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Current location: Seattle, WA
Member since: Tue Nov 23, 2004, 10:22 PM
Number of posts: 9,048

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I think. . .

On "our side" we generally do a terrible job of focusing on big themes and goals. We get mired in details. The focus is on the "doable," not the vision of what we can and should be as a people. The details do not engage.

Change requires a couple ingredients that too few of us have.

1. A belief that this is OUR government, and if we want something, we can make it happen.

2. A vision of what we can and should be grounded in moral principle and the aspirational values expressed in the Declaration of Independence. (Values we have allowed to be violated since those words were written. But, I do not believe that past is prolog. I think more of us can internalize the vision. And that’s the first step in the journey to ACTUALLY starting to build "a more perfect union." )

A vast majority believe political change is the responsibility of elected officials and "professionals." That is, “politics” is not for us "regular people." That sort of alienation from our own government sets things up for anger and resentment and apathy against this “alien” government thing that is failing us. It opens the door to the sort of demonization we are seeing. The truth, that WE are the real movers IF we choose, is the antidote.

I think we can do a better job of engaging our fellow citizens and rekindling belief in some of the fundamental values that drive change. We need to focus on building the foundation: a vision of what is possible and a belief in our power to acheive it.

Hope is contagious. We will never get “everyone" on board. But uniting everyone is not necessary. We just need to reach the “critical mass” necessary to get the ball rolling.

For example, in the fight for universal health care we have repeatedly allowed it to be shot down with "can’t afford” this or that detailed plan before building a consensus on basic principles -- principles that, when more generally accepted, demand implementation of universal health care. Where there is a will, there is a way. The principles drive the definition of the goals and then we can lobby for a plan that fulfills the goals – including a plan for paying for it. (Like a wealth tax – but that is grounded in another set of principles.).

Quite some time ago, I started building a little web site. I wasn't able to follow through with making connections and building it into the sort of activist "clearinghouse" I envisioned, but some of what I wrote I think conveys what I'm talking about.


I'm sure you didn't expect such a verbose answer to a simple question. Hope your not sorry you asked.

Letters to editors of newspapers and networks needed -- LOTS of letters

One way to lobby for a change in language is in letters to the editor. (Or to bring attention on any subject.)

Personally, I''ll be lobbying to change White Supremacists, White Extremists, White Power movement, Militias, etc. to "White Terrorists." As noted in other posts on the thread, I think this is more accurate and a simpler transition from current language. YMMV. There are other labels suggested on this thread, like Right-Wing Terrorists, you might prefer. I like including "White" because I think this ultimately boils down to racism -- not just "right-wing" beliefs.

In addition to writing to papers/news local to your state/city/region, below are some nationals and progressive-friendly magazines.

I've also included cable and network news contacts.

When you write, cite a recent article (articles) that have instances of the objectionable term. Make a short case for a new, more meaningful and accurate, label. Note the the problematic language is used everywhere.

Best to keep it under 200 words, whether or not the outlet provides this as a guideline.

National Newspapers

Write to letters@washpost.com or to: Letters to the Editor, The Washington Post, 1301 K Street NW, Washington DC 20071.

Guidelines: [F]ewer than 200 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post.


Guidelines: Letters should be exclusive to The New York Times or The International New York Times. We do not publish open letters or third-party letters. -- That is, customize for NYTimes citing a few articles with the objectionable term and noting that the term is pervasive.

USA Today
letters@usatoday.com -- also need to be under 200 words (fewer the better).

Progressive Magazines

The Atlantic

Mother Jones
or send snail mail to Backtalk, Mother Jones, P.O. Box 584, San Francisco, CA 94104-0584.

The American Prospect
David Dayen, Executive Editor, ddayen@prospect.org

The American Prospect
1225 I Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 776-0730

Harper’s Magazine
666 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012

To email us about articles in the magazine:

The Nation

Washington Monthly
1200 18th Street NW
Suite 330
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-955-9010, Fax: 202-955-9011

Cable News and other network news


30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

ABC News
List of contacts for specific shows

NBC News
Assistant Managing Editor for Politics
Gregg Birnbaum / Gregg.Birnbaum@nbcuni.com

Assistant Managing Editor for News
Tim Perone / Tim.Perone@nbcuni.com

CBS News
Different contacts for evening weekday and weekend news. See https://www.cbsnews.com/news/contact-information-01-08-1998/

Timeline and failures -- lost shot at containment

Re-posted as OP by request

Actual sequence of events follows "what could have been".

Just imagine...

-- If the CDC had started sourcing and distributing sample collection materials the week of 1/13, and simultaneously moved to develop and distribute tests and testing supplies to public health entities (there are about 3000 of them) as rapidly as possible.

-- If the public health emergency had been declared 1/13 to empower more rapid preparation and response.

-- If the FDA had used its EUA power as soon as the public health emergency was declared to allow labs across the country to develop, distribute, and process tests.

-- If the public health emergency declaration had conveyed the reality of what we were facing. (i.e., Had conveyed a clear picture of what would come if we failed to act, and act quickly. The grim reality was obvious as soon as it was clear how readily it was transmitted in China and how high the mortality rate was.)

-- If, in response to clear warnings, states and and feds had recognized the need to pass funding bills to get critical testing, tracing, and containment programs off the ground and create specialized task forces to coordinate across states and public health entities (A big job that requires dedicated management and staff -- something we still don't have).

-- If federal authorities paid attention to epidemiologists' models and health expert metrics of projected incidence, hospitalizations, actual resources vs. needed resources, and began to source and use powers to order increased production of PPE, ventilators, and put plans in place for how to address possible/probable shortage of beds and other critical resources.

-- If, as soon as testing was available, the power to order tests had been put in the hands of doctors and a public information campaign had been initiated to advise anyone having symptoms, or who suspected exposure, to immediately self-quarantine and seek testing.

Even if it took until the beginning of Feb to get "rolling," we would have been mobilized to detect cases that had been contracted in mid-January. With fewer cases to detect, public health entities would have been able to ramp up efforts to trace source and contacts of every case detected (and have time to bring personnel on board to make it possible to trace if/when numbers increased -- funded by those emergency bills).

Perhaps all this is too much to expect of any government, but I don't think so.

The first "sin" was the inability of the DT administration to confront the grim facts about the probable (if not guaranteed) consequences of failing to act early and quickly. In our interconnected world, it was ridiculous to think the crisis in China would somehow, magically, be be limited to China without action on the part of other nations. Effective containment required coordinated mobilization across national borders. Or, failing that, mobilization within our own borders.

Of course, I could be flat wrong and containment efforts would have failed, however early they had been initiated.

We'll never know because our government didn't bother to try.



Test developed by the department of virology at Berlin’s Charité university hospital with help from experts in Rotterdam, London and Hong Kong available.

CDC inexplicably declines to develop and use this test, opting, instead, to come up with their own.

Virus is already circulating, undetected, in WA state, and probably elsewhere. (Based on analysis of genetic samples from a 1/20 case and a later case, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington found the virus had probably been circulating undetected for at least 6 weeks prior to 3/1 -- finding announced 3/1)

Azar (DHS) declares public health emergency. Among other things, this triggers FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) power which they DID NOT exercise until 2/29 (see later). The emergency declaration should have come at least two weeks earlier. In an interconnected world, the grim reality of what we would face if we did not make preparations to act, and act quickly, was obvious as soon as it was clear how readily it was transmitted in China and how high the mortality rate was.

In re: EUA power. Normally, hospitals and labs need FDA permission to use their own laboratory developed tests (LDTs). EUA power allows labs to move forward with test distribution and processing while the FDA reviews information about the test they submitted.

If the FDA had started exercising its EUA power immediately upon declaration of a public health emergency, as they should have, labs at university medical centers, hospitals, private labs, etc., could have moved forward with their own tests or a version of the reliable test that was available on Jan 13. (FDA did not exercise this power until 2/29, as noted later in the timeline.)

China travel ban
After not testing anybody, and doing no screening on anybody for 3 weeks, DT issues a travel ban on China 2/3. Only returning Americans and foreign nationals with "pre-clearance" are allowed entry.

Selected airports are designated to receive planes and screen passengers as they come in. Anyone who visited China in the past two-weeks is screened. If they have symptoms they are told to go home and quarantine. No testing to determine actual status (because we don't have a test). Everyone else on plane already exposed. (More to it than that -- re-routing to original destination and whatnot.)

CDC finally begins distributing their own test.

Shortly after distribution begins, recipients find problems with the test. Apparently it has been distributed without proper quality control checks. Testing by states put on hold. States are directed to send samples to CDC. CDC has very strict criteria for testing to limit number of tests and resultant backlog. The number of people tested is extremely limited.

First community transfer confirmed in CA. (Virus has therefore been circulating, undetected, there, too.)

CDC has fixed the test issue. Most states still not getting kits. They continue being directed to send samples to CDC for testing with overly strict criteria. Even with limits and test "rationing" there are backlogs.

FDA finally begins to use its EUA power to empower labs to distribute/process tests independent of the CDC. A crucial six weeks has been lost.

DT expands travel ban to include Iran.

Governor Inslee declares state of emergency in WA (first state)

Cuomo declares disaster emergency in NY

With extremely limited testing, 42 cases in the US are confirmed. 2 deaths are attibuted to COVID-19.

People who have symptoms are directed to "self-quarantine."

Newsom declares state of emergency in CA.

497 cases have been detected. 22 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. Test capacity continues to be so severely limited we really have no idea how many COVID-19 cases there are. Most states are still being directed to send tests to the CDC for processing. Backlog.

3,497 cases have been detected. 62 deaths attributed to COVID-19.* Some states are ramping up testing, but a vast majority continue to face severe sample collection materials shortage and/or extremely limited test processing capacity. The limitations are so severe there is no way to estimate likely incidence per capita in most regions, or to create region-specific data-driven models. In absence of anything else, preparations are necessarily based on worse case scenarios everywhere.

Statewide closure orders begin with Inslee in WA ordering closure of all bars, restaurants, recreational and entertainment facilities. NY follows March 16, and CA follows March 17, with even more restrictive "Shelter in Place" orders. More detailed state-by-state action summary here.

29,046 cases detected.

300 deaths attributed to COVID-19*

Testing still so limited the actual numbers remain essentially unknown.
Hospital admissions with COVID-19-like symptoms that resulted in death were only counted if diagnosis was confirmed by test (which was not happening with any sort of consistency)

https://covidtracking.com/data/ 7pm ET

139,061 cases detected

2,428 deaths attributed to COVID-19*

Hospitalized 19,730 (not all states report this so the actual number is probably much higher)

Continued limited testing. Actual numbers higher.
Only 254 tested per 100,000 (US)

Wide range by state. For example:
Approx 800 tested per 100,000 in NY and WA
Approx 90 tested per 100,000 in TX

April 7th update


12,709 deaths attributed to COVID-19*

* Underestimate. People with COVID-19-like symptoms who died before testing began to ramp up in mid-March were often not counted as COVID-19 deaths because the diagnosis was never confirmed by testing. People dying at home, and even in the hospital, were not always, and still are not always tested to confirm COVID-19 status, These cases of likely COVID-19 are not counted in reported deaths.

Colossal failures and loss of critical weeks of testing and containment -- we need answers!

Excerpt from informative article (Politico)

Why the United States declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily as a bridge until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce its own test, remains a perplexing question and the key to the Trump administration’s failure to provide enough tests to identify the coronavirus infections before they could be passed on, according to POLITICO interviews with dozens of viral-disease experts, former officials and some officials within the administration’s health agencies.

And this, from an article in The Guardian:

By 13 January – three days after the gene sequence was published – a reliable test was available, developed by scientists at the department of virology at Berlin’s Charité university hospital with help from experts in Rotterdam, London and Hong Kong.

I want to hear that congressional committees are conducting robust inquiries on the effectiveness of efforts going forward, rapidly compiling national and state program recommendations from experts outside the DT admin, and appropriating additional emergency funds to implement. I want to hear they are investigating the stink that surrounds the disastrous actions to date. I want to see the paper trail (emails, memos, meeting notes, guidelines...).

I would also love to see someone like Jane Mayer dig into questions like these:

Why did the CDC decide they needed to produce their own test, rather than use the reliable test already developed by Jan 13? (The CDC effort apparently took an additional 3 weeks.) What process/reasoning, went into that disastrous decision?

Why didn't the FDA immediately trigger a regulatory workaround enabling qualified medical centers to roll out tests that they had designed themselves? (BTW, AP fact check reports that the regulatory limitation was implemented by the Trump admin, NOT Obama's, as DT and other admin officials claimed.)

What failures in process allowed the CDC test "performance issues" to go undetected until AFTER they began distributing their test around Feb 5? (Problems identified by recipients, NOT the CDC.) What the hell happened to quality control?

Why did most states have to continue to send their samples to CDC for an additional 4 weeks (through March 2), causing a "bottleneck"? (A bottleneck that led the agency to put in place extremely restrictive criteria for testing to ease the burden.)

Time will tell how quickly we can put in place the means to collect samples from those who need to be tested,** and have those samples transported to, and processed by, labs with the capacity to produce rapid results. Test kits, by themselves, are of no use. There needs to be a system in place. (And no, it is not "too late." If we fail to put efforts into both containment AND building capacity to treat, we will have many more people to treat, putting an even greater burden on the system.)

Time will also tell how high a price in precious lives this nation will pay for the loss of critical weeks.

One thing we know is that the magnitude of the crisis will be far higher than it would have been if the administration hadn't pursued its lie, ignore, deny, dismiss "strategy" to "protect" the stock market. Of course, their strategy will certainly backfire. As the crisis accelerates as a result their colossal failures, so too will the affect on stocks.

** "those who need to be tested" must include all contacts traced from known cases, as well as symptomatic people, particularly those who live, work, and otherwise have, or have had, contact with vulnerable people. Such testing will likely require staffing of tracing task forces, as well as training, equipping, and deploying people to collect samples "in place."

Disrupt, distract, dissipate, while busily transforming our governement in ways...

...that are likely to take many, many years to repair.

Perhaps that’s precisely the intent: Disrupt, distract, dissipate, and drown out independent voices and inconvenient realities while fulfilling his agenda with an eager Republican Congress. Critics and the press chase their tails in a tizzy, while Trump’s executive orders get signed and cabinet picks get confirmed, one by one. More

Amid the distraction of the chaotic horror show he is definitely "getting things done."

All of this smoke is missing the steady progress that the modern Republican Party is achieving,” said Grover Norquist, the longtime anti-tax advocate. “The idea that Trump isn’t getting anywhere is wrong. Those free market guys are picking up maybe not all the marbles in the world, but a large quantity of them. And we haven’t thrown away any marbles.”... His appointment of Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission is one of them. Pai is poised to dismantle net neutrality rules, moving away from treating online content as a public utility and toward a system that allows cable and telecom industry interests to control content and traffic. “That appointment,” Norquist said, “is [determining] 16 percent of the economy.”

Some of the things tracked on presterity.org:
Executive action telling government agencies to slash "job killing" rules that environmentalists argue serve as important protections... executive action establishing a framework to scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law... killing off the so-called fiduciary rule requiring brokers and financial advisers to act in the best interest of retirement savers.... remove Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist groups from terror watch list and focus solely on Islamic groups... "unprecedented" approach to staffing cabinet without ethics vetting... spend taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it... Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many people... signs an executive order that will allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees... intervening in an important private employment case, urged a federal appeals court to rule that civil rights law does not bar job discrimination based on sexual orientation... revives Reagan-era ban on use of foreign aid for abortion counseling... FCC is stopping nine companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to the poor... Individuals with Disabilities Education website vanishes without explanation... Trump administration revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis... DOJ Argues Title VII Does Not Protect LGBTQ People... appointed an activist who led a campaign to restrict bathroom access for transgender students to the office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development.... emoving sexual orientation and gender identity from the list of categories explicitly protected from discrimination in its latest equal employment opportunity statement... executive order that will allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees... Appoints Anti-LGBTQ Activist to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office... rescinded directive that sought to curtail the government’s use of private prisons... Sessions and Cook bringing back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war... abandoning Paris agreement on climate change... made it harder for workers to set up retirement accounts and has delayed the implementation of workplace safety rules... repealed a regulation protecting workers from wage theft... allowed employers with spotty labor records to get government contracts... Occupational Safety and Health Administration has hit the brakes on a rule that would require firms to report worker injury data online.

I fear that the actions that are big enough, or implemented at a level high enough, to make the news are just the tip of the iceberg compared to damage being done by the systematic decimation of executive regulatory functions going on at every level. And this doesn't even touch on his abusive use of executive power over foreign policy, which is making the world a more dangerous .place, not to mention his withdrawal from efforts to use of our influence and dollars to advance human rights.

Human beings are naturally pulled in when confronted with something that is beyond understanding. As we witness DT's evermore explosive and bizarre verbal diarrhea, our attention is diverted. At the same time, we are being overwhelmed by the shear volume and breadth of the damaging actions he's pulling off. Generalized opposition is strong, but a whole lot is getting by without fanfare or organized opposition.

NYTimes: How to Make Fun of Nazis

The New York Times
The Opinion Pages

How to Make Fun of Nazis
AUG. 17, 2017

For decades, Wunsiedel, a German town near the Czech border, has struggled with a parade of unwanted visitors. It was the original burial place of one of Adolf Hitler’s deputies, a man named Rudolf Hess. And every year, to residents’ chagrin, neo-Nazis marched to his grave site. The town had staged counterdemonstrations to dissuade these pilgrims. In 2011 it had exhumed Hess’s body and even removed his grave stone. But undeterred, the neo-Nazis returned. So in 2014, the town tried a different tactic: humorous subversion.

The campaign, called Rechts Gegen Rechts — the Right Against the Right — turned the march into Germany’s “most involuntary walkathon.” For every meter the neo-Nazis marched, local residents and businesses pledged to donate 10 euros (then equivalent to about $12.50) to a program that helps people leave right-wing extremist groups, called EXIT Deutschland.

They turned the march into a mock sporting event. Someone stenciled onto the street “start,” a halfway mark and a finish line, as if it were a race. Colorful signs with silly slogans festooned the route. “If only the Führer knew!” read one. “Mein Mampf!” (my munch) read another that hung over a table of bananas. A sign at the end of the route thanked the marchers for their contribution to the anti-Nazi cause — €10,000 (close to $12,000). And someone showered the marchers with rainbow confetti at the finish line.

The approach has spread to several other German towns and one in Sweden (where it was billed as Nazis Against Nazis).

This week, following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Wunsiedel has come back into the news. Experts in nonviolent protest say it could serve as a model for Americans alarmed by the resurgent white supremacist movement who are looking for an effective way to respond (and who might otherwise be tempted to meet violence with violence).

We've got to be able to come up with something equivalent. Let's work to turn every hate group rally into a pledge drive for the Southern Poverty Law Center (other suggestions welcome). Call on sane people to contribute X dollars to anti-hate cause for every every hateful person who shows up at the rally. Put up a big fund raising thermometer. Cheers and thanks to the assholes who show up for their part in raising money for such a wonderful cause.

DT is mentally ill: Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

DT is mentally ill. He meets the criteria for Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. And based on public conduct, I have no doubt that an evaluation would put him way up on the Psychopathy Checklist.

Lying and "distorting reality" are hallmarks. He breaks every rule in the book in pursuit of his own ends. He lies and distorts reality to rationalize and justify his wrongful conduct. To puff up his over-inflated ego he stereotypes and denigrates those he sees as out-groups. His callous disregard for others and sense of entitlement appear to know no bounds. He weaves grandiose tales of his fearsome power, omnipotence, and unequaled brilliance. He is proudly abrasive and offensive. He clearly enjoys humiliating and embarrassing others, but reacts to any perceived slight to his own person, appearance, or accomplishments aggressively and vindictively.

I'm sure there have been U.S. presidential candidates, and presidents, who could be diagnosed with a personality disorder of some sort, but I can't think any of who exhibited this level of psychopathy. I can't think of any who met as many diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, or who met as many criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Regarding Personality Disorders in general

There are four defining features of personality disorders. These are:

1) Distorted thinking patterns,
2) Problematic emotional responses,
3) Over- or under-regulated impulse control, and
4) Interpersonal difficulties.

I think it is pretty clear that DT exhibits these defining features.

Antisocial Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.7 (F60.2)

{Lengthy discussion that proceeds diagnostic criteria omitted}

There are four diagnostic criterion, of which Criterion A has seven sub-features
A. Disregard for and violation of others rights since age 15, as indicated by three of the seven sub features:
1. Failure to obey laws and norms by engaging in behavior which results in criminal arrest, or would warrant criminal arrest
2. Lying, deception, and manipulation, for profit tor self-amusement,
3. Impulsive behavior
4. Irritability and aggression, assaults others, or engages in fighting
5. Blatantly disregards safety of self and others,
6. A pattern of irresponsibility and
7. Lack of remorse for actions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

The other diagnostic Criterion are:
B. The person is at least age 18,
C. Conduct disorder was present by history before age 15
D. and the antisocial behavior does not occur in the context of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder

(American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

DT meets A. He shows "Disregard for and violation of the rights of others." He exhibits at least four of the seven "sub-features."
Specifically 1 (sexual assault clearly warrants arrest), 2, 3, and 7 (I don't think there would be any argument on these three). Arguably he exhibits some of the remaining features. For example, he probably meets 3. He is clearly "irritable and aggressive," but I don't know of any reports of physical assaults in adulthood.

He only needs three of the sub-features to meet the criteria for A "Disregard for and violation of the rights of others"

He is certainly over 18, and from descriptions of him as a kid in [link:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-choice-2016/transcript/"Frontline: The Choice 2016]" he exhibited the same characteristics (plus physical aggression) from a young age.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.81 (F60.81)

The definition of NPD states that it is comprised of a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
-- A grandiose logic of self-importance
-- A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
-- A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
-- A desire for unwarranted admiration
-- sense of entitlement
-- Interpersonally oppressive behavior
-- No form of empathy
-- Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
-- A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes

On this one I'd say he's nine for nine (and only needs five for diagnosis).

The "Psychopathy Checklist" is highly correlated with the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Scoring is based on a structured interview, but, given the degree to which DT meets the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I have no doubt that DT's psychopathy score is very high.

What I want to see is a Dem "ACA fix" bill that adds the Public Option.

Right now we are engaged in a losing "ACA sucks" v. No it doesn't" argument. We need to move the fight to "our turf." Dems need to introduce a competing ACA "fix" that adds the public option. And they need to launch a coordinated effort to "sell" it to the public. They should be out their calling on people to contact Reps to tell them the Dem bill is what they REALLY want. And if/when it is blocked this session, call on people to elect Dems in 2018 so we CAN get it done.

Repubs claim "their" bill will reduce premiums. It's a lie, but people will be/are being duped by it. Without a competing bill, all we can say is "their bill won't lower premiums." And that's a classic "Don't think of an elephant" loser (See Lakoff). With a competing bill that has the public option -- which actually WILL cut costs through polling and negotiation -- we've got something positive to advocate. We need to do more than fight for the status quo if we want to move our health care system in the right direction (or stop reversal).

ACA is in fact not great. It needs fixing. The right kind of fixing. Let's accept the reality that the Republican noise machine has successfully demonized ACA. We are not going to be able to undo that damage. The only way to really protect what we've got is to change the game.

STOP GORSUCH Petitions/Actions

Of course, number 1 is calling/faxing your Senators (even Repubs so they can't say "nobody in my state is against Gorsuch"













Tweet links for Judiciary committee

Even if you've already called/faxe your Senators, might want to do it again to say NO Deals like this bullshit:

Universal Health Care must be front and center.

You are absolutely right.

The concept that you cannot have a functioning constitutional democracy if the people do not have equal access to a basic level of health care is a fundamental democratic -- little d and big D -- principle.

It is a given that you cannot have a functioning constitutional democracy if the people do not have equal access to a basic level of education. Education is pretty irrelevant if you are dead. Access to a basic level of health care is every bit as fundamental as access to a basic level of education.

Universal Health Care must be front and center because it goes to the heart of who we are as a nation. Are we a nation committed to making sure each and every citizen has the basic building blocks to thrive? Yes. Isn't health one of those basic building blocks? Yes, of course it is. Doesn't it follow that we must provide equal access to a basic level of health care for EVERYONE? Of course it does. It is a simple concept.

Are we powerful enough to make it happen? Of course we are.

A nation that makes these types of commitments, and endeavors to fulfill those commitments, is a nation to be proud of.

These are the types of visions we must build and work to make real because these are the visions that engage hearts and minds. Once we define ourselves as a nation committed to providing every person to the building blocks needed to thrive, we must necessarily start looking at where we are achieving this goal, and where we are not. The overarching definition of what kind of nation we are drives us in the right direction.

Universal Health Care must be front and center for another reason. Discussion of Universal Health Care is also a discussion of the limits of the "free market." Health care is NOT a commodity, and "Free market forces" don't apply. You need the health care you need when you need it. We all need a certain amount of preventative care. Some of us get sick. When we do, we need more. It's not like buying a car, or other commodity. You don't wake up one morning and think "I'd like to start injecting myself with Enbrel, I know it's expensive, but I deserve it!"

We do NOT need to get into the mechanics until we have built consensus on what it is we need to commit to achieving. What constitutes a "basic level" of health care? Define that free of concerns about cost. Only when you have defined some basic parameters of what the goal is do you shift focus to design.
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