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Bad News and More Bad News :: Health Insurance Reform

I’ve seen links to this all over the place from Facebook to blogs :

Public Option Support Surging In Senate

On Tuesday, four Senate Democrats joined the effort, urging Reid to pass a public option using reconciliation. The group was led by Sen. Michael Bennet, facing a primary challenge in Colorado. Sen. Kirstin Gillibran, facing a primary in New York, was also one of the initial four. Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Oregon) rounded out the foursome.

And now somewhere between 16-19 Senators have supposedly signed on with Kathleen Sebelius claiming that President Obama himself will support the “Public Option” if the Senate Leadership signs on first:

Health Care Reform Back from the Dead? Obama’s Team Signals Support for Public Option; 18 Senators Sign on

From Thursday’s Rachel Maddow interview with Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

Maddow: “The private insurance company writ large hasn’t done a great job. That’s why we want a public option to compete with them. These 18 Democratic senators want to bring that back into the fold. If that happened, would the administration fight for it?”

Sebelius: “Well, I think if it’s… Certainly. If it’s part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward, absolutely.”

The onus is now really on the Majority Leader. As of Thursday, at least 18 senators had signed an open letter urging Reid to make the public option a necessary part of the final Senate bill.

So we’re supposed to swoon over the fact that ~18 Democratic Senators (out of 58-59) are publicly supporting a “Public Option” — that’s absurd.

  1. The Public Option as it stands won’t be an option for the general public.  In fact, the policy is so complicated most people I know don’t know if they’d be eligible or not.
  2. This Public Option has been dangled in front of us so often this story actually feels like a joke.
  3. I heard Harry Reid announce that he had enough votes for the Senate to pass the Public Option the day he announced the Senate Health Care Plan. What happened with that? And didn’t THAT imply that he supports the thing?
  4. And (really?) something less than 20 Senators are supporting this thing? So what?

After all this time I can’t tell if I support it.  So why does my heart start pounding when I read these stories?

Pure desperation.  That’s why.

Friday Morning News and Views

TGIF and Good morning, Conflucians! Yesterday afternoon, right before WordPress crashed, we were having a discussion about whether Joseph Stack smashing a plane into a government building should be considered domestic terrorism. I said yes. According to the MSNBC, the Feds say the government building was deliberately targeted. David Niewert, author of a book on right wing militias, seems Stack’s act should be considered terrorism.

Huh? Since when is attempting to blow up a federal building NOT an act of domestic terrorism? In response to a Fox News claim that it was not terrorism Niewert writes:

…this is true only if the conventional understanding of the word “terrorism” has now been narrowed down to mean only international terrorism and to preclude domestic terrorism altogether.

Since when, after all, is attempting to blow up a federal office as a protest against federal policies NOT an act of domestic terrorism?

You know, Timothy McVeigh used a “dangerous instrument” to kill 168 people in Oklahoma City. He too was angry at the federal government, and was converted to the belief that acts of violence was the only means possible to prevent the government from overwhelming our freedom and replacing it with tyranny. He also believed that his act of exemplary violence would inspire others to take up similar acts to stave off the threat of tyranny.

And that’s exactly what Joseph Andrew Stack believed too:

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. … I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.

According to Niewert,

There are different kinds terrorism…. There’s international terrorism. Then there’s domestic terrorism, sometimes conducted by a larger conspiracy, and sometimes conducted by small cells like McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and lone wolves like Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder and James Von Brunn.

All of these acts fit the FBI’s twin definition of terrorism:

Domestic terrorism refers to activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. [18 U.S.C. § 2331(5)]

International terrorism involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.

I agree with Niewert that if we don’t call what Stack and Roeder did “terrorism,” then we should redefine the term to mean only violence committed by foreigners. That doesn’t make much sense to me.

My new junior Senator, Scott Brown seems to think Stack may have been justified in his rage against the Feds. In his appearance on Cavuto yesterday, he didn’t express any outrage at the violence committed by Stack.

Dick Cheney showed up at the CPAC conference yesterday.

“I think Barack Obama is a one term president,” he told a roaring crowd. “It’s a great time to be a conservative.”

Liz Cheney also came out swinging in her conference address.

“There’s no polite way to put this, but that kind of incompetence gets people killed,” Cheney said, accusing the Obama administration of missing warnings from the intelligence community that Yemeni terrorists were plotting an attack.

“There is no doubt that the daily intelligence briefings that the president receives contained much more information on the threat from Yemen,” she said, without a hint of irony at the failures of the Bush-Cheney years, bemoaning “incompetence, misjudgment and presidential neglect.”

WTF?! Dick and Liz seem to have completely forgotten about the August 6, PDB that was ignored by President George W. Bush and was followed by the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. As I recall, those attacks killed close to 3,000 people.

There is also lots of new Amy Bishop news, which I’ll address in another post. But this story is really strange: Lawyer: Alabama Professor Likely Insane According the WSJ story, Bishop’s court-appointed attorney, Roy W. Miller thinks she has paranoid schizophrenia. This doesn’t sound anything like schizophrenia to me.

Miller said Bishop seems “very cogent” in jail, where he has spent more than three hours with her over two days, yet she also seems to realize she has a loose grip on reality.

“She gets at issue with people that she doesn’t need to and obsesses on it,” Miller said. “She won’t shake it off, and it’s really (things of) no great consequence.”

Bishop, who claims an IQ of 180, can’t explain the shootings, he said.

“She says she does not remember anything about it,” said Miller.

The chief prosecutor in Huntsville said he would not oppose a mental evaluation for Bishop, 45.

Admittedly, people with paranoid schizophrenia can function better in the world than people with other types of schizophrenia, but to suggest that someone with this terrible illness could earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, complete a postdoc, and work for years as a university professor while doing scientific research and publishing peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals? That’s nuts.

Schizophrenia strikes young people–usually people in their late teens and early twenties. People with any type of schizophrenia do not come off as “very cogent” in personal interactions. They have auditory and sometimes visual hallucinations and extremely bizarre delusions.

I think it’s more likely that Bishop is suffering from borderline personality disorder. That would explain her difficulties getting along with other people, her rage attacks, and her lapses into dissociative states. Someone with BPD would not be likely to qualify as legally insane, meaning that she didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. Some people have called her a sociopath (now called anti-social personality disorder). I don’t think so, because there is evidence that she agonized over having killed her brother.

Stateofdisbelief came across this story which, if it happens would be wonderful: EXCLUSIVE: Obama Eyes Western Land for National Monuments, Angering Some

More than a dozen pristine landscapes, wildlife habitats and scenic rivers in 11 Western states, some larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, are under consideration by the Obama administration to become America’s newest National Monuments — a decision the administration can make unilaterally without local input or congressional approval.

According to internal Department of Interior documents leaked to a Utah congressman and obtained exclusively by Fox News, the mostly public lands include Arizona deserts, California mountains, Montana prairies, New Mexico forests, Washington islands and the Great Basins of Nevada and Colorado — totaling more than 13 million acres.

What are you reading this morning?



Now a “famous criminal profiler” has come forward to diagnose Joseph Stack as a “‘self-loathing’ narcissist.”