Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frankly, My Dear …

Barney Frank of MA flipping the metaphorical bird to one of the town hall crazies -– something Democratic Congressmen should be doing a whole lot more of. Honorable mention goes to WA Rep. Rick Larsen: “I’ve got facts on my side, you’ve got Glenn Beck.”

Backbone in politicians is always a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear President Carter Obama:

Please tell me I'm wrong. Convince me that you're playing chess while we're playing checkers and that you're several moves ahead of all of us. I hope so, because from where I'm sitting, you're on the express train to Disasterville.

First of all, obviously, on health care reform. You haven't sold it. Americans haven't heard the health care horror stories set against record insurance company profits and obscene CEO salaries because you haven't told them. Most voters don't know the difference between the Canadian single payer model and the UK single provider approach because you haven't explained it. When you tried to make your case in Arizona, the news wasn't about what you said inside the hall but the rather the armed freakshow milling around outside.

Then when you seemed to retreat from a public plan option, my doubts fears grew. Without this bare minimum, what is the point? Mr. President, you've gone all in on this one in terms of political capital. Why are you passively watching it die from the sidelines?

I applaud your desire for bipartisanship and to build consensus. You have a great love of country and an optimistic faith in its people. However, Republicans on the Hill do not.They don't give a damn about what is good for the country, only what is good for them. They want one thing and one thing only, and that is power. You stand in their way, and they will fight you at each turn. Screw them. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Be a leader. BE PRESIDENT, Sir, and do so NOW. Time is running out before the echoes of "Yes we can" turn bitterly into "No we didn't."

I also can't let you forget about Afghanistan. You seem to have bought into the "good war" myth in this land where empires go to die. The Romans tried, so did the British and the Soviets, and all failed to govern this ungovernable land. We cannot make a nation and we as foreign occupiers cannot defeat an insurgency or unilaterally bring political stability. Define the objectives, Mr. President. Define them not in terms of Bush-like wishful thinking, such as with meaningless "elections" and talk of "democracy" but in real measurable objectives that lead to our departure. Sadly, our concern should not be with the well-being of Afghanistan but with our own national interests. Define those interests and then do it before you end up in a darker place than even your foolish predecessor.

The time is now, Mr. President. The world is watching. Please prove me wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Signs of the End Times

Tom Delay goes to prison on "Dancing with the Stars."

It is perfectly legal in Arizona to carry a loaded semi-automatic rifle outside a presidential appearance.

Sports, my usual diversion, gives me Rick Pitino, Michael Vick and Brett Favre.


Robert Novak, your room is ready.

We hope you enjoy it.

What Ebert Said...

regarding health care.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This is priceless ...

Investor’s Business Daily, with mouth-foaming eagerness to further the demagoguery of corporate fearmongering, lies, and distortions about the healthcare debate and the bad bad public option, stated in its July 31 editorial:
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Professor Hawking, who was born in Britain, has lived there all his life, and unlike the faux geniuses at IBD could well be the world’s smartest person, fired back:

"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

Investor’s Business Daily, another right wing rag unmasked.


So where is health care now?

Perhaps it was a trial balloon as the WH seems to be distancing itself a bit from the HHS comments.

The Dems on this one started the wrong way by letting the Republicans dominate the debate. The starting point should have been single payer and then negotiate down to a public option, rather than the public option as the starter. With a public option gone, "reform" will only make health insurance more expensive, which will make everyone hate it.

Historians refer to LBJ as "the master of the Senate." When there was something he wanted passed, he got it passed. And now we have Harry Reid. Yippee.

Doonesbury and denial


Real Times Real Reporter Dana Gould Shines a Light on our Dickensian "Healthcare" System

On one side, Hitler signs, ignorance, and hooliganism; on the other side, hope and civility from people who have no insurance at all. Whose side is the White House on?

President Seems Ready to Cave to Corporatists and Hooligans

There are growing indications that in order to appease the town hall hooligans and small state anti-healthcare reform conservative senators, names like Republicans Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi and Democrats Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson, as well as Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, whose name the President uttered a gazillion times in his Montana town hall, the Obama administration is retreating from its insistence on a public option to ensure true healthcare reform competition, favoring instead a potential insurance company annual sweetheart giveaway of some $60 billion.

Doctor Howard Dean, who pioneered state-led comprehensive healthcare reform as governor of Vermont, and as chairman of the DNC presided over the Democratic Party's comeback, called a public option "indispensable." Democrats in Congress who favor a public option were quick to push back. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who is co-chairman of the Middle Class Caucus said: "Leaving private insurance companies the job of controlling the costs of health care is like making a pyromaniac the fire chief."

Whether or not the so-called co-op idea will fly remains to be seen. Many analysts say it is a toothless non-competitive false "alternative" to insurance industry control of the marketplace. The fact that opponents of healthcare reform are lining up behind this craven "compromise" should be reason enough to view it for what it is: a poison pill intended to kill meaningful healthcare reform.

When Kent Conrad says there aren't enough votes to pass healthcare reform in the Senate, he means 60 votes. That may be true, but he makes exaggerated claims that healthcare reform cannot be done "right" with 50 + 1 votes on reconciliation. Of course it can. Better to "do it right," as everyone agrees, by implementing it in stages -- with a public option -- over 5 years and return to finish the job after the President's re-election, than to be stuck with a bad industry reform bill that hands over control to the insurance companies, offers no competition, and does little to curb costs.

President Obama may yet get his co-insurance company victory that assures his re-election, but at what cost to the country? Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote:

It’s a measure of how out of touch G.O.P. leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are that they keep trying to scare voters by calling Obama a socialist. They have it backward. The larger fear is that Obama might be just another corporatist, punking voters much as the Republicans do when they claim to be all for the common guy.

Can you say "Pyrrhic victory," Mr. President?