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The Fear Card and the Guilt Card

8:34 pm in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

A little while ago I did a piece on tweeting the fear card, and the attempts of certain supporters of the Democrats in this year’s elections to persuade dissatisfied and angry progressives that severe damage will be done to the country if the Republicans take over the House, the implication being that severe damage will not also be done if the Democrats retain control of the House. As the election has approached the fear card is being supplemented by the guilt card.

The guilt card asks whether angry progressives won’t feel guilty If Republican neanderthals like Bachmann, O’Donnell, Angle, Paul, Joe Miller, Johnson, Webster, etc. beat fine Democrats like Russ Feingold and others. And then it suggests that if you don’t want to feel guilty you have to get out there and work for the Democrats, so that the great evil of a Republican victory will be averted and we can have two more wonderful years of Democratic rule.

I really have the same answer to both the fear card and the guilt card, and they are my own fear and guilt cards for Democratic Congresscritters and a Democratic President. First, aren’t you afraid of turning the country over to the neanderthals again and going back to the Bush policies? Won’t you feel guilty if you lose to the knuckle-draggers, and completely blow the golden opportunity for change the American people gave you in 2008?

If you are afraid, and you do will feel guilty, then don’t berate me or other angry progressives for whining. Just stop whining yourself and do what it takes to get our votes. It’s easy.

First, in the Senate, get your lazy butts in gear and use the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster. Second, pass the economic program I’ve written about here. Third, pass a bill defining legal persons incorporated by States and operating in Interstate commerce in such a way that they cannot fund political messaging. Fourth, pass HR 676 Medicare for All. Fifth, pass EFCA. Sixth, dissolve the Catfood Commission. There is no long-term deficit problem. It’s a myth. Forget about it!

Next, for us angry progressives let’s keep two things in mind. First, hctomorrow’s post of September 14th. He places our voting decision in the November elections in the context of experimental research on Game Theory, and likens our situation to an iterated prisoner’s dilemma game in which the best immediate tactic is to defect against a cooperating partner. He points out that the Democratic Party’s game against us progressives is to ask us to cooperate, indeed to use any sort of appeal to get us to support them, while they defect from any promises they make to us and act to please the interests that fund their campaigns. He also points out that in an iterated prisoner dilemma situation, such as the one we find ourselves in, it is self-defeating for us to continue to support the Democrats, however persuasive their fear and guilt cards may be.

Continued cooperation with them by us will not secure cooperative behavior on their part, but according to a vast amount of experimental evidence will only result in further defections of Democrats from our interests. To get their cooperation we have to engage in defecting behavior too. That is we have to stay home, or vote for third parties, or even vote Republican, because only then is it possible for them to learn that their strategy of continuous defection won’t work. Prisoners Dilemma research has shown that defection will bring occasional cooperative behavior on the Democrats’ part. When that occurs the indicated response by us should be cooperation. But not until then.

To these notions, I want to add my own view that if we accept that we need to defect from the Democrats to show that if they don’t cooperate, we won’t either, then this election is a better time to do it than in the election of 2012. Then, both the Presidency and the Congress will be up for grabs. In 2010 however, the most likely result of elections where we defect is that the Democrats will lose only the House.

Today, Jim Moss makes the case that the 2010 elections won’t give the Republicans so much power that they can repeal anything they want too, and also that control of the House doesn’t mean very much, since with the filibuster still intact in the Senate, most legislation gets blocked or watered down anyway. He’s right! This is not that critical an election. If we defect from the Democrats now, we can see how they behave over the next two years, do our best to develop the framework of a real third party, then, If they continue to defect, we can decide whether to go back to them again or pull the trigger, and end the Democratic Party, as we know it, for good.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving and Fiscal Sustainability).

Unless You Want Another Recession, Don’t Pine For the Clinton Surpluses

11:50 am in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

The other day, in one of their e-mails, Democracy For America (DFA) posed the choice for me in the 2010 elections this way:

This election, the choice is clear:

  • Republicans like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell want to retain the Bush-Cheney reckless tax cuts for the wealthy that created out of control budget deficits and lead America into a jobs-losing recession.
  • Democrats like Barack Obama and Patrick Leahy want to return to the booming Clinton-Gore economy that led to balanced budgets and created over 22 million new jobs.

Well, I certainly don’t want the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy to continue, because all the rich seem to do with these is to invest in foreign nations, and to buy off American politicians. So, if we could end those, create a number of new brackets, make the top marginal income tax about 70% again, close loopholes, and make the inheritance taxes once again a useful instrument for blocking the formation of hereditary aristocracies again, I’d be very happy about that.

The 22 million new jobs would also be nice. But they’re not enough because there are 25 – 30 million people who are now under- or unemployed, and the population is growing, so we need something like 30 – 35 million jobs, and in much less than eight years, unless we want the under- and unemployed to continue to suffer. As for the balanced budgets, that’s another matter entirely. W. Randall Wray looks at the history of budget surpluses in this way:

. . . Since 1776 there have been exactly seven periods of substantial budget surpluses and significant reduction of the debt. From 1817 to 1821 the national debt fell by 29 percent; from 1823 to 1836 it was eliminated (Jackson’s efforts); from 1852 to 1857 it fell by 59 percent, from 1867 to 1873 by 27 percent, from 1880 to 1893 by more than 50 percent, and from 1920 to 1930 by about a third. Of course, the last time we ran a budget surplus was during the Clinton years. . . .

And what happened after we ran those surpluses? Randy says:

. . . The United States has also experienced six periods of depression. The depressions began in 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893, and 1929. (Do you see any pattern? Take a look at the dates listed above.) With the exception of the Clinton surpluses, every significant reduction of the outstanding debt has been followed by a depression, and every depression has been preceded by significant debt reduction. The Clinton surplus was followed by the Bush recession, a speculative euphoria, and then the collapse in which we now find ourselves. The jury is still out on whether we might manage to work this up to yet another great depression. While we cannot rule out coincidences, seven surpluses followed by six and a half depressions (with some possibility for making it the perfect seven) should raise some eyebrows. And, by the way, our less serious downturns have almost always been preceded by reductions of federal budget deficits. . .

In case you think this record is a coincidence. It is what we’d expect according to the economic narrative of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). MMT emphasizes the accounting identity: Private Sector Surplus – the Current Account Balance – the Government Deficit = Zero. Right now, for example, the desire of people to save resulting from the recession and its attendant insecurity is producing a private sector surplus. The current account balance is negative because we’re still importing a lot more than we’re exporting, and also because foreign nations very much want to get USD in return for their real wealth. So, the Government deficit has to be high to make things balance out at zero.

Now let’s say the Government tries to drive down the deficit by cutting spending, raising taxes, or both, as the deficit hawks and doves recommend over different time frames. Then either exports, or private sector savings, or both will decline. Or perhaps automatic stabilizers associated with the social safety net will drive spending up in unanticipated ways despite the Governments targeted spending cuts.

The point is that Government surpluses imply withdrawing financial assets from the private sector. The longer the surpluses continue, the more the other two sectors will decline. Eventually, the private sector will be so drained of financial assets that if credit is, or becomes, unavailable, consumption can’t be maintained at previous levels and economic activity spirals downward.

That’s exactly what happened at the end of the Clinton Administration. The four years of Government surpluses withdrew financial assets from the private economy and led to the decline of economic activity very late in the Clinton-Gore years and early in the Bush Administration.

Bush began to run deficits again, of course, but these deficits were for tax cuts and foreign wars, relatively low multiplier activities associated with government spending, so the economy didn’t recover to earlier levels until 2005, or so. Perhaps the only reason why the Clinton/Bush recession wasn’t itself a classical depression, is because of the effects of the automatic stabilizers provided by the social safety net.

The lesson, of course, is that it is wrong to wish for Government surpluses in the US or to try to produce them, short of an inflationary period. Furthermore, in limes of low inflation, when the economy is performing well, there will be a drain of demand due to the perfectly normal desire of the private sector to save, and also because of our long-term state as a net importer of real wealth. Both of these lead to a leakage in demand. If the Government does make up for that leakage with deficit spending a recession or depression must eventually result.

DFA’s nostalgia for the Clinton surpluses is not something we ought to share. On the contrary, it’s something Democrats ought to fear, as they also ought to fear President Obama’s obvious long-term desire to replay the Clinton scenario, and Hillary Clinton’s mistaken belief that continuing deficits are a "national security" threat. They are the opposite. They are the norm. And even in good times, and in the absence of inflation, that are the normal state of an economy and a society looking for continual growth, prosperity, and full employment for its citizens, the US needs Government deficits to compensate for the leakage of demand that will always be present due to private savings, and a negative current account balance. So, in general, deficits are a positive good; not something to be avoided or extinguished, unless we have to cool an overheated economy.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving and Fiscal Sustainability).

2012: How U.S. Voters Can Wrest Control of Congress from Special Interests — Part II: Why the Political Context Is Favorable for A Populist Takeover of Congressional Districts Using The Interactive Voter Choice System

9:25 pm in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

[Ed. note: This series has been re-posted by Joe Firestone (a.k.a. letsgetitdone) on behalf of author Nancy Bordier with her express permission.]

By Nancy Bordier

See the series introduction here.

Thanks to advances in Internet technologies, the obstacles the major parties and their special interest backers have erected to prevent voters from ousting their incumbents can be circumvented by voters who leverage the large scale collective action power of the Internet via the web application described in this series to get control of U.S. electoral processes. This application, the Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS), enables dissatisfied voters to self-organize and build voting blocs and electoral coalitions that can run winning candidates in local Congressional elections without special interest funding. The voting blocs and coalitions will be able to run candidates who can defeat special interest-backed candidates, wealthy self-funded candidates, and candidates run by special interest-backed voting blocs, such as the Tea Party, because they will be able to set transpartisan agendas that appeal to a broader-cross section of voters. These voters will decide who they want to run and what their candidates’ agendas will be.

The political context is very favorable for supporting this kind of role for the IVCS. 40% of the electorate has rejected membership in the Democratic and Republican parties. Their membership has shrunk to roughly 33% and 23%, respectively. Not all of them identify strongly with the Parties. In fact, two-thirds of all Americans favor having a third political party that would run candidates for president, Congress and state offices against Republican and Democratic candidates. With more than 80% of the electorate wanting to oust most Congressional representatives, because they favor special interests over their constituents’ interests, typical election districts have more than enough dissatisfied voters to decide who wins and loses in the 2012 Congressional elections.

Because they will be able to mobilize these voters and engage them in collectively setting transpartisan bloc agendas crossing party lines and embracing new ideas, self-organizing voting blocs, whose formation will be facilitated by the application, will be able to create winning electoral bases comprised of disaffected voters across the political spectrum. These electoral bases will be broad and transpartisan. They will be able to outflank and outmaneuver stand-alone political parties and voting blocs running special interest-backed candidates with special interest agendas.

What is unique about the IVCS application is that it empowers voters for the first time in history to set agendas that can serve as written legislative mandates to candidates and incumbents setting forth voters’ policy priorities across the board. The application enables them to use their legislative mandates to drive U.S. electoral and legislative processes every step of the way. Voters can choose their policy priorities from a database of 104 options, annotate the options, and add their own options to the database. They can then contact voters who have chosen similar priorities, and join forces with them to build voting blocs in their local Congressional election districts around shared policy agendas, using communication and collaboration tools and services provided on the website built around the application.

The application is also unique in that it enables voters to play a pro-active rather than a re-active role in U.S. elections. Voters can use their voting blocs and legislative mandates to set the terms and conditions for supporting Congressional candidates. They can use them to identify, nominate, run and elect Congressional candidates whose agendas converge with their own. When their candidates take office, they will have written legislative mandates from the constituents they represent. Voters can use them to oversee their representatives’ legislative initiatives, guide them through legislative decision-making processes, and help them decide what compromises to make in order to build support for their initiatives. Voters can also use their legislative mandates to evaluate their representatives’ track records and hold them accountable when they come up for re-election.

By enabling voters to run candidates with specific legislative mandates and use the mandates to hold them accountable, the application enables voters to close the glaring gap that has arisen in U.S. politics between voters’ policy priorities and their Congressional representatives’ priorities, and the laws voters want to see enacted and those that are actually enacted. Lawmakers will no longer feel free to cavalierly disregard the promises they make on the campaign trail once they are in office. If elected representatives cannot demonstrate that they have exerted their best efforts to implement the written legislative mandates their constituents gave them when they ran for office, the voters will be able to defeat them when they come up for re-election, even in the face of special interest funding and support.

The application also will greatly reduce or even negate the influence of special interest money in elections, and eventually may cause direct special interest contributions to dry up due to their increasing ineffectiveness. Since voters will put their own candidates on the ballot running on legislative agendas that converge with their own, the candidates will not have to solicit special interest campaign contributions to get their message out, since voters will already know what it is. Neither the blocs nor the candidates will have to pay for expensive political advertisements, since voting blocs will be able to count on their own members as the mainstay of their voting strength, as well as on their ability to reach out to the invisible, but very real and powerful foundation of American political dynamics, their own local influence networks of friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to get out a winning vote on election day.

In addition, by enabling voters to set their policy agendas across the board, the application also enables voters to mobilize a broader electoral base around a larger repertory of priorities than existing political parties or special interest-funded voting blocs, like the Tea Party. Moreover, as described below, the application, especially its Voting Utility, allows voting blocs to easily and pragmatically modify their agendas to enlarge their electoral base quickly, increasing their chances of defeating opponents whose agendas are constrained by fixed, special interest ideologies.

Significantly, the application will shift the locus of political debate from the national to the local level, where voters will be continuously engaged in debating the policy options they want to include in their agendas, updating the legislative mandates they give to their elected representatives as legislation moves through Congress, negotiating common agendas with other blocs and coalition members, selecting their nominees, collecting signatures to put them on the ballot, and getting out the vote to elect their candidates in primary and general elections.

Voters will be able to team up locally with their candidates and elected representatives to devise pragmatic, workable policy solutions to national crises that the stalemated U.S. Congress appears unable to resolve, such as the economic recession, and the failure of the economy to generate the jobs needed by American workers. Voters can use the application to transform their local communities into seed beds of democratic public policy formation that serves the public interest, and prevents special interests from dictating public policy at the federal level.

Moreover, the citizen-managed policy dialogues that grassroots voting blocs engender, will overshadow the mass media disinformation campaigns that dupe undiscerning voters and turn political discourse in the U.S. into verbal slugfests. Since the website built around the application will provide voting bloc members state-of-the-art one-to-one and one-to-many messaging, networking, and collaboration capabilities, voters will be able to communicate with each other instantaneously to share and objectively screen and vet critical information. They will be able to debunk the political disinformation, innuendo and propaganda emanating from the corporate-funded campaign advertisements that will be flooding the country as a result of the Citizens United decision.

In addition to online messaging, voting bloc members working within a Congressional district will be able to hold "town hall" meetings where they can get together, face-to-face and online, with other bloc members and non-bloc voters to express, debate and reconcile their views — by using the application’s Voting Utility to vote on them if necessary. Voting blocs engendered by this application may well be unique in their capacity to institute democratic consensus-building processes at all levels of government by electing representatives who will see to it that such processes replace undemocratic ones like the Senate’s filibuster, and become the norm in all public policy decision-making arenas.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving, Fiscal Sustainability, and Reinventing Democracy)

2012: How U.S. Voters Can Wrest Control of Congress from Special Interests — Part I: The U.S. Electorate versus the U.S. Congress

11:53 pm in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

By

Nancy Bordier

The majority of U.S. voters want to see most elected representatives in Congress defeated because they favor special interests over voters’ interests. But, voters face enormous obstacles in replacing the nation’s lawmakers with representatives untainted by special interest money and influence. These obstacles are the result of the electoral monopoly of the two major political parties, the gerrymandering of electoral districts, unfair federal and state election laws, and special interest-inspired campaign finance laws that favor private over public financing of elections. The recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC exacerbates the influence of these factors.

These obstacles make the large majority of seats in Congress "safe seats". Incumbents and first time candidates running on the Democratic and Republican tickets with special interest financing have virtually insurmountable advantages over candidates running against them without major party support, or special interest financing. Top-down manipulation of elections is the result. Since voter dissatisfaction can’t be expressed through the dominant parties, grievances accumulate over time in feelings of frustration, anger and alienation.

From time-to-time however, these feelings morph into rage, and we see things like the recent surge of militant fringe groups of irate voters who are infuriated by government, both major parties, and their Congressional representatives. Front groups financed by wealthy special interests are co-opting these voters into a new 21st century form of hybrid voting bloc. It contains similar segments of voters as the bloc that enabled the Republican party and its special interest backers to dominate U.S. Politics.

Although these front groups claim to support fringe group agendas, they use their financial leverage to broaden these agendas to include fiscally conservative, pro-business stances. For example, after fringe groups operating under the Tea Party banner began receiving support from special interest-funded front groups, its members’ broadened their initial opposition to federal government bank bailouts, an anti-special interest objective, to include opposition to government spending, taxes and intervention in the economy, all items on the traditional agendas of fiscal conservatives and special interests.

To wean these voters away from government social programs like Social Security and Medicare, which they label "socialist", the front groups encourage fringe groups to embrace "individual freedom and responsibility" as the path to prosperity and security, and to oppose government intervention in the economy to spur economic growth. As social critics point out, this effort is the latest manifestation of the special interest strategy launched in the early 1930s to fight New Deal "socialism" embodied in Social Security and subsequent social programs like Medicare.

In the eighty years that have passed since the strategy was formulated, special interests have used it to dupe a significant portion of the American electorate into turning against the governmental institutions which the founders of the Republic created to protect them against special interests. The strategy of co-opting voters to embrace special interest agendas has allowed these interests to take control of legislative bodies like the U.S Congress and use them to pass legislation favoring private interests at the expense of the public interest. The special interests that have bought the votes of elected representatives with their campaign contributions have disabled the protections of the public that were built into the American system of representative government. In the process, they have turned the electorate against the government itself.

Fast forward to the new Millennium, the special interest-driven voting bloc that appeared on the horizon in 2010, appears to be part of a concerted fusion-oriented political strategy aimed at "melding the anti-government, anti-spending, anti-tax fervor of the Tea Party with the faith-based agenda of the religious right" — under the overarching themes of patriotism, support for U.S. Troops, and a dominant role for the military in protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks. The early success of this special-interest backed political strategy for mobilizing irate and aggrieved voters was on display at Glenn Beck’s August, 2010 rally, which brought nearly 100,000 Tea Party activists to Washington, D.C.

This nascent hybrid voting bloc began to flex its electoral muscles in early 2010 with the decisive role it played in the election of Scott Brown on the Republican ticket in Massachusetts to take over the Senate seat long held by Democrat Ted Kennedy. In preparation for the 2010 Congressional elections, the bloc has elected unknown candidates on the Republican ticket in upset primary elections defeating long-time establishment incumbents. Special interest campaign donors, like the California-based Tea Party Express, which directly fund electoral candidates running under the Tea Party banner, have played a significant role in these victories.

The front group strategy of simultaneously mobilizing angry voters into the special interest fold via the new hybrid voting bloc and running special interest-funded candidates for Congress, while flooding the air waves with corporate-sponsored political advertisements, is proving to be an appealing proposition for primary voters in an era in which a majority of all U.S. voters wants to see most elected representatives defeated. It is also provoking speculation that the Tea Party movement, directed by the front groups, will take over the Republican party before the 2012 elections. This speculation is fueled by primary turnout rates (as of August, 2010) showing that 3 million more votes were cast in Republican Congressional primaries than Democratic, particularly in "anti-establishment" races featuring Tea Party candidates.

The hybrid voting bloc’s sudden appearance as a major contender to assume the reins of the Republican party coincides with the apparent eclipse of the enthusiasm of mainstream voters. who voted for a Democratic majority in Congress in 2006, and put a Democratic president in the White House in 2008. Neither the president nor the Democratic party’s Congressional candidates and their campaign organizations, have been able to come up with policies that address and defuse the voter anger fueling the growth of the special interest-backed hybrid voting bloc — or keep it from being directed against themselves.

On the contrary, polls indicate that a substantial portion of former Democratic Party and Obama supporters are so dispirited with their performance in office, that they do not plan to vote in the 2010 elections, or are planning to vote for third parties. This trend might well lead to a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, alongside substantial gains in the Senate.

Such a shift, however, is unlikely to bring into office the lawmakers untainted by special interest money and influence that the majority of the nation’s voters are seeking. Most of these voters are likely to reject Tea Party candidates in the 2010 elections. But the large majority of the Democrats and Republicans they do elect will, in all probability, continue to implement special interest agendas at the expense of mainstream American voters. Neither party has come up with a job-creating economic strategy to stop the erosion of the nation’s job base, and the continuing erosion of working Americans’ standards of living. Voter impotence to hold Congressional lawmakers accountable at the ballot box is likely to fuel a continuing stream of special interest-inspired legislation at the expense of average Americans.

Incredible as it may seem, by the time the 2012 elections roll around, voters’ choices may well be even more limited than they are now. Special interest funders and front groups now backing the Tea Party movement, and the hybrid voting bloc they are building around it, will undoubtedly use their dollars and message machines to pull Tea Party members sufficiently back from the far right towards the center to enable the bloc’s Congressional candidates to emerge victorious in sufficient numbers to take control of Congress. If their strategy of co-opting infuriated anti-government voters succeeds, and they are able to use the hybrid voting bloc they are building around it to take the reins of the Republican party, they may usher in a prolonged era of special interest control of Congress and possibly the White House.

Although the stymied electorate cannot stop special interests from using Tea Party activists to build a formidable hybrid voting bloc, or compel elected representatives to change the laws they use to get elected and re-elected time after time, the large majority of U.S. voters who want to oust special interest-controlled representatives from Congress can get out of the electoral bind they have been boxed into by the two major parties and their special interest backers. They can leverage the large scale collective action power of the Internet, the web savvy of the 125 million voters who used the Internet in 2008 to influence the elections (who nearly equal the number of voters who voted in the elections) and web-based self-organizing tools and technologies described in this series.

These levers enable grassroots voters to seize control of electoral and legislative processes from special interests in 2012 by building winning transpartisan voting blocs in their local Congressional election districts around shared policy priorities which can elect a majority of untainted representatives. They can operate their blocs within existing political parties, across party lines, or within new parties they or others create. These blocs can use the application’s consensus-building tools to acquire the voting strength they need to win elections by forming electoral coalitions with other voting blocs, political parties and labor unions around negotiated policy agendas and slates of candidates.

See the series introduction here.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving, Fiscal Sustainability, and Reinventing Democracy)

Expose Him To Reality, Now!

5:26 pm in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

Bill Moyers hosted an interesting conversation the other day among Robert Kuttner, Matt Taibbi, and himself about health care reform, the performance of the Administration to this point, and the relations of progressives with the President. The conversation focused in part on how Taibbi and Kuttner would vote on the Senate’s pending legislation, if it were up to them. Even though they both agreed very closely on the shortcomings of the Senate’s bill thus far, and also on how far from what’s needed this bill is, they disagreed about what should be done. Matt would vote against the bill, thinks that President Obama, would learn from the defeat, and believes that it ought to be killed; and Bob thinks that progressives ought to hold their noses and vote for it, because the political damage the Administration would suffer if it were defeated is so great, that the Democrats and the President would both be set up for defeat in the next elections, and any opportunity for the President to change direction, and for progressive legislation to succeed in the future, would be gone for many years. So, in short, Bob would support this legislation out of fear of the consequences for the larger political context in which progressive efforts to transform the political system are embedded. Read the rest of this entry →

For Chrissake, If You Really Care About America, Tell Harry Reid “No”

9:15 pm in Uncategorized by letsgetitdone

This is an appeal to all Progressive Senators, whom I, perhaps mistakenly, list as including: Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Russ Feingold, Pat Leahy, Al Franken, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Harkin, Ron Wyden, Patty Murray, Dick Durbin, Barbra Boxer, Byron Dorgan, Barbara Mikulski, Ben Cardin, Jay Rockefeller, Chuck Schumer, and Paul Kirk. My apologies to Amy Klobuchar, Maria Cantwell, Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, Michael Bennett, Jon Tester, John Kerry, and Jack Reed, if I’ve done one or more of you an injustice by not including you in this first list. And if I have, I wish you’d consider this post as an appeal to you too.

Briefly, I appeal to each of you to tell Harry Reid that you will vote “no” on any Senate health care reform bill that has individual mandates without a public option, or a Medicare buy-in option for people under 65, lifetime limits on insurance coverage, doesn’t outlaw: denials of coverage based on preconditions, rescissions, and price discrimination based on previous illness, or preconditions, or socio-economic grouping, doesn’t require medical loss ratios of 90% or more, and doesn’t take full effect by early fall of 2010. Read the rest of this entry →