Author Archives: Larry Bodine

Medicare is Not an “Entitlement.” It’s an “Earned Benefit.”

Social Security and Medicare

The GOP likes to portray Social Security and Medicare as undeserved handouts.

As I read about the current GOP attacks on Social Security and Medicare, they are referred to as “entitlements.” This clever word choice by Republicans suggests that the programs are welfare — a free handout to undeserving, lazy people.

What you call something makes a big difference. It’s a way to frame the discussion so that it leads to a pre-determined outcome.

Social Security and Medicare are “earned benefits.” I have paid into both programs every day of my working life. Anybody who has made it to age 65 has paid taxes to support both programs. I have worked for 50 years and resent the notion that these programs are freebies or giveaways.

Attack on Social Security

Social Security was enacted in 1935, when the lifetime savings of millions of people had been wiped out. It supports 59 million Americans over age 66. Social security is not going broke — it is projected to deliver full guaranteed benefits until at least 2037.

Well into the 1950s, Republicans tried to repeal Social Security. They continue to attack this earned benefit in Trump’s 2018 budget proposal by cutting Social Security by $72 billion. This includes explicit cuts to Supplemental Security Income programs and Social Security Disability Insurance programs, both managed by the Social Security Administration.
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I’m Sick of John McCain’s Healthcare Hypocrisy

Don’t shed a tear for Senator John McCain. As he spends his dying days enjoying the best health care the government can buy, he is in favor of gutting health insurance for 11.8 million Americans who get health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

McCain became a quasi-hero last year when he voted against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, but don’t be fooled. He votes with Trump 83% of the time and he’s solidly in the “repeal and replace” camp.

The GOP Congress has worked to sabotage the health care law by killing the individual mandate to have insurance, cutting the sign-up period in half, slashing the ad budget and stopping billions in subsidies to insurers.

Despite that, 43,499 people in Arizona enrolled in coverage for 2018 on Healthcare.gov. McCain, who is dying of brain cancer, gets free healthcare as a US Senator and Navy veteran — but he would take away the guarantees and protections that the health care law provides for everyone else.

McCain’s appalling reply

Recently I wrote McCain, calling on him to support the Affordable Care Act. His letter back was appalling:

Since the enactment of Obamacare more than seven years ago, American’s across the country continue to see the consequences of this disastrous law. In Arizona alone, the cost of midlevel health insurance plans on Obamacare’s marketplace increased by 116 percent on average last year. Worse still, before Obamacare, Arizona had 24 insurance companies selling plans on the individual market. Today, there are just two companies and 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties have just one insurer. That is not what President Obama promised when this bill was signed into law, and why the status quo is simply unacceptable.

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This Obscure Agency Crushed Solar Power in Arizona

Attorney Bill Mundell, candidate for Arizona Corporation Commission

“You can’t believe the corruption,” says Attorney Bill Mundell, candidate for Arizona Corporation Commission

Why isn’t Arizona the world capital of solar power? It’s a question that comes up all the time. The answer is that a five-man GOP board killed solar incentives while boosting rate hikes from dirty-technology electric companies.

The deceptively-named Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the state electric utility regulator, has been a cesspool of corruption that has crushed the incentives for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels.

Last year former Commission chairman Gary Pierce was indicted for taking bribes of $31,000 and property from a utility owner for Pierce’s vote in favor of a rate increase.

“It is the tip of the corruption iceberg. The Commission staff were calling me saying ‘you can’t believe the corruption and coziness between the commissioners and the utilities they’re supposed to be regulating,'” said Chandler attorney Bill Mundell, a former commissioner. He and former commissioner Sandra Kennedy are Democrats running for two open seats on the agency.
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Weird GOP Legislator Blocks Bill to Prohibit “Bump Stocks” on Guns

AZ State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth is stonewalling gun safety legislation.

AZ State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth is stonewalling gun safety legislation. He is some kind of weird gun worshipper.

A gunman in Las Vegas opened fire on the crowd at a music festival last Oct 1. murdering 58 people and injuring 851 more. During the horrific crime, the shooter fired more than 1,100 rounds from his hotel room using a “bump fire” stock to turn a rifle into an automatic weapon.

Today, a GOP legislator in the Arizona state house is blocking a bill that would outlaw bump stock devices and trigger cranks, defying popular support for this common-sense gun safety measure.

Republican state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, who is the Chair of the state Judiciary and Public Safety Committee said that the bill will NOT get a hearing, because he thinks it’s a waste of time and personally doesn’t support it.

However, the general public is interested in having this bill heard, according to the organization Gun Violence Prevention Arizona.

The bill, HB 2023, was introduced in January by state Democratic Rep. Randy Friese and Rep. Daniel Hernandez, both of Tucson. Friese, who is a trauma surgeon, saved the life of then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at a supermarket parking lot in 2011. Hernandez, who was an intern in her office at the time, held his hand over Giffords’ wound to slow the bleeding.

Voters in Arizona can contact Farnsworth to demand a hearing on the bill, by: Continue reading

Billy Kovacs Outlines 5-Point Plan to Grow Arizona’s Economy

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic candidate Billy Kovacs outlined a detailed plan for how he would grow Arizona’s economy as Tucson’s Congressman.

“We can grow our economy without giving massive tax breaks for corporations,” he said at a recent meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson.

Among the five serious candidates, Kovacs is the only one emphasizing the economy in Congressional District 2. As Bill Clinton pointed out in 1992, winning elections is about “the economy, stupid!”

In a nutshell, his plan focuses on:

  • Education – creating an educated workforce.
  • Renewable resources – solar energy and energy storage.
  • Public transportation – expanding the Tucson streetcar in all directions and preserving Amtrak in Arizona.
  • Infrastructure – creating millions of jobs with a $1 trillion investment over 10 years.
  • Immigration – creating a path to citizenship for 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants.

“We need to attract companies and workers to Arizona, and I’m talking about smaller companies that want to live in Arizona because of our natural resources and trained personnel from the university — and not for tax breaks,” he said.

Education

According to Kovacs, the US Department of Education is gutting public education with budget cuts to after-school programs, teacher training, Pell Grants, literacy programs and even school lunches. He calls for:
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Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools

University of Arizona History Professor David N. Gibbs

University of Arizona history professor David N. Gibbs described how deeply the billionaire Koch brothers have infected the University and Tucson high schools with millions of dollars for right-wing propaganda.

The Charles Koch Foundation made a $1.8 million grant to the University of Arizona’s “Freedom Center,” which is a conservative think tank designed to turn students into lobbyists. It produced a bogus economics textbook that was recently abandoned by Tucson high schools.

The Freedom Center also got a $2.9 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, a part of the Koch network that seeks to corrupt the discussion of science in the interests of religion.

“This is a center that should not be on a university campus,” Gibbs said at a meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson. “I am surprised that the Philosophy Department is affiliated with something so dodgy and naive about how this will affect their reputation.”

Hiring right-wing faculty

The Freedom Center just spread its tentacles to a spin-off in the University’s “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science,” staffed with key personnel from the center. The purpose is to “hire faculty in economics without the approval of the University’s Economics Department,” Gibbs said.

The Freedom center has used the Koch money “to hire four right-wing faulty, making the Philosophy Department a hotbed of right-wing thinking,” Gibbs said.

“The Koch family not only wants to be able to use money without regulation and taxes, it wants it to be viewed as moral. What better way to do that than by affiliating with a university. That’s the objective, to establish a moral basis,” Gibbs said.
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