WELCOME TO THE 2014 ELECTION! “IT’S ON AND POPPIN’!”

Two weeks removed from national election, that re-elected President Barack Obama, the 2014 mid-term elections are “on and poppin’.”  I wonder if the Democratic Party has sufficiently learned from the debacle of 2010.

It is obvious that the Republican’s have not learned any lessons from this last election season, so the test is, will the Democratic Party stand by what they profess and force the Republican Party to stand by their failed logic, and their total disdain for the American people, and the election process, that returned the President to office, and gained seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for them?

At stake, for the Democrats, at the national level, is a possible re-taking of the House of Representatives and gaining a filibuster-proof Senate.  At the local level there are several “red-state” Governorship’s and State Legislatures in play.

From what I’ve read, the assault on women’s reproductive choices, by Republicans, has resumed with refreshed attempts around the country to try to circumvent Roe v. Wade, using the states as their primary vehicle.  The war on the uninsured and the poor is advancing with Republican Governor’s rejecting certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Provisions such as the “insurance exchanges” for entrepreneurs and small businesses with less than 50 employees, and refusing to expand Medicaid services for individuals and families living at or near poverty levels, and the poor.

Yogi Berra said it best, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

As for the battle over reproductive choices, that’s a battle Democrat’s and Progressives should welcome.  A true conservative court will stand by the rights of the individual against the state.  A Republican court will not.  Chief Justice Roberts has shown, with his decision on the ACA, that he does not want his court to be branded as the “Republican Court.”  Notwithstanding some of the other Justices, it is my belief that the right’s of the individual will prevail.  We’ve seen that already with laws like “stand your ground,” and “open carry” laws, for guns.  We just have to be prepared, and willing to fight for what’s right.

Now, about the ACA.  Caught inside the Republican bubble, they believed that the President would not be re-elected, they believed that the ACA would not stand constitutional muster, they believed that their party would win the Senate and increase their majority in the House.  After the ACA was upheld by the SCOTUS, they believed that, when elected, a Romney/Ryan administration would repeal it, or at the least not fund or enforce it.  With this as their thinking, many of them simply did not prepare to commit to the exchanges by the deadline.  They also knew that the Federal government would step in and create the exchanges if they fail to do so.

As you know, the Medicaid expansion provision will mean approximately 17 millions people will receive coverage they otherwise would not have, and will mean the hiring or re-hiring of thousands of people nationwide, to handle the increased case loads.  The Republican Governors, as one of their excuses, claim they cannot afford to implement the exchanges or the expansion, though the Act will pay 100% of the cost for 2 years and 90% of the cost of the expansion for many years after that.  Another excuse is that they don’t want the Federal Government interfering in their state policies.  Their reticence means that millions will not be covered and thousands of jobs will not be made available, simply, because of their politics.

That being said, [this] becomes a prime opportunity for Democratic candidates as they begin their campaigns.  Many of November’s winning Democratic Party candidates ran on these very issues.  I wouldn’t wait another minute in these “Red States,” to force the Republican politicians, from the state legislatures to the Congress, to declare where they stand, on the record, about these issues, and challenge them publicly, about their stance.

These red states are among the most in need of the ACA and their Governor’s, State Houses, and Congressmen and women, should be forced to explain to their constituents why Obamacare is not being made available to them.  At the same time, the “Blue State Governments” should boldly tout the advantages of the Act to their constituents.  Their “red state” neighbors, seeing the benefits of the Act will challenge their leadership to comply, or opportunities will be created for Democrats to take over these State Houses and Legislatures, and to represent them in the Congress.

These are just a couple of the issues that will define this election.  There’s also Planned Parenthood, personhood, voter ID, state election laws, and much more.

We, Democrats and Progressives, must understand that we cannot relax.  2014 will be here before we know it and the race to the “mid-terms” has already begun.  It’s “ON AND POPPIN’.”

HEY MITT! IT’S THE 47%. IT’S “THESE PEOPLE.” ARE YOU LISTENING?

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.  All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.  That that’s an entitlement.  And the government should give it to them.  And they will vote for this president no matter what.  These are people who pay no income tax.  My job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

These are the words spoken by candidate Mitt Romney on May 17th of this year, at a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, as reported by Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn, on their website.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser

So, according to candidate Mitt Romney, 47% of the population does not matter.  That would be the 47% of Americans who don’t pay any federal income taxes.  47% of American’s are lazy and waiting for their government checks.  47% of American’s have no ambition’s or dreams.

That is the fiction.  These are the facts.

Let’s take a look at who those 47% of Americans are:

  • 28.3% of that total do pay payroll taxes.
  • 10.3% of that total are elderly.  (Retired, or, on Social Security)
  • 6.9% of that total are the poor.  (Income less than $20,000 per year)
  • The rest, approximately 1%, earn more than $20,000 per year, but through deductions like the mortgage tax credit, child credits, or earned income tax credit, owe no taxes.

http://www.businessinsider.com/mitt-romneys-47-who-are-dependent-on-the-government-2012-9

I’m not sure which alternative universe Mitt Romney lives in, but in this one, where real people live, they listen and learn from the people who want to lead them, the people who desire to be the President of the United States.  “These people,” as you call them, do take personal responsibility.  They get up, go to work, they do pay taxes, they take care of their loved ones.  They love and support their country.

And, they vote!

“These people” who you (Mitt), and your party, have castigated and denigrated, I’m talking about African-Americans, Hispanics, women, the LBGT community, and now, seniors and retired people, now see a common foe.  They are forming a coalition [that] not even the vast amounts of money, that you and your backers have been able to raise, is going to be able to defeat.

“These people” are now looking beyond your failed candidacy to republicans down-ticket.  They are looking at who among you is willing to stand up and refute your careless callousness.  The candidates, who by their silence, tacitly approve of your statements will be compelled to own them, to explain them to their constituents.

To the republicans running for office, the spotlight is on you.  “These people,” have heard from your leader. What say you?  As I stated before, they, “these people,” listen and they learn.

Then, they vote!

The Week That Was – The Affordable Care Act

My pick for the story of the week is the August 1st implementation of a significant part of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” if you will.

47 million women in this country are now eligible for expanded healthcare services.

Think about it, for 47 million women, to quote Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”  They will pay the same as an equivalent man for their insurance.

For 47 million women there will be no out-of-pocket payments for certain preventive and diagnostic care procedures.

47 million women will have access to contraception, with some religious exceptions, with no co-pay.

There are provisions made for needed maternity care, even counseling for domestic violence where necessary.

These provisions are now added to approximately 30 provisions already in place.  Provisions such as:  No discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions.  Insurance companies cannot drop coverage when a person get’s sick  No lifetime limits on insurance coverage.  Keeping an eligible child on parent’s insurance until age 26.

American’s are [now] better able to see the benefits promised back in March of 2010, when President Obama signed this Act into law.

This moment and those to come, more than a dozen provisions are yet to roll out, are moments some on the right hoped would never come.

Other than the complexities involved in implementation, which has stretched this process out, I can’t help but believe that there were delays built-in, by the right.  I believe that they were hoping that this bill, that became law, could be made unpopular, using distortions and outright lies. (Death panels???)  Or, by bringing multiple challenges before the courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, that the Act could possibly be struck down.

Those on the right knew that the more of the Act’s provisions that were made available to the American public, the more difficult it would be to overturn, repeal or replace.

Imagine what it must have been like, in March when the Act was before the Supreme Court.  Those on the right must have been feeling pretty good about the chance of the Act being overturned when Justice Scalia, and others, raised the “broccoli mandate” question.   Now fast forward to  June 28, the day the Court upheld the mandate (as a tax), keeping most of the Act intact, and they were left  scrambling to find a way to, again, bring down the law, in the court of public opinion.  (Back came the “death panels”)

They realize that with each roll out, with each provision implemented, the American people would appreciate, more and more, what this President’s administration has accomplished, with little or no help from the party on the right.  This legislation was passed, with not a single republican vote [for] in the House and only marginal help in the Senate.

I believe, given the expansive nature of the act, this signature piece of legislation is going to have significant impact, up and down the ballot.  The gains made by the right in the 2010 elections could quite possibly be recovered by the Democrat Party.  All that is required is that the party’s candidates remind the American people [of] what their lives were like before Obamacare.  All that is required is the truth.

Honorable mention went to Gabby Douglas, winner of 2 gold medals in gymnastics at the Olympics.  She won both for team performance and for the overall gymnastic performance.  Congratulations  Gabby!

Have a good week-end.

Unity vs. Divide and Conquer

Chutzpah, Gall, Nerve, Audacity

Well it’s for sure that Gov. Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, doesn’t suffer from a lack of any of these. It takes “chutzpah” to announce that you’re going to destroy peoples lives and then do it.

 
This is from an article in the Huffington Post, written by Todd Richmond:
“MADISON, Wis. — Newly released documentary film footage shows embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker shortly after his election describing a “divide and conquer” strategy for taking on unions by first going after public employees’ collective bargaining rights.  
Walker, who faces a recall election in three days largely because of anger over the collective bargaining law, made the documentary remarks in January 2011 in response to a question from Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who subsequently gave his campaign $510,000 – more than any other person. She asked Walker if he could make Wisconsin a “completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work” state.”
 
His actions should come as no surprise to anyone, in fact, Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation in 1993 as a freshman in the state Assembly.

When he ran for governor his campaign promised “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Yet when elected he, and other 1st term republican governors had the “gall” to launch an all-out assault on labor unions, state jobs and social programs. Finding out about his divide and conquer strategy does not surprise me, his “nerve” in talking about it, well, that’s borderline amazing.

The “audacity” of his retaining Ciara Matthews, as spokesperson, is a significant tell, as well.

“Her claim to fame, thus far, is being the spokeswoman for Sharron Angle, the Nevadan Tea Party candidate” “Matthews has been caught [out] telling lies, standing up with racist and hypocritical candidates, and hates people who challenges her version of reality.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/scott-walker-divide-and-conquer-unions-collective-bargaining_n_1509284.html

 
This election on, June 5th, could be the most important of this election cycle, thus far.  Perhaps even more so than the Ohio election when Senate Bill 5 was voted on, in November, 2011.  Ohio Senate bill 5 (or Issue 2 as it was displayed on the ballot) was the “Collective Bargaining Limit Repeal” referendum that restored bargaining rights to Ohio public employees.  
 
That was significant because that vote was the first major push back against what has become an all out assault on Unions nationwide by people like the Koch brothers, and groups like ALEC.  We’ve seen this assault broadened to attack voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, all these being civil rights.  They’ve gone after the elderly (Social Security/Medicare), the poor (Human Services/Medicare), the young (Public Education, SCHIP).  They’ve gone after immigrant and minority interests.  Their tactics are sinister, but obvious. By limiting public access to public assets, by not expanding the “social pie,” their intent is to set these areas of interest against one another, thus divide and conquer.
 
Tuesday, June 5, is the date where all those under attack must realize that, while they have different concerns, they have a common opponent.
 
Tuesday, June 5, is Wisconsin’s War.  Defeating Scott Walker will send a message, to the neocons, that Ohio was not a fluke.  That this is the peoples state, the peoples country, the peoples government. That the will of the people is not to be ignored.
 
Rev. Martin Luther King once said:  “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.”
 
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