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An Unholy Alliance

Tom Watson writes a deliciously snarky piece about the meeting of the minds of Bill Kristol and DailyKos. {{shudder}}

I hate to see it come to this but I think he is on to something. That is not to say that everyone at DailyKos is being assimilated. There are still quite a few loyal Kossacks and lurkers who are valiantly holding out for the rest of the site to return to sanity.

Actually, Tom brings up a point I have been wondering about for some time now: What is it about Clinton that drives otherwise perfectly rational people absolutely crazy? (Kristol is excluded from this because he started out nuts) Why is it SO important to crush The House of Clinton?

In some respects, the last few months of anti-Clinton frenzy is reminiscent of the lead up to the Iraq War. Those who are virulently anti-Hillary act as though they’ve seen some secret intelligence document that spells out how dangerous and Un-American she is. But all I ever see are doctored satellite photographs of some trailers used for agricultural research.

PLEASE Mr. Kristol,. Frank Rich, Peggy Noonan, tell us what you know. If there is a deep dark awful secret about Hillary, like there’s medical proof that she’s really a paranoid evangelical with the IQ of a table lamp who has megalomania and messianic delusions of grandeur, it is your sacred duty for the sake of our great nation to tell us without delay so we don’t elect someone who’s going to lead us into a pointless, endless, expensive, destructive war or violate our civil liberties or torture people or ruin the economy or a city. I mean surely, SURELY these brave pundits would have told us if we were ever in danger of electing someone that nuts, a person capable of destroying the middle class. Surely they will warn us that we are making a big mistake by nominating a neophyte whom they will take great joy in levelling with the brutality of their poison pens.

I’m sure that Kos has his reasons for loathing Clinton. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that he doesn’t like her campaign people because, hey, who doesn’t loathe campaign people? David Axelrod makes my skin crawl and Joe Trippi makes me want to take a bath. If it were just a matter of Clinton people not trying out new campaign techniques, I’m sure Kos would have been happy to make suggestions to Hillary. No, it’s got to be something even worse than the House of Bush that has him thinking like Kristol that the worst thing in the world would be Hillary 44.

If only they would tell us I could stop being so skeptical. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. I just couldn’t swallow the Iraq War stories and I just can’t swallow this one either. Oh, woe is me, cursed to be always out of step with my peers.

And always right in retrospect.

The Healthcare Argument

I got a the following comment from a reader regarding the scary Clinton healthcare proposal:

The Clinton campaign didn’t have a healthcare plan before it failed and they don’t have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a government employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employers or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don’t pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn’t stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words “UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE” This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

To be honest, this reader’s enthusiasm was relatively sane and I appreciate that. But now that we’ve gotten Obama Love out of our system (you Clinton people can stop vomiting now), I’m going to give it a shot:

I think what you wrote about the healthcare issue is wrong for several reasons.

1.) Universal coverage is necessary because right now, every person who currently has insurance is subsidizing the care of those who do not. In NJ this amounts to a $700,000,000.00 hidden tax to compensate the hospitals around the state for care they provide to the uninsured. So, if you have insurance, you’re already paying more than you should.

2.) When everyone is covered, the cost of insurance should actually drop. That is because we will be sharing the risk and sick people will not wait until they are in need of hospitalization before they seek help. If you factor in prescription drugs to control blood pressure and cholesterol as well as contraceptives, you reduce the instances of heart attack, stroke and unplanned pregnancies.

3.) Universal coverage gives small businesses and self employed people the cost benefits of collective bargaining. They will qualify for group rates. On the other side, more people in a bigger group can put pressure on insurance companies to negotiate. The ability to buy good insurance at group rates will result in an increase in entrpreneurship since the security of health care will no longer be dependent on landing a job with benefits and staying there forever whether you like your employer or not. I would expect wages to rise similarly since businesses will have to offer good employees more in order to intice them to stay.

4.) Here at my current employer, those with the best salaries subsidize the health insurance of those employees who make less. Our rates might be higher but it’s not burdensome. But it does depend on everyone being in the plan together.  Even the working class needs to pay something into the collective pot.  The goal is affordability not free.  And just because someone is healthy and young and willing to assume their own risks doesn’t mean they will have the funds to cover a catastrophic illness or accident.  Pay now or pay a LOT more later.  Why should the rest of us who are planning and paying our fair share pick up the extra cost associated with an opt-outs higher cost of care?

5.) Clinton says that if you’re not enrolled when you get sick, you will be enrolled on the spot and the cost will not exceed a certain portion of your income. If you don’t pay your portion, I suspect it would be similar to not paying your social security tax. In fact, the social security system is the closest analog to what Clinton is proposing. Social security is a very successful program but it depends on everyone buying in. We’ve already run the numbers on the cost of partial privatization and it didn’t fly because the people who opt out shove the cost of covering the retired onto those who are still in the system . Revenue is lowered and benefits need to be cut. So, it’s all opt in or you might as well do nothing- like Obama is suggesting.

BTW, it was wrong of him to use the Harry and Louise type ads to diss the Clinton-Edwards health care proposals. That’s just what the insurance companies did to us back in the 90’s. And now, 16 years later, they are still raking in the big bucks and passing the costs onto us. For that alone, there is more than enough reason to avoid Obama like the plague.
Thanks for playing.

Morning Java

Need to work again today. For some reason my employers continue to insist on productivity for money. It’s extortion, I tells ya’! In the meantime, here are some interesting pieces from around the web and the media:

  • On yesterday’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, David Kirkpatrick handicaps the Republican race and explains why John McCain is so hated by conservatives. One of the more interesting tidbits is that Rush Limbaugh says the McCain, Clinton and Obama are indistinguishable and that the emphasis for conservatives this election year should be to elect more conservatives to Congress. Uh-huh, I can see where he’s going with this. Terry’s been doing a lot of outstanding political interviews this yea. Subscribe to the podcast, You won’t be sorry. And contribute to your local public radio station if you have a few bucks. (The MacBook Air is MINE!)
  • Digby throws her two cents in on the McCain nomination and how he will fare against either Obama or Clinton. I agree that their going to throw national security issues at Obama but where Digby thinks they won’t stick, I don’t put anything past the GOP when they crank up the perception management techniques. Many voters see McCain as a maverick, moderate Republican, which he isn’t. He’s just not as fascist as the crazies at CPAC. But he looks sane in comparison to them so when they start to make Obama look like Robert Mugabe on steroids, McCain’s going to look good.