Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sen. Ensign admits parents gave money to mistress and family

(Senator's Mommy & Daddy paid for sonny's sexual affair! EmbASSing!!! hk)

The Nevada Republican's lawyer says $96,000 was given legally and ethically 'out of concern' for Cynthia Hampton's family. The revelations follow an interview in which her husband criticizes Ensign.

Ashley Powers and Mark Z. Barabak LA Times

From San Francisco and Las Vegas — Nevada Sen. John Ensign's wealthy parents gave his mistress and her family $96,000, the conservative lawmaker revealed Thursday, an admission that further darkened his once-bright career and caused even allies to question his continued effectiveness as a U.S. senator.

The "gifts" to Cynthia Hampton; her husband, Doug, and two of their children in April 2008 were made "out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time," said a statement from Ensign's attorney.

The money, given in $12,000 increments, was "consistent with a pattern of generosity" by Ensign's parents, the statement said. Ensign's father, Michael, is a former casino mogul who helped bankroll his son's political rise from congressman to onetime GOP White House aspirant.

The admission came after Doug Hampton alleged in an television interview this week that Ensign paid his wife "a lot more than" $25,000 in severance when she left his campaign and political action committee. Doug Hampton also worked for Ensign, as his top aide. A Washington watchdog group, the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility, asked the Justice Department to investigate the allegation because neither the campaign nor the PAC had reported the expenditure.

Ensign lawyer Paul E. Coggins, a former U.S. attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, said Thursday that it was the parents who paid the Hamptons, and that Ensign had followed "all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules."

The payments began after the Hamptons stopped working for Ensign.

The latest revelations into Ensign's affair follow the interview, aired Wednesday and Thursday, that Doug Hampton gave to local political pundit Jon Ralston, a commentator and Las Vegas TV host. Hampton painted Ensign as something of a "Desperate Housewives" character: the unrepentant wife-chaser who tried to buy his mistress' silence.

"Nevadans are very forgiving," said conservative activist Chuck Muth, who called the financial revelations highly damaging. "Live and let live -- what doesn't affect me doesn't affect me. But the fact this occurred with someone who worked for Sen. Ensign and may have felt coerced . . . make this a whole different story altogether."

Politically, Ensign may be saved by the poor state of the Nevada Republican Party. GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons has faced his own set of scandals, including accusations of infidelity. Lacking strong leadership and absent an obvious candidate to replace him, the state party establishment is not likely to pressure Ensign to step aside.

He also has the advantage of time. He was reelected in 2006 and won't face voters again until 2012. However, Ensign's budding presidential hopes -- he had visited Iowa recently -- seem permanently dashed. Nevada's congressional delegation, including Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, remained silent Thursday about Ensign. But Steve Wark, a Republican strategist and former state party chairman, said his longtime friend was surely mulling his future in Washington.

"This makes it very difficult for him to be effective. . . . I would have to think this would give him pause as to what he wants to do with his political future," he said.

Asked whether Ensign should consider resigning, Wark said: "I believe that he's compelled to do that. I don't think he needs to be pushed in that direction by anybody."

Political observers said it would be tough for Ensign, a Christian conservative who belongs to the Promise Keepers ministry, to rebuild his image with voters.

"There is no way to spin this to make it positive," said Joseph Valenzano, who studies political communication at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "It smacks of 'I'm not responsible if I have someone else do it.' It's like having your father pay your parking ticket."

Valenzano said that though he found Doug Hampton to be calculating and unsympathetic, "if he really is a wronged husband and wanted to destroy Ensign's national ambitions, this was a good way to do it."

In December 2007, according to the interview on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston," Doug and Cynthia Hampton's house was broken into. They temporarily moved in with John and Darlene Ensign. That's when the affair began, said Doug Hampton, who discovered the liaison via a text message on his wife's phone.

Even after confronting John Ensign, Hampton said, the senator continued to pursue his wife, who worked for Ensign's campaign and political action committee. In February 2008, Hampton said he enlisted friends involved in a Washington Christian fellowship -- including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) -- to help end the affair.

Hampton described the advice the friends gave Ensign: "These men were the ones that said what we need to do is get Doug Hampton's home paid for, and we need to get Doug Hampton some money. We need to get his family to Colorado."

While Coburn admitted to admonishing Ensign, he told reporters Thursday that he "never made any assessment about paying anybody anything."

Though Ensign reportedly sent Cynthia Hampton a handwritten letter that said that he used her for his own pleasure and that their relationship was a sin, Doug Hampton said that the senator quickly disavowed the letter and continued hounding his wife. At one point, Hampton said, Ensign bought cellphones for himself and Cynthia Hampton so their spouses couldn't track their calls.

In April 2008, Hampton said, he and his wife were forced out of Ensign's offices, though the senator's camp said the affair continued through August of that year. Meanwhile, Ensign secured Hampton a job at a political ally's consulting firm and then at Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air.

That could have discreetly ended the saga. But a few weeks ago, Hampton begged Fox News in a distraught letter to expose Ensign, who Hampton said "ruined our lives and careers" and left their family "in shambles." Hampton suggested that former Sen. Rick Santorum, a Fox News contributor, might have alerted Ensign to the letter. (Santorum could not be reached for comment.)

Regardless, when Ensign learned that Hampton had tipped off the media, he abruptly flew from Washington to Las Vegas. Nearly a year after it had ended, Ensign publicly apologized for the affair.


Senate votes to permit drug imports from Canada
Associated Press Writer
People in the United States could get lower-cost drugs from Canada over the Internet under a plan that has passed the Senate.

The plan, sponsored by Louisiana Republican David Vitter and approved 55-36, dealt a defeat to the powerful drug lobby, which has so far prevailed in defeating widespread imports of drugs from Canada and other places where prices are far lower than in the United States.

Vitter's plan was attached to a bill funding the Customs Department and other homeland security agencies. It's unclear whether the idea will survive House-Senate talks on a final version of the bill.

Currently, visitors to Canada can return with a three-month supply of drugs.

Opponents of the idea say it will open the door to Internet scam artists.

Health care overhaul suffers another setback

By DAVID ESPO and ERICA WERNER Associated Press

The drive to remake the nation's health care system suffered yet another setback in Congress on Thursday when a pivotal group of House Democrats demanded changes in legislation the leadership was drafting on a fast track.

The emerging bill "lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken," 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats wrote party leaders. To win their support, they said, any legislation would need to be much more aggressive in reining in the growth of health care as well as in addressing a disparity in Medicare payments they said adversely affects rural providers.

A group of the moderates met into early evening with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and arranged to sit down with committee chairmen on Friday to go over proposed changes. Officials said the public release of the bill, originally set for Friday, would occur no earlier than Monday.

It was the second setback in three days for President Barack Obama's top domestic priority, although it was unclear whether it would amount to anything more than a brief delay for a bill of enormous complexity and controversy.

There was upheaval earlier in the week in the Senate, where the Democratic leadership is intent on scuttling a proposed tax on health care benefits that has long been key to attempts at a bipartisan compromise. At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others went out of their way during the day to emphasize eagerness for Republican support.

As an alternative to the benefits tax, Democrats are considering raising taxes on wealthy investors to help pay for health care legislation, along with numerous other options, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The proposal to extend the current 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax to capital gains earned by high-income taxpayers would bring in an estimated $100 billion over 10 years.

In the House, Hoyer sought to minimize the day's developments, which occurred as Democrats on one committee were making final decisions on provisions to pay for the legislation.

"Let me make it very clear that everybody in that room thinks we ought to pass health care reform," the Maryland Democrat said.

One conservative Democrat, Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said he believes no House vote should take place until September. That is well past a midsummer informal deadline set by Pelosi, D-Calif.

"I promised the president that we would have legislation out of the House before we went on an August break," Pelosi said earlier in the day. "That is still my goal."

Despite some success — the nation's hospitals agreed to a cut of $155 billion in projected Medicare and Medicaid payments — progress has been scant and internal differences magnified.

In general, any bill that emerges from Congress is expected to follow Obama's blueprint for reining in health care costs overall while extending coverage to 50 million who lack it.

Another objective is to make sure that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or raise premiums to unaffordable levels to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

But literally hundreds of details are involved in drafting legislation, and gaining a consensus even among Democrats is proving to be remarkably — if predictably — difficult, despite their large majorities in both houses.

As an example, some Democrats are demanding legislation that permits the government to sell insurance in competition with private companies. Republicans overwhelmingly oppose such a plan, deeming it a stalking horse for universal government-run insurance, and many Democrats have concerns, as well.

Some Democrats prefer a plan for a nonprofit cooperative to take the place of government in competing with private companies. Others favor a government role only in cases in which consumers lack a choice in coverage.

Similarly, Democrats are divided on paying for the bill, some preferring more tax increases than others, some favoring more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

"We've just got a lot of question and the top of the list would be how to pay for it," said Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., one of the Blue Dogs.

"I don't think we have significant cost-containment mechanisms in the proposal yet," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He said he favors provisions aimed at preventing overtreatment of patients and overpayments to doctors, hospitals and other providers.

A dispute over tax increases was at the core of upheaval in the Senate earlier in the week.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and chairman of the Finance Committee, has been working for months with Republicans in hopes of gaining support for a bipartisan bill that can command 60 votes.

Efforts to raise money to pay for subsidizing the cost of insurance had focused on a tax on health care benefits for workers with high-cost coverage provided by their employers.

Baucus and Republican supporters argued it would also have tended to reduce the cost of health care overall, as well as offset the cost of the bill. But the Democratic leadership stepped in forcefully, citing poor public polling, opposition of organized labor and concerns about taxing middle-income workers.


America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” Walter Cronkite

We are told Single-Payer Health Care is off the table, that it cannot possibly get enough votes. Even President Obama, who while he was Senator Obama and in favor of single-payer, has changed his mind. Even President Obama can be bought.

Ironically, many do not know what single-payer is, yet it is quite simple: There is only ONE payer: the government.

Republicans call this Socialized Medicine; the stuff we’ve been warned of since the late fifties.

My father was a physician. He told me that socialized medicine would destroy our medicine. However, this was before HMOs, insurance companies, the AMA, the FDA, and Pharmaceutical interests destroyed medicine. This was before we began paying billions to the CEOs of HMOs.

It is not socialized medicine. It is publicly funded, privately delivered health care. It is health care that is not profit based. Thank God.

Today over 15,000 physicians (many Republican physicians too) and health care workers want single-payer Health Care. A majority of nurses want single-payer.


The answer is simple: They want to practice medicine. They don’t want to sit around on the phone for hours arguing with an insurance agent about what procedures they can or cannot perform.

Consider this: the ONLY change in medical care will be who pays. Instead of the insurance company paying for your care, the government will be paying. This is the ONLY change in health care. You will get the doctor of your choice. You will get the medicine you need. And if you are on vacation, 1000 miles from home and you need a doctor, you’ll get it, and nobody will ask you if you have insurance.

This one simple change has set the US topsy-turvy. Right wing talking heads have turned up the volume; senators are pleading with us to keep the government out of health care; network television has played half hour programs decrying socialized medicine and how it will destroy us.

“Don’t let government takeover of medicine kill the best health care system in the world!”

In past issues we have debunked a lot of the crazy stuff circulating the web and the country. The massive attack on single-payer is one issue that must be debunked and debunked thoroughly.


Because there are TRILLIONS of dollars that stand to be lost.

Not millions, not billions; trillions.

Trillions of dollars stand between YOU and your RIGHT to Health Care, and you will be lied to in Technicolor over and over and over until you drink the Kool-Aid. Expect the opposition to wheel out someone who’s been screwed over by the Canadian health care system (who says we have to adopt theirs?) to prove that Universal Health Care is bad for us. Expect the battle to get dirty and every person associated with Universal Health care to be slandered. Expect the worst. That’s what greed brings out; the worst in human beings.

One has to ask himself why every Republican in Washington is against Universal Health Care.

Besides the obvious money issues and the Republican bent of supporting corporations over individuals, there is one reason that seems to fly under the radar:

In England, the party that passed Universal Health Care stayed in power for 40 years.

If the Democrats pass Universal Health Care, the Republican party will be insignificant for an entire generation.

It is hard to fathom why any Democrat would not want to push through Universal Health Care. My guess would be a lack of spine.

“I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” Will Rogers

The following video is a segment of the movie Network. Apparently, after Barak Obama was elected, someone sat him down and gave him this same speech.

"… you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone!"

And yes, health care is a right. It’s something that is given quite freely to the persons we elect to represent us. It is NOT a privilege to represent us; it is not an honor. It is a mandate, by the people, that those we’ve sent to Washington represent the will of the people. When a representative of the people gets health care, this is proof enough that health care is a right.

We are the only industrialized nation on the planet that doesn’t have Single-Payer, Universal Health Care. We are the only nation in which a person can go bankrupt (over 50% of bankruptcies are caused by medical bills) because of medical bills, even if you have insurance. In most countries with Single-Payer, it is illegal to sell the type of medical insurance offered in this country.

Your representatives and even your president have been bought and paid for on this issue of health care. Senator Max Baucus of Montana has received more money from the insurance and health care industry than any other Democrat; is there any question why Single-Payer was not on the table when his hearings began? Is there any question why nurses went to jail forcing Baucus to hear their point of view on Single-Payer?

Why aren’t single-payer advocates allowed to testify before Baucus’ committee? Follow the money. Campaign donations explain why, and demonstrate that the Senate Finance Committee should not be in charge of health care. Senator Reid should remove the health care reform bill from Baucus and start all over before the Health Committee in the Senate.

Here’s why Baucus is not doing the people's business:

According to, over his career he has taken donations from:

The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313
Health Professionals: $1,016,276
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry: $734,605
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $541,891
Health Services/HMOs: $439,700

That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the Senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, and Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:

Insurance: $592,185
Health Professionals: $537,141
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $524,813
Health Services/HMOs: $364,500
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $332,826

That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from these industries, and now he can reward them by deforming health care reform.

The health care profiteers knew that Baucus would determine their fate and ponied up. Now the only thing standing between them and their payback is a single-payer national health care plan. Yet single-payer, which would end private insurance and control the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, is not being considered—not even allowed to participate in the conversation before Baucus.

It is not just the chairman of the committee who has received massive donations. The full Finance Committee is a gluttonous embarrassment of campaign pay-offs. In 2008 the committee members received a total of $13,263,986 from industries affected by health care reform. Can we trust this committee to put the interests of the people before their donors?

The donations to the Finance Committee in 2008 included:

Insurance: $5,103,900
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $3,308,831
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $2,809,353
Health Services/HMOs: $2,041,902
These industries expect to be rewarded with billions, even trillions, in profits and hundreds of millions in corporate welfare. Senator Baucus’s behavior shows they have made a good investment—they've bought themselves a senator who should be called Chairman Blagojevich. He is doing his best to make sure the single-payer message is not heard because he knows it is the fairest, most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure health care access for all Americans—but he can't let that be implemented because it would put some of his donors out of business and control the profits of others.

It is time to remove Baucus from the leadership of health care reform. It is time to move the critically important priority of reforming America’s health care system from the Finance Committee and put it before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At least their mission is health care, not money.

Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the, which is urging a single-payer national health care system as part of its ProsperityAgenda.US project. Along with seven others, Zeese was arrested when he testified from the audience of a recent Senate Finance Committee meeting on health care. See the video on YouTube.


We can only pray that any new health care bill will include spine transplants for Democrats.

Everyone in Washington feels that if they want to get re-elected, they’re going to need the support of, the money of, the health care industry (HMOs, insurance companies, the AMA, and the Pharmaceutical Industry).

“Members of Congress are the only people in the world expected to take large amounts of money from strangers and then act as if it has no effect on their behavior.” Bill Moyers

Yet this one issue is big enough to get anyone re-elected, including the president without any money from the health care industry. In fact, the most beloved politician in Canada is Lester B Pearson, the Prime Minister who brought Universal Health Care to Canada.

Barak Obama could go down in history as the most beloved President in our history over this one single issue. But when he tells us that if only we were starting from scratch, Single-Payer would make more sense, we know that he's thinking about the insurance industry; we can't just ruin the insurance industry no matter how many people die because they've turned them down for procedures.

“When a Democrat runs on change, the only change we'll get after the election is he becomes more like a Republican.” Anonymous

This next election, coming up in less than 17 months, should be a single issue election: health care. But there is a slight problem: to keep money out of health care, we have to keep money out of our election process.

You see, for progressive candidates to get elected (those representatives who work for the people interests), they need money. To get that money, they have to pander to special interests, and not the interests of the people. So, this next election will be a two issue election: take the money out of both the health care system and the election process. And it is going to be tough, because when money is involved, when greed is motivation, expect lies, deception, and hypocrisy to rise to the realm of sainthood.

Money Talks ― Universal Health Care Walks

To someone who has lost everything because of medical bills there is no left or right, no Liberal, no Conservative. There is only the pain of losing everything.

If health care costs continue to rise at their current rates, it will cost $24,000 a year to insure a family of four by 2016, an 84 percent increase from today. At these rates, half of American households would have to spend at least 45 percent of their income to be insured. (Congressional Hearings 2008)

A majority of health care workers, a majority of Americans, wants Single-Payer, Universal Health Care. Screw bi-partisanship. The American public has voted. Let it be known that the American public expects their representatives and their president to work for them and not for the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the HMOs.

When the Republicans had a smaller majority than the Democrats have today, they rammed their agenda down the throats of the American people. They put Justice Roberts on the Supreme Court; a judge who in his career on the bench always ruled against any individual who was up against a corporation. They rammed false intelligence and an illegal war down our throats; tax breaks to the wealthy; extreme rendition and torture; a complete agenda that most Americans felt was un-American was rammed down our throats.

The Democrats have a majority. The people have spoken. Screw bipartisanship. It’s time to ram Single-Payer Health Care down the throats of the Republicans.

Yet many Democrats, including the President (who called for Single-Payer Health Care on the campaign trail, June 29th 2008), are backing away from Single-Payer. Obviously, something is wrong when major changes to the ridiculous Medicare Part D have yet to come about.

Within his first hundred days, President Obama could have reversed the rule that disallowed the government from negotiating with drug companies.

Apparently “Yes We Can” didn’t actually mean “Yes We Will.”

Editor's Note: Bill Maher got it right, twice in a row, in his New Rules. They are posted below in Tid Bits: New Rules.

We must let our representatives know: If a Republican wants to get re-elected, vote YES on Single-Payer Health Care. If a Democrat wants to get re-elected, vote YES on Single-Payer Health Care. If an Independent wants to get re-elected, vote YES on Single-Payer Health Care.

Health care to be true health care must be non profit. The bottom line for any profit based industry is profit. This is a simple fact. True health care must be non profit.

We can do this. We just have to get on the phones, write letters, write emails, and keep on our representatives. We can do this.

Debunk This!

· The US has the best health care system in the world.

This is pure bunk. Flag waving chauvinists constantly tell us: “We’re number one! We’re number one,” even if we’ve done nothing to prove it or earn it.

The American health care system is the most expensive system in the world, yet the World Health Organization ranks us 34th in the world.

In infant mortality, out of the 33 industrialized nations, we’re right at the bottom.

Chauvinists who proclaim that our modern medicine is why the average longevity in America grows each year are blowing smoke; in the past two years, our longevity figures have begun to shrink.

· Government takeover of health care.

The far right likes to play with words. They took the Inheritance Tax and renamed it the Death Tax. Smart move. Most Americans will never see an inheritance, but they’ll see death, and suddenly more people are worried about this tax that won’t ever affect them.

“Single-payer” has become “Government Takeover,” and that sounds really bad. The government “paying” for health care doesn’t sound that bad; but the government taking over health care; well, we all know that’s bad.

I heard a Republican ask the other day if we wanted the government bureaucracy that brought us Katrina bringing us health care.

I always smile when a Republican is stupid enough to bring up Katrina. So let’s look at the myth he’s trying to promulgate:

· Government bureaucracy is always inefficient.

The implication of this statement is that private corporations are much more efficient than government agencies. This has led to privatization. However, privatization is just another term for profitization, and there goes all the savings a private corporation could ever have over government agencies.

Yes, we all know about government bureaucracy. We’ve all stood in line at the DMV. We all know the stories of the military handing out winter clothes in the summer. But for every person who’s ever stood in line at the DMV, there are 1000 elderly getting their Social Security checks on time from a government agency, delivered to these people by another government agency, the post office. For every soldier who’s ever gotten winter clothing in the summer time, there are thousands of hungry children getting hot meals because of a government agency. Yes, bureaucracy can be inefficient, but the only thing single-payer will change, once again, is who pays. The government pays. That’s it.

Ironically, the bureaucracy and paperwork of private insurance now eats up 30% of our health care dollars.

A “streamlined” single-payer system can save more than $350 billion yearly. Take the profit out of the system, and the savings is mind boggling.

· Higher taxes, longer waits, rationed care, substandard care.

We’re going have to take these one at a time.

Higher taxes: perhaps. Taxes might go up, but insurance rates will drop. It’s a wash.

Sadly, because the previous administration took the tax burden off the wealthy and heaped it onto the backs of the middle class, it is the middle class who have been paying for the war in Iraq. England realized a very simple concept: if we can pay to kill people, we should be able to pay to heal people.

We truly need to put the tax burden on the shoulders of those who have received the most from society. They should be paying for our health care, especially since we’ve paid for “their” war.

As for higher costs, in the long run, universal health care in the US will be so much cheaper, especially for businesses. New businesses will be able to start up while existing businesses can flourish. People will become more mobile; they’ll be able to leave an existing job and hunt for a better, more suitable job knowing they can’t lose their health care.

Longer waits: interviews and polls from Canada, Sweden, England, France, etc. all show that the wait times after incorporating single-payer got shorter. Why? because the average wait time in the emergency rooms just went down.

Have you ever had to go to urgent care? I took a friend in with a migraine. We waited over an hour and a half.

Yes, some systems have seen a slow down, but I happen to be a recipient of socialized health care already from the Veterans Administration, and I’ve also visited an HMO.

Since they’ve streamlined the VA, I’ve never waited more than five minutes past my appointment time to see my physician. My one trip to an HMO I waited 45 minutes past the scheduled appointment to see the doctor. So much for that myth.

Rationed Care: this was debunked on a recent Bill Moyers Journal when he interviewed two physicians. They both agreed that we have enough medical care in the country to handle everyone for a long time. They admitted that somewhere down the line, as the population grows, we might have to do something, but right now, every patient will get the care they need, and NO insurance man will stand in the way.

Substandard Care: we are told by many that when they were in the military they got substandard care. It’s funny, sitting in a temporary building in need of painting, how the care just seems substandard to having your own hospital room with cable TV and hot and cold running nurses.

I have never in my life received substandard care in a military of veteran’s hospital. In fact, I’ve received better and faster care than when I spent $300 to visit a doctor friend of mine at an HMO.

· Universal healthcare would be exactly that. If Republicans point out that any universal healthcare scheme would include heroin addicts, meth heads and others who brought their health problems on themselves through poor individual decisions, independents and moderates would reconsider supporting Obama's plan. Who likes the idea of their tax dollars being spent on the health of junkies?

Funny thing, but we already pay for junkies. We pay to have them hunted down, arrested, jailed, rehabilitated, and then the spiral starts over. We are already paying for them.

Sadly, the war on drugs is a waste of time and money. In countries where drugs have been either decriminalized or legalized, drug usage just goes down, and the costs to the taxpayers shrinks dramatically.

Every single objection to single-payer Health Care is a bogus argument FINANCED by the industries that stand to lose TRILLIONS. This is a simple fact, and sadly, everyone in Washington, including our president, has been paid off.

And the really good thing about Single-Payer Health Care is if you want to pay for your own doctor on your own time at your own convenience, you can. Nobody is stopping you.

From the Los Angeles Times

Under the plan, negotiated primarily by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), hospitals would accept $155 billion in cuts if the administration and its congressional allies succeeded in extending health insurance to tens of millions of people who are now without coverage.


In June, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced that its members would provide $80 billion worth of discounts on medications for seniors and others who rely on government health insurance programs such as Medicare.

These negotiations are very telling. The health care industry is admitting that they have been ripping off the American public to the tune of billions.

Profit driven medicine has created the most expensive, and most dysfunctional health care system in the world. Our system is ranked 37th in the world today and yet we pay the most.

According to the Consumer's Union, "Right now, [the health care industry is] spending $1.4 million per day on lobbyists to make sure your Senators hear exactly why they need more of your health care dollars."

What to do? Grass Roots!

We make the next election a SINGLE ISSUE election. Thirty-nine million voting age adults lack health insurance. Millions more have health insurance they cannot afford. Millions more are underinsured. Millions upon millions have been turned down for procedures they need. Hundreds of thousands have died because they had health insurance but could not get the procedures they need.

The majority of Americans want single-payer Health Insurance. This is a fact. The majority of health care workers want single-payer.

The problem is money. Our representatives will not have enough money to get re-elected and represent us if they support single-payer.

The New Revolution: Get out the vote!

In just 17 short months, every seat in the House will be up for re-election. Call your representative and tell them, firmly, respectfully, that you will support ONLY a candidate that is firmly behind single-payer. It’s that simple.

Get out, talk to neighbors, make sure everyone calls their representatives and candidates and make them completely aware that this next election is a SINGLE ISSUE election: single-payer, Universal Health Care and ultimately Campaign Finance Reform.

We need to push for public campaign financing and take the money out of the system of politics. We have to level the playing field, and this one issue, health care, has made it blindingly obvious that our representatives represent those who pay for their campaigns and not their constituents.

Seventy-three percent of Americans want a public option that will create Universal Health Care. The majority of physicians and nurses want Universal Health Care. The AMA doesn’t want Universal Health Care but they’ve not polled their doctors.

Six out of ten Americans are willing to pay more in taxes for Universal Health Care. Some think we should roll back the Bush Tax Cuts, but rolling back all the way to the Reagan Tax Cuts will not only pay for health care, it will begin to pay to rebuild our infrastructure.

But the Times/CBS poll found 85 percent of respondents wanted major healthcare reforms and most would be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone had health insurance. An estimated 46 million Americans currently have no coverage. [Reuters]

The Democratic Party, the one that supposedly represents the little guy (there are more little guys than big guys in the world) holds the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Yet they tell us that single-payer is off the table because it won’t get enough support.

This is a bold faced lie. The only thing between us and Single-Payer, Universal Health Care right now is us. We must demand it. We must march in the streets. We must call each individual from Congress who is up for re-election and demand they put single-payer back on the table, or say good bye to Washington.

Throw the bums out. Throw Max Baucus out. Throw Barak Obama out. Throw out all those who refuse to represent the will of the people.

If single-payer goes away, we have only ourselves to blame.


Take five minutes out of your life and call your senators and representatives, and leave a note for Obama too. Here are the numbers to the White House switchboard. You can reach everyone who represents you from here: 800-828-0498, 800-614-2803 and 877-851-6437.

If you don't know your Senator, you can call this number, plug in your zip code, and they will send you to one, then call back and they'll send you to the other: 1-800-944-6762

Obama inspires, but some question toughness

Poll: Obama inspires, but some question toughness
By Paul Steinhauser CNN Deputy Political Director

Story Highlights

President Obama remains well-liked, but doubts arise about toughness, poll says

Fifty-three percent say Obama has clear plan for country

Half of responders say Democrats' control of Congress is good for country

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama still inspires confidence, but a new national poll indicates that the number of Americans who say he is a strong leader and tough enough to handle a crisis has dropped significantly over the past few months.

Seventy-two percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday believe Obama inspires confidence. That's down three percentage points from a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted in February.

Seven out of 10 also said the president is a strong and decisive leader. However, that figure is down 10 percentage points from the opening days of Obama's presidency. Sixty-four percent said that Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis, down nine percentage points from February.

"Although his rating as a strong leader has dropped, he still scores fairly well on that measure," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But Obama's stand on the issues and his plans for the future appear to be his biggest weakness."

The poll suggests that 53 percent believe Obama has a clear plan for solving the country's problems, down 11 percentage points since February. Fifty-six percent said the president agrees with them on the issues they care about, down seven percentage points from February.

"The 56 percent figure is still a majority, but it contrasts poorly with the nearly eight in 10 who say they approve of Obama as a person," Holland added. "When it comes to personal characteristics, his strong suit is his ability to inspire confidence. That's not a bad thing for a president to have in tough economic times."

Half of those questioned said that the Democrats' control of Congress is good for the country. Forty-one percent believe it's a bad thing. The poll was conducted between June 26 and 28, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.



July 9, 2009 --
A crooked mortgage brokerage house conspired with real-estate lawyers, appraisers and bank employees to scam banks out of $102 million, prosecutors said yesterday.

The alleged swindle, carried out by AFG Financial Group, is the largest such case for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office -- and DA Robert Morgenthau said the amount stolen may wind up doubling.

"We had to move now," Morgenthau said, because "we just couldn't let an enterprise like this continue."

The company and 13 people were indicted on charges including enterprise corruption, conspiracy and grand larceny. Another 12 -- including one of the crooked lawyers -- took guilty pleas, and most of those will get jail time, Morgenthau said.

The DA said the office's 10-month investigation into the Garden City, LI, company turned up a fraud lasting almost five years. He said the company was set up to be a criminal enterprise, and if it did any legitimate work, "it was by accident."

Morgenthau said the company hired people to find distressed residential properties in the metropolitan area, and "then engaged in a fraudulent scheme to steal millions of dollars from lending banks and elsewhere using sham sales of those properties."

The company hired recruiters to track down unwitting straw buyers for the properties, who were told they could make money on their investments and help distressed property owners at the same time, Morgenthau said.

AFG, meanwhile, arranged for mortgages for the buyers by turning in phony loan applications to the banks, and setting up bogus closings where everyone involved -- with the exception of the buyer -- was in on the scam, including the lawyers for the sellers and the buyers.

"Everybody was in on it," said another prosecutor, Andrew Kaufmann.

AFG would allegedly pocket the mortgage money, while the buyers would have their credit ruined when the mortgages were foreclosed by the banks.

"The sellers got bupkus [zilch]," said prosecutor Gary Fishman. "The sellers were ruined."

Most of the properties were overvalued, including one instance where an appraiser signed off on a vacant Bronx lot as being a $500,000, two-family home, Morgenthau said.

He noted that many of those involved in the scam were supposed to be "gatekeepers," and said it shows the need for massive regulatory reform.

Those indicted yesterday were charged with scamming $12 million in 19 transactions, but records seized by investigators show the company raked in well over $100 million.

AFG founders Aaron Hand, Eugene Culbreath and Eric Shields were arraigned last night. An employee of Countrywide Home Loans named Jeffrey Phelan was also indicted. Patrick Kuhl, an employee of New Century Mortgage Corp. -- which lost an estimated $32 million in the scam -- pleaded guilty to falsifying business records.

Other banks hit hard in the scam were Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.