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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

January 8, 2008


Why Obama is NOT My First Choice

If Senator Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination to become President, make no mistake about it, I will support him, volunteer for him, and, of course, vote for him over any Republican candidate currently in the hunt to win their party's nomination. However, among the four remaining Democratic candidates, he is my fourth choice, and the reason is his health care plan which doesn't have a mandate to cover every American. The following is from this past weekend's debate from New Hampshire hosted by ABC News, Two Parties, One Night. For all of his talk about "Change", the change I want is in health care, and I feel that any plan that keeps any of us uncovered, whether it be because we can't afford health care or simply think we're young enough and going to live forever, isn't for me. That being said, and after reading Obama's plan on his website, his plan is still better than any offered by the Republican candidates.

SENATOR CLINTON: Four years ago, (Senator Obama) was for single-payer health care. Then he moved toward a rejection of that, a more incremental approach. Then he was for universal health care. Then he proposed a health care plan that doesn't cover everybody.
SENATOR OBAMA: I have been entirely consistent in my position on health care. What I said -- and I have said on the campaign trail this time -- is if I were designing a system from scratch, I would set up a single- payer system, because we could gain enormous efficiencies from it.
MADMAN: If Senator Obama (or, for that matter, all of the candidates) were truly honest here, he would have said, "I am for a single-payer system, but one can never get passed Congress or the American people today. The health care lobby is simply too strong and too entrenched in Washington to throw them overboard as it stands today" But Obama, instead, decided to say he is "consistent" in his health care argument while, at the same time stating "I have said on the campaign trail THIS TIME...". This time certainly makes it sound as if he might change his mind, and when it comes to health care, we need someone who views the issue that will cost us 20 percent of our GDP in the near future, to be serious and consistent about the problem and where he (or she) stands.
Remember this: It wasn't until former Senator John Edwards made health care the big deal that it, finally, is today (the second or third most important issue to all Americans according, to recent polls), no one but Rep. Dennis Kucinich was talking about it. And until Edwards came out with and published his health care proposal (on his website www.JohnEdwards.com), both Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's statements about health care were aimed entirely at rhetoric rather than substance.

OBAMA: But what I've also said is that, given that half of the people are getting, already, employer-based health care, that it would be impractical for us to do so...
MADMAN: Unfortunately, this is a statement made by someone who has, obviously, never had to pay for a portion of his own health care. Let's face it, in order to make this statement, Senator Obama doesn't understand that even though many of us have health care through our employers, we pay for a great portion of it ourselves through our "employee contribution". Most employers today might pay for their employee, but more and more if us are left to pay the difference, which can mean thousands (yes, THOUSANDS) of dollars out of our pockets and our economy.
Additionally, Senator Obama doesn't seem to have to pay deductibles or co-pays or that now infamous "Usual and Customary" payment made by health care insurance companies to, mostly, non-participating doctors that charge the patient, or the patient's parents the difference.

OBAMA: The problem is, they can't afford it. And the costs are too high. And so, as a consequence, we focus on reducing costs.
Now, this is a legitimate argument for us to have, but it's not true that I leave them out.
Your premise is, they won't buy it even if it's affordable. I disagree with that.
MADMAN: And again, we have the problem of a Washington insider not getting it. The choice will come down to someone not being able to afford health care insurance for their family, no matter how affordable you make it.
If mandatory health care for everyone isn't implemented, people will still avoid seeing a doctor when they are sick because they won't be able to afford the office visit; people will still crowd our emergency rooms because they won't have a primary care physician to see even for regular check-ups; and, worst of all, people will still wait until it's too late before taking care of something that might have been cured if caught on time.
Young people - those same young people swarming them polls for Senator Obama - think that they're going to live forever. If given a choice of paying for health care insurance out of their paycheck (pre-tax dollars) or taking that money and going to Cancun, many will choose the latter. and Senator Obama not seeing this doesn't make it not so.

CLINTON: Well, but I want to go back to health care and make another point. You have a mandate in your health care plan.
OBAMA: For children.
CLINTON: You mandate parents to have health care for children.
OBAMA: That's exactly right.
CLINTON: And, obviously, you did that because you want all children covered. So...
OBAMA: Because they don't have a choice.
CLINTON: Well, they don't have a choice, and you're going to make sure that parents get health care for children. So, you know, you stopped short of going the distance to make sure that we had a system that could actually deliver health care for everyone.
No one doesn't want health care coverage, not even if they can't afford it. And many will still be unable to afford it.
MADMAN: Now I may be reading something wrong here, but didn't Senator Obama say "Your premise is, they won't buy it even if it's affordable. I disagree with that," just before? This statement says just the opposite, that some people will choose NOT to purchase health care insurance, regardless of affordability and that those people will be forced to purchase it for their children regardless.
Senator Clinton makes a valid point here - Just what choice is there? Is there any parent out there who is saying "As long as my child is covered, everything is okay?" Even under today's commercial health care plans, the children are covered under their parents' insurance and it's only those children without coverage who are even eligible for any government assistance.

On the health care issue, I simply don't trust Barack Obama, as it appears as if he's trying to play both sides of the street. In truth, it seems as if the Junior Senator from Illinois is trying to appeal to everyone in both Red and Blue America when all that will be accomplished is, in the end, the status quo, as it pertains to health care, and that's just what the health care insurance industry is hoping for.

In giving up on insuring everyone - yes EVERYONE - Obama is missing the point: In order for our nation to have a health care system that works for everybody, everybody must be included opting out will only hurt the nation as a whole and costs will continue to be what they are today - out of control.

If Senator Obama become the Democratic nominee for the 2008 Presidential Sweepstakes, I will support him over any Republican candidate because, as a whole, his administration would be better than the "YO-YO" (You're On Your Own) continuation of the Bush administration which all of the GOP candidates have promised. However, his candidacy would put health care on the back burner for, at least, another four years and many Americans simply can't wait.

I believe Hillary Clinton when she says she wants to create a health care plan inclusive of everyone. Her track record says so. And while she failed in her first attempt as First Lady, the temperature of the nation has changed.

John Edwards has promised to make health care a priority and, as the candidate to bring the issue to the forefront of the Presidential dialogue, it seems he means it. And that's why he is still my first choice for the Oval Office.

-Noah Greenberg

Huckleberry Huckabee

If Huckabee lived in NJ, he would be forced out of his home, not allowed to live with his children (now grown), He has bragged in interviews and articles published in the NYTimes Magazine, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair that he is a big proponent of corporal punishment, and he and his wife beat their children. I have neighbors who beat their sons, and DYFS (New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services) forced them out of their home for over a year and a half. They had to go to court, to counseling, but most of all, live elsewhere while a grandmother moved in to care for the children. That's in NJ.

In Red states, with fundamentalist Christians, is beating children is required? In schools as well?

There is a huge gulf between States like NJ, where we have proudly long outlawed corporal punishment of children in schools, and now prosecute parents as well. We have now outlawed capital punishment, too, unlike those backward Southern states.

Lincoln was wrong to preserve the Union. Maybe NJ can join Canada, along with the rest of the northeast. Imagine a country where an uneducated, bible school only, shyster like Huckabee can be considered a viable candidate for the Presidency.

There is information available about him, which the media for some reason is not bringing out. His son hung a dog and was prosecuted. He and his wife have long accepted huge gifts -- living in poverty most of their lives as a Baptist minister. When he moved into the Governors mansion in Arkansas, not elected at first, but due to the indictment of the Democratic Governor, Jim Guy Tucker, they registered at various stores in the "bridal registry" and a shower was held for them. He will be up for sale to the highest bidder.

Huckabee is another very empty suit, like Bush, who will do the bidding of whoever pays the most, and will call it "God's Will" (again like Bush). Bush is a former (present?) alcoholic, and Huckabee is a former foodaholic (having lost over 100 lbs. in recent years). He is a conniving, very scary person. How gullible these fundamentalist Christians are! Just plain ignorant. Not a lot different than the Islamists who have only had a Madrasa education, only learned the Koran. Actually, very much the same.

-Pat Thompson

Rappin' Romney

As far as the Repugnacans go, he is the lesser evil -- with Giuliani being the worst, and a true heir to Bush, and Huckabee being an ignorant holy roller. I think Romney would be more like Swartzenegger in California has become, but I would still prefer, of course to see a Democrat elected, if only they didn't shoot him or her, literally (I lived through John Kennedy's assassination) or otherwise disempowered him or her, ala Whitewater and Monica.

New information has come out recently, not publicized much, about why the Generals and the military/ industrial complex wanted Kennedy murdered, and then his brother when he was on the brink of winning five years later -- he had rejected their advice during the Cuban Missile Crisis when they advised nuclear attack (we'd all be long dead and our children never born) and he had announced that he would be pulling the troops out of Vietnam, still a very small number.

In the fight against Communism, they felt he was a big impediment to their aims -- escalation of the war in southeast Asia. So they killed him. Anyone who will stop the war in the middle East will be a target. War is now America's biggest and practically only business. Although if we are ever attacked by China, we won't be able to manufacture any new weapons -- as they produce all of our steel! We have a front row seat to watch the demise of a short lived empire -- The United States of America.

-Pat Thompson

Obama Rally

On the day after the New Hampshire primary, Senator Barack Obama will host a Rally for Change at St. Peter's College (2641 JFK Blvd) in Jersey City, New Jersey on Wednesday, January 9, 2008. Doors open at 2:30 pm.

-Josh Haimson

In response to, "Which brings us to former Senator John Edwards, the guy who I just made a donation to," Pat Thompson writes:

Me too, I made a very small, but long term contribution -- $25 a month auto-deducted for one year, just to show I was with him for the long haul.

In response to, "It's just too bad that he was probably also the second choice of Barack Obama's minions as well. One has to wonder what Iowa's caucuses would have looked like had they been Obama-free," Pat Thompson writes:

I was jubilant when Obama won the Senate race in 04 -- it was the only bright spot on that horrible election. And he should stay in the Senate and finish out his term, do something substantial there, and in four or eight years, go for it. But he didn't consult me!

It could be a partly Republican plot to encourage (lots of crossover voters from Republicans to Democratic caucus and primary so far) a candidate that they know they can scare Americans from voting for -- his Islamic background, lack of experience, not to mention all the strife in Kenya, where his father was from. The Swiftboating will start, that's for sure. Mostly silent so far, but just wait, if he is the candidate. This is the year a Democrat should be able to win -- but maybe not Obama. That is their plan.

In response to," An Al Gore sighting - Now wouldn't THAT be fun?" Pat Thompson writes:

Only in heaven! Not here on this planet. Oh how I would love that. I still haven't recovered from 2000, which to me was more of an assault on our Democratic society than even 9/11. Al has worked very hard for all of his adult life. He went to Vietnam. He served many terms as a Congressman, working for the people of Tennessee. He had three Senate terms and 8 years as the best Vice President ever. Lots of experience, a real policy wonk. And yes, his foresight turned an unknown military communication device via computer, into the internet we now use -- encouraging funding, authoring policy, that would allow this to happen. Yet, he was made a fool of over it. Thank the media for that. And for calling him all the other names, due to his commitment to the environment. We'd be free of our dependence on foreign oil if he had been President, or well on our way toward it, rather than fighting a useless war over oil -- while it tops $100 a barrel.

In response to, "I can't imagine even the most "moderate" of Democrats, voting for Governor Mike Huckabee," Pat Thompson writes:

That's just what would send this country into an early grave; an ignorant born again Baptist minister for President. They are all just waiting for the end times prophecies to happen -- Armageddon, whatever. A very large percentage of Americans. He could make it happen for them, if Bush doesn't do it by attacking Iran, which is being set up as we hear about nothing except these primaries. Those ships in the Persian Gulf, being "attacked" could easily be used as the provocation to start another war. Their time is running out...

In response to Iowa's Caucuses being a "Tradition. No other reason," Pat Thompson writes:

... And not so long a tradition -- the Iowa caucuses, as they are now structured date only to the 70's. Tupperware has even been around longer.

In response to, "The media plays a large role in this by over-emphasizing the importance of Iowa," Pat Thompson writes:

They also play a large role in touting the candidates with the most money -- because they are the recipients of that money -- hence no chance for Edwards. And in trying to "make news", who's new, who has who's endorsement.

In response to, "Since the Democrats won't win the South anyway, let's not worry about those states, and focus on selecting the best candidate we have - regardless of that person's race," Robert Scardapane writes:

I wouldn't make that assumption. I think this country is fed up with the GOP. However, I do agree with your main point. When we say that the country is not ready for a non-Caucasian President or a female President, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. All other Western nations already female Presidents and many overcame racial barriers. It's time for America to grow up a bit.

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-Noah Greenberg