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Health Care Reform Bill Open Thread, Part II

right-wing-nut

Wingnuts control our government

Democrats in Congress are busy tonight trying to make sure that women can’t get abortions or birth control. The Stupak Amendment was defeated on a voice vote, probably because Boehner told the Republicans not to vote for it. Now the Republicans are proposing their own amendment that will make sure that we keep the status quo, except people will be able to buy coverage across state lines and no one will be able to sue their doctor or health plan for malpractice.

Document and react to the atrocities as you wish.

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Health Care Reform Bill Open Thread

House%20II

Right now the House is debating the Health Care Reform bill. I’m listening to C-Span right now. If anyone else has been following the debate, please post your observations and reactions in this thread. According to Chris Bowers at Open Left, the only amendment that is being debated today is the Stupak amendment which bans people who get any government help in paying for their health insurance from getting coverage for abortion services.

According to Bowers, no progressive House members are blocking the amendment because of “Obama reassurances.” Bowers writes:

no pro-choice Democrats have threatened to vote against the bill as a result of this. Apparently, this is because of a rumor going around Congress that President Obama promised Henry Waxman that he will “personally” work to remove the language in conference. I feel so reassured.

Bowers says Bart Stupak (D-MI) is “taunting” progressives, claiming he has the votes to pass the amendment no matter what they do. On top of that the Catholic Bishops have endorsed the bill.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a critical endorsement to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions.

Who is in charge here anyway?!

Ezra Klein on the Stupak deal:

The final compromises before a bill comes to the floor are never very pretty. This one, however, is worse than I anticipated. Opposition from anti-abortion Democrats, driven in large part by aggressive activism from the Catholic Church, forced Democratic leadership to allow a vote on Bart Stupak’s amendment limiting elective abortion coverage from both private and public insurers on the exchange. It reads:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.

Because of the limits placed on the exchanges, most of the participants will have some form of premium credit or affordable subsidy. That means most will be ineligible for abortion coverage. The idea that people are going to go out and purchase separate “abortion plans” is both cruel and laughable. If this amendment passes, it will mean that virtually all women with insurance through the exchange who find themselves in the unwanted and unexpected position of needing to terminate a pregnancy will not have coverage for the procedure. Abortion coverage will not be outlawed in this country. It will simply be tiered, reserved for those rich enough to afford insurance themselves or lucky enough to receive from their employers.

Please post what you know and what you think in the comments. Thank you!

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Trying to stick a “Far Left” label on Righteous Indignation

The New York Times Opinionator blog aggregator has detected a nascent revolt in the Democratic party.  The Times is only 18 months late.  The PUMAs were ahead of the curve the day the DNC RBC knifed its own voters and installed Barack Obama as the nominee over the objections of slightly more than half of the Democratic primary voters.  I’ll get back to why this moment was important.  The Opinionator follows up on this week’s off-off-year election results and reports that it appears that the Democrats are losing their far left flank.

(First, they came for the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, then they came for the women and the gays.)

Can I just say what a stupid narrative this is?  Sometimes, I read this crap in the paper and I think, do these reporters just take dictation from Rahm Emannuel or do they make this $^&* up to conform to their view of the world where things have to go into neat little boxes?

What the hell is the far-left anyway?  If you believe that equal treatment under the law should apply to all citizens regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, race, creed or disability because they are all persons born with unalienable rights, that is hardly a “far left” position.  Isn’t that a uniquely American position?  Didn’t we all pledge allegiance to the flag that promised “liberty and justice for all”?  And if that is true, doesn’t that put us on the side of everything that is good about America and those that oppose those things horribly mislead?

My idea of “far-left” is based on my childhood impressions of news reports of the Weather Underground and defenders of Karl Marx.  Far lefties, to me, are people who are rigid ideologues who want to enforce some strange form of a socialist utopian nanny state on the rest of us. And I am referring to a REAL communist-socialist state, not some bizarre Republican  misinterpretation of one. Far lefties are militant pacifists.  They hang out in trees and feed their children macrobiotic organic fruititarian diets.  They are green Martha Stewart’s who think everyone has time to grow their own clothes and walk to work.   They’re people who can’t be reasoned with.  They’re oblivious to real life and are as fundamentalist in their world view as the religious right.

The closest I can find to a far-lefty these days is the Obot who still thinks that the main problem plaguing the country right now is the issue of race.  Where have these people been in the last year?  Did they miss that sincerely awe inspiring election of the first African-American for president?  Don’t they know what the unemployment rate is? Have they tried to find jobs lately?  Feed their kids?  Pay for a doctor?  Save for college?  They’re stuck with the mindset that we are not finished with their teachable moment on race as if all other oppressed demographic groups don’t have  grievances that need to be addressed.  If only we would let go of our prejudices, which for the most part do not exist on the center-left, President Obama could get on with his job and we’ll all be happier. Anyone who opposes Obama doesn’t have a legitimate reason for doing so.  They’re just racists or stupid old women.  That’s the far-left.  They are so stuck in the weeds of their own perfect world they are incapable of seeing the floor torn out from beneath their feet by the big business friends of Obama who installed him in office.

Let’s talk about those big business friends of Obama.  They were in control of the primary and general election season last year.  I think we can all see that in retrospect.  Raise your hand if that isn’t perfectly clear to you by now.  Their massive infusions of cash bought the Democratic National Committee, which unbeknownst to the average voter was up for sale.  The Democratic National Committee violated just about every principle it stood for in order to install Obama as the nominee including dumping millions of Hillary Clinton’s voters.  I’m going to keep harping on this until the Times boys get it.  The party dumped its base last year.   That is why there is trouble brewing in the party.  Some of us have left the party over what happened last year.  You just didn’t see it in the presidential election because the economy tanked.

Apparently, that “some of us” made the difference in NJ.  It isn’t that there were so many more voters voting Republican in NJ.  There weren’t.  It’s that Democrats just didn’t turn out or that the truly disgusted ones, such as myself, voted for a fiscally responsible, socially liberal Chris Daggett.  Now, some may argue that Corzine lost due to local issues.  And that is true.  But the reason he was such a failure at resolving local issues is because he is typical of the kind of Democratic politician we’ve become accustomed to voting for in the Democratic party.  He is beholden to the status quo and big money, a compromiser, an incrementalist, insufficiently bold, doesn’t look out for the middle class and all too willing to ignore the voters when their will is inconvenient to him.

Who does that sound like?

The party has lost its way and now that enough of its voters know that the party is no longer listening to them, there have been defections.  And let’s not mistake who the defectors are.  Most of us are FDR, Clinton style Democrats, moderate to  liberal but hardly “far-left”.  We’re in Paul Krugman’s camp.  Recently, some of the feminist Obama supporters have woken up and smelled the coffee.  We welcome them and only regret that they weren’t paying attention last year when references to abortion and reproductive rights were scrubbed from Democratic candidates web sites. (Read past the quote) They ridiculed the PUMAs last year.  They’re starting to sound just like them now.  Gay voters have been wary of Obama since he rolled out  Donny McClurkin but many fell prey to the “Obama is an historic candidate but Hillary Clinton is an old bitch” propaganda.  Do they now regret their over the top rants against her? Is it possible that she was just a legitimate candidate who stood for traditional core Democratic principles and was not sent by Satan to rain on Barack Obama’s glorious golden specialness?  Is it possible that her supporters deserved to be treated like persons and their votes respected?

The party’s civil war started the day the RBC tossed our votes out, May 31, 2008.  The day they made one candidate’s voters more equal than the others, the day they violated every principle they had over voting rights, the day they selectively broke and enforced their rules and decided to not listen to their voters, and got away with it, was the day the party started down the path to disunity.  It only took some time before the Obama cheerleaders realized that they had given the party permission to completely ignore them in the future.  And now the party should not be surprised that they have a civil war on their hands.

Bring. It. On.

 

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Your Breakfast Read, Saturday Edition

Tragedy in Fort Hood

Kevin Drum received a a letter with a firsthand account of the shooting. Go check it.
Letter From Fort Hood

The brave lady who ended the bloodbath
She Ran to Gunfire, and Ended It

As she pulled up to the center, the officer, Sgt. Kimberly Denise Munley, spotted the gunman, later identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, brandishing a pistol and chasing a wounded soldier outside the building, said Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at the base.

Sergeant Munley — a woman with a fierce love of hunting, surfing and other outdoor sports — bolted from her car, yanked her pistol out and shot at Major Hasan. He turned on her and began to fire. She ran toward him, continuing to fire, and both she and Major Hasan went down with several bullet wounds, Mr. Medley said.

Whether Sergeant Munley was solely responsible for taking down Major Hasan or whether he was also hit by gunfire from her partner is unclear, but she was the first to fire at him

I’m with the POTUS on this one
Obama urges caution amid fears of backlash against Muslims

Barack Obama today joined calls from across America for calm amid fears of a backlash in the wake of the shooting spree by a Muslim soldier at the Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 28 wounded.

No rationalizing but a search for possible explanations
Is Fort Hood a Harbinger? Nidal Malik Hasan May Be a Symptom of a Military on the Brink.

It’s hard to draw too many conclusions right now, but we do know this: Thursday night, authorities shot and then apprehended the lone suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. A psychiatrist who was set to deploy to Iraq at the end of the month, Hasan reportedly opened fire around the Fort Hood Readiness Center, where troops are prepared for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. And though this scene is a most extreme and tragic outlier, it comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers individually that it makes it increasingly difficult for the military as a whole to deploy for wars abroad.

Hasan’s Therapy: Could “Secondary Trauma” Have Driven Him to Shooting?

As an army psychiatrist treating soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Major Nidal Malik Hasan had a front row seat on the brutal toll of war. It is too early to know exactly what may have triggered his murderous shooting rampage Thursday at Fort Hood — Hasan is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 32 others before he was wounded by a police officer — but it is not uncommon for therapists treating soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) to be swept up in a patient’s displays of war-related paranoia, helplessness and fury.

Suspect a study in contrasts

Investigators examined Hasan’s computer, his home, and his garbage yesterday to learn what motivated the suspect, who lay in a coma, who was shot four times. Hospital officials said some of the wounded had extremely serious injuries and might not survive.

The 39-year-old Army psychiatrist emerged as a study in contradictions: a polite man who stewed with discontent, a counselor who needed to be counseled himself, a professional healer now suspected of cutting down the fellow soldiers he was sworn to help.

The scoundrels are out
Top GOP recruit says Ft. Hood shooting shows ‘enemy is infiltrating our military’

A top Republican congressional recruit said on Friday that the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas yesterday by a solider allegedly sympathetic to suicide bombers shows that the “enemy is infiltrating our military.”

Allen West (R-Fla.), a retired military colonel who served as a commander at the Texas base, said in a release that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s attack may indicate a broader effort by Islamic extremists to recruit downtrodden members of the military.

 


 

Health-care (pseudo) Reform

Is the whole thing coming to a close?
Health Care Nears Major Vote

The House of Representatives headed toward a historic vote on a bill overhauling the health-care system after House Democrats late Friday cleared an abortion-related impasse that had threatened to block the vote.

John Cassidy has a very interesting analysis of the bill. It’s hard to excerpt, just go read the whole thing.
Some Vaguely Heretical Thoughts on Health-Care Reform

It’s the Dems. What would you expect?
Health care headache for House Democrats

Amid signs of division in the Democratic ranks, majority leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team had yet to secure the 218 commitments needed for passage. Obama, who picked up the phone and asked fence-sitting Democrats to get on board with his top domestic priority, delayed a trip to Capitol Hill until today. Representatives were put on notice that the floor vote may be postponed until tomorrow afternoon or even early next week.

If the going gets tough, throw women under the bus.
Abortion deal as Dems try to reach 218

Abortion opponents won a huge last-minute concession late Friday night when leaders agreed to give Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak a vote on his amendment effectively barring insurers that participate in the exchange from providing abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is in danger.

The concession was expected to free up the votes Democrats need to approve the bill, even though reproductive rights groups were expected to vehemently oppose it.

In the end, the Conference of Catholic Bishops couldn’t support the compromise put forth by Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth to create an independent monitor to make sure that insurance companies didn’t spent public funds to pay for abortion, and a number of wavering Democrats wouldn’t sign on to the plan unless the church endorsed it.

 


 

Economy Watch: Unemployment Edition

David Leonhardt says it’s worse than you think
Broader Measure of Unemployment Stands at 17.5%

With the release of the jobs report on Friday, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment tracked by the Labor Department has reached its highest level in decades. If statistics went back so far, the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In all, more than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.

Whose recovery is it anyway?
Soaring U.S. Unemployment Threatens Path to Economic Recovery

The unemployment rate in the U.S. jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest level since 1983, threatening the emerging economic recovery and giving President Barack Obama and Democrats a bigger hurdle to overcome before next year’s Congressional elections.

Payrolls fell by 190,000 last month, more than forecast by economists, a Labor Department report showed yesterday in Washington. The jobless rate rose from 9.8 percent in September. Factory payrolls dropped by the most in four months, and the average workweek held at a record low.

How do we explain the contradiction between the GDP growth and the rising unemployment?
America’s jobless chill

After last week’s news of growth in the US economy for the first time in nearly a year, what gives? The truth is, it’s hard to say. Economists aren’t exactly sure why the labor market is lagging despite the growth. One theory is that, with productivity still increasing – it increased at an astonishing 9.5 percent last quarter — employers still don’t need to hire new workers to keep up with the expansion. Others wonder if employers are still concerned that this growth is still temporary – they may need to see another strong growth quarter before they commit to rehiring. It’s still unclear what industry will drive the next American economy, despite hopes that a new green energy industry or revitalized manufacturing can begin the expansion

How far is Wall Street from Main Street?
Irreconcilable: $10 Million Bonuses, 10% Unemployment

Ostentatious bonus packages on Wall Street are stoking legitimate anger among ordinary Americans who got shafted.

Growing jobs should be THE priority, forget the deficit for now.
Seeking to Grow Jobs, Not the Deficit

As U.S. unemployment officially passes 10%, the White House is challenged to create jobs without adding to the $1.4 trillion federal deficit

Check out this interactive graph: It’s spectacular.
The Jobless Rate for People Like You

Not all groups have felt the recession equally.

How your tax dollars were doled out
Break for Companies in Bailout’s Fine Print

One of the federal government’s most opaque methods for bailing out the banking system allowed a handful of giant institutions to save up to $25 billion on their borrowing costs, a Congressional panel estimated on Friday.

Seven companies received about 82 percent of those benefits, the panel estimated. General Electric Capital was able to reduce its borrowing costs by about $1.9 billion, while Goldman Sachs saved an estimated $606 million. The other big beneficiaries were Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Company.

I hope you have been reading McClatchy’s investigation of Goldman Sachs: Low Road to High Finance

 


 

Around The Nation

If you think the food is limited to Right-wingers, think again. Tobin Harshaw has been perusing the intertubz for us.
Are Democrats, Too, Facing a Civil War?

Why is it that when looking back at an election in which very little went right for Democrats, so many folks are seeing nothing but dread and doom for the G.O.P. Apparently, everyone agrees that for the party in power, unity behind a popular president is something of a security blanket. Everyone, that is, except George Soros and his minions: “MoveOn.org is sending out emails today seeking more contributions for its campaign to defeat any Democratic senator who does not fully support Obamacare,” reported The Washington Examiner’s Byron York on Tuesday.

 


 

Around The World

Germans manufacture such great cars and other products, Germany is the birth place of so much culture, what happened?
Our Bad: Germany Still Looking for Freedom from David Hasselhoff

For years, the world has mocked Germany for its love affair with David Hasselhoff. And, for years, Germans have been hoping that the world would forgive and forget. But now that MTV has invited “the Hoff” to perform in Berlin, just like he did 20 years ago when the Berlin Wall came down, their hopes have been dashed.

 


 

Odds & Ends

I should have learned how to drink from this cat. I certainly would not have been as hammered as I was last night.
Inefficient drinker.

The Times of London has compiled a list of the 100 best movies of the decade. Check it out and see if you agree. Here’s their top 5.
The 100 Best Films of the Decade

1 Hidden (Cache) (Michael Haneke, 2005)
It is only as the decade draws to a close that it becomes clear just how presciently the Austrian director Michael Haneke tapped into the uncertain mood of the Noughties.

2 The Bourne Supremacy / The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, 2004, 2007)
The action movie is dragged, kicking and back-flipping, into the Noughties courtesy of Matt Damon’s amnesiac superspy and director Greengrass’s film-making élan.

3 No Country for Old Men (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2007)
The alchemic combination of the Coen brothers’ eloquent precision and Cormac McCarthy’s vivid nihilism makes for a bleakly compelling cycle of violence.

4 Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
Party nature documentary, part philosophical tract, Herzog’s eerie account of the life and brutal death of mildly unhinged bear-watcher Timothy Treadwell is a monumental piece of cinema — emotionally satisfying, intellectually stimulating, but primal to the core.

5 Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004)
The South Park creators launch an assault on pretty much everyone, from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to poor, hapless Matt Damon. It’s jaw-droppingly offensive and wildly funny.

 


HAVE A NICE WEEKEND!!!

 

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Cheering news for a Saturday

You think you got problems? Hah.

Japanese Fishing Trawler Sunk By Giant Jellyfish
The trawler, the Diasan Shinsho-maru, capsized off Chiba`as its three-man crew was trying to haul in a net containing dozens of huge Nomura’s jellyfish. …

The crew of the fishing boat was thrown into the sea when the vessel capsized, but the three men were rescued by another trawler, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The local Coast Guard office reported that the weather was clear and the sea was calm at the time of the accident.

One of the largest jellyfish in the world, the species can grow up to 2 meters in diameter. The last time Japan was invaded on a similar scale, in the summer of 2005, the jellyfish damaged nets, rendered fish inedible with their toxic stings and even caused injuries to fishermen.

As you go through your day, remember, it could be worse.

This concludes our cheering message.

Carry on.

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