

Today, I received a message from a good friend asking me to look at this 4-minute long YouTube video:

The Obama Administration needs to be very careful about “doing the right thing for America” with respect to this opportunity. If it does not meet our needs and/or undermines the US in any way, we should reject this treaty unless it is appropriately modified.

A huge signing party is apparently planned for next month in Copenhagen. The US need not get caught up in the moment. If it isn’t right, don’t bind us to it. As it stands right now, it should not be ratified by the U.S.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


GOP Health Reform Plan Revealed

September 30, 2009

This sums it up real well! What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Speaker Pelosi: Focus on our business, not Joe Wilson

September 12, 2009

Speaker Pelosi: Drop the issue with Rep. Joe Wilson. There is nothing to be gained from pursuing apologies, censure, reprimand, etc. A year from now, Rep. Joe Wilson will be in the fight of his life to keep his job in the House. That is sufficient.

While decorum may be important to you and the other 434 House members, at the end of the day, the American people really don’t care. It is more important that you demonstrate leadership for our business and forget about Rep. Wilson’s reprehensible behavior.

There is a lot to be gained from focusing on the People’s business; our business. Please focus the House and don’t let unnecessary distractions divert attention from where it needs to be.

Democrat Dave


Boehner to Drug Makers: Stop Appeasing Obama

August 17, 2009

The GOP House Minority Leader is telling a former GOP house member, Billy Tauzin, a lobbyist for big pharma, to quit negotiating with Barack Obama as Barack attempts to lower America’s health care costs.

It seems the President is playing the GOP’s sand box.  Oh, my.

If you want to understand the party of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and the status quo, the GOP, read the following post available at Huffington Post.

Make sure you take your blood pressure medicine first.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Death Panels and Health Care Reform

August 17, 2009

The GOP, the party of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and the status quo,  is doing everything it can to undermine health care reform.  The GOP considers that any health care reform that passes will be a defeat for the party rather than a win for America.

The GOP knows that by employing FUD they have a formula to maintain the status quo and give themselves a shot at being relevant again.  The GOP has announced that any health care legislation passed would undermine their stated mission of retaking Congress and the White House.

The GOP is serious when they say they want President Obama (and, by inference, the United States) to fail so the GOP will look more appealing in the 2010 and 2012 elections.  The GOP believes that if everyone has access to health care, the GOP will become an even more irrelevant, inconsequential minority party and remain there for years to come. 

Public Option

This morning I learned why the “public option” is so intimidating to the GOP:  if there was a public health care insurance option that is cheaper than what is presently available, businesses might migrate to the less expensive plans leaving the current insurance industry in shambles. But, isn’t it also a possibility that a more level playing field would be created for consumers resulting in lower prices across the board?

What is the insurance industry’s incentive to be more competitive today?  There really isn’t one.  Competition is certainly an incentive.

  • A colleague of mine in Maine (who is in the insurance field as an independent consultant) stated that not too many years ago, there were 40 health insurance companies competing there.  Now, there are 3.  And, what’s happened to insurance costs?  They consistently exceed the rate of inflation.
  • My health insurance went up 18% this year.  Explanation?  None.  Value-add to me?  None.
  • I just spoke with a business owner in Massachusetts who said her business health insurance is going up 30% this year.  No change in coverage, risk, number of employees, etc.  The bill is simply going up 30%.

So, the really big concern about a “public option” isn’t so much the “public option” as it is a concern that the present health insurers won’t be able to compete with the public option.  Isn’t that interesting!  Just who do our Congressional representatives work for?  Their constituents or insurance companies who held them fund their reelection campaigns?

And, the GOP says we don’t have a problem?  Where are their facts that counter what I’ve just stated above?  Oh, they don’t need facts–they just need FUD and status quo.

Death Panels

The notion of death panels was invented by a woman who is a paid advocate for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries to scare the heck out of people–FUD.  She’s done her job–earned her fee.  Her lies have fueled vast quantities of FUD.

It is clear a lot of people aren’t thinking–they are just reacting. The GOP loves to go after the more gullible in our midst–that is who the “death panel” message was intended for.  Apparently, the most gullible in our midst include Sarah Palin and her supporters as they jumped on the “death panel” bandwagon like a moth to a bug light.  Yes, Sarah, it would be appalling to think that your parents and Trig might be put to death by President Obama’s “Death Panels.”  And, that’s why such a plan has never been raised except in the minds of those who love to create FUD.

Does the GOP think that Death Panels would be more like “America’s Got Talent” where an individual in need of health care would get up on stage,  a panel would hear an individual’s case and render a decision about whether they get health care or not–a thumbs up or thumbs down verdict right then and there?  Or, does the GOP think it would work more like American Idol where actual viewers would get to decide overnight and we’d get a decision the very next evening?

Are people really stupid enough to think that the greatest nation on earth would indulge in such reprehensible bull crap as death panels?  Seriously?  Wake up!!

America’s Health Care System

The US health care system is ranked #19 in the world.  It’s not #1 in the world as some politicians would have you believe. So, the next time you hear that we have the best there is, know that it’s not true and not even close.  It’s got systemic problems that need to be fixed.

The US cannot continue to live with the status quo.  If you need to understand why we need to fix it, read Barack Obama’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times published 16AUG09.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Top 5 health care reform lies

August 11, 2009

Courtesy of MoveOn.org:

The health care fight has turned ugly, fast. Right-wing mobs are crashing congressional town halls,1 lies are spreading via anonymous email chains,2 and Sarah Palin bizarrely said that President Obama was going to set up a “death panel,” whatever that is.3

Many of these claims are just incredible—but if we don’t fight back with the truth, the right will continue to poison the health care debate. So as part of our Real Voices for Change campaign this August, we’re working to set the record straight.

Check out the list below: “Top Five Health Care Lies—and How to Fight Back.” Can you spread the word by passing this email along to 10 of your friends today?

Also, if you’re on Facebook, please post the list today by clicking here: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51746. If you’re on Twitter, retweet: @MoveOn Check out the Top 5 Health Care Lies—and How to Fight Back. http://bit.ly/Bncs5

Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back

Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!

The truth: These accusations—of “death panels” and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill.”4 What’s the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.5

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!

The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama’s reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.6 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.7

If you’re happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them.8 But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can’t afford health care now.

Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!

The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that.

Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.9 And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation. 

Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens’ Medicare benefits!!!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits.10 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.11

Lie #5: Obama’s health care plan will bankrupt America!!!

The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy.

Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.12 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade13—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.14 Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama’s reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.15

We’re closer to real health care reform than we’ve ever been—and the next few weeks will decide whether it happens. We need to make sure the truth about health care reform is spread far and wide to combat right wing lies.

Can you forward this email to your friends today? And remember, also post it on Facebook by clicking here: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51746. And on Twitter, by retweeting: @MoveOn Check out the Top 5 Health Care Lies—and How to Fight Back. http://bit.ly/Bncs5

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Kat, Ilya, Michael and the rest of the team

P.S. Want more? Check out this great new White House “Reality Check” website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/ or this excellent piece from Health Care for America Now on some of the most outrageous lies: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51729&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=1

Sources:

1. “More ‘Town Halls Gone Wild’: Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With ‘Incomprehensible’ Yelling,” Think Progress, August 4, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51733&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=2

2. “Fight the smears,” Health Care for America NOW, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51729&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=3

3. “Palin Paints Picture of ‘Obama Death Panel’ Giving Thumbs Down to Trig,” ABC News, August 7, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51728&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=4

4. “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill,” The Associated Press, August 10, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51747&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=5

5. “Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care,” The Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51730&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=6

6. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 11, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#i1

7. “Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51737&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=7

8. “Obama: ‘If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,'” The Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51736&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=8

9. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#r1

10. “Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform,” CNN, July 28, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51748&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=9

11. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#s1

12. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

13. “Premiums Run Amok,” Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51667&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=10

14. “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies,” CNN, June 5, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51735&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=11

15. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

Sources for the Five Lies:

#1: “A euthanasia mandate,” The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51732&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=12

#2: “It’s Not An Option,” Investor’s Business Daily, July 15, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51743&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=13

#3: “Rationing Health Care,” The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51742&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=14

#4: “60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation,” Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51734&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=15

#5: “Obama’s ‘Public’ Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation,” The National Review, May 13, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51744&id=16778-7179639-h3aVIex&t=16

Want to support our work? We’re entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.


Birther movement can stand down

July 23, 2009

There are still a couple of people who question whether or not Barack Obama meets the citizenship requirements necessary to be President of the United States of America.

He does meet the requirements.  Check out this video clip (double-click the word “video”).

Is John Stewart the only reliable source for journalistic investigation?

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Screw the GOP on universal health care

July 20, 2009

The Republican party as the party of  “no” (as in “no ideas,” “no solutions other than the status quo”)  is doing everything they can to undermine universal health care.   You can sense the fear in them that the status quo they created is about to be history.

These buffoons led by Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh really don’t care about America–they care about power and doing everything they can to undermine Barack Obama to give the GOP a chance to win in 2012.  It’s not going to work.  The American people are smarter than that.

We have all the frickin’ money to pay for wars that the last Republican administration got us into to yet we can’t take care of  ourselves with respect to health care?  I think not.

This isn’t an issue of money; it’s an issue of priorities.

The GOP has the wrong priorities for America.

The GOP doesn’t want government involvement in health care as they don’t want government making decisions for Americans yet they forget that, for those who are fortunate enough the have health insurance, insurance companies make decisions ever day with no oversight from anyone.  Who do you think is benefiting from that?

The World Health Organization has US Quality at 37th and ON PAR with CUBA and Slovenia and below Chile and Costa Rica !

Rank Country

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba

The GOP needs to take a sabbatical and quit blocking and tackling merely in the hope that they will look more attractive in the next election cycle.

The GOP continues to be the party of FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt.  They aren’t the party of ideas–they just want to throw stones at anyone and everything that doesn’t think like they do.  They think that “doing the right thing” such as providing health care for our citizen is “socialism.” As far as I’m concerned, they are guilty of ignoramus-ism and buffoonery.

It’s important to remember that only about 21% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans.  Let’s not let that small minority undermine something this important to American.

I urge the Democrats to fashion the best program they can and vote it in.  Don’t wait for the GOP to get on board.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Sarah Palin not leaving politics

July 12, 2009

The Associated Press is reporting today that Sarah Palin is not leaving politics. Now, I can truly say my prayer has been answered.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy this news makes me.  Ever since the ambiguities in her stunning July 3rd announcement, I’ve felt a lot of trepidation that she might be leaving politics all together.

Thankfully, we’ve learned today, that that is not the case.

Let’s do some quick math to really understand the impact of this news.  70% of Republicans like Sarah.  Impressive.

However, only 21% of the US population today identifies themselves as a Republican.  So, that means Sarah has the support of a little less than 15% of the US population.

Hmmm.  She’s going to need to pick up a few votes from Democrats to pull this off.   But, with her charm, charisma, eloquence and interviewing skills, it should be a piece of cake.  She’s magnetic.  All she needs to do is avoid contact with that mean ol’ main stream media, and, everything should be just fine.

Sarah’s staying in politics is great news for the US taxpayers as well. The comedy industry won’t be in need of stimulus package for the foreseeable future.

The contrast Sarah provides against the Democrats is dramatic!  Sarah Palin in 2012!!

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Ahmadinejad Likens Obama to Bush

June 25, 2009

Right.  I have to laugh at the utter foolishness of this sentiment.

It shows what an out of control mad man Ahmadinejad really is.

After Barack Obama’s speech in the Middle East, just about every Islamic group understands that there is a significant difference between Bush and Obama.  Even Hammas is saying that the situation is different now.

In order for people like Ahmadinejad to survive, he needs to create the image of the “evil empire” (that would be the USA) being anti-Iran and anti-Islamic.

This metaphor isn’t going to work.  People are smarter than that.

It’s time for the will of the people to be heard in Iran.  It’s time for the people to thank the clerics for what they do, but, to separate church and state.

Is this a pro-Iranian position?  Yes.  Yet, I’d bet Ahmadinejad would suggest otherwise.  He’d probably accuse me of being like George Bush.  Sure.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


The Limbaugh culture & the true cost of Iraq war

March 21, 2009

I was out of town for a consulting conference this past week and got into a direct and terse conversation with a McCain-Palin voter.  She seemed only able to spit out Limbaugh/Fox News/GOP talking points about the contributions Bush and Cheney made during their time in office.  This story would be laughable if it weren’t true.

This woman lives in Virginia, not too far from Washington D.C., is in her 60’s, and continues to be fearful about the events surrounding 9/11.   She believes that:

  • Whatever Bush/Cheney did, it was warranted because we’ve not suffered an attack on U.S. soil since 9/11
  • She doesn’t think that Bush/Cheney should be charged with war crimes
  • She stated “the only reason Barack Obama was elected was because he was black”
  • That Barack Obama has to be corrupt because he comes from Chicago
  • That we were fully justified going into Iraq
  • That Presidents no longer need a Declaration of War from Congress–that has become passe’
  • She blamed Bush’s  and the McCain-Palin ticket’s problems on the “main stream media”

I’d had enough.  As my wife says, you don’t want to get in my cross-hairs on issues I feel strongly about.  While it is uncommon to have such a  discussion in the midst of 10 colleagues, I had to confront her on what I feel is complete B.S.  And, I’m not sorry I did.

You see, one of the women in our group was a Captain in the Army who supported the medical mission in Iraq.  She and her husband both served in Iraq concurrently.  It just so happened this woman’s mother was in our group as well.

I oppose putting any American soldiers in harms way:

  • Under false pretenses (WMD)
  • To support nation building
  • To support a police action
  • For anything less than full-on military battle to win a stated objective

To commit as much money, resources, dead and wounded Americans as a result of an undeclared war is not only unconstitutional but wrong.

This woman seemed disinterested in hearing that (while we focus on the over 4,000 service men and women who have lost their lives in this conflict) about 30,000 have suffered injuries, some so catastrophic that their lives are changed forever.  My sense is that she felt entitled to this benefit because it made her feel safer.

The Captain’s mother told us she had been to San Antonio to visit the troops in a rehabilitation center treating some of the most traumatic injuries.  She said she went up to one person who was disfigured beyond belief including missing limbs, looked at him and said, “Thank you for your service.”  His reply:  “Thank you for looking me in the eyes.”   We knew what she meant–his injuries were so horrific that most could not even look at him.  Oh, my God.  What have we done and for what?

I pointed out that America’s standing in the world increased immensely the day Barack Obama was elected.  My colleague asked how our standing in the world had changed merely because of the election?  She did not seem to understand that Bush/Cheney had diminished our standing in the world. How can anyone be so disconnected from reality?

She didn’t know that back when Bush was re-elected, 80% of the world’s population had wanted Bush to not be re-elected.  She didn’t seem to understand that, even with an outstanding individual such as Colin Powell as Secretary of State, the U.S. forgot how to use diplomacy to explore solutions.

This woman believes that torture is okay as long as it keeps us safe.  How naive!

This woman is in that 30% minority of Americans whose thoughts bewilder me beyond belief.

The key insight I got from this is that it is her personal fear that drives these beliefs.  How sad for us all.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Palin’s sexiness hurt her vote getting

March 5, 2009

From the L.A. Times blog “Top of the Ticket” comes the following:

“Newly released academic research suggests that Sarah Palin’s sexiness, while great for selling copies of Vogue magazine and political buttons about the hottest governor from the coldest state last fall, may actually have hurt her vote-getting ability, which seems to be what elections are about.”

Really?  I’d attribute her vote getting problems to her inability to put together coherent thoughts as evidenced by her media interviews.

Of course, Sarah blames the MSM for all her problems.  But, that’s a pretty consistent GOP trait as of late.   It’s a lot easier to blame “the evil MSM” than admit that America wanted someone with more than a fifth grade problem-solving level running the U.S.A.

I’m so grateful John McCain and Sarah Palin didn’t fool the American people. After 8 long years, we got one election right!

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


GOP Governors want stimulus funds

January 31, 2009

How interesting the “party of principle” can’t seem to get on the same page.

The GOP governors largely want the stimulus funds while Congressional House GOP members have rejected it unanimously.

What is Rush Limbaugh going to say now?  Are you as confused as the Republican party is?

Democrat Dave


Obama & Guantanamo–rash decision?

January 30, 2009

Many (mostly Republicans) believe that Barack Obama made a rash decision to close Guantanamo, the place where the Bush Administration housed people labeled as “enemy combatants.”

Several weeks ago, I was of the opinion that we shouldn’t close Guantanamo.  I believed the correct answer was simply more transparency of everything going on there.

Now, after further reflection, I can tell you that I agree with Barack Obama.  Guantanamo has become little more than a international symbol of disgrace for the United States due to the lack of transparency by the Bush Administration.

Barack Obama certainly got it right. We should close this installation as quickly as possible.  Transparency is not going to overcome negativity in the international community.

What do you think?

Democrat Dave


House GOP should walk the talk–refuse bailout funds

January 30, 2009

This week, the House GOP unanimously rejected the Obama-led bailout initiative to bolster the sagging economy.  Why?

The GOP claims to the be a “party of principle” against deficits, government bailouts, etc.  The GOP believes that trickle-down economics is the only way to go and feels the answer is simply more tax cuts.

If the House Republicans are truly a party of principle, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the House GOP leadership should immediately announce that the House Republicans will refuse to accept any bailout funds coming into their districts.  Stephen Colbert suggested they do on his show last evening, a brilliant idea don’t you think?

By rejecting bailout funds, the House Republicans send a strong message of principle not only to Barack Obama and the Democrats but also to their constituents.  Think of the strong message that would send!  Why, even Rush Limbaugh would be delighted with this principled response, don’t you think?

Do they have the guts to do it?  Of course not.  They really aren’t that principled. What do you think?

Democrat Dave


Republicans looking to jumpstart the economy

January 26, 2009

After driving the economy into the ditch, do the Republicans really think they offer the leadership and insights to “jumpstart the economy?”  What a ludicrous thought!

Thankfully, the GOP lost the last election cycle.  Can you imagine if McCain and the GOP were in charge now?

The standard GOP refrain is to simply “lower personal income taxes” not to spend money on a stimulus package.

Excuse me, but, how does “lowering personal income taxes” help the person who doesn’t have a job?  How dumb does the GOP think we all are out here anyway?

The stimulus package is a lifeline to create meaningful jobs to bridge us from where we are to where we need to be.

I, for one, am not looking for any additional GOP “leadership” about how to fix the economy anymore than I’d be looking for Captain Hazelwood–the Captain of the Exxon-Valdez–to offer suggestions about how to maneuver an oil tanker through Alaskan waters.

Every day of delay further puts our economy at risk.  Under GOP “leadership”–George Bush and Henry Paulson–we’ve already sunk about $700 billion in bailouts to Wall Street and I’ve yet to understand how we are better off.  Can anybody explain this to me?

As far as I’m concerned, the GOP needs to shut the f__k up on matters of economic policy and let the Barack Obama lead the way.  If the GOP continues to look like obstructionists, things will only get worse for them in the 2010 election cycle.

Barack Obama correctly pointed out that “he won” the election.  We need change.  GOP–get out of the way.  Try to become part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


Bush-Cheney nightmare is over

January 22, 2009

It’s absolutely wonderful to awaken knowing  the 8-year Bush-Cheney nightmare is over.

You could see the joy in the faces of people at the inauguration.  Nearly 2 million people showed up in person in Washington, D.C., to celebrate President Obama’s election to the highest office in the land and the departure of one of the least popular administrations in our nation’s history.

I am absolutely in favor of prosecuting the prior administration for its illegal acts, particularly for any war crimes that were committed.

When the President of the United States announces to the world, “We do not torture,” and then allows and even condones “aggressive interrogation techniques” previously defined in international law as “torture,” we cannot turn the other cheek.

Prosecution of war crimes is not a partisan undertaking.  It establishes that no one is above the law, even the President of the United States.  We can allow the international community to pursue such prosecutions–that is certainly acceptable to me.

I understand that Barack Obama does not want to be distracted from the critical tasks at hand nor does he want his administration to get bogged down in what many would say is a partisan issue.  But, his administration can’t simply ignore past illegal acts.

Today, Barack Obama enjoys the approval of more than 80% of the American people.  I’m delighted that he and his team are in charge and wish them well leading us back from the brink.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


20 days and counting–no more Bush-Cheney

December 31, 2008

I can’t wait until Noon on January 20th, 2009, when Bush and Cheney head off to retirement.  I won’t miss that smirk.

I’ve had a quiet few weeks and have not posted much since the election.  I needed to take a break, sit back and observe the political world while I attended to some business matters.

If you’re like me, you probably wish the Bush-Cheney team had stepped aside back before Thanksgiving, yielding to the Obama-Biden team.   While there is still the vacuum of leadership from Bush, he’s apparently been busy looking for ways to erode environmental and labor protections.

What am I excited about?

  • The incoming Obama-Biden team replacing Bush-Cheney
  • Our troops get a new Commander in Chief
  • The new cabinet is getting praise from Republicans  and Democrats alike
  • Colin Powell’s candor just before the election
  • A really smart, capable guy is going to be President in 20 days
  • The Iraqi government has expressed the intent to get our troops out just as Barack Obama had suggested for months
  • That the McCain-Palin ticket didn’t prevail in the last election
  • Al Franken becoming a U.S. Senator for the state of Minnesota

What irritates me?

  • Bush and Cheney will likely get away with war crimes
  • That the Bush administration was able to undermine our Constitution, our economy, our environment, our regulatory processes, our standing in the world, and will face no consequences
  • There’s no accountability for Paulson and Bernake
  • I don’t know if any of the $350 billion Paulson has spent is yielding or will yield economic benefits–can anyone explain this to me?
  • That Paulson and Bernake made a case for the urgent need to buy up “toxic mortgage debt” to get the economy moving and then bought none
  • Why we’re focused on what little bailout money the U.S. auto industry is receiving ($17 billion) yet we aren’t keeping our eyes on the Wall Street bailout which continues to move along under “cover of darkness”
  • AIG’s bailout money has quietly increased from $80 billion to over $125 billion–how come?
  • How the SEC–after being tipped off about a scam Bernie Madoff was perpetrating on investors–looked the other way and how this negligence has a price tag of $50 billion.  Madoff is spending his days/nights in his luxurious New York apartment while his victims spend their days living with untold anguish.
  • The arrogance of Bush, Cheney, Ted Stevens, Norm Coleman and Blagojevich

What do you think?

Happy New Year!!    Democrat Dave


Bailout the U.S. auto industry–ludicrous statements from leadership

November 17, 2008

The U.S. automotive industry is about to fall off a steep cliff.  They are asking for bailout money.  Yet, here’s the posturing taking place:

  • The United Autoworker’s Union (UAW) is saying they will make no concessions as the problem is with the economy, not with anything related to the UAW.  Right!
  • Rick Wagoner, the Chairman of GM, says he isn’t willing to take money if there are any conditions associated with the receipt of bailout funds.  Sure!

Earth to auto industry–earth to auto industry:

  • The UAW will make significant concessions.  If they don’t, they’ll force the auto makers into bankruptcy which will eliminate all union contracts immediately.  How would they like that?
  • The management of these companies will accept conditions–they can’t risk “standing on principle” and letting their companies go down the tubes.

No one is happy about the idea of bailing out the U.S. auto makers.  If it weren’t for the larger impact on the economy, it probably would be a reasonable idea to let them die.  They’ve adopted the wrong strategy and are horribly positioned for the current economic climate.

The incoming Democratic President and the Democratic Congress are going to have to “do this right.”  We can’t simply throw good money after bad.

And, finally, the auto industry management and UAW are going to need to come to terms with the notion that they lack little bargaining power at this juncture.  Fundamental change has to occur and occur as a condition of bailout funding.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


$700 billion bailout–how are we doing?

November 12, 2008

The bailout isn’t going well from my perspective.  Paulson is making stuff up as he goes which is pretty much what he told Congress he wanted to do just prior to the legislation passed granting him authority to spend the first $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout. 

Henry Paulson has a lot of control and no real accountability for how this money is allocated.  If he’s right, then we–the taxpayers–might benefit.  If he’s wrong, oh well–it sucks to be us.

Back when this “program” was sold to Congress, a big portion of the plan was to buy up “toxic assets”–mortgages that had gone bad and created a liquidity crisis of historic proportions. 

Today, Paulson announced that he’s decided to go in a different direction and not buy the toxic mortgage assets.  Huh?  This was at the root of the crisis just a few weeks ago.  Now, it’s no big deal?  What’s wrong with this picture?

The markets are in a turmoil over Paulson’s sudden change in direction.  Buying the “toxic assets” was the core rationale for the bailout.  This latest Paulson decision seems to be nuts.  Wall Street agrees.  Main Street has to be asking if Paulson really knows what he is doing. Or, is Paulson like the Wizard of Oz–the guy behind the curtain making adjustments that may not matter?

AIG, the insurance giant, was to be the beneficiary of an $80 billion bailout.  [Note: This $80 billion is NOT part of the $700 billion bailout.]  This week, AIG needs another $40 billion.  Really?  Are we sure?  Of course not.  It should be noted that the former president of AIG, Hank Greenberg, stated that he could have saved the company with $20 billion.  He didn’t get the chance.

The auto industry is falling off a cliff.  They’d like an additional $25 billion over the already committed $25 billion.  And, what does this do?  Give them cash which they will blow through like a cocaine addict blows through cash.  We can’t bail them out unless there are systemic changes to correct the auto industry business models that simply no longer serve them or the consumer.  You can’t keep throwing good money after bad.

One of my consulting colleagues up in New England tells the lobster fishermen are loosing their butts this year as the current market price is $3.50 a pound, less per pound than I’m paying for hamburger to add my dog’s food out West.  Yikes!   My colleague claims they may be looking for a bailout. Why not?  Will a billion do it?

What do you think?  Democrat Dave


It’s Veteran’s Day–a day to give thanks

November 11, 2008

Today is the day we honor our veterans and active-duty soldiers for their service to our country.  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to those who have served or are serving this great nation and tell them how much you appreciate their service to our country. 

American Heroes

American Heroes

One of my close friends, a gentleman named Hank up in Reno, NV, served on PT boats in the South Pacific during World War II.  I feel lucky to know him–a lot of people like Hank didn’t make it back home.

Hank claims the “heroes” are those who have died in service.  We don’t agree on this point.  The heroes are those who serve, not simply those who die.

Democrat Dave


President-Elect Obama–Wow!!

November 4, 2008

What a night!!   I’m absolutely ecstatic about this victory tonight.  We’ve come so far from the last 8 years, 8 years I can’t wait to put behind us.

Back in 2004, George W. Bush declared one day after one of the narrowist victories in U.S. presidential election history that he had a “mandate.”  My immediate reaction was “bull shit”–you don’t have anything near a mandate.  He went on to talk about how he was going to spend the “political capital” that he had earned during the election.  It makes me shake my head to this day thinking about this. What an arrogant, pompous ass. George Bush and Dick Cheney have acted as though they could do whatever they wanted without repercussions.  As Keith Olbermann would say, “How dare they!”

This election is a victory for all Americans, a victory for the international community, a victory for hope, a victory for diplomacy, a victory for our veterans and active duty soldiers, and a victory for our planet.

Barack Obama is inheriting a mess: 2 wars, an economy on the verge of collapse, industries that have missed the mark and put jobs at risk, huge budget deficits, over $10 trillon national debt, etc.. It won’t get fixed overnight.  It is going to require careful thought, leadership and the ability to build coalitions of support.  Barack Obama has demonstrated that he knows how to do this.  That’s why he was elected today.

Barack Obama is a smart, thoughtful guy. He knows that with great power comes great responsibility.  If the Democrats act with the best of intentions for the citizens of our nation and the world, they may continue to enjoy the mandate they’ve been given today in the 2010 election cycle.  If they abuse this power, they can expect a reversal of fortunes.

The election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden is a clear repudiation of senseless deregulation, needless torture and waterboarding, loosely interpreting the U.S. Constitution to fit the circumstances, inventing phrases to avoid obligations under the Geneva Convention requirements (e.g., “enemy combatants” vs. “prisoners of war”), warrantless wiretapping, catering to narrow special intersts to win votes, “go-it-alone” preemptive military actions, firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons, FEMA support for Hurricane Katrina, and countless other issues.  And, one more thing. Colin Powell hit the nail on the head: We are not just a Christian nation–we are a nation that includes and respects all religions. 

In just the past couple of months, Barack Obama has been called a celebrity, a socialist, a Communist, a “liberal,” a tax and spend liberal, a guy who wants to raise everybody’s taxes (contrary to his position), a pal of domestic terrorists, etc.  How pathetic coming from John McCain and Sarah Palin.  John McCain would want us to forget his pathetic campaign and his disparging words that served to polarize people, but, I’ll never forget the low road he and Sarah Palin tried to take to the highest office in the land.  The American voters won’t forget either.

But you know what–the American people didn’t buy the Republican B.S.  Even many neo-cons endorsed Barack Obama as they didn’t like what Bush and GOP has done to this country and our standing in the world. America saw through it this time. 

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

This is a proud day for all Americans.  It’s a proud day for Barack Obama and his family, his recently deceased grandmother and for all African-Americans who thought they might never see a president who looked like them.

Back in August, I started this blog at the suggestion of my wife.  I’ve been blessed to have over 5000 visitors to this blog since its inception.  Most of my visitors have come for the fact-based, research pieces that I’ve written.  Even today, I had people looking up issues such as the “Bush Tax Cuts” to understand the difference between the plan offered by John McCain and Barack Obama.  I’m grateful for folks who have come to the blog regularly and offered comments and support.  I appreciate it more than you know.  It has made this mission worthwhile.

America made it through this election cycle without one of our best commentators ever:  Tim Russert.  I have to believe that Tim Russert is smiling tonight up in heaven at Barack Obama’s victory.  I miss his insights, his smile, his energy and enthusiasm.  It was great to see his son Luke on the air during this election cycle.

I’m so happy!  Congratulations to the Obamas and the Bidens!!

God has blessed America today!  Thank God for this day and this outcome. Democrat Dave

PS:  I’m not going to retire this blog as this election cycle closes.