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John Gray Responds To Blanche Lincoln On Health Care Reform

This afternoon, there were two attempts in the Senate Finance Committee to repair some of the damage done to health care reform by Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat who has received a great deal of campaign finance from executives in the medical industry, and has accordingly crafted health care legislation designed in order to protect insurance companies. Two amendments attempted to reinsert a public option of government-established health care coverage, but both amendments were defeated by a coalition of Republicans and pro-industry Democrats.

Blanche Lincoln, senator from Arkansas, was among those Democrats who joined the Republicans to defeat meaningful health care reform. She voted against both amendments.

Physicist John Gray, one of Senator Lincoln’s constituents, says that he’s come to expect this kind of anti-progressive behavior from her. “I’m not at all surprised. She has a rather large campaign chest, almost half of which is from the medical industries,” Gray said this afternoon, responding to Lincoln’s votes against the public option. “The fact that she is loyal to her sponsors is not at all surprising.”

Unlike many Arkansas voters, who have learned to accept that they have little choice between the right wing Arkansas Republicans and the right wing Arkansas Democrats, Gray is taking action to ensure that, when Blanche Lincoln runs for re-election in 2010, voters will have the chance to vote for something different. Gray is running for the nomination of the Green Party of Arkansas to challenge Lincoln for her seat in Congress.

Gray says that he favors strong single payer health care reform, which would eliminate the waste that is inherent to the delivery of health care through insurance brokers. “Eliminate the health care insurance industry… and you would save enough money to cover every man woman and child in the United States,” Gray points out. “Nobody blinks an eyelash if we lay off 40,000 autoworkers, who actually produce something. These health insurance brokers, it’s hard to say what they produce.”

Look to hear more from Gray soon. His campaign web site is expected to be online within the week.

Jonathan Cook

29 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post. This makes me happy. If only we had Greens running in every congressional race to call out incumbents who’re selling America out to their corporate buddies.

  2. That almost makes me want to move to Arkansas to vote against Blanche Lincoln. What a sellout to the insurance industry.

  3. Wow, if I lived in Arkansas I’d totally start a “move to Arkansas to vote against Blanche Lincoln” campaign.

  4. We should set up money bombs for John Gray every time there’s a big vote in the Senate that Lincoln is a part of. Here’s how it would work: after Lincoln does something terrible, an email goes out from Gray’s campaign to supporters asking them to come to his site and donate. A fundraising thermometer could be set up to show how much he’s pulling in.

    She votes against the public option? Gray takes in $5000 in a day. She votes against the Employee Free Choice Act? Gray takes in $10000.

    Any Arkansans here? Can it be done?

  5. By the way, the Green Party are pure socialists and if you had your way government would run everything. Well government has its place but it is never the final option nor is it appropriate to turn our lives over to bureacrats to tell us what we can do, how we should think etc.; that is a recipe for abuse.

  6. Public Option? We want Universal Healthcare – Medicare for all. John Gray is right on target. If you, GMAN, want to pay for corporate perks for insurance company CEOs go right ahead, but those bastards don’t produce anything, THEY ARE THE BUREAUCRATS.

    If the Green Party had our way, YOU would run everything – power to the people, not the corporations. Local control, local autonomy, and local accountability.

  7. Let’s remember that when people like GMAN insult the idea of government action, they’re insulting the American people. The government is the best reflection of the will of the American people that there is. It’s of, by and … well, sometimes for the people.

    Criticizing the government as it is, that’s another thing, GMAN. Sometimes the government fails to deliver what’s needed, but that’s because of the apathy and lack of involvement of the people in our nation’s democratic processes. The answer to our troubles is more active citizenship to make our government better, not a surrender to the bureaucrats sitting in corporate cubicles.

  8. On John Gray personally:

    I spoke with him directly yesterday afternoon, and I can tell you that the man is no imbecile. He’s extremely well educated and thoughtful. Imbeciles don’t go out and get degrees in physics.

  9. Fellow Arkansan here.

    it will be an extremely difficult battle against Blanche Lincoln, particularly since she has formed nests in the pockets of Walmart and health care. her current Republican opposition is a joke.

    Although I am interested in Mr. Gray and will vote for him if given the choice between him, Kim Hendren and Lincoln, I am skeptical of Arkansas’ ability to take a Green party candidate seriously.

  10. Then, Bellesouth, you need to consider what happened last year, when a Green Party candidate for Senate captured 20 percent of the vote. 34 percent in a three way race could be all that’s needed for victory.

    If I were on Blanche Lincoln’s campaign staff, I’d start taking the campaign of John Gray very seriously, because it could quite easily present a serious challenge in a three way race. Even if John Gray doesn’t win himself, he changes the dynamic of Arkansas politics, by forcing the Democrats to pay attention to progressive ideals, rather than having their traditional discussion of Right Wing vs. Right Wing.

  11. Well there is also the independent Trevor Drown. While he has conservative leaning in many areas he has no love for party politics or taking corporate money. At least you will know that what he is voting for is what the people want in Arkansas.

  12. Does this blog support McKinney for President or is it just a paid advertisement? If it is support that’s all I need to know what a bunch of goofballs you all are. If anyone reading this is unemployed or have loved ones that are, ask what adding to the deficit things such as a public option, cap and trade taxes, and all the other crazy fake green policies will do for the unemployed. I know you believe so called green jobs will save us all, but who will be left to fund this waste? As the private sector crashes, your playground will soon end.

  13. I am a yellow dog dem in Arkansas. I have voted for Blanche lincoln in the past but I never was too happy about this….. I’m through with the woman. I will never vote for her again. She should be booted out, over the fence , thrown to the Republican party which is where she belongs.

  14. Dave Palen –

    The public option is a Democratic proposal. Greens support Medicare for all, aka single-payer healthcare. With single-payer, we could cover everyone in America with the same amount of money we’re spending now.

    Cap and trade is a Democratic proposal. Greens support a revenue-neutral carbon tax. That’s a tax on carbon, with all the revenue refunded to working people via cuts in payroll taxes. So most Americans would have more money in their pocket, instead of less (as would be the case with cap and trade).

    Responding to a comment that we should never turn our lives over to bureaucrats – that is exactly what we are forced to do now. Insurance corporations use about 30% of each health care dollar on bureaucracy and profit. They spend so much because they have armies of bureaucrats looking for any reason to deny you health care so their executives can bring in higher profits. No other Western industrialized country has these corporate death panels, only the US.

    Medicare uses 5% of every health care doctor on bureaucracy, and they don’t deny care to patients who need it. HR 676, a bill to establish Medicare For All, is coming before Congress soon. I’ve already told my representatives that unless they support Medicare for all, I won’t support them.

    You should too:

    http://bit.ly/medicareforallpledge

  15. Actually, Drown was asked to speak at the Russellville Tea Party event because he was a Combat War Vet and well respected in his community. If you read his material he was asked to run for office by people in the community and he left it up to them to choose which office. A little naive I will admit by the type of honesty you would expect from a Green Beret. When he spoke the second time it was to announce the results and then told the tea party he wished them well in whatever they were trying to accomplish. He was his own man and wanted to set out on his journey of bridge building. A few weeks later he was on the Randi Rhoades show during the course of the conversation he said he favored a version of public option of insurance mush like the National Guard has. When everyone joined it lowered the average price about $100 a month for families. I have heard him speak a few times. He speaks from the heart and takes a common sense approach to life. While you may not like what he stands for 30 percent of the time, you will know what he stands for and there is no political party baggage. Also he is not taking corporate money and as has stated that if the Unions offered him support he would have to politly turn it down. He is a Teamster by the way. Once again he will dfo what he feels the people of Arkansas wants and based on the events he has held he has a lot of support from Arkansas who are sick and tired of the crap.

  16. Perhaps Trevor Drown is a good man, maybe even a good candidate. I wish Drown the best of luck – more citizen participation in politics is always good. But his campaign is not building a political party of, by and for the people like John Gray’s campaign is. That’s why I urge Arkansans who are sick of politics as usual to unite behind John Gray. Whether or not he wins in 2010, his campaign will build a positive movement that will continue to grow past election day.

  17. Arkansas Democrats only have two choices, John Gray is the best choice, Gilbert Baker is the second best choice. Baker would be very bad for the Arkansas working class, but we must get rid of Blanche Lincoln. The next time around we could elect a real Democrat, but we have to start with getting rid of Walmart Blanche.

  18. As a personal friend of John L Gray let me say he will not be in the race for money or power. As Jonathan pointed out his race will bring to the fore progressive concerns from the Democratic wing of real Democrats. Ark is regularly blessed with an ample crop of DINOs.

    That being said John is much more in tune and aligned with the Green Party values than Democratic Party which seems to have lost its values or traded them for “positions.”

    Sen Lincoln courted and received the union vote in Ark during her last election (’04) and had now turned her back on them by failing to support EFCA. I joined union members on Thurs, Oct 1 to protest Sen Lincoln’s vote on the public option in front of her office on College Ave in Fayetteville, AR.

    A majority of her constituents favor a government option. Ark is a leading state in uninsured adults.

    As many of you may know Sen. Lincoln is on the Agriculture Comm and is soon slated to be the chairman. For a purely SATIRICAL view of her hypocrisy about “we cannot afford” a public option please go here:
    http://jonah-m-tebbetts.blogspot.com/2009/10/if-farm-subsidies-were-health-care.html

    Donations to John Gray’s campaign can be made at
    John Gray for Senate -2010
    P.O. Box 292
    Greenland, AR 72737

    email: johngrayforsenate@yahoo.com

    Together we CAN DO THIS.
    .

  19. As someone who knows John Gray, I must offer a mea culpa for the times I’ve disparaged his rather purist progressive views.
    After witnessing Lincoln and Baccus in action, I realize they do far more harm to progressive causes than Republicans who are, for the most part quite open in their desire to support corporations over those of hard-working citizens.
    John, with over 44,000 Americans dying each year because of the lack of health-care reform, keep up the good work.
    Oh, and by the way, Senator Lincoln, please pledge to give up that government-subsidized healthcare that you claim to abhore.
    Instead, take your chance in the free market that has been so generous to your coffers.
    Sandra Trent,
    Elkins, AR

  20. Here is the letter I sent to Blanche Lincoln:

    ***
    I am a democrat and I just sent money to run ads against you.

    You vote against a public option when it is supported by 81% of the democrats in Arkansas?* The people who elected you?

    You vote for funding for Abstinence Only education when we know categorically that it does, not, work?**

    This is infuriating. Next year I will be sending money to whoever is running against you.

    regards,

    Darrel
    ————
    *http://www.dailykos.com/statepoll/2009/9/10/AR/371

    **http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1623&p=19987#p19987

  21. EGADS!!
    This is what I get for posting without first proofreading.
    My apologies for erroneously spelling Baucus’ name. He may be an aging, increasingly-frayed-about-the seams insurance company streetwalker, but he still deserves to have his name correctly spelled; if nothing else so insurance companies will know where to send his latest remuneration.
    Sandra Trent
    Elkins, AR

  22. Don’t feel bad, Sandra. Max Baucus is incredibly lame compared to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and ecstasy.

  23. Monday night, John Gray, Green Party candidate for Congress, will be the guest on “On the Air with Richard S. Drake.”

    Gray, currently the mayor of Greenland, will be challenging Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln in 2010. Though a number of Republicans intend to vie for the seat, Gray is the only progressive candidate to announce an intention to run.

    A number of issues will be discussed, including health care and the Employee Free Choice Act.

    For more information about John Gray: http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2009/09/29/john-gray/

    Days and times:
    Monday – 7pm
    Tuesday – noon
    Saturday – 6pm
    1. C.A.T. is shown on Channel 18 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville.

    Those outside the Fayetteville viewing area can see the program online at:
    http://www.catfayetteville.org/
    Programs online are shown in “real time,” meaning that they are shown at the same time as they are shown on C.A.T.

  24. Monday night, Mayor John Gray, Green Party candidate for Congress, will be the guest on “On the Air with Richard S. Drake.”

    Gray, currently the mayor of Greenland, will be challenging Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln in 2010. Though a number of Republicans intend to vie for the seat, Gray is the only progressive candidate to announce an intention to run.

    A number of issues will be discussed, including health care and the Employee Free Choice Act.

    For more information about John Gray: http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2009/09/29/john-gray/

    Days and times:
    Monday – 7pm
    Tuesday – noon
    Saturday – 6pm
    1. C.A.T. is shown on Channel 18 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville.
    Those outside the Fayetteville viewing area can see the program online at:
    http://www.catfayetteville.org/
    Programs online are shown in “real time,” meaning that they are shown at the same time as they are shown on C.A.T.

  25. Longtime Lincoln supporter here and I am thrilled to learn that John Gray will run against her. And not only because I am angry with Lincoln over her healthcare vote, but also because Gray seems like someone who would make an outstanding US Senator for Arkansas.

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