On the Ground in Afghanistan – FUBAR

war2009‘We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush

Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: September 08, 2009 09:17:09 PM

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

“We will do to you what we did to the Russians,” the insurgent’s leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

Continue reading On the Ground in Afghanistan – FUBAR

Civil Disobedience for National Healthcare at Aetna Death Panel Office in New York City

17 Held in Protest Outside Health Insurer’s Offices
By Colin Moynihan
September 30, 2009
Published by The New York Times.

…in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday morning, a different sort of health care protest took place, led by left-leaning groups who accused insurers of greed and called for nationwide, single-payer health insurance.

Continue reading Civil Disobedience for National Healthcare at Aetna Death Panel Office in New York City

Congressional Progressive Caucus Stands Firm for Robust Public Option

Public option — accept nothing less

By Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

09/22/09 05:26 PM ET

Reforming healthcare is more than angry town halls and political rhetoric thrown around cable news shows and in the halls of Congress. It is a serious matter that requires serious solutions. Members of Congress have an obligation to make access to healthcare affordable and accessible and take control of the ballooning costs. These skyrocketing costs are consuming budgets, overwhelming families and crippling our nation’s resources.

For decades, this country has endured a broken system that restricts and denies coverage when individuals need it most. Everyday, my office hears heartbreaking stories of individuals and families losing their insurance due to pre-existing conditions, bankruptcies and the exorbitant cost of care. Even for those with “good quality” healthcare coverage, the premiums alone force many to choose between medication or food on the table.

Continue reading Congressional Progressive Caucus Stands Firm for Robust Public Option

Why the Current Bills Don’t Solve Our Health Care Crisis

headshotby Michael Moore

Sept. 29, 2009

Now we know why they’ve stopped calling this health care reform, and started calling it insurance reform. The current bills advancing in Congress look more like rearranging the deck chairs on the insurance Titanic than actually ending our long health care nightmare.

Some laudable elements are in various versions of the bills, especially expanding Medicaid, cutting the private insurance-padding waste of Medicare Advantage, and limiting the ability of the insurance giants to ban and dump people who have been or who ever will be sick.

But, overall, the leading bills and the President’s proposal are, like the dog that didn’t bark, more notable for what is missing.

Here are 13 problems with the current health care bills (partial list):

Continue reading Why the Current Bills Don’t Solve Our Health Care Crisis

South Heights Borough Council Resolves to Support HR 676 Medicare for All

by Randy Shannon
Sept. 28, 2009

The Borough of South Heights, PA recently passed a resolution calling on Congress and PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire to support HR 676 – the National Health Care Act.

The resolution was introduced by Borough Council President Robert Schmetzer. It was signed by Mayor Richard Tranter. Mr. Schmetzer said: “There are numerous residents of South Heights who have cancer and other serious illnesses and cannot afford to pay for medicine.

Other residents have pre-existing conditions that make it difficult to buy a decent insurance policy. Those who are not rejected outright will be rated which will raise the cost of a policy up to $2,100.00 per month.”

“The insurance companies have everything set up in their favor. The people have to win one. We need national healthcare now.”

Continue reading South Heights Borough Council Resolves to Support HR 676 Medicare for All

Pittsburgh First-Hand G20 Reports: Day Three


Photo: PDA’s Randy Shannon with banner, center, next Michael McPhearson of Vets for Peace with Rick Kimbrough, right.

10,000 Marchers Beat Back
The Steel City’s ‘State of Siege’

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

Nearly 10,000 protesters marched through the streets of Pittsburgh on the last day of the G20 this Sept. 25 afternoon, delivering a powerful message for global justice that was expressed with a brilliantly colored display of unity, militancy and diversity.

Peace and justice groups demanded an end to wars and occupations and healthcare for all, trade union contingents demanded green jobs and fair trade, women and people of color raised the banners of equality and empowerment, and young people called for a sustainable and liberated future in a new world.

“Will we make any difference?” Rick Kimbrough asked me a few hours earlier as we headed down a parkway heavily secured with police cars at every exit on our way into town. Kimbrough is an old high school friend, an African American steelworker with 37 years in a huge Beaver County mill that’s now shutdown and gone, Jones and Laughlin Steel. When I asked him to join me the day before, he was fired up to go already, until he heard a nephew had taken a bullet as a bystander in a senseless street fight. When he heard his nephew would do OK, he called back, ready to ride in with me and join the United Steel Workers contingent in ‘the People’s March’ at the close of the G20 sessions. Continue reading Pittsburgh First-Hand G20 Reports: Day Three

Pittsburgh G20 First-Hand Report Diaries: Day Two


Photo: USW Blue-Green Rally at G20 for Green Jobs, Clean Energy

Union Teach-Ins, a Nobel Laureate
Ninja Turtles and Steel City Rockers

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

One of the first things you see entering Pittsburgh from the Fort Pitt Bridge is that the United Steel Workers, headquartered in this working-class town, are determined to deliver a strong message to the G20 bigwigs.

“Jobs, Good Jobs, Greens Jobs Now!’ declared the huge five-story-tall banner draped from the top of the  even taller USW headquarters building that faces the Golden Triangle and its hotels. Despite squads of militarized police, some in their Ninja turtle outfits, no one anywhere near the downtown area can miss it.

Today I’m headed for the day-long ‘Teach-In on Human Rights, Global Justice and the G20’ organized by the USW at their 4th floor conference center. Later in the afternoon on this gray, drizzly and humid Sept 23 day, I plan to hear Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz speak in the low-income Hill District, and attend a labor-environmentalist rally and concert featuring local politicians and rockers. Continue reading Pittsburgh G20 First-Hand Report Diaries: Day Two