ObamaCare Is Helping Pennsylvanians

The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as ObamaCare, is helping Pennsylvanians as the Supreme Court readies a major decision which could eviscerate the health program.  Congressional Republicans filed suit and SCOTUS is prepared to rule on that litigation before the end of this month.  If it rules that subsidies are illegal millions of people could lose the coverage they’ve now had for a year and a half.

This is such a stupid lawsuit even GOP Sen. John Thune saw fit to condemn and end to the subsidies as he condemned the ACA.  He got pilloried on Twitter for his stupidity but stupidity hasn’t prevented millions of Americans from voting these morons into office.  Perhaps what we really need is a plan which prohibits stupid people from running for office.  With all this talk of bringing literacy tests back for voters we should require one for office seekers.

The White House sent this fact sheet today showing how ObamaCare has helped Pennsylvania:

After Health Reform: Improved Access to Care

·         Gallup recently estimated that the uninsured rate in Pennsylvania in 2014 was 10.3 percent, down from 11.0 percent in 2013.

·         Prohibits coverage denials and reduced benefits, protecting as many as 5,489,162 Pennsylvanians who have some type of pre-existing health condition, including 656,877 children.

·         Eliminates lifetime and annual limits on insurance coverage and establishes annual limits on out-of-pocket spending on essential health benefits, benefiting 4,582,000 people in Pennsylvania, including 1,769,000 women and 1,136,000 children.

·         Expands Medicaid to all non-eligible adults with incomes under 133% of the federal poverty level.  153,468 more people in Pennsylvania have gained Medicaid or CHIP coverage since the beginning of the Health Insurance Marketplace first open enrollment period.

·         Establishes a system of state and federal health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, to make it easier for individuals and small-business employees to purchase health plans at affordable prices through which 427,454 people in Pennsylvania were covered in March 2015.

·         Created a temporary high-risk pool program to cover uninsured people with pre-existing conditions prior to 2014 reforms which helped more than 7,106 people in Pennsylvania.

·         Creates health plan disclosure requirements and simple, standardized summaries so 7,586,200 people in Pennsylvania can better understand coverage information and compare benefits.

After Health Reform: More Affordable Care


·         Creates a tax credit to help 348,823 people in Pennsylvania who otherwise cannot afford it purchase health coverage through health insurance marketplaces.

·         Requires health insurers to provide consumers with rebates if the amount they spend on health benefits and quality of care, as opposed to advertising and marketing, is too low.  Last year, 90,485 consumers in Pennsylvania received $5,198,874 in rebates.

·         Eliminates out-of-pocket costs for preventive services like immunizations, certain cancer screenings, contraception, reproductive counseling, obesity screening, and behavioral assessments for children.  This coverage is guaranteed for more than 6,127,383 people in Pennsylvania including 2,511,285 women.

·         Eliminates out-of-pocket costs for 1,801,768 Medicare beneficiaries in Pennsylvania for preventive services like cancer screenings, bone-mass measurements, annual physicals, and smoking cessation.

·         Phases out the “donut hole” coverage gap for 297,058 Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries in Pennsylvania, who have saved an average of $948 per beneficiary.

·         Creates Accountable Care Organizations consisting of doctors and other health-care providers who share in savings from keeping patients well while improving quality, helping 289,927 Medicare beneficiaries in Pennsylvania.

·         Phases out overpayments through the Medicare Advantage system, while requiring Medicare Advantage plans to spend at least 85 percent of Medicare revenue on patient care.  Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown by 152,265 to 1,009,759 in Pennsylvania since 2009.

After Health Reform: Improved Quality and Accountability to You

·         Provides incentives to hospitals in Medicare to reduce hospital-acquired infections and avoidable readmissions.  Creates a collaborative health-safety learning network, the Partnership for Patients, that includes 157 hospitals in Pennsylvania to promote best quality practices.

We’re not done.  Other legislation and executive actions are continuing to advance the cause of effective, accountable and affordable health care.
This includes:

·         Incentive payments for doctors, hospitals, and other providers to adopt and use certified electronic health records (EHR).  In Pennsylvania more than 53.2 percent of hospitals and 41.8 percent of providers have electronic health records systems.

·         A new funding pool for Community Health Centers to build, expand and operate health-care facilities in underserved communities.  Health Center grantees in Pennsylvania now serve 680,017 patients and received $189,115,545 under the health care law to offer a broader array of primary care services, extend their hours of operations, hire more providers, and renovate or build new clinical spaces.

·         Health provider training opportunities, with an emphasis on primary care, including a significant expansion of the National Health Service Corps.  As of September 30, 2014, there were 208 Corps clinicians providing primary care services in Pennsylvania, compared to 62 clinicians in 2008.

 

Radical SCOTUS Eviscerates Our Rights

The radical right control of the Supreme Court turned the nation sharply right again today with its two final decisions of the term.  Both 5-4 votes they eviscerated more of our rights.  In the Hobby Lobby case they determined that closely held companies have the right to impose their extreme religious beliefs on their employees health care coverage.  The small, family owned stores decided they didn’t want to comply with the ACA mandate that their health care cover their employees birth control.  99% of all American women use birth control at some point in their lives.  Many use it because they could die if they get pregnant.  Women have been dying during birth since the dawn of man.  It isn’t a matter of choice for these women, it means life or death.

The Supreme Court decided today that their right to life is trumped by their employer’s radical religious agenda.  This opens all sorts of slippery slope consequences as Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent.  If your employer in such a company doesn’t believe in immunizations, blood transfusions or other common medical practices they now have the right to impose those beliefs on you, their employee.  Be very careful if your employer is a Christian Scientist:  they don’t believe in medical care for anything.  These folks actually allow their children to die of common viruses rather than seek treatment.

Now, when you interview for a job you’d better ask hard questions about your potential employer’s religious beliefs before accepting employment offers.  I imagine this decision will make it very hard for such companies to attract and keep good employees.  I certainly hope so.  The rest of us need to be sure never to transact business with them.

In the second case home health care workers represented by SEIU in Illinois sued because they want to freeload on the system by accepting the negotiated benefits the union gets for them without paying union dues in return.  SCOTUS said they don’t.  This decision is a significant loss for unions.  These workers, who are earning higher wages because SEIU negotiated them now don’t have to pay dues to SEIU in return for this largesse.  This makes them freeloaders.

Elections have consequences and who we elect President has a direct effect on our everyday lives due to such radical right wing decisions by five Supreme Court Justices.  Chief Justice John Roberts (GW Bush appointee), Samuel Alito (likewise GW Bush), Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Thomas have shoved the nation far rights with sweeping decisions the past few years.  Worse, the two GW Bush Justices are quite young and could serve for decades.  Scalia and Thomas are getting long in the tooth and we have to hope they either die soon or decide to retire.  That isn’t likely until, if ever, a Republican gains the Oval Office again.  It is imperative to restore balance to the Court before these five drive America into third world status.  Or before a populist revolution takes their heads.  I’d be very fearful of that latter possibility if I were them or the Koch brothers.

Casey Not Supporting Marriage Equality

In a week where the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. remains one of only ten Democratic Senators not supporting marriage equality.  Equal rights are a fundamental American trait but the country remains divided between those who have all the rights and those who do not.  This two class system is one of sexual apartheid.  Though LGBT persons pay the same taxes as straight couples they are denied over a thousand federal rights given to the others.  These include Social Security survivor benefits, the ability to file taxes jointly, inherit pensions, etc.

When Casey ran for the Senate in 2006 much of Pennsylvania’s LGBT leadership supported him because he openly pandered tot he community reversing his long standing opposition to gay adoption and several other issues.  As of today though he is still opposed to equality.  This is shameful.  I didn’t support him in 2006 due to his long record opposing gay rights and engaged in several email arguments with some of those who believed Casey supported us.  Who’s crying now?  Sen. Casey needs to come into the 21st Century and stop supporting sexual apartheid.

SCOTUS to Hear Marriage Equality Cases

The Supreme Court affirmed it will hear both cases regarding marriage equality this term.  One regards DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed and signed under President Clinton.  The second is about California’s controversial Proposition 8 ballot initiative which denied LGBT citizens the same rights as straight residents of the Golden State.

Marriage Equality is now the law in nine states and the District of Columbia but those couples are denied over a thousand rights granted to straight couples because of DOMA.  The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all Americans equal justice under law and federal appeals courts have overturned DOMA on those grounds:  you cannot have one set of rights for some people and another set for others.

The Proposition 8 case advocated by AFER on behalf of the gay community was overturned by the Ninth Circuit when it was, essentially, undefended.  The proponents of discrimination could not muster a single bona fide legal argument for their case.  Formally known as Hollingsworth v Perry it was decided on the basis of a Supreme Court case written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the acknowledged swing vote on a divided court.  This bodes well for a successful decision by the end of June.

Obama Hails SCOTUS Victory

I adopted the righteous right’s nomenclature of ObamaCare because I think he rightfully ought to take credit for the first major reform of our broken health care system in decades.  The last major victory was enactment of Medicare in the mid-sixties.  Did you watch Michelle Bachmann’s bizarre rambling on CNN?  I kept asking myself what planet she came from…

The Obama-Biden campaign weighed in on this morning’s momentous decision by the Supreme Court:

“Mitt Romney had an opportunity to rise to the occasion today and tell the American people specifically how he would move the nation forward on health care and ensure people get the care they need.   Yet, once again, he squandered that opportunity.   Instead of explaining how he would ensure costs don’t go up and health benefits are protected, Romney promised to repeal the President’s health reform law and take America back to the same old political battles of the past.     He is completely unmoved by what that would do to millions of middle-class families, women, seniors and young Americans who are today benefiting from the law.   Romney’s promise to repeal the law would give insurance companies free rein to exploit Americans through the worst industry abuses, strip 86 million Americans of often life-saving preventive care, cost 3.1 million young Americans of their coverage by kicking them off their parents’ plans, allow insurance companies to discriminate against kids with preexisting conditions, and increase prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare.  

Just six years ago, before Mitt Romney decided to run for president, he passed a law in Massachusetts that achieved universal coverage for the citizens of that state through an individual mandate and tax penalty.  That law became the model for the President’s health reform law.  Now, as he is running for president, Romney has run away from his accomplishment in Massachusetts, callously promising to repeal national reform and “kill it dead.”  He owes the American people a clear, non-parsed explanation of why he believes his decisions in Massachusetts are wrong for the country, and exactly what he would do to help the American people get the health care they need.” – Jim Messina, Campaign Manager, Obama for America

The President’s comments from the White House:

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

ON THE SUPREME COURT RULING

ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

East Room

12:15 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon.  Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago.  In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost.  That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington.  But that discussion completely misses the point.  Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.

And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you.

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.  Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.  They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.  They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.  They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance.  And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

There’s more.  Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans — a provision that’s already helped 6 million young Americans.  And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs — a discount that’s already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.

All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support.  And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.  

Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.  Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too.  And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one.

Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting health condition.  They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman.  They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else.  And if you can’t afford the premiums, you’ll receive a credit that helps pay for it.

Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance.  This is important for two reasons.

First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.

And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need — which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.

That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so.  In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.

Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive.  I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared.  And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.

Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics.  I did it because I believed it was good for the country.  I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now.  It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield.  For years and years, Natoma did everything right.  She bought health insurance.  She paid her premiums on time.  But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer.  And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year.  And despite her desire to keep her coverage — despite her fears that she would get sick again — she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.

I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law.  It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.

Natoma is well today.  And because of this law, there are other Americans — other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers — who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance.  These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.

The highest Court in the land has now spoken.  We will continue to implement this law.  And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can.  But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.

With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward — to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law.  And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time:  putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.

But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.

Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.

 

Confusion Reigns on SCOTUS ObamaCare Ruling

The Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act known as ObamaCare is confusing.  Some are saying the individual mandate was struck down while others are saying the ability to tax saved it.  Chief Justice wrote the decision in a 5-4 case.   The fact Scalia and Thomas are in the minority seems to be a positive sign.

The mandate MAY be upheld by Congress under its taxing authority according to CNN just now.  If those who can purchase health insurance are penalized, is this a tax?  if so the mandate is upheld, if not it is struck down.

The decision  is a huge victory for Barack Obama.

News & Notes June 25, 2012

The Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare is expected today.  Consensus seems to be that the Roberts Court will strike it down.  So far this court has backed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 100% on its rulings.  Elections do have consequences.

Focus on SCOTUS is increasing as the result of the total corruption of our democracy because of Citizens United.  When 30 billionaires can funnel a billion dollars into a single campaign we no longer have a democracy.  Meanwhile Justices Alito and Thomas are getting heavy criticism for their purely partisan work.  Clarence Thomas’ wife works for a think tank opposing the Affordable Care Act.  His household gets money from those working to strike down the law.  

Fast & Furious continues being a focus of the news.  The failed program begun under George W. Bush ran guns into Mexico in the hope they could be tracked.  It failed.  Concern and outrage by the Right is missing the larger issue:  the huge flow of guns from this country into Mexico fueling the rampant violence and destabilization.

The student loan interest rate issue and a transportation bill both need to be passed this week.  Is the Tea Party House capable of passing anything meaningful and progressive?

A disturbing article about a Justice Department suit against two polygamous towns is required reading.  Polygamy is illegal and residents of these Utah/Arizona border towns are openly discriminating against their non-polygamous residents to the point of destroying their crops and killing their dogs.

East coast sea levels are rising due to global warming.  How much evidence do morons need before they stop believing what they hear from Rush and Fox?  The oil companies are fueling this denial so they can continue destroying the planet for profit.  Imagine the chaos if tens of millions of people are displaced all along the east coast?  How much will that cost?

It’s time for an increase in the minimum wage.  Low wage workers are actually earning less than thirty years ago due to inflation.  Places like Santa Fe which have living wage minimum wages prove that higher wages don’t mean fewer jobs.  The business community constantly rolls out this debunked argument when the issue comes up for votes.  In Santa Fe, where the minimum wage is now $10.29 they now have more people working in the hospitality sector, a center of low wage workers, than before 2008.  Their high minimum wage has not affected employment.

A Philadelphia jury convicted Msg. William Lynn of child endangerment last Friday.  Two landmark child molestation trials ended in Pennsylvania on the same day, both with convictions.  The Catholic Church must pay for its disregard of morality.  Penn State’s mistake wa snot shuttling Sandusky from campus to campus to better hide his abuses.  It worked for the Church for decades after all.

Voters keep electing car dealers to Congress then are mystified when the corrupt businessmen become corrupt Congressmen.  Have you ever dealt with an honest car dealer?  There’s no such thing.  The latest is Florida’s Vern Buchanan.  At least this corrupt Buchanan isn’t from Pennsylvania but we have our own car dealer in Congress:  Mike Kelly in PA-03.  Before that we had Don Sherwood in PA-11 who lost after getting caught choking his mistress.

I come from a family of teachers.  My Mom was a special education teacher, a sister is a college professor, another a retired guidance counselor and two more teach in local high schools.  When I hear idiots complaining about teachers it makes my blood boil.  They have no idea how hard these jobs are, especially nowadays.  Kids who have no interest in learning because their parents fail to instill a love of it in them when young challenge every teacher.  Would you want your job dependent on such kids?  Teachers are vastly underpaid when CEO’s earn billions.  Here’s a suggestion on how to pay teachers, gotta love it.

There are so many important areas being cut by Gov. gasbag so he can shell out tax credits to energy companies it’s hard to keep up with all of them.  The Times-Tribune covers how cuts are affecting day care centers.

Congratulations to new AFSCME leaders Lee Saunders (President) and Laura Reyes (Sec-Treasurer).  Saunders succeeds Jerry McEntee who retired after a good tenure.

In yet another tragic shooting of a Black kid by an angry white man are we entering into a race war where White men are openly killing African-Americans?  This seems to have been the real motivation for Stand Your Ground laws.

Fox News is so stupid not only can’t they get facts straight (of course they don’t want to when they can just make them up) but they can’t even get people right.  In their latest flub they showed a picture of Gov. Mitch Daniels instead of Jerry Sandusky.  It may be a freudian slip though since Daniels is screwing Indiana the same way Jerry screwed his kids.

The Supreme Court did strike down Arizona’s “papers please” anti-immigration law this morning.  But they also struck down Montana’s law against unlimited corporate money in politics.  This is a double down on Citizens United.  From the Brennan Center For Justice:

“The 2012 elections make one thing clear: unlimited spending by super PACs and secretive nonprofits is corrupting our political process and threatens to swamp our democracy,” said Adam Skaggs, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Increasing numbers of Americans believe our government is bought and paid for by special interests and that their votes don’t matter. By not taking this case, the Court missed a critical opportunity to rein in some of the worst excesses of Citizens United, and other rulings, that created this super PAC mess.”

Montana banned corporate election spending for more than 100 years as a result of a dramatic history of efforts by big companies to capture the state government. The state of Montana compiled an extensive and powerful factual record that demonstrated how unlimited corporate spending previously held the state hostage to mining companies and still poses severe threats to Montana’s elections and government. For the Court to strike down the state’s anti-corruption law without even reviewing that record is a serious mistake.

SCOTUS Ruling on ObamaCare Imminent

The Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as ObamaCare, is imminent.  No one knows how the court will decide, if it will uphold the bill, tear it down or declare it entirely unconstitutional.  Regardless HHS is moving forward granting funds to community health centers to prepare for the expected influx of new patients expected to have health coverage.

The individual mandate will apply to only 8% of Americans but will bring them back into the system.  Those who supply these services must be ready to handle them.  Over $3 million has been dedicated to community health centers in Allentown, Kennett Square, Pottsotwn, Reading and Williamsport.

Pennsylvanians are in line to save $51.6 million in rebates to 576,000 health care consumers under the ACA.  The bill requires health insurers to spend at least 80% of their revenues on actual health care rather than executive salaries, perks and doctors whose jobs are to deny you the care you need and deserve under your contract.  Because they have failed to meet the standard the rebates are in order.

Keystone Progress will host a news conference the day of the Supreme Court decision, either way.  They will also hold rallies (all at 3PM) the following day at these locations:

Allentown – 12 Noon

Harry A. Roberts Plaza, Union Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Allentown, PA 18102 (at the MLK, Jr. & Coretta Scott King statue)

Bucks County – 12 Noon

Outside State Rep. Tina Davis’s District Office, 3611 Green Lane, Levittown, PA 19057

Lancaster – 12 Noon

Binns Park, 100 Block N. Queen Street, Lancaster, PA, 17603

Philadelphia – 12 Noon

Governor Corbett’s Regional Office, 200 South Broad Street, 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Pittsburgh – 12 Noon

Governor Corbett’s Regional Office, Piatt Place, 301 Fifth Avenue, Suite 240, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Reading – 12 Noon

U.S. Post Office, at corner of 5th & Washington Streets, Reading, PA 19601

Scranton – 3 p.m.

200 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503 (between Spruce & Linden Streets)

Wilkes-Barre – 3 p.m.

Public Square, 15 WB Public Square (Between South Main & Market Street), Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Should Crooked Prosecutors Be Liable?

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutorial misconduct, even egregious violations of law, are not liable for damages.  In other words crooked prosecutors can throw anyone they want in prison and be free from all liability for their actions.  This is yet another extreme decision from an extreme Court.

Louisiana has long been upheld as a sinkhole of corruption.  Just last week cops were finally sentenced for gunning down victims of Hurricane Katrina.  The New Orleans police force is infamous for its corruption and even state Governors routinely seem to find new residences in prisons.  In the case of Raymond Liuzza Jr. DA Harry Connick (the singer’s father) oversaw a rogue prosecution which wrongfully imprisoned a man for 18 years.  Rules were broken and critical evidence illegally withheld from the court.

If we cannot and do not have a system of justice which is, indeed, blind, which guarantees a fair trial to all, we have no rule of law.  Unfortunately five Justices do not seem to comprehend this concept.  They ruled that Mr. Liuzza has no recourse for suing for his wrongful conviction and lost 18 years.  I believe he should and I believe all the prosecutors involved should be arrested and prosecuted for their conduct.  Egregious and illegal conduct under color of the law should be a criminal act whether conducted by police, sheriffs or prosecutors.  While most people hold defense lawyers in low esteem they perform a critical role in our system:  trying to insure the prosecution is fair, that their clients receive fair trials, and that prosecutorial misconduct be checked as much as possible.

Our courts have rules, rules which are designed to afford every person charged with a crime the chance for a fair trial.  When those rules are breached the basis of our civilization is at risk.  

Democratic Talk Radio 2010 Heroes and Villains Awards

by Stephen Crockett

This year we had great difficulty in making our selections. We had multiple winners in both categories.  We could have given many more awards but finally narrowed it down to just these few.

Heroes are former Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) and former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. Both won because they routinely spoke truth to power even when it was unpopular.

Grayson was targeted by huge amounts of corporate and Far Right money in the 2010 elections because of his honesty. He has not gone silently into the night. Like the true hero he remains, we can count on Alan Grayson to continue speaking out on behalf of working Americans being abused by corporations and the super wealthy interests who control the Republicans in Congress and state governments around the nation.

Many of us learned about Grayson’s efforts on the cable news commentary program run hosted by Keith Olbermann. In the darkest days of the Bush Administration, Olbermann was really the only voice on TV willing to expose and condemn the creeping fascism of the Republican Right. He defended the American Dream when nearly everyone else was fearful and silent.

Democratic talk Radio hopes he will quickly return to our television screens. American Democracy needs Keith Olbermann.

While nearly every Republican in Congress qualifies for the DTR 2010 Villain Award along with Fox News, the Koch brothers and the Tea Party movement, the winners are the 5 Supreme Injustices on the Supreme Court. They are Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Kennedy.

With their crazy and evil Citizens United ruling, they created out of thin air the greatest legal/political threat to our American Dream that has ever existed. They have ruled that corporations are people with the ability to spend unlimited amounts of shareholder money to influence politics. They did not even require in the ruling that shareholders must approve the way is spent or the amount of money by corporate executives.

Corporate executives run corporations. Corporations are organizations of money not people. Corporations do not die like all people do.

The 5 Injustices deserve to be impeached for abuse of office. Since corporations were able to buy Congress in the last elections because of the Citizens United ruling, this will not happen this year if ever. The best we can do is give them our Democratic Talk Radio 2010 Villain of the Year Award.

John:  I co-host DTR.