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Both Sides Redux

Donald Trump is a racist. He’s a liar and a fraud. He’s an ignorant, arrogant, uncurious, vicious, juvenile, petty douchebag.
The idea that he could possibly be considered for the office of president while dragging behind him gangs of venal hypocrites, Christopathic theocrats, science deniers, gun nuts and Klansmen is both horrifying and deeply disturbing.

Donald Trump must be stopped. And not just by losing the election.
Donald Trump and the entire Republican party must be given an electoral beatdown of epic proportions – chain whipped so severely that the story is used to frighten children.
The party that unified behind him must be curb-stomped and left in the gutter.
It must be made absolutely clear to all who voted for him that such egregious offense to the very idea of political commonwealth – of government itself – will be rejected with the complete and total contempt it deserves.

It is frustrating that the Democrats make stopping him such a disheartening exercise in ethical hypocrisy.

This primary cycle reminded me of all the reasons I preferred Barack Obama in 2008. It also reminded in very profound ways of all the reasons I really don’t like Hillary Clinton.
The same sort of tactics and arrogance; the weaknesses as a general election candidate that made me prefer Obama are all still there, with the addition of new and more significant issues.
Let’s get the stipulations out of the way: Clinton is wicked smart, deeply experienced, absolutely competent and qualified to occupy the office. She is infinitely better than Donald Trump or any other Republican who sought the nomination. She is not Satan.

Clinton also has a very long string of targets trailing behind her that make her, in my view, the weaker Democratic candidate in the general election: Goldman Sachs, the Iraq war vote, emails, Libya, Syria, Honduras, NAFTA/TPP, Bosnian sniper fire…
All of the foregoing in addition to the right wing ratfucking fever dreams (Benghazi et al) that are articles of faith among the Dittohead hordes.
She is viewed as untrustworthy and inauthentic; has higher unfavourable numbers with a majority of voters, and is the least liked candidate in electoral history except for her opponent.
She did, however, win more Democratic primary votes and more states than Bernie Sanders.
Some argue that the primary process was bent from the moment 500+ superdelegates created Hillary’s “insurmountable lead” before a single ballot was ever cast. I’ll leave aside voter registration problems, rule changes, miscounts, coin flips, the refusal of democratic superdelegates in individual states to follow the will of their constituents, and the media alternating between ignoring Sanders or dismissing him with shallow falsehoods about his policies.
Nevertheless, despite having fallen short in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders still polls better than Clinton nationally; in swing states; among independents, and puts red states in play. He is viewed as honest and trustworthy by solid majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents. He drives turnout for the Democrats – specifically the possibly significant crowds threatening to stay home, vote third party, or cast a spiteful ballot for Trump. He didn’t take a dime from Wall St., voted against the Iraq war, and isn’t being investigated by the FBI.
He gives anti-establishment Conservatives (for whom Clinton is evil in shoes) an excuse to abandon the ignorant embarrassment leading their party, and also appeals to rust belt Republicans who are angry about the loss of manufacturing and blame Hillary for NAFTA.

I believe the Democratic party is missing an opportunity, as the Republicans nominate a racist jackass with extra-terrestrial hair, to offer an alternative to the status quo that is not only what Americans want but what America desperately needs – one that reflects the ideals the Democratic party claims to represent.

But Bernie Sanders ain’t the nominee.
Fuck. Such a disappointment.
The choice before the voter, then, will be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
“It’s like choosing the noose or the electric chair.”

Welcome to being a Liberal – where the fight never ends, and you never get to win a fucking thing without some retrograde asshole trying to take it away.
It’s time to put down your sippy cup and change your Pampers.
This election is NOT just Hillary or Donald.

Donald brings with him the Freedom Caucus, Paul Ryan’s budget, Inhofe’s snowball and Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill.” He brings two (maybe four) Supreme Court Justices, all eight paces to the right of Antonin Scalia.
He starts deporting people, banning Muslims, disqualifying judges who rule against him, suing any reporter who asks a question he doesn’t like, and cutting the same sort of crooked deals with China that drove his casinos into bankruptcy.
A belligerent, thin-skinned, narcissistic moron who lavishes praise on sycophants and vitriolic slime on all others. A vacillating buffoon completely confident in the accuracy of his own myopic delusions. A man who uses a presidential debate to talk about his dick and who publicly expresses that, you know, if his daughter weren’t his daughter…

Hillary Rodham Clinton, peace be upon her, brings with her Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Al Franken (he’s good enough, he’s smart enough and people like him), and former President Barack Hussein Obama (you thought he had zero fucks to give now).
If some smug pricks get off their ass and vote, she’ll have a Senate with 56 Democrats in it and a Congress with fewer Republicans, some of whom President Clinton can shiv into line with fear of re-election (“Go ahead – vote against the Clinton infrastructure spending in your home district – see how your constituents like that.”)

Hillary can’t be president forever. What the hell sort of mess are you trying to make for Liz Warren to clean up?
On what moral basis can you shove gays back in the closet, give theocrats the right to inflict bigotry under the guise of faith, destroy health care, education and the environment while enshrining “No taxes for the rich – sink or swim, fuckers” as the governing economic principle for the next four years?
On what basis do you inflict Kansas’ economy, Mississippi’s race relations, Pat Robertson’s curriculum, Louie Gohmert’s abortion laws, Pam Geller’s outreach to Muslims, and the DayGlo orange candidate’s “Climate change is a Chinese hoax” on the country because YOU’RE too fucking pure to vote against Donald Trump?

This argument from moral purity is contemptible, not least because it is premised on a lie.
The predicate assertion is that both parties are equally bad, equally corrupt, and equally uninterested in helping the poor and middle class.
Horseshit.
One party is bent on destroying the poor and middle class. They want to repeal health care, privatize education, end food stamps, eliminate the EPA (the rich can BUY lead-free drinking water) and ban both abortion and education about condoms.
They want an end to Pell grants, contracts for more private prisons, a nationwide crackdown on voter fraud (!), the end of welfare, Social Security and Medicare. They shut down the government with petulant tantrums and threaten to force the country to default on its debts if they don’t get their way.
They openly demand that judges be appointed AND REMOVED based on any ruling that does not comport with their god bothering, gun fetish or freedom to be bigots.
They aren’t rational and they damn sure ain’t adults. They are all lining up behind a man they’re too morally bankrupt to admit is a racist because they’ve been relying on racists since Nixon.
They scuttled the Paris Peace talks; sold missiles to mullahs; ran death squads in Central America; lied about WMD’s; propped up Noriega, Gaddafi and Hussein, and TORTURED people.

Please…show me anything even distantly orbiting equivalent malfeasance by the Democrats.
I’ll wait.
Bill Clinton got a blowjob and lied about it. Hillary wasn’t careful about her email.
You can mewl about her taking cash from bankers and fucking up Libya all you want. None of it comes close to the cracked madness and venal hypocrisy of the GOP over the past 40 years.
“Hillary’s the status quo.”
Damn her. Damn her to HELL.

Are the Democrats too deep in the pocket of Wall St. and the corporate sector? Absolutely.
Is Hillary Clinton likely to sic the SEC on Goldman Sachs? I wouldn’t take any bets.
Trump and the Republicans must be stopped. Period.
I get that you’re too righteous to sully your sparkly moral perch with anything like a vote for Hillary Clinton. But you damn well need to vote against Trump.
It just requires marking the ballot the same way.
Think of it as voting for Obama, again. And for Liz Warren. And WITH Bernie Sanders…who will also vote against Trump.

IF the people who were motivated to engage politics because of Bernie Sanders STAY engaged then, over the course of the next four years…and the next decade, we’ll be able to gain some ground instead of watching every gain of the past eight years rolled back and then some.
And there will STILL be retrograde assholes trying to claw back every inch.
You oppose those rat bastards BY OPPOSING THEM.
Welcome, again, to being a Liberal. Get used to heartbreak and disappointment.
Refusing to vote is not a question of principle. It’s nothing more than surrender under a smug and pretentious facade. YOU are who Hannah Arendt was talking about when she remarked on the banality of evil.
If you’re not in the fight – if you REALLY believe both sides are equally awful and you’re just going to maintain that aura of condescension from the sidelines, at least shut the fuck up. I’m tired of hearing how goddamn clean your hands are.

#BlackLivesMatter and Bernie Sanders

People claiming to represent BLM disrupted Bernie Sanders’ rally.

Original headline: BLM ATTACKS SANDERS.
Updated headline: NOT MEMBERS OF BLM
New headline: QUESTIONS EMERGE.

In the interim, I’ve been flooded with posts by angry white Liberals, incensed that anyone would DARE to protest at a rally for Bernie Sanders.

“Don’t they KNOW that Bernie is on their side?”

Immediately people began alleging that the protesters MUST be ratfkrs in the employ of Hillary Clinton, out to harm a serious threat to her candidacy.
OR they are ratfkrs in the employ of the GOP out to sow discord among the Democrats.
(Pro tip: Democrats have never needed outside help for that.)

Then came social media posts, allegedly from BLM “Leaders” disavowing these activists.
THEN those posts were taken down – the “Leaders” were not really “Leaders.”

BLM does not have leaders. It does not have “members”.
It is not a Liberal or Conservative group – the issues around unarmed people of colour being killed by police cuts across the political divide (or it damn well should).
If someone protesting under the BLM banner turns out to be a Christian, or a Conservative, or even a spoiled rotten, attention seeking nutter, they are no less likely to be a victim of unwarranted police violence. If pulling out one’s rosary and a Mitt Romney campaign sign were enough to make cops holster their weapons, someone should let the black community know – it would save lives.

Liberals seem to be outraged that a black person would dare to protest at a Bernie Sanders rally…because, they say, Bernie is on their side. This absolutely reeks of white condescension.
YOU don’t get to TELL black people who is and who ain’t on their side.
YOU don’t get to TELL black people not to protest at Democratic rallies because you think the Republicans are guiltier or less sympathetic or anything else.

In my view, it remains perfectly fair for people of colour to protest systemic racism at ANY political rally; to demand that the issue of state sanctioned violence inflicted on minorities be addressed. That the Democrats are arguably more responsive to the concerns of minorities than Republicans (in your view) does not equate with “Democrats are paying sufficient attention to the problem of systemic racism and white privilege.”

None of the foregoing means I dislike Bernie (I like him quite a lot).
It doesn’t mean I agree with the methods employed by these protesters.
It doesn’t mean I don’t think the GOP plays, by a large margin, a much bigger role in perpetuating systemic racism in America.
What it does mean is that white Liberals don’t get to tell black people to sit down and shut up because THEY support Bernie Sanders. It means that white Liberals don’t get to choose when it’s appropriate for black people to speak out. It means that black people have a right to disrupt your political rally whether or not they are Christians, Conservatives or once had a Sarah Palin button on her backpack when she was a kid.
It means YOU don’t get to be snotty and condescending because you don’t like her TONE or her ATTITUDE (while whinging about Joe Scarborough implying that the president is too uppity).

The reaction is far more appalling than the protest.
I’m about to unfriend one particular moronic asshole who has posted on numerous occasions how it’s absolutely, perfectly obvious that these protesters are being paid by Hillary Clinton to prevent Bernie from beating her.
“WHO else benefits??? WHO was a member of the Young Republicans???? FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!”
It’s not even the brainless fucking stupidity of that claim – as if Hillary would risk the total destruction of her campaign; becoming an object of loathing and contempt in order to fuck with a couple of Bernie’s rallies. It’s the goddamned blathering, certain paranoia that must be constantly lurking just beneath the surface. I’ve always had little patience for stupid. Some people don’t even toe the line…they dive head first into the deep end before the gun even sounds.

Apparently it’s too much for white Liberals to wrap their heads around the idea that a black Christian Conservative might not see the issue as Democrats = friends / Republicans = enemies; that PERHAPS these protesters see the problem as much broader than that – a problem of white privilege which has received insufficient attention from BOTH political parties (or maybe she even places more blame on the Democrats).
You can disagree with her about that…but you DON’T get to tell her to shut the fuck up and behave when Bernie’s talking. And you sure as hell don’t, on the back of flimsy evidence and fabricated, absolutely certain delusions, get to start tossing around slanderous accusations about anyone being a paid ratfkr JUST because they’re not the sort of black person YOU think they’re supposed to be.

There’s no doubt this issue is not going away anytime soon and this will not be the last I have to say about it. In the meantime, here’s hoping people give a little more thought to their reflexive presumptions and slanderous allegations around this issue.

Quote of the Week

From Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog:

“Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum – when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes.”
—Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley, a spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Opinion: Hillary Clinton as SoS – w/ Hitchens (video)

Tweety: What do you make of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? Mr. Hitchens…

Hitch: Look, this is the woman who played the race card on Barack Obama {snip} This is the woman whose foreign policy experience consisted of making a fool of herself and fabricating a story about Bosnia

I see the upside to not having Hillary in the Senate. She’s popular and would be mucking about with domestic legislative issues from a potentially meddlesome spot with no reason to restrain her own agenda. Now that Obama has won the election and Hillary has been seen to have stumped her pantsuits off on his behalf, it may not be the case that (as a Senator) their interests would always coincide. As Sec. State, her powers (whatever they are) would be directed by the Oval Office – Hillary Clinton would have no domestic agenda beyond Thanksgiving dinners with Chelsea.

While it does raise obvious targets at which the sputtering and grasping GOP might take aim – they do so love Clinton bashing and it would be a trip down memory lane to happier days for them, back to a time when they had a future – what, really, are they to make of it? By any application of reason, they are estopped from tacking at Hillary by their own machinations.  It’s at best difficult for the people who brought us Dick Cheney and Haliburton no-bid contracts to cry foul over some shady Indonesian and Chinese contacts, especially when the domestic agenda is far more weighty and immediately pressing.  It is only made more difficult by the lavish praise they heaped on Hillary during the general election as part of their knobheaded Palin play to attract PUMAs.
Hillary Clinton is popular. Bill was popular and in the wake of Bush, he and Barack are the delicious bread on an American foreign policy shit sandwich. The world from pole to pole and from the Greenwich Meridian to the International Dateline seems quite pleased with the election of Barack Obama, and rather well disposed to giving the new boss an opportunity. Sending out the beloved wife of an immensely popular former president to help with the building of international bridges, while at the same time rebalancing the domestic scales in a way that cannot hurt and might well help…

I want to go along with Hitchens. I haven’t forgiven Clinton for the primary campaign she ran…but I am also quite certain that, once again, Obama is just smarter than we are. When Barack Obama talks about building bridges, people tend to forget that bridges operate in both directions and not necessarily at the same time. They are commonly seen as a structure upon which folks from opposite sides might meet in the middle. It is worthwhile to note that they can be used to invite someone over. They can also be used to send someone away (rather than simply tossing them in the river).
The more I watch this guy, the less I want to play poker with him.
Hitchens, on the other hand…that guy I’d bust up all night.

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Campbell Brown, Adolf Hasselbeck – BS Claims of Sexism

Campbell Brown, now hosting the ironically titled CNN program ‘No Bias – No Bull’ (or is it the other way around?), recently spoke out about the flap over Sarah Palin’s $150,000 RNC wardrobe splurge, concluding that there is something sexist about the issue and demonstrating just how far up her ass she can occasionally wedge her head.

Ms. Brown asserts that women are judged differently than men in terms of looks and appearance – that having a good wardrobe is, therefore, more important for women than for men.  Sure, everyone gets judged on height, weight, attractiveness, intelligence…but men just wear suits, women have a tougher time of it.

Whether or not it’s fair that men and women are marked on separate scales for clothes and appearance is beyond debate.   That’s pretty much the definition of unfair.  No woman should be held back over frumpy fashion (or any other irrelevant factor), although it might also be pointed out that it was never an option for Obama to show up at the debate in jeans and a t-shirt.   Decent business attire is a must.  Still…white shirt, jacket and tie is a pretty easy choice, relatively speaking.  Women are judged by a different standard.

Her evidence for this proposition is limited to anecdote:  Brown advises that when she wears an atrocious outfit on air, she gets emails – lots of them.  No one bothers to complain when Wolf Blitzer dons an ugly tie.  No one is much concerned with Wolf’s hairstyle, shoes or cleavage (except insofar as we are never forced to see it) – although Campbell is dead wrong when she claims that no one made a fuss over McCain’s $500 Ferragamo loafers.  They did.  It would have been bigger news if they were open-toed Manolo Blahniks with an oh-so-perfect right-size heel.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that if Wolf Blitzer shows up on CNN in a red leather jacket ala Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, folks will send some mail.   I digress.

In any case, this is the “Duh” part of the premise and Campbell repeats it three or four times to make sure everyone is nodding their head.  We’ve been told many times about the horrible extra burdens of being a woman in this world, and plenty enough of those are real (and some severe) that we take this as a premise for just about anything.

Double standard.   QED.

Fair enough.  This double standard is simply a matter of fact.  Hillary figured that out long ago and stuck with a rainbow array of the exact same pantsuit – taking a page from the old Albert Einstein story in which the physicist bought seven identical suits so he never had to waste effort considering what to wear.

But without seeming to notice the sad contradictions she wanders into, Brown suggests a solution: Clothing expenses ought to be a tax deductible business expense for women.  All this election talk about tax cuts has driven poor Campbell around the bend.
Campbell doesn’t necessarily want to change the standard.  She just wants a tax break for the extra expense of dressing for success.  Plus, it’s sexist to start talking about the cost of Sara Palin’s clothes and/or her fashion choices.  Campbell seems to take the interesting position that for Palin et al, red leather is simply one more option and an expensive one, too, eh?
Double standard.  Sexist.  Weren’t you paying attention?

Campbell (no bias – no bull), while initially appearing to lament the fact that women are judged differently, seems almost to applaud the fact that they have a great many more options when it comes to choosing outfits.  Men have it much easier than women, and the IRS better do something about it!
Even when one makes a limited style choice (like Hillary’s plethora of pantsuits), similar matching pants and jacket are not available to Blitzer no matter how cute he looks in mustard yellow.  Floral prints are right out, as is a jaunty scarf knotted around his gasping, monotone, run-on sentence stuttering throat (tighter…please).
Mustard yellow, floral prints and jaunty scarves are the province of the oppressed!  And they cost money!

There is, of course, a couple of simple ways to eliminate this double standard.  We can either adopt a generally acceptable standard of professional attire for women (some sort of female version of the pinstripe suit and white shirt) – which is an option immediately available to both Ms. Brown and Ms. Palin – or we open up the field for Wolf to get into some truly stunning designs – backless, spaghetti straps…whatever (I’m not sure if I prefer the way things are or suits for women, but I sure as hell am not advocating that).

One gets the distinct impression that Campbell enjoys the advantage gained by reasonably attractive women who “dress for success” (whatever that might be taken to mean in current context).  She merely objects to all that extra expense – the spray-on tan, the make-up, the wardrobe – coming out of her pocket.
Plus ça change
, plus c’est la même chose…or vive la difference, take your pick.

Having pointed out that this double standard exists and suggesting tax relief for the girls, Campbell goes on to agree that 150K is over the top – too much money for anyone to drop on wardrobe changes over six weeks.
Christ, Campbell…make up your mind!  If it should be a tax deductible business expense, one might as well have the best and lots of it.  Or do you want to set some sort of arbitrary limit on how much a woman may spend in order to thrive under this double standard…and would that be the same for lawyers, accountants, EMT’s and truck drivers?  Or do you want to reconsider this path you’ve wandered down…it gets soggy fast.

“No one,” says Campbell, “bothers to mention Obama’s $1500 suits.”
Perhaps that’s because Obama doesn’t bill the DNC for them – a point Ms. Brown fails to note.
Here’s the thing.  John McCain buys his own clothes.  Barack Obama buys his own clothes.  Joe Biden buys his own clothes.  Hillary Clinton buys her own clothes.
Why the fuck is Sarah Palin wearing $150,000 of top end shopping with the RNC picking up the bill even if the clothes are going to charity later?
She ran for mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska.  One presumes that not every one of those electoral appearances occured in -40F blizzards out on the ice flows.  Has the woman nothing presentable to wear except the earrings her mother-in-law made for her (another option foreclosed to Wolf) and the wedding ring she bought herself for 35 bucks?

Campbell Brown’s error is one of shallow logic.  If assessing women based on looks and fashion is wrong, then assisting them to be more competetive on that basis does nothing to solve the problem.
Fix the standard – tax breaks that help the already attractive and rich to simply become better at playing a crooked game ain’t really helping matters.
If Ms. Brown is merely lamenting the extra expense of playing a crooked game well, that’s not the sort of complaint I can take very seriously.  It’s like complaining about how much money you had to bribe Suharto to get the sweat shop up and running – the cost of exploiting child labour these days is outrageous!

Elsewhere comes the vapid and brainless Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Stumping in Florida for Sarah Palin, this yakking mindless mouthpiece claims that the issue of the clothing budget is “deliberately sexist.”
That should come as no surprise – ignoring relevant facts is Hasselbeck’s stock in trade as the lone right-wing voice on The View (although it could also be the result of mental defect or brainwashing).

The simple truth, which Hasselbeck willfully ignores in order to spout her foolishness, is that the objections, heat and steam over this issue is not that Sarah Palin got some new clothes, it’s that the clothes cost one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; that the bill included thousand dollar make-up sessions and a spray-on tan; that the whole exercise was not at all about getting some decent outfits for the mavericky Alaskan veep nominee but rather trying to make a silk purse out of sow’s ear and cost be damned; that the whole episode exposes the puffery and falsity behind the Hockey Mom Joe Six-Pack Maverick from Alaska sales pitch.

My problem is not so much Hasselbeck’s inane ranting – anything that moron says is easily dismissed and not worth listening to in the first place.  Campbell Brown, though, disappoints me.  If one wishes to argue that the double standard ought not exist, fine.  If one wants to recognize that it does – that the fact, lamentable or not, is inescapable – also fine.  But it seems inconsistent to say that this terrible double standard exists, argue for gender specific tax breaks to better play the upside of an unfair system, while men still shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for one suit.

Too many people are too ready to play “the sexism card” or “the race card” without bothering to reasonably or fairly assess the evidence.  Not every criticism of Sarah Palin is sexist, just as not every criticism of Obama is racist.  These accusations have become far too common.  To paraphrase Chomsky:  There’s a really simple way to eliminate sexism – stop participating in it.

No one has suggested that Sarah Palin is unqualified to be vice president because she’s a woman.  That would be sexist.  I’ve merely suggested that she’s too stupid, uneducated, inexperienced, vapid, shallow, incurious, batshit religious and incompetent to be anywhere near the oval office regardless of her gender.  That’s not sexist – that’s an assessment of her abilities and qualifications for the 2nd most important job in America.
Conversely, far too many people attending Sarah Palin’s rallies are shouting Muslim (a lie), Communist (a lie), Socialist (a lie), Arab (a lie) and Nigger.  All of those things speak for themselves.
And THAT is Hasselbeck’s core rationale for hauling out the “sexism” card.  It’s a weak, pathetic and disingenuous attempt to deflect attention away from the hateful, vicious, disgusting and weak-minded appeals to the most base and ugly facets of the American electorate that are being gleefully employed by Sarah Palin as she struts about in $150,000 worth of fashion, make-up and spray-on tan.

Perhaps we should dispense with fashion altogether.  Everyone can wear track suits and sneakers – colours optional.  But you’ll still hear McCain-Palin supporters yelling nigger.  You can take that to the bank in Paris and Milan.

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Teddy K’s Enduring Legacy

So it is said he’s seizing the moment.  An auspicious moment at that, from any perspective.

I have no idea who these Kaiser folks are.  Seem concerned with Health Policy writ large, which tends to make me consider them rather less politically biased than might be expected at, say, HillaryIs44.com.  Whoever they are, they have this story about Teddy K drafting some legislation for universal health care.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has “secretly been orchestrating” and overseeing meetings with members of both parties to draft health care legislation to present to the new president and Congress next year that would extend health insurance to all U.S. residents, the Washington Times reports. The “wide-ranging talks,” which Kennedy has monitored through telephone updates from his staff, have included 14 round table meetings attended by Kennedy aides and staffers for both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Budget Committee, Senate Finance Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Kennedy. The talks also were attended by representatives from a “panoply of interests groups with stakes in the cost and availability of health coverage,” including the AFL-CIO, Business Roundtable, National Federation of Independent Business, the National Retail Federation, Federation of American Hospitals, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Families USA, AARP and Consumers Union, according to the Times. In addition, Kennedy aides have started meeting regularly with consumers and small groups of people representing each area of the health care industry.

I hope it’s a good bill with all sides onside.  I hope it works.  I have only one request in consideration of future American political harmony:  Make sure Hillary’s name is on it, for fuck sakes…Please!
Have some meetings, a joint press conference.
Jebus, Teddy!  Don’t fix health care in America without getting Hillary’s name on it.  You don’t have to change a comma…you just have to consult her…take into consideration…harness that obsession. 
The Kennedy-Clinton Health Care Reform Act.

Universal health care, cradle to grave – it’s the right thing to do.
Being generous is the icing and that one extra candle for good luck.

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Country First?

Truth comes in many sizes.

The race is getting ugly.  There are far too many who appear ready, willing (and claimed to be armed) to resist any electoral outcome with which they disagree.  They do not see opponents with differing views on the priorities of peace, order and good government.  They see enemies of the state.

When Barack clinched the Democratic nomination – when Hillary and her millions had to grasp that it wasn’t going to happen – there was a serious question about whether or not the party could be healed following such a divisive and passionate battle.  Would Hillary’s gals come back?

Hillary gave one of the great speeches of her life at a moment when she must have wished to be anywhere else, saying anything else.  Sometimes we summon that extra when it is least expected and most needed.
And then, not insignificantly, McCain embarked on a concerted effort to offend every last one them one way or another.  The Democratic family reunion went off as hoped.  But no one had mentioned armed insurrection, either.

Comes again the question writ large.
Can the country be healed?
Have John McCain and Sarah Palin the sheer stones of Hillary Clinton?
Are either of them capable of conceding graciously, putting “country first”, respecting the most sacred principle of democracy – the will of the People – and seeking to close the chasm they have intentionally wedged open?  Can either begin to heal the wounds they have inflicted?

Is such a thing even possible in the wake of this scorched earth campaign?
Do John McCain and Sarah Palin see anything beyond winning?
Sadly, I think not.
Obviously not.  Dangerously not.

Country first, indeed.

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