Saturday, August 22, 2009

Must Reads

Bob Cesca: Bipartisanship Porn

Robert Reich: How Tough Is Our President?

Nicole Belle: This Week: Is Sarah Palin "ControllingThe World" From Her Facebook Page or Just The Media?

Glenn Greenwald: Fringe leftist losers: wrong even when they're right

Frank Schaeffer: How the Right and the Left Destroyed the Public Option

Paul Krugman: Obama's Trust Problem

White House: Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

Leslie Savan: Joe Scarborough Is Shocked, Yet Awed by Single-Payer Logic

Wendell Potter: Wendell Potter Warns: Co-op Kool Aid Is Bad for Your Health

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 22, 2009

Myths and Morality in Health Insurance Reform

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

"That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress, and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions." -Michele Bachmann

Thanks for making the Pro-Choice argument, you Pro-Life twit.

Still Waiting on Texas To Make Good On Their Secession Threat

Think Progress: The Texas State Board of Education review committee is preparing to vote on a draft of proposed standards for history textbooks. Noting that the draft has “nothing about liberals,” the Houston Chronicle reported:
The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction says students should be expected “to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority.” [...] Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.
The 15-member committee, stacked with 10 Republicans, is expected to vote along party lines. Earlier this year, a panel of right-wing “experts” produced a report urging the committee to remove biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen F. Austin, César Chávez, and instead add history about the “motivational role the Bible and the Christian faith played in the settling of the original colonies.”

How about it, Texas? C'mon, Rick Perry! We know you can do it. Some of us would support you 100% in your effort to secede. Whaddaya say?


What a surprise. The states with the highest uninsured population are the ones who are falling for the health care myths, mostly in the south and west, because it's so much easier to believe that big, bad, black Obama is gonna kill your grammy, take your money, insure illegal aliens and take over health care when you want to believe it.

According to Gallup, of the 25 states with the greatest percentage of the uninsured, all but three are based in the South or the Midwest.

Texas - 27 percent of the population is uninsured
New Mexico --- 25.6 percent
Mississippi - 24 percent
Louisiana - 22.4 percent
Nevada - 22.2 percent
Oklahoma - 22.2 percent (considered a Midwest state)
California - 21 percent
Wyoming - 20.7 percent
Florida - 20.7 percent
Georgia - 20.7 percent
South Carolina - 20.4 percent
Montana - 20.3 percent
Alaska -- 20.2 percent
Arkansas - 20.1 percent
Colorado - 20 percent
Oregon - 19.4 percent
West Virginia - 19.3 percent (considered a Northeast state)
North Carolina - 19.3 percent
Idaho - 18.8 percent
Utah - 18.1 percent
Kentucky - 17.9 percent
Tennessee - 17.8 percent
Nebraska - 17.7 percent
Alabama - 17.2 percent
Missouri - 17.1 percent (considered a Midwest state)

Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey on the Daily Show

...and as you would expect, Jon Stewart makes her look like the kook that she is.

How anyone can take this person seriously is beyond my comprehension. But it's easy enough to understand how she can persuade the rubes of this country that she knows what she is talking about. Of course, her claims of rationed care for seniors, doctors mandated "prescribed" care by the government and cutting fraud and waste from Medicare equaling cutting care for its patients is just that: baseless claims based on nothing but conjecture from someone working for a drug industry think tank posing for reform in an effort to inject fear into the people who love their government run socialized medicine program (Medicare) and attempt to slam on the health care reform brakes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Republican MENSA, Example 2,349


A new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) illustrates the profound levels of ignorance that currently interfere with the debate over health care.

One question asked: "Do you think the government should stay out of Medicare?" Keep in mind that this is a logical impossibility, as Medicare is a government program, which was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson, to provide guaranteed health care to the elderly.

As it turns out, 39% of voters think government should stay out of Medicare, compared to 46% who disagree.

Among Republicans, 62% say the government should stay out of Medicare, compared to only 24% of Democrats and 31% of independents who agree.

Is It Time For Grassley's Death Panel Yet?

Via Bob Cesca:

“It’s not about getting a lot of Republicans. It’s about getting a lot of Democrats and Republicans. We ought to be focusing on getting 80 votes.” —Chuck Grassley
And Enzi is saying the same thing. 80 votes? They are truly mad. They can think it makes them sound all bipartisan-y to try and fool their baseless base, but it just makes them sound craz-y.

Tom Delay Joins The Birthers and Chris Matthews Laughs In His Face

77% Support CHOICE of Public Option

So much for that NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that I didn't trust.

From Sam Stein:

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a "choice" between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.
A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.
But the numbers tell another story, as well.
Earlier in the week, after pollsters for NBC dropped the word "choice" from their question on a public option, they found that only 43 percent of the public were in favor of "creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies."

Will President Obama Address Congress?

Bob Cesca writes a quick post:

Today on The Ed Show, Jonathan Alter predicted that the president will deliver a rousing address to a joint session of Congress about healthcare reform sometime in the next six weeks or so.

Here's what I wrote back on July 2:
Maybe even do one of those big Hollywood movie style presidential speeches, like the one at the end of The Contender in which President Jeff Bridges calls out that slippery douche Congressman Gary Oldman in front of a joint session.

If this health care battle has a joint session in its future, I doubt whatever the President decides to say will change any minds, for or against a public option. Overall, the American public is still in favor of a public option (I don't believe the new controversial NBC/WSJ poll for a second). Those who want it, those who need it, are still going to be in favor of it. Those who have been misinformed, well, we all know they're too stubborn to learn the truth and know any better. Besides, when you bring a gun to a health care debate, I'm guessing you might have another agenda.

Whether President Obama is heard by the American public if he does decide to call a joint session of Congress is most likely irrelevant. It's whether he's heard by the members in the chamber that's important, and all too often we've seen something that is universally important to all the citizens of this country, something as important as helping your fellow man through accessible health care, spun by the politicians and pundits within minutes of it's conclusion to blue and red, to liberal and conservative, to truth and fiction.

Here's that final scene from The Contender that Bob mentioned.

I watch these political movies over and over again and always hope for a moment like this in real life instead of the screen, where the sham of "my good friend on the other side of the aisle" is dropped like so much dead weight around our necks, where truth triumphs over political convenience, where liars are called liars.

I hope it happens in my lifetime.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The People Health Care Reform Would Help...

... have no idea as to what they are protesting against.

Here is a two minute interview with a middle aged woman, the same woman who screamed "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man while he was extolling the virtues of Israel's national health care system. Irony of ironies, she's wearing an "Israel Defense League" t-shirt and yelled "Heil Hitler" at an Israeli Jew.

In two minutes she personified what is wrong with these town hall windbags that haven't a clue why they're against health care reform.

1 - She doesn't want to identify herself with any group except to say that she's a lifelong Republican conservative who "believes in Biblical vows." Good job not trying to box yourself in, lady.

2 - She knows reform is needed because of escalating costs but doesn't want a government take over, as if that were the case. Will she refuse Medicare when she or her husband reaches that age?

3 - She thinks reform will "support illegal aliens." It does not.

4 - Her husband works "two and a half" jobs and HAS NO INSURANCE.

5 - She hopes Obama is voted out of office because he has the audacity to try and provide health care for Americans who can't afford it.

Barney Frank is right. There is no reasoning with these people.

More Like This, Please

This should be a training video on how to deal with misinformed, uneducated wingnuts who waste time at these town hall meetings, not knowing the definition of Fascism.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Obama Kung-Fu Panda™

There was a lot of talk this weekend about the perceived White House softening on the public option due to a comment made by President Obama during a town hall meeting in Colorado (which I think wasn't a softening at all if you listen to what he was trying to say in the overall context) and an interview by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in which she stated that the public option is "not the essential element" in health care reform. I was still hesitant to think that all the "president is backing off the public option" ballyhoo was actually the case considering that Congress is not in session and the MSM was hungry for something to fill their time other than Michael Jackson's brain.

In any case, the possibility that this could happen was a breaking point for the left who have started to mobilize. Whether progressives and liberals were coming off the Obama honeymoon or whether they realized that they had to be as vocal as the misinformed, gun-toting nutballs at the town hall meetings, the pushback has finally started.

My theory: I think the Sebelius statement was a trial balloon. If the statement was used to gauge a perceived softening on the public option or an actual one is up for debate. The end result is the liberal and progressive base got tired of laying back and are now on the offensive to the benefit of the Obama administration, even though their outrage is directed at the ever-tiring Democratic capitulation.

But some are now writing that this may have been part of the plan all along; some more Obama Kung-Fu. And if you think about it, you can whip up your base into a frenzy by looking like you are softening to the GOP and losing your spine, because in the end you really aren't going to lose your liberal base. What liberal or progressive in their right mind would vote for ANY Republican?

Now, President Obama has always said that change has to start with us. On that I agree. But the way this has been unfolding, I'm finding it a little hard to believe that it's all part of a grand plan, that this administration although very savvy, is always ten steps ahead of absolutely everyone else. (If they are, then we are in for an awesome eight years.)

Ultimately, I don't think that the White House will accept a final bill without a public option, but if there had been no outrage from the left, if we had become defeatist and complacent (and I think some of us were headed that way) then who knows how horrible a compromised bill could become? Luckily, progressives and liberals, sixty and counting in the House, are galvanizing and threatening to vote against any bill that doesn't contain a public option.

So in my opinion, I don't think this was an example of Obama Kung-Fu; it was more the situation turning to fortuitously help the White House. Maybe call it Obama Kung-Fu Panda™.

More Anthony Weiner Lovefest

Taking A Stand

Yesterday, I heard Chris Matthews and whatever talking heads were sitting on his set almost mock Rep. Anthony Weiner when he stated that unless there was a public option in the final bill, the President would lose 100 Democratic votes in the House. They dismissed it as bluster and hyperbole.

The line is now drawn in the sand.

They are "firm in their Position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President's signature, MUST contain a public option."

This is why I believe the public option is not yet dead. I wonder what Matthews thinks now? (Here is the original letter.)

Bob Novac Dies at 78

NY Times: Robert D. Novak, the pugnacious political columnist and cable television fixture whose scoops reached across five decades and whose nickname, “the prince of darkness,” was invoked with renewed fervor in 2003 when, acting on a tip, he revealed the name of a C.I.A. officer, setting the stage for a criminal investigation, died Tuesday morning at his home in northwest Washington. He was 78.

And here I thought vampires were immortal. Maybe an Obama death panel said, "No." I know I'm gonna get shit for this post, but hey, he made his bed... You don't get the nickname "The Prince of Darkness" for nothing. I really have no sympathy.

Anthony Weiner ROCKS!

Doesn't Joe Scarborough get tired of being wrong? Well, I suppose if you think you're right, then you are. Every few weeks Scarborough gets eviscerated on his own show. This time It's Rep. Anthony Weiner's turn.

How very white of Joe to state that he's not there to answer Rep. Weiner's question (6:16) when he gets all flustered and there is dead silence for about 5 seconds (about the 5:18 mark) to the question, "What are [insurance companies'] value? What do they bring to the deal?" and then gets all upset when Weiner is making a point and says he won't let him answer a question (7:20). What a douchebag.

As far as Weiner is concerned, if I weren't shopping for a house in another state, I'd be looking to move a couple of miles to be in his district. More Anthony Weiners is what the spineless Democratic Party needs.

Adding... I'm waiting for the video of the return of Weiner "after the news break" but it's not on the MSNBC website yet. I wonder if they'll put it up (provided he actually did come back)?

UPDATE (3:10pm): FDL has the remaining portion of the interview (starting at the 5:50 mark).

Joe Scarborough still disagrees which is his right, but can't get around spinning it by saying, "You made me speechless because you so clearly came here and stated your position, which is, and it took me a couple of minutes to figure it out, you want the federal government to take over. You want want insurance companies, not doctors, but the funding mechanism, the pay mechanism..." Weiner interrupts, "Correct. Whose going to take your money and give it to doctors?"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hopey, Changey

posted by Armadillo Joe


That such a headline could even be conceived is sufficient for me to say "I told you so."

Democrats suck. I want a new party.

Mixed Messages?

When you have multiple people going out on the Sunday talking head shows to push health care reform, there's bound to be a screw up when you're not repeating faxed talking points verbatim, which the Democratic party does not do.

Sebelius' comment on the public option not being "an essential element" was definitely a hiccup. But she did clarify her statement.

When John King asked her, "So the public option is not a deal-breaker from the president's standpoint?", Sebelius did not deny his assumption and answered:
"Well, I think there will be a competitor to private insurers. That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing. We need some choices, we need some competition."
It may have been a verbal slip. But the main goal remains: the essential part is competition. If you don't trust private insurers then what's the other option? A public plan, because the co-op idea is still private.

I'm happy with the following statement and that's what I'm holding on to while every pundit tries to convince us of hedging by President Obama because, after all, that's news, isn't it?
Nothing has changed," said Linda Douglass, communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform. "The president has always said that what is essential is that health insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals."