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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Taking a break

The Dunning Letter is on indefinite hiatus but please use the "Search" option to look for subjects of interest.  There are over 700 posts to choose from.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You could profit off your health insurance

In yet another part of the new health-care law that favors consumers, insurance companies will be forced to spend a minimum of the premium you pay on health care and quality. For smaller companies the figure is 80 cents on the premium dollar. For employer plans covering over 50 people, the requirement is 85 cents. This is similar to a law passed a few years ago requiring charities to spend a minimum of your donations on the cause for which they are collecting.

If the insurer fails to meet the minimum, they will be forced to issue rebates to customers. The idea is to encourage better health care over excess spending on administration, marketing and executive bonuses by the insurance company. Some insurers are already complaining, which might indicate an inequality in paid premiums on their part to health care delivered.

Others are threatening to stop offering insurance to the individual market, with Georgia, Iowa, Maine and So. Carolina afraid this could lead to loss of coverage. But industry analyst, Les Funtleyder, says Health and Human Services has considerable latitude in making adjustments for insurers’ marketing needs. It would seem that the consumer can expect a higher quality of health care with this new ruling since many plans only spend from 60 to 80 cents on the dollar.

The new rule goes into effect January 1, and in 2012 up to 9 million customers could get rebates averaging $164. It’s nice to know for once that the consumer is getting a break with the greedy health insurers paying the bill. It is also pathetic that this must be done to keep these companies honest. The $164 could be a discount on premiums or payment direct to policyholder.

In the future, customers can shop for health insurance using this new gauge of just how well insurers pay benefits, but must be mindful of the new jargon. The ratio companies spend on care is “medical loss ratio.” They’ve known this all along but as long as they were able to get away with spending only 60 percent of your premium on your health care, the greedy ones did it.

And remember, the Republicans have said repeatedly that they would repeal the health care act.

Read more on this subject here.

Read more health care posts here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution? Part 3

"Gunfight" by Professor Adam Winkler
 In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, it was established that the Tea Party is planning a revolution, and one of its major thrusts will be to roll back the nation’s gun laws, the effective few that are on the books that are responsible for holding down gun violence. Now I know what the gun bubbas are saying to this, that there was a surge in weapons ownership recently and that’s what keeps our neighborhoods safe. Pure bunk!

First of all, I don’t know anyone where I live that owns a handgun, and if I did, they would be the last one I would call on. Furthermore, I don’t feel one iota safer walking down the street next to Wyatt Earp who is carrying a gun, which, because of the way he flaunts it, could easily be wrested away from him or her by a bad guy who could end up shooting me. Like former President Ronald Reagan said, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

Finally, it is rare that you see coverage in the media where an armed citizen has saved the life of an innocent bystander, and also infrequent when a gun owner uses their weapon to protect themselves. Most everything you read indicates the crooks, depending on just how desperate they are, will go to any length to get what they want, and no amateur gun-carrying Dick Tracy will help. This is particularly true of drug addicts.

My point is that more guns on the street are certainly responsible for the recent rash of shooting violence across the U.S.

So back to the Tea Party and getting rid of all gun laws. According to UCLA Constitutional Law Professor Adam Winkler, their extremism is illustrated by the fact that many of their candidates are endorsed by Gun Owners of America, headed up by Larry Pratt, which argues that the NRA doesn’t support gun rights enough. Would you believe, the GOA thinks the NRA is too compromising? Pratt is also known for his part in starting the lunatic 1990’s patriot militia movement, which died after Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Professor Winkler believes that although guns rights individuals value their firearms for self-protection, the Tea Party and a rejuvenation of the militia movement covet them for revolution. This was evident by Sharon Angle’s run for the Senate against Harry Reid in Nevada when she told supporters if you don’t get rid of Harry Reid, the people will be forced to turn to “Second Amendment” remedies. Harry Reid won.

You can see Chris Matthews take on the Tea Party by a priceless comment he made recently in the following You Tube video.

While the Tea Party dresses up all their rhetoric for hot button issues like economics and too much government, “Make no mistake,” says Professor Winkler, “when it comes to guns, they’re talking about revolution.”

Read more Tea Party posts here.

Be sure and look for Professor Adam Winkler’s book, “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” which will be published by W.W. Norton in the summer of 2011.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution? Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I introduced Adam Winkler who is a constitutional law professor at UCLA, who says the Tea Party wants an “extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.” This is being pursued in several states by Tea Party candidates such as Paul Rand in Kentucky and Joe Miller in Alaska, who advocate adoption of the radical Firearms Freedom Acts, which are basically insurrectionist in their purpose. In Wyoming, if a federal officer attempts to enforce federal gun laws, he could get up to a year in jail.

One might expect that out of a state which former Vice President and infamous liar under GWB, Dick Cheney, hails from.

The Tea Party crackpots disguise their actions as states’ rights, but the intention is purely to eliminate all gun control. A move that could put more weapons in the hands of drug users and domestic batterers, as well as undermine gun dealer record-keeping laws that are used to solve crimes, Winkler says. As an example, the Professor also comments that Rand Paul is hell-bent on “no gun control period,” even if firearms end up in the hands of criminals.

Although the Tea Party tries to connect with the Ronald Reagan era, they fail to mention that Reagan “vigorously” endorsed the Brady Act, named for his press secretary injured seriously by a handgun. And one of my favorites, while Reagan was Governor of California, he supported laws banning gun bubbas from carrying loaded weapons around on public streets.

As a matter of fact, the former President said: “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” AMEN!

But Joe Miller, still trying to associate himself with Reagan, prompted his supporters in July to arrogantly parade with their guns openly displayed. They’re seen with military-type rifles on their shoulders and handguns strapped to their belt in an attempt to mirror Wyatt Earp. See the video below, and tell me if this doesn’t look like the biggest gang of misfits you’ve ever seen. Pathetic!

Tomorrow, Gun owners of America, another gun group even more radical than the NRA.

See earlier Tea Party posts here.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Is the Tea Party planning a revolution?

Adam Winkler is a constitutional law professor at UCLA, and recently wrote about how the Tea Party movement plans to overturn gun control laws. Just what is needed in this country…an extension of the NRA. Winkler says the issue was “conspicuously absent” in the recent election, but an undercurrent running through the campaign rhetoric was that the Tea Party wants an “extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.”

This could be the result of the dilution of the D.C. v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the Second Amendment does protect the right of an individual’s right to own guns for self-defense. In that decision SCOTUS added: “…nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions on the commercial sale of arms."

The lower courts have followed that interpretation to uphold laws re. the possession of firearms by “felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens, and individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.” Also “laws prohibiting particular types of weapons, including sawed-off shotguns and machine guns, and specific weapons attachments.” And “laws barring guns in school zones and post offices, and laws outlawing "straw" purchases, the carrying of concealed weapons, possession of an unregistered firearm, and particular types of ammunition.”
With these courts upholding every one of these laws, as Professor Winkler put it, “Since Heller, its Gun Control 60, Individual Right 0." See the Professor’s You Tube video, below, that concludes the major problem of gun control advocates is potential bills through state legislatures.

The CATO Institute financially backed the Heller legislation and thinks the above addendum added by Justice Scalia merely caused confusion in the ruling. The gun fanatics disagree—wouldn’t we be disappointed if they didn’t?—saying it just confirms that the Supreme Court “believes that almost all gun control measures on the books today are perfectly lawful.” With all these disappointments, amid the flag waving by the NRA of what they had accomplished on Heller, the Tea Party quietly made their plans.

On Monday, the Tea Party gun control revolution.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Former Rep. Tom Delay from Texas proves how far a politician can fall

He was one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, and had the nickname of “the Hammer” due to his bullying style of handling people. Former Rep. Tom Delay, once the number two person in the House of Representatives, was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He, of course, plans to appeal the verdict. The decision was based on $190,000 of corporate donations that were involved in a Texas-style “money swap.”

Delay had two co-conspirators that assisted in getting the money to the Washington-based Republican National Committee, which disbursed it to seven Texas House candidates. The prosecution said that the $190,000 was instrumental in the GOP taking control of the Texas House. That, in turn, paved the way for redistricting that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004.

The judge has several options in sentencing Delay of up to life in prison, but a Texas defense attorney remarked that he would probably only get a few years, if he gets any prison at all. Delay was also mixed up with former lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, in 2005, an association that ended his 22-year political career. The Hammer later surfaced in 2009 as the Dancer in ABC’s TV show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the other side of the aisle is Charlie Rangel, congressman from New York’s Harlem district, a 40-year veteran who is being charged with financial and fundraising misconduct by the House. Rangel, who is 80 years old, pleaded with the House to not call him corrupt, and it did not. Convicted on 11 counts of ethical wrongdoing, the ethics committee recommended 9 to 1 for censure.

Rangel is accused of using the power of his office to solicit money for a college center named after him. There were ten years of misleading financial statements re. his assets and other shenanigans over a New York apartment. As the former chairman of the House’s tax-writing committee, it was considered particularly flagrant that he hadn’t paid taxes on income from one of his properties for 17 years.

Two wrongs—one from each side of the political aisle—do not make a right. And you can kiss “transparency” and “accountability” goodbye in the future with the incoming Republican House ready to ditch the Office of Congressional Ethics. This is an independent body established to watch over Congress, and apparently as far as the GOP is concerned, doing too good of a job. What does this say about the Republicans many of you voted for, and Congress in general?


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The gun nuts are coming out of the woodwork – Part 2

I would hope that all of my normal readers would take the time to read yesterday’s post before starting on today’s, so you can get a feel for just how ludicrous the gun freaks can be when someone attacks their right to do whatever they want with a gun. It’s hard to fathom how this conglomeration of radicals has become so strong when they only represent around 25 percent of the adult population. At any rate, I would sincerely be interested in hearing from those of you that believe in some form of gun control.

Now on to answers to more comments from Monday.

AM thinks it is OK that 5,000 firearms ended up in Mexico from American gun dealers, a flippant attitude the folks in Juarez who have lost family members recently to cartels might not share. Anyway, I am certainly not sure about AM’s figures with the news coverage of high powered weapons finding their way across the border from Arizona recently showing up at Mexican crime scenes. The ATF confirmed this indicating that weapons seizures on the border have doubled this year. Not exactly how the Mexican government would make a purchase, but thanks for the math lesson.

And the AKs that AM says come from Central and South America, it is obvious he should advise ATF that 90 % of the 158 assault rifles seized in Mexico where they were taken from the drug cartel Los Zetas in May alone, didn’t really come from the United States as the ATF claimed. However, AM, it’s really Ok to be stupid; I have to feign stupidly any time I am dealing with gun screwballs.

RNK, please don’t ignore my gun show loophole “fantasy,” just go to the link to yesterday’s post on this subject and see just how mixed up you people have become. And speaking of logic, yours is diluted to the point of hilarity re. why we should not get rid of the weapons confiscated in crimes. These “inanimate objects’ you speak of are responsible for the recent rash of shootings that are taking place throughout the U.S. As far as burning American currency, AM, it is illegal, or is this something the NRA didn’t teach you?

I don’t know about you, RNK, but in my entire life I have never been faced with the necessity to defend myself with a gun. Also, not one of my family, friends or acquaintances has ever indicated this need. Yes, it happens, but does the number of instances justify a gun lobby that supports defeating laws that simply seek time to check a potential gun owner’s background? I think not and no amount of NRA gibberish will convince me of this.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The gun nuts are coming out of the woodwork

Photo by Dave Parker
 There’s nothing I like better than debating with a bunch of gun fanatics. Some comments to The Dunning Letter posts on the subject are based on facts—no doubt delivered daily by the NRA to its members—but most are purely emotional and vindictive, attacking the writer who is genuinely interested in finding a way to keep killer weapons out of the hands of criminals. What I cannot abide is the fact that these devotees to the gun god won’t relinquish one drop of control.

David said “…your statement about gun shows is entirely false.” He goes on to say that the “gun show loophole” is a private sale, and is limited by law. Apparently the congressional investigation into this in July 2010 by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) didn’t have your information, David. The forum resulted from the brother of one of those shot in the Virginia Tech U. massacre walking into a Virginia gun show easily purchasing a glock handgun like the one used at Virginia Tech, plus several others without any background check.

And then there is the anonymous comment from one afraid to give his or her name, and with good reason since what is said makes little sense. The apparent point was that the Google search I did showed nothing in relation to Arizona shooting, with some other babble over film making and gang violence. I will let my normal readers decide by looking at the site, here, again, which shows page after page of Arizona shootings. I am sure you don’t have the slightest idea what you are commenting about.

Sean D Sorrentino—it’s rare you get a full name—thinks I should back away from my keyboard and get a grip on myself. OK Sean, I did, and came up with the fact that there are 300 million firearms in the U.S., of which 100 million are handguns. And since some states don’t require gun owners to register their firearms, these guns are not counted. In a 2007 report, the U.S. was the most armed country in the world with 90 guns per 100 people. Based on my point, and facts, about the gun show loophole, above, do we really need to chance this happening.

More answers to the gun lunacy tomorrow.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Arizona continues to lead the nation in putting more guns in the public’s hands

State Sen. Russell Pearce, who authored Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB1070, stuck a provision in the bill that “pushes” local police departments to resell confiscated weapons to authorized gun dealers. Not satisfied that one Phoenix, Arizona suburb, Peoria, found a loophole in his law and passed a measure to continue destroying the weapons, a moonstruck Pearce now plans to “fix” that loophole in the next legislative session.

You would think that based on all the shootings I was able to Google, just in Arizona alone, some sanity might prevail and they would curtail all these insane gun laws that have been passed recently. In April of 2010, Arizona State Sen. Pearce once again authored, and Governor Jan Brewer readily signed, a bill allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit. Some fanatics never learn.

There are only two other states requiring the sale of confiscated weapons, Kentucky and Tennessee, both of which must have state governments almost as brainsick as Arizona’s. The NRA says why not sell these weapons to an authorized agent, and therein lies the problem. Gun show participants are authorized agents, and carry a loophole that would allow individual to individual weapons sales without background checks.

The Chaska, Minn. Police Chief doesn’t think that confiscated weapons should be recirculated in the market, as does the Peoria, Ariz. City Attorney. Peoria Police Chief, Larry Ratcliff, provides an illustration where weapons used in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. crimes were traced to resales from Memphis, Tenn. Law enforcement. An Apache Junction, an Ariz. Police Captain commented, although they are not big “moneymakers,” you can make a “couple dollars” out of them.

Arizona is also known for supplying assault rifles to the Mexican drug cartels, although these sources scream vehemently that they aren’t aware they are going across the border. That kinda cinches the case for stronger gun laws doesn’t it?

Read earlier posts on gun control here.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Not sure she’s happy there, but do think she should stay there

Photo by DonkeyHoten
 Barbara Bush told Larry King on Monday night that Sarah Palin is beautiful, thought she was “very happy” in Alaska, and hopes she’ll stay there. I’m not sure she’s happy there, and am pretty sure she’d rather be cross-country. In a white house with a wrought iron fence on a street named Pennsylvania Avenue. With a cute little room to hold tea parties. And, of course a ballroom for dancing.

On the roof a telescope would be set up from which she could keep her eye on Russia. A special space would be set aside for Katie Couric interviews. A section of the Government Printing Office would be delegated to turn out more of the claptrap books she is now famous for. Finally, an American historian would be hired to try and keep Palin from making the stupid statements she has been known for in the past.

OK. Stop right there. This is getting bizarre. Barbara Bush did say the above, but the rest is my creation. Taken from this pathetic woman’s life since Arizona Senator John McCain made the fatal mistake of bringing her into the lime light as his vice presidential running mate, and then, thankfully, lost significantly to President Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

But it isn’t until the paltry Palin re-hashes Michelle Obama’s statement, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback," in her new book, that she reaches the bottom of the barrel. Richard Cohen’s OP-ED in The Washington Post is a “must read.” He calls Palin’s criticism of the first-lady’s comment “appalling” and shows her “ignorance of history.” He refers to the fact that Michelle’s ancestors were slaves, and how she was made aware of her “blackness” while attending Princeton University.

Palin never had to experience this kind of racial prejudice, a situation most whites will never be able to comprehend, while at the same time much of this country continues to hold an apartheid attitude in dealing with African Americans. I might expect this from the South—where, incidentally, I grew up—even though they have cleaned up there act somewhat.

But is it mere coincidence that 36 percent of the Tea Party members come from the South, and one was quoted as saying, “I’m a proud racist, I’m white.”


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl just can’t give up earmarks

Photo by Mike Licht
It only took three days for Sen. Jon Kyl from Arizona to blow the ban on earmarks that even Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky had agreed to. McConnell is one of the leading pork barrelers, having bragged in the past about the millions he had directed to Kentucky projects. His shift on the issue was one of the most decent things McConnell has done in the last two years.

This was all prompted by Tea Party influence, especially Sen. Jim DeMint from South Carolina who was instrumental in changing non-binding party rules to eliminate “congressionally directed spending.” That was all on November 15, the week in which Congress was supposed to take a vote on earmarks, but there is some doubt now it will pass. President Obama supports the ban and more, but even some from his own party are in dissension.

Earmarks are spending items inserted in other bills, most likely by a Senator, going to a specific state. Just three days after the GOP renounced earmarks, Sen. Jon Kyl landed $200 million that will settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government. Kyl inserted it in a larger bill supported by the President, and then insisted it isn’t an earmark.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said on the floor of the Senate, “I do know an earmark when I see it. And this, my friends, is an earmark.

Kyl supposedly recently joined with the thinking of the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain, also a Republican, and a stringent foe of earmarks. The junior Senator was impressive during the recent Bush administration when he agreed with everything GWB said or did. At best, Kyl’s congressional accomplishments are limited, consisting for the most part bring back pork to Arizona. Apparently that’s what gets him reelected.

Read more here, here and here.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Should General Motors have been allowed to go belly up?

Photo by John Eisenschenk
The Tea Party thought so. Rick Perry, elected in the midterms to Texas Governor and potential TP presidential candidate in 2012 agrees. Perry is yet another fanatic from that group that wants to get rid of all government, including Social Security. Hopefully, those seniors over age 65 and drawing their SS will realize the stupidity in the backing of the Tea Party. Probably not, since much of this movement is based almost 100 percent on emotional involvement.

In a Newsweek article linked below, Perry poses with a rack of guns, which means he probably doesn’t plan to support gun control. As a matter of fact, the Tea Party has a radical agenda to overturn gun control laws, while its candidates seem to have soft-pedaled the issue during the recent elections. According to a UCLA Today article by constitutional law professor Adam Winkler, “They seek an extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws.”

With GM in the process of one of the most touted IPOs in history, the government’s investment was a good one, which saved a company and the jobs held by thousands of its employees. Perry doesn’t believe this, nor does he think saving the banking system was a good idea. Most consumers are anti-banks today—and with good reason—but only a fool would think we should allow our entire financial structure to collapse.

The last Bush administration has shown just what will happen when you lift too many government controls and regulations. How many TPs lost their homes to foreclosure? How many TPs lost their jobs due to the collapse of the economy? How many TPs would suffer financially if they did away with Social Security and Medicare? Whatever these people have been told, I haven’t heard one valid solution for any of the above come from any part of the GOP, including the Tea Party.

Read more here and here.

Read UCLA Today article here.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Health insurance industry still fighting health care reform

Wendell Potter, former media relations director for CIGNA, has written an expose of the health insurance business and it isn’t at all favorable to the consumer. In his book, Deadly Spin, he points out that the industry is governed by corporations that care little for the patients, but are greedy for profits. Between 2000 and 2008, private insurers hiked premiums by over 90 percent but payouts to care providers were up by only 72 percent.

Profits of the five biggest health insurers totaled an astronomical figure of $12.2 billion in 2009, an increase of 56 percent from 2008, reports Potter from his position as a Fellow with Center for Media and Democracy.

Photo by Shannon Kringen
Potter says that we are the only industrialized nation that connects health insurance with the act of being employed. And because of a ridiculous maze of federal and state regulations, there exists a “central ideological conflict.” The only thing the liberals and conservatives can agree on is that there is something wrong. What’s wrong? The author states he is convinced that “…managed care companies are fundamentally dishonest.”

Potter’s Senate testimony in 2009 revealed how health insurance companies make promises that they do not plan to keep. They actually show contempt for regulations that are in place to protect consumers. And they cease doing business with small companies whose medical claims surpass underwriter expectancy. To overcome all these obstacles, the insurance companies employ high paid PR executives—like Potter was with CIGNA—to do the dirty work of lobbying.

Michael Moore’s film, Sicko, helped him to decide to leave CIGNA and launch his current attack to expose the health insurance business for what it is. A greed laden industry obsessed with profits over providing the services they tout in misleading advertising and promotion. Potter says he needs to apologize to Moore for the role he played in the insurance industry’s attack campaign on Sicko.

It should be obvious to all that conservatives agree with this avarice and by attempting to scuttle President Obama’s Health Care Reform, plan to continue their support.

Read more here and here.


Monday, November 22, 2010

It’s time to send Arizona Senator Jon Kyl to the home

Killer Kyl wants to arm this country to the hilt as he continues to live in the past of Cold War doctrines that do not apply anymore. He still thinks we have to scare everyone to death with a storehouse of nuclear weapons that is way beyond this country’s needs. It is estimated the U.S. currently has around 9,200 warheads, but our nuclear deterrent requires only about 500 to 1,000.

Photo by Evelyn Proimos
 Republicans see this as yet another blow to Obama which the GOP is using to weaken the President’s administration. What actually happened is that Kyl surprised Obama with his opposition to the New START nuclear weapons pact with Russia. Killer has done this before when he bushwhacked Clinton in 1999 over the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

 Apparently an out-of-touch Kyl hasn’t done his homework, as usual, when he talks about a treaty that takes from the U.S. more than it gives. The treaty says:
  • "Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] launchers and SLBM [submarine-launched ballistic missile] launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein. This provision shall not apply to ICBM launchers that were converted prior to signature of this Treaty for placement of missile defense interceptors therein."
The Senator also jeopardizes the pending “123 agreement” with Russia, which establishes a 30-year guideline for nuclear commerce between the two countries. If Killer Kyl succeeds in stopping New START, it could make sense that Russia would reinitiate missile trade with Iran that it had terminated last month.

It would seem that bringing down President Obama’s administration is more important to the GOP than the secutity of the U.S. government, and it is time for congressional leaders like Jon Kyl to be turned out to pasture.

Read more here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Please say it isn’t so

It was in West Virginia that she apparently made up her mind to seriously consider a run for the highest office in the land. In 2012. No doubt as a Tea Party Republican. Yes, pretty soon you could be seeing political ads that tout Sarah Palin for President of the United States. Has a certain ring, doesn’t it? The kind of mayday bells that should set off warnings for all informed and thinking Americans. Stop Palin now…before it’s too late!

Her exact quote was: “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.” Maybe we could get the family to convince her of the idiotiocy of this whole idea. Oh, I forgot, husbands and apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Palin talked about the lack of “meaningful differences” in policy between GOP candidates. Didn’t know she had any policies other than to espouse the Tea Party hogwash she seems to have attached herself to. And then she talked about proving her record, on which she would run. Does that record include how her opposition to Senator Lisa Murkowski probably helped the candidate to win her race in Palin’s home state?

My theory is most people listen to her for entertainment, much as the fans of Rush Limbaugh do. But like Limbaugh, it aint funny anymore, and any rerun on television is better entertainment. The Republicans are scared to death of a Palin run for the presidency, but the Democrats can hardly wait and are already licking their chops.

Read more here.


Know the enemy – Part 3

Apparently the question is not ‘is there racism in the Tea Party?’ but rather ‘just how racist is the group?’ Lee Fang on says there is “definitive proof” there is, and provides some examples you can see here. Maybe the TPs put that behind them, but there is more confirmation in a CBS News/New York Times study done in April of 2010. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

88 percent of Tea Partiers disapprove of President Obama’s performance, compared to 40 percent of Americans overall. 50 percent of all Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, while only 7 percent of the TPs think he is doing a good job. The latter were pinned down to why and of their own volition they actually made the following statement about why they held these views.

First and foremost, “they just don’t like him,” numbering 19 percent of the organization’s supporters. This is no edict on a person’s beliefs, but when you combine that with past racial epithets, a new question arises of ‘why almost a fifth of the Tea Party just doesn’t like Obama?’ Racism does still exist whether we like it or not, as evidenced by one Tea Party activist who said: “I’m a proud racist, I’m white.” 36 percent of the TPs come from the South.

Fortunately, we are saved by an American public that doesn’t agree with the TPs. 84 percent of the group’s supporters claim the views of the Tea Party are shared by most Americans. When asked only 25 percent of the latter agree…not necessarily what most would consider sincere support for this aggregation of reactionaries.

If it is a racist disapproval that moves Tea Party supporters, and only they really know that, it is time for progressives to stand up and be known that they are still fighting for the rights of all Americans.

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Know the enemy - Part 2

Sarah Palin, a Tea Party favorite, said it is revolution time. Apparently the TPs took that literally, resulting in the Tea Party endorsing violence against the U.S. government; 24 percent of all Tea Partiers, 32 percent of the more radical activists think it is justified. When you combine that with the fact that 58 percent have a gun at home, the concept becomes scary. I researched, but couldn’t find, how many TPs are NRA members.

Tea Party activists are the angriest and most pessimistic about the country and President Obama. 72 percent of this gang are angry with Washington and 96 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing. 55 percent think the income tax we pay is not fair, but only 44 percent hold a favorable opinion of the Republican Party. 77 percent like Glenn Beck and 75 percent like Sarah Palin. And 50 percent of these wackos think Palin is qualified to be President.

63 percent of all TPs get their political news from Fox News, 77 percent of the activists, which could explain where they were derailed in the first place. It also explains how 75 percent are conservative with 39 percent very conservative. 66 percent always or usually vote with the GOP, and an even more-scarier statement that the U.S. needs a third party. Maybe Beck and Palin are planning to run as Tea Party candidates.

The TPs are angry about health care reform, lack of representation in government, government spending, and unemployment and the economy. 92 percent of them feel America is on the wrong track, compared with only 59 percent of the overall population. Half of all Americans approve of President Obama’s job, compared to just 7 percent of Tea Party supporters.

NEXT: How racist is the Tea Party?

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Know the enemy

Photo by Peppercorn pixie's
 Chinese general and author Sun Tzu, born in 544 BC said: “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Progressives today are faced with unethical, sometimes illegal tactics from Republican conservatives, particularly the Tea Party movement. Since this group is so new on the scene, The Dunning Letter will document some of their demographics, while exposing their extreme beliefs. Hang on. This may take a while.

CBS News and the New York Times surveyed 1,580 adults, more than half of which were self-identified Tea Party supporters. A summary of the results started with: “They're white. They're older. And they're angry.” 89 percent are white, 75 percent are age 45+ with 29 percent 65+. Their political dogma comes later, but in the meantime more profiling of just what these reactionaries look like.

They are from the South, 36 percent, the West, 25 percent, the Midwest 22 percent and the northeast 18 percent. Apparently voters become more mentally sound as they move north and east. Supposedly they are better educated, but a college philosophy teacher once told the class, “You can educate most individuals but you can’t teach them to think for themselves.” 56 percent earn more than $50,000 annually.

41 percent are female, 59 percent male, 39 percent Evangelical Christians, 61 percent Protestant and 22 percent Catholic. Some 38 percent attend weekly religious services. It wasn’t too long ago that progressives had to contend with the sometimes fanatical actions of the religious right, and then Jerry Falwell died in 2007 and the movement seemed to weaken. Tea Partiers could be a rebirthing.

NEXT: Is revolution on the horizon?

Read more here and here.

Read earlier posts on the Tea Party here.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know you’ve done a bad job when voters go through the back door

Since many midterm voters were voting against President Obama and his administration, they weren’t necessarily voting for the opposing candidate. It would be interesting for one of the research organizations to officially poll just how many were protest votes. I call that going through the back door, since you didn’t really vote for something, you voted against something.

Photo by Serge Malki
 The question: Is this politically sound when the result is placing an individual in one of the highest offices in the land, one who will be running our country? The next two years will tell.

A guilt-by-association theme became evident in exit polls that were conducted during the elections. Although not a scientific measurement, 40 percent of exit interviews stated their purpose in voting was to snub Obama. Animosity did carry over for Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada and current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Another question arises of just how much of this anger against Democrats was a result of GOP mud-slinging? Everyone is sick of it but many are also swayed by the negative advertising, according to the experts. Although pathetic, it is human nature. What we need is a national drive to encourage the public to think for itself, not be driven by hate campaigns.

Read more here.

Read earlier post on the midterms here.


The hush before the storm

A lame-duck Congress can be a do-nothing group or the Democrats could surprise everyone, including themselves, and get some important things done before the end of the year. Because, come January 1, 2011, the GOP swoops in to take over the House, and the Senate is hobbled with its less than 60 majority mandate. They could turn the almost seven weeks left into something more than mediocrity.

The Bush tax cuts must be handled, and there are several proposals on the table for negotiation. This issue alone will no doubt strike a cord for just how much cooperation we can expect between Democrats and Republicans in the next two years. There’s the Medicare reimbursement cut for doctors that legislators had better consider carefully for the sake of future health care for Seniors.  For Hispanics, the Dream Act.

A $250 one-time payment is being looked at for Social Security recipients to offset no cost-of-living increase next year, unemployment benefits need to be extended, and action is needed to stop earmarks for good, especially now with Rep. Mitch McConnell’s support. There are several other issues that the Dems could run up the flagpole, but the key is how the outgoing lawmakers handle this session, and just how they lay the groundwork for January 1.

Is it possible that Congress could amaze us and turn a hush into competent productiveness?

Read more here and here.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Democrats need to fight and here’s why

Sure, they’re discouraged, feeling like they have been hung out to dry by a fickle and uninformed public. The midterms shouldn’t have been a huge surprise; although it is obvious the Dems thought they “might” be saved at the last minute by Hispanics, Blacks, and the youth vote. It didn’t happen, at least in most of the country. Where something did happen was in California where Latinos put a Democrat in the Governor’s chair and reelected another Dem to the Senate.

So now in a lame-duck Congress, the left has to prevail, at least in two issues. One, they mustn’t allow the repeal of the Health Care Reform Act. A majority of Americans agree with this, and the GOP had better take notice. Since John Boehner, the new Republican House Speaker-to-be, has said it is his priority to repeal this law, the Democrats must stand together in strong opposition to Boehner.

The second is the GOP push to make the tax cuts permanent for the wealthy. It should be pointed out to the public, particularly those who aren’t millionaires, that this move will increase the deficit by $700 billion, and why do such deficit-conscious Republicans want to put this country in that kind of position. I personally believe there is room to move the identification of “the wealthy” from the current $250,000+ figure to perhaps $1 million.

Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post said it is time for President Obama to stand his ground, and quit taking crap [my word] from the bullies. Right on!

Read more here.

Read earlier posts on Health Care Reform here, and tax breaks for the wealthy here.


Does Karl Rove eat at McDonald’s?

Photo by Consumerist
 Fast-food is known to be a favorite of some politicians, like former President Bill Clinton who frequented McDonalds’s. But Karl Rove is a snake of another color, and his tactics were used recently in a restaurant in this famous chain in Canton, Ohio. Wait, this is also the state that House Speaker-to-be John Boehner represents. Well, anyway, it turns out the employees from this McDonald’s were “urged” to vote for the Republican candidates for governor, Senate and Congress.

There was actual coercion involved when it was pointed out to the workers that this could affect their pay and benefits. They were told: “If the right people are elected, we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above the current levels. If others are elected, we will not.” That’s not coercion, that’s a threat. McDonald’s corporate called the incident an unfortunate “lapse in judgment” on the part of the owner.

The president of the Canton City Council, Allen Schulman, a Democrat and also a lawyer, says the act violates Ohio law. Very Rovian. It is bad enough that the Supreme Court has allowed business to contribute to political campaigns anonymously, using malicious, negative attack ads, primarily against Democrats. Now we have to worry about unethical business owners politically threatening their employees.


Read more here.

See earlier posts 0n Karl Rove tactics here.


Monday, November 15, 2010

How many divas does the Republican Party need?

A prima donna, or diva, is described as “a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.” Some famous divas have included Madonna, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton. But none of these or any others in the past can compare with the elephant the GOP has in the room that refuses to go away. Sarah Palin. Early on in the midterms, she identified the adoration by Tea Partyers, and rode that momentum to success.

All is not rosy, however, as one Alabama Republican stated that “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate,” referring to Delaware and Nevada election results. This didn’t even slow Palin down as she quickly signed up to do a docu/reality show, “Palin’s Alaska.” The show is already being questioned for having a hidden agenda to lay the foundation for a presidential bid in 2012.

Geez! Her daughter, Bristol, couldn’t even stop dancing long enough to vote in the midterms.

In a Washington Post article by Kathleen Parker, another word being used to describe Palin by the GOP is “dangerous.” That pretty much says it all, and I am sure President Obama could not find any other opponent he would rather run against in 2012. But the key to Palin’s success could be the outcome of Tea Party recruitment in the next two years. In checking the Internet, I found hundreds of sites announcing recruitment drives in states throughout the country.

When will this madness end?

Read more here.

See earlier post on Sarah Palin here.


New House Speaker-to-be completely detached from reality

Either the media in Ohio where John Boehner is from is dropping the ball, or the man has just elected to secede from an authenticated world. Me thinks it is the latter. He called the American health care system the best in the world. Richard Cohen in The Washington Post, went to the “CIA World Factbook” to discredit Boehner’s statement.

To begin with, the United States is 49th in life expectancy, trailing Japan, France, Spain and Great Britain. And that’s just for starters. In infant mortality we are better off than Africa, but lag behind Cuba, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Canada, Portugal, the U.K., Australia and Israel. Either Boehner has a lousy research team, or he just chooses to ignore facts and go with the typical Republican strategy of “scare tactics.” Me thinks it is the latter.

If you make these stupid statements enough times, the population eventually begins to believe your lies. Unfortunately, America’s health care system comes in first only when you consider health-related bankruptcies.

There are 51 million in the U.S. without health insurance. John Boehner would have these families, including the babies who will never make it to their first birthday, hang around and wait for a GOP that is full of road blocks to President Obama’s policies, but completely devoid of how to tackle any of the major problems that face this country.

Read more here.

Read earlier posts on health care reform here.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Get off Pelosi's back!

While President Obama has recently been somewhat mute on achievements of the Democrats, current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has been targeted by many, including those in her own party, as the "fall guy" for their problems.  This would include the economy, and related issues like unemployment.  No one gives her credit for pushing for more stimulus money, which many say could have created more jobs by now.  The White House said no.

Instead of concentrating on joblessness, Obama and the Senate went all out for health-care reform, while Pelosi in the House passed several jobs bills that didn't make it out of the Senate.  The Speaker was busy all this time and was instrumental in passing the President's health-care reform, financial reform and cap-and-trade bills.  She also serves as a major force in combating GOP efforts to undermine Social Security and medicaid.  Nancy sticks up for the little guy and gal, and Democrats should stick up for Nancy.

Read more here.