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Richard Kirsch has dedicated his life to fighting for universal affordable healthcare. A senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of numerous studies on healthcare reform, Kirsch wrote New York’s Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights. Perhaps most notable, however, is the role he played in transforming the recent political discourse with his revolutionary proposal: the public option.
In his new book, Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States, Kirsch describes the uphill struggle to bring health care to everyone. The book doubles as a memoir and ode to the power of progressive grassroots organizations. He chronicles the history of health care reform as well as his own experience designing and pushing forward the public option — a middle road between private insurance and single-payer coverage.
At a book party and fundraiser at the California Endowment,
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report that shows only 2.5 percent of small business owners would be affected by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest taxpayers (top two marginal tax rates).
“The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners—as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.”
Did you catch that? The definition is so broad 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people are considered small business owners.
On Tuesday, July 24, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within the city. As the Los Angeles Times explains, this is the “latest attempt to regulate what many say is an out-of-control proliferation” of the pot shops.
I am one of those who say that. Dispensaries are out of control. I am also one of those who think that the council got today’s vote totally wrong.
When the city set up its initial, partial regulatory system years ago, many dispensaries followed the city’s and the state’s rules about when and where they could operate. They worked with doctors and fully vetted their patients. They lab-tested their medicine. They submitted taxes to the city. They took over vacant storefronts. They became good employers and good neighbors.
Other dispensaries, however, skirted the rules. These dispensaries opened in a mad dash.
Just mentioning the Citizens United case is enough to boil some folks’ blood. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205 (U.S. Jan. 21, 2010) to use its full name, was the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment.
The decision, equating campaign money with speech, opened the floodgates for, as some have put it, turning elections into auctions.
But, although a lot of us know something about the decision, mostly focused on its consequences, not enough of us know enough about the case itself—and some of the truly devious people behind it—and we should know.
But before we can begin connecting the dots, we need to identify the dots.
First Dot: Citizens United
The group is a conservative lobbying and propaganda shop located in Washington,
(The following post is an abbreviated version of a longer feature that appears behind a subscription wall on The Nation‘s site. The full post can be read here with the author’s permission.)
There’s nothing all that remarkable about Rustin High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania—except that it is named for a gay black man who was a pacifist and a socialist. Even more amazing is that it was a Republican-dominated school board, in a conservative district that’s 89 percent white, that voted in 2002 to name the new school after Bayard Rustin, who grew up in West Chester.
Rustin helped catalyze the civil rights movement with courageous acts of resistance. In 1947 he led the first Freedom Rides and wound up serving 30 days on a chain gang, one of many times he was arrested for civil disobedience. He was the chief behind-the-scenes organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.