In Honor And Memory Of 9/11

The power of fear and hate-mongering is as prevalent today as it has been since the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s. Sadly, it has impacted the ability of our first African-American to meet the promises and expectations of a nation that voted overwhelmingly to support him. But with the power of right-wing media, the so-called “Tea Party” and the hate-baiting Republican leadership of today, it has challenged us as a nation to look and think beyond the “reptilian mind” and remember what this country has and must continue to stand for. As we have just commemorated the 9th anniversary of the horror of September 11th, we must stay focused on what this nation means to us and what it must represent for our children and our children’s children as we remember that 9 years ago it seemed that the world stood still—at least for the people of New York City and all Americans and good people of the world
9/11 was one of those days in history that is seared into the minds of those of us alive to experience it. The horror, the devastation, the shear power of two huge edifices crumbling under the weight of unimaginable heat created by the intentional act of flying two large airplanes into buildings filled with people and activity.
For many of us, we have had other moments where the world seemed to stop. For our most senior population they remember “A day that will live in Infamy,” December 7th, 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor that marked our reluctant nation’s entry into World War Two; the moment we learned of the assassination of the young president, John F. Kennedy, some 47 years ago this November 22nd; the explosion of the Shuttle Challenger as the country watched on live television. Perhaps there are others, but these were the collective experience and horror of a nation, one people united by death and carnage that we knew would change the course of our lives and our nation’s history.
It is how we responded to those tragedies that have been the hallmark of who we are as a nation. The call to arms to join the rest of the world to beat back tyranny, fascism, genocide and mass murder of millions that marked the Nazis of the 1930s and 1940’s; the implementation of a fallen president’s dream of racial equality that occurred in his honor with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, shepherded by his successor, Lyndon Johnson; the effort to rebuild and continue our space shuttle program in memory of those who lost their lives on the Challenger……all efforts going forward to exemplify the best of what our nation has to offer and the character of our country.
So here we are, nine years after 9/11, when a group of Saudi Arabian -based terrorists, under the guise of religious war or “jihad” hijacked a religion and an airplane to try to take down our nation. They failed, or at least they failed then.
We see their hatred for our nation as inexplicable, wrong, intolerant and fanatically based. We believed that Osama Bin-Laden wanted to destroy our country but we would not be bowed.
The question is, though, did this terrible act of terrorism and mass murder undermine the fabric of this nation? Has Bin Laden won in his battle to undermine the very essence of our society—where freedom and opportunity prevail over dogma and repression of the rights of people who do not share a fanatical view of the world?
There are probably many who would argue that Bin Laden did, in fact, change the face of this nation—we are more fearful, we spend billions on “homeland security.” We have been willing to give up many of our freedoms in exchange for safer travel, but until recently we were unwilling to succumb to the same intolerance and hatred that fueled the acts of insanity on 9/11.
So what has happened 9 years later is that we now find ourselves with extremists here in our own country, our own clergy, our own political leaders, talking with the same intolerance, bigotry and ignorance that were and are the hallmarks of the terrorist fanatics who tried to bring our nation to its knees on 9/11. They failed. New York City continues to be an incredible melting pot of people from all walks of life, all cultures and all parts of the world who live in relative harmony together in a few square miles of teeming humanity.
In the 9 years following this unspeakable act, we have elected our first non-white President; our first Woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. We continue to celebrate religious holidays from all religions of the world without violence.
But if we allow the intolerance of small-minded and small-thinking so-called religious leaders of our own, fear-mongers like Newt Gingrich and others to feed the fears and prejudices of Americans to deny the placement of a mosque blocks from the Twin Towers, to burn other people’s Bibles because they are not our words or beliefs; to attack others because they don’t look like us, or think like us, then we will have lost and Osama Bin Laden and his band of lunatics will have accomplished years later what they could not accomplish by blowing up buildings—-the demise of the American spirit, its sense of justice, tolerance and freedom that are the qualities that threaten the fanatics and ideologues of the world. We will have become them.
We cannot let that happen. Instead, we must renew our commitment to justice, tolerance, religious freedom and a sense of community. We must remember that what has made our nation great, what our brave fighting men and women have given their lives for is our freedom, our liberty, our right to worship as we see fit and the notion that we are all equals entitled to dignity and respect. That is what has made our country great and we must remember that even at difficult moments like these. This should be the legacy of 9/11.

A Thought for Progressives

Guest post by Edward Bear

a former U.S. president said, “
Government is
not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,” he trampled
on the idea that government had the ability and the duty to be a source
of some very profound solutions as well. 
Child Labor Laws, Food and Drug Standards, and on and on.

With that statement, Reagan elevated
division and selfishness to new heights and, perhaps unknowingly, declared war
on what the essence of America is.

To begin with, government can be as
sound and as solid as the Constitution it is built upon.  Until the time of Reagan, the United States
was a nation that kept improving itself, and the lives of its citizens,
as it went along. 

When Governor Reagan left the state
of California behind to seek national office, he left one of the best public
school systems in the world, from kindergarten through graduate schools,
on a path of diminished support that lead to a deeply diminished and
deteriorating system. It is now below the national average in per-pupil
expenditure. The National Education Association ranks California 29th in the
nation in support of its students, and some estimates tell us that it is even
lower than that.  (Some legacy!)

By starving and shrinking
government, as Reagan supporters like to proselytize, we are starving ourselves
and the health of our nation. 

We need a new transformation,
where free citizens determine the policies and future of the nation, not
representatives within government who are bought and paid for by lobbyists to
do the bidding of business. There are sometimes as many as six to eight
lobbyists for every member of Congress.

Government should NOT be run like a
business!  Business should be run
like a business.  Business is only
concerned with maximizing market share and profits. 

Government should be run with the view that it is the servant of the
people and there to do good. 
These days, that almost sounds quaint, doesn’t it?

Government isn’t innately flawed
as Mr. Reagan liked to infer when he made fun of it.  Government is as honest and as
as the people who inhabit it.

For starters, LIARS should be banned
from all government jobs, elected and otherwise.  How many representatives and senators do you
think that would still leave in office? 
30%?  40%?  50%? 
When you give up on government, you give up on yourself!  It’s not a complicated equation: Government
is as good as the people in it!! Since when has honesty been “optional” for
government work?

Ask yourself: Do you believe that most
people are dishonest and incompetent? 
What kind of ‘view of existence’ is that?  Sad and cynical, I’d say.  I believe that it’s just a projection of the
person saying it, and I sure don’t want those people in government, much
less running it at the top!

The United States was born as a
place of Hope and Opportunity.  It
started out giving that hope and opportunity only to white males with European
background.  But it/we have kept amending
ourselves and improving this nation in an ongoing quest to provide “Liberty and
Justice for All.”  Those are the key
concepts: Liberty and Justice for All. 

If you agree with that notion, I
recommend you transform yourself into a Proud Progressive and carry these
thoughts proudly.  Government isn’t “a
beast that should be starved!”  It is Our
Resource and the basis of our “Commons” and it should be nourished and guided
into being an instrument for good and for justice.

You probably know that the current
disparity between the richest and poorest Americans is greater now than it has
ever been in our history
. Some economic observers call what our financial
system has become “Casino Capitalism.” 
The results of the policies of the last 30 years is that the American
Middle Class is being drained dry. That is counter to Hope and Opportunity, and
directly undermines Liberty and Justice for All.

So be a Proud Progressive!  Take Part. 
GOVERNMENT.  Transform our Nation and our
Future while we still can.  

Edward Bear is a long-time progressive activist, radio personality and talk-show producer.
He currently produces the progressive radio show Hannah-Beth On-The-Air.

What Conservatives Mean By “Freedom” and “Big Government”

Many of us have wondered what conservatives mean by terms like “big government” and “freedom.” Today the vice chairman of the California Republican Party gives us a hint. In Constitution guarantees freedom, not a cushy life, published in the Rev. Moon’s Washington Times (do Christians know he’s writing there?), Thomas G. Del Beccaro writes,


Today, politicians literally speak of the “rights” of people as they attempt to guarantee a certain standard of living for their constituent-subjects. Of course, most recently, the federal government took on the role of guaranteeing that Americans had a minimum standard of health care because, to the government, it was a right – however unenumerated. 

Now, it would be one thing if a government could actually guarantee such standards of living, but it cannot. After all, before the Great Society was enacted to take on the War on Poverty, the government-measured poverty rate was 14 percent.The pre-Great Society federal budget was less than $130 billion.Since then, we have spent tens of trillions of dollars in good intentions and have a nearly $4 trillion budget, yet the poverty rate remains virtually the same 14 percent. 

 In the process, of course, we have diminished freedoms immeasurably – whether by forcing people to pay for those trillions or by being forced to be subject to government rules….

So “big government” means more rights for Americans, like the right to health care. And by “freedom” he means not being “forced” to help out other Americans. (Of course, the poverty rate was much lower before conservatives took over the government a few years back…) 

Conservatives opposed civil rights for women, minorities, and now gay people. They opposed and fought to the last against Social Security, Medicare, unions, public schools, libraries, parks, worker safety rules, food safety riles, consumer safety rules, bank regulation, even public health programs. These are the “cushy life” big-government programs he complains about. And by “freedom” he means not pitching in to pay for things like roads, bridges, education. 
Government is We, the People watching out for, empowering and protecting each other. It means WE make the decisions and “big government” means WE make decisions that help US. Think of the alternative to We, the People making the decisions and you will realize what opponents of government are pushing for. 
 Apparently conservatives want us all to be disposable economic units with no value beyond what we are able to consume and how much money we make for the wealthy few.

Promoting Ideas

Danny Goldberg, former CEO of Air America, writes about the demise of the network, and how this contrasts with conservative talk radio. Excerpt,

“Conservatives believe in doing whatever it takes to promote their ideas. … In 1976 Rupert Murdoch bought the New York Post and it has lost money every year since–the total loss estimated to be more than half a billion dollars.
In 1983, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon created the Washington Times, which has also lost money every year. Widely published reports place Moon’s losses at over $1 billion on the Times and other political media including a purchase of the venerable wire service UPI. These money-losing properties have put dozens of conservatively slanted stories onto the national radar screen, altered the framing of every important political issue and nurtured virtually every right-wing pundit who now thrives as a TV talking head.
More recently, Phillip Anschutz bought the money-losing Weekly Standard from Murdoch and announced plans to invest in more conservative media. Meanwhile his fellow billionaire and former Republican Treasury Secretary Pete Petersen started a digital news service called the Fiscal Times.”
He goes on to talk about the influence of talk radio,
“One-hundred-thirty-eight million people commute to and from work in automobiles, where they have no access to computer or TV screens. For around a third of them, or 48 million, AM talk radio is their entertainment of choice. Of the top 10 AM talk radio shows, nine are hosted by extreme conservatives, giving the right wing a captive audience of around 40 million listeners a week–at least seven times greater than the combined audiences of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.”
Also about how this helps boost the “Tea Party Movement”
“It was not preordained that all of the millions of people who identify with the Tea Party movement would believe the conservative narrative that the economic ills afflicting the middle class are the result of liberalism. But given that tens of millions of them had no alternative explanations or solutions, it is not surprising that conservative ideas and candidates are ascendant.”
And finally the key point,
“Instead, most of today’s progressives spent the last year talking to themselves while conservatives convinced millions of people that global warming is a hoax, that torture is required to keep America safe, that non-millionaires in Canada and Europe have worse health care than their American counterparts. The right wing could never have convinced 45 percent of Americans that the Democrats wanted “death panels” if their outreach was limited to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page and the three million people a night who watch Fox’s highest-rated shows.”
By and large, Progressives talk to each other, while conservatives talk to the public.  However, Speak Out California‘s mission is to reach out to the public through the Internet, op-eds, radio and TV interviews, speaking engagements and other means.  Other California progressive organizations have a mission of reaching people as well. Courage Campaign currently works primarily through the Internet.  Others, like Organizing for America/California and Democracy for America, work on voter engagement.
Until we persuade our legislative leaders that we’ve got their backs, they’re going to continue doing things–like capitulating to suspending the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other important state environmental laws that protect the public health and the beauty of natural resources.  There will be lots more capitulation this year as well, unfortunately, and from the top down. We’re already seeing it in the President’s sharp veering to the right after the Massachusetts election and we sense the same fear and uncertainty swelling in Sacramento.
Unless we put some resources into building a competitive messaging machine and create a megaphone that reaches out beyond our own ears, the state of California will continue to veer to the destructive “right” and we’ll all be blaming “left” politics for it.

Act Like Democrats

There are a few lessons to take away from last night’s elections. The main one is that Democrats should act like Democrats if they want Democrats to show up and vote. Low-turnout elections are base elections: you have to turn out your base or you will lose.
Virginia: The Democrat didn’t act like a Democrat and Democrats didn’t show up and vote. Deeds told people he was against having a public option in the health care reform bill! He went so far as to say that he would take Virginia out of the public option! So why would any Democrats want to show up and vote for that? Meanwhile the Republican comes out of the Pat Robertson religious-right machine, and they did show up and vote.
New York: Democrats won a seat that has been Republican for over 100 years. The far-right takeover of the Republicans is an opportunity. Democrats should be working in every single district in the country because no “solid” Republican seat is safe anymore.
New Jersey: Independents voted Republican and Dems didn’t turn out. I have no idea yet why this happened and need to see the exit polling. The Democrat previously had been Chairman of Goldman Sachs, and that may well have been a significant factor.
Maine: This was a terrible disappointment. The national Democratic Party didn’t help. The OFA organization didn’t help and even asked their members in Maine to come to New Jersey. Democrats had best not expect any fundraising success from LGBT after this.

Who is Roman Polanski?

Here in California, we take our celebrities very seriously. We
love it when they become immersed in controversy perhaps because it
provides a diversion from some of the other more complex and difficult
issues of the day. Here we have a controversy that does both. Although
it has been decades since the crime and acknowledgement of it by Roman
Polanski, he used his money and fame to skirt any consequence until
now. His predicament has brought out many of Hollywood’s top
celebrities to his defense. At the same time, the issue of violence
against women, and sexual violence in particular continues to be a
serious concern in our society. 

We at Speak
Out California are committed to women’s equality and dignity. It is one
of the fundamental principles of a just and equal society. Women’s
rights advocate and friend of Speak
Out California, Janice Rocco, has today’s guest
column on the subject.

Who is Roman Polanski?

A guest post by Janice Rocco of California National Organization for Women.
Who is Roman Polanski and what should the
consequences of his actions be? That question seems to have a
surprisingly different answer depending on one’s vantage point. To more
than 100 in the international film community who signed a petition
demanding his “immediate release”, he is apparently first and foremost
“one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers” whose freedom should not
be taken away. To me, a women who was a child growing up in Los Angeles
when Roman Polanski pled guilty to a sex crime against a child, he is a
rapist who fled justice and has yet to take responsibility for a crime
that harmed a 13 year old girl, her family and the rest of us who have
watched him evade justice and thumb his nose at the legal system for
more than three decades.

The fact that violence against women is commonplace in this
country and around the globe does not make it acceptable or mean that
when a talented celebrity is the perpetrator that we should ignore that
a serious crime took place. The fact that in popular culture, including
many films, women are often portrayed in demeaning ways and violence is
often sexualized does not mean that women and their families and
friends aren’t devastated by the crime of rape each and every day.

How many women in this country and others, especially women
who have survived a sexual assault, watched the Academy Awards the year
that Polanski won the best director award and felt anger, pain or
disgust as an audience full of his colleagues in the film industry
cheered for this man who still doesn’t have the decency to turn himself

a lot of people have been educated about rape since 1977 when Polanski
pled guilty to raping a 13 year old girl, some still want to believe
that rape is something that only takes place in a dark alley and is
committed by a stranger. Reality is that the majority of rapes are
committed by someone known to the victim. That
doesn’t make the crime any less traumatic or mean that anything less
than a prison sentence is appropriate for those who commit this violent

One shouldn’t have to read the grand jury testimony
of a 13 year old girl to understand the seriousness of what occurred
back in 1977. Polanski was charged with giving a drug to a minor,
committing a lewd act upon a person less than 14, rape of a minor, rape
by use of a drug, oral copulation and sodomy. All the charges were
felonies. He was allowed to plead guilty to the charge of unlawful
sexual intercourse with a minor in order to spare the young woman the
difficulty of having to testify publicly when her identity was not yet
known to the public.

Thirty-two years have passed since Polanski’s guilty plea and
he hadn’t spent a
day in jail since fleeing this country until authorities in Switzerland
took Polanski into custody last weekend. The number of years that a
rich and powerful man has successfully evaded justice, should be
considered when he is sentenced for his crime, but only from the
standpoint that his evasion of justice should bring a more severe
penalty than he would have received three decades ago for what already
was a very serious crime.

There are those who say that since the woman who survived this
rape over thirty years ago has forgiven Polanski and wants to put this
behind her, he should not be punished by the legal system. Those people
forget that this is a case of The People of the State of California vs.
Roman Polanski and that justice has yet to be served. If
Roman Polanski wants to help put this behind the woman who he harmed so
many years ago, he should stop fighting extradition and return to
California for his sentencing hearing for the crime to which he pled

Justice is rarely done when celebrities commit crimes. The
victims are generally re-victimized by the media coverage and often the
perpetrators receive little in the way of punishment for their crimes.
It is long past time that Roman Polanski faces the consequences for his
crimes. Justice should not be delayed even one more day.

– Janice Rocco, Southwest Regional Director of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

The end of an era

With the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy this week, we have come to the official end of an extraordinary era and family legacy. There are still many of us left who cut our political teeth on the Kennedy’s– listening to the newly elected, handsome young man with the appalling Boston accent (this is not intended as an insult, I’m from Boston myself) call us to service to our country. We also remember his younger brother, Bobby trying to pick up the mantle during the turbulent days of the Viet Nam War and asking why we can’t live our dreams. We had remaining within our midst for many decades the youngest of nine children “Teddy” who ended up carrying the torch of an ill-fated family. Now even he is gone and we are left to mourn the passing of one family’s response to the call to public service.

One cannot ignore in the mix, the less visible but equally committed Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who passed away only a few short weeks ago. Her work in establishing the Special Olympics was no less notable in its impact on the lives of thousands of families around the world.

Teddy Kennedy was a large and boisterous man. He was passionate, he was charming and he was imperfect. A scar on his legacy will be that horrible summer’s night when he drove off a bridge in Chappaquidick that took the life of a young woman and left him forever with a blot on his work. Nonetheless, and with that being said, it is his powerful and positive legacy that we should and must remember of him and his life’s work championing the cause of the needy and the poor among us.

A wonderful vignette is circulating on you-tube that captures his passion in a speech to a group about the importance of universal healthcare. Classic Teddy. Passionate. Personal. Genuinely heartfelt. No observor can hear or see him without agreeing that he truly cared, understood the need for better healthcare and felt the pain he had endured himself, having survived a terrible plane crash that killed two others and with family medical crises that stalked his children for years.


Growing up in Boston in the 60’s, I remember watching his debate against another great political Boston family, the McCormacks. I remember so vividly watching our black and white T.V. when his adversary, Edward McCormack taunted the 30 year old youngest of 11 Kennedy kids by saying, ” I’ll bet if your name were Edward Moore, and not Edward Moore Kennedy, you wouldn’t even be here tonight”. Even though he may have been right, Teddy although clearly annoyed, kept his cool and responded, again with that heavy Boston accent, about the purpose and value of public service. .

While the Kennedy’s out-dueled the McCormacks on this one, and Teddy entered the U.S. Senate, that bitterness never hampered Teddy in his effort to be a great Senator. He had an Irishman’s love of the bitters and a good story. He had an enormous love of his children and a hearty meal.

I had the good fortune of serving as an intern in his office when he was the Majority Whip. At the same time, he was dealing with the cancer of his eldest son and the terrible asthma problems of his youngest, Patrick. He had lost his remaining two older brothers in the intervening years and  had become the father figure to their families and their broods.

Ted Kennedy was clearly a child of privilege and wealth. He is reputed to never have carried any money with him so that his staff would always make sure they had real currency with them when staffing him.  But he was always approachable and funny, with a quick wit and humorous tale to tell at the drop of a hat. 

His office was a gallery of family pictures of sparklingly handsome, toothy people almost always photographed in the out-of-doors, always smiling, whether it was playing football, sailing, skiing or just being there. It was almost hard to believe that this very same family had suffered so much at the hands of assassins and war. (Eldest of the siblings was Joe Kennedy Jr. who died as a fighter pilot in World War Two and Joe Srs. first hope for a Catholic President).

I heard Senator Kennedy give many speeches over the course of his career. He had that incredible Kennedy charisma, with those sparkling blue eyes and as he got older, that mane of stunning white hair. He mellowed, especially after marrying his wife and now widow, Vicki in 1992 and seemed to settle into his role as America’s elder statesman. He had found his niche, was comfortable with it and his life and with the opportunity to lead the Senate’s liberals as its spokesman and champion.

In spite of all the tragedy in his life, Edward Moore Kennedy never abandoned the little guy, never gave up the fight for equal dignity for all people and never forgot how his life of privilege compelled him and his family to seek to make life a little better for everyone else.  It is a legacy we will do well to remember. It seems only fitting that he left us and left the stage with the following charge at the 2008 Democratic Convention:
“The work begins anew.
Hope rises again and
The dream lives on.”
Whether we agreed with Kennedy’s vision of a better world or focused too much on his flaws and failings, the one thing we can and should agree upon is that his work has impacted all of us and we are the better for it.

Government Can’t Get Things Right?

This is circulating.  We recommend you copy it and email it to friends and relatives:

Once again, for the benefit of the government-can’t-get-anything-right flock:

This morning you were awoken by your alarm clock (powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy). You then took a shower (in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility). After that, you turned on the TV (to one of the FCC regulated channels) to see what the national weather service (of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) determined the weather was going to be like (using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). You watched this while eating your breakfast of (US Department of Agriculture inspected) cereal and taking your blood pressure medication (which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration).

At the appropriate time (as
regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the National
Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory), you get into your (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved) automobile and set out to work (on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation), possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel (of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency), paying in cash (legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank). On the way out the door you deposit any mail you have to be sent out (via the US Postal Service) and drop the kids off at (public) school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work (thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), enjoying another two meals (which again do not kill you because of the USDA), you drive your (NHTSA) car back home (on the DOT roads), to your house (which
has not burned down in your absence because of the state and local
building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been
plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department).

You then log on to the internet (which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration) and post on, and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

only reason government doesn’t work is because conservative Republican
administrations defunded and/or patronage staffed them with people with
ties to special business interests: to wit the last FDA, Dept of
Interior and Agriculture under Bush. No one seems to have a problem
with pumping over $500Bil to the Defense Department, which last I heard
is a socialized entity.

George Will Gets It Right About Government

Sunday’s San Jose Mercury News contains an anti-government op-ed by George Will, “Democrats want nation dependent on government“. (The online headline is different.)

This sounds scary, sinister, even somehow slightly evil.  But if you look into the meaning of the words, the effect changes.

Here is what I mean.  In America government is us.  Our Constitution is the defining document of our government and it
couldn’t be clearer, declaring that We, the People formed this country “to promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves”… In other words, watch out for and take care of each other; “We, the People” have banded together to watch out for each other, take care of each other and build institutions to protect and empower each other.

So with them real meaning of the words in mind Will’s headline becomes “Democrats want nation to take care of each other.”  Will is exactly right, and good for them.

Will’s column is about the national healthcare reform battle and proposals for a “public option,” which offers a Medicare-like health insurance plan to all of our citizens.  Will opposes this, because,

Competition from the public
option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit
and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers.”

In other words, he is complaining that a public option health insurance plan will provide more benefits to more citizens at a lower cost.  Will casts this as a bad thing, because it threatens the ability of a few wealthy business owners to profit from people’s need for health care. 

Profits for a few instead of benefits to the public appears to be his idea of the purpose of government.  But to the rest of us the point of health care reform is to take better care of each other while lowering the costs.  This is why the “public option” is necessary — private, profit-driven companies are not designed to accomplish delivery of essential services to everyone.  Profit-driven companies are designed to deliver only to those who are willing to pay the most, which when applied to essential human needs violates fundamental tenets of democracy.  We are supposed to be a one-person-one-vote country, not a one-dollar-one-vote country.

Again, Will and other conservatives use lots of scary words.  But if you look at the meanings of the words, their complaint is with Americans who want to enjoy the fruits of democracy and equality, and take care of each other. 

And this is supposed to be a bad thing?

Statement on the California Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Proposition 8

Speak Out California
Statement on the California Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Proposition 8

The California Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that denies a specified group of our citizens the same rights as other Californians are allowed.
It is unfortunate that instead of being in the forefront of civil and human rights California is now in the position of denying a core human right to a selected group.
We are pleased that the Court allowed 18,000 couples whose decision to make a life commitment to each other to keep that right, but this apparently one-time-offer is no longer available to others who wish to have the same rights as all other Californians. This has happened because of a misguided and deceptively misleading religiously-based ballot initiative that was financed by big money from out of state and the intolerance of other well-funded organizations.
This is not over. The next step is to bring the matter back to the people. This time we need to dispel the fears and hatred that drove Prop. 8 by making it clear that it is a fundamental issue of human dignity for people to have the right to choose a life partner.
We at Speak Out California look forward to participating in that effort and in finally allowing all people the right to marry in the state of California, as many other states have now recognized as a fundamental right and a matter of simple human decency.
Please click here to join our ranks at Speak Out California, and please join the Courage Campaign’s Fearless efforts to organize the fight to bring equal rights to all Californians, and visit
In addition, please join the Meet in the Middle for Equality rally in Fresno, Saturday May 30, 1:00pm at City Hall.
Here is the Courage Campaign “Fidelity” video:

Please read the following statements by California and national leaders on this unfortunate decision:  (We will continue to post statements through the day.)

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