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Member since: Mon Jan 30, 2006, 05:07 PM
Number of posts: 65,256

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Letter from 100 black religious leaders asking black clergy

not to meet with Donald Trump.


We write to you as fellow clergy, community organizers, scholars, socially aware Christians, and/or concerned voters who are deeply confounded by your decision to participate in an upcoming telecast meeting with Presidential contender Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump routinely uses overtly divisive and racist language on the campaign trail. Most recently, he admitted his supporters were justified for punching and kicking a Black protester who had attended a Trump rally with the intent to remind the crowd that “Black Lives Matter.” Trump followed this action by tweeting inaccurate statistics about crime prevalence rates in Black communities — insinuating that Black people are more violent than other groups. Those statistics did not reflect the fact that most crimes are intraracial, meaning that most people do harm to people of their own race. They also did not speak to the crime of neoliberalism, capitalism, and white supremacy which kill thousands of black and nonblack people each day.

Trump’s racially inaccurate, insensitive and incendiary rhetoric should give those charged with the care of the spirits and souls of Black people great pause. As people of God, you are surely aware of the emotional, spiritual, and physical toll continued structural and state violence takes on Black people. Being continually reminded of reckless police disregard for Black life through the circulation of videos that show them murdering our young people, like 12-year old Tamir Rice, 7-year old Ayanna Stanley Jones, and 17-year old Laquan McDonald are both heartbreaking and stress-inducing.

Moreover as people of God, you know that our theology shapes our politics, and politics are a great indicator of our theology. What theology do you believe Mr. Trump possesses when his politics are so clearly anti-Black? He routinely engages in the kind of rhetoric that brings out the worst sorts of white racist aggression, not only toward Black people, but also toward Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans, too. Surely, we can agree that this kind of unloving and violent language does not reflect the politics of the Christ we profess?


What if Bernie were Bernice?

And everything was the same except gender.

Would a loud, finger-jabbing, arm-waving Bernice, a Senator from a tiny state, a non-practicing Jew, a 74 year old white female, ever have had Bernie’s success?

Bernice, whose son was born out of wedlock to a man she never married.

Bernice, who divorced her first husband and remarried a man nine years younger.

Bernice, who had been repeatedly arrested for demonstrating.

Bernice, who, at the age of 30, had written an essay that discussed male and female rape fantasies.

Bernice, who for decades proudly called herself a socialist before announcing a run in the Democratic primary.

The answer is NO.
No matter how righteous her anger or her cause.
A furious Bernice with an unconventional past wouldn’t have had a chance.

Women have a decorum they are required to uphold. Bernice Sanders would have been labeled hysterical, and a harpy, and laughed off the national stage.

Until you can imagine a Bernice Sanders being as successful as a Bernie Sanders has been, please don’t tell me that gender is not a factor in this race.

And this argument holds for an African American Bernie, also. An African-American Bernie wouldn’t have a chance of being elected President. Not in 2016.

In the US women and African Americans are still held to a higher standard than white men. Acknowledging this isn’t playing the gender card or the race card. It’s the simple truth.

If President Obama had been previously divorced

and had a son born to a third woman (to whom he was never married), would he have ever been a serious contender for President?

If Hillary had been previously divorced and had a baby born out of wedlock, would she be at the top of the polls?

Somehow I doubt it.

Black people and women are treated differently and acknowledging this isn't playing the race or gender card.

Are movement politicians like Bernie tone deaf?


That's the problem with movement politics, no matter what end of the political spectrum they occupy. Movement politics tend to be narcissistic and dictatorial. They allow dissent only within a narrow philosophical band. That constrains the ability to hear through others' ears.


Sanders has much mellowed since then, but he still inhabits a self-righteous cocoon that has made him an ineffective and marginal figure in the Senate.

Even Democrats express frustration at working with Sanders, an independent who caucuses with them. Moderates bristle at his moralizing and refusal to make compromises required to pass needed legislation. The undeniably liberal Barney Frank, former rep from Massachusetts, complained of Sanders' "holier-than-thou attitude."

Bernie's positions on civil rights have been close to impeccable, but his history with nonwhites is more complicated.

Back in 1960s New York, black radicals weren't keen to sit at the knees of white intellectuals and be told what's what. The ensuing tensions prompted many white radicals to flee to the more accommodating hills of Vermont. Sanders was one. There's no gentler way to put this, but they were part of the era's white flight.

Think your vote doesn't matter? Bernie won his first election by TEN votes.

After years of failing to win office, he finally decided to run for Mayor of Burlington. That was the beginning of his long career in elective office.

Ten votes.


Sanders believed he was finished with electoral politics – until in late 1980, when his friend Richard Sugarman, a religion professor at the University of Vermont, showed him a breakdown of his Liberty Union vote tallies. As a whole, they were scant, but Sanders had done better in Burlington than anywhere else — and especially in the city’s poorest wards. Sanders decided to run for mayor — and then, by 10 votes, he won. It was March of 1981. It was a big story. The irritant activist was an elected official, now making $33,800 a year, more than he ever had. Reporters started showing up in Vermont.

The overwhelmingly female press corps on the HRC campaign trail.


At least 18 national media outlets have female reporters on the Clinton beat, across print, online, radio and TV, according to a POLITICO survey. Some, such as NBC, have as many as three. Local outlets in Iowa and New Hampshire have female reporters on Clinton, as well. No one can remember a political press corps this heavily female.


"In 2008, I was one of the only women in traveling press corps," recalled Amy Chozick of The New York Times, ticking off names of the reporters covering Clinton's first presidential race. "Wow, it was pretty male then. So what's changed?"

The change seems to be a combination of more women doing political reporting in general, and many more being drawn to Clinton's potentially historic candidacy. It's made for an unusual atmosphere, with a female candidate sparring with a nearly all-female corps of reporters. It hasn’t brought Clinton more positive coverage, according to those both inside the campaign and outside it. But reporters and press aides alike note that there’s a different vibe nonetheless, punctuated by occasional expressions by the candidate herself of camaraderie for fellow pioneers.


BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer recalled one press gaggle at which Clinton encouraged her to “liberate herself” and ask what she really wanted to ask. Cramer had planned to ask a lighthearted question but explained that she felt obligated to ask about a former Clinton tech staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who took the Fifth Amendment rather than testify before Congress about Clinton’s email practice. (Cramer ended up asking both questions.)


"One, a younger generation of talented women reporters is coming of age just as Clinton pursues the presidency,” Ryan said. "Two, while I don't think editors are choosing reporters to cover Clinton because of their gender, women are drawn to this story journalistically, given its sweep, history-making potential and the way the Clinton story intersects with the broader discussion about gender, power and culture in this country."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/hillary-clinton-women-press-214891#ixzz3sjyrRUs6

Do you want your state to try single-payer, like Colorado???? I DO. Absolutely.


So in my state I'm pushing for a state single-payer plan, like they're going for in Colorado. AND I'm doing everything I can to support the ACA for now, because ANY state can use ACA funds to institute single-payer instead.

If we lose the ACA because a new Rethug administration comes in with a Congress similar to what we have now, then that's the end not only of the exchanges, the Medicaid expansion, the subsidies, and the Essential Benefits, but also of any Federal funds helping states work out single-payer.

What do we get by constantly highlighting the flaws of the ACA? We increase the public perception that we should listen to the Rethugs and toss the whole law out.

Don't delude yourself that if that happens, we'll get single-payer instead. We won't. Not a chance in hell if the Rethugs take control.

And it will be hell.

P.S. And if you don't believe single-payer could happen state by state, then you haven't been paying attention. Ten years ago a single state approved gay marriage. Now it's the law everywhere in the country. I believe the process of change could be much quicker if a handful of states had successful single-payer programs. Please let this happen. Don't help the Rethugs tear down this chance.

Force feeding: cruel at Guantanomo, but fine for our parents.

Something to remember if you ever have a loved one whose doctor or nursing home is recommending tube feeding. It's usually not to the patient's benefit.

Why is it done, even when it's not medically necessary? Because it saves time for the nursing staff and is reimbursed at a higher rate than hand-feeding.


THE practice of forced feeding has been highlighted by its use on hunger strikers in Guantánamo Bay and, more recently, in Israel, where a vigorous debate about the ethics of such a practice is taking place. But you don’t have to be in prison to have a feeding tube jammed up your nose. Millions of elderly Americans are fed through tubes despite a lack of substantial evidence pointing to any clinical benefit.

Tube feeding was developed to provide nutrition for patients — increasingly patients with dementia — who are unable to eat on their own. Most of them, especially as they approach the terminal end of the disease, develop difficulties in swallowing and frequently aspirate food or other stomach contents into their lungs, developing pneumonia.

Study after study, however, has shown that tube feeding doesn’t provide any benefit compared with feeding these patients by hand, which is more labor-intensive but much better for the patients. It doesn’t improve survival, reduce infections, reduce the incidence of aspiration pneumonia or improve patients’ nutritional status over those who are hand fed or even over patients not fed at all.

If anything, feeding tubes can be harmful. One study showed that patients with feeding tubes had a higher incidence of pressure ulcers in their backs from being immobilized and lying in bed. Feeding tubes also have frequent complications of their own like being dislodged or being clogged. (Feeding tubes are a necessary evil in some cases, such as after surgery or after a serious accident.)


You're wrong if you think that adding to the Rethug drumbeat against Obamacare

will bring us closer to single-payer.

It won't. It will just help to prove to millions of uninformed voters that Obama's major achievement was a disaster -- and will make them that much more likely to hand the Presidential reins over to the GOP.

And they won't be fixing the ACA by turning it into single-payer. Their plan is to dismantle it. And to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and every other Great Society program.

The idea that selling insurance across states lines will fix all the problems is ludicrous, but it's all they have. They don't care if millions of previously uninsurable people lose their new insurance.

If the Rethugs get their way -- with your help -- the decades that Senator Ted Kennedy, the Clintons, and so many others struggled for universal healthcare will be for naught. And Colorado and every other state will be denied the chance they have right now to experiment with single-payer -- with the help of ACA money.

No, the ACA isn't perfect. Of course it has flaws, like every major new program. But if you help the Rethugs -- by exaggerating those flaws, and joining in with their chorus that the ACA is a failure -- you won't help the country move a single step closer to single-payer.

You'll help the GOP dismantle the only healthcare gains we've made in 50 years. And you'll help to hand over the Presidency to them, instead of to any Dem.

Paul Krugman: despite the opposition, Obamacare is "still a huge success story."

This is not to say we shouldn't do more. We can and should do more, and I support single-payer. But the ACA is working.


To the right’s dismay, scare tactics — remember death panels? — and spurious legal challenges failed to protect the nation from the scourge of guaranteed health coverage. Still, Obamacare’s opponents insisted that it would implode in a “death spiral” of low enrollment and rising costs.

But the law’s first two years of full implementation went remarkably well. The number of uninsured Americans dropped sharply, roughly in line with projections, while costs came in well below expectations. Opponents of reform could have reconsidered their position — but that hardly ever happens in modern politics. Instead, they doubled down on their forecasts of doom, and hyped every hint of bad news.

I mention all of this to give you some perspective on recent developments that mark a break in the string of positive surprises. Yes, Obamacare has hit a few rough patches lately. But they’re much less significant than a lot of the reporting, let alone the right-wing reaction, would have you believe. Health reform is still a huge success story.

Obamacare seeks to cover the uninsured through two channels. Lower-income Americans are covered via a federally-funded expansion of Medicaid, which was supposed to be nationwide but has been rejected in many Republican-controlled states. Everyone else has access to policies sold by private insurers who cannot discriminate based on medical history; these policies are supposed to be made affordable by subsidies that depend on your income.

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