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We’re being played (again)


Single payer is off the table and now that ObamaCare is going down in flames they are trying to stampede us into supporting something they call “public option” that isn’t really public option.

When hustlers are running their scams and the mark (that’s us) is getting cold feet, one trick they use is to have an associate appear eager to take the deal.  The mark (that’s us) is afraid they are going to lose a good bargain and takes the bait.  So what are we seeing right now?  A big push for us to take the deal before it’s too late.

I ain’t buying it.

Marc Ambinder:

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.

I’ll give credit where credit is due – the Obama Permanent Campaign is very good at message control.  That’s why I find it highly implausible that Kathleen Sebelius went off script yesterday.  That leaves two possibilities – she was either floating a “trial balloon” or she was part of an attempt to manipulate us.

If there is one thing that the OPC excells at it is manipulation.

From what I’ve seen this “public option” is gonna be an option for about 10 million people that can afford health insurance but can’t get it because of pre-existing conditions.  Those pre-existing conditions mean they will probably incur higher costs, which means their premiums will be higher or the plan will have to be government subsidized.  Meanwhile the private plans can focus on the most profitable categories of clientele – the young and healthy.

A true public option would be open to everyone and would prohibit private insurance companies from dumping people (or raising their rates) because of pre-existing conditions.  I’m not saying that offering insurance to people who can’t get it elsewhere is bad, but it isn’t public option.

I’m gonna have to disagree with the Big Dawg and others who think it is important that something, even a bad bill, be passed so that Obama can claim a victory on health care reform.

NOTE: My trip to Netroots Nation

You may have noticed my absence over the weekend. On the spur of the moment I decided to attend the annual blogging convention in Pittsburgh.

I had a great time listening to the speakers, rubbing elbows and having my picture taken with the elites and hoi polloi of Left Blogistan. Then I sobered up and realized I was at a Denny’s in Bakersfield.

Better luck next year.

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The Cerebral Team

I wonder how Obama (IQ off the charts) and his administration (super smart) would have dealt with Health Care if they hadn’t learned from the terrible, horrible, rookie mistakes from the not-ready-for prime time, bumbling Clinton team.

Any thoughts? This is an open thread


Commenter Edgeoforever just went into her treasure trove and came out with this gem:

Daschle: Anything but Clinton

They might sit side-by-side in Barack Obama’s Cabinet room someday, but Tom Daschle didn’t much like Hillary Clinton’s tactics for fixing health care 15 years ago – so much so that he wrote a book critiquing them.

Now as Obama’s point-person on health care, Daschle’s approach is a simple philosophy of ABC – Anything But Clinton – that he’ll start to lay out at his confirmation hearing Thursday for secretary of health and human services.

Daschle wants an overhaul plan moving on Capitol Hill by spring. Clinton waited almost a full year. Daschle wants lawmakers to take the lead in drafting it. Clinton kept the job inside the White House.

Perhaps the biggest change: Daschle is planning a major grassroots push to build public support for his plan outside Washington, possibly with spokesman-in-chief Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN at the helm as surgeon general. Clinton let opponents carry the day with their famed “Harry and Louise” TV spots.

“It is just a world of difference in so many ways,” said Sheila Burke, the chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) from 1986 to 1996, who followed Clinton’s process. “You’ve got people paying close attention to what those lessons were, and they have already avoided some of the missteps.”

Some lessons these guys have learned!

Your Breakfast Read, Monday Edition

Health Care Battle Waterloo Pseudo-reform Nightmare ?????

Can Democrats do anything right? Has there ever been a more incoherent group of people in the history of mankind?

Say What? Sebelius Touts Public Option on ‘This Week’, Throws It Under the Bus on CNN.

Please no! Not this “misspoke” nonsense. By the way, a politician who “misspoke”: Doesn’t that mean s/he said the truth inadvertently?
Administration Official: “Sebelius Misspoke.”

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.

Why was this insurance-industry-pet boy allowed to sabotage the whole thing from day 1, unencumbered?
Sen. Conrad: Public option a ‘wasted effort’

Conrad (D-N.D.), who supports setting up health insurance co-operatives with government seed money to compete with private insurers, described the public option as all but a lost cause.

At least some are holding firm but will they succeed?
TX Dem: Bill without public option ‘would be very, very difficult’

On the same day that a Cabinet member signaled the administration’s willingness to forego inclusion of a public health insurance option in the final version of health care reform legislation, a Texas Democrat who is also a registered nurse suggested that the public option might be a deal breaker for at least some House Democrats.

Meanwhile President Obama is back to what he does best: Fighting real Democrats and their agenda.
Obama picks fight with left on health reform

In backing away from its support for a public option in healthcare reform, the Obama administration is picking a fight with the liberal wing of the Democratic party
Liberal Democrats have insisted a public insurance option is necessary to ensure competition for private insurers
The left wing of the Democratic party already has been irritated by concessions its leaders have made on healthcare to centrists in the House and Senate.

Just compiling these stories gives me a headache. It’s early in the morning and I already need a drink. What a nightmare!

Around The Nation

Kinky sex and voodoo mark murder of Florida businessman
Who needs fiction when you have such real life saga?

The murdered man was having an extramarital affair, multiple law enforcement sources confirm, although no one can say if it had any bearing on his fate.

The victim is Ben Novack Jr., son of the founder of the Fontainebleau and a successful Fort Lauderdale businessman in his own right.

He was found duct-taped and bludgeoned on the morning of July 12 in Suite 452 of the Hilton Rye Brook, where he was overseeing an Amway convention. His wife discovered the body.

This guy is not gone already? Drip… Drip… Drip…
Sanford Aftermath: Where did the money go?

Gov. Mark Sanford has reimbursed himself more than $1,800 for expenses from his campaign account in the past 18 months. But Sanford won’t say what those expenses were.

Campaign records show Sanford reimbursed himself more than $1,100 about the same time as two 2008 trips to New York on which he said he met his Argentine lover, Maria Belen Chapur.

Isn’t this one of the things the new administration was supposed to “change” in Washington, DC?
New U.S. Envoy Takes Up Post

As Charles H. Rivkin prepares to take up the storied position of U.S. ambassador to Paris, a choice niche once occupied by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, he finds himself a particularly interesting case study in the long debate over America’s practice of appointing political favorites rather than diplomatic professionals to choice ambassadorships.

At 47, Mr. Rivkin is the youngest American envoy in Paris in 56 years. His father was a well-regarded diplomat, but the son has carved out his place in life in Hollywood. And, of course, he raised over $500,000 for Barack Obama in Southern California last year, and the palatial residence on the swanky rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré is his reward.

Economy Watch

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
Most health industry players would win under overhaul

When Congress and the White House began talking about a health care overhaul, the industries that profit from the $2.5 trillion system were understandably nervous.

But as the legislation takes shape, it appears much of the anxiety was misplaced. Most of the major health care players, including hospitals, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies, are likely to benefit – some handsomely – over the long term.

Is the world economy getting out of its tailspin?
Japan emerges from recession after year-long slump

Japan’s GDP grew 0.9 per cent in the April to June quarter, with annualised real growth rate of 3.7 per cent, breaking a run of four consecutive quarters of contraction. However, stock markets across Asia tumbled since economists had expected the world’s second largest economy to grow by 1 per cent in the second quarter.

The turnaround makes Japan the largest member of a growing club of developed economies that have managed to scrape their way back from successive quarters of economic contraction.

France and Germany last week became the first major European economies to make the leap back, while Hong Kong and Singapore have done the same in Asia.

Looks like it’s still to early to celebrate
The Signs Don’t Point To a Typical Recovery

The wounded U.S. economy has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks. But many economists, who were caught off guard by the brutality of the downturn, are accentuating the negative, bracing for head winds that could cause the recovery to be weak.

Huge swaths of the financial system have been damaged, which could lock consumers and businesses out of loans for years to come. American families are saving more and relying less on borrowed money. In this global recession, no part of the world appears poised to lead a buoyant recovery. And the U.S. government’s aggressive stimulus efforts — including special Federal Reserve lending programs and full-throttle government spending — may need to wind down before the economy returns to solid footing.

The problem with a jobless and wageless recovery: The macros may all be pointing in the right direction but the people are just not feeling it. If you add to that a massive campaign of disinformation and distortion you get this:
Poll: 57% don’t see stimulus working

Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation’s economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

Citigroup May Pressure Hall, Phibro Traders to Take Pay in Stock Not Cash

Citigroup Inc., under pressure from the Obama administration to reduce executive compensation, may try to persuade energy trader Andrew Hall to accept stock instead of cash in 2010 after paying him about $100 million last year, people familiar with the matter said.

Hall isn’t likely to accept such an offer because his pay is based on the performance of the Phibro LLC unit he heads, not the bank’s, making the sale of the business more likely as a way of placing him outside the government restrictions, the people said, declining to be identified because talks are still under way.

Op-ed Columns

This guy has a point: This is also who we are.
Democracy in action and the obnoxious

Don’t get too outraged, those of you who are looking down your noses at those unreasonable, misinformed anti-healthcare-reform town hallers. No matter what particular clan, tribe or party you belong to, you can’t really disown them any more than you can your own grandmother. You may not agree with them, but their brand of hotheaded, self-righteous, obnoxious, stick-it-to-the-manism is as American as apple pie.

Some of our commenters brought up the Swiss model when we were discussing what the US healthcare system could look like. Paul Krugman shares their opinion.
The Swiss Menace

Finally, the third route to universal coverage relies on private insurance companies, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered. Switzerland offers the clearest example: everyone is required to buy insurance, insurers can’t discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies.
If we were starting from scratch we probably wouldn’t have chosen this route. True “socialized medicine” would undoubtedly cost less, and a straightforward extension of Medicare-type coverage to all Americans would probably be cheaper than a Swiss-style system. That’s why I and others believe that a true public option competing with private insurers is extremely important: otherwise, rising costs could all too easily undermine the whole effort.

But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work.

Are elections now turning into charades everywhere?
The Winner of Afghanistan Vote is Already Known

Most Afghans already believe they know who will win their nation’s presidential elections next week: the candidate chosen by the United States and its NATO allies.

The rest of the exercise will be merely elaborate political theater designed to show increasingly uneasy Western voters that progress is being made in the war-torn nation after seven years of US-led occupation.

To all those numbskulls who keep pushing that idiocy out there, stop it!
Hitler and Health Care Don’t Mix

[T]o deploy Nazi imagery as a matter of course diminishes one of humankind’s most potent lessons of its meaning and its power. The summer of 2009 has not been our finest hour on this front.

Around The World

Threats by Taliban May Sway Vote in Afghanistan

A group of Taliban fighters made their announcement in the bazaar of a nearby village a few days ago, and the word spread fast: anyone caught voting in the presidential election will have his finger — the one inked for the ballot — cut off.
Doubts about Pashtun participation are particularly injecting uncertainty into the campaign of the incumbent, Hamid Karzai. Five years ago, Mr. Karzai rode to an election victory on a wave of support from his fellow Pashtuns, who make up about 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population.

It’s all very slow and very tepid, but something is going on in Iran.
Clerics’ Call for Removal Challenges Iran Leader

A group of Iranian clerics has issued an anonymous letter calling Iran’s supreme leader a dictator and demanding his removal, the latest and perhaps strongest rhetorical attack on him yet in the country’s post-election turmoil.

Russia Suicide Bomb Kills at Least 12

A suicide bomber exploded a truck at a police station in Russia’s restive North Caucasus Monday, killing at least 12 people and wounding nearly 60 others, officials said.

From The World Of Science

Finally some good news.
Cancer Advance Identifies Drug to Destroy Powerful Stem Cells

Scientists said they have found a drug compound that attacks in a new way the stem cells that fuel tumor growth, opening a path to a new type of anti-cancer treatment.

Odds & Ends

So this is how people learn their “lines”? Why do Chinese and Japanese hate Dollar bills?
Nearly 90% of U.S. money has traces of cocaine

A study that tested paper money from 30 big cities in five countries—including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China and Japan—found that big metropolitan areas in both Canada and the U.S. have an alarmingly high presence of cocaine on their currency, with traces of the narcotic on 85-90% of bills. Brazil, coming in just behind the North American nations, had contamination on 80% of paper money. On the other end of the spectrum, in China and Japan, cocaine was present on a much lower 12-20% of banknotes.

Have A Nice Day!!!

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