Full Clip: Bullet Points For Stimulus &
Health Care Water Cooler Wars
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Your sources for this first segment
include: mediamatters.org, democrats.org, the New York Times, whitehouse.gov,
thinkprogress.org, finance.yahoo.com, commondreams.org, and the website of U.S.
News & World Report.
There are so many right-wing lies
being tossed around and so much right-wing hypocrisy hanging in the air, that
it's hard to know where to begin, you know what I mean?
I'm going to focus here on right-wing
lies and hypocrisy about two issues, the economy, specifically the stimulus
bill, and health care reform.
We progressives know that the
stimulus that was passed at the beginning of Obama's term, was too small and too
much of it was tax cuts that don't help the economy much.
Still, right-wing lies and hypocrisy about it need to be addressed.
QuickBlast 1: Right-wingers in
lockstep are screaming that the stimulus totally failed, that it didn't create
any jobs or help the economy at all.
audio: Sean Hannity
And tonight in Hannity's
America, now Republicans continue to point out that the stimulus has been
unsuccessful at, well, stimulating the economy…
is, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and Moody's economy.com
website, say that the stimulus bill increased employment by as many as 2.4
million jobs, as of the end of 2009. And
the stimulus bill also increased GDP growth in the last three quarters of 2009.
QuickBlast 2: hypocrisy on the
stimulus bill. Right-wingers who
opposed the stimulus bill, and have denounced it ever since, nevertheless requested
funds under it. And then they've run
around claiming credit for projects it created in their districts.
By one count there are 91 GOP'ers in
what a Democratic Party website calls the Hypocrisy Hall of Fame.
Another website puts the count at 118, over half the Republicans in
Congress, and calls them Highway Hypocrites.
There's a link
in the transcript at this point where you can fill in your address and find out
if your representative is one of these right-wing double-talkers.
Now onto the really big issue you're
currently hearing and seeing so much about, health care reform.
In other podcasts I've extensively
covered the foundational stuff: the nature of our system, how it doesn't work,
how it's severely lacking compared to other industrialized countries, what would
fix it. You can check out podcasts 152,
Here I'm going QuickBlast some of the
distraction fluff the right-wing throws up, so you can quickly dispose of it,
and be able to get to the foundational stuff, which they'll also have no answer
Like with the stimulus, even though
I'm not a big fan of this health care bill, the right-wing's feet still need to
be held to the fire.
Accordingly, QuickBlast number 3: the
right-wing is hyperventilating
that the Democrats are planning to use the "nuclear option."
Scary. Apocalyptic even! But
Problem is, the nuclear option is not
what the Democrats are talking about at all.
The Democrats are talking about the reconciliation process, which
prevents filibusters by allowing a simple majority
The nuclear option is the changing of
Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster altogether. The term was coined by
former Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, during controversy over
Supreme Court nominees.
Ooh, but the term sounds so
terrifying, so countless right-wingers have endlessly repeated it.
A Fox website even accompanied a story with images of nuclear bomb
If reconciliation isn't the nuclear
option, it's even less so changing rules in midstream, as Karl Rove -- we all
love Karl don't we? shouldn't he be
in jail or something? -- as Karl Rove has claimed.
Would it surprise you to learn he's not telling the truth?
QuickBlast: The reconciliation
process has been written into the Congressional rules since 1974.
No rules are being changed in
Which leads into the next QuickBlast,
a superdose of right-wing hypocrisy.
Not only is reconciliation part of
the rules, but it has been used
repeatedly by the GOP to pass major
legislation! By the very same
right-wingers who are now screaming their lungs out denouncing the Democrats'
use of it.
George W. Bush's signature tax cuts
for the rich were passed by reconciliation.
In the health care field, Congress
used reconciliation to pass Medicare Advantage, the Cobra program to allow
continued coverage after a worker loses their job, and many other measures.
One analyst says that virtually all
health care reform during the last three decades was passed using the
Don't let anyone tell you it's
Democrats who used it the most. Of
the 22 times it's been used, 16 of them were in Republican-controlled
I mentioned the Bush tax cuts were
passed through reconciliation. So
was much of Newt Gingrich's Contract
with America a decade earlier.
Right-wingers may try to tell
you that reconciliation isn't used for sweeping measures having broad
Bush's tax cuts blew a one point something trillion dollar hole in the
budget. Welfare reform was passed
Here's President Obama speaking
recently on the issue:
Reform has already passed
the House with a majority. It has already passed the Senate with a supermajority
of 60 votes. And now it deserves the same kind of up or down vote that was cast
on welfare reform, that was cast on the Children’s
Health Insurance Program, that was used for Cobra health coverage for
the unemployed and, by the way, for both Bush tax cuts — all of which had to
pass Congress with nothing more than a simple majority.
Of course, the media has been asleep
on this, allowing right-wingers like Senators Mitch McConnell, Judd Gregg and
Orrin Hatch to criticize the use of reconciliation, when they've supported that
process in the past to pass legislation they liked, such as the Bush tax cuts
for the wealthy.
Your next QuickBlast again features
that serial liar,
Sean Hannity. Here he is:
audio: Sean Hannity
All right, now a look back
at that CBO report commissioned by Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh shows that it is
the president who needs to get his facts straight. Now the report concludes,
"the average premium per person covered would be about 10 to 13 percent
higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year
under the current law." Wow, what a great bill. No wonder the Democrats are
obscuring the facts.
Methinks the obscuring is on the
other foot. Hannity forgot to
mention two critical facts: his 10 to 13 percent higher premium is before government subsidies the bill provides for, that will help
people pay for the insurance.
And, the insurance in question has
vastly improved coverage over what those people have now, so they can avoid
bankruptcy from medical bills. Hundreds of thousands of Americans with medical
insurance still go
bankrupt from medical bills, because they're coverage is so inadequate.
They didn't know that until they got sick and got the bills.
Hannity's lie is breathtaking.
The Congressional Budget Office said that insurance premiums for the
majority of people in nongroup insurance would decrease.
And the decrease will cut their premiums by more than half!
For better coverage!
The non-partisan website
Hannity a "pants on fire"
false on this one, because, for most people, premiums would stay the same or
decrease under the Democrats' health care reform plan. [Correction: actually awarded to another right-winger for making that
Final QuickBlast, number 7:
right-wing lies about public opinion.
Right-wingers like Fox News
commentator Dana Perino claim
the American people reject the public option.
The public option involves the
government setting up a health insurance program to compete with private
insurance companies. People could
buy into the public option. Sort of like Medicare you pay for with premiums.
Remember the Blast The Right mantra,
whatever a right-winger says the exact opposite is true?
At least four polls taken in 2010
show more Americans support having a public option available to them, than
The percentages range from a 49%
plurality, to a 54% majority.
The public currently does reject the
overall Democratic health care proposal. But
the public supports a public option. Indeed,
support for the Democratic health care reform plan increases
when a public option is added to it.
After all these QuickBlasts, how
about a parting verbal hand grenade to toss at any right-winger who doesn't seem
sufficiently critical of the health insurance companies?
Some recently released numbers:
In 2009, the five largest health
insurance companies -- United Health, Wellpoint, Aetna, Humana and Cigna -- had
record profits, of $12.2 billion dollars. That's
an amazing 56% increase over the last year.
But it gets worse and worse.
These companies kicked 2.7 million
more people off of their private health plan roles.
And these insurance giants reduced --
reduced -- the proportion of premiums they spend on medical care for their
policy holders. Overhead, corporate
salaries and profits got an increased chunk.
Well, that about wraps up this
segment. I'm sure you can find a
couple of things in here to make your friendly local right-winger foam at the
Global Economic Justice Advances: Martin
Luther King Would Be Pleased
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sources for this segment include: the Nation magazine, the New York Times, the
British newspapers The Guardian and The Independent, commondreams.org, and
bad when you lose your health insurance. It's
even worse when neither you nor your children have ever seen a doctor in your
entire lives, and there's little chance you ever will.
It's bad when you have to go get handouts at the local food pantry.
It's a lot worse when there is
no local food pantry, and your children are hungry, and die of malnutrition and
middle and working class and even the poor have problems in the U.S., but
nothing like the Third World poor. So
let's do a survey of what's going on in their struggle to survive, to fight off
Western economic exploitation.
is the issue I care the most about, and don't speak about nearly often enough.
start off with, I was happy to read that another leftist won
in South America. A former guerilla
fighter was elected president of Uruguay. He'll
take over from the current left-wing government, which mixed socialist and
market solutions. Unemployment and
poverty were reduced. That's a good
you may be wondering, why does Jack, why should I care about who wins an
election in Uruguay? It's a tiny
little country that's not important in the global scheme of things.
the right-wing cares, and so should you.
a good analogy
by Mark Weisbrot, writing in The Guardian:
Why do they care so much
about who runs these poor countries? As any good chess player knows, pawns
matter. The loss of a couple of pawns at the beginning of the game can often
make a difference between a win or a loss.
It goes beyond that.
There's a quote
I often cite. It was a comment by a
carbon fuel industry-supported analyst. He
was discussing the moves by Bolivian President Evo Morales to nationalize his
nation's gas industry, and secure higher payments from the energy
I don't think the game is
over. It's going to move from the Americas to the Africans. This is a very
unlike in the game of chess, rebellious pawns, by their example, can create
other rebellious pawns, other nations who decide to secure their rightful share
of the profits from their nation's natural resources.
provides us with a similar sentiment, expressed by that noble American, Richard
Nixon, when he graced the Oval Office with his presence.
That son of a bitch! That
son of a bitch Allende – we're going to smash him.
[He] can consolidate
himself, and the picture projected to the world will be his success ... If we let the potential leaders in South America think they
can move like Chile and have it both ways, we will be in trouble.
with me so far? There's a good
development in Uruguay, that sets a good example for other Third World nations.
let's turn to the cautionary side.
of all, victory by the forces of liberation doesn't always wind up benefiting
for example, that in South Africa, long after Nelson Mandela was freed and
apartheid ended, income inequality is still severe.
Black unemployment is nearly six times that of whites.
When you include discouraged workers, the black jobless rate leaps to
despite left-wing continued victories in Uruguay, all is not going our way
nowadays on the electoral front.
just heard me talk about Nixon on Chile. For
the past 20 years Chile has had leftist governments, but just earlier this year,
elected a right-wing businessman president.
That president's brother, believe it or not, worked for the
Nixon-supported Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a labor minister.
His job was to implement right-wing reverse-robin-hood economic policies.
And where's that brother now? He's
a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank.
Another progressive set back is in
Honduras. Last year a right-wing
coup overthrew their progressive president.
Obama did far less than he could have to reverse the right-wing coup.
You can check podcasts 153
Well, the coup government held a
bogus election and guess what? A
right-winger was elected president. So
now the World Bank says it's going to restore,
and even significantly increase, aid to Honduras.
Obama is also going to restore U.S. aid, and is urging other nations to recognize
the coup-run-election president. Many
countries, including most in Latin America, have been refusing to do so.
And let me not forget to add, that
Human Rights Watch has just confirmed
what local Honduran groups have been claiming, that right-wing repression in the
form of assassinations, beatings and jailings, is continuing.
Nine Democratic House members have written yet another letter
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, protesting these human rights abuses.
Human rights groups have started a call-in
campaign to stop U.S. aid to Honduras. The
State Department number is 202-647-4000.
the tentacles of right-wing exploitation run
deep in Latin America. Multinationals
Chiquita and Dole are facing charges that they hired right-wing death squads in
Colombia to fight off left-wing rebels, and then to intimidate and if necessary
murder, union activists. Other
transnational corporations may face similar charges.
deep are the tentacles? Attorney
General Eric Holder at one point represented Chiquita in this case!
Does this indicate a mindset that could explain the Obama adminstration's
lack of effective push back, indeed support of, the Honduran coup?
throw in here, another not-so-terrific fact on the global scale:
the US in 2008 was far and away the largest
arms dealer in the world, accounting for over two-thirds of all global arms
sales. Who says we don't manufacture
anything here any more? We make
stuff to kill people, and sell more of it than the rest of the world combined.
you just heard some negative stuff. How
about back to the positive again? Here
are two items, about Guatemala and Haiti, that warmed the cockles of my heart.
1980's the right-wing dictatorship in Guatemala commited genocide against the
indiginous population. Well,
according to an email I received from the Network in Solidarity with the People
of Guatamala, a colonel and 3 ex-military commissioners were recently sentenced
to over 53 years in prison for their role. They're
the highest ranking officials so far held to account.
The sentence also ordered further investigation of the ex-Defense
minister and others.
in a Spanish court hearing a genocide case, the written Plan
Sofia ordering the Guatemalan genocide, was entered into evidence.
wheels of justice turn slowly, but at
least they do seem to be turning concerning Guatemala.
This next story about Haiti literally
made my cry, the tears of joy kind. I
don't know why. But it did.
"Wow!" was all I could think.
In podcast 137,
which you should listen to if you haven't, I describe the four ways the West
exploits the Third World -- the Four Pillars, I call them.
Two of them are, dubious loans that ensnare Third World countries on a
debt treadmill, and imposition of so-called "structural adjustment
programs," composed of far right-wing economic policies.
The International Monetary Fund, the
IMF, was about to make
just such a loan to Haiti, with right-wing economic strings attached.
As you heard in podcast 162,
the IMF has previously destroyed Haitian agriculture, among the other benefits
it has bestowed on that nation.
But the IMF was stopped, at least for
now, in attaching those aid strings. A
Facebook group called "No Shock Doctrine for Haiti" sprung up, and
with tens of thousands of members, sent a petition of over 150,000 signatures to
the IMF. The IMF backed down.
Ok, how does this rollercoaster leave
you feeling, as we alternate back and forth and back and forth between positive
and negative developments? Perhaps
like listener Skip from Austin, who wrote in part:
The more I listen, the
less hopeful I get for anything ever getting turned around or any justice ever
being done at all. It seems this…has been going on for decades, for thousands
of years, ever since one caveman abused another…Given the fact you seem to
really know your stuff... in the face of so much evidence of utter corruption
over so much time, how do you maintain the will to try and do something about
I once read that Martin Luther King, Jr. said that
if he had his choice, he would have preferred to have been a professor,
smoking his pipe in his office. But, he acknowledged, there were other
things he was called to do.
Skip also asked:
Do you have any hope that
there will ever be any balance or real justice?
I answered, "Over the long haul,
yes. The historical curve is in that direction."
Right now, listen to Morales speak
to the show Democracy Now about his mother:
audio: Evo Morales
NOW: I’d like to ask you, you’ve on several
occasions mentioned your indigenous origins in your movement. Throughout Latin
America now, 500 years after the European conquest, the Native peoples of
Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, are taking much more of a role politically.
What is the importance of this movement to Latin America?
EVO MORALES: [translated] They excluded for
over 500 years, exploited, and in many cases -- for over 500 years -- also have
full rights. I mentioned at the United Nations that 34 years ago, my mother
didn’t have the right to walk through public spaces, on sidewalks, in public
And now her son is president of his
Do you see where I'm going?
Just think, severe discrimination
would also have been encountered by Barack Obama's father if his father had
grown up in America. And now his son
is President, of the United States.
The arc of history.
But again, a first you go up, then
you go down, roller coaster. Because
ironically, Barack Obama is coming down hard on Evo Morales.
off trade benefits for Bolivia. Supposedly
for lack of drug war cooperation, but you really know why.
Better not fight the Four Pillars, Evo.
And yet again, another change of
direction on the coaster: I can tell you, that all the nations of Latin America
have joined together to form
a regional organization, excluding the US and Canada.
The new coalition is meant
to rival the O.A.S., which some countries consider a tool of American dominance
in the hemisphere.
there's hope, there's definitely hope.
close with this:
prime right-wing directive is to transfer wealth, from everyone else, to the
already rich. The Four Pillars are
how that's done internationally.
World War II, a prominent American State Department official, George Kennan,
almost too honestly wrote:
We have about 60 per cent
of the world's wealth but only 6.3 per cent of its population. Our real task in
the coming period (will be) to maintain this position of disparity…
This fact was understood by the fine
gentleman who 19 years later, in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech, spoke,
in effect, this rejoinder to Kennan:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Increasingly, by choice or
by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make
peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the
pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments…
These are revolutionary
times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation
and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice
and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are
rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great
light. We in the West must support these revolutions.
As long as you know that you're on
the side of Dr. Martin Luther King, and you can feel his powerful spiritual
energy still pulsating down through the ages, I truly believe that those who
lust after "the immense profits of overseas investments," all these
right-wingers, they don't, over the long term, have a chance.