About Big Blue

Founder and editor of The Left Anchor.

David Vitter: Economic Terrorist

That’s no hyperbole. Louisiana Senator David Vitter has stated that his desire to re-import drugs from Canada isn’t meant to help lower the cost Americans pay for their prescriptions, but rather to implode the Canadian system in order to force them to adopt the free market — and pathetically inadequate — system we have in America.  Via TPM:

The central Louisiana newspaper The Town Talk reports that Vitter was asked at a town hall meeting about the fact that he opposes government health care, but supports re-importing prescription drugs from, as a constituent said, “countries that have socialized medicine.” Vitter has campaigned in the past on re-importing drugs from Canada.

“My ultimate goal,” Vitter explained, “is to use that (re-importation) to cause that (pricing) system to collapse.”

Nothing like a senator attempting to force his free market dogma onto a government which he has no authority over.  What a proud day for his constituents, who probably believe that each country has a right to govern their own affairs.  Is it okay to just go ahead and call this guy and nutcase and an asshole?  I hope so, because that’s what I just did.


Is The Public Option Dead? (No.)

The question everywhere today seems to be whether Barack Obama is backing away from the public option. The main piece of evidence in support of this theory is HHS Secretary Sebelius’ statement on Meet the Press over the weekend that the public option is “not essential.” I basically agree with Ezra on this point. I’ve heard similarly fence-straddling statements out of various administration officials for pretty much the entire time this issue has been discussed.

I like Howard Dean’s take on this (starts around 3:00 mark, but the whole, interview is good). He should really be a major face in this campaign (and it’s a shame he doesn’t have a presence in this administration):

It makes sense, seems completely do-able, and it’s pretty easy to defend the public option provision on budgetary grounds. Get it out of the Senate and into conference, which is what Obama has been telling leaders all along — “just get me to the table” — put the public option back in, and pass it under reconciliation in the Senate. A little messy, but it gets us where we need to go.

As for concerns that there might not be even 50 votes for the public option in the Senate? I’m aware that there were at last count fewer than 50 committed votes, but it’s easy to not support the public option in theory, quite another to be one of those responsible for killing the bill once it hits the floor out of conference.

Frankly, I think this bill without a public option is better than no bill at all (I wouldn’t want to see progressives kill it, even though they’re right about the usefulness of the public option), but I see no reason to believe that it’s not possible to get this bill (public option included) to the president’s desk. And Obama gained more than enough trust from me during his campaign (and on the balance has kept it during his tenure so far) that I will allow him the opportunity to play this out without me screaming “betrayal” at the top of my lungs. Which is really all I have to say on this subject until something comes out of conference.

An Open Letter To “White America”

This is not a white country.  It was not founded to be a white country, nor a Christian country.  The founding fathers were a mix of Christians and non-Christians (second more detailed source).  Most notably, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin were all well outside mainstream Christian thinking during their day.  Jefferson went so far as the create his own version of the Bible in which he removed all of Jesus’ miracles. James Madison was quoted as saying, “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”


“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

This country was established on the principles and values of the Enlightenment, which were most often at odds with the beliefs of Christianity during their time.

This is not now, nor has it ever been a Christian country.  White culture is not synonymous with American culture, and the simple fact that you don’t like to be called racists doesn’t make your racism any less real.  Seriously, a very sizeable chunk of the GOP base refuses to belief that our president was born in this country, despite a total lack of evidence to suggest otherwise versus a birth certificate, newspaper announcement, and the word of the current Governor of his state that he was in fact born there.  Guess what?  That’s racism at worst, blind, hateful partisanism at best.  You have no reason to hold on to your lunatic ravings other than your pre-existing hatred for our current president.

As for the tea-bagger town hall protests, while the individual citizens showing up to drown out the basic necessity of reasoned discussion between Congressional leaders and their consituents — how anti-Democratic can you get? — do represent some segment of “real Americans,” so too do the overwhelming majorities of participants who are simply looking to be informed on the details of the health care plan, and the reasons their representatives are supporting it.  Despite what some on the Right like to claim, shutting down townhall meetings is not in the least democratic, and in fact, is a tactic dating back to the earliest Communist uprisings in Russia.  Just so you know the company you’re in.

The only thing I’m learning from all this is that this movement is hysterical, and wildly misinformed to the point of being unconcerned with the objective reality most of us reside in.

The Division Among Us: A Scene from a Navel Gazing Media

The beer meeting between the President, VP, Officer Crowley, and Prof. Gates could not have gone more badly.  Simply look at the beer list:

POTUS: Bud Light
VPOTUS: Bucklers
Gates: Sam Adams Light
Crowley: Blue Moon

A complete division among the particpants.  What can we divine from this?  I think it’s pretty obvious that the divisions between the races are as large as ever, as well as the fact that even Vice President Joe Biden has become convinced that Barack Obama is on the verge of tyranny.  It’s all written right there.  In the beers.  And Bud Light?  Reeks of elitism.  So effete.

Should Marijuana Be Legal?

The short answer for this is, yes.  Most definitely.  We’re talking about a substance which has been experimented with by at least a majority of Americans.  And yet, we have no way to regulate its production, ensure its safety — was it grown in toxic soil, or sprayed with toxic pesticides?  And ensure that any disputes over transactions involving marijuana have no legal recourse, forcing such disputes to be settled through criminal means.

The New York Times has a discussion on this very subject online today featuring the opinions of:

Some highlights:

First from Roger Roffman:

Will more people use marijuana and become dependent if marijuana is decriminalized? Probably not. A number of U.S. studies tell us decriminalization would not likely have an effect on the rates of marijuana use by adults or adolescents.

What if marijuana is legalized? No one can say for certain. Using one country’s reform example to estimate what would happen in another is very risky. How countries differ (cultural, social, political, economic) makes a big difference.

However, the Dutch “coffee shops” example might give us a little insight. The de facto legalization policy in the Netherlands did not, in itself, affect rates of marijuana use among adults or young people. But rates of use among young people increased when the number of coffee shops increased and the age of legal access was 16. Then these rates declined when the numbers of coffee shops was reduced and the age of legal access became 18.


However, our debates need more honesty. Those favoring liberalizing marijuana policy ought to stop inferring that marijuana is harmless; it is not. Those who believe possession should remain a crime need to acknowledge that most adult occasional users are not harmed, and should be prepared to defend with data the belief that criminalizing possession is the best way to avoid harm.

From Wayne Hall:

What effect would marijuana legalization have on dependence?


If we mean replacing imprisonment with a fine as the penalty for using marijuana then legalization would have little effect on dependence. Evaluations of this policy in 11 U.S. states in the 1970s and 1980s found little or no effect on rates of use among adolescents and adults.

And finally, some words from Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief:

Perhaps the biggest objection to legalization is the “message” it would send to our kids. Bulletin: Our children have never had greater access to marijuana; it’s easier for them to score pot than a six-pack of Coors. No system of regulated legalization would be complete without rigorous enforcement of criminal laws banning the furnishing of any drug to a minor.

Let’s make policy that helps, not handcuffs, those who suffer ill effects of marijuana or other drugs, a policy that crushes the illegal market — the cause of so much violence and harm to users and non-users alike.

Open Letter To David Gregory, NBC, and all American Journalists

Documents requested in the Mark Sanford debacle have revealed this correspondence between Meet the Press host David Gregory and Sanford’s staff:

Look, you guys have a lot of pitches.. I get it and I know this is a tough situation… Let me say just this is a place to have a wider conversation with some context about not just the personal but also the future for him and the party… This situation only exacerbates the issue of how the GOP recovers when another national leader suffers a setback like this. So coming on Meet the Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to… and then move on. You can see you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.

Is this what Mr. Gregory considers journalism?  The American people deserve an apology for this display of utter brown-nosing, pandering, and overt bias on Mr. Gregory’s part.  This is an insult to Tim Russert, and in the context of this weekend’s loss of the great Walter Cronkite, an insult to all those who once considered news to be about getting to the truth, not currying favor with the powerful.

NBC, Meet the Press, and David Gregory should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.  The American people deserve better.

Where is our apology, Mr. Gregory?

UPDATE: Mr. Gregory was kind enough to respond to my email, clarifying his remarks:

Thanks for the email. I wasn’t promising a friendly forum. I was offering a fair forum to discuss his problems. I meant my forum allows him to have the time to discuss the situation in a fullsome way, to say what he wants and move on. I appreciate your sensitivity on this. It’s a fair question to ask. I have never pulled punches in an interview.


David Gregory
Moderator, Meet the Press
NBC News

So take from that what you will.

A Modest Proposal Redux

The economy is tumbling.  Americans are suffering.  Nearly 50 million of us don’t have health care.  College education provides little in terms of job opportunity while mounting the average American with massive debt.  After much deliberation, I’ve devised a modest proposal to set right again the ship that is our nation.

Have you ever seen that movie “Logan’s Run”?  I’m not suggesting we kill anyone over the age of thirty, but let’s be honest, do we really need more than 70 years on this planet?  We could rein in health care costs, open new jobs, and provide much needed organs for those of us who have more years ahead.

Sure, maybe we could raise taxes by two percentage points on those who make millions of dollars, but politically, that’s a climb uphill — those uber-wealthy Americans obviously deserve every penny they earn, which is why we should target our efforts at a demographic no one cares about.

If you have a mother, grandmother, or other elderly relative who you are looking to dispose of, then please, donate their bodies (living or dead) to the U.S. government.  Not only can we teach future doctor’s with them, but we can then take their most valuable organs and use those funds to plug the hole in our national budget.

In short, we simply must cease to give way to the political obstructions that prevent us from using our own citizens remains for the benefit of our national economy.

If we’re so willing to send our young and brightest talent to die on foreign battlefields, then what is the hold up of taking the assets of those who’ve yet to sacrifice to their nation’s military?

So I say to you, America, now is the time to sell off our geriatric division in order to pay for those programs we need now.  Health care, education, and the environment.

Repeat with me: Yes We Can!