Obama - Failure of Leadership, or Legislation?

 There have been questions raised regarding Obama's leadership.  What basis?

The previous administration dealt heavily in the crossover between the executive and legislative - putting candidates up during recesss, having the vice president ramrod falsified intelligence through committees and even going out to the public at large to attempt to justify and square their actions with congress (does anyone remember that the Bush Administration spent millions of our tax dollars on ad campaigns like the one 'Support the Presidents Policy of Pre-emptive Strike') leading us to the most costly administration in the history of American government.


However, Obama has been an advocate of balanced, effecient government. Obama's healthcare proposal - laid out to congress in an address - and not a public ad campaign - included the key element of reform - the ability for people like you and I to receive national healthcare - the one issue that energizes the entire electorate. This is because, as a leader - Obama truly connects with the electorate - and understands us.


Following the President's lead - the house of representatives forged a strong bill that included a public option. Further, Speaker Pelosi stood strong on the issue and the house version still contains National Health Service.


However, the Senate passed a series of measures that could only be qualified as giveaways to the lobbyists that had been allowed to write them. The senate transformed a transparent process into an Opaque series of transformations and allowed a monstrosity of a bill to be formed from the meetings and input gathered by lobbyists assigned to write the legislation. The bill went from progressive reform - to one that requires every man woman and child in America to buy their insurance from a private company. Does anyone remember the medicare reform that passed - which prohibited the US government from getting reasonable prices in quantity discount? Just as this other senate wonder bill arose from that  process - a bill that no less required you - if you went to the dunkin' donuts - to buy each donut individually instead of cheaper by the dozen - so too the president's agenda met an installed form of corruption in the senate.


We stand here at a key moment in the passage of Healthcare reform. Some have said that the President's adoption of various elements of the bill  - in his latest attempt to kickstart a stalled process - and his repackaging of the reform amounts to a failure of leadership.


The reality is that the failure exists wholly in the legislative process. We should not demand our president to be a legislator. Far from it. We should insist upon separation of the legislative and executive.  To place upon the head of our president - a failure of a single institution - is to misdirect us as to the nature of the beast.


The reality is that the senate is a horribly broken institution. So much so that a senior senator recently resigned (Bayh) in protest of its condition. Lobbyism for six year tenure so called 'statesmen' has reached an all time high.

The President has asked America to press forward with reform - and selected a few key points. This does not mean we should rewrite the house bill to drop the public option - this means we should press forward through reconciliation to pass real reform - the house version of healthcare reform.

Reconciliation has been rumoured widely to include these elements.  The correct view of Obama's leadership is not that we should abandon change, but rather continue the upward arc of our country - rising up from a massive bank crash - a huge foreign policy debacle - and ultimately to the betterment of life for all of us.


Ask yourself - if a public healthcare reform proposal arose from the halls of the legislative process - that contained a National Health Service - would Obama sign it?


If your answer is yes, then there is no failure of his leadership. His job is to sign the bill into law. Not write it.


Instead, the failure is a massive, corrupting mechanism of lobbyist driven policy engineering that has infiltrated the American senate.  It is a million dollar industry - probably even billions of dollars -with its offices in Falls Church, Virginia , McLean, and other places just outside of Washington - and they are running the senate. To accept that this is Obama's failure is to at once misdirect the focus of the American public away from the legislative failure that occurred in the Senate - and to adopt implicitly the kind of policies that created the problem.


Did I get this right or am I just whistlin' dixie?




Healthcare Reform and the Missing Mass. Problem

And so, now, we have exactly one less senator to vote for the Democratic Senate Bill.  The GOP , once again, like every moment in the past 20 years when either of our two political parties - went on deep life support - ended up getting bailed out by lobbyists spending big bucks (and yes, they spent big bucks) so they would stay alive, zombie-like, and let the special interests continue to attempt control of Washington.


But there's a catch.  The lobbyist money was being spent on Coakley.  The dying GOP didn't do its normal lobbyist-friendly maneuver in Massachusetts - the toxic support of the lobbyists went to a democrat this time.


And of course, the GOP - who has taken more lobbyist money than anyone - has lost in the same way  in the past few years over, and over, and over again. Scott Brown showed 'em how its done. Believe me, the lobbyists that are in power in the GOP are not happy that a Senator is joining their rank from a state that has a Health Service. One that supports every man, woman and child in the entire state. Maybe the GOP has learned their lesson - perhaps one of them will break rank and join the Dems in support of real reform. But in the rarefied air of the horribly broken institution of the senate, likely not. Only a real showdown on Healthcare will bring the rats out of the rafters.

 I say. Let's Roll!

The people of Massachusetts were deeply dissatisfied that the Senate Bill would pass without the universal healthcare element that they themselves now enjoy.  They wanted real reform.  Coakley was a candidate that, secure in her position - or so she thought - felt she could campaign on the premise that should  support the Senate Bill and be strangely quiet about the "controversial" National Health Service element that was so prominently featured in the House Bill. Coakley was a bad candidate.  A person who was too closely tied to lobbyists to represent the will of their constituency. A Joe Lieberman.


Healthcare Reform in the Name of Ted Kennedy must not suck. 

 And so. Now. In my view, the People of Massachusetts have a person who at least in principle supports them. One more insurgent candidate that listens to them - their independent streak shining through. More power to them.


And one more nail in the coffin of the GOP. They have far too many people who want to wait to tell them what to think about everything. The net-powered democracy doesn't work like that. With their ridiculous "seat him now" campaign they're doing the same thing they've always done. Try to turn government into a dog and pony show. While they continue to take big money from the lobbyists.

All of which leaves us with a problem. The GOP should have died two years ago.  But no, it's still there like an old geezer on life support - telling everyone to stop having fun. And Reid now has one missing vote to  supermajority. Ok. Fine. So there's the problem.


The solution is simple: Support a Real Bill, one that comes back from house with a National Health Service.


If Sen. Brown is truly the senator of the people - as he said. Then Americans must call the bluff of the GOP. Let them filibuster government to a complete standstill for months on end.  Call their bluff.

See if any of the line will defect to support a bill that enjoys the support of 72 percent of the network-connected voters that just threw an insurgent into power in what was once considered lobbyist-money secured, safe territory. 


And then see who they will listen to . Their lobbyist. Or their network-aware constituencies. The ones that are getting the real dirt on every candidate. The ones that will vote against 'safe' incumbents, vote in primaries, and believe in a people powered president.

We have to bring a real fight to the floor. One senator was elected yesterday. Others will follow. No one will be safe.  Let the will of the American people be expressed.


What say you?


Why Coakley vs. Brown Doesn't Matter

In the senate race of Coakley (D) vs. Brown (R) today - to be held in Massachusetts - a party desperate for something to pin its hope of survival on - will watch closely to see who the voters will select to replace Ted Kennedy.


Healthcare reform will be reported as being held in the balance. However, the race is not relevant.  Why?

Because so much was gained in the last session of congress - towards real reform - and the staggering amounts of money that were spent by the Insurance lobbyists - wasn't able to stop it.

In fact, a healthcare reform package passed the House of Representatives - with clear element of a National Health Service. The public had their say in government.

In the senate, a deeply flawed bill arose from the machinations of a deeply flawed institution. Like the GOP during the Bush era, 'pay for play' ruled the senate. What arose from its chambers stated that every man woman and child in America must pay a private health insurance company for coverage, but there would be no viable National Health Service to insure competition and provide a reasonable alternative to the kind of HMO-class , 600 percent higher in cost, 37th ranked in the world healthcare we seem to be so 'happy' with here in the states. And that bill was to be reconciled.

It still can be reconciled, and the legislation that arose from both chambers can be formed into a bill that can be signed.  In all likelihood, it will. If only the House can stand strong on the National Health Service element - the center of the bill - and the senate can capitulate that , constitutionally - they cannot require Americans to buy a product from a private company without providing that alternative - the selfsame one that was given as a gift to the returning veterans of World War II, in Britain - and currently - to every member of the Senate - National Healthcare.


Brown is riding high on a typical Republican strategy - earned media, plus special purpose entity boosters and the typical populist messagery that has been the earmark of every successful republican campaign. Coakley, on the other hand, attempted a negative campaign. This was all awash in television advertising that had either the wrong effect, or no effect at all.


Meanwhile, the blogosphere voted on the Senate version of Healthcare reform - and found the 60 vote majority the Senate maintains to be lacking in substance and meaning.  Capitulation on the part of Senators whose lobbyist money putatively heads towards such ineffective, expensive media to run their campaign - and in whom we find a growing disconnect between what the people want (72% of us want healthcare reform) and what the lobbyists seem to need to keep the status quo.


But what will happen is the status quo will be shattered. The house bill will stand. And a new version of the Senate bill will be put into place.

And the reconciliation of those bills will maintain and support a National Health Service. So much was spent to such little effect that even the lobbyists will aquiesce they have failed.

And the plaintive cries of the GOP , who will point to their new 41 seat 'domination'  - when - and not if - the Dems figure out that the progressive, independent movement that swept Obama into power - wants real healthcare reform - will go after every senate seat available and they will win.

Brown is riding a wave of support that comes directly from the dissatisfaction people have experienced in the visible disconnect between their needs as a constituency, and the lobbyism that has become entrenched in the GOP and in Washington DC .

They want a National Health Service. If the Dems lose today, there is a strong probability they will learn their lesson - keep the elements of the house bill that work - and launch a new senate campaign later in the year to speak to the active 2010 voters of the progressive, independent and new democratic base . And they will pick up Senate Seats all across American in 2010. As well as House seats. The landslide elections of 2008 will pale in comparison.


And if the Democrats win, in Massachusetts - a state that voted for John McCain over George Bush in the 2000 primary -  then the message of the close election of Sen. Coakley  will be heard loud and clear in the Senate. Get Real. or Go Home.

This is your enemy, and he must die.

We all hate the Bush Republicans. Both Democrat and Republican alike. Or rather, we hated them. We all worked to get the Bush Republicans out of power - and that was what Obama was supposed to be about. For Republicans, voting for Bush will be a scarlet letter that must be worn 10 years.

But they are also an enemy. To be certain, under the Bush Republicans the GOP has all but collapsed - these men had no real conservative values. They were evangelicals. Lobbyists. The unbridled expansion of the American government and corruption under George W. Bush was unparalleled. The single largest expansion ever in the history of America - they were for Big Government, and Big Corruption - Big War, Big oil. But that is not why they are the enemy.


This is why they are the enemy (source: CNN) :

Former attorney to President George W. Bush was arrested Wednesday at his Connecticut home and accused of trying to kill his wife, according to the New Canaan Police Department. Police said they were responding to a “panic alarm activation” at the home of John Farren, 57, when they were redirected to another house nearby. A resident there had placed a 911 call saying an injured woman was at her home after being “involved in a domestic dispute with her husband” at the couple’s residence. Police said they found the woman “bleeding about her head, face and body.” Farren was arrested at the couple’s home a short time later, police said. His lawyer had no comment when contacted Thursday by CNN. Farren was “charged with Criminal Attempt at Murder and Strangulation 1st degree,” according to a police statement. He was arraigned Thursday in Norwalk Superior Court and is being held on a $2million bond.

There is something deep and fundamental about people like Joseph Lieberman, people who work to block healthcare reform. People who give speeches at Republican conventions that do little to address the problems of our country. Old and middle aged men wanting a go at youth - the eternal anger of their icons - the shirt they wear. The way they seem to think about marriage. And what they do to their wives.

Even as this week we may soon see the biggest breakthrough and change of our national identity - the fundamental sea change that goes along with creating a National Health Service - sending the message that every man, woman and child deserves to be taken care of. Not just the rich.

Above all, we will see the face of the enemy. The men like this attorney above, that formed a legal team that looked for subtlety where none should have ever existed - and the team that led America into Abu Graib, Iraq, Americans dying in the Street and rotting in the sun in New Orleans .. grotesque bodies floating in the river, their blood staining the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. Beyond all that, these men were not family men. They did not build our country. They tore it down.

The time has come for a new breed of men to take over. This is an election year. Quit blogging and get out there and run for office. And if you can't run, then find someone you can support. If its issues such as healthcare reform, which - if you call your representative now, may yet still pass - or the war, or just plain making your country better. Do the right thing.

Fight them and knock them down where they stand. This is the year the GOP can be destroyed for good. Do it. Because it needs to be done. Because its still made of guys like him. And there are also a few Democrats like Joe Lieberman out there - guys who would block a national healthcare service in its tracks. Guys who would speak up kindly about people like those who were friends of George Bush.

But in the end, guys like this just  gotta go. You know what I mean?

Nancy Pelosi, and History

We may be at a turning point in American History, and Nancy Pelosi might just end up becoming a key element of it. Healthcare reform is truly epic legislation.

The house, as it has been pointed out here - may in fact be a bastion of functional government. It has been characterized as more volatile than the senate - but it also seems to be able to operate more independently of the special interest groups.

Nancy Pelosi is responsible for handing out chairmanships, and assignments. Healthcare reform will be accomplished, in the final run - by a game in which key members of the house will be selected to go up against key members of the senate (selected by Harry Reid).  This is my understanding, I might be wrong - that the bill will then be played as if it were a game of "ping pong"  - back and forth between chambers until it is done.

The key element of the Bill that Nancy Pelosi has publicly backed is the provision which most directly affects the American public. And in this election year,  that element is the National Health Service.

She refers to it in press conferences as "The Public's Option" - and others have identified this as a vital element of the bill being finalized now. And she has publicly stated she will strongly support a national health service.

What America will remember of 2010 , in terms of legislation - will be this healthcare reform package and right now - Nancy Pelosi is deciding who will play the side of the ping pong table for the House of Representatives - a chamber which has decidedly stronger , and more reform-minded legislative agendas.  As the first new decade of the 21st century dawns, the power of open source government - and the internet - brings to bear huge re-election possibilities for her constituent members. They will be remembered by how firm they stood for the vast numbers of the actual voting public - 72% of which support the reform. 

She drained the swamp of the Bush Administration in her first 100 days, and now she is at the helm of reforms that will either steer towards the American people - or radically and unreasonably veer  into the familiar waters of nuanced positions that work to serve the groups of people that want her to believe elections can be bought instead of blogged.

A turning point in American history? 

MyDD 5 . :-(

Overall, the new MyDD isn't really working for me.   I have really enjoyed MyDD over the years, but the new design isn't conducive to the type of community interaction that I associate with this site. Here's why.

First,  this design isn't about functionality - its about advertising. The site has been pulled down 1/3 of the page and pushed to the right to make way for two ad spots on the main page. They didn't do that to help make the site work better, they did it so they could run two ads on the main page.

And ads are ok, but honestly what is the best kind of ad? Is it something that is randomly generated on site hit or should it have something to do with what you are interested in?  Google search results ads actually work well - for example, I was looking for someone to repair my washing machine yesterday. Jerome, are you listening?

I googled the repair outlets, and yea, sure, my kenmore had a sears authorized repair ad on the top of the page. Well, guess what. I clicked on it.  It worked for me.

I am viewing MyDD right now on a T1 line that I run to my home. Why would I need blog advertisements for comcast internet service? Further, the blog ads are vague. Comcast - Dream Big.  NBCU Transaction? What is that ?

MyDD Screen real estate is valuable. I really feel this site should be mining the end users. Cut a deal with Google, Jerome.  Let them do the advertising thing for this site.

And now. On to cosmetics. Blue and black dialogue boxes aren't working for me. We use blue background in office printouts for easier reading, but on a web page I really miss the goldenrod. The logo is gold, but its the only place on the entire layout that you see the color. Everything else is black and blue. I think blockquote should be changed to be the gold color it used to bem.


Finally, it just seems strange on my copy of IE 8 that the top fonts for home rec list, etc. are all GIANT CAPS.  There is an intuitive, look and feel to MyDD - and having extremely large letters across the top screen is not it.


And of course, the rec. system for comments is taken away - which, my understanding is - that there was alot of trolling going on. So, now we have an undemocratic way of comment ranking.


My guess is that myDD will undergo a few more changes before all is said and done but for what its worth the changes so far don't really do it for me. I am just one voice. But my vote is to rollback a few things.  Get rid of the random blog ads no one is clicking on anyway - and go for a targetted per-click model within the text of the blog itself.  And find some way of bringing back some of the character of it all.

Now, what I would really like to see is myDD transformed into a google Wave  - that would be really cool. To see what people are typing realtime.  Interact with others on this site realtime. That would be fun.

But then again, wave isn't fully baked yet. Maybe the site changes here, are not either... good luck jerome.




Healthcare Reform in the Name of Ted Kennedy

Bob Cesca over at Huffpo wrote a great piece entitled Healthcare Reform Named After Ted Kennedy Must Not Suck

Naturally, without a beefy public health insurance plan, healthcare reform would be an utter disaster -- or worse. To refer to the public option as just a "sliver" of the bill, or to push for eliminating it altogether is almost as bad as having no reform at all. Journalists, writers and bloggers who I otherwise respect have been damning the public option with faint praise lately. Let's not sabotage healthcare reform with partisan ultimatums, they say. We can have a great bill without it, they say. - No, sirs. No we can't.

Lately, Dean has been talking about us seeing daylight on the bill - and maybe having a bill that can be a good starting point for reform. But how?

Let us not argue about it here. Instead, if you believe that real reform must include some form of government health service - like the tried and true systems of modern governments all over the world - then remember that the bill is in conference, and that the corrupt senators that have weakened the bill are going to have to make compromises.

And so lets throw our support for the house version of the bill, in the biggest way we can.  Contact your Congressman using the 'write to your representative' link here and/or you can contact your senator by clicking here and let them know you support real reform. Do it now, they're heading into conference committee as we speak.

Dean has gone on the record with serious, pointed objections. Make sure you understand the points and decide whether or not you agree. And then, really. Aren't we just talking about the philosophy of action?

And remember if the lobbyists wanted to kill reform they would first try to get a bill passed that looks roughly like the frankenstein's monster that came out of Max Baucus' mad science laboratory - the one with Lieberman's brains sewn into it and the stitched arms of lobbyists swinging on it. ... but for them to throw the switch and say "its alive" they will need the lightning of the people who really got the election of 2008 in motion and will actually be voting in 2010 and let your voice be heard. Call now!

There's more...

Obama Supports Healthcare, Polls Rise

I would like to call attention in this simple diary - to a possible correlation that may have been overlooked by the pollsters.

Recently, the white house floated a trial balloon that they would work with Joe Lieberman on the possibility of dropping single payer or public option elements - the feedback was swift and furious against the president. The white house immediately tied the statement to Rahm Emmanuel, and not the president - and then stated verbally and clearly that they had not equivocated their position. In the words of 'Master and Commander' - they did hold fast.

Obama's poll numbers have seen a recent and pronounced rise. Is this the result of Obama being seen as succeeding in getting real healthcare reform through congress?

There's more...

Hey Guys.. Reform means... Reform

There are those who say that the current bill, without any form of real change regarding the chance to get good, single payer healthcare from a stable source like the Government - is reform. It is not.

In order for us to see reform, we have to be able to see it. We are the public. What has happened , if I may. Is this.

First, someone tried really hard to get you to think about including the public's consideration in this healthcare bill - as an 'option'. It was never optional. And it is not optional now.  But thats what the Insurance companies paid for. Someone, just like the guy who coined inheritance taxes as the 'death tax' - got paid alot of money to call the key provision of the healthcare bill the public option. It isn't optional. It is not an option.

But hey, the insurance lobbies at that point were spending 1.24 million dollars PER DAY trying to block the reform package. So someone took their money and coined the term then paid a bunch of trolls and bloggers and everyone else to popularize it.
And so it stuck.

Then there's a bunch of legislative process. My political hero, Otto Von Bismarck - once said "laws are like sausages, and better not to be seen being made." So we'll skip that process for a second and focus on the end result. An email was leaked from an anti-reform lobbyist, regarding this latest bill..

"We Win" -"Administered by private insurance companies. No government funding. No government insurance competitor."

 After the lieberdems backed down and the bill that exists now, drops to the floor without any real public benefit - you can take statements like this with a grain of salt. Clearly the reform you want isn't there. But also, any other reforms that are in the bill - they want killed. So what they'll do is leak stuff like this to throw you a red herring.  

But what the lobbyists don't understand is the blogosphere. Youtube.  Us. They don't understand how to control us. I would argue , they can't control us. We can make an end run around them, just like we did with the youtube commercials that became more popular than the TV commercials ever did.  They aren't in control.

If they were in control, then the bill would get passed.  And we wouldn't be making any sounds.  I have already called all my representatives and asked them to vote ONLY for a bill that contains strong elements for we the people , the public.
That means taking the stronger house bill , and not the now-weakened senate bill.

Call your congressman and senator and  ask him to vote for the stronger house bill, the one that contains a real public element. Make your voice heard.

And not just something that makes everyone sound like they're doing their job, while the Senate Finance commitee- which was headed up by former employees of insurance companies - actually wrote the law you're seeing now .. ? No thanks.

Please remember two things. First, legislation exists that can benefit real people. But the primary package sets the tone for all reform to follow.

And you can throw the bastards out in 2010. And that means going after Republican Seats. Lets face it folks, 2008 was a game-changer. Why not go after GOP held seats? Why not go after lieberdems.  Keeping true to the course of real reform energizes independents, and progressives. And those, my friends, are the voters that participate in off-year elections in addition to the party die-hards.

Reform means reform! Change means change. Right?

There's more...

Dean is Right: Kill the Bill

My political hero was is and always will be Otto Von Bismarck. Widely thought to be conservative, and unequalled as a statesman - Bismarck's  is one of a lasting legacy of innovation in statesmanship. His favorite saying was -

A statesman listens for the footsteps of God, and then grabs the hem and swings himself up as he passes by

During the years leading up to World War II - the intelligentsia of  a very nice country  ended up endorsing the rule of Hitler.

What if. At the right time, they just said. Sorry. This is not going to fly. This is not kosher.

We need to find that strength. NOW. Dean is right.

Kill the bill. Kill it because we need to flex our strength as progressives. Kill it because we are powering the election cycle. Kill it because it is a half-measure, a throw-in to lobbyists.  Let the United States Government act as Otto Von Bismarck - let us be known for real change, real reform - and in the next election cycle, throw the bastards OUT and lock this entire thing down.

The GOP is on the run. Give them this half-measure and they'll walk all over you. The Dems are on the rise. And the progressive and independent (true independent, and not just guys on the take from Insurance companies) - are going to power 2010.

And then we'll have the votes.

There's more...


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