Monthly Archives: January 2009

Travis County Libertarian Party Gets Press in Opposition to Smoking Ban

Arthur DiBianca, whom I believe is a reader of IPR, was cited in the International Herald Tribune as being part of a group that was holding a rally in opposition to anti-smoking bills in the Texas legislature.

The bill has met resistance from civil libertarians and some restaurant and bar owners who worry their business will suffer. A small group held a counter-demonstration about 50 feet from where Armstrong addressed the crowd.

Arthur DiBianca of the Travis County Libertarian Party held up a sign that said “Go Back to France, Lance.”

“Smoking bans in general and a statewide smoking ban are a further encroachment on the rights of business owners and property rights,” DiBianca said.

Rep. Myra Crownover, a Denton Republican who has authored the House version of the bill, acknowledged some lawmakers question whether the bill violates property rights and individual liberties. She said the ban would protect the rights of employees to not have to work in an atmosphere filled with toxic smoke and is not an attempt to ban smoking altogether.

More [read more]

President Obama can either work to enact health care for all Americans or he can support insurance and HMO industry profits, say Greens

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
+/0+/

For Immediate Release:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

Mandates and other market-based plans will not solve the health care crisis; Single-Payer (Medicare For All) makes health care a right for all Americans

Obama’s plan for national computerization of medical records can only guarantee patients’ privacy and security under Single-Payer

Green Party Speakers Bureau list of party activists available to speak on health care: +/1+/

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama has a choice — he can either work for universal health care or he can satisfy the demands of insurance industry lobbies for continued private profit, said Green Party leaders today.

Greens, in demanding a Single-Payer national health care program (also called Medicare For All), said that there was no possibility of guaranteed quality health care for every American under a market-based system. Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) bill for Single-Payer (HR 676, +/2+/) has strong Green Party support, although many Greens also hope to see complementary medicine brought under the Single-Payer umbrella.

“President Obama needs to follow his own campaign rhetoric and listen to the American people. In many of his own town hall meetings, the demand for Single-Payer has been so strong that [Secretary of Health and Human Services] Tom Daschle has asked to meet with Single-Payer groups. Single-Payer will make health care a human right — one more important than the ‘right’ of insurance companies to make a profit off our need for health care,” said said Mark Dunlea, New York Green, member of the Hunger Action Network of New York State, and author of “Can Incrementalism Be the Path to Universal Health Care?” (+/3+/)

Green Party leaders expressed special support for pro-Single-Payer organizations and coalitions that have shifted into high gear under the new presidential administration, including the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, Healthcare-NOW, California Nurses Association, and Physicians for a National Health Program.

“President Obama’s plan to have all medical records computerized within five years has made Single-Payer even more urgent. The plan will create an enormous risk for patients’ privacy and security, as private health insurers try to weaken privacy safeguards and gain access to records in an effort to exclude people from coverage, or make coverage more expensive for clients they consider high-risk. HMOs and insurance firms make their profits by cherry-picking patients who are less costly to insure and by limiting treatment for those with coverage, so they use medical records to determine who will be a financial risk. The only way to guarantee both protection from predatory corporations and access to health care for all Americans is to enact a Single-Payer program,” said Jill Bussiere, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Greens have argued that enactment of a Single-Payer program would boost the ailing US economy and provide relief for businesses large and small, since it would cancel the high expense and administrative burden of employer-based health care benefits (+/4+/). Single-Payer would lower the cost of health care for all middle- and low-income Americans, since the amount of taxes necessary to sustain Single-Payer would be far less than the cost of private coverage and medical fees. No American will go bankrupt because of a medical emergency in a Single-Payer system.

President Obama, despite supporting Single-Payer earlier in his political career, now favors a health care plan that would maintain private insurance industry control over Americans’ health care. Profit-making insurance, HMO, and pharmaceutical lobbies have a grip on most Democratic and Republican members of Congress because of campaign contributions and the influence of lobbyists.

Montana Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, wants the Single-Payer option “off the table” in the discussion on health care reform and, along with other Democrats, has proposed a market-based plan that would achieve universal coverage by requiring Americans who lack health coverage to purchase insurance from a private company.

“There will be no meaningful improvement in our nation’s health care system or any chance of universal care until Single-Payer is enacted and profit-making insurance companies no longer decree who gets care and what kind of care,” said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. “Any ‘mandate’ reform plan that leaves private insurers in charge will either result in inadequate care or in huge taxpayer-funded subsidies to cover the loss of profits for HMOs and insurance companies compelled to cover people these companies would otherwise exclude. Single-Payer will cover all Americans regardless of age, income, or prior medical condition, and by eliminating the need for private insurers and the high profit rate they demand.”

“Even state based Single-Payer initiatives are being undermined by the president’s insurance-based proposal. Here in Pennsylvania we have a strong bill, with the funding included and a governor who has agreed to sign the legislation if passed (+/5+/). Yet the Healthcare for All Now campaign, which supports the Obama plan, is trying to give the illusion of change, while maintaining the inefficient, exploitative insurance model. It amounts to a waste of tax dollars to provide more government money to insurance companies,” said Carl Romanelli, 2006 Pennsyvlania Green candidate for the US Senate.

Read “An International Perspective on Health Care Reform” by Connecticut Green Party member John R. Battista, MD (http://www.gp.org/first100/?p=119), published on the Green Party’s web site as part of “The First 100 Days: What Would a Green Administration Look Like?” (http://www.gp.org/first100)

For a comparison of mandate plans and Single-Payer , see “Talking Points: Why the mandate plans won’t work, and why Single-Payer ‘Medicare for All’ is what we need” by Len Rodberg, PhD, published by Physicians for a National Health Program (+/6+/).

Green Party information page on Single-Payer: +/7+/

Video clips:
2008 Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney speaks on Single-Player health care and racial health care disparities http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEHd4lRVUuU
More on health care: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEHd4lRVUuU
Health, the environment, and the economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVNTOa8owQQ

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States +/0+/
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

Tally of Green election victories +/9+/
Green candidate news +/10+/
Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information: +/11+/

Green Party News Center +/12+/
Green Party Speakers Bureau +/13+/
Green Party ballot access page +/14+/

“The First 100 Days: What Would a Green Administration Look Like?” http://www.gp.org/first100/

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Alabama Libertarians: prospective candidates, upcoming coalition meetings, business plan progress

Original IPR article by Paulie. Disclosure: I am a member of the executive committee of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, and actively involved with many of the coalition groups. For background, see my previous report on what we are doing in Alabama.

The Libertarian Party of Alabama executive committee and guests heard this past [read more]

Ballot Access News roundup

Original blog posts in Ballot Access News by Richard Winger. Posted to IPR by Paulie.

Montana Bills for Registration by Party are Tabled

Two Montana bills to institute registration by party have been tabled. HB 248, by Rep. Ken Peterson (R-Billings) would have set up closed primaries, but it was tabled on January 28. SB 186, by Senator Joe Balyeat (R-Bozeman), which would have set up voluntary registration by party, was tabled on January 26.

Senator Balyeat also has SB 243, which would propose a constitutional amendment requiring that run-offs be held after any general election in which no one got at least 50% of the vote. The Senate State Administration heard the bill on January 28 and has not yet acted.

New Arizona Registration Data Shows More Independent Voters

Arizona’s Secretary of State has posted new data on the number of registered voters. Compared to October 22, 2008, the share of voters registered “independent” has risen. Independents were 27.60% in October 2008, but are now at 28.01%.

Democrats declined from 34.22% to 34.10%. Republicans declined from 37.44% to 37.15%. Libertarians were static, at .61% in both tallies. Greens went up from .13% to .14%. Parties whose registration is below .667% in November 2009 will be removed from the ballot. Assuming the number of registered voters stays the same between now and then, Libertarians will need another 1,845 members, and Greens will need another 16,273 members.

Sponsor Found for Utah Ballot Access Bill

Utah Representative Carl Wimmer (R-Herriman) says he will introduce a bill to ease the definition of “political party”, from a group that polled 2% of the statewide vote in the last election, to a group that polled 2% of the statewide vote in either of the last two elections.

Under existing law, it is fairly easy for a party to pass the vote test in a presidential election year, because there are always five or six statewide offices up in presidential years. But it is difficult for a minor party to remain ballot-qualified in a midterm year, because there is never any statewide race up in mid-term years, except U.S. Senate (and in one third of the midterm years, there is no statewide office up at all).

When there is no statewide office up at all, the only way any party can remain ballot-qualified is to poll approximately 6% for one of the U.S. House races. The vote test applies to any office (whether statewide or not), but the denominator for the percentage is the statewide vote for all 3 U.S. House races put together.

In 2008, both the Constitution and Libertarian Parties met the vote test and are now ballot-qualified. The Constitution Party did the good work of finding a sponsor for the 2009 bill.

Arkansas Ballot Access Bill Introduced

The bill to ease the definition of “political party” has been introduced in the Arkansas legislature. It is HB 1247, sponsored by Representative Richard Carroll (Green-North Little Rock) and Senator Mary Anne Salmon (D-North Little Rock). The bill changes the vote test from President/Governor, to any statewide race. It also says when a party meets the vote test, it is automatically qualified for the next two elections.

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Thomas Sipos: On Angela Keaton and Ron Paul

Posted by Thomas Sipos in Libertarian Peacenik blog and in California Freedom, the monthly newsletter of the California Libertarian Party. Reposted to IPR by Paulie. Aaron Starr has said that he finds the photoshop image reproduced below to be offensive, not funny.

My editorial in the [read more]