Tell Terry McAuliffe To Boycott AHIP Convention

Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president and former head of the DNC, seems to be proving his detractors on the left correct by running to speak in front of the AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans) convention in San Francisco on June 19th. McAuliffe is listed on the program as "Chairman of Hillary Clinton for President" and with that, lends the event credibility and, in my mind, embarrasses Hillary Clinton, while giving the industry political cover. Not that our presidential candidates' healthcare plans proposed eliminating the private health insurance industry, of course, but as Lucas O'Connor says at the Courage blog:

There's an opportunity to take huge steps towards fixing the damage done by the Bush Administration and make positive change towards a country that simply takes better care of its citizens.

But as Democrats, we're going to have a much tougher time getting there if we don't all travel together. Which is why, with millions of Americans unable to get basic health care, it's so distressing that former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe is cashing a big check from the insurance companies in San Francisco June 19.

Not to mention that the session during which McAuliffe is scheduled to speak is being sponsored by Assurant Healthcare. You know, these guys:

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas R. Sullivan announced a regulatory settlement today that ends a lengthy investigation, requires two Assurant Health insurers to implement a corrective action plan and requires the insurers to pay approximately $920,000 in restitution to insureds and $2.1 million in monetary penalties. The State of Connecticut Insurance Department alleges that the companies violated Connecticut insurance laws and regulations arising under short-term health insurance policies. [...]

"The Assurant Companies are paying a severe monetary penalty to the State of Connecticut," Commissioner Sullivan said. "Our examination primarily related to what we believed were unfair acts or practices arising under their administration of short-term health insurance policies."

These are not our friends and I agree with Rick Jacobs, Chair of the Courage Campaign (for whom I do part-time work) that Terry McAuliffe should not appear at -- or take a speaking fee from -- the AHIP convention on June 19. If you agree, sign on to this letter to McAuliffe from Rick:

In the name of over 100 million uninsured and underinsured Americans frozen out of our profit-driven health care system, please don't lend your legitimacy as a leader in the Democratic Party to these corporations at their annual AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans) convention in San Francisco on June 19.

We know these health insurance executives are some of the most powerful lobbyists in America, wielding significant influence inside Washington. But, as you know, Barack Obama and Howard Dean have courageously directed the Democratic National Committee to no longer accept contributions from lobbyists, including the health insurance industry.

You can take a stand as well by refusing to appear -- and refusing to take a speaking fee --- from the health insurance industry at the AHIP convention. [...]

No Democrat, least of all the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, should support these corporations by appearing on their stage, and no progressive should allow himself to be paid in blood money "earned" by withholding treatment from sick patients.

Hundreds of highly-compensated health insurance executives will be inside the Moscone Center on June 19, working to perfect business practices that reward employees for denying health care coverage to millions of Americans. Outside, the real faces of the American health care system -- nurses, doctors, patients and their friends and families -- will be protesting.

Come join us, Terry. Boycott the AHIP Convention and prove that you care more about patients and health care than you do about lobbyists and speaking fees.

Want to join the protest of AHIP up in San Francisco on June 19th? Information is at Calitics. And if you agree with Rick, join me in signing on to the letter to McAuliffe urging him not to appear at AHIP or take their money.

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Obama Campaign: Please Stay Home, No Need to Create Chaos

According to the Associated Press , supporters of Senator Clinton are mobilizing to rally outside of the Washington hotel where members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee plan to meet to hash out how to punish Michigan and Florida for moving up their primary dates against DNC rules.  In addition to demonstrators from all parts of the country, several busloads of Clinton supporters are expected from Florida and Michigan.  However, although Senator Clinton's campaign is aware of the protest, they did not organize it.  Howard Wolfson said,
"I am aware that there are lots of people very passionate about this topic who are coming."

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Midnight Special - NC to DC

    Any North Carolina Hillary supporters out there?  Well, sign up and get on the bus that's leaving Greensboro at Midnight Friday, making a pickup stop near the Raleigh Airport and heading on up to Washington for Saturday morning's DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.

    E-mail Ruth Owens to reserve a seat:  edgewise81@aol.com. Depending on the number going, the cost will be around $50.  The return trip will have you back home about 8 p.m. Saturday.

    Of course your reason for going is to tell the DNC to "count all the votes" but meeting Ruth should be worth the trip.  A private citizen with no connection to the campaign, Ruth has used her own money to reserve the bus, spent after work hours calling and e-mailing friends and friends of friends to put this little project together.  A virtual dynamo, this woman   campaigned for Hillary in Rockingham County (borders Greensboro) and with her fellow volunteers put it in the win column for their candidate.

    Who says one person can't make a difference?  They do it every day in many ways.  So climb aboard the Midnight Special, meet other Hillary Democrats and give Ruth some mojo for citizen activism.  Then tell the DNC to COUNT ALL THE VOTES!

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May 28, 2008 - Peace and Human Rights Rally in Utah to protest Bush / Romney visit

A lot of people might recall then Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's speeches the last two times Bush came to Salt Lake City. (2006 speech) (2007 speech)

Well, Rocky is planning an even larger demonstration when President Bush and Mitt "double-gitmo" Romney visit Utah again next week.

Since leaving office in Jan, has formed High Road for Human Rights Advocacy Project, which is sponsoring the event.

Rally for Peace and Human Rights.

If you're in Utah next Wednesday, May 28th, take an hour from 5:30 - 6:30pm at Washington Square in Downtown Salt Lake City (451 South State Street) and lend your voice to this protest.

Even if you're not in the Salt Lake City area next Wednesday, High Road could use a a little help with money to help defray costs. This is a very expensive undertaking and High Road is a non-profit still in its very early stages. You can help out HERE.

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BREAKING: Sharpton Arrested at NYC Protest

CNN has just reported that Al Sharpton has been arrested during the Sean Bell protest today in New York City. At the moment, sources are still somewhat limited, but CNN is linking to WABC, which reports that the protests have caused several disruptions:

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