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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
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Alan Grayson:Rick Santorum is Wrong


Maybe I should leave it alone. Maybe I should just let Rick Santorum enjoy the 15 minutes of fame that comes with getting 30,000 Republicans to vote for you. (Less than one-hundredth of one percent of the U.S. population, by the way.)

But there is something that Rick Santorum said last month that really bothers me. And I’m going to tell you what it is.

On December 5, Santorum was talking to a group of about 100 students at Dordt College, a small Christian college in Iowa. A student referred to a 2009 Harvard study showing that 44,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health coverage. The student then asked Santorum what that meant for the Christian responsibility of caring for the poor. Specifically, the student questioned whether “God appreciates the fact” that all those Americans die each year for lack of healthcare.

Santorum’s response? Rick Santorum “rejects” the idea “that people die in America because of lack of health insurance.”

Wake up, Rick.

The student was referring to the same study that I publicized on the Floor of the House two weeks after it was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Here it is. It documents that 44,789 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance. In fact, if you take two Americans who are physically identical – same age, same gender, same race, same weight, same smoking history – and one of them has health insurance and one does not, then the one without health insurance is 40% more likely to die each year.

Here is a link to my speech on this, entitled “I Apologize to the Dead and Their Families.”

I remember the same response from right-wingers then as we hear from Santorum today – anyone can go to an emergency room. I ask them to show me an emergency room that will provide chemotherapy to a cancer victim. There isn’t one.

But to answer that challenge, I started a website called www.NamesOfTheDead.com. I invited surviving family and friends to tell me about people whom they had loved and lost, because they had no health coverage. And they did – thousands of them. I read some of their stories on the House Floor.

Then I gave a speech identifying how many people died each year for lack of health care in each district represented by a Republican healthcare opponent. The Republicans interrupted that speech for two hours, until the House Parliamentarian told them that they had to let me continue. A reporter who has covered Capitol Hill for more than 25 years told me that that kind of interruption had never happened before.

But Rick Santorum apparently never got the memo. He thinks that no one in America ever dies because he has no health care.

Why does Santorum think that? Because he has to. He has to engage in flat denial of the reality that 50 million Americans – one out of every six of us – face each day. Because to face that reality would mean that Santorum would have to face the brutality, the swinishness, the cruelty and the savagery of the policies that he so enthusiastically espouses.

For God’s sake – every single other industrialized country in the entire world has universal health care. Why can’t we? How many more people have to die? How many more sacrifices on the altar of Almighty Greed?

Any health care system that denies necessary care on the basis of wealth is evil. It doesn’t matter how you micromanage it, or tinker with it. It’s evil.

When Justice Harry Blackmun began voting against death in every death penalty case, he gave this simple and eloquent explanation: “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.”

We need to reach the same kind of realization in health care. Forget about the tinkering. This is America, not Myanmar. People who are sick need to be able to see a doctor. Because we are human beings, not cattle. End of story.

Are you listening, Rick Santorum?

Alan Grayson

P.S. To the tens of thousands of us who helped our campaign during 2011, thank you. From my heart, thank you.

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Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

Apparently the 70-foot octopus float carried by an estimated 5,000 Occupy L.A. protesters at the end of today's Rose Parade wasn't awesome enough for KTLA, the premiere local station covering the event.

Reporters gushed over marching bands, floral arrangements and even a police horse brigade led by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. But after float No. 43 had passed the finish line, the cameras shut off.

"Raw video" of the unofficial Occupy entry has been relegated to a corner of KTLA's website, because...

... the station is surely aware of the immense national (and international) interest in the parade-ending spectacle. It is, after all, Occupy's much-anticipated answer to carrying its last three months of momentum into the new year.

Occupying the Rose Parade's TV Audience With Anything but Occupy Wall Street Marchers

As Big Bank Stocks Plunge, CEOs Continue To Reap Huge Salaries


Wall Street Pit’s Ron Haruni points out that as the banking industry’s stocks plunged this year — with major megabanks like Bank of America facing uncertain fates — their executives have walked away with sky-high salaries.

Haruni cites the work of Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove and shows how banks have seen their value and stocks plunge by double-digits while executive compensation remains high:

According to data from Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove, the heads of major banking groups including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC) are out-earning their employees and shareholders even as shares of bank stocks as a group lost about 26% this year.

Bove found that while the 23 financial institutions he follows saw their stock prices and market cap drop by more than 30% and 11%, respectively, bank CEO compensation averaged $7.74 million. That means the banking heads brought in 50 to 100 times the average worker. Take BofA’s CEO Brian Moynihan who will earn $2.26 million this year while his bank’s market value dropped 60% – the worst in Rochdale’s study.

Election Day Registration, No Photo ID Requirement Will Help Boost Turnout In Tomorrow’s

Election Day Registration, No Photo ID Requirement Will Help Boost Turnout In Tomorrow’s Iowa Caucuses

Tomorrow, when Iowa Republicans gather across the state to vote on their party’s presidential nominee, one important tool will be available to boost turnout: election day voter registration.

Though Iowa, unlike most states, permits those who haven’t registered (or just need to update their file after a move, for instance) before election day to do so when they show up at their precinct during regular elections, the Huffington Post notes that the Iowa GOP is in charge of setting the rules for its own caucuses.

Despite nationwide efforts to make voting more difficult, the Republican Party of Iowa decided to buck the trend and allow for on-site registration. In doing so, however, they necessarily undercut the argument being made by GOPers in many other states that election day registration (EDR) invites fraud. (Of course, voters are 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than commit fraud at the polls, and EDR actually helps prevent already-miniscule levels of fraud.)

Republicans Require No Photo ID To Vote In Republican Iowa Caucus
Brad Friedman also points out that the Republican caucuses will not require voters to present a photo ID in order to cast their ballot, a requirement GOPers around the country pushed vigorously in 2011.

Democrats Descend on Iowa to Hit Romney


Mitt Romney is fighting to be the top choice of Republicans here in Iowa, but he’s already the top target for Democrats.

On Sunday night, just as polling showed Mr. Romney leading the GOP field along with Ron Paul, Democratic Party operatives descended on Iowa to set up an anti-Romney war room at a hotel in downtown Des Moines. There, they introduced a worker laid off in the early 1990s when his Indiana employer was bought by Mr. Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital.

Mr. Johnson suggested he would retell the story of his layoff across Iowa and anywhere else where Mr. Romney campaigned for president.

“I have asked the D.N.C. to help me figure out where to go,” he said.

Worker Laid Off Under Bain Capital: Romney ‘Didn’t Care About The Workers,’ Put ‘Profit

Worker Laid Off Under Bain Capital: Romney ‘Didn’t Care About The Workers,’ Put ‘Profit Over People’ |

Speaking to reporters tonight in Des Moines, Iowa, a worker laid off by a company owned by Bain Capital accused former Bain Capital CEO and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of being “out of touch” with the concerns of average Americans. Randy Johnson and more than 250 of his fellow workers at a Marion, Indiana American Pad and Paper (AMPAD) facility lost their jobs after Bain decided to close the plant amid a labor dispute. Johnson, who noted that he personally reached out to Romney during the labor dispute, said, “I really think didn’t care about the workers. It was all about profit over people.” In addition to the layoffs and eventual bankrupting of AMPAD, Bain Capital under Romney’s leadership drove several other firms into bankruptcy and caused thousands of layoffs.


‘Occupy The Caucus’ Activists Target Iowa Campaign Headquarters


99 Percenters allied to Occupy Wall Street have launched what they call “Occupy The Caucus” to protest against corporate influence in American politics by occupying the offices of various campaign headquarters in the state of Iowa.

Scores of protesters marched on the campaign headquarters of candidates including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich (the “lobbyist” of the one percent). Eighteen demonstrators were arrested on Saturday, as demonstrators called for kicking money out of politics. Watch protesters get arrested outside Bachmann’s office:

video at link

The arrests come after arrests occurred earlier in the week, with twelve people being arrested on Thursday, including a teenage girl. In the coming days leading up to the caucus, protests will continue to escalate.

DA asks Wis. Supreme Court to reopen union lawsuit, citing justice’s conflict of interest


A prosecutor asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday to reopen his lawsuit challenging Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious collective bargaining law, contending a justice who voted to dismiss the suit earlier this year got free legal help from the firm defending the law.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne argued in filings with the court that it should vacate its earlier decision, reconsider the case and disqualify Justice Michael Gableman from participating if he won’t recuse himself.

Wisconsin’s ethics code prohibits state officials from accepting free gifts, and the judicial ethics code bars judges from accepting gifts from anyone who is likely to appear before them.

“Reasonable, well-informed people would reasonably question Justice Gableman’s ability to be impartial under the facts presented here,” Ozanne wrote. “Respectfully, any litigant in any case deserves to have his case heard by a judge who has not secretly received a valuable gift from the other side’s lawyer.”

Citing Gableman legal work, DA asks justices to reopen bargaining case
Earlier this month, the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich disclosed for the first time that Gableman did not have to pay for two years of legal work the firm did when it represented Gableman in an ethics case. Eric McLeod, the Michael Best attorney who performed the work, also served as an attorney for Walker's administration in the collective bargaining case.

Michael Moore: 75 Years Ago Today, the First Occupy


On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them.

The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.

So on the day before New Year's Eve, emboldened by the recent re-election of Franklin Roosevelt, they sat down on the job and refused to leave.

They began their Occupation in the dead of winter. GM cut off the heat and water to the buildings. The police tried to raid the factories several times, to no avail. Even the National Guard was called in.

But the workers held their ground, and after 44 days, the corporation gave in and recognized the UAW as the representative of the workers. It was a monumental historical moment as no other major company had ever been brought to its knees by their employees. Workers were given a raise to a dollar an hour -- and successful strikes and occupations spread like wildfire across the country. Finally, the working class would be able to do things like own their own homes, send their children to college, have time off and see a doctor without having to worry about paying. In Flint, Michigan, on this day in 1936, the middle class was born.

more at link

Occupy's Rose Parade float: 70-foot octopus of corporate greed


Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags.

The octopus, said activist Mark Lipman of Los Angeles, represents Wall Street's stranglehold on political, cultural and social life, with tentacles "that reach into your pocket to get your money and a tentacle to get your house."

"This is the real Rose Parade, and the other is the Rose Charade," said Pete Thottam, 40, an Occupy activist.

During the rehearsal Thursday, activists were assigned roles, such as working with an Occupy peacekeeping team or carrying the plastic pipes that will support two large replicas of the preamble to the Constitution. Each replica — one with the words "We the People," one with "We the Corporations" — requires dozens of people to hold up. Maneuvering the octopus "human float" took some practice in coordination. Protesters spun in circles, moving it through the park. Each tentacle will have several protesters lifting it.

video at link
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