Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Potpourri

This video has been everywhere, now it is here.

DougJ: Kaplan v. Public Option, continued
David Broder inveighs against Harry Reid with a tone normally reserved for politicians who have had sexual relations with interns:
There is an air of desperate improvisation to Sen. Harry Reid’s scheme to pass a “public option” as part of health-care reform but at the same time provide an easy exemption for any state that objects to it. The warning flags ought to be flying for anyone who can count to three—let alone 60.
I’m not entirely convinced that the public option is as essential as liberals seem to think it is. But if they are right, I don’t see how they can justify abandoning it for an uncertain number of people who have the bad luck to live in states with conservative governors and legislatures.
If a compromise is needed to get the bill to the Senate floor, far better to try Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s suggestion of a trigger mechanism that would activate a public option if private insurance policies at affordable rates were not broadly available.
If I am ever so senile that I believe that insurance companies wouldn’t find a way to rig a trigger mechanism, I want my feeding tubes removed.
Update. Commenter dmsilev makes an excellent point about one of Broder’s claims.
And there’s also this bit of history FAIL:

That issue was settled in the realm of economic policy during FDR’s second term, after enough new Supreme Court justices were seated to uphold the New Deal measures an earlier conservative majority had struck down. In the area of civil rights, Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress put an end to the doctrine of states’ rights. Are we now to reopen those issues to make it easier for this generation of Democrats to short-circuit the legislative process?
From the Wikipedia article on Medicaid:
Medicaid was created on July 30, 1965, through Title XIX of the Social Security Act. Each state administers its own Medicaid program while the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the state-run programs and establishes requirements for service delivery, quality, funding, and eligibility standards.
State participation in Medicaid is voluntary; however, all states have participated since 1982 when Arizona formed its Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) program. In some states Medicaid is subcontracted to private health insurance companies, while other states pay providers (i.e., doctors, clinics and hospitals) directly.
And there are a whole bunch of other programs (highway funding and education come to mind) which are run in a similar manner; states can opt out if they want, but then they don’t get the money.
Lieberman's loose loyalty  Oct. 30: Rachel Maddow is joined by MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman to talk about Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT, saying he will "probably support" some 2010 Republican candidates.

Now there's a senator I can agree with -- a young New England Democrat who realizes that the filibuster is an institutional menace. He not only calls the parliamentary maneuver "a dinosaur" that had become "a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today," he actually took steps to kill the filibuster once and for all.
The senator is Joe Lieberman ... in 1994.
At the time, Lieberman, part of a Democratic minority, believed Senate obstructionism had gone too far. Even though Republicans had the majority, he and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) decided to take the bold step of pushing for majority rule in the Senate -- even if it made it easier for the new GOP-led chamber to pass legislation. At a press conference 15 years ago next month, Lieberman argued:
"[People] are fed up -- frustrated and fed up and angry about the way in which our government does not work, about the way in which we come down here and get into a lot of political games and seem to -- partisan tugs of war and forget why we're here, which is to serve the American people. And I think the filibuster has become not only in reality an obstacle to accomplishment here, but it also a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today.
"But I do want to say that the Republicans were not the only perpetrators of filibuster gridlock, there were occasions when Democrats did it as well. And the long and the short of it is that the abuse of the filibuster was bipartisan and so its demise should be bipartisan as well.
"The whole process of individual senators being able to hold up legislation, which in a sense is an extension of the filibuster because the hold has been understood in one way to be a threat to filibuster -- it's just unfair.
"I'm very proud to be standing here with Tom as two Democrats saying that we're going to begin this fight, because we've just been stung by the filibuster for a period of years, and even though the tables have now turned, it doesn't make it right for us to use this instrument that we so vilified."
In 1994, when Lieberman thought filibusters had become an outrageous abuse worthy of elimination, there were 39 cloture motions filed. Last year, there were 139. This year, Senate Republicans will likely break their own record.
And Lieberman this week threatened to help them, by opposing a vote on a once-in-a-generation opportunity at health care reform if it includes a provision to let some consumer choose between competing public and private health plans.
One wonders what Lieberman '94 would think of Lieberman '09.
Think Progress: Kristol Says He Helped Congressional GOP Formulate ‘The Best Arguments Against’ Health Care Reform 
In Dec. 1993, Bill Kristol, a current Fox News contributor and the editor of the Weekly Standard, issued a now-infamous memo to Republican leaders, arguing that they should “defeat” President Clinton’s health care reform plan “outright” instead of negotiating a compromise. In later memos, Kristol counseled that Republicans should oppose reform “sight unseen” because “there is no health care crisis.” Kristol’s advice “animated” Republicans, who concluded “that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan” was “in their best political interest.”
Throughout this year’s debate over health care reform, Kristol has played a similar role, arguing in the media that Republicans should “kill” reform instead of trying to be “constructive.” In an interview on the Washington Times’ America’s Morning News radio show yesterday, Kristol revealed that he had met with some congressional Republicans on Wednesday night to devise strategy for defeating reform:
KRISTOL: Next week will really be a first crescendo in the big health care debate. And this dinner I was at last night was some Republican members, Senate and House, some staffers, some outside people, trying to think about how to, the best arguments against it and where the politics of this lies. She is really going for it. And I think the issue is Medicare. I mean this will be the largest package of Medicare cuts I think the Congress will ever have passed.
Later in the interview, Kristol distilled the conclusions from the strategy session with congressional Republicans, saying that citizens “need to go see their congressman and say ‘do not vote for this until either we have a chance to read it more carefully, but really more importantly just don’t vote for it because it’s going to cut my Medicare and raise my taxes.’” He echoes the same attack line in his Weekly Standard column today: “There will be no Republican votes for the Pelosi Plan of tax hikes and Medicare cuts. Will there be enough Democratic resistors so the bill is either withdrawn or defeated?.”
For the past month, Fox has been claiming that it is not actually a “communications arm” for the Republicans. What do they think about one of their regular contributors advising Republicans on strategy behind closed doors? Will they disclose Kristol’s advisory role when he appears on the air?
About a month ago, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) caused a stir when he described the conservative approach to health care: "Don't get sick. That's what the Republicans have in mind. And if you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly."
The GOP and its allies were outraged. Grayson made it sound as if Republican policies are literally life threatening. The remarks, conservatives said, crossed a line of decency. No one, the argument goes, should accuse their rivals of promoting lethal health care policies.
A month later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) told a conservative radio host that the public option favored by most congressional Democrats and most of the American public "may cost you your life."
Dennis Miller asked McConnell specifically about the state opt-out compromise. The Minority Leader said it didn't matter because a public plan that competes with private plans is inherently dangerous.
"I think if you have any kind of government insurance program, you're going to be stuck with it and it will lead us in the direction of the European style, you know, sort of British-style, single payer, government run system. And those systems are known for delays, denial of care and, you know, if your particular malady doesn't fit the government regulation, you don't get the medication.
"And it may cost you your life. I mean, we don't want to go down that path."
It's a reminder of just how pathetic the debate itself has been over health care reform. After six months of back and forth -- hearings, debates, town halls, reports, committee votes, interviews, analyses -- the highest ranking Republican in Congress still feels comfortable telling a national audience that competition between public and private health coverage "may cost you your life."
Indeed, one of the few constants throughout the process is conservative Republicans on the Hill, unwilling or unable to debate the policy on the merits, trying to convince people that Democratic policies may actually kill them.
What a sad joke.
Think Progress: Right Wing Falsely Asserts Right Wing Boogeymen Bill Ayers And Jeremiah Wright Visited The White House
Early this evening, the White House voluntarily released nearly 500 visitor records of “individuals visiting the executive mansion between Inauguration Day and the end of July.” The easily-searchable list includes some famous names like Michael Jordan, Michael Moore, William Ayers, and Jeremiah Wright. Of course, the mere suggestion of Ayers and Wright has sent the right wing into a tizzy.
The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb:

The Weekly Standard’s Mary Katharine Ham:

The Washington Times’ Amanda Carpenter:

Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey:

But as the original post by White House ethics counselor Norm Eisen makes clear, the “William Ayers” and “Jeremiah Wright” on the list are actually different individuals who merely share the same name:
Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few “false positives” – names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else. In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly (”R. Kelly”), and Malik Shabazz). The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.
Mainstream news outlets have reported this fact accurately. But for the right wing, the story was simply too good to be fact-checked.

1 comment:

  1. a new slogan for fox

    "News too good to be fact checked"