Voices from Russia

Saturday, 6 May 2017

6 May 2017. Ajamu Baraka: Healthcare is a Human Right, But You Have to Fight For It!



Saturday, 2 November 2013

Company Behind Troubled Obamacare Website Donated Heavily To Republicans In 2012

00 Political cartoon. He doesn't see. He doesn't hear. He keeps quiet (when he's paid enough). 02.11.13

Follow the money! Why is it that the congressmen who received the biggest windfalls from the insurance industry are the biggest opponents of the ACA? Just sayin’…


The GOP argues that the federal contractor got a sweetheart deal from its ties to the Obama administration, but the company donated just as much to Republicans last cycle. That is, bipartisan favour-currying. Republicans’ new Obamacare attack line hinges on allegations that the contractor in charge of building the disastrous healthcare.gov website landed the gig through sweetheart deals from the Obama administration. However, according to Federal Election Commission records, that company’s PAC gave more to House Republicans than House Democrats during the 2012 cycle… including a 2,000 USD (64,900 Roubles. 2,085 CAD. 2,120 AUD. 1,485 Euros. 1,255 UK Pounds) cheque for the GOP’s chief scandal investigator, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). What’s more, executives of CGI Federal personally gave more than twice as much to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney than to President Obama. The contractor also feasted on more than 2.4 billion USD (77.9 billion Roubles. 2.5 billion CAD. 2.55 billion AUD. 1.78 billion Euros. 1.5 billion UK Pounds) worth of IT work dating back to the early Bush administration.

So far, none of that stopped the Republican National Congressional Committee from suggesting CGI netted hundreds of millions of dollars to create the dysfunctional website because of its ties to the White House. On Wednesday, the NRCC blanketed the Republican National Committee’s e-mail list, trumpeting a petition it’d started that’d urge Congress to investigate CGI-Obama ties. The e-mail noted the importance of finding out, among other pressing questions, “How did [CGI] get contracted to do it?” Twenty-eight hours later, the NRCC had its answer. The next missive declared, “NRCC Investigation of HealthCare.gov Finds Insider Deals Worth Over 400 Million USD (13 billion Roubles. 416.9 million CAD. 424.1 million AUD. 296.6 million Euros. 251.2 million UK Pounds)”. The e-mail itself doesn’t reference any evidence of “insider deals”, but the conservative Daily Caller had built the case for weeks by noting the company gave donations to Obama and other Democrats and that its executives visited the White House regularly.

Yet, FEC records indicate executives for CGI gave 5,550 USD (180,000 Roubles. 5,790 CAD. 5,890 AUD. 4,120 Euros. 3,490 UK Pounds) to GOP Romney and just 2,000 USD to Obama… not quite the behaviour of a company indebted to the president for its contacting jackpots. Also, the company’s PAC, CGI-AMS, gave 48,000 USD (1.56 million Roubles. 50,000 CAD. 51,000 AUD. 35,600 Euros. 30,200 UK Pounds) to 28 GOP members of the House, including 5,000 USD (162,300 Roubles. 5,200 CAD. 5,300 AUD. 3,700 Euros. 3,150 UK Pounds) to Tom Cole (R-OK), 6,000 USD (195,000 Roubles. 6,250 CAD. 6,360 AUD. 4,450 Euros. 3,770 UK Pounds) to Frank Wolf (R-VA), and 2,000 USD each to Issa, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Martha Roby (R-AL). Yoder, Wolf, and Cole also sit on the Appropriations Committee. Issa, Wolf, and Cole also received contributions from the PAC during the 2010 cycle. Attempts to reach Issa, Yoder, and Wolf were unsuccessful Thursday. The PAC gave 32,000 USD (1.04 million Roubles. 33,350 CAD. 33,950 AUD. 23,750 Euros. 20,100 UK Pounds) to 13 Democratic House members. They also gave 29,500 USD (957,400 Roubles. 30,750 CAD. 31,300 AUD. 21,900 Euros. 18,550 UK Pounds) to Democrats running for Senate and 19,000 USD (617,000 Roubles. 19,800 CAD. 20,150 AUD. 14,100 Euros. 11,950 UK Pounds) to Republican Senate candidates, reflecting a perceptive record of giving more to members of the parties in power in each chamber.

The bipartisan giving makes sense given that CGI’s first federal contract for IT work started in 2001 and, as a multibillion-dollar firm, has many lobbying interests in Congress. In fact, USASpending.gov, the federal site tracking government contracts, shows CGI was the contractor of choice for a wide range of computer systems work throughout the Bush administration, including hundreds of multimillion-dollar contracts for the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. The contract under which CGI did the Obamacare website work, in fact, began in 2007 as a contract with HHS to handle Medicare and Medicaid IT. Contracting experts say that when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 with all of its tentacles intersecting with those programmes, there was almost no way CGI wasn’t going to get to expand the scope of their existing contract. Federal contracting rules are strict… to avoid political meddling… they favour entrenched large companies with track records. Moreover, if the case of CGI’s shoddy work doesn’t appear to represent partisan favouritism, it does appear to underscore broader problems with the system.

George Washington Law School professor Joshua I Schwartz, co-director of the GWLS Government Procurement Law Program, said, “This wasn’t a patronage deal. The one thing members and the President don’t seem to have is influence over who gets a particular contract. They just don’t”. Clay Johnson, a former Presidential Innovation Fellow under Obama who excoriated the White House and HHS for its handling of the site, nonetheless also believes that the problem stems from the procurement process and the biases that keep small nimble tech start-ups from getting this kind of work, saying, “The buck definitely has to stop somewhere, but I think it’s the public’s fault for turning a blind eye on this contract situation for so long. You don’t see members of Congress winning elections by campaigning for comprehensive procurement reform”.

18 October 2013

Steve Friess

BuzzFeed Politics


Editor’s Note:

In short, the Republicans lie, yet again. In any case, CGI is a Canadian, not an American company, meaning that the Republican allegations are pure hogwash and moonshine. They’re not tied to EITHER American political faction (as their political donations prove to all competent observers). However, the GOP base believes in such arrant nonsense such as Young Earth Creationism, Giving Your Heart to Jayzuss, the wisdom of Rush Limbaugh, the Global War on Terror, and Benevolent Capitalism. The real question is, shall the rest of us be gulled, too? God willing, we won’t…


Monday, 7 October 2013

Send the Bill for the Shutdown to the Religious Right

01 Tea Party


Editor’s Foreword:

This is one of the best things that I’ve read on the government shutdown, and on the evangelical dysfunction that abetted it. Read n’ heed, I say. I have some short comments at the end. Attend to this… it’s full of the “good stuff”.



Don’t like the shutdown? Send the bill to the evangelicals. People schooled to live in a make-believe magical facts-be-damned world took over the Republican Party. The Tea Party is the pro-life evangelical subculture reborn with a few libertarian nuts thrown in. I’m talking about the bedrock mostly southern and mountain state evangelical conservatives that are anything but conservative. The pro-life, home-school, anti-government far right is the evangelical movement. It’s radically anti-American. Without this movement, the 40 extremists in congress who’re the radical right of the far right wouldn’t have won election.

As Andrew Sullivan wrote:

But there’s something more here. How does one party that lost two presidential elections and a Supreme Court case… as well as two Senate elections… think it has the right to shut down the entire government and destroy the full faith and credit of the US Treasury to get its way on universal healthcare now? I see no quid pro quo even. Just pure blackmail, resting on understandable and predictable public concern whenever a major reform is enacted. But what has to be resisted is any idea that this is government or politics as usual. It’s an attack on the governance and the constitutional order of the USA.

How did we get here?

Following the election of our first black president, the politics of the Evangelical, Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Mormon {but do note that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is a Mormon!: editor} far right wasn’t the politics of a loyal opposition, but rather the instigation of revolution, which was first and best expressed by Rush Limbaugh when even before President Obama took office he said, “I hope Obama fails”.1 Mix in a dose of southern racial politics and we had the recipe for a disaster. It’s upon us. Ironically, at the very same time as evangelicals like me… as I used to be… and my late father Francis Schaeffer and home-school anti-government and anti-public school pioneer Mary Pride, were thrusting ourselves into bare-knuckle politics in the 1970s and 80s, we were also retreating to what amounted to virtual walled compounds. In other words, we lashed out at “godless America” and demanded political change… say, the reintroduction of prayer into public schools… and yet also urged our followers to pull their children out of the public schools and home-school them.

The rejection of public schools by evangelical Protestants was a harbinger of virtual civil war carried on by other means we face today. All that was lacking back then was hatred of a black man that took the anti-everything fact free class of evangelicals and libertarians to another level of dysfunction. Protestants were once the public schools’ most ardent defenders.2 For instance, in the 1840s when Roman Catholics asked for tax relief for their private schools, Protestants said “no”, and stood against anything they thought might undermine the public schools that they believed were the backbone of moral virtue, community spirit, and egalitarian good citizenship.

The Evangelical’s abandonment of the country they called home (while simultaneously demanding change in that society) went far beyond alternative schools or home-schooling. In the 1970s and 80s thousands of Christian bookstores opened, countless new Evangelical radio programs flourished, and new TV stations went on the air.3 Even a “Christian Yellow Pages” (a guide to Evangelical tradesmen) was published, advertising “Christ-centred plumbers”, accountants, and the like who “honour Jesus”. New Evangelical universities and even new law schools appeared, seemingly overnight, with a clearly defined mission to “take back” each and every profession… including law and politics… “for Christ”. For instance, Liberty University Law School was a dream come true for my old friend Jerry Falwell, who (when I was speaking at his school in 1983 to the entire student body for the second time) gleefully told me of his vision for Liberty’s programs… “Frank, we’re going to train a new generation of judges to change America!” This was the same Jerry Falwell who wrote in America Can Be Saved, “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools”.4

To the old-fashioned conservative mantra, “Big government doesn’t work”, the newly-radicalised evangelicals (and their anti-abortion Roman Catholic cobelligerents) added, “The US government is evil!” The very same community… Protestant American evangelicals… who once were the bedrock supporters of public education, and voted for such moderate and reasonable men as President Dwight Eisenhower, became the enemies of not only the public schools, but also of anything in the (non-military) public sphere “run by the government”. As they opened new institutions (proudly outside the mainstream), the evangelicals doing this “reclaiming” cast themselves in the role of persecuted exiles and victims of secularism. In my new book, And God Said, “Billy!” I examined in depth the paranoid fantasy land of delusion this sort of thinking took me and millions of others into. What they never admitted was what my alter-ego Billy in my book never admits… we evangelicals were self-banished from mainstream institutions, not only because our evangelical political views on social issues conflicted with most people’s views, but also because we evangelicals found ourselves holding the short end of the intellectual stick.

Science marched forth, demolishing fundamentalist “facts” with dispassionate argument. Therefore, science also became our enemy. Rather than rethink our beliefs, conservative religionists like me (and “Billy”) decided to renounce secular higher education and denounce it as “elitist”. Thus, to be uninformed, even wilfully and proudly so, came to be considered a Godly virtue. Since misery loves company, the evangelicals’ quest, for instance when evangelicals dominated the Texas textbook committees, was to strive to “balance” the teaching of evolution with creationism and damn the facts. In the minds of evangelicals, they were recreating the Puritan’s self-exile from England by looking for a purer and better place, this time not a geographical “place” but a sanctuary within their minds (and in inward-looking schools and churches) undisturbed by facts. Like the Puritans, the post-Roe (when abortion was made legal) evangelicals (and many other conservative Christians) withdrew from the mainstream not because they were forced to but because the society around them was, in their view, fatally sinful and, worse, addicted to facts rather than to faith. And yet having dropped out (to use a 1960s phrase), the Evangelicals nevertheless kept on demanding that regarding “moral” and “family” matters the society they’d renounced nonetheless had to conform to their beliefs.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the Evangelical and conservative Roman Catholic (and Mormon) outsider victim approach to public policy was perfected on a heretofore-undreamed-of scale by Sarah Palin. She was the ultimate holier-than-thou evangelical queen bee. What my mother represented (in her unreconstructed fundamentalist heyday as the leader of an evangelical commune called L’Abri Fellowship) to a house full of young gullible young people looking for answers and, later, to tens of thousands of readers, Palin became for tens of millions of alienated angry white lower-middle-class men and women convinced that an educated “elite” was out to get them. Palin was first inflicted on the American public by Senator John McCain, who chose her as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election for only one reason… he needed to shore up flagging support from the evangelical Republican anti-abortion base. McCain wanted to prove that he was fully in line with the “social issues” agenda that my father, Dr C Everett Koop, and I had foisted on our country over thirty years before with our anti-abortion book and film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Palin lost the election for McCain, but “won” her war for fame and fortune and self-appointed “prophetess” status.

The evangelicals like Palin talked of bringing America back to our Christian heritage. Yet the post-Roe anti-abortion evangelicals ignored the Puritans’ actual ideas about government’s biblical mandated role. The Puritans’ theology of government was formed in the context of an embrace of all Christians’ duty to demand the “public good”. This was exemplified by such unquestioned well-established concepts as the “king’s highway”, a common road system protected by the crown (government) and a common law that applied to all. One’s common duty to others was accepted as the essential message of Christian civilisation. Public spaces were defended by government in the early New England settlements, just as they had been in England. What’s so curious is that in this religion-inflicted country of ours, the same evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics, and others who’d been running around post-Roe insisting that America had a “Christian foundation” and demanding a “return to our heritage” and/or more recently trashing healthcare reform as “communist” and demanding the shutdown of the government in order to overturn this “communist” invention by a “non-American” president, ignored the fact that one great contribution of Christianity was a commitment to strong central government. For instance, this included church support for state-funded, or state-church-funded, charities, including hospitals, as early as the fourth century. Government was seen as part of God’s Plan for creating social justice and defending the common good. Christians were once culture-forming and culture-embracing people. Even the humanism preached by the supposedly “anti-Christian” Enlightenment thinkers of the eighteenth century was, in fact, a Deist/Christian “heresy”, with a value system espousing human dignity borrowed wholesale from the Sermon on the Mount.

In the scorched-earth era of the evangelical-dominated Republican Party of the “health care reform debates” of 2009 and beyond and now up to and including government shutdown, as a means to demand repeal of the reform, including anti-contraceptive provisions, the evangelicals seemed to believe that Jesus commanded that all hospitals (and everything else) should be run by corporations for profit, just because corporations weren’t the evil government. The right even decided that it was “normal” for the state to hand over its age-old public and patriotic duties to private companies… even for military operations (“contractors”), prisons, health care, public transport, and all the rest. The Religious Right/Far Right et al favoured private “facts”, too. They claimed that global warming wasn’t real. They asserted this because scientists (those same agents of Satan who insisted that evolution was real) were the ones who said human actions were changing the climate. Worse, the government said so, too!

  • “Global warming is a left-wing plot to take away our freedom!”
  • “Amtrak must make a profit!”
  • “Healthcare for all is communist!”

Even the word “infrastructure” lost its respectability when government had a hand in maintaining roads, bridges, and trains, let alone providing health insurance coverage to millions. In denial of the West’s civic-minded, government-supporting heritage, evangelicals (and the rest of the libertarian right) wound up defending private oil companies, but not God’s creation, private cars instead of public transport, private insurance conglomerates rather than government care of individuals. The price for the religious right’s wholesale idolatry of private everything was that they tied Christ’s reputation to a cynical political party owned by billionaires. Today, it’s come to the point where people calling themselves followers of Jesus are fighting AGAINST healthcare for all!

As Andrew Sullivan wrote:

When ideologies become as calcified, as cocooned and as extremist as those galvanising the GOP, the American system of government can’t work… This isn’t about ending Obamacare as such (although that is a preliminary scalp); it’s about nullifying this presidency, the way the GOP attempted to nullify the last Democratic presidency by impeachment. Except this time, of course, we can’t deny that race too is an added factor to the fathomless sense of entitlement felt among the GOP far right. You saw it in birtherism; in the Southern GOP’s constant outrageous claims of Obama’s alleged treason and alliance with Islamist enemies; in providing zero votes for a stimulus that was the only thing that prevented a global depression of far worse proportions; in the endless race-baiting from Fox News and the talk radio right. In this racially-charged atmosphere, providing access to private healthcare insurance to the working poor is obviously the point of no return.

Even though the law is almost identical to that of their last presidential nominee’s in Massachusetts, the GOP is prepared to destroy both the American government and the global economy to stop it… This is the point of no return… a black president doing something for black citizens (even though the vast majority of beneficiaries of Obamacare will be non-black). I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime… If we cave to their madness, we may unravel our system of government, something one might have thought conservatives would’ve opposed. Except these people aren’t conservatives. They’re vandals.

The evangelical foot soldiers never realised that the logic of their “stand” against government had played into the hands of people who never cared about human lives beyond the fact that people could be sold products. By the 21st century, Ma and Pa No-name were still out in the rain holding an “Abortion is Murder!” sign in Peoria and/or standing in line all night in some godforsaken mall in Kansas City to buy a book by Sarah Palin and have it signed. However, the denizens of the corner offices at Goldman Sachs, the News Corporation, Exxon, and Halliburton were laughing. Only now, in 2013, as the full insanity of the far right stand for “God and country” and against government “intrusion” (healthcare reform proposed by a black man) hits home, the fat cats are being hoisted on their own petard. The religious right’s religiously-motivated foot soldiers have succeeded in installing forty extremists in Congress who aren’t listening to their Wall Street masters any longer and are ready to take us all over the cliff into their imaginary world.

Send the bill for the shutdown to the evangelicals.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer, author of And God Said, “Billy!” on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 and in paperback.


1. On 16 January 2009, Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by “a major American print publication” to offer a four-hundred-word statement explaining his “hope for the Obama presidency”. He reported, “So, I’m thinking of replying to the guy, ‘Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need four hundred words; I need four: I hope he fails'”.

2. See “Moral Education: A Brief History of Moral Education,” “The Return of Character Education”, and “Current Approaches to Moral Education”


3. Christian product sales in the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) alone grew to 4.63 billion USD in 2006, according to CBA’s research. See <www.cbaonline.org/nm/timeline.htm>

4. Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1979), 17

2 October 2013

Frank Schaeffer

Huffington Post


Editor’s Afterword:

Let’s keep it simple. Evangelicals aren’t Christians… they have no Eucharist, they have no Liturgy, they have no Choir of Saints, they have no priesthood… ergo, they don’t have Christ. We have more in common with the secularists than we do with them. At least, the secularists don’t distort Christ.

Come unto me, all ye that are heavily laded, and I will give thee rest… there’s nothing of “free enterprise” in that, is there? Stand with HH and Pope Francisco… support single-payer healthcare… it’s the CHRISTIAN alternative… and that’s that.



Friday, 4 October 2013

Millions of Poor Americans to Be Out of Medicaid

00 Tea Party. Moloch. 04.10.13


A significant effort to extend health coverage to Americans will leave out millions of uninsured… just the very kind of people the programme was designed to help. Not only are these people uninsured and impoverished, but they’re also unlucky to live in Republican-controlled states that’ve declined to expand Medicaid, an insurance scheme for the poor. About half of the country’s population, with about 68 percent of poor uninsured blacks and single mothers, live in the 26 states that rejected Medicaid expansion.

Dr H Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health centre concept, explained, “The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion… many of them Southern… are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute. It’s their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire healthcare system”. This disparity introduces the unpleasant racial issueheated healthcare law discourse into the . Surprisingly, race was rarely (if ever at all) mentioned in high circles’ disputes in terms of Medicaid.

Every southern state except for Arkansas rejected Medicaid expansion. Opponents of the expansion claim that they’re against it strictly on economic grounds, and that the demographic situation of the South… with poor blacks being the vast majority of the uninsured… makes it easier to make race “the topic of the day”. The law intended all Americans to have health coverage. For lower and middle-income earners, there are subsidies on the new health exchanges to help them afford insurance. An expanded Medicaid programme was supposed to cover the poorest American citizens. Overall, about 30 million uninsured Americans were to be eligible for financial aid. However, last year, a US Supreme Court ruling on the health care law allowed states to choose whether to expand Medicaid or not. Those states that preferred not to expand Medicare left about eight million impoverished and uninsured people without any medical assistance at all, excluding illegal immigrants and foreign-born residents.

3 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Comment from the Original VOR Post:

What an ANTI-SOCIAL nation! Everything revolves around $$$. Sink or swim… you’re on your own. Exceptional country?

Vera Gottlieb

Editor’s Note:

I agree with Ms Gottlieb. Pre-repentance Scrooge was actually more generous… he did accept the union workhouse and the Poor Law. The Republican Party has a lotta goddamn gall. They shut down the government… in order to smash what they consider “socialism”. The GOP is chock fulla beans… single-payer healthcare was the brainchild of Prince Otto von Bismarck… AS A WEAPON AGAINST SOCIALISM. It shows you how dirt ignorant and downright stupid the Republicans are. The German healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and it’s utilised single-payer insurance since the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It served the Empire, it served the Weimar Republic, it served the Third Reich, it served the Bundesrepublik and DDR… it still serves today.

The Republicans aren’t only liars; they’re malicious and cruel, as well. There’s money for Medicaid expansion… stop the useless foreign wars and end the free ride for the rich. Slobberin’ Ronnie started it… after 30 years of Voodoo Economics, the top Five Percent are at 275 percent of their 1981 income in real terms (adjusted for inflation)… the rest of us are at 85 percent of the 1981 level in real terms. I think that some class warfare has gone on… the rich against the rest of us, and the Republicans are the willing whores of the moneyed class.

For Orthodox people here in the American diaspora, it means that Rod Dreher, Victor Potapov, Terrence Mattingly, James Paffhausen, Patrick Henry Reardon, Joseph Honeycutt, Alexander Webster, John Whiteford, and Josiah Trenham (and all those like them) are enablers of evil. They all support the Republican Moloch. HH doesn’t approve of the Republican War on the Poor… neither does Bart, for that matter (Pope Francisco gives a hearty “Amen”). The Church is FOR government single-payer healthcare. After all, HH IS friends with Gennady Zyuganov and Fidel Castro… he’s NOT friends with grasping filth like Mitch McConnell, Darrell Issa, John Boehner, and Rand Paul. Reflect on that…


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