Friday, May 25, 2007

Another Blank Check for Bush

Blank Check © Emily Duffy 2007 (Click on image for larger view)
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Iraq supplemental funding bill. They voted to give Bush another $100 BILLION with no timelines, deadlines, oversight or any other reporting requirements. This is another blank check in a series of billion-dollar giveaways that Congress has showerd upon Bush for his illegal, immoral, treasury-busting war against the people of Iraq.
In all, 140 of the 232 House Democrats voted against the bill, while 194 of the 201 Republicans voted for it. All 13 Bay Area Democrats voted against the war money, including Rep. Ellen Tauscher of Walnut Creek, who on Wednesday said she would vote for the bill. Source
Commentary on yesterday's Congressional "activity" by Keith Olbermann (Click on image to play video):

* The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president—if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history—who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats “give the troops their money”;
* The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;
* The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.
* The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq. - More From Olbermann Today.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

ACTION ALERT: Call Your House Representative IMMEDIATELY!!!

Crosses in Lafayette, CA

The House of Representatives is voting TODAY on a terrible version of the Iraq Supplemental bill. This bill includes NO timelines for withdrawl of our troops from Iraq and gives Bush yet another BLANK CHECK to fund his occupation of that hapless country.

Call your Congress person right now and tell them to represent you with a NO vote on this awful bill. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

About the "I" Word.

Impeach the Beast © 2007 Art Hazelwood color screenprint, printed on Stonehenge paper, 24" x 18" image size, 30" x 22" paper size, edition of 25. $150 each will offset the cost of printing and shipping the black & white edition. Help Art spread the word far and wide. Click HERE to order this small-edition, remarkable artist's print.

Printmaker Art Hazelwood has been a political artist for decades. How he keeps his resolve, in the face of so much political corruption, is a mystery I wish I knew the answer to. It's tough to do this kind of work. The subject matter, while always relevant, powerful, and honest, isn't always desired by the art-buying public. It takes a brave human to make truthful art, and another brave human to be willing to look upon it fully, fearlessly, and support it. Artists who feel compelled to make work about the times they live in are often doing what they believe is their civic and cultural duty.
Over the last several years I’ve talked to lots of people about political art and there has been a gradual shift. Before the Iraq war there seemed to be an attitude that political art was out of date or people had a general hostility towards it. But recently I’ve noticed a shift in people’s attitudes. People I have talked to are changing their minds. There are still the purists who believe that any concession will debase the temple of art, but their voice, once supreme in the art world is now growing weaker. And it is obvious why. Political art might always have a place but in a time of war, and in a time of a rising police state political art becomes a necessity.
- Art Hazelwood

Whatever a person's talents, there comes a time when they feel they must DO something to change the world, to make it better, happier, and safer. It's an extra challenge to do that if art is your talent, because in America art is generally misunderstood, viewed with suspicion and sometimes even feared. None of us choose our gifts, whether they're accidents of DNA or the hand of some unseen "god" it's an insult to those who don't have it, not to use our gift.

I’ve been enraged by the Bush Administration and its policies, specifically the Iraq War, but in general the ideology of the Bush doctrine of “good and evil”, “us and them”, “with us or against us.” But how do you oppose this simplistic idea of good and evil without falling into the same mental trap. The world is more complicated. Life is more complicated, and art is more complicated.

You can’t oppose that smug, ironic, detached and disconnected worldview that is the Bush administration with a smug, ironic, detached and disconnected cultural movement. What is needed is an engaged culture. An engaged populous. Not engaged through fear, but engaged through passion. - Art Hazelwood

If your talent utilizes creative tools, if you're an artist, singer, poet, actor, think if there's a way you too can use your gift to make the world better. The world needs us, fellow transmuters of truth. For without facing the truth of where our democracy, our country, our community is right now, we won't be able to change it. From truth comes hope, and that is indeed a precious resource.

The Who/How/When of Impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

If you cannot afford to buy one of Art's color prints, he's offering a black and white version for free, (do offer to pay the shipping at least):

Impeach the Beast © 2007 Art Hazelwood black and white screeprint, 24" x 18" image size, edition size is unlimited. paper varies, size approximately 25" x 19"

And/or you can even download a high resolution (1.4 mb) version of his print and plaster it everywhere you go. Spread the message in the clearest terms, VISUALLY!

UPDATE: I just got the following message from Art:
The SF Chronicle has a little interview, review on May 24 page G-20… It gets most of it right except the part about printing for thousands of years..
You can see some of Art Hazelwood's terrific prints in the San Francisco Bay Area May 17-Jun 21, 2007. Art will be giving a talk on Thursday June 21st, the closing day of the exhibit. More info: Galeria Zapatista at Mission Grafica.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Separation of Donkey and Spine

Separation of Donkey and Spine (Back View) © 2007 Emily Duffy Photo by Sibila Savage

I've been hoping, since the November 2006 election, not to ever have to use my most recent political sculpture, "Separation of Donkey and Spine."

Unfortunately, this afternoon, the Democratic leadership in Congress caved in to George Bush's radical, war-mongering agenda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer just announced the "concessions" described in this New York Times article. And here is how the Senate Dems voted last week on the Feingold-Reid Bill. A sickening NINETEEN Democrats voted against this bill which would have started troop withdrawls.

Apparently, the Democrats are more afraid of Bush than they are of us, the American people. Somehow the powerful and connected in Washington DC have forced their hand. Does that mean we should throw up our hands in frustration and give up?


Separation of Donkey and Spine (Front View) © 2007 Emily Duffy Photo by Sibila Savage

Separation of Donkey and Spine (Detail of Donkey) © 2007 Emily Duffy Photo by Sibila Savage

This sculpture consists of two small wood coffins. The larger of the two carries a Donkey stuffed animal which has $100 bills coming out of every orifice. It wears a choke collar emblazoned with GOP logos and gold spikes. The Donkey's coffin has the U.S. Constitution inside the lid. The document, an oversized parchment replica, has been burned, torn, bled on, and trampled. The outside of this coffin is collaged with news clippings documenting the long trail of weakness by Democrats in the face of ever-mounting outrages by the Bush Administration. The outside of the lid is covered with a real American flag, just like the full-sized coffins, returning from Iraq, that Bush won't let us see. This coffin is the resting place for all Democrats too weak, or afraid, to uphold their oath and defend our Constitution. Both coffins are lined with blood-red velvet.

Separation of Donkey and Spine (Detail of spine) © 2007 Emily Duffy Photo by Sibila Savage

The smaller coffin holds what's left of the Democrats' spine. There have been a few heroic, patriotic, members of Congress all along. In November 2006 we elected a few more of these brave souls to represent us in the halls of government. Unfortunately we still need more of them to replace the kowtowing wimps cluttering up the aisles. Americans overwhelmingly want an end to the war in Iraq. The outside of this tiny coffin is covered with quotes by a few of these people. They listen what we are saying, then they act upon it. They're holding hearings, digging through vast piles of evidence, seeking the truth of Bush Administration illegal activity. They deserve our deepest thanks and our continued support, and they need to hear from us.

Get on the phone/fax right now and call your two senators and your one representative and politely let them know you DEMAND an end to this war! You'll find all the numbers HERE. Don't let up folks, call them every week at the very least...every day if you're willing, don't worry about being a pest...remember they work for us! We must make them more afraid of hearing NO from us than from Bush and his thugs.

Separation of Donkey and Spine (Detail spine text) © 2007 Emily Duffy Photo by Sibila Savage

Here is one of the quotes collaged on the side of this part of the sculpture:

Senator Russ Feingold March 13, 2006
The President authorized an illegal program to spy on American citizens on American soil, and then misled Congress and the public about the existence and legality of that program. It is up to this body to reaffirm the rule of law by condemning the President’s actions.

All of us in this body took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true allegiance to the same. Fulfilling that oath requires us to speak clearly and forcefully when the President violates the law. This resolution allows us to send a clear message that the President’s conduct was wrong. Source.
Dear readers: We should never, NEVER give up this fight to save our country. No matter the era, the location, or the people involved, fascism is always the same cruel, evil, poison that must be stamped out. It is our collective power, as a still-free people, that can restore this democracy. Let's win our country back. Please CALL! no matter what time it is, or how busy you are. Thanks so much. - Emily

Kicking Donkey Democratic Party Logo

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Action Item: Help Push Domino #1- Alberto Gonzales

(Click arrow to start video)

From Filmmaker Robert Greenwald and Democracy for America (DFA):
President Bush won't fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales... but YOU can!

First, Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove worked together to fire at least seven U.S. Attorneys because they weren't "loyal Bushies" and pushed several others to resign in an unethical crusade to make the U.S. Justice Department a partisan arm of the Bush administration.

Then they worked together to cover it up.

Gonzales went so far as to testify to Congress that he "was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions going on." When White House e-mails exposed his involvement, Gonzales changed his tune in an interview with 60 Minutes then changed his tune again by hiding behind, "I don't recall" more then 60 times in his second Congressional testimony. Time's up for Alberto Gonzales!
We, The Undersigned, urge the House Judiciary Committee to begin the process of impeachment of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in accordance with Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides for removal of the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States. We believe the process will prove that Atty. General Gonzales has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, including the abuse of power and violation of the public trust, both impeachable offenses.

Go here to sign the petition that will start the Dominos falling,

Impeach Alberto Gonzalas!

Learn about impeachment . There is precedent for impeaching cabinet members and the Judiciary.
Members of the President's Cabinet can be impeached. Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides for removal of the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States.
Both U.S. Presidents to be impeached were acquitted, (Bill Clinton and Andrew Jackson).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Poet Nightprowlkitty

A Lady Writing Johannes Vermeer c. 1665-1666

There are so many talented and creative progressive activists in the blogsphere. The Internet is our most democratic communication tool and its use by empowered citizens may well save our democracy.

The following poem was written by a woman I have met on DailyKos (one of the world's largest and most interesting political blogs). She's often recommended my posts on DailyKos and for that I'm very grateful. Her own blog is filled with delicious poetry and her DailyKos diary has many insightful entries.

Here is her recent entry and poem (I've added the images and links):
Been reading too much about the corporations who have profited from the War in Iraq. Been reading too much about the corporations who have profited from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Been reading too much about the corporations who have profited from mis-educating our children, from providing our health care, from building our roads, from helping the poor.

Corporate Logo Flag by Reclaim Democracy
And the "faith-based" organizations who have reaped billions of dollars in profits from our government in order to promote abstinence, as their leaders wallow in their own immoral pleasures.

Disgraced Fundamentalist Preacher, Ted Haggard (still image from the film "Jesus Camp".)

Just too much. This misAdministration has enabled the worst of our society to gain power and profit from human suffering.

These folks must be impeached, convicted and sent to prison. The only way to stop the thousands and thousands of parasites who have been given license to exploit the suffering of human beings is to show them this will not be tolerated and that those responsible will be punished in a way that strikes enough terror in their hearts to make them slink back to the underside of the rocks that is their natural home.

Four© 2007 Maarja Vigorito
Here's a poem I wrote about them -- I say it's about those who profit from war, but I mean so much more than merely the "military industrial complex."


Through what dread lense
of obscene inhumanity do they
see their hoarded treasures,
those who profit from war?

Through what diminished beat
of human heart do they
feel love only for gold,
those who profit from war?

Do you think you will
be saved from justice
if your walls are high enough?

Do you think you will
be saved from truth
if your bank account is fat enough?

Through what foul darkness
of soul do they
deny their own humanity,
those who profit from war?

Through what twisted trap
of deceived mind are they
blinded to human suffering,
those who profit from war?

For each particle of profit
they reap from their cynical
greeds and vanities and lusts,
their ugliness increases

I do not envy them their treasure
nor power nor their mindless pleasure.
The very rotted and deformed
senses they must employ for
their foul deceptions
are theirs to keep,
those who profit from war.


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Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Nixonian Anniversary

I Am Not A Crook © 1997 Robbie Conal

"When The President Does It, That Means That It Is Not Illegal"

Thirty years ago today:
Q: So what in a sense you’re saying is that there are certain situations…where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

Q: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly, exactly.

(Click on arrow to play video)

The echoes of President Nixon’s radical interpretation of American democracy are still heard frequently today, most notoriously in relation to President Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program.

In Dec. 2005, it was revealed that Bush had “signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying.”

A few months later, on Feb. 6, 2006, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came before Congress and was asked to explain why President Bush didn’t simply work with Congress to develop a system that was legal:

KENNEDY: Now, we were facing the issue of electronic surveillance at another time, in 1976, when we had the attorney general, Ed Levi, and President Ford. And they followed a much different course than you have followed. Ed Levi came and consulted with us. … [T]hey dealt with the Congress, and they got FISA. … And the question that I have for you is, why didn’t you follow that kind of pathway, which was so successful at a different time? … Why didn’t you follow that pattern?

GONZALES: Sir, the short answer is is that we didn’t think we needed to, quite frankly. - Source

Then And Now © 2007 Tom Tomorrow (Click on image for larger view.)

United States v. Nixon (1974)

Nixon's Views on Presidential Power:
Excerpts from an Interview with David Frost

The following is an excerpt from an interview with former President Nixon conducted by David Frost. It aired on television on May 19, 1977.
FROST: The wave of dissent, occasionally violent, which followed in the wake of the Cambodian incursion, prompted President Nixon to demand better intelligence about the people who were opposing him. To this end, the Deputy White House Counsel, Tom Huston, arranged a series of meetings with representatives of the CIA, the FBI, and other police and intelligence agencies.

These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president's approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.

FROST: So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

FROST: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.

Bush And Nixon © 2007 Mr. Hooper

FROST: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there's no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don't know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president's judgment?

NIXON: Yes, and the dividing line and, just so that one does not get the impression, that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA's covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI's covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don't know whether it can be done today or not.

FROST: Pulling some of our discussions together, as it were; speaking of the Presidency and in an interrogatory filed with the Church Committee, you stated, quote, "It's quite obvious that there are certain inherently government activities, which, if undertaken by the sovereign in protection of the interests of the nation's security are lawful, but which if undertaken by private persons, are not." What, at root, did you have in mind there?

NIXON: Well, what I, at root I had in mind I think was perhaps much better stated by Lincoln during the War between the States. Lincoln said, and I think I can remember the quote almost exactly, he said, "Actions which otherwise would be unconstitutional, could become lawful if undertaken for the purpose of preserving the Constitution and the Nation."

Now that's the kind of action I'm referring to. Of course in Lincoln's case it was the survival of the Union in wartime, it's the defense of the nation and, who knows, perhaps the survival of the nation.

Richard Nixon as the Sun King © Walter Iler

FROST: But there was no comparison was there, between the situation you faced and the situation Lincoln faced, for instance?

NIXON: This nation was torn apart in an ideological way by the war in Vietnam, as much as the Civil War tore apart the nation when Lincoln was president. Now it's true that we didn't have the North and the South—

FROST: But when you said, as you said when we were talking about the Huston Plan, you know, "If the president orders it, that makes it legal", as it were: Is the president in that sense—is there anything in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that suggests the president is that far of a sovereign, that far above the law?

NIXON: No, there isn't. There's nothing specific that the Constitution contemplates in that respect. I haven't read every word, every jot and every title, but I do know this: That it has been, however, argued that as far as a president is concerned, that in war time, a president does have certain extraordinary powers which would make acts that would otherwise be unlawful, lawful if undertaken for the purpose of preserving the nation and the Constitution, which is essential for the rights we're all talking about.

© 1977 by The New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission.

From the third Nixon-Frost interview, The New York Times, May 20, 1977, p. A16. - Source

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Daring Filmmaker Needs Your Help

Films by Robert Greenwald

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald has made some incredible, crucial films about the Iraq war, how radical right-wing policies are destroying our democracy, and exposing fraud, criminal behavior, and ethical breaches by political and business leaders. He needs our help to continue making films that expose the truth about what is happening in America right now.

I've just pledged to send Brave New Films a monthly donation of $10 until November 2008, so that Greenwald and his group can keep doing his crucial job. I hope you'll join me in donating to this worthy, political art cause. Thanks - Emily

The latest from Robert Greenwald:
A big hearty cheer to all of you who made war profiteering a potent and important issue on the national stage. As a result, I was called to testify (along with Jeremy Scahill, author of the brilliant BLACKWATER book) to the House Appropriations Committee and explain the breadth and extent of the profiteering. And they listened, they asked questions, and they discussed how to fix this national tragedy. Imagine, the film all of you helped make and you distributed, was now the subject of serious legislative focus on how to fix the problem at hand.

However, despite the hundreds of thousands who have seen the film around the country, despite the letters, phone calls and pleas from Americans and soldiers of every political persuasion, somehow despite all this, Rep. Kingston was asleep at the wheel. And so he unleashed an old-fashioned, inept, partisan attack.

His intended knock out blow? That the film was an exercise in profiteering!! Ha. He was literally speechless when I explained that 3,000 of you contributed your hard-earned dollars to make the film. That 3,000 of you were figuratively with me in testifying. That 3,000 of you were the true patriots.

But we won't be silenced. Not for a minute.

We at Brave New Films want to continue to make short films, like FOX ATTACKS like Real McCain, like our drive to impeach a certain attorney general (which we will announce next week). And we need your help. We need you to become a subscriber and pledge $10/month until November 2008 so together we can keep telling the truth, spreading the word, and hitting hard.

Iraq for Sale proved that with a relatively small amount of money, we could bring a critical issue to the forefront of national attention. Now imagine the new videos and campaigns we could do. You have told us the issues you care about, and we want to hit hard, using short, timely campaigns to force these issues out. In a few short months the Brave New Films/Foundation short films have been seen 2 million times. Imagine how many more we can reach.

Subscribers will get special access to early cuts of the videos and behind the scenes information (sort of like DVD extras, but updated frequently).

Become a subscriber!

We are reaching new audiences, we are organizing activists, and we are doing it with campaigns built around these easily accessible short films. Let's work together to keep making them, distributing them, and spreading them around. Help us continue to do this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Health of American Healthcare

Photo Source

Last Friday I had the most unpleasant experience of having to go to a hospital emergency room. I'm sure many of you have spent long hours in these Twilight-Zone places for one reason or another. We were supposed to go camping for the weekend. I'd had a nagging backache for several weeks and called my doctor's office to set up an appointment for the following week, but my doctor wanted me to come in the next day.

So, at 4pm on a Friday my doctor says I have two things going on, a back spasm and something internal on the right side, and that I really need an ultrasound to make sure nothing is about to um, burst??!!?? She didn't want me to go camping and told me to go immediately to the ER, which I did.

After FOUR HOURS of waiting I finally saw a doctor who agreed to order an ultrasound and a morphine shot for the back pain.

Photo Source

Another HOUR LATER, I had had enough. I still had been given no pain meds, had no exam, and was freezing on a too-short exam table in one of those pathetic thin gowns. I hadn't eaten in six hours. I told my husband I wanted to go home. I finished dressing just as an orderly showed up to take me for my ultrasound. And suddenly the doctor was there too, telling me not to leave. So I undressed again and went for my test.

Yet ANOTHER HOUR LATER, back in the exam room, I waited for the test results and the actual exam. Finally, at 11pm (6.5 HOURS AFTER ARRIVING) the doctor came in, and told me I had cysts on both ovaries, but I could go home. Another 30 minutes, and we finally got out of there.

SEVEN HOURS!!!! Anyway, my point in telling you this icky story is that I am one of the LUCKY ones who have good insurance. And I still got lousy care. Many of the people in the waiting room were there because they had NO insurance, meaning no one else will treat them.

I have the greatest respect for the people that do this work, they work under terrible conditions, with so much pressure, people screaming and oozing at them, yet they stay professional and do this tough job.

I also agree with Dr. Susanne King that health care will be a major issue in the upcoming election. Please read on:

Photo Source

Awaiting Health Care Proposals
By Susanne L. King

Thursday, May 10, 2007

HEALTH CARE reform is one of the hot topics for the 2008 presidential campaign. Forty seven million people are uninsured, and many millions more underinsured, in the United States. Health care costs consume 16 percent of the national gross domestic product, $1.9 trillion annually, and are projected to climb to $4 trillion by 2015. So where do the presidential candidates stand on this very important issue, at this time?

Only two candidates have made specific proposals, and they are Democrats. Sen. John Edwards has presented a plan which would require everyone to have coverage, and would give people the choice of either enrolling in a government plan, or opting for private insurance. The problem with his plan is that the insurance companies would still play an important role in our health care financing system.

Chart Source

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, along with 68 other representatives, is co-sponsoring health care reform legislation (HR 676), calling for a national health plan which would be administered by the government. Private insurance companies would be eliminated as administrators of health care. Everyone would have insurance. As Kucinich has stated, "We have public education in America, we have a Social Security program, there are already millions of Americans who are participating in Medicare. Government builds highways and roads and water systems and sewer systems and airports."

The remainder of the presidential candidates have only offered political rhetoric. Sen. Hillary Clinton has been down the health care reform road before, in 1994. She says we need to control and decrease costs, and improve quality within the existing system, but that we shouldn't have to put any new money into a system that doesn't work.

Sen. Barack Obama says we should provide subsidies for those who can't afford group rates, we should control costs, and we should provide catastrophic insurance to help families avoid bankruptcies (50 percent of bankruptcies are a result of medical bills).

Source Unknown

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain thinks we have to reform America's entitlement programs, including Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Mitt Romney is not speaking much these days about the plan he helped initiate in Massachusetts to try to provide universal coverage, as he talks with conservative Republicans. However, he believes in market reforms, not government programs.

Rudy Guiliani also believes in privatizing health care insurance, saying, "...if the government keeps supporting the health care industry, it would just crush us."

Sen. Edward Kennedy is not a presidential candidate, but he and Rep. John Dingell recently introduced legislation to extend Medicare to all Americans, from birth to the end of life. This would be voluntary, and would allow people to remain in their employer-sponsored plans or other private insurance, if they so chose.

Source Unknown

The Kennedy-Dingell bill, as well as Edward's proposal, would allow the private insurance companies to continue to play a significant role in health care administration. And that is the problem with our health care system in the United States today. When private insurance companies are the administrators of health care financing, they insure healthy workers and leave the chronically ill and elderly under the care of government programs. Their goals are profit-focused, not patient-focused. Administrative costs consume 31 percent of U.S. health spending, most of it unnecessary, since much of it goes toward CEO salaries, shareholder profits, and marketing. As long as insurance companies are in charge, health care costs will continue to spiral out of control.

The majority of Americans say that the federal government should guarantee health insurance to every American. It is time to begin the health care debate for the upcoming presidential election. It is time for that debate to focus on the facts — that our health care system costs more and delivers less, to fewer of its people, than any other industrialized country in the world. (All of these other countries have national health plans).

Photo Source

It is time for Americans to insist that health care is right, not a privilege, and to vote for a presidential candidate in the next election who will support the national health care program that the people want.

Susanne L. King, M.D., is a Lenox practitioner.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sign the Petition - 90,000 and Counting!

UPDATE 5/9/07: John Edwards released the following statement today following the White House's announcement that the president would veto the new Congressional proposal on funding of the war in Iraq. The proposal would give President Bush half of the funds he requested for the war in Iraq and require a vote in July to determine whether to give the president the rest of the funds.
Earlier today I said the compromise under discussion is a concession, and now the president is already saying he'll veto it. The president has just demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cannot be negotiated with, he cannot be compromised with.

He is dead set on pursuing his discredited strategy in Iraq without regard to the cost in lives, the evidence of its failure, or the clear will of the American people.

There is only one way to stop him - Congress must cut off funds to prolong the war. That's the only real power they have to end this war. They passed a plan to support our troops and bring them home, and they should do it again.

Nothing else will work. And if the president vetoes it - if he vetoes any bill that supports our troops but sets conditions - then it is his willful behavior alone that is standing in the way of what our troops need.

I don't usually sign online petitions but this one already has a huge number of people listed. I went ahead and gave my name, zip code and email. It's a minimal intrusion into my privacy and it may help keep the pressure on Congress and the Petulent in Chief! Please join me: Sign the Petition! Join your voice to the 90,000 other Americans already on this list.

I always like to let the candidates speak in their own words. Afterall you're not going to vote for someone because of how I (or some overpaid TV pundit) interpretates their words. You want to know who this person is and what they're going to do if they become our next President. There'll be a lot to clean up and make right after Bush's eight-year-long "Reign of Error" is over.

Here's Democratic Candidate John Edwards talking about the Iraq war last week in Oregon:

Read John Edwards' plan for getting us out of Iraq.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Topsy-Turvy Bus - Political Art in Action

Topsy-Turvy Bus Designed by Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Cohen
Photo © Harrod Blank 2007

America's budget priorities are upside down! We spend billions on weapons and military actions (invasions, occupations, wars, etc.) and have under-funded education ever since Reaganomics started bleeding our government dry.
Our nation's spending priorities allow crumbling schools, millions of children with no health coverage, dependence on Middle East oil and deficits as far as you can see. - Ben Cohen (speaking as president of the Priorities Campaign)

ArtCar Artist (Topsy-Turvy's lead builder) Tom Kennedy
Photo © Ken Duffy 2007

My friend and fellow ArtCar artist, Tom Kennedy (as well as many other amazing ArtCar and Burning Man artists here in the SF Bay Area), just finished building a fabulous rolling sculpture for Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and True Majority.

Topsy-Turvy Bus
Photo © Ken Duffy 2007

The Topsy-Turvy Bus is currently criss-crossing the nation. Tom and his partner Haideen Anderson will bring this important political message to the streets of America.
Kennedy is driving Topsy from California on a national tour to reach New Hampshire where Topsy will spend two months before rounding out the year in Iowa, all to flush out the spending priorities of presidential candidates. "Our military arsenal is big enough to blow up every major city 10 times," said Kennedy, citing numbers compiled by Cohen. "What we're saying with the bus is that if we just cut back to blowing up every city four times, we could save 40 billion a year for things like schools." - Artist Tom Kennedy Tour Info

My husband Ken and I were invited to the send-off party for this amazing vehicle. The VainVan along with several other local ArtCars escorted "Topsy" across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. We drove this kooky caravan over to the Ben & Jerry's on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. You can view some terrific photos my husband, artist Ken Duffy, took that night over on his Flickr page.

Check out Ken's full set of ArtCar photos Here! He's been documenting this unusual art form for years now and is in the process of creating his own ArtCar as well.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Emergency Veto Rallies - TOMORROW

Sign from MoveOn

It's crucial that we let Congress know that we will NOT accept them backing down from Bush's veto. Join an Emergency Veto Rally in your area, or set up one of your own Immediately

Time is of the essence. The more live bodies we can bring out in the streets of America tomorrow, the fewer dead bodies will fall in Iraq. Do your part and SHOW UP!