Friday, May 22, 2015

Stealing From Medicare To Pay For TPP-- Unhealthy For Republicans... Deadly For Democrats


The vote of TPP is looming in the House and Obama has Jim Clyburn (D-SC) making all kind of handsome offers to Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to guarantee a big vote score from that circle. You won't find caucus members with integrity, like Barbara Lee and Donna Edwards, playing footsie with Clyburn on this, of course.
Would the Republicans suddenly agree to fund summer jobs over trade? Lord knows the President is great at bargaining in a lopsided fashion (2010 Obama: I’ll give up $4 trillion in tax revenue for one year of unemployment benefits).
Several pro-labor Black Caucus members have already said they will vote NO on the deal. Will the gifts change their mind? A whip count at last votes yielded lots of firm NOs even with the gifts. Stay tuned.
Donna Edwards' reaction was a petition against Fast Track Authority. "Fast Track and TPP just got a whole lot worse," she wrote. "Republicans have added $700 million in cuts to Medicare to pay for the trade adjustment assistance... The more the public learns about the wheeling and dealing done to get Fast Track and the TPP passed the worse it looks. And that doesn’t even include the the awful corporate and special interest giveaways inside the actual trade deal!

And while Donna, the progressive candidate for Maryland's open Senate seat, against a wishy-washy Establishment Democrat who stands for nothing beyond his own careerism, was launching her petition, CREDO was launching a Facebook ad campaign against trade reactionaries Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ami Bera (D-CA). That ad eviscerates the TPP gang for allowing the Medicare cuts. I'm sure Ron Johnson couldn't care less, but that message is likely to freak out Blumenauer and probably Wyden.

Democrats had insisted on financial aid and training for workers displaced by the job-killing TPP, but Republicans have countered that they would only go along if the money was taken out of Medicare. All the Blue America-endorsed candidates are adamantly opposed to Fast Track, to TPP and to pillaging Medicare. 

Mike Noland is an experienced progressive state legislator from Illinois running for the seat being left open by Tammy Duckworth's Senate campaign. He understands the sleight of hand the Republicans are trying to pull with TPP. "Having served in the Illinois General Assembly for the past eight years now," he just told us, "I know that budget sweeps are among the most undisciplined and unprincipled actions a legislator can take."
Funds earmarked for designated programs must be protected. Medicare is a sacred program that provides millions of seniors with the health care services they need. Demanding that funds for job training come from Medicare is just another example of Tea Party Republicans' attempt to dismantle any form of a social safety net. 
Mike's marijuana legislation passed the Illinois legislature yesterday-- 62-53 in the House and 37-19 in the Senate-- and went to the Governor's desk. Under the bill, possession of small amounts of cannabis-- 15 grams or less-- would be punishable by fines of no more than $125. He said, "There has been much talk this year about criminal justice reform and being smarter on crime,” said Noland.
With this measure the Senate and House take an important step in the right direction. The benefits we will see from this plan are innumerable. Today, we become smarter on enforcement of the law while saving judicial resources... 

Illinois has allowed the use of medical marijuana and we need to become prepared for what happens when people actually abuse that law and start driving under the influence. Now is the perfect time.
Noland's bill establishes a limit for driving while under the influence of cannabis. This limit can be tested through blood or through saliva, making Illinois one of the first states for oral fluid testing of THC.

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At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily, I lose more hope that the Democrats will be anything but GOP-lite. Their corporatist leanings are revealed in their actions.

The US people are not far from a resumption of the Great Recession, and keeping ACA viable isn't looking good. Retirees -too many of whom vote GOP so gays can't marry- will discover too late how little loyalty the GOP has toward their support when Social Security and Medicare take big hits so that the US can wage war against ISIL. The Democrats can only be seen at the foot of the GOP, offing to make deeper cuts for a sliver of the corporatist contributions.

Doctors -too many of whom vote GOP- are also going to suffer, as their student loans can't get paid with chickens and oil changes for their cars in trade for medical care. You'd think smart people like them could see the handwriting on the wall.

My children see no realistic future other than scrounging for survival. My grandkids will have it even worse. All we need now is a Skynet to provide the means by which the 1% can kill off the 99% and enjoy our suffering as they sip champagne on the balconies of Wall St.


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