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Rep. Kucinich Press Conference on Health Care Reform: Today, March 17, 10 AM, Capitol Building H-321

Kucinich Press Conference on Health Care Reform

Washington, Mar 16 -

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time: 10:00 a.m. ET

Location: Capitol Building H-321

Washington D.C. (March 16, 2010) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will announce his vote on health care reform at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17, in room H-321 of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Obama Brings Dennis Kucinich On Air Force One For Health Care Speech

Obama Brings Dennis Kucinich On Air Force One For Health Care Speech
By Sam Stein | Huffington Post

Traveling to the Cleveland area to make yet another major speech for passing health care reform into law, President Barack Obama chose as a travel companion one very skeptical lawmaker.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is from the area where Obama is speaking. That would normally make his appearance on Air Force One Monday morning a non-event. But the Ohio Democrat also happens to be one of, if not the only progressive holdout in the House, on health care legislation. And he has hinted strongly that his vote, which could be the deciding margin, is firmly in the "no" camp.

The White House pool reporter on the trip did not get an immediate readout of any conversation between Kucinich and Obama. Though accompanying the two on the trip was Phil Schiliro, the president's liaison to Congress. Read more.

Obama, Durbin and Pelosi All Point Fingers at Someone Else for Killing Public Option

Obama, Durbin and Pelosi All Point Fingers at Someone Else for Killing Public Option
By Miles Mogulescu | Huffington Post

Barack Obama says he supports a public option but claims there aren't 51 votes in the Senate to pass it in reconciliation. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin says he would aggressively whip the 51 votes for the public option if Nancy Pelosi would send him a House reconciliation bill that includes a public option. Nancy Pelosi says she won't include a public option in House reconciliation bill because there aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass it. It's looking more and more like a game of 3-Card Monty.

Meanwhile, over 40 Democratic Senators have signed a letter or otherwise indicated that they would vote for a public option if given the opportunity and it is almost certain to garner at least 51 votes if it actually came to the Senate floor. But every leading Democrat is doing everything possible to avoid an up or down vote on the public option and pointing the finger at someone else for killing it.

It's all Kabuki theater to cover up the truth that President Obama made a backroom deal with the for-profit hospital industry that the final health care bill would not include a national public option. Read more.

I'm Down With Dennis

By David Swanson

Let me get this straight. The Senate will pass a public option if the House will. And the House will, because it already did. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t allow it. So the mortal enemy of public-option backers is . . . Dennis Kucinich.

Senators Versus Students

By David Swanson

As long as we're going to dump most of our money into wars and the military and Wall Street and health insurance bailouts, students are going to have to go into debt to afford college. But it would cost the students less and the government less, if private companies were not permitted to act as middlemen profiting off public loans to students.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance

To the tune of Maggie's Farm

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
Well, I wake up and I'm coughing
Feel my sides and moan in pain
I got declined for operations
And it's drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way we treat the working poor
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
Well, it hands you a nickel
That costs you a dime
It'll charge you once
And then two or three more times
Then they fine you every time you slam the door
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
The premiums double
While the co-payments rise
Coverage narrows
The best customer dies
Before costing the company any more
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance

The Democrats' Scam Becomes More Transparent

The Democrats' scam becomes more transparent
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about what seemed to be a glaring (and quite typical) scam perpetrated by Congressional Democrats:  all year long, they insisted that the White House and a majority of Democratic Senators vigorously supported a public option, but the only thing oh-so-unfortunately preventing its enactment was the filibuster:  sadly, we have 50 but not 60 votes for it, they insisted.  Democratic pundits used that claim to push for "filibuster reform," arguing that if only majority rule were required in the Senate, then the noble Democrats would be able to deliver all sorts of wonderful progressive reforms that they were truly eager to enact but which the evil filibuster now prevents.  In response, advocates of the public option kept arguing that the public option could be accomplished by reconciliation -- where only 50 votes, not 60, would be required -- but Obama loyalists scorned that reconciliation proposal, insisting (at least before the Senate passed a bill with 60 votes) that using reconciliation was Unserious, naive, procedurally impossible, and politically disastrous.

But all those claims were put to the test -- all those bluffs were called -- once the White House decided that it had to use reconciliation to pass a final health care reform bill.  That meant that any changes to the Senate bill (which had passed with 60 votes) -- including the addition of the public option -- would only require 50 votes, which Democrats assured progressives all year long that they had.  Great news for the public option, right?  Wrong.  As soon as it actually became possible to pass it, the 50 votes magically vanished.  Senate Democrats (and the White House) were willing to pretend they supported a public option only as long as it was impossible to pass it.  Once reconciliation gave them the opportunity they claimed all year long they needed -- a "majority rule" system -- they began concocting ways to ensure that it lacked 50 votes. Read more.

Bill Moyers Discusses Consequences of Health Insurance Bill With Dr. Marcia Angell

Bill Moyers Journal featured a discussion with Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and first woman editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is now a Harvard professor in the Department of Social Medicine. In this clear and concise discussion, Dr. Angell explains what is wrong with the proposed health insurance reform legislation and the coming consequences.


  • What this bill does is not only permit the commercial insurance industry to remain in place, but it actually expands and cements their position as the lynchpin of health care reform.
  • Not only does it keep them in place, but it pours about 500 billion dollars of public money into these companies over 10 years. And it mandates that people buy these companies' products for whatever they charge.
  • It will take money out of Medicare and put it into the private sector. Medicare is the source for a lot of the funds that are going to go to subsidize the private health insurance industry.
  • ...we have chosen, alone among all advanced countries, to leave health care to for-profit industries, to leave health care to businesses that then distribute health care as a market commodity according to the ability to pay and not according to medical need.
  • Senator Rockefeller referred to the private insurance companies as rapacious, rapacious, and said, "Like sharks, they swim under the water, and you don't know they're there until you feel their teeth." Now there are not many people in America who would disagree with that description and so what this plan does is says, "This is a terrible industry, so let's force people to buy their commercial products. And let's subsidize it and put a lot of money into it." Read or watch entire interview.

Health Reform Myths

Health Reform Myths
By Paul Krugman | NY Times

So what’s the reality of the proposed reform? Compared with the Platonic ideal of reform, Obamacare comes up short. If the votes were there, I would much prefer to see Medicare for all.

Health reform is back from the dead. Many Democrats have realized that their electoral prospects will be better if they can point to a real accomplishment. Polling on reform — which was never as negative as portrayed — shows signs of improving. And I’ve been really impressed by the passion and energy of this guy Barack Obama. Where was he last year?

But reform still has to run a gantlet of misinformation and outright lies. So let me address three big myths about the proposed reform, myths that are believed by many people who consider themselves well-informed, but who have actually fallen for deceptive spin.

The first of these myths, which has been all over the airwaves lately, is the claim that President Obama is proposing a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, the share of G.D.P. currently spent on health.

Well, if having the government regulate and subsidize health insurance is a “takeover,” that takeover happened long ago. Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs already pay for almost half of American health care, while private insurance pays for barely more than a third (the rest is mostly out-of-pocket expenses). And the great bulk of that private insurance is provided via employee plans, which are both subsidized with tax exemptions and tightly regulated. Read more.

Falluja's Birth Defects

Falluja's birth defects
By Riz Kahn | Al Jazeera

Joining the conversation will be Dr Muhamad Tareq al-Darraji who authored the report Prohibited Weapons Crisis about the impact of the US military assault on the Falluja population, and Dahr Jamail, an American journalist who reported extensively from Iraq on the US invasion and its aftermath.

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Falluja are handling up to 15 times as many birth defects as they were one year ago.

The chronic deformities include multiple tumours, heart problems, nervous system anomalies and eye deficiencies.

Residents of the city blame the surge in chronic deformities on controversial weapons used by US forces against Sunni fighters in 2004.

White phosphorus and depleted uranium shells were allegedly among the munitions used.

Most doctors are unsure about the reasons for the surge in birth deformities over the past year but say it could be a result of the chemicals left over from the fighting.

Send us your views and get your voice on the air

The US military has dismissed those allegations. Read more.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Takes on Democratic Leaders with Insistence on Public Option, Call for Afghan Withdrawal

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Takes on Democratic Leaders with Insistence on Public Option, Call for Afghan Withdrawal

Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich joins us to discuss two House debates in which he’s played a central role this week. The Ohio Democrat is threatening to vote against his party’s healthcare reform package because it does not contain a robust public option. Meanwhile, Kucinich’s bill to force the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan was taken up on Wednesday. After a rare three-and-a-half-hour debate on the war, the majority of House Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat the measure. [includes rush transcript]

Senator Sanders Calls For Public Option Vote During Reconciliation

Senator Sanders' Office Published Links to Various Articles About Health Care Reform

Health Care President Obama is pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to strip the final health care reform bill of narrow deals aimed at appeasing specific senators. "We have defended it, and we will defend it," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose state picked up $600 million in extra Medicaid funding, Politico reported. LINK

Single Payer Sanders outlined a strategy for single payer that some liberals might want to think about, Ezra Klein blogged for The Washington Post. "The way we move to single payer in this country is to let one state like California go first," Sanders told a conference of progressive journalists. LINK

Public Option Prominent Senate liberals told Roll Call they are determined to put the public option question to the test when reconciliation comes to the floor.  Sen. Sanders said he believes supporters will have the votes when the amendment comes up. LINK

Public Option Sen. Sanders chalked up the difficulty Democrats have had passing health care to a mistaken belief about party unity, according to Talking Points Memo.  He told the progressive media conference that Senate Democrats do have 50 votes to pass a public option, Firedoglake added. LINK and LINK

Republican Obstructionists Senators frustrated at procedural roadblocks by Republicans met Wednesday with Majority Leader Reid. "We're working on a strategy to become more aggressive to combat that obstructionism," Sen. Bernie Sanders told Politico. LINK

Missed Opportunity The Senate's leading progressives expressed concern that President Obama squandered the transformational political coalition that propelled him into office. Sen. Sanders called it a "tragic mistake" that the White House fruitlessly chased Republican votes on health care rather than pass legislation, The Huffington Post reported. LINK

Sanders: White House Finally Gets It Sen. Sanders assailed the White House for purportedly wasting a year vying for Republican votes on health care reform, alleging that the protracted debate weakened the bill and damaged the party's standing among progressives, according to Raw Story. LINK

Progressive Pundits Some of the pundits at a Progressive Media Summit on Capitol Hill, including MSNBC's Ed Schultz, treated it as a forum to tell senators what they are doing wrong. Schultz complained that Democratic leadership avoids the Sunday shows. Sen. Sanders said Democrats forget "Rush Limbaugh was campaigning 365 days a year." LINK

Democrats, White House Close in on Health Bill  A final agreement nearly in hand, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are about to embark on one last sales job that will determine the outcome of the president's signature health care overhaul, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Slick Barry and the $100-Billion Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Claim

By Dave Lindorff

President Barack Obama is out and abroad stumping like mad for his embattled health insurance “reform” plan, claiming now that his administration will “crack down” on $100 billion in annual “waste and fraud” in the Medicare and Medicaid systems.

This new tough rhetoric is meant to win over some of the conservative opposition that sees all government programs as inherently wasteful, inefficient and corrupt.

But the claim itself is bogus.

The figure comes from a study done annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and that study makes it clear that it is not looking at fraud, but at errors. And there are two things that can be said about those errors, most of which appear to involve problems like illegible signatures on doctors’ orders, or lost paperwork needed to document that a treatment being billed for actually happened.

No Insurance Company Left Behind

By Katie Robbins, Healthcare Now

On Tuesday, the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition performed a “citizen’s arrest” of the insurance industry at a meeting of Americas Health Insurance Plans, the private health insurance industry’s leading lobbying group, in Washington, DC.

Thousands came out to support this action, and rightfully so. There is no other place we need to be than in the streets in protest of the egregious crimes of the insurance companies. Advocates of Medicare for All agree that the private insurance industry must be held accountable for its crimes, and that it should be put out of business…permanently.

Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Healthcare

Healthcare Is A Right -- Not A Privilege
On eve of national health care vote...
Labor for Single Payer March 10, 2010

Grassroots labor leaders vow stronger, long-term campaign to support "Medicare for All" approach to health care reform

Over 125 activists from across U.S. plot strategy for coordinated grassroots campaign to win single payer healthcare

Silver Spring, MD - More than 125 union leaders and activists from 25 states gathered at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD last weekend to strategize about next steps at the state and national level to win comprehensive health care reform. The group is promoting a "single-payer" reform plan that would work like the Medicare program, except improved and expanded to cover everyone.

Rep. Eliot Engel Says Fix This Corporate Health Insurance Bill, Or You Don't Get My Vote -- THANK HIM

Fix health bill or lose my vote
BY Eliot Engel

New York Daily News

CALL AND THANK HIM! (202) 225-2464

Civil Disobedience at Health Insurance Fat Cats' Confab

On March 9, 2010, around noon, about 14 pro-Healthcare Reform activists were arrested at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in down town Washington, D.C. They attempted to cross a police line set up at an entrance to the hotel, where the Fat Cats of the Health Insurance Industry were holding a conference. Earlier, the protesters had convened at Dupont Circle for a rally. Then, they paraded down to the hotel, about ten blocks away. The crowd was estimated at about 5,500. The event was staged by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), along with more than 50 major Labor, grassroots and religious leaders. Background here.

The D.C. police decided, for their own reasons, not to place criminal charge against the parties that were detained at the hotel. Four of the 14 reportedly arrested were: an official from the SEIU union; Jonathan Tasini, Democratic candidate for U. S. Senate in NY; Jeff Blum of US Action and Sean Dobson of Progressive Maryland. The crowd shouted chants, like: 'Healthcare, now!' and 'Arrest the real criminals!"

Party Time: Where Your Healthcare and Jobs Dollars are Going

Party Time: Where Your Healthcare and Jobs Dollars are Going
By Ralph Lopez | Daily Kos

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is currently asking for a flood of calls to trigger a debate on war spending, through "yes" votes on his resolution now on the floor calling for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of the year. A 3 hour debate and vote will take place tomorrow.

Just happened across a startling piece, even for me, by the Nation's Jeremy Scahill which details how Afghanistan has become U.S. private contractor piggy land even by Bush administration standards.

"In Afghanistan, the Obama administration blows the Bush administration out of the privatized water. According to a memo [PDF] released by [Sen. Claire] McCaskill’s staff, "From June 2009 to September 2009, there was a 40% increase in Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan. During the same period, the number of armed private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan doubled, increasing from approximately 5,000 to more than 10,000." Read more.

Billonaires For Wealthcare, Plus!

On March 9, 2010, a rally was held in Washington, D.C. championing Healthcare Reform. The spirted demonstration began at Dupont Circle, at 10: 30 AM, and then moved south, about 10 blocks to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Fat Cats from the Healthcare Insurance Industry were holding a conference at that site. The protest action was organized by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), along with more than 50 major Labor, grassroots and religious leaders. For background go here. Featured in this video are: Billionaires for Wealthcare; David Patterson, the youngest delegate to the DNC; and the Rhythm Workers Union. The latter group has been at just about every rally/protest action worthy of the name in the Washington, D.C. area going back at least to October, 2002.

Will Jerry Brown Sign Single Payer?

That's the question, and there's no answer here, and aparently no serious effort anywhere to get one. But there is some good outlining of what will happen if he does sign it: READ MORE.

Campaign Announced for California’s Single Payer Health Care Reform Legislation -- Santa Barbara Event

Massive Netroots, Grassroots Campaign
Features New 30-second TV Ad Each Day for Year

The California OneCare coalition launches their ambitious campaign to pass a new health care plan this year for all residents. Celebrities, political leaders, health care activists and victims are featured in a 365-day TV Ad campaign for single-payer legislation, Senate Bill 810, authored by Senator Mark Leno.

CBS Dan Rather on MSNBC: "Obama Couldn't Sell Watermelons"

From NewsOne: Not sure if Dan Rather is racist, inconsiderate or just used bad phrasing. Here’s what he said on the Chris Matthews show Sunday. “ Listen he just hasn’t been, look at the health care bill. It was his number one priority. It took him forever to get it through and he had to compromise it to death. Listen he’s a nice person, he’s very articulate but he couldn’t sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.”

ABC News: Kucinich: We Need a Public Option

The interview with Rep. Kucinich starts about 4 minutes into the 10 minute video. Rep. Kucinich clearly outlines his position on health care reform, saying that the bill should include a "robust" public option, as it's defined here and here. A "robust" public option would offer all Americans, regardless of their state residency, the option to opt into a single payer system, like Medicare for all.

In addition, Rep. Kucinich reinforced his position that the health care reform bill shouldn't prohibit states from doing their own "single-payer" systems through the "ERISA exemptions," as noted by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, in 2007:

"Clearly, on the subject of health care for all, we're not at a loss for words or ideas, but we still haven't figured out how to get the job done," she said. "But where we are seeing the job get done is at the state level. Innovative proposals in states such as Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Oregon, California and Wisconsin demonstrate a clear desire on the part of the states to reach an agreement and move forward," she noted. She added, though, that states are constrained by federal laws and regulations.

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Book Tour

May 19, Sarasota, FL, 7:00 p.m. Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota, FL

May 20, Jacksonville, FL, 7:00 p.m., Florida Christian Center Auditorium, 1115 Edgewood Ave S, Jacksonville, FL 32205, (904) 381-4800.

May 21, Gainesville, FL
7:00 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, Florida
4225 NW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 377-1669
Sign up on FB.

May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
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May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
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May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
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May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
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May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event
Community United Church of Christ
5550 N. Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710

June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
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June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
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Other Events Here.


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