Phil Bredesen, Corporate Pedophile

Standard

Imagination Library Week

When Skeptical Brotha regular Zeitgiest9000 posted yesterday that the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder is reporting that the Obama Administration is vetting Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen for Secretary of Health and Human Services, my head exploded. I damn near stroked out, y’all. A diehard Hillarycrat, this is his transparent way of saying that we would have been better off with the Queen of Triangulation, and by extension, her approach to health care reform. I don’t know if that’s true, but if Barack Obama gives a mutha%$#*ing bastard like Phil Bredesen the reins of HHS, I do know we’ll all wish we had been volunteer slaves on the Clintons neo-liberal plantation.

Placing Governor Bredesen in charge of the Administration’s health care reform effort is analogous to giving a pedophile unfettered access to children. At least an establishment tool like Tom Daschle has a few scruples left; a capitalist pig like Phil Bredesen has none. It’s my moral obligation to sound the alarm so that this capitalist piggy screams “wee, wee, wee,” all the way home.

I know what you’re thinking. “Damn, Skeptical Brotha has gone off his meds.” If you must know, I ain’t on no meds, at least not for that, but if I were, and I depended on Tennessee’s Medicaid program, for example, a mutha%$#*a like Phil Bredesen would be rationing my sh*t to “2 name brand drugs and 3 generic prescription drugs monthly, the lowest in the country.” This is done without any regard for the maladies people have or what doctors say their patients need. Thanks be to Gawd that my therapist thinks my depression is situational and not clinical. That is a conversation for another day and I need to stay on task.

Let me be clear so there can be no misunderstanding. Phil Bredesen is a corporate pedophile whose unconscionable greed as a former HMO executive made him a multimillionaire and unscrupulous politician who elects to balance Tennessee’s state budget on the backs of sick children and vulnerable adults by using the spurious pretext of cost to deny them access to proper medical care.

Old habits die hard and Bredesen’s unconscionable greed was made manifest by the deliberate denial of medical care to an unsuspecting public covered by his HMO. His private sector “success,” in turn, made him the type of slimy prick the corporate power structure encourages to run for public office. He began his career as the Mayor of Nashville and subsequently became Tennessee’s Governor. If I do this right, he’ll never receive a cabinet appointment in the Obama Administration because of his shameful record as the business lobby’s nefarious servant directing the state of Tennessee to follow his callous and right-wing business model.

Before Bredesen eff’ed it up, TennCare was the most generous and cost-effective Medicaid program in the country. Not only did it cover indigent care, its intended function, it also drew down ample federal subsidies to expand coverage to adults who couldn’t gain access to health coverage because of pre-existing conditions or prohibitive cost. The subsidies kept hospitals and clinics operating in areas that provided essential care to the isolated rural poor and reduced the rate of uninsured to one of the lowest in the country. The program operated in the black until a Republican governor started messing with it. Bredesen was (s)elected by the power structure in 2002 to finish the job.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund wrote to the Governor in 2004 about their fear that Bredesen’s “reforms” would give the state or its contractors “sole discretion to decide whether a service is covered, without meaningful regard to widely accepted standards of medical care or appropriate deference to the professional judgment of the treating physician.”

“…This invites physicians and/or the TennCare Bureau and its contractors to apply a standard of care to an already vulnerable population that could threaten a patient’s health and cause ‘life-threatening consequences.”

Given the terrible way in which the black poor were and continue to be treated and the fact that forty percent of the African American population of Tennessee was dependent on the state’s Medicaid program for basic access to medical care; a number, which included at least 50 percent of black children, the NAACP’s fears were well founded.

Bredesen ignored the concerns of his detractors and they sued the hell out of the state. They attempted to make the Governor and his minions accountable for a draconian, bare bones Medicaid program that cut over two hundred thousand elderly and disabled people off from assistance they formerly received resulting in “an increase in preventable deaths by a rate that equals an additional death every 30 hours.”

A federal Court found in 2001 that the state and its managed care contractors were systematically violating quality of care standards governing the treatment of low-income TennCare children, including those in the state’s troubled foster care system. There was extensive evidence that children suffered serious harm as a result of those violations. In 2006, state officials claimed to have fixed the problems. But a panel of court-appointed monitors issued a lengthy report last year (2007) finding that the state had not proven that claim, and there remained evidence of widespread problems.

In June last year, a federal appeals court authorized a computer expert to determine whether the Bredesen Administration had altered computer records to evade court orders to produce records documenting the state’s systematic denials of care to 650,000 children covered by the state’s Medicaid program. According to the Tennessee Justice Center, “the Governor and other officials disclosed that they had used Bredesen’s personal email system and their personal computers for state business. They claimed that by putting the public records on personal computers, officials could shield them from inspection.”

Bredesen’s heartlessness is borne out by numerous horror stories documented by Families USA:

Could you sleep at night if your budget cuts eliminated an elderly woman from receiving treatment for schizophrenia and lung cancer?

Could you cancel a prostate cancer operation for an elderly senior living on less than $1000 a month just days before the procedure?

Could you look at yourself in the mirror if you prevented anyone suffering from emphysema or some other respiratory condition from getting round-the-clock oxygen?

Could you face the public knowing that you cut off insulin dependent diabetics from their medication?

Phil Bredesen can because he is a monster. The cumulative impact of his evil is unfathomable. It doesn’t take a genius to understand why Republicans vote for him or why my favorite neo-liberal ass clown’s at the New Republic fetishize his massive cruelty.

Any sentient Democrat who believes that a bastard like Phil Bredesen merits consideration for Barack Obama’s cabinet should be fitted for a straight jacket and locked away forever in a padded cell. I am compelled to write today. I am ringing the bell and sounding the alarm. Let the word go forth, from this time and place, that the progressive blogosphere finds a Bredesen appointment totally unacceptable. It is the highest insult for progressives for him to even be vetted by this Administration. His appointment would be a stench in the nostrils of God and a sick joke on the most vulnerable among us, especially sick and disabled children and adults, like the elderly and the uninsured, the people his green eyeshades target as the expendable poor that are socially acceptable to kill.

Senator Caroline Kennedy

Standard

GET FILES-FRANCE-US-KENNEDY

I find it ironic and disengenuous that the Hillarycrat detractors of Caroline Kennedy, a New York resident for over four decades, would have the temerity to suggest that the Harvard University educated author, lawyer, and philanthropist lacks the necessary qualifications  to represent New York State in the United States Senate.   Ms. Kennedy has always been a dignified, understated and classy mover and shaker that has used her celebrity,  talent, and money to help other people.   Politically, nobody could beat her under any circumstances.   She can raise the money and would maintain the current number of women in the senate, which is already too few. Where the hell were these people when Hillary decided to accept the phony draft of New Yorkers to run for the Senate in a state she had never lived in?  Caroline Kennedy has been a New Yorker longer than the Queen of Triangulation has been a blond.   I am relieved that she has decided to throw her hat in the ring.   If David Paterson is smart, he’ll appoint Caroline without any more deliberation and secure his re-election at the same time.


Sarah Palin: John McCain’s Right-Wing Covergirl

Standard

The selection of the “easy, breezy, beautiful” Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the boldest act of political jujitsu seen in decades. I told y’all that Barack Obama should have chosen a woman to close the opening that this selection runs right through. Machiavelli would be proud.

You’ve heard the Republican talking points about John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. She’s a hockey mom, political reformer, and female trailblazer that has served as a city councilwoman, Mayor, State Oil and Gas Commissioner and Governor. This post is about what you may not know or haven’t considered.

While the Democratic establishment is widely panning the selection of an untested and unknown Governor Palin, I think that most are missing the bigger picture. They have panned this choice as a nakedly illogical pander to white women, which is certainly true, but politics is not about what’s logical, it is about what people really feel and will never say. The most diehard Hillarycrats and PUMA activists have already pledged their support to John McSame, a rigidly pro-life conservative opposed to women’s reproductive rights, feminism and the concept of equal pay for equal work. Hillarycrats have panned Barack Obama as an empty suit and unqualified usurper who screwed Hillary Clinton out of her divine right to become the Democratic nominee.

As Tim Wise has written, the various excuses thrown out by Hillarycrats, like gender solidarity, blaming Barack for Hillary’s sexist manhandling by the media and Obama’s qualifications, conveniently masks Hillarycrats undercover racial resistance to the idea of electing a black president. He writes:

How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate–Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line–and yet, apparently can’t bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned.

And how are we to understand that refusal–this sudden line in the proverbial sand–other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year–and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point–but can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you’ve supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing

Karl Rove underscores the purpose of this pick for the uninitiated:

“It(s)… a clear sign from the McCain campaign that they were going to be making a very strong bid for the women whom they see up for grabs — both the traditional, swing independent suburbanites and then the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain disillusioned.”

McSame’s power move echoes the third law of power in Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.

Law 3

Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Governor Palin’s selection represents McCain scraping the bottom of a very shallow conservative barrel.

The Nation’s Christopher Hayes sights an Associated Press blurb from 1999:

Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.”

Anybody who supported any of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns is a hard-right troglodyte obsessed with immigration, “states rights,” the ever-increasing numbers of colored folks in America, and the religious right’s scorched earth culture war against abortion, homosexuality and the civil rights of the GLBT community.

Governor Palin opposes abortion rights—period. No exceptions. And the Governor is also a lifetime member of the gun nut NRA. She is a cynical sop to the hard right and to fanatical feminist dead-enders who refuse to listen to the entreaties of Hillary Clinton to vote for Barack Obama.

JOHN MCCAIN IN A DRAG

The conservative woman with the ideal resume to break the glass ceiling in Republican politics was New Mexico’s Heather Wilson. With a resume that reads like a political consultant’s wet dream, Congresswoman Wilson, the first female Air Force academy graduate elected to congress, is a Rhodes Scholar possessing a doctorate in international relations and an extensive background in military intelligence. Wilson served on the President’s National Security Council before her election to five terms in congress.

As a member of congress, Mrs. Wilson serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. The congresswoman has a couple of problems though. First, she is a nominally pro-choice Republican who supports stem cell research that is anathema to the pro-life lobby. Second, she sat on the House Page Board and claimed to know nothing about Congressman Mark Foley’s sick trolling for male pages. Additionally, she covered up incriminating case files detailing an investigation of her husband for playing grab ass with a teenage boy.

That was clearly not going to work. However, there were certainly others to whom McSame could turn.

THE OTHERS

Every senior Republican woman on Capitol Hill is more qualified than Sarah Palin—every woman. Maine Senator Olympia Snowe—the senior woman Republican on Capitol Hill, has served in congress for 30 years, longer than John McCain. She sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has been in the Senate for 15 years having first served as a state legislator and state Treasurer. Miss Kay is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on both the Defense and Military Construction subcommittees.

Maine Senator Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman’s Republican concubine, has been on the Hill for 20+ years. Collins served as chief of staff for her Senate predecessor and was subsequently elected to office in her own right. A senator for 12 years, she is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chaired the Senate Committee on Homeland Security in the last congress.

Every single one of these woman is nominally pro-choice and neither would have solved McSame’s problems with the reactionary base of the Republican Party. In no way is this a choice based on the merits—it’s hardball politics calculated to woo white voters, especially women, wary of electing a black man to the highest office in the land.

Don’t sleep on John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. Palin defeated the incumbent Governor of her own party and the state’s last Democratic Governor to assume power in the incestuous cesspool that is Alaska politics. Her personality and forthright demeanor are her greatest asset and are the single biggest reason for her 80% approval rating. She can appeal to disaffected Hillarycrats without doing much of anything. PUMA’s Darragh Murhpy described her selection as, “Bold and Brave” on tonight’s Hardball.

In my estimation, this selection confirms the Machiavellian genuflection to Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos and is an ominous symbol that the GOP is still wedded to the exploitation of race as wedge issue. So much for Obama’s attempts to be post-racial.

DNC day three: Obama Nominated By Acclamation

Standard

I am just so overwhelmed and I can’t write anything coherent. It has finally happened at long last and all I can do is take it all in.  

Bill Clinton has finished his address, what say you?

Democratic National Convention Opens

Standard

Today marks the first day of the deceptive quadrennial infomercial that formally introduces and markets a presidential candidate to disillusioned Americans as a must-have product and miracle elixir for all of our public policy ills.  The man good Democrats are hoping and praying becomes the 44th President of the United States is by all accounts an enigma and a man difficult to define despite the clarity of the prose in his bestselling and revealing autobiographical narrative. 

Wrestling with the meaning of Obama’s story and reconciling it with his path to power is what I’ve spent the better part of two-years doing unsuccessfully.  It will be fascinating to watch it come together as Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy mount the podium in the Pepsi Center tonight.

Democrats are excited to hear from the extended Obama clan and the speechifying will culminate in an address by Michelle Obama.  Her task tonight is twofold. First, she must reassure White America that her husband is a common man just like them and that he is uncommonly prepared to lead the free world. Second, she must debunk all of the right-wing messaging that seeks to paint the couple as angry, dangerous, subversive and un-American.  

If sistah Michelle does her job tonight, she will humanize Obama enough for people to confront the racism behind some Hillarycrats irrational resistance. Presentation is key.   I look forward to seeing a stylish, svelte, and coiffured sistah present her husband and children to the world with aplomb.   Her peroration extolling the virtues of family, Mom and apple pie is sure to be a convention classic. 

Unfortunately, what Democrats are really selling is the same old wine of assimilationist neo-liberalism in the new bottle of Barack Obama.  I’ve been attempting to read the fine print of the new black politics and it’s a morally bankrupt creed that seeks cross-over appeal and social acceptance in exchange for a place at the ruling class table of capitalist patriarchy. 

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech, this is not a progressive triumph—its an elaborate charade.  Dr. King wrote:

The majority of Negro political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support. Although genuinely popular leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources, and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward these manufactured leaders.”

With $9,262,732 million raised from the securities and investment industry and over $21,746,468 raised from the most powerful lawyers and law firms in the country alone, we ain’t gonna get much change we can believe in without organizing some kind of progressive social movement that forces change out of a recalcitrant Washington power structure.

Lastly, God willing, we will be treated to the valedictory address from an ailing icon, Ted Kennedy.   Senator Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, has been fighting the good fight for the entirety of his 46 years on Capitol Hill.  His battle is over but ours is just beginning.  In the words of my favorite scripture in Jeremiah “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”   Jeremiah Wright is spot on.  Obama may become our president, but we will still need to fight for progressive change.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy addresses the convention:

 

Michelle Obama Bio Video:

Mrs. Michelle Obama addresses the convention

 

Hate disguised as dissent

Standard

Virginia blogger Vivian Paige, a good friend, is having a discussion on her space about the above graphic used by blogger Howling Latina, also a friend of mine. She highlights the fallout in the blogging community as Howling Latina was de-listed by Leftyblogs, a powerful ally in driving traffic to like minded progressive sites.

Vivian believes that the issue is purely one of free speech. She’s half right. However, there is no constitutional right to be listed on leftyblogs when your attacks on the Democratic nominee are either the same or worse than those on the far-right. I also believe that Hate Speech is not constitutionally protected. The aforementioned cartoon skirts a dangerous line between meanness and hate.

Keeping this in mind, I’ve written the following open letter to Howling Latina:

Dearest Mimi,

As a friend and fan, it surprised and pained me to see this graphic on your site. I have admired your strong Christian convictions and your committed and progressive Democratic activism. As a believer in the First Amendment I will always defend the right to free speech no matter how objectionable I may find it. But whether you’re ready to acknowledge it or not, this cartoon graphic crosses the line.

Sweetie, this cartoon graphic is gratuitously mean-spirited, disgusting and is rightfully construed as a racist insult. As a Cuban Latina, I thought that the inimical legacy of white supremacy in your ancestral home would be clear to you as a line never to be crossed. I say this as a progressive Obama critic capable of using provocative sexual innuendo and inappropriate imagery to make a legitimate point. I’ve made it clear to my readers that Obama has strayed far from what is both prudent and progressives many times. His equivocations on the road to the nomination enraged and saddened me, as well as others, but what you’re putting out there as criticism is neither principled nor Christian and I know that you’re better than that, honey.

Hillary has given up the ghost. She has endorsed Obama in the spirit of unity and he has praised her lavishly and returned the favor by asking the DNC to seat both Michigan and Florida‘s full voting strength. The race for the nomination is over, Mimi. The standard bearer of the Democratic party is an imperfect vessel named Barack Obama.

If you cannot accept that reality and support your party, then I can only draw the conclusion that your opposition is about race. Both you and Vivian dismiss the divisive and insensitive racial politics played by the Clintons during the nomination fight as acceptable. I respectfully disagree. But where we should all agree is that using the same racial attacks as the far-right on Barack will yield nothing positive and will continue to give aid and comfort to the supporters of John McCain and the criminal syndicate that masquerades as the Republican party.

This posture makes you look as ridiculous as the corporate whore and GOP sellout better known as Joe Lieberman. You remember him, right? He claimed to be against the Bush Agenda as he ran for and lost the 2004 Democratic Nomination for President and the 2006 Democratic nomination for the Senate. He then got in bed with them to win re-election and has been screwing us all ever since. It should be worth noting that Barack Obama endorsed him for re-election in the Democratic primary in addition to campaigning and raising money for him and that Lieberman returned the favor by endorsing John McCain.

This is not you, sweetheart. I encourage you to search your heart and to pray about this. I have every confidence that you’ll do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha

 

Hillary wins Kentucky

Standard

 

Democratic Primary Results

Real-time Race Results: Updated May 20, 2008 – 9:08 PM (all times Eastern Standard)
Precincts Reporting 95%

Candidate Votes Vote % Delegates Projected Winner
Clinton 416,998 66% 33 Winner
Obama 189,908 30% 14  
Uncommitted 16,037 2% 0

 

Hat Tip: By DAVID ESPO and SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writers

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Kentucky primary Tuesday, a victory of scant political value in a Democratic presidential race moving inexorably in Barack Obama’s direction.

The two rivals also collided in Oregon’s unique vote-by-mail contest, and Obama predicted he would finish the night with a majority of all delegates at stake in the 56 primaries and caucuses on the campaign calendar.

With votes counted from 41 percent of the Kentucky precincts, Clinton was gaining 57 percent support, compared with 40 percent for Obama.

Interviews with Kentucky voters leaving their polling places showed Clinton’s victory was roughly as sweeping as the rout she fashioned last week in West Virginia.

Almost nine in 10 ballots were cast by whites, and the former first lady was winning their support overwhelmingly. She defeated her rival among voters of all age groups and incomes, the college educated and non-college educated, self-described liberals, moderates and conservatives.

Though Clinton has had a strong run through the late primaries, Obama has steadily outpaced her where it counts, in the race for national convention delegates.

With her Kentucky victory, Clinton picked up at least 27 delegates, with an additional 24 to be awarded.

Overall, Obama had 1,917 delegates, little more than 100 shy of the 2,026 needed to become the first black presidential nominee of a major party. The former first lady had 1,749.

 

The numbers the networks are reporting are screwy.   One minute they have her at over 268,000, the next minute they revise the number down to 230,000.  What is the deal?