Bill Scher

Town Hall Highlights: Diplomacy

Below are excerpts from yesterday’s MoveOn.org Virtual Town Hall, regarding diplomatic strategy: From Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.: …you have to make Iraq the world’s problems. Were I President, I would call for the permanent five of the Security Council, along with Germany and the four largest Muslim nations in the world, to call for an international conference on Iraq whereby they impose upon the regional powers … Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey … a political solution based on a federal system of giving local control in order to maintain a unified Iraq. From Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.: …we need to convene an international conference. It is time we bring other countries together to help forge a stable future for Iraq.

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Bill Scher

Town Hall Highlights: Permanent Occupation

Below are excerpts from yesterday’s MoveOn.org Virtual Town Hall, regarding the issue of permanent occupation of Iraq. From Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.: I’m against building permanent US Military bases in Iraq, and I’ve led this fight to make sure we don’t do that. Last year I introduced a law barring US Military bases in Iraq. In fact I introduced it three different times because although it passed the Senate each time, it got kicked out by the House. We finally got it put in the appropriations. I’m doing this same thing this year.

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Bill Scher

Town Hall Highlights: The Power of the Purse

Below are excerpts from yesterday’s MoveOn.org Virtual Town Hall, regarding how Congress can use the power of the purse to end the war in Iraq. From former Sen. John Edwards: That funding authority’s still the most powerful check we have. If congress is willing to use it. I propose we begin by capping funding levels at 100,000 troops to stop Bush’s escalation and force an immediate withdrawal of 40 to 50,000 troops which would come out of the north and the south of Iraq. During that time, we should not allow Bush to deploy any replacement troops to Iraq that do not meet real readiness standards, and that have not been properly trained and equipped. Our withdrawal will help us to directly engage the Iranians and the Syrians to help stabilize Iraq. The withdrawal of all combat troops should be completed in about a year. From Rep.

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Bill Scher

MoveOn.org Town Hall

Last night, MoveOn.org hosted the first “Virtual Town Hall,” where MoveOn members from across the nation posed questions to seven Democratic candidates for president. (Some Republican candidates were invited also, but all declined.) Campaign for America’s Future helped sponsor the event. The sole focus of this town hall was Iraq. Future events will focus on health care and the climate crisis. Members are now voting on “which Candidate is best able to lead the country out of the war in Iraq?”. We’ll offer additional commentary here after the results are announced. You can see video and read transcripts of the event here. We’ll post key highlights here in a few.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Imus And Beyond

Today on TomPaine.com I offer my take on the Don Imus controversy, as well as that of Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who writes on another critical aspect of the flap for AlterNet. Yes, it’s well-worn ground, but there are a couple of points that I thought it was important to stress. First, Imus’ slur against the Rutger’s womens’ basketball team wasn’t an exception to the rule. It was the rule, and it has been for years. Second, as late as this morning, people such as Democratic operative and talking head Paul Begala was on the Imus show, and then defending his appearance on CNN minutes later. Begala considers himself a friend of Imus.

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Bill Scher

Prescription Drug Battle Hits Senate – Your Voice Needed

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire reports that the Senate’s version of a bill lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating for lower drug prices, will be taken up in committee on Thursday. The expectation is that the full Senate will vote on it next week. Washington Wire notes: … it faces … bigger hurdles on the Senate floor, where Republicans are likely to filibuster … if Democrats are unable to get the 60 votes necessary to end debate, Republicans will have saved President Bush from having to veto legislation that seems to have strong public support. It doesn’t just “seem” to have strong public support. It does, 85% support in fact. And Republican Senators thinking of filibustering shouldn’t worry about saving Bush from any veto. He doesn’t have to run for re-election again. They do.

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Bill Scher

Prescription Drug Battle Hits Senate – Your Voice Needed

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire reports that the Senate’s version of a bill lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating for lower drug prices, will be taken up in committee on Thursday. The expectation is that the full Senate will vote on it next week. Washington Wire notes: … it faces … bigger hurdles on the Senate floor, where Republicans are likely to filibuster … if Democrats are unable to get the 60 votes necessary to end debate, Republicans will have saved President Bush from having to veto legislation that seems to have strong public support. It doesn’t just “seem” to have strong public support. It does, 85% support in fact. And Republican Senators thinking of filibustering shouldn’t worry about saving Bush from any veto. He doesn’t have to run for re-election again. They do.

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Bill Scher

“The most powerful mechanism of change is our right to vote”

Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo is featured in Newsweek’s special issue on the environment. The following is his contribution to “16 Ideas for the Planet.” Today the environment is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts, not only in this country but also worldwide. I haven’t seen an issue with such a magnetic capacity to bring people together since the Civil Rights movement. Excessive temperatures have a greater impact on the poor who have less access to air conditioning and proper heating. Poor people have less access to health care to deal with climate-related medical problems. Water is a major problem worldwide, either because there’s too much of it—the poor tend to live in flood zones—or not enough that’s safe to drink. The most powerful mechanism of change is our right to vote.

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Roger Hickey

Enough Tinkering

The following is a part of this week’s TPMCafe Book Club group discussion of the new book “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price” by Jonathan Cohn Kudos to Jonathan for his important new book. One of the reasons we are talking about what’s the right approach — or the most politically feasible approach — to insuring all Americans is that millions of Americans are telling pollsters and politicians that the health care system is in crisis. The public has put this issue on the table for the political system — not the policy wonks. Individuals, like those profiled in Sick, experience the health care crisis in many ways.

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Roger Hickey

Enough Tinkering

The following post is a part of this week’s TPMCafe Book Club group discussion of the new book “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price” by Jonathan Cohn. Kudos to Jonathan Cohn for his important new book. One of the reasons we are talking about what’s the right approach — or the most politically feasible approach — to insuring all Americans is that millions of Americans are telling pollsters and politicians that the health care system is in crisis. The public has put this issue on the table for the political system — not the policy wonks. Individuals, like those profiled in “Sick,” experience the health care crisis in many ways.

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Roger Hickey

Enough Tinkering

The following post is a part of this week’s TPMCafe Book Club group discussion of the new book “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price” by Jonathan Cohn. Kudos to Jonathan Cohn for his important new book. One of the reasons we are talking about what’s the right approach — or the most politically feasible approach — to insuring all Americans is that millions of Americans are telling pollsters and politicians that the health care system is in crisis. The public has put this issue on the table for the political system — not the policy wonks. Individuals, like those profiled in “Sick,” experience the health care crisis in many ways.

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Bill Scher

Newt Tries To Shift The Global Warming Debate

The Kerry-Newt debate on global warming wrapped up this morning (video is up on C-Span.org , more at John Kerry’s blog). It may well shift the overall debate, away from the definitively answered “is global warming happening?” to “what do we do about it?” Crafty Newt Gingrich downplayed, but did not renounce, his global warming denial arguments (Kerry helpfully reminded us that Newt recently said there was no evidence of global warming, just “cultural anthropology,” properly calling into question Newt’s sincerity.) But Newt clearly realizes the conservative movement can’t continue being perceived as the Flat Earth Society, and in turn, sought to move the debate towards the question of our government’s role. He also recognized that an anti-government approach would be understood as insufficient for the challenge we face.

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Bill Scher

Climate: Debating The Nondebatable

Newt Gingrich’s style of debate was recently summed up this way by Paul Abrams of The Huffington Post (and Washington State’s Apollo Alliance): “After his  high-minded talk … Newt immediately descends to the gutter, throwing out red meat to his base.” So it was expected to be today when Gingrich faced Sen. John Kerry in a debate over global warming. Yet the Kerry-Newt debate (video is up on C-Span.org, more at John Kerry’s blog) may well shift the overall debate, away from the definitively answered “is global warming happening?” to “what do we do about it?” Crafty Gingrich downplayed, but did not renounce, his global warming denial arguments.

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Bill Scher

Climate: Debating The Nondebatable

Newt Gingrich’s style of debate was recently summed up this way by Paul Abrams of The Huffington Post (and Washington State’s Apollo Alliance): “After his  high-minded talk … Newt immediately descends to the gutter, throwing out red meat to his base.” So it was expected to be today when Gingrich faced Sen. John Kerry in a debate over global warming. Yet the Kerry-Newt debate (video is up on C-Span.org, more at John Kerry’s blog) may well shift the overall debate, away from the definitively answered “is global warming happening?” to “what do we do about it?” Crafty Gingrich downplayed, but did not renounce, his global warming denial arguments.

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Bill Scher

Bush to WI: No Negotiation For You

Last week, I talked about how the big pharmaceutical companies are working with the White House to keep the ban on Medicare negotiating for lower drug prices. They claim negotiation won’t lead to savings for seniors. Now, the White House killed a Wisconsin program that proved otherwise. From Wisconsin State Journal: …the federal government rejected the state’s request to extend the popular SeniorCare program, the governor [Jim Doyle] said Wednesday … the decision likely kills the program, forcing the 104,000 people on SeniorCare to use the Medicare Part D drug plan. … Darlene Finch, 70, of Oregon, was upset by the Bush administration decision. … A retired switchboard operator, Finch said one of her rheumatoid arthritis drugs costs $1,400 a month.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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