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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

January 14, 2008


When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Governors

Well, their test worked. The Republicans and President Bush, by both ignoring the plight of those poor and mostly African Americans who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina; and by "forgetting" about those who wish to come back home to New Orleans, a city whose population used to be near two-thirds African American, the Bushies have succeeded in removing a Democrat and installing a Conservative Republican Governor in the Bayou State.

Yes, Republican Bobby Jindal will be the first native-Indian (as in India) Governor and the youngest Governor in the nation (34 years old). "What does this mean?", one might ask. It means that the GOP and other assorted Righties had made it unattractive for now-former Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco to want to run again - and beat Jindal again - for the big seat in Baton Rouge. Blanco was dogged by those on the Right ever since Katrina hit her state's shores in 2005 as the main reason her state wasn't ready to prevent, then help her poorer constituents in the Category Five Hurricane's aftermath.

Remember, to the Righties, The Truth doesn't matter.

Blanco simply gave up on trying to get re-elected and allowed a very conservative politico to take over. Even though Blanco had asked for President Bush's help prior to Katrina hitting the Gulf's shores in both telephone calls and in official, paper requests, no help came (unless you consider two FEMA "observers" to be "help"). And when the Army Corp of Engineers strongly advised the federal government - that same federal government headed by George W. Bush - to make the levies around Lake rPontchatrain withstand a Category Five storm prior to Hurricane Katrina's occurrence, all President Bush could think of was "What's in it for me and my 'base' of 'haves and have mores'?"

So, naturally, the fault landed right on the head of Blanco. After all, wasn't it Blanco who was at a birthday party for Senator John McCain in Arizona when the storm hit?

Oh, that was President Bush.

And wasn't it Blanco who flew over the area and said "Tsk, tsk" as her government-provided 747 buzzed those who might have been still clinging to rooftops awaiting help in the days after the storm hit?

Nope! Bush again!

And now with tens of thousands still displaced and possibly never to return, the GOP has been able to take this "Hurricane Help" provided by the Bushies and convert it into another Governorship.

After all, as the president's Mommy (and former First Lady) Barbara Bush informed us, the Hurricane Katrina refugees (after being rescued off those rooftops and pulled from filthy, disease-filled water), being housed in the Astrodome waiting for any help whatsoever, were "underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

But more importantly, it seems to have worked out "very well" for the GOP even more. See - no good deed goes unpunished and no bad deed, unrewarded, right?

"We have the opportunity - born of tragedy but embraced still the same - to make right decades of failure in government,"
-Jindal, at his inauguration

And whose government failed them, Governor Jindal?

"We can build a Louisiana where our leaders and our people set the highest standards and hold every member of our government accountable, a Louisiana where incompetence is not a synonym for government, a Louisiana where corruption does not hold us back,"

The questions I have for you, Governor Jindal are these: What would you have done different prior to Katrina's wrath? What would you have done differently when your pleas to President Bush went unanswered? What would you have done differently when the Army Corp of Engineers told you that those levies aren't going to hold up to a storm that everyone knew was coming, most likely sooner rather than later?

And what are you going to tell those who wish to come back home to The Big Easy in the weeks and months to come? Perhaps your answer will be, "President Bush and I don't want you here!"

Because you don't.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to the Republican candidates for President screams, "HSA! HSA!" Pat Thompson writes:

My husband's company instituted health savings accounts, along with a high deductible on health insurance. So they take $100 out of his pay every two weeks, pre-tax, and we promptly spend it to cover that month's prescriptions -- his diabetes prescription costs $450, my blood pressure meds are $200, and the rest comes out of pocket.

Now he is retiring, and health insurance will cost more monthly than his entire social security check. He is 62 and forced out since his company was bought. I am 60, so there is a five year gap until Medicare, and he has three more years. Health insurance during this period could bankrupt us. My condo property management business has no health insurance at all. I am thinking about going to work 20 hrs. a week for Starbucks to get health insurance.

Be wary, Pat. The Bushies and the GOP 2008 hopefuls will use you as "an example of the senior spirit," for your willingness to go back to work.

Spin Baby, spin!

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "I understand everyone has their biases in this election, but Edwards has missed the mark repeatedly, as he did in 2004. And the debate, in which he was disturbingly smug (he used to be my candidate of choice), sealed his fate with voters. Now his only hope is to ride the sexist and racist tide to a white man's victory over the African American and female candidates," Robert Scardapane writes:

I think that last sentence is more than a bit over the top. Edwards has never been either racist or sexist. I refrained from saying much about Hillary Clinton but I think I had enough. Her campaign has been extremely dirty. In New Hampshire, she sent out a false mailer about Obama's position on choice. Obama has a 100% rating from NARAL yet her mailer distorted his record. Hillary's campaign is currently trying to make it hard for Nevada casino workers to vote in the caucuses where you need to be there at a particular time; sounds like voter suppression to me.

We all have some quarrels with the candidates; none of them have been above attack politics but now it's getting downright ugly. I suggest we avoid charges of racism / sexism; otherwise, we'll end up with another Republican in 2008.

In response to, "There have been numerous studies that show even if everyone was insured health care premiums would only go down by a small amount and most likely would go right back up.
"Irrespective of the structure of the system, single-payer or multi-payer, the system will fail to produce affordability unless prices are regulated," Carol F. Yost writes:

Does this writer know what single-payer is? It means NO premiums! NO concern about affordability because the healthcare recipients would not be paying! That's all because there would be NO insurance companies! And everyone residing in the US would be covered.

For full details on how the system would work--very well--and be paid for, see www.healthcare-now.org. Support Rep. John Conyers' bill, HR 676, which already has 80+ signatures in the House of Representatives. Really read it, because it doesn't take long and is important, before you answer my comment. YES.

In response to, "Now I understand that we yokels shouldn't make those decisions on our own," Pat Thompson writes:

Unfortunately so many Americans are yokels -- uninterested in politics, the history of this county, and others, civics -- how government works, current events, etc. until some issue affects them personally.

And then they have very superficial information gained from glimpses of the candidates in 60 second sound bytes. How many take the time to really learn all of their candidates' positions on various issues, in comparison to other candidates? It really is more like American Idol. Those who have served, have been involved for years, who have ran campaigns, and gotten elected, who know what it takes -- I don't know for sure, but maybe they should have somewhat more, but not too much more, say in the selection of a nominee.

1972 was really a killer; I guess something had to be done, but going too far toward the party hack, smoke filled room conventions of the past isn't the answer. Republicans seem to stick with "whose turn is it"? I think McCain will wind up the nominee, and he deserves it, surely more than someone like Giuliani or Huckabee, or Romney. Even though I disagree with his hawkish stand on the war(s), I appreciate his going against the Republican majority who favor torture. Now, who in the Democratic world would be our long serving, deserving candidate??? A guy who after a year in the Senate started running for President? There has to be some middle ground, between the latest star and the oldest hack. I guess Biden would be the best choice.

In response to, "...even if that wish turns out to be another George McGovern," Pat Thompson writes:

Do you really want to see another election where the Democratic candidate wins one state?? I think electing Nixon was such a waste of human lives -- he promised to end the war in 1968, and never got around to it for over five years. 58,000 young men died in that war (compared to almost 4,000 so far in Iraq). And the number of Vietnamese, both North and South, have been estimated in the millions.

In response to, "Given that the independents are tending to vote for Obama," Pat Thompson writes:

The Republicans have encouraged and aided the Obama surge -- because they know they can start their usual "swiftboating" once he is the nominee. That's when they will really start their campaign, which they used against Kerry; "he's not quite a real American, was raised in European schools, his wife is foreign, he "looks French" but he's actually Jewish, he didn't earn his medals, he goes windsurfing, he was an anti-war activist", etc. etc.

Can you imagine, as Bill Maher said on Friday night, the Republicans taking material from Obama's own book -- he was a teenage drug user, for instance. I've already received awful forwarded emails stating that his middle name is "Mohammed", but actually it is Hussein. Maybe I am so totally out of touch with the "youth vote". To me, being a part of the anti-war movement in the 60's and 70's, and remembering John Kerry's active role, after he returned from Vietnam in Veterans for Peace; well, to me he was the "youth candidate".

In response to, "Irrespective of the structure of the system, single-payer or multi-payer, the system will fail to produce affordability unless prices are regulated. Sorry Republicans, competition has not been effective in keeping health care prices in check," Pat Thompson writes:

We need a complete overhaul of the medical system. For the doctor's sake as well. After they spend more than a dozen years in school, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, they are nickled and dimed to death by insurance companies, who make the big profits. Sicko has such a good view of health care in Great Britain, France, etc. The doctors are employees of the government, trained by the government, paid a comfortable salary. Hospitals are NOT FOR PROFIT.

The rich can always get private doctors, but the vast majority of people would be well served by "socialized medicine". Although I am realistic enough to acknowledge that isn't happening in this country any time soon. Interestingly, the Brits instituted their system right after they were almost destroyed in World War II. Their country has been bombed into near destruction by the Germans, they had lost a large percentage of their population, their economy was in shambles -- but they were able to work out the details of a health care system that takes care of everyone.

Truly amazing.

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-Noah Greenberg