Monday, November 26, 2012

Eternal Vigilance

Here in Michigan there is a lame duck legislative session during which Republicans will try to push their Tea Party-style agenda while the five incumbents defeated by Democrats are still around.

Despite clear messages to the contrary from the majority of Michigan voters, the Republicans will go ahead with plans for legislation:

  • Undermining workers' rights
  • Instituting voucher-style "reform" of public schools
  • Cutting taxes even further for corporate special interests
I guess they're hoping we're all busy preparing for the holidays and won't notice what they're up to.  But, being an Involved Voter means being committed to eternal vigilance.  So, let your State Representative and Senator know you're watching and will remember what they do when the next election comes around.

Republicans at the national level haven't gotten the messages of the November 6 election yet either.  They're still resisting tax rate increases on the wealthy - protecting them at the expense of everyone else and claiming they are all "job creators."  A recent opinion piece by self-made billionaire, Warren Buffett, pokes holes in their arguments and makes the case for a fairer tax structure.  See the article here: and then tell your Representative what you want him or her to do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Campaigning for a Balanced Solution to the "Fiscal Cliff" Problem Begins Now

OK Involved Voters, we've had our day of rest.  Time to lobby the House of Representatives with its Republican majority for a balanced solution to the "fiscal cliff" problem.

Here's what I sent to my Michigan 7th District Representative via his web site:
Dear Representative Walberg:  I am hopeful that the message you are taking away from the results of Tuesday's election is that the majority of Americans want Congress to work with the President to avoid the "fiscal cliff".  So, please, tear up your Grover Norquist "no taxes ever" pledge and see that the richest among us are finally asked to pay their fair share of taxes.  Favoring millionaires at the expense of education, R&D, rebuilding infrastructure, and public safety makes NO sense.  Please read and believe the report of the Congressional Research Service which shows that continuing tax breaks for the rich is NOT a path to creating jobs in the US.
Please add your voice to the call for fact-based compromise.  Call, email or write - today - before spin takes it toll and delusion sets in again in the Republican House.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Voting IS The Best Revenge...

...revenge for having to endure the flood of lies and misinformation from Republican slime-machines like Crossroads GPS.  According to the Sunlight Foundation, 81% of the "dark money" polluting the 2012 election, is being used by groups supporting Republicans.

So, get your revenge for those TV and radio ads, robo-calls and mailers by voting!  Michigan voters can check their registration status, find their polling places and see a sample ballot at the Michigan Secretary of State's web site.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"No" to Romney on Military Spending

Why I say "no" to Romney's plan to spend an additional $2 trillion on the military in the next decade:

I'll let this quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army General and President of the United States from January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961 state the case. (Some of us are old enough to remember Ike.)

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

-  From DDE's Address "The Chance for Peace" Delivered Before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 4/16/53

To many Involved Voters this "ancient wisdom" provides yet another reason to re-elect President Obama and VP Biden.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

52nd Michigan House Seat - Driskell vs. Ouimet - Analysis

This Involved Voter is tired of the claims made in robo-calls and on mailers with unflattering photos.  So, I'm sharing some analysis I recently found via the e-newsletter Bridge: News & Analysis from The Center for Michigan.  (Exact quotes are shown indented; emphasis added.)

In my opinion, the Republican Party is trying to distract us from Mark Ouimet's voting record with these robo-calls and mailers.  And with good reason - his record is out of sync with the wishes of his constituents and right in line with those in control in Lansing.

Republican freshman Rep. Mark Ouimet of Scio Township in Washtenaw County is seeking re-election in the 52nd House District, where he is opposed by Democrat Gretchen Driskell, who is mayor of the city of Saline (and has been for 14 years).
From Republican Party mailers (and robo-calls of unknown origin):

Questionable statement: “While serving as mayor of Saline, Gretchen Driskell voted to increase her salary eight times.” 
According to City Clerk Dianne Hill, the mayor’s salary has increased five times since Driskell took office in 1999. Driskell said the votes were always unanimous and that she also voted against raises several times. The pay rates are set by a local officers compensation commission, and the council, including the mayor, can either accept it or reject it. Three of the five raises were $100. Driskell’s salary as mayor grew from $3,200 in 1998 to $4,000 in 2009, and she hasn’t had a raise since.
Questionable statement: “She received over $35,000 in taxpayer-funded travel reimbursements for her junkets across America.”
The mailer cites “City of Saline Expense Vouchers and Credit Card statements.”
The Driskell campaign did not dispute the figure when contacted by Truth Squad.
Driskell acknowledges traveling to conferences of the Michigan Municipal League and the National League of Cities, where she has had leadership roles. She is a former vice president and board member of the MML and is vice chair of the Advisory Council for the League of Cities. Last year, the City Council approved her trip to Phoenix for a League of Cities conference, despite objections raised by a city resident. Driskell said that she paid her own expenses in travels to Germany and Wales to establish sister cities with Saline.
Questionable statement: “According to a Saline City Council member, Gretchen took questionable votes related to her employer, including permit fee waivers.”
While serving as mayor in the early 2000s, Driskell also worked part-time as a leasing coordinator for the Phoenix Corp., which owns business rental property in Saline and does other business with the city. According to the Ann Arbor News, she abstained on several votes involving Phoenix, but she did vote for a building permit fee waiver. Councilwoman Mary Hess raised questions about whether it was a conflict of interest.
A city attorney’s report found that Driskell had not taken inappropriate action. “I have been unable to find any Council action on any matter which might be directly, or even indirectly, related to your employment relationship with Phoenix where you failed to abstain from voting,” the attorney’s memo reportedly said. Hess was unsatisfied with the report, saying it lacked objectivity,” according to the newspaper.

From Michigan Democratic Party mailers:
Questionable statement: “An independent audit showed Ouimet took nearly $15,000 in reimbursements he wasn’t eligible for as county commissioner, and as state representative, he’s billed taxpayers more than $17,000 in expenses.”
Ouimet served as a Washtenaw County commissioner before he was elected to the state House in 2010. During his campaign, Democrats accused him of bilking the public by inappropriately claiming reimbursement for a variety of activities.
Under county rules, commissioners were eligible for $25 per diems for attending meetings of the Board of Commissioners and its committees, as well as other authorized county-related and where boards and committees on which commissioners serve. After the allegations were made, the Ann Arbor News review(ed) the records and found that Ouimet had claimed reimbursements of a wide range of other meetings and events, including an interview with the Ann Arbor News editorial board, meetings with the County administrator, and attendance at an annual memorial service for fallen police officers.
An audit followed and found that Ouimet had received inappropriate reimbursements totaling $14,386. Nine other commissioners were found to have received inappropriate reimbursements of much smaller amounts. He then paid the money back to the county.
It is true that Ouimet has received more than $17,000 for expenses since becoming a state representative in 2011. Legislators receive a $71,685 salary and $10,800 for expenses — those are set by the State Officers Compensation Commission. All legislators receive the payment for expenses as part of their compensation package. The “more than $17,000″ is the total of all of 2011 and part of 2012. They are also entitled to mileage for a round trip to the Capitol each week and mileage for legislative-related travel in the district. 
I'll leave it to you to decide which are the more blatant distortions of the candidates' records when it comes to how taxpayers' money was spent.

I'm convinced that Gretchen Driskell is the candidate who will best serve our interests as 52nd District Representative.  She has my vote.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Romney & Ryan: A Former Republican's Perspective

I received the following today in an email from a friend.  It was written by a mutual acquaintance who lays out in detail why he believes the Romney/Ryan ticket is a bad choice.  The case he puts forth is well-reasoned and heart-felt.

My views on the vote this November:
Since nearly every other phone call these days involves an organization wanting to know how I am going to vote this fall, I decided to put the rationale for my answers in writing and, even though you didn’t ask for it, share it with you to encourage you to develop your personal rationale for however you plan to vote.  As most of you know, I once considered myself a Republican. I was even officially registered as a Republican as recently as 2000, although I increasingly voted for non-Republicans. But I have not found a Republican at any level that I could support since George W. Bush and Carl Rove sabotaged John McCain in the 2000 primary. I’ve concluded that the “new” Republican Party has totally departed from its Lincoln/Eisenhower roots, and I’m not going to follow. Although President Obama is not a perfect leader, he far surpasses his present opponent. In fact, I fear for our country if Romney and Ryan (the 2Rs) should win this election. I have the same view of current Republican senate and congressional candidates. So the reasons why I will vote for Obama and the Democratic slate – and why I will probably not return to the Republican Party as long as I live – follow below:

International relations: The 2 Rs have absolutely no experience in dealing with foreign governments. Romney demonstrated his diplomatic ineptitude in spades during his overseas trip this summer. Romney was in London four days before we arrived there this July. Every British newspaper except one voiced their view that it was incredulous that Romney had been selected as a presidential nominee. Even more important in my opinion is that Romney is of the persuasion that military might is the solution to many of the world’s problems – although he has vacillated on specifics with astonishing frequency. As one who spent two long years in Vietnam and has studied the wars of the past, my view is that all of the wars in which we participated since the Korean conflict could have been avoided if those in our administration had spent the time and effort up front to understand the culture of the countries we eventually decided to fight in, and had acted appropriately on that knowledge. Apparently Romney would skip that step.

Debt: Obama is currently being blamed for increasing the national debt. In fact, Republican administrations have a much worse record at piling up debt – and, in their case, totally without reason. In Obama’s case, at least, there were reasons. The vast majority of economists agree that his $840 billion stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) saved 2.5 million jobs, boosted the economy by 3.8%, protected the most vulnerable, kept one million in their homes, and kept seven million from falling below the poverty line. Reagan decided to cut taxes to grow the economy – sounds familiar doesn’t it? The national debt tripled under Reagan. George Bush senior added another third to the debt. His son, George W. Bush didn’t learn from their experience; he cut taxes again, passed Medicare Part D, and fought two wars, both poorly conceived, and both very costly in lives and treasure. He took these three actions with no attempt to cover the costs. The debt redoubled due to G. W. Bush’s misguided actions. And, because of his failure to pay attention to the factors that were destroying our economy during his watch, he caused the extremely severe recession that Republican politicians tell us Obama should have taken care of by now. To say the least, the U.S. budget situation has deteriorated significantly since January 2001, (at the end of Clinton’s presidency) when the Congressional Budget Office forecast average annual surpluses of approximately $850 billion from 2009–2012. Eight years later, as of June 2009, the average deficit in each of these years was projected to be approximately $1.215 trillion! A reliable analysis of this roughly $2 trillion "swing", separating the causes into four major categories along with their share, produced this result:
Recessions or the business cycle (37%) [primarily, in my personal opinion, caused by Bush’s tendency to deregulate and to ignore the economic trend until too late];
Policies directly enacted by President Bush (33%);
Policies enacted by President Bush and supported or extended by President Obama, including the reduced tax rates (20%);
New policies from President Obama including the stimulus and his additional tax cuts (10%).
Unfortunately, the 2Rs would add steroids to the Reagan/Bush strategy that was the main cause of this disaster.

Taxes: Cutting taxes is the battle cry of nearly all Republicans seeking office. This in spite of the fact that, under Obama, the effective Federal tax rates have been lower than under Reagan and in spite of the fact that the U.S. collects less in taxes as a share of the economy than every other industrial country except Chile and Mexico! And, as is apparent from the data above, cutting taxes only leads to an increase in the national debt, not an improved economy. In fact, the best economic activity in recent years was when President Clinton raised taxes. Clinton also provided some budgets with surpluses. As a result of our unreasonable fear of taxes, we spend much less to help the vulnerable than other countries and, to deal with one of my professional frustrations, have caused our once-enviable infrastructure to fall apart through neglect. Addressing the latter, America’s infrastructure has decayed to the point where the American Society of Civil Engineers gives its condition a grade of D. ASCE has repeatedly raised the alarm that decisive action is necessary to immediately invest more than $2.2 trillion dollars in repairs and upgrading to bridges, roads, rail, airports, dams, inland waterways and levies, treatment plants, schools, and utilities before it is too late. The more we delay, the more each repair will cost. At our present insufficient rate of reinvestment, the backlog of public infrastructure deferred maintenance increases $100 billion/year. Yet we have people like Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire Las Vegas casino owner, now intent on plowing $100 million of his money into supporting the 2Rs in the current campaign. Why? Just because under their ill-defined “economic plan” Adelson would expect to save $2 billion in taxes! Apparently the current crop of Republican politicians and their supporters want to return to the pioneer/frontier days before the government provided essential public facilities like roads, bridges, sewage treatment plants, etc. I don’t.

Jobs:  As you know, Republican administrations have been in power for 28 of the years since 1960, Democrats for 24. The Republicans, with all their talk about creating jobs by reducing taxes and government regulations, created 24 million private sector jobs. Under Democratic administrations, 42 million private sector jobs were created, over twice as many/year. They were created because there are essential roles for government to play in stimulating job growth including funding research and education. Norway understands this. Their unemployment rate is currently 2.7% (1.3% in Telemark where Eric lives!).

Climate Change: Apparently most Republican politicians have signed a pledge to refuse to acknowledge climate change just as they have signed the pledge not to raise taxes. They deny the fact that we are causing the temperature of our planet to rise and therefore refuse to do anything about it. The National Academy of Sciences produced a report 33 years ago stating that there was no doubt that increased carbon dioxide levels would lead to an increase in average global temperature. Since then the evidence has been accumulating: The average Arctic temperature has increased 4ºF in the last 30 years. The rate of rise will increase even more rapidly now since there is much less ice in the summer (the absolute lowest amount remaining occurred early this month, 24%, which is 60% of the amount in the 1980s), causing the sun’s heat to be absorbed over a much greater area. The warming effect causes the jet stream to meander further north and south than normal, causing extremes in temperature. Greenland’s ice sheet is decreasing rapidly. Ice core samples collected from Greenland’s glaciers show the chemical makeup of the atmosphere for thousands of years; the conclusion is that what is going on now has no precedent. As of last year, the 13 hottest years (globally) since 1850 have occurred in the last 15 years. In the U.S., this July was the hottest ever. And much of the U.S. is beginning to see the extremes in weather that have been predicted as a by-product of global warming – drought, floods, and an increase in damaging winds. But Republican politicians have decided that they will ignore science as well as sound economics in order to, they think, improve their chance of election.

Medical Care: Although the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed and falls far short of the benefits and cost savings of a single payer system, it begins to eliminate some of the abuses by insurance companies, covers many of the uninsured, caps some of the outrageous overhead and profit margins of insurance companies, and, despite what the Republicans claim, should, if fully implemented, reduce costs from what they would be if it didn’t exist. Romney promises to eliminate this act to satisfy the Tea Party, even though he invented the concept. A single payer system would likely provide care for all at a much lower cost than this act. Our present health system costs 17% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Taiwan, whose government studied all existing models, chose a single payer system covering everyone, much like Medicare does for U.S. seniors; Taiwan’s system costs 7% of its GDP, much less than half of ours. Yet Republican politicians claim a single payer system would cost too much, so their opposition prevented the United States from the chance to achieve real health care reform. By the way, military retirees over 65 and their families, like Karen and I, are essentially covered by a single payer system and, based on our experience (which, in our case, does not involve care at any government facility), works nearly perfectly. But we will never see real reform under a Romney administration.

Help for the less fortunate: Christ cared for the poor, the sick and the vulnerable; he taught us to do the same. Obama has tried to provide relief for these and has succeeded to a limited extent, in spite of fierce opposition from Republican congressmen. Romney and especially Ryan (who had required his staff to read the literature of Ayn Rand, an atheist who argued that selfishness is a virtue and the poor are a drag on society) actively solicit the vote of Christians, but their words, proposed policies, and actions are in total opposition to what Christ taught. Amazingly, some still question Obama’s commitment to Christ. I suggest we judge that commitment by policies and actions. Those of Romney and Ryan totally fail the test.

These are just a few of the reasons I have lost faith in the present Republican Party. As is probably apparent, I would have to see a lot of change before I would trust them to guide our nation or state again.

Jim Christenson
September 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lessons from the Republican Party's Convention

Here’s what I learned from the Republican National Convention: A candidate can tell one lie after another about his opponent’s record and fellow Republicans will still claim he’s a man of integrity.  Their “winning strategy” – repeat the lies until they are accepted as true.

Lessons from the Republican Party Platform:
There are self-defined “makers” (the 1%) and they’ve got theirs; the rest of us are “takers” and we’ll be on our own with only a shredded safety net.
Our children and grandchildren will have to rely on a Medicare substitute with no guarantee they’ll be able to afford the health care coverage they need.
Reducing the national debt is a priority; but only if the already-wealthy get to keep their privileged tax status and the military budget is off-limits to cuts.
Prosperity is for the super-rich and their children. The rest of us can expect to shoulder more of the cost of needed infrastructure and services and be content with whatever wage increases happen to trickle down.
The interests of big energy companies trump our need for clean air and water.
Freedom of religion is only for those whose beliefs are the same as those of certain Republican fundamentalists.
All women must be controlled. Women are incapable of making moral choices on their own.  A fertilized egg is to be acknowledged as a person with rights, but the woman involved doesn’t count.
A good education is for the privileged few; public education should be left to rot and teachers are the enemy.
It’s okay if tens of thousands in America, most of them children, go without food and shelter, as long as not a single one of “those undeserving people” gets help from a government program.
Only a few people are welcome to come to America – the ones who have the skills big corporations are looking for and have the “right” skin color.

Perhaps candidate Romney’s views differ a bit from some of what’s in his Party’s platform, but a Republican Congress would make him fall in line.

The Democratic National Convention provided a clear contrast, as speaker after speaker explained why, as noted in the automobile analogy used by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, "D" stands for moving America forward and "R" means going in reverse.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Local Candidate Driskell - Hard to Smear, but Her Opponent Will Try

If you are in the 52nd State House District or are interested in seeing Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell defeat Republican MarkOuimet and regain that historically-Democratic seat for the Democrats and retake the House, you'll want of read this interview by Chris Savage at Eclectablog.

Please consider sharing it with others. We need to defeat Mark Ouimet and help switch the State House back to a Democratic majority.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Republicans and the US National Debt

Today, as I was thinking about what little attention is being paid to the effect that two "off the books" wars and the absence of any requirement that the super-rich pitch in to pay for them has had on the national debt, I came a post on the topic by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones.

Here's the link:

Drum reminded me that the Bush-era tax cuts are the biggest contributor to the debt.  To quote him on the role of the Republicans:
Nearly every single thing driving the current increase in public debt — tax cuts, wars, the recession, and measures to fight the recession — was a result of Bush-era policies that were enthusiastically supported by nearly every single Republican currently hanging out in Tampa (at the Republican National Convention). They only got religion after a Democrat won the White House and had to clean up the mess they left behind.
Take a careful look at the Ryan Budget to see how it fails to address the above and instead shifts the burden of reducing the debt to those of us in the 99%.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Does the Back & Forth on Medicare Give You a Headache?

The current debate about the future of Medicare is often reduced to sound bites.  Here are a couple of recent blog posts that might help Involved Voters dig a bit deeper.

From Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly's Political Animal Blog:

From Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:

So, what is government's role when it comes to ensuring access to health and stemming the growth of health care costs?  And what's the value that for-profit insurance companies add?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Republicans United in Preserving Tax Cuts for the Super-Rich Despite Increasing the Deficit

Today, House Republicans united to pass legislation extending all of the Bush tax cuts for one year, defeating along the way a Democratic proposal to allow Bush tax cuts benefiting only the wealthiest two percent of earners to expire.

If it seems unbelievable that Republicans would ignore the deficit and hold extension of the tax breaks for middle income people hostage, try to wrap your head around what Mitt Romney is proposing.  Blogger Kevin Drum's analysis can be found here:  Are Republicans thinking that we won't believe they'd increase the tax burden on middle income Americans to off-set the cost of tax breaks for the super-rich?

From the Congressional Research Service, July 18, 2012:
Compared with permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts (with more than $7,000 billion in total deficits), (the Obama Administration's) proposal is projected to increase tax revenues by $312 billion over five years and by $789 billion over 10 years. The 10-year reduction in estimated debt service is $140 billion. In total, (the Obama Administration's) proposal could reduce budget deficits by $931 billion over 10 years.
The Obama Administration has proposed to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for high-income taxpayers (single taxpayers with income more than $200,000 and married taxpayers with income more than $250,000—the richest 2% of taxpayers) and permanently extend the tax cuts for other taxpayers (the middle-income tax cuts). The specific proposals are to reinstate the 39.6% tax rate, reinstate the 36% tax rate for high-income taxpayers, reinstate PEP (personal exemption phase-out) and Pease (another phase out) for high-income taxpayers , and increase the long-term capital gains and qualified dividend tax rate to 20% for high-income taxpayers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mitt Praises Benefits of Universal Health Care

It seems that candidate Romney is impressed with Israel's health care system.  So, why can we in the USA have universal health care, too?

Blogger Kevin Drum has the story here:

Israel spends 8% of GDP on health care; the US spends 18%.  In Israel they have a choice of 4 free health care systems and everyone is covered.  Can they do it because the rich aren't too selfish to pay their fair share of taxes?  Can they do it because there are no insurance company middle-men focused on profits?

Friday, July 20, 2012

AMEND - Because Only People are People

Involved Voters who are sick to death of the constant, vicious political ads resulting from the unlimited funding from undisclosed donors allowed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision will want to consider participating in Public Citizen's effort to change all that.

Here's a link to the Democracy is for People campaign.  Find out what you can do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One of those obvious "out of context" ploys

Does Mitt Romney really think we are dumb enough to fall for this one?  If a quote like the one he's attributing to the President seems off the wall, it's because the context is missing.  What  the "that" means is obvious from what precedes and follows it.

Kevin Drum says it well here:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Actions Speak Louder Than Words - Mark Ouimet's Voting Record

Involved voters in Michigan's 52nd House District, it's time to do some research on the man who won the election in 2010.  Find out if Mark Ouimet's votes on issues of importance to you were what you expected and wanted them to be.  I recommend this Project Vote Smart site for easy searching:

Would it surprise you to know that Mark Ouimet's score on the Michigan Tea Party Scorecard - Release 3 - Jan 2011 thru Mar 2012 tied for closest to the Tea Party's Ideal House Vote at 77%?   Source:
Note: The Tea Party Scorecard only includes votes on core tea party issues, primarily fiscal responsibility, limited government, and private sector job creation. Unanimous and party-line votes are largely excluded to highlight the differences between members of the same party rather than differences between the parties. "Messy" bills with complex, competing content were also excluded as no clear "correct" vote could be assigned. The Scorecard is administered by the Independent Tea Party Patriots in Clarkston.
How many times did Mark Ouimet's vote differ from that of the majority of Republicans in the House based on roll call votes taken from 1/1/2011 to 7/12/2012?  10 times out of 1105 votes.  That's less than 1% of the time.  Check for yourself at

When you see Mark Ouimet, ask him about his voting record.  If you took him at his word and got fooled in 2010, you can make a different choice in 2012.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who's correct on the economy, Obama or Romney?

It's impossible to be an Involved Voter today without a willingness to dig below the surface and get more familiar with economic causes and solutions.

I recommend taking a look at what Henry Blodget has written at Business Insider.  Here's a link to a recent post:

In the article, Blodget points out that who is right depends on the goal.  Is the goal to heal the overall economy gradually while minimizing pain and disruption, or to try to cure the problem by going "cold turkey"--without any regard for the (hopefully temporary) pain, unemployment, GDP shrinkage, and increased debt, deficits, and inequality that will result from this approach?  He then gives reasons why the former goal is the preferred one.

It's the responsibility of Involved Voters to make time to understand the issues, and then vote accordingly.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Is Romney Lying about Health Care? You Decide.

Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog has an excellent post, Disguising "Repeal and Reverse".  He points out that despite what Mitt Romney keeps saying about his plans to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare (aka the Affordable Care Act), there is no "replace" in sight.  Romney is offering at most a return to the laws that existed before the act was passed - including the ability of insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.  You have to "read the fine print" to figure out what he's actually supporting - including the "Ryan budget" which will shred what's left of the "safety net" many of us count on.

To quote Kilgore:’s important to understand the GOP’s agenda for health care is not “repeal and replace,” or even “repeal and do nothing”—it’s “repeal and reverse,” and a cruel trick on anyone looking for genuine reform.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good News from Local Democratic Presidential Caucus

It was no surprise that the folks who attended the Democratic Presidential Caucus in Dexter yesterday voted unanimously for Barack Obama.  But that's not the good news I'm talking about.

The best news is related to candidates for office closer to home.

  • 7th Congressional District - Yes, there is a real, serious Democrat running to unseat Tim Walberg: Ruben Marquez of Jackson just announced his intentions.
  • 52nd State House District - Gretchen Driskell, 7 term mayor of Saline is running for State Representative against the "really nice guy" who has let us all down with his voting record and refuses to discuss the issues.
  • Washtenaw County Commission 1st District - Kent Martinez-Kratz, Chelsea City Council member since 2005
For more inspiration, check out the first official Obama/Biden campaign rally May 5 in Ohio.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Affordable Care Act!

Even though some of its key provisions - for example, no denial of coverage or ability to charge you more because of a pre-existing condition, including a disability - don't go into effect until 2014, the Affordable Care Act has already begun working.  Here are some statistics relevant to those of us in Michigan:

  • Health care works for women, children, seniors – everyone. More than 2.9 million Michiganders received preventative care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free in 2011.

  • Health care works for young adults: 57,527 Young Adults in Michigan are now insured because of the new health care law.

  • Health care works for seniors: 84,168 Medicare beneficiaries saved more than $48 million on prescription drugs because of the new health care law.

  • Health care works for small businesses: A growing number of businesses offering health care coverage are taking advantage of tax credits available under the law.
The facts show that the ACA is working, but Republicans are still doing everything they can to try and repeal the law.  By calling it "Obamacare," they have been tapping into the resentment that many Republicans feel toward Democrats in general and President Obama in particular for winning in 2008.  This and the fear-mongering and demagoguing that are so common on the campaign trail are diverting attention from the benefits of the law.  Ask people if they support many of the specifics of the ACA and the majority say yes, definitely.

Involved Voters can find information about what portions of the ACA have already been implemented and what's still to come on the timeline page.

On Monday, March 26th, the Supreme Court will begin oral arguments about the constitutionality of the law.  The proceedings will be worth following.  

If you or someone in your family has already benefited from the ACA or will in the future, I encourage you to write a letter to the editor or comment online during this important time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"The Road We've Traveled" - What a Contrast with the Rhetoric from Republican Candidates

Here's a link to the trailer for the new film about President Obama's first term.

The film, which is 17 minutes long, will be released March 15 at Obama re-election campaign venues.  Get re-inspired, and get to work - Obama 2012!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whose religious freedom is actually under attack?

Catholic bishops and the radical right are screaming foul because of federal requirements to include contraception among the preventive health services for women covered by health care plans - despite the exceptions for employees of churches.

The way I see it, when a religious entity runs a hospital, university, or charity that takes money from and employees people for whom contraception is the choice of an informed conscience, they need to avoid doing things like denying coverage for it in the health plans they offer. I consider it a violation of these women's religious freedom for the hierarchy of a church to impose the church's view of morality on them.

Blogger Kevin Drum points out in a recent post just how far removed the Catholic hierarchy is from the practices of most Catholics.  Here's the link:  And, I would remind the bishops, not all Americans are Catholics.  Where is the respect for people's freedom of conscience that one could reasonably expect from those who should be exemplary followers of Christ?

Friday, January 27, 2012

What America is About

From President Obama's speech at the University of Michigan, January 27, 2012:
We do not begrudge wealth in this country. I want everybody here to do well. We aspire to financial success. But we also understand that we’re not successful just by ourselves. ... We’re successful because somebody made an investment in all the federal research labs that created the Internet. We’re successful because we have an outstanding military -- that costs money. We’re successful because somebody built roads and bridges and laid broadband lines. And these things didn’t just happen on their own.

And if we all understand that we’ve got to pay for this stuff, it makes sense for those of us who've done best to do our fair share. And to try to pass off that bill onto somebody else, that’s not right. That’s not who we are. That’s not what my grandparents' generation worked hard to pass down. That’s not what your grandparents and your great-grandparents worked hard to pass down. We’ve got a different idea of America, a more generous America.

Everybody here is only here because somebody somewhere down the road decided we’re going to think not just about ourselves, but about the future. We’ve got responsibilities, yes, to ourselves but also to each other. And now it’s our turn to be responsible. Now it’s our turn to leave an America that’s built to last. And I know we can do it. We’ve done it before and I know we can do it again because of you.

When I meet young people all across this country, with energy and drive and vision, despite the fact that you’ve come of age during a difficult, tumultuous time in this world, it gives me hope. You inspire me. ...You know that doing big things isn’t always easy, but you’re not giving up.
We do not shrink from challenges. We stand up to them. And we don’t leave people behind; we make sure everybody comes along with us on this journey that we’re on.

That’s the spirit right now that we need, Michigan. Here in America, we don’t give up. We look out for each other. We make sure everybody has a chance to get ahead. And if we work in common purpose, with common resolve, we can build an economy that gives everybody a fair shot. And we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.