Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Will Inhofe, GOP Deny Medical Access To Millions?

Let’s be clear that everyone deserves health care, even those people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump and for Republicans in the House and Senate.

We’re all in this together, whether we’re insured through our employer, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Medicare. All three have a symbiotic relationship with one another. Any adjustment to one of the three affects the other two. So when the Senate passed a bill recently that could lead to the repeal of ACA it created a lot of uncertainty about everyone’s health care in this country, except, of course, for the very rich.

Here’s what Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a right-wing extremist from a right-wing state, had to say about the vote:

Last night’s vote paves a path for the Republican-led Senate to follow through on the promise we made to the American people; we are now set and ready to repeal Obamacare. For the last seven years Americans all across the country have been feeling the devastating effects of this law. And Oklahoma has been among the worst hit. Individuals have lost their health plans and many families have seen their hard-earned dollars come up short when it comes to affording their skyrocketing healthcare premiums and deductibles. Repealing Obamacare will give us the opportunity to make things right again and will allow us to work with the incoming administration to ensure our healthcare system actually works for this country.

Of course, none of Inhofe’s indictments of the ACA are true, and he doesn’t even mention all the millions of people who now have insurance and are happy about it.

Inhofe, who has actually been elected office by winning the vote through the years unlike Trump, wouldn’t even dare to mention how the Congressional Budget Office has stated that if the ACA does get repealed with no replacement 18 million people will immediately lose their health insurance and then the number would grow incrementally through the years.

Inhofe hasn’t offered up a real plan to replace so-called Obamacare either nor has any leading Republican done so lately. The issues remain the same as when the ACA was first established, and the only sensible and best financial answer is to go to some type of single-payer system, as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders suggests, but that seems impossible with Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Trump has vaguely said that under some plan that some people are supposedly forming “everybody” will have health insurance. Who knows what’s going to happen? Trump unpredictability is the only predictable thing about him.

Here’s a certainty: It does no good to spend one second thinking that people who voted for Trump deserve to lose their health insurance. First, many people didn’t think and still don’t think it will happen. Maybe it won’t, but that seems unlikely. Second, if the ACA is repealed with no replacement, then that means everyone’s insurance rate will go up because sick people will flood emergency rooms again for treatment and care as a last resort so, well, so they don’t die, and the people with insurance will have to pay for it through increased premiums.

The Senate also voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which serves at-risk women for a variety of health reasons, a development in which The Oklahoman editorial board took great delight.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a shill for the oil and gas industry, gets vetted to head the Environmental Protection Agency this week, and Oklahoma’s Toby Keith is one of the few well-known musicians who will performed at Trump’s inauguration.

Great times, at least for now, for some Oklahomans, but then it’s going to get real.

Vote For Obama, Rice

( – promoted by DocHoc)

Image of Sally Kern

Here are some political endorsements:

President: Barack Obama. There is no question the country’s government needs great change to face its pressing problems.  It’s absurd anyone would think John McCain would deviate substantially from the policy positions of President George Bush. For this reason alone, Barack Obama is the clear choice.  Obama also has the potential to be one of the greatest American presidents ever by uniting the country during a difficult time. An Obama presidency would represent a historical change of seismic proportions.

U.S. Senator: Andrew Rice. It’s clear U.S. Sen.  Jim Inhofe has been in Washington too long.  What has he done all these years? Well, he has repeatedly embarrassed many people in the state with his outrageous and divisive comments about global warming and cultural wedge issues.  This is a year of change. State Sen. Andrew Rice represents change.  He is bright and articulate and will serve as a great Oklahoma ambassador in Washington.

Corporation Commissioner: Jim Roth, Charles Gray. Jim Roth proved his mettle as a Oklahoma County Commissioner.  Gov. Brad Henry then appointed Roth to the Corporation Commission, and he has served with composure and distinction.  He deserves your vote. In the other Corporation Commission race, Charles Gray deserves your vote.  Gray would bring a real people’s view to the commission.

U.S Representative: Dan Boren. It’s essential Oklahomans return Dan Boren to Washington.  As it stands now, he is the only Democrat in the state’s Congressional delegation. He adds balance to the delegation and helps the state’s image in the process. Boren is a centrist-to-conservative Democrat who has represented the state with distinction.  He deserves your vote.  I would urge voters in other Congressional districts to also vote Democratic this year.

District 84 State Representative: Ron Marlett. As I wrote earlier, “Ron Marlett is the clear choice for state representative in House District 84, a seat now held by Sally Kern, the right-wing ideologue who made national news when she publicly claimed homosexuality is a greater threat to the nation than terrorism.” Marlett’s election would tell the world that Oklahoma will not tolerate the hateful, extremist views of political leaders.

Andrew Rice For U.S. Senate

( – promoted by DocHoc)

Image of Andrew Rice

(“The Case Against Jim Inhofe,” published on Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma, is a series of posts that comments on Inhofe’s political and business escapades. It shows how Inhofe has consistently hurt the state’s image. It focuses as well on Inhofe’s atrocious record on economic, health, energy, environmental, military and government spending issues. Here are the installments: Part I: “Rice Gains Ground on Inhofe,” Part II: “Character Issue Follows Inhofe,” Part III: “When Inhofe Talks, People Cringe,” Part IV: “Iraq Distortions Cast Shadow Over Inhofe Campaign,” Part V: “Can Voters Trust GOP, Inhofe With Social Security, Health Care,” Part VI: “Jim Inhofe and the Wall Street Era.”

Our country remains mired in two military occupations. The government is running a record deficit to pay for tax cuts for rich people. A financial crisis threatens the retirement income of millions of Americans as taxpayers fund a massive bailout for rich investment bankers. A massive number of people are losing their homes.

The nation’s health care system is broken, causing immense personal suffering and financial hardship. The United States, once heralded for its civil liberties, is now known throughout the world as a nation that sanctions torture, the suspension of habeas corpus and the indiscriminate wiretapping of its citizens.

Under the current Washington political culture and system, which is fueled by the money of special interests, it is impossible to bring about change, to fix our problems and move forward. Consequently, the only way ordinary people can make a difference is to replace the old guard that created our pressing problems and hold “change” politicians accountable for their actions.

State Sen. Andrew Rice, 36, a Democrat who is running against Jim Inhofe for the United States Senate, is definitely a politician who represents change and the future. His basic philosophical attitude puts the interests of ordinary people above Wall Street investment bankers and big oil companies. This is what the nation and Oklahoma vitally needs right now. We need something different. We need to change things up.

Some in the Oklahoma corporate media-those right-wing shills for their rich bosses-say they support Inhofe because of his long experience in Washington. But that is exactly why Inhofe should be sent into retirement.

It’s no secret the 73-year-old Inhofe, a Republican, has sold out to special interests and is detested throughout the world for his extreme and sometimes outrageous views on cultural wedge issues and global warming. He is divisive. He still supports the failed neoconservative experiment. Afraid to discuss the issues or debate his opponent, Inhofe is the epitome of everything that is wrong with Washington. His particular experience is why he needs to be voted out of office and not given another six-year term.

If Oklahomans elect Rice to the Senate, it will send a powerful message to the world. It will say, “Oklahoma is open for business,” and “Oklahoma cares about the future.” His election would also add balance to our Congressional delegation, which is overwhelmingly Republican.

Vote for change this election. Vote for Andrew Rice.

Muskogee Phoenix Endorses Rice

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Image of Andrew Rice

(The Muskogee Phoenix, the state’s fouth-largest newspaper, has endorsed Andrew Rice for the United States Senate.  Rice, a state senator from Oklahoma City, is running against incumbent Jim Inhofe. You can read the endorsement below.)

http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/archivesearch/local_story_298165417.html

Senate choice should lean to center

No one takes lightly endorsing a relative newcomer to politics over a long-time senator. Jim Inhofe has been in the U.S. Senate 14 years, and he has a great deal of support in Oklahoma. But Inhofe has not been without controversy.

He may be the ranking minority member on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, but he has not shown a great deal of respect for the environment. He arrogantly blamed the New Orleans flooding from Hurricane Katrina not on inadequate levees, the real cause, but “far-left” environmental “extremists.” He has adamantly called global warming a great hoax.

There is no doubt that Inhofe maintains a conservative attitude that reflects the position of his constituent base, but the extremist statements he has made throughout his career on many subjects hurts his credibility and the state’s image despite whatever positive contributions he has made while in Congress. And extremism, whether to the right or left, does not promote good government policies or government that benefits everyone.

That is why Andrew Rice is a better candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

Rice has a more even-handed and rational approach to the issues and problems we are experiencing. He has gained a experiential world view as a missionary, working with rural development projects in Asia, that would serve him well in the Senate.

Rice also has demonstrated in the state Senate a willingness to work with others rather than sticking to a rigid ideology. Oklahoma would lose the seniority Inhofe has gained if Rice were elected, and that would be a tough loss. But there is something to gain with Rice as well.

Is Social Security Safe Under Inhofe, GOP Ideology?

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Logo of The Case Against Jim Inhofe

(In the coming weeks, Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma will set the record straight when it comes to U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. This blog will be publishing an open-ended series, “The Case Against Jim Inhofe.” The series will comment on Inhofe’s political and business escapades, from his earlier lies about when he graduated from college to the insurance company he ran into insolvency to his dirty campaign tactics. It will show how Inhofe has consistently hurt the state’s image. It will focus as well on Inhofe’s atrocious record on economic, health, energy, environmental, military and government spending issues. Here are the installments published before this post: Part I: “Rice Gains Ground on Inhofe,” Part II: “Character Issue Follows Inhofe,” Part III: “When Inhofe Talks, People Cringe,” Part IV: “Iraq Distortions Cast Shadow Over Inhofe Campaign.”)

“The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis.”-Republican President Herbert Hoover, October 25, 1929

The failed economic policies of the Bush administration and the Republican Party have taken this country close to a complete financial collapse once again.

People around the country are now asking these basic questions: Is my money safe in the bank? Will I lose my job and home? Are my retirement funds safe? Will food and energy prices continue to go up? Will I be able to fill my prescriptions this month? Can I help my children go to college?

In a form of corporate socialism, the Bush/GOP ideology rewards the wealthiest in our culture through tax cuts, business deregulation and other incentives. The ideology punishes most everyone else with higher prices, stagnant wages and inadequate health care.

The recent collapse of several major companies tied to the subprime mortgage controversy has shown, once again, the harsh reality behind the Republican trickle-down theory. In the midst of this man-made muddle, there is much to condemn about the GOP’s bogus philosophy that creates the free market as the arbitrator of all American reality.

Yet the crash of huge business titans-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG-has also clarified for voters, both locally and nationally, the issue of financial security and its relationship to privatization.

Let’s focus on Social Security for a minute. Is there anyone left in America-except for Republican ideologues-who actually thinks we should privatize any aspect of Social Security given the reckless business practices of our banking and stockbroker firms? Should we really trust businesses, such as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers or AIG, with our retirement money? Make no mistake about it. These corrupt and ill-managed operations would be exactly the type of companies in control of your Social Security benefits under the GOP-mandated privatization edict. President George Bush has long advocated privatization of Social Security, and his supporters, including U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, have hardly disavowed the president’s plan to take our retirement money and invest it in Wall Street.

In fact, an Inhofe spokesperson, Josh Kivett, indicated Inhofe still supports personal Social Security accounts, According to a Tulsa television station, Channel 8: “…Josh Kivett, a spokesman for Inhofe, says giving people the option of establishing personal accounts wouldn’t jeopardize their Social Security.” Kivett was quoted on August 15, 2008.

Inhofe faces reelection this year. His opponent, state Sen. Andrew Rice, has repeatedly said he would never support the privatization of Social Security.

Americans also face a health care crisis, which creates more financial insecurity. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, wants to implement the GOP plan that one major study says will actually leave 20 million more Americans uninsured. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert recently wrote, “These are changes that will set in motion nothing less than the dismantling of the employer-based coverage that protects most American families.”

Herbert goes on to say, “The whole idea of the McCain plan is to get families out of employer-paid health coverage and into the health insurance marketplace, where naked competition is supposed to take care of all ills. (We’re seeing in the Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch fiascos just how well the unfettered marketplace has been working.)”

Inhofe almost always votes with the Republican majority, and given his opposition to bills improving and simply maintaining Medicare, Tricare, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs in the past, he is most certainly going to favor the McCain plan-if the Arizona senator is elected president-or some version of it. (Click here for Inhofe’s record on health care.)

The ongoing Wall Street crisis continues to clear the campaign fog and silliness on a national and local level. Do we continue on with at least four more years of willy-nilly GOP deregulation and privatization or do we vote in common sense people, who want to ensure regular people can retire and have health care?