Opinion

False Flag Operation in Wisconsin's Open Primary

Upside down US flagWhen Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette pushed for the creation of an open-primary system in Wisconsin, his intent was to weaken the power of political party bosses beholden to special interests, like the railroad barrons. A central tenet of the progressive movement, opening up the primaries allowed independent, progressive activists to advance their political causes.

In its purest form, an open-primary system means that anyone can vote in any primary, and anyone can run in any primary.

Health Insurers Pump Your Premiums Into a Financial Black Hole

Money black holeEver wonder what happens to the premiums you pay for your health insurance?

You might be surprised to learn that more and more of the dollars you pay for coverage are being sucked into a kind of black hole.

It doesn't really disappear, of course. It just doesn't do you a bit of good -- unless, of course, you believe it is to your advantage that it ultimately winds up in the bank accounts of a few investors and insurance company executives, including those who have to power to deny coverage for potentially life-saving care.

A Laugher: Tom Ridge Says, "I'm Not a Lobbyist" on Colbert Report

Tom Ridge's bookTom Ridge, on the Thursday, June 9 edition of the Colbert Report, claimed he is "not a lobbyist." A quick glance at his resume shows that nothing could be further from the truth.

Ridge, now 65 years-old, has worn multiple hats throughout his extensive political career.

Among them: first-ever head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Bush Administration from 2003-2005, former Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995-2001, and former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from from 1983-1995.

R.I.P., Fairness Doctrine

FairnessOn June 8, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Julius Genachowski agreed to wipe the Fairness Doctrine completely off the agency's books, even though the rule has been officially dead since 1987. House Republicans have long pushed to get the Doctrine off the rule books for good, and they've finally gotten their way.

From the time it was put in place in 1949 until its demise in 1987, the Fairness Doctrine required holders of broadcast licenses to provide the public with news and public affairs programming, and present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. Back then, the airwaves were dominated by the "big three" networks ABC, CBS and NBC -- which broadcast over publicly-owned airwaves under licenses issued by the government. The idea behind the Fairness Doctrine was to keep broadcasters from monopolizing the airwaves with a biased viewpoint, and assure that those entrusted with the public airwaves broadcast a diversity of viewpoints on important issues.

With Affordable Housing Under Attack, Wisconsinites Fight Back

Protesters formed a picket line on Thursday morning in front of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Fluno Center for Executive Education chanting, “Housing for the needy, not profits for the greedy!”

About 100 people gathered with signs and noisemakers to protest the Wisconsin Real Estate and Economic Outlook conference, headlined by Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan. The event was sponsored by several groups, including the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA). Walker received not only an endorsement from the WRA, but also more than $150,000 in WRA-related campaign contributions in the 2010 election cycle, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Twitter the Winner in Weinergate

Twitter WeinerThe only winner to emerge from the "Weinergate" scandal is Twitter, which once again paraded its effectiveness at everything from bringing down dictators to engaging in political self-immolation. Twitter is truly a double-edged sword. It can be used for good things like facilitating communication after natural disasters, or it can facilitate disaster itself by amplifying the effects of poor human judgment. In the time it took to make a single stroke on a computer key and then lie about it, Anthony Weiner destroyed his credibility, damaged his marriage and his integrity, handed endless fodder to his political enemies and singlehandedly diverted attention from a huge number of truly important domestic and global issues, for example that the U.S. is spending $2 billion a week in Afghanistan while cutting desperately-needed programs and services here at home, or that an unprecedented three nuclear reactors experienced full meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Weinergate scandal shows that a little salacious piece of information sent out on Twitter has the tremendous power to wipe far more important news off the media map -- a realization that itself has huge implications when it comes to controlling what people see and hear in the mass media.

Nurses' Open Letter to Wisconsinites –- Carry on!

Guest post by Jean Ross, RN and Co-President for National Nurses United

The fight in Wisconsin continues to be an ongoing an inspiration to the entire nation. As a registered nurse for 37 years, I have been part of a proud tradition of protest as well. My number one priority, as it is for all nurses, is to advocate for my patients. This is a daily struggle we must wage against corporate insurance and hospitals that care more about the bottom line than patient care. As nurses we fight every day for our patients -- by marching on our administrators, disrupting our halls of government, and protesting in the streets.

With Educational Opportunity Under Attack, Protesters Disrupt Proceedings with Civil Disobedience

Clarissa Sanchez, a freshman in high school from Racine, Wisconsin, knew the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance's majority vote was not likely to shift in her favor. But that didn't stop her from boarding a bus with fellow members of Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES!), the youth branch of Milwaukee-based immigrants rights group Voces de la Frontera, and traveling to the Capitol for the committee's June 2 meeting, during which it was expected to vote to repeal the 2009 measure granting in-state tuition rights (for the University of Wisconsin system and state tech schools) for the children of undocumented immigrants who grew up in Wisconsin.

Health Insurers Have Had Their Chance

Vermont Governor Peter ShumlinOf the many supporters of a single-payer health care system in the United States, some of the most ardent are small business owners who have struggled to continue offering coverage to their workers.

Among them are David Steil, a small business owner and former Republican state legislator in Pennsylvania who earlier this year became president of the advocacy group Health Care 4 All PA.

Another supporter is Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who last Thursday signed a bill that sets the stage for the country's first single-payer plan. If all goes as Shumlin and the bill's many backers hope, all 620,000 Vermonters will eventually be enrolled in a state-run plan to replace Blue Cross, CIGNA and other private insurers whose business practices have contributed to the number of Vermonters without coverage -- approximately 60,000 and growing.

The Paper Insurers Cite, But Hope You Won't Read

Hiding the truthI turned 43 a couple of weeks after I joined CIGNA in 1993. One of the birthday gifts from my new colleagues was a framed, three-word quote by E. B. White: "Be obscure clearly."

We laughed and laughed. It was an inside joke -- and a perfect present for an HMO PR guy who more than a few times had to be obscure when responding to media inquiries. Reporters always wanted more information than I dared give them, but I had to give them something. Hence the need to follow White's sage advice.

That quote, by the way, was in Elements of Style, the classic 1959 book on writing that White co-authored with William Strunk, Jr. White was not actually recommending obscure writing. He was just saying that if for some reason you felt you could not tell the whole truth, if there was no choice but to be obscure, at least use the active voice and proper grammar while doing it.

Pages

Subscribe to Opinion