GOP to propose eliminating Medicare, replace it with voucher-like subsidies

From The Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/04/963210/-GOP-to-propose-eliminating-Medicare,-replace-it-with-voucher-like-subsidies

ByJed Lewison for Daily Kos
Mon Apr 04, 2011

No exaggeration here: On Tuesday, the GOP will officially propose eliminating the current Medicare system by 2021, replacing it with a system of subsidized private insurance in which Medicare beneficiaries would get the equivalent of vouchers to cover a portion of their premiums.

At least on paper, the proposal would save money, but only because it increases voucher funding more slowly than the cost of health care, guaranteeing that at some point, seniors wouldn’t be able to afford to get insurance—assuming that they could even find an insurer interested in covering the elderly.

Republicans say that the plan won’t impact the cost or quality of medical care, nor will it leave any seniors with inadequate coverage. But they are also careful to say that their plan would not take effect until 2021, so it would only impact people who are 55 and under.

But if they really believe their plan would be so great for seniors, why wait until 2021? Why not just do it now? I could see needing two or three years for implementation, but 10 years? C’mon, guys. It’s obvious that the only reason you’re exempting people who are 55 and older from your proposal is because you know that anybody who actually spends any time thinking about it (like, for example, people who are close to Medicare eligibility) will quickly understand that this proposal is a complete joke.

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I Have Been to the Mountaintop

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Don’t Call Me Transgender

It has nothing to do with Elitism.

It has a lot to do with not wanting to be retroactively relabeled with the new and supposedly improved marketing label chosen by an identity politics movement that doesn’t much represent me.

Show a little freaking respect if you want my support, all you have to do is add the words  “transsexual and” to “transgender”.

Stop assuming you interests are my interests.

Stop assuming I share your identity.

I know identity politics requires me identify as transgender in order for me to support the rights of transgender and transsexual people, but I consider identity politics to be ghettoizing as well as a path to preordained failure.

Identifying as transgender is not a prerequisite to my supporting  an inclusive ENDA and other measures that will improve the lives of people who are transgender.  Indeed my main concerns regarding ENDA measures are their short-comings.  The ENDA measures I have seen seem to mostly protect privileged professional transgender people who transition later in life.  They do nothing to help those who are part of the permanent under-class due to impoverished childhood in communities with the worst, most economically deprived schools.  Or for the obvious transkids driven from schools.

Nor does ENDA address the matter of a “living wage”.  What good is a McJob if you can’t afford housing with what it pays?

However what is pissing me off the most these days is how Transgender Inc seems to think that attacking Gays and Lesbians for prioritizing marriage equality is a winning strategy.

I’m a lesbian, an old one in a long term relationship.  My best moment of the day, was getting the mail and discovering the corporation that makes a very expensive drug that I require and do not have insurance to cover has decided to give it to me for free. I know it is sop to the poor and uninsured, aimed at preventing law suits and demands for serious regulation, but it means I get a drug I need to control my cholesterol.

Like many older lesbian and gay folksI worry about how lesbian and gay couples are treated if one gets ill or how we are abused by the legal system should one partner die before the other.

But more than anything else I am pissed of that I am supposed to identify with a label that did even exist until I was long past surgery and most of the BS that accompanies being transsexual.  Further I am supposed to embrace that label at a time when Transgender Inc is attacking the Lesbian Community.

Fuck you I’m a lesbian.

Transgender Inc has been big on labeling transsexuals who reject the transgender label as separatists.  Now it is Transgender Inc.’s turn to wear the separatist label.

I always considered the transgender movement a Johnny Come Lately to Gay/Lesbian politics.  Go your own way if you want.

I just don’t think I’ll be joining you…  I have different issues like marriage equality and a lot of issues specific to older workers and the working class in general.

Besides I’m an old dyke and I don’t fit either the desirable marketing demographic set of either Gay/Lesbian Inc or Transgender Inc.

Why We Have to Raise Taxes on the Rich

From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/4344201496

Monday, April 4, 2011

It’s tax time. It’s also a time when right-wing Republicans are setting the agenda for massive spending cuts that will hurt most Americans.

The vast majority of Americans can’t afford to pay more. Despite an economy that’s twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the bottom 90 percent are still stuck in the mud. If they’re employed they’re earningon average only about $280 more a year than thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. (Families are doing somewhat better but that’s only because so many families now have to rely on two incomes.)

Yet even as their share of the nation’s total income has withered, the tax burden on the middle has grown. Today’s working and middle-class taxpayers are shelling out a bigger chunk of income in payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes than thirty years ago.

The top 1 percent’s share of national income has doubled over the past three decades (from 10 percent in 1981 to well over 20 percent now). The richest one-tenth of 1 percent’s share has tripled. And they’re doing better than ever. According to a new analysis by the Wall Street Journal, 2010 total compensation and benefits at publicly-traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record in 2010 — $135 billion. That’s up 5.7 percent from 2009.

It’s just the opposite for super rich.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/4344201496

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NAACP and AFL-CIO connects MLK, unions

From The Charlotte Post:  http://www.thecharlottepost.com/index.php?src=news&srctype=detail&category=News&refno=3513

N.C. marches highlight collective bargaining rights

by Sommer Brokaw
Published Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP and the AFL-CIO will also honor Martin Luther King and as stand up for public service workers’ rights at a rally and picket line on April 4.

The “We Are One” rally will begin at noon at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers who were demanding the right to bargain collectively for improved working conditions. The workers were trying to form a union with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

Those workers’ message was: “I am a man. I have rights. I am human, and I am equal to you in many ways. I may not have political power, but I’m human and have rights and ought to be respected,” according to James Andrews, president of the North Carolina American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations.

There will be 15 minutes of silence at the April 4 rally outside of the state capitol in Raleigh to depict the message sent by those 1,300 sanitation workers. “We will also be sending the message that Dr. King lost his life by being in Memphis standing with them,” Andrews said.

“Just a few months ago Americans came together as one nation working together at 10-2-10 to show unity and solidarity,” said Rev. Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP, referring to the tens of thousands of people who marched on Washington for living wages, quality schools, and public employees’ bargaining rights.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thecharlottepost.com/index.php?src=news&srctype=detail&category=News&refno=3513

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A Primer on Class Struggle

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/31-4

by Michael Schwalbe
Published on Thursday, March 31, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

When we study Marx in my graduate social theory course, it never fails that at least one student will say (approximately), “Class struggle didn’t escalate in the way Marx expected. In modern capitalist societies class struggle has disappeared. So isn’t it clear that Marx was wrong and his ideas are of little value today?”

I respond by challenging the premise that class struggle has disappeared. On the contrary, I say that class struggle is going on all the time in every major institution of society. One just has to learn how to recognize it.

One needn’t embrace the labor theory of value to understand that employers try to increase profits by keeping wages down and getting as much work as possible out of their employees. As the saying goes, every successful capitalist knows what a Marxist knows; they just apply the knowledge differently.

Workers’ desire for better pay and benefits, safe working conditions, and control over their own time puts them at odds with employers. Class struggle in this sense hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s inherent in the relationship between capitalist employer and employee. What varies is how aggressively and overtly each side fights for its interests.

Where else does class struggle occur? We can find class struggle wherever three things are at stake: the balance of power between capitalists and workers, the legitimacy of capitalism, and profits.

The most important arena outside the workplace is government, because it’s here that the rules of the game are made, interpreted, and enforced. When we look at how capitalists try to use government to protect and advance their interests — and at how other groups resist — we are looking at class struggle.

Capitalists want laws that weaken and cheapen labor. This means laws that make it harder for workers to organize unions; laws that make it easier to export production to other countries; laws that make it easier to import workers from other countries; laws and fiscal policies that keep unemployment high, so that workers will feel lucky just to have jobs, even with low pay and poor benefits.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/31-4

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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