Browsing articles in "Politics"
Feb 11, 2013

Potential Losses in Funding to Important Medical Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been in the news lately because serious research on gun violence, which would be under the NIH’s purview, has been minimal in the recent past because of the NRA.

The so -called sequester would make it almost impossible to initiate any funding for research on gun violence, regardless of the national outrage after Newtown.  Funding for the NIH will be cut by about $2.5 billion if the sequester is actually enforced.   This represents roughly 8% of the NIH budget, and would be made in addition to any other cuts made in the regular funding process for the coming fiscal year.

Federal investment in medical research has been decreased every year since 2003.  The cut NIH faces in th event of the sequester would revert funding to 2004 levels, and cause a 2,300 reduction in the number of NIH grands and a potential job loss in the United States of 33,000.

The cost to economic activity in our country would be a reduction of $4.5 billion.  This directly affects research on all of the “big” diseases and most certainly on the more obscure diseases which are nonetheless important.

Everyone knows someone with an incurable disease.  Only increases in funding have the chance to find cures.  If you want the NIH to recover its funding levels, inflation adjusted and increased — write to your Congressmen and Women and your Senators.  Tell them to erase the sequester, start from scratch and support the needs of the American people

Jan 24, 2013

Give ‘em Hell Hillary

That’s all.  Just give ‘em hell.  somebody has to.

Jan 13, 2013

Silly Tax Package Still Enables The Rich

Now really.  Whose entitled in this country?  Not the poor who need food stamps and housing assistance.  Not the aging who need medicare and social security.  It’s the rich.  No f—ing doubt about it.

Today we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any country on earth:  now that is something that we the people can be proud of!  The last time we had this inequality it was 1928 and there were bread lines.

The top 1 percent of Americans own 42% of the wealth and the bottom 60 percent own 2.3 percent.  Seems fair, doesn’t it?  The Wal-Mart family owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans.  Good night John Boy.

Corporate profits are at an all time high.  After admitting his giant f–k-up, ever charming Jamie Dimond gave himself a big fat bonus.

Corporations paid just 12 percent of their profits, the lowest since 1972.  In 2005 one out of four corporations paid no tax whatsoever  – OMG, is this the 47% that Mitt was actually talking about?  Oh yes, and they collected $1.1. trillion in revenue.  While paying no taxes.  Quite a trick.  Actually not.  The rich and their lackeys in government have been working on the tax code since Eisenhower.

Mitt Romney’s favorite place, the Cayman Islands, allows corporations and wealthy people like Mitt to avoid more than $100 billion in taxes every single year.  There is now one five story building in the Caymans which is “home” to 18,000 corporations.  Poor them.  Living cheek to jowl like the American poor after all.


thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders for the facts in this post.  

Jan 13, 2013


A filibuster is a political delaying (or killing) tactic to block a bill.  As we all know by now, the Republicans in the Senate have used the filibuster almost as their daily bread.

The word filibuster comes from the Dutch “vrijbutier” which means “pirate”.  The current class of Republican senators have used the filibuster to pirate the spirit of our democracy and literally bring our government to a standstill.

Once upon a time, before Republicans turned it into a joke, the filibuster meant that the filibusterer had to stand on the Senate floor and talk the filibuster … for hours, not minutes.  Senator  Strom Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster:  he spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.  He filibustered by reciting the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and any number of government documents which ironically should have been interpreted to support the very bill Senator Thurmond was filibustering.

One source said that John Calhoun, opposing a bill offered by Henry Clay, filibustered for two weeks.  He must have had an army of supporters or spoken from a porta-potty.  This was the first major filibuster, occurring in 1914.

Other filibuster winners (are they in the Guinness Book of World Records) go to Alfonse D’Amato  (23 hours and 30 minutes on an important military bill in 1986).  Wayne Morse filibustered against the Tidelands Oil bill in 1953, speaking for 22 hours and 26 minutes.  Robert LaFollette filibustered a bill to permit the U.S. Treasury to lend money to banks during a fiscal crisis (oh we know about that!) — speaking for 18 hours and 23 minutes.

And, back to the future once again, William Proxmire filibustered a bill to raise the debt ceiling by speaking for 16 hours and 12 minutes.

Louisiana favorite Huey Long read from Shakepeare and cookbooks for more than 15 hours.

Claire Boothe Luce is reputed to have said:  ” They say that women talk too much.  If you have ever worked in Congress, you know that men invented the filibuster.”

Between 1840 and 1900, there were 16 filibusters. Between 2009 and 2010, there were more than 130.  After Republicans won back the house and Mitch McConnell announced that their first priority would be to see that Obama didn’t get a second term, filibusters were even more frequent.

These current Republicans, led by McConnell, have decided it is sufficient to let Mitch know that they oppose a bill for it to be called a filibuster.  No more need to talk.  And the current democrats are trying to fix this:  not to eliminate the filibuster but to force those who want to use it to talk, and talk, and talk.

Personally, I think they should have to read from Fifty Shades of Grey (which let me say I have not read), but since there appears to be a trilogy future filibusterers can pick up where the last filibusterer left off.  Because of the origin of the name, and what they are doing, I also think they should have to filibuster with a patch on one eye and a parrot on their shoulder (inevitably, with doo doo on their back).





Jan 6, 2013

Lazy Liberals of Hawai`i Nei

It is Congresswoman Hana-BOOsa, thank you very much.

The warm and fuzzy folks at FOX “news” sent some guy named Watters out here to find out why Hawai`i is so liberal.  Of course they edited the film to make us look liberal and stupid at the same time, interviewing a woman (among others) in a bikini who did not know what liberal meant.

Bill O’Reilly weighed in with more opinions that he doesn’t believe, saying that we have no hard working conservatives, only lazy liberals.  Further, he noted that Asians are “usually conservatives,” so liberalism in a State that is largely Asian makes no sense whatever.  So CNN interviewed some Asians who said that FOX “news” was not worth responding to and “I’m an Asian and I’m liberal.  End of story.”

O’Reilly and Watters could have had an intelligent discussion on the issue, but did not.  Big surprise.  Why would people who had been brought here to work the plantations (no fun whatever, very hard work) and then put in internment camps in World War II  not be liberal?    O’Reilly and Watters were also disturbed that whites were in the minority — which, actually, they aren’t — they are the majority of a bunch of minorities.  The burgeoning white population are haole from the mainland, who have happened on our beautiful islands and come back to make their home here. ( Many of these people are in the much talked about 2%, so I suggest we be planning to raise taxes on the rich.)

But I digress.  The anti Asian slurs by O’Reilly and Watters made our Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa put the gloves on.  She was rightly offended, and I guarantee you she is not going to let this die.

Maybe O’Reilly and Watters have figured out that Hawai`i has a lot to teach the nation in terms of living side-by-side with different people.   It is a state stolen from the Hawaiians, and built on the backs of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Filipinos.   Unions and liberalism grew up here because the Luna of the plantations and the “big five” haole companies did not take care of people the way they should have.

It is a state where people know about patience and live with comprise on a daily basis.  This is not to say we don’t have our power players or shifty politicians (not the ones we send to Washington) but Hawai`i and growing up here is part of the reason that Obama can be strong and also be a compromiser.  As they say in France (they do, according to Google)    “Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir” (“Better bend than break”).

We have sent several Buddhists to congress … and as one of our friends likes to say ” A Buddhist’s notion of patience is watching a boulder erode.”

That doesn’t mean they don’t know when to push it down the hill.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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