Health Reform Compromise

At its heart, the frustration among voters in this deeply divided nation is essentially rooted in one thing: There has been a class war waged against the working middle class for nearly thirty years and its effect is finally being felt.

While ideas for solutions may differ depending on one’s political orientation, there are a few general principles that we can all agree upon, whether you are part of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street. First of all, we are Americans — regardless of party or faith or age or sex or any characteristic that may divide us, we believe in equality, democracy, liberty and justice for all.

Americans have always been pragmatic people. We seek solutions to problems without regard to political ideology or religious dogma because we know that whatever works is enough. Perfection lies beyond our mere human ability, but the can-do American spirit has achieved more than anyone could have planned.

We defeated the British, Spain, Germany and Japan in war, when each was an unparalleled military power. We prevailed in the Cold War and put men on the Moon. We invented the telephone, television and the Internet and turned a group of agricultural colonies and vast wilderness into the greatest industrial power the world has ever known. While we have argued among ourselves, Americans have always come together to unite against any common foe.

Even today’s bitter division pales compared to that which led to the Civil War.  Americans are more united than divided, so there is room for reason and accomodation.

The conservative Tea Party loudly demands a repeal of Obamacare — the Patient Protection Act that will require citizens to buy health insurance from private companies or face a fine — which the more progressive Occupy Wall Street movement can agree to if we open Medicare enrollment to all Americans, solving forever the problem of having millions without access to quality medical care.

Replacing Obamacare with Medicare for all Americans will achieve two critical objectives by uniting the people of this great nation and solving a common problem in a way that everyone can agree upon.

Unity for America is a cherished goal for which we must work as hard as we do to restore the other basic values because, when you get right down to it, that is the one that makes them all possible.

 

New Map, Few Changes

Hillside has been added and Kenilworth dropped from the 20th Legislative District, which also includes Elizabeth, Union and Roselle.  Incumbent power broker Ray Lesniak is believed to be considering a bail out rather than fighting to defend his seat from likely Democratic challenger Carlos Cedeno, the councilman in Elizabeth’s Fourth Ward who is being promoted as the probable Democrats for Change candidate.

Lisa McCormick will be the Democrats for Change candidate for state Senate in what is expected to be a contest with incumbent double-dipper Nicholas Scutari in the 22nd District, which had nor alterations and includes Clark, Dunellen, Fanwood, Green Brook, Linden, Middlesex, North Plainfield, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains, and Winfield.  As the Democrats for Change challenger to County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi last year, McCormick earned 10,500 votes. Scutari is also a municipal prosecutor in Linden.

Kenilworth is now part of the 21st District, which also includes the rest of Union County and is occupied by liberal Republican Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who is Lesniak’s business partner and minority leader in the state Senate.  Observers say Kean may face only token Democratic opposition if he survives a Tea Party challenge in June.

The new map removed Hillside from a district it shared with Newark but otherwise left most of Union County unchanged.

New Jersey's new legislative district map was adopted by the Apportionment Commission on Sunday, April 3.

CRYAN & CHRISTIE PROPERTY TAX HIKE BIGGEST SINCE 2007

In a news release issued by Democratic legislative publicist Tom Hester on March 11, Ass. Joseph Cryan acknowledged that the budget he helped Gov. Chris Christie enact last year increased property taxes 4.1 percent.

Cryan cast the deciding vote on June 29 to enact Christie’s 283-page budget, which incorporated about $600,000 in revenue lost from the ‘millionaire’s tax’ that Cryan allowed to expire at the end of 2009.

Ass. Joseph Cryan helped Gov. Chris Christie enact the state budget last year

Cryan said he was not surprised that the budget he supported cut state aid and eliminated 2010 property tax rebates “gave New Jerseyans their highest property tax increases since 2007.”

There were also negative impacts from new school activity taxes imposed on parents plus ramifications of public safety layoffs and other cuts forced by the Christie-Cryan spending plan.

Cryan said, “we’re starting to see the damage” he caused by enabling the Republican Governor to impose “his anti-middle-class policies” on state residents.

Critics say the release is hypocritical because the Union County politician tries to blame Christie for all the consequences of the budget cuts although the spending plan could not have been approved without Cryan’s support.

Lisa McCormick, a senate candidate leading the Democrats for Change slate in the upcoming primary election, takes Cryan to task for supporting Christie’s budget on her website at njdems.com/joegop and in campaign literature that is being widely distributed among Democratic voters.

The release was published in its entirety at http://bit.ly/gBmCmt

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Democratic Accomplishments 2010

President Obama and the Democratic Congress have made extraordinary progress for the American people:

Economy

Economic Recovery Act: Saved the economy from a second Great Depression by  saving millions of American jobs, providing tax cuts for 95% of American workers, and beginning to rebuild America’s road, rail, and water infrastructure, with unprecedented accountability.

HIRE Act: Creating 300,000 jobs with tax incentives for businesses hiring unemployed Americans, spurring small business investment, and unleashing investments to rebuild infrastructure

Cash for Clunkers: Jump-starting the U.S. auto industry, with consumer incentives for trading in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency — spurring the sale of 700,000 vehicles.Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights: Ended predatory credit card practices.

Clean Energy

Made the largest investment in green technology in history.

Raised fuel standards after years of stagnation and objection.

Education

Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act: Largest investment in college aid in history — including expanding access to student loans — while reducing the federal deficit by ending wasteful student loan subsidies to banks.

Fiscal Responsibility

Statutory Pay-As-You-Go: Restoring 1990s law that turned record deficits into surpluses; Congress must offset new policies that reduce revenues or expand entitlements.

Fighting Discrimination

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Made equal pay for equal work more than a platitude.

Health Care

Obama Sings SCHIP Bill

President Obama signs SCHIP expansion into law

Health Insurance Reform: Historic legislation putting American families and small business owners — not the insurance companies — in control of their own health care; lowering costs for middle class and small business; expanding health insurance for 32 million Americans; strengthening Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs; creating up to 4 million jobs; and reducing deficit by largest amount in almost two decades.

SCHIP: Expanded health coverage to 4 million more low income American children and preserved coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.

We cannot be shy about plugging the good things accomplished by President Barack Obama and the Democrats because the GOP has no plan to confront America’s toughest problems.

Republicans have only plans to make our problems worse:

Privatize Social Security

Eliminate Medicare

Start a War with Iran

Reduce Unemployment Benefits

Roll Back Health Reform & Wall Street Regulation

Cut Taxes for the Rich & Drive More Middle Class Americans into Poverty

Conservatives Are Crazy

A 2003 study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that political conservatism is rooted in “fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity” and other psychological factors.

According to the article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature report that the core of the right-wing ideology is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality.  http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml

The emergence of the Tea Party movement has ignited passion among the most extreme adherents of conservatism in Republican politics, a phenomenon ending the careers of many longtime GOP establishment politicians.

Terror management is another psychological factor that influences conservatism, along with a need for certainty and cognitive closure.   These primal instincts help define what makes a political conservative at a time in history when human survival probably depends upon a greater adherence to logic and reason.

Research has shown that people in a state of distress by nature are prone to the allure of charismatic leaders but it’s hard to imagine what would have happened if unbridled emotions drove the Kennedy white House in October 1962 instead of cool intellect.  http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html

Tea bag conservatives reject science as part of their blind loyalty to discredited anti-intellectual ideas and self-righteous faith-based morality, because by not allowing facts to dillute their perspective, they achieve the certainty they prize. http://silentmajority09.com/2010/09/24/conservatives-assault-science/

The leading tea baggers exhibit ultra-conservative craziness that seems to be overlooked by many voters who would normally object the their agenda: Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle,Carl Paladino, Mike Lee, Joe Miller, Marco Rubio and others.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/15/september-14-primary-elec_1_n_717242.html

Colorado Republican Ken Buck wants to outlaw birth control and a common fertility treatment and he says teenage rape victims should be forced to have babies.  http://www.9news.com/news/elections/article.aspx?storyid=151144&catid=140

Republicans advocate a regressive 30 percent sales tax on everything you buy — which they call ‘the fair tax’ — while cutting income taxes again for the richest three percent of the people, tax breaks for multinational corporations that export American jobs.  http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html Regressive taxes make the poorest pay higher rates than the wealthy so Republicans are entirely disconnected from the American people, even if some Democratic incumbents have disappointed many people.

Republicans want to repeal President Obama’s Wall Street reforms, repeal the new rules that stop insurance companies from dumping sick children, repeal changes  helping America’s war veterans — and then they want to tie down the administration with subpoenas and investigations that will preclude the president from solving any real problems facing Americans.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20011464-503544.html

Social Security and Medicare are one again in the Republican crosshairs, with Rep. John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, planning to cut benefits and raise the retirement age.  http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/106135-boehner-raise-social-securitys-retirement-age-to-70

The author of the GOP agenda, Paul Ryan, has put a plan on the table would end Medicare as we know it and leave the nation’s seniors to the private insurance industry.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/paul_ryans_plan_would_end_medi.html

Most of these ideas are well outside the main stream but if Democrats keep pushing for health reform, jobs creation, restrictions on Wall Street and credit cards — essentially all the things they stand for — then they could be in for more than a political fight.

Nevada Republican Sharron Angle said armed rebellion against the federal government saying, “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies…” and she sought support from members of a right-wing extremist group, “The Oath Keepers,” whose members are police or military personnel who believe they need not follow orders and which was formed “In response to the obscene growth of federal power and to the absurdly totalitarian claimed powers of the Executive…” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/reid-opponent-embraces-patriot-group-that-warns-of-giant-concentration-camps.php

Perhaps to enable ‘those Second Amendment remedies,’ for political New Jersey state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants to make it easier for residents to carry handguns.  http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_senator_pushes_law_allowing.html

The bizarre policy positions are weighted with even more extreme anti-government craziness. According to a Sothern Pverty Law Center report: “U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she feared that the president was planning ‘reeducation camps for young people,’ while U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), evoking memories of the discredited communist-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, warned of 17 ‘socialists’ in Congress.”  http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf

The same report stated:

[Fox News host Glenn] Beck is just one of the well-known cable TV news personalities to air fictitious conspiracies and other unlikely Patriot ideas. CNN’s Lou Dobbs has treated the so-called Aztlan conspiracy as a bona fide concern and questioned the validity of Obama’s birth certificate despite his own network’s definitive -debunking of that claim. On MSNBC, commentator Pat Buchanan suggested recently that white Americans are now suffering “exactly what was done to black folks.” On FOX News, regular contributor Dick Morris said, “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.”

The insane ideas are being backed up by action. The Second Wave includes a chapter outlining 75 right-wing terrorist plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since 1995, when conservative Republican Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center, and injuring another 500.  http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf

In March 2010, after the report was published, nine Hutaree militia members were arrested in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, for alleged involvement in a plot to murder a law enforcement officer and then attack police officers at the funeral using illegal explosives and firearms in order to incite revolution against the government.  http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQlDq4d5Js2bVnV83z7R1ORbsZPA

People who make up the Tea Party movement are largely conservative and get their news from Fox; they’re generally old and of moderate to low income; and they’re fairly convinced that their taxes are going to rise in the next few years, even though they won’t.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/01/tea-party-survey-old-cons_n_522336.html

“It’s the type of group that would likely benefit the most from Democratic governance, with commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and middle-class job creation,” said that report.

Tea baggers also have exceedingly poor views of President Obama. In the aforementioned poll, 81 percent disapproved of his job performance.

The scientific research identified the paranoia and obsession with certainty associated with conservatism but here are some hard examples of how they depart from reality and embrace delusion:

Fueling the myth mongering that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in a recent interview that the president may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/246302/gingrich-obama-s-kenyan-anti-colonial-worldview-robert-costa

Southern Baptist Pastor Carl Gallups suggests Obama isn’t just Kenyan — he’s also the Antichrist.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/feature/2009/07/31/antichrist/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgHUZXgNAWo
http://www.hickoryhammockbaptist.org/interview.html

Such lunacy is not being immediately rejected by voters. Crazed tea baggers won Republican nominations for seven U.S. Senate seats, for New York governor and for dozens of seats in Congress. They are all over the place on ballots for city council, mayor, plus county and state offices.

A Harris poll cemented the notion of the scary conservative who believes that President Obama is many things that, factually, he is not.

The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010  finds that large numbers of Tea Party supporters have not just extremely hostile opinions of President Obama but believe many of the false statements about him circulated on cable news and the internet.

The numbers among Tea Party supporters are scary, indeed: 67% believe the President is a socialist, although Harris didn’t do anything to verify that respondents knew what that word meant. More than half believe he is a Muslim,

The real sizzlers, are the 45% who believe he wasn’t born in the US, and the 25% who say he “may be the Antichrist” and 24% who say he wants the terrorists to win.  These people think our president is  a Nazi-esque Muslim Antichrist. http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/117/Default.aspx

The Republican leadership’s willingness to flirt with ideas like the birth certificate conspiracy, or their insistence that health care reform is an “apocalypse,” paints all Republicans as unhinged loons and obliterate conservative credibility.

If you are still thinking about voting Republican, please see a mental health professional at once.

Southward Seeking Freeholder Seat

Carmen Southward, a Linden educator who has been an advocate for government reform, says she will be a candidate for Union County Freeholder.

Democrats for Change in the News

Here is a survey of recent news articles about Democrats for Change

Rollback Taxes

For too long, homeowners have paid the price of government waste. It’s time to get our money’s worth from government by putting an end to no bid contracts, reigning in high salaries and cutting off political patronage.

Stop Corruption

Democrats for Change is the only choice for voters who want to end the cycle of corruption that has infected local government.

While corruption and complacency have become trademarks of the  Regular Democratic Organization of Union County, Democrats for Change will clean house in City Hall and the County Court House.