The GOP Keeps Trash Talking Health Care

gop-slow

Like when it rolled out its laughable 18-page “budget” five months ago that forgot to include any numbers, yesterday John “Man Tan” Boehner, Eric “Ralph Wiggums” Cantor and a handful of other Congressional Republicans unveiled a four page health care “plan” Wednesday that not only had no numbers, it had no substance, no ideas – [...]

Obama, Progressives Face Moment of Truth

healthcare rally

President Obama and his progressive supporters are at a turning point. The heart of Obama’s progressive policy agenda — universal health care — is confronting increasing opposition, and the grassroots activists that put Barack Obama in the White House must pressure wavering Senators to back the Change We Need. But mobilizing is proving difficult, as [...]

California’s Death Throes: A View From Sacramento

arnold

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Republican colleagues are using the trauma of the economic collapse and the record state budget deficit to implement policies they’ve been advocating for years. “This budget ought to be solved in one chunk, at one time,” the governor says, “and let’s do it quickly.” As usual, the working poor [...]

Single-Payer HR 676 Would Save Santa Monica $6 Million

Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown with national single-payer health bill author Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) at the Democratic National Convention.

Responding to a budget preparation request I had made recently, Santa Monica’s Director of Finance has calculated that universal single-payer healthcare would save the City six million dollars a year in employee health-benefit costs. Disclosure: I am a long-time advocate of universal single-payer healthcare, who led the City Council to endorse both the California and [...]

The Healthcare War Is Now Official

The LBJ treatment

Last week, the American Medical Association came out against a public option for health care. And later in the week the President reaffirmed his support for it. The next weeks will show what Obama is made of — whether he’s willing and able to take on the most formidable lobbying coalition he has faced so [...]

What Humanity in the Death Penalty?

african_american_execution

Proponents of abolishing the death penalty, those convicted under the “three strikes” law for petty crimes or for exhibiting mental disorders, and inmates needing drug rehabilitation may be thanking their lucky stars the possibility an release early because of the effort currently underway to solve California’s budget problems. At least this was what was expressed [...]

The Latest Public Option Bamboozle, and How to Recognize the Real Thing

Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

Here’s the latest contortion from Senate Dems trying to win over a few Republicans to a “public option:” Let nonprofits create health-care cooperatives, and call them the public option. Kent Conrad came up with this bamboozle. Finance chair Baucus is impressed, and some Republicans — even Grassley — seem interested. Watch your wallets. Nonprofit health-care [...]

Cuba and Change We Can Believe In

havana

ne of the most notable characteristics of 21st century Havana is what is not there: obvious and visible destitution. The begging and aggressive peddling prevalent in so many poor Latin capitals (and in most US cities) is entirely absent in Havana. There are no homeless people sleeping under bridges or hidden in doorways, no stumbling [...]

Health Care Folly: Insurance Companies Bet Big on You Smoking to Death

smoking

In so-called “public service” ads appearing on TV and radio, or in print and on the intertubes, many health insurance companies urge people to stay healthy by quitting smoking. The company that provides a supplemental policy to me that covers things not paid by Canada’s national health even e-mailed a helpful PDF brochure with a [...]

Plea Bargains in the Criminal McJustice System

Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham

In Philadelphia, it is time for a new district attorney. The current D.A. Lynne Abraham is retiring, and none too soon – after 18 years in the position, she has been called “America’s deadliest D.A.” for her exceptionally voracious appetite in seeking the death penalty. Without question, most of the people sentenced to death were [...]

Interpreting the Failure of Prop 1A

california-budget

Immediately after the election, the Governor announced that the “voters had spoken” and that the defeat of Prop 1A “clearly” meant that Californians stood adamantly against any new taxes or fees. He must have been reading the leaves in the bottom of his tea cup in order to come to a favored conclusion, however, because [...]

Baucus Tells Single-Payer Advocates No

Senator Max Baucus

Montana Senator Max Baucus met Wednesday with advocates for single-payer healthcare, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and told them that he might drop criminal charges against 13 people arrested for speaking up in his hearings, but that he would not include any supporters of single-payer health coverage in any future hearings. According to one report, [...]

Breaking LA’s Auto Dependency

streetcar

The Greater Los Angeles area has long been plagued by a thought that individual neighborhoods don’t add up to a whole. And the good of that whole (the Greater Los Angeles area) is the largest micro situation in the macro dependency on foreign oil there is. With the dependency on cars that Los Angeles has [...]

Why Parole Does Not Work in California

woman-in-prison

California’s criminal justice system was thrust into the national spotlight recently after the shooting deaths of four Oakland police officers by a recently released state prisoner. In this two-part Q&A, the NewsCenter speaks with UC Berkeley Law Professor Jonathan Simon about a system he has studied since the 1980s. The associate dean of the campus’s [...]

A Simple First Step Towards Universal Health Care

kennedy-baucus

The New York Times reported Saturday morning that a major split between Senator Ted Kennedy – back on the Hill as he fights brain cancer – and Senator Max Baucus over the shape and form of universal health care. Kennedy, long a proponent of a single-payer system, is teeing up against Baucus who is negotiating [...]

Single-Payer Health Care versus Individual Mandates: A Dilemma for Democrats

vaccination

A wide array of labor unions, health care providers, and consumers–including the California Nurses Association and the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) favors a single-payer (SP) “Medicare for All” system as the most cost-effective, comprehensive, and outcome-effective health care proposal. “Everybody in, nobody out” is the principle. By reducing or eliminating the role [...]

California Needs a New Constitution

sonoma

In his most recent piece in the New York Times Paul Krugman asks: “Who would have thought that America’s largest state, a state whose economy is larger than that of all but a few nations, could so easily become a banana republic?” Here in Sacramento I’ve watched the disaster unfold before my eyes like a [...]

Can Obama Build A Grassroots Health-Care Movement?

plouffe

As insurance companies and health-care conglomerates ramp up opposition to real reform, activists must build a real grassroots movement that forces Congress to do the right thing. On June 6, the Obama Administration is launching an effort to accomplish this. It is making its greatest push yet to use its “Organizing for America” operation to [...]

The Only Sure Way to Fund Universal Health Care

healthcare1

During the presidential campaign, I thought Obama made only one big policy mistake. He criticized John McCain for proposing to tax all employer-provided health benefits. McCain’s overall health plan was regressive – he would have turned the savings into tax credits for purchasing health care – but he was right about where the revenues should [...]

Save $1 Billion in Five Years—End the Death Penalty in California

prison

In the market for a prime piece of real estate? Governor Schwarzenegger has the deal for you! Facing a $21.3 Billion budget deficit in California, Schwarzenegger has offered to sell state-owned property to make up the difference. The crown jewel of the proposed fire sale is San Quentin State Prison, home to California’s death row [...]

Can We Fight the Healthcare Industry

According to the experts in this video, you can’t have a healthcare system that works if it’s modeled after the one used by the medical insurance industry today in the United States. They contend that the current system in the U.S. is a system that is guaranteed to waste money and ensures that the sickest [...]

Budget Baloney

taxes

The shrill attacks on government spending — “it’s always wasteful! it *never* invests!” — have already begun. The anti-tax crowd has begun its triumphal victory dance, spinning the defeat of proposition 1A’s rather modest extension of taxes as an endorsement of their prejudices. But this is one voter who turned down the convoluted logic of [...]

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