What are you hiding, Mitt?

So, what is Mitt hiding?

I go away for one week and all kinds of fun breaks out in the presidential campaign.

Mitt, in trying to talk his way out of the realities of his tenure at Bain Capital, now has his lackey saying he retired retroactively. He wants us to vote for him because of his extensive business experience, but he doesn’t want us to know about his extensive business experience.

Romney claims he left Bain in 1999, but there’s plenty of evidence he was there after that, until 2002, actually. The thing is, he doesn’t want to be associated with the worst of the outsourcing and layoffs for which Bain was responsible during that time.

In fact, there’s a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, dated Feb. 11, 2001, signed by Mitt Romney and filed in 2002 claiming, that Mitt Romney was the sole owner and shareholder of Bain Capital and that he was CEO, president and managing director.

Either he lied in the SEC filing — a crime — or he’s lying now.

And when President Obama refers to that evidence, Romney demands an apology as though he’s completely innocent of all the damage Bain has done to American companies.

He wants us to believe he’s on the up and up, that he has nothing to hide, but he won’t release his tax returns.

He seems to forget that we have recording devices and paper trails and that we can see how many times he has flip-flopped and outright lied about his record.

He said the other day that John Kerry only released two years of tax records, but a quick look back shows that Kerry released 20 years of tax records. For somebody with as much business experience as Romney has, that’s pretty bad basic math.

Even members of his own party are calling in Romney to release his tax records and come clean about Bain.

I suppose he’s probably hoping he can stop all the attention by naming a running mate. I’m not certain that will help now. He needs to come clean.

 

You bet I’m angry

By my friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies

I had a pretty lengthy rant going on Local Edge Radio the other day. I started with the arrogance and mean-spiritedness of Justice Antonin Scalia, making light of the Affordable Care Act, complaining it was too long to read and saying it was OK to let people die.

It was NOT OK to let my son die, or any other American whose life could be saved by appropriate medical treatment. A study released this week placed the United States 19th out of 19 industrialized nations in health care outcomes. Dead last (pun intended). It also estimated 101,000 Americans die each year because they lack access to appropriate treatment.

Someone commented to me that we can’t afford to treat everyone — just look at all the problems the Euro-nations are having.

Well, first of all, the economic mess comes from the power of Wall Street and the big banks to do whatever they please, rob the economy blind, take us to the brink of world economic disaster and suffer no punishment for it. Secondly, every one of those countries pays far, far less than we do for health care because it costs far, far less to care for people before they become critically ill. It costs far, far less to treat mental illnesses in a clinic than it does in a jail, which is where some 60 percent of people with chronic and persistent mental illnesses get treatment nowadays.

And we’re just talking about the financial cost, not the human cost of allowing people to suffer needlessly.

Regulation is important, not just for health insurance companies, but for banks, Wall Street, utilities — every industry. Without it, you get economic meltdown as the 1 percent steals ever more from the working class.

Without regulation, there is less safety in the workplace — the reason my son has had third-degree burns three times where he works.

The Right would have us believe government can do nothing right. They point to schools, which have been defunded at historic rates.  When schools were funded, American children had the best education system in the world. That hasn’t been true since the 1980s. In fact, we have been slipping badly.

Now they’re defunding highways and transportation, claiming that the market will build and maintain roads where they’re needed. Yes I have heard that claim many times; I’m not making it up.

But you still can turn on your tap and get water. You still have libraries and police and fire departments you can call when you need them — at least until the Right privatizes them or eliminates them entirely by defunding them. Already, we’re seeing concerted efforts to reduce their power to negotiate and reduce their salaries and benefits.

Workers’ salaries aren’t keeping pace with inflation. In every city in the country, it takes more than twice the minimum wage to pay for even the most basic needs (housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, child care). Those basic needs do not include cable TV, any meals out, including McDonald’s, or Internet service.

Why do you suppose that’s true? Well, we’ve villified the American worker and killed the unions.

This sustained attack on working Americans has reduced our salaries and increased our debt — it hearkens back to the Guilded Age when factories put people up in company-owned housing and paid them in company scrip which could only be spent at the company store. Prices at the store were high enough to keep workers in debt so they couldn’t leave.

If you think that’s not where we’re headed, think again.

And now they attack women, forcing us to have transvaginal sonograms — against our and our doctors’ wills — before we can have a perfectly legal surgical procedure. They call us whores because we want to be the ones to decide when and if we will bear children, as though we can’t be trusted to control our own bodies.

I lived through the changing of those laws. I thought we had changed attitudes too, but apparently, we weren’t as successful as we thought.

We are engaged in endless wars, killing and maiming our soldiers while asking nothing of any of the rest of us. The military-industrial complex is making billions off of these wars while soldiers and their families suffer with not enough pay and not enough care, not to mention the misery we inflict on the populations of people we attack. But if we demand an end to war, we’re told we’re not supporting the troops. That’s bullshit, pure and simple.

I’m tired of the attacks on the American people and I’m furious about the lies they perpetrate on us.

The Affordable Care Act will not result in rationed care; that’s being done already by Big Insurance. It will not mean people over 75 will be refused treatment for cancer, not like my 30-year-old son was refused care because he didn’t have insurance. These things are deliberate lies.

You bet I’m angry.

 

Happy “Obamacare” birthday

Carolyn Comeau with her husband, Craig and their children, Louise and Colin.

As we celebrate the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we can’t become complacent. Its opponents, funded by the massive Health Industrial Complex, are stepping up their attacks and lies.

Just the other day I saw the tired old “death panels” online again, and the lie that anyone older than 75 won’t get treatment if they get cancer. I answered with a paragraph from the law that forbids age discrimination.

So, what’s the truth? Well, my friend Carolyn Comeau can tell you that she doesn’t have to worry about her family going bankrupt if her breast cancer should come back. She was diagnosed five years ago with breast cancer. Soon afterward, her husband, Craig, lost his job, but they were able to maintain coverage through COBRA. It nearly broke the bank to pay the premiums, but they got her through treatment.

Just as COBRA was ending and they discovered that Carolyn was uninsurable, the state’s high-risk pool came online, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The coverage isn’t cheap, but it’s not unaffordable for the family, either.

Older Americans are getting more help paying for their prescriptions; 2.5 million young adults are able to stay on their parents’ policies until they reach age 25. People who have insurance no longer have to pay anything out-of-pocket for screening tests like colonoscopies and mammography. Insurance companies can’t dump you if you get sick, and a birth defect is no longer grounds for an insurance company to refuse coverage to a child. That last one alone might have saved my son.

For all the bad press the Affordable Care Act is getting, for all the deliberate lies about what’s in the law, it still has the approval of about half of Americans, and many who don’t approve say it’s because the law doesn’t go far enough.

I’d still like to see a public option. Give me the opportunity to buy into Medicare so I don’t have to send money to insurance companies that spend billions on lobbyists and mega-bonuses for their executives.

For all its flaws — the biggest of which is that more than 20 million Americans will remain uninsured — the Affordable Care Act has improved our health care system and is poised to do a lot more.

So, I’m celebrating today that we finally got that first step to a better system for all Americans.

 

Who we gonna cut?

From my friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Matt Davies (http://www.gocomics.com/mattdavies)

I’ve been really dismayed the last week or so as people post on Facebook and Twitter how we need to cut spending, and they insist it can’t come from the “job creators.”  There’s no room for debate: we have to stop carrying the lazy, unemployed bums and others who won’t work and give breaks to the wealthiest on the off chance they’ll somehow find it in their hearts to create jobs.

Facts and history aren’t persuading these folks that we can’t keep on this way. In fact, there’s a sizeable chunk of people out there who think it would be good to default on our debt so we would have to cut programs that help people in need.

The debt ceiling wasn’t such an issue when Congress voted to raise it seven times during the George W. Bush administration. In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Debt doesn’t matter,” as he and his cronies started two wars with no idea how they would be paid for, and then cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Now, all of a sudden, debt matters. That’s because we’re running out of money from the debt THEY ran up. We have to cut spending, they say, not increase taxes.

So, who do we cut?

Medicaid is pretty much pared to the bone already. Come 2014, it’s supposed to cover all Americans who earn up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; I’m hoping it still will be around then.

Already, most single adults are excluded from Medicaid. Even with Stage 3 cancer, my son Mike wasn’t eligible until he and his wife split. I was asked to write and sign a letter saying they had split and had no intention of getting back together when we thought Mike’s only option was to live with me (his best friend invited him to live with him, offering him somewhat more of a sense of independence).

People who use Medicaid often are denied the best drugs and treatments because Medicaid doesn’t cover it. If you have diabetes, you will get medication, but not the newest meds that really help control blood glucose. If you have a psychiatric illness, you won’t get the drugs that work the best, so your illness will be more difficult to stabilize.

The people served by Medicaid aren’t just “welfare mothers” and “bums” as so many Americans lucky enough to have jobs and good health believe. People with serious disabilities get services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Even the places they live, which offer the skilled care they need, are paid for by Medicaid. If we cut more, some of them will be placed in nursing homes with no therapy, no activities, surrounded by people with whom they have nothing in common.

OK, so do we cut unemployment compensation? Does it really keep people from looking for jobs?

Historically, no one has objected to helping people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. We give tax breaks to huge corporations when they ship jobs overseas and then criticize the people who lose their jobs as a result, plotting to punish them instead of the corporate bigwigs who took the jobs away.

So, let’s shave some dollars from the Pentagon budget. I think Halliburton and their ilk can afford to lose some revenues, especially since the’ve been allowed to wantonly rip off the American people with shoddy workmanship and overpriced, no-bid contracts for a decade now. Those billions could have fed the nation’s hungry children or fixed our crumbling national infrastructure.

Let’s cut some of the benefits we give members of Congress. No more free ride on health care. No more lifelong pensions — or jobs, for that matter. If we limit the amount of time people can spend there, maybe we can go back to citizen rule instead of a country run by corrupt corporate shills.

I’m really angry about how many Americans believe the lies they’re being fed by a bought-and-paid-for media, and how many really think it’s OK to let the Right have its way and destroy our lives and our country.

No more cuts to programs ordinary people need to get by. None. Not one cent. Tell your member of Congress today.

 

 

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