Author Archives: M.Uila

Tardball

HA! I forgot about this… Here’s legendary nitwit Chris Matthews berating Alan Grayson not two short months ago about Grayson’s assertion that health care reform would ultimately get passed via reconciliation.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It’s almost as if Matthews has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Unpossible!

Meanwhile, Grayson is now up to 80 House co-sponsors of his Medicare For All bill with 40,000 petition signers. Have you signed the petition yet?

Relatedly, here’s a nice summary by Robert Reich about the philosophical roots of the HCR legislation that was passed last night…

Medicare built on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal notion of government as insurer, with citizens making payments to government, and government paying out benefits. That was the central idea of Social Security, and Medicare piggybacked on Social Security.

Obama’s legislation comes from an alternative idea, begun under the Eisenhower administration and developed under Nixon, of a market for health care based on private insurers and employers. Eisenhower locked in the tax break for employee health benefits; Nixon pushed prepaid, competing health plans, and urged a requirement that employers cover their employees. Obama applies Nixon’s idea and takes it a step further by requiring all Americans to carry health insurance, and giving subsidies to those who need it.

So don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.

I’m not posting this in order to be (too) cynical about the new legislation.  As Reich notes, the larger political significance is the rebuke of Reaganism, which I can fully appreciate.  But it’s not nearly enough, which is why it is so critical that Grayson continues to push Medicare For All.

UPDATE:

Noam Chomsky’s take on the bill.

Team of Destiny

I hope you fools are watching this game… making Wisconsin look like a bunch of teabadgers. Thank Ezra I can stream the game, because the local teevee affiliate prefers to show every last minute of the terps defeat. Next round is in the Carrier Dome… Madman, any tix available for this one?

PS, here is senior forward Jon Jacques’ blog over at the New York Times. Not only can they play, them boys got book larnin’ too!

UPDATE:

Some seriously slim pickins on the internets for video highlights of the games. First Ivy in the Sweet Sizteen in 31 years, you’d think there’d be a montage out there somewhere! Enjoy this propaganda video instead…

Also, this penetrating analysis of the upcoming Kentucky game…

Is that supposed to be a bear howl during the intro?

“Drug prohibition is the golden goose of terrorism”

The Judge is Wise.  Watch this video.

Via Ed Brayton, Judge Jim Gray, a conservative California judge with lots of experience fighting drugs, says the present policy benefits drug lords and terrorists among others. After laying out his case, Jones concludes the most patriotic thing he can do is work to repeal drug laws:

I like how the judge has to lay out his hardass bonafides before launching into his anti-prohibition arguments.  “I’m not a dirty hippie, dammit!”  Nixon to China and all that.  Hey man, whatever it takes!

Then there is the social justice argument that he leaves largely unsaid.  I caught some of this interview with Michelle Alexander last week, laying out the racial angle of the War on Drugs, and it’s pretty appalling.

The war on drugs waged in these ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status, not unlike the one we supposedly left behind. Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, public benefits, much like their grandparents or great grandparents may have been discriminated against during the Jim Crow era.

[…]

The war on drugs, contrary to popular belief, was not declared in response to rising drug crime. Actually, the war on drugs, the current drug war, was declared in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan at a time when drug crime was actually on the decline. A few years later, crack cocaine hit the streets in poor communities of color across America, and the Reagan administration hired staff to publicize crack babies, crack mothers, crack dealers in inner-city communities, in an effort to build public support and more funding, and ensure more funding, for the new war that had been declared. But the drug war had relatively little to do with drug crime, even from the outset.

The drug war was launched in response to racial politics, not drug crime. The drug war was part of the Republican Party’s grand strategy, often referred to as the Southern strategy, an effort to appear—appeal to poor and working-class white voters who were threatened by, felt vulnerable, threatened by the gains of the civil rights movement, particularly desegregation, busing and affirmative action. And the Republican Party found that it could get Democrats—white, you know, working-class poor Democrats—to defect from the Democratic New Deal coalition and join the Republican Party through racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare.

Lovely.  Part II of the interview is here.

H.R. 4789

Alan Mother-Fucking Grayson…

Will somebody please put this man in charge??? Can you imagine if this had been the health care plan that Democrats were pimping from the get-go? All the bullshit fretting and hand-wringing and, quite frankly, republican empowerment we could have avoided. But instead, Democrats act like Republicans, Republicans hypocritically demonize them for doing their dirty work, and the rest of us get disgusted and turn off politics. You’d think that the Democratic Party would somehow cease to exist if the insurance/drug company money suddenly dried up.

(via)

UPDATE:

Tom Mother-Fucking Tomorrow

Embrace Failure Open Thread

I tried to watch some of the Health Care Summit on teevee yesterday, but it was fairly unwatchable, not least because of the cable channels. It wasn’t on C-SPAN – later I learned they buried it on C-SPAN3 (seriously? not even 2?) – so I landed on CNN, who managed to cut away to their gasbags every time one of the non-leadership Democrats started to speak. Then at the break they told me that what I was seeing from Republicans was “an honest difference of opinion”.

Anyway, this is a nice compendium of the things I missed thanks to commercials and Wolf’s talking beard. I must say, I did not know Rochester’s Louise Slaughter was a suthna.

And just as a side note to the whole stupid idea of this summit, which seems to be nothing more than a prelude to using reconciliation (aka majority rule) to pass healthcare reform – can you imagine if republicans felt the need to do the same thing prior to passing the tax cuts? The average person has no idea those things passed with a mere majority vote. Furthermore, nobody gives a shit! Just Pass The Damn Bill!

Update: See also, Greg Sargent

More Class Warfare Please

Oregon voters pass tax increasing measures by big margin

Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.

The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.

This kind of thing needs more attention.  It’s true, after all, that some people are a drain on society.  And those people are called “fat cats”, draining the average citizen of their hard-earned dollars.  We’re long past due as a society to level the playing field.  It’s shocking how much more responsible Oregon is compared to their dysfunctional neighbors, California, where they require 2/3 majority in the state legislature to approve tax increases (making the senate filibuster rules seem sane by comparison).  Guess who bears the brunt there?

Then of course there is South Carolina, where the Lt. Governor recently said this:

My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better

You stay classy, South Carolina!

We are all Ron Burgundy now

The Choakely loss is the best thing that could have happened to this horrific healthcare reform effort.  I say that for no other reason than that it will push us across the finish line.  We’ve been subjected to this shit for the last 9 months, drowning out all the other (major, growing, worsening) problems like unemployment, foreclosures, wars, you name it.  It’s time to put it to bed and move on.  Sad as it is, I find the new political calculus to be extremely clarifying.  Here are the facts as I see them:

  1. The Senate bill is nothing short of a major disappointment for all right-thinking progressives everywhere.
  2. Given GOP obstructionism, there is absolutely no way in hell another comprehensive bill gets to the Senate floor for a vote.  That ship has now sailed.  Permanently and forever.
  3. Congressmen are worthless assholes.

Granted, all three of these points are major negatives.  However, thanks to number 2, the issue is now binary: is the Senate bill better or worse than the status quo? We no longer have the luxury of debating the relative merits of various proposals.  There is only one choice left.  Does the House pass the Senate bill or not?

Consider that the Democrats will never again have the kind of majorities they have right now.  No matter what happens, it’s as good as gone in ten short months.  They took half-assed measures to combat a horrible economic climate, and for that they will be rightfully punished.  More accurately, we’ll all be punished, with Republicans.  But before that happens, they have to leave the people with something meaningful.  Otherwise they serve no purpose – why even have two political parties?  Can they really be that pathetic as to pass nothing at all?

Alarmed by the nonstop posts from Josh Marshall about House Democrats in disarray, I called my Rep yesterday to find out where he stood.  The intern had the gall to tell me that Sarbanes is a strong supporter of the public option and is waiting to see what happens to the bill after it comes out of conference.  Look, pal, I hate to spoil this for you, but I hope the conference bill is made out of two-ply so the Republicans won’t chafe their asses when they use it to wipe.  Even though they already passed one bill, the Senate still requires another cloture vote for the merged bill, and the Republicans have made it eminently clear that it’s not going to happen.  Therefore, who gives a shit what happens to it in conference?  I shudder to think how much worse the bill would have to become in order to get a Republican vote.  I’m guessing drastically reduced subsidies for the poor, because what else is there left to take?

So back to the question at hand: does the Senate bill improve the current state of healthcare for Americans or make it worse? And there’s really no question that for tens of millions of unlucky bastards, it’s an improvement.  So if you’re a Democrat in the House, you have to take the teabags out of your eyes and pass this fucking bill.  Right now they’re acting like Ron Burgundy when first presented with a plate of cat poop: denial.  I’m here to say, you put that cat poo in your mouth!  The insurance company hacks managed to drag this thing out long enough and by god, they did it.  They killed the public option!  It’s fucking dead.  Recriminations all around.  But guess what.  The so-called “public option” that was on the table was never anything more than a progressive fig leaf, something to distract from the absence of true single payer.  The proposals on the table were all weak as hell and were always going to require additional legislation to improve and expand.  So it is with this bill.  And the Senate bill puts us in a better future position than no bill at all.

One thing I’ll say about the rude awakening that Democrats received this week, it shook everyone out of their comfort zone.  Nothing wrong with the noises I’m hearing about fixing this or that poison pill in reconciliation.  The House seems so righteously pissed about having to eat the poop that I think odds are better that they’ll actually make it right.  Probably wishful thinking, but put it this way… if the Senate bill does in fact have as many shitty parts as everyone lets on, then there’ll be that much more motivation to fix it.  Hell, things got so hot for Nelson over his “Cornhusker Kickback” that he’s been preemptively begging them to take it out.  How often does that happen?

Here’s another reason I like the new situation, as opposed to what we were facing a mere week ago.  With 60 votes off the table, Nelson and Lieberman and the rest of the jackass caucus become instantly irrelevant.  I can’t be the only one who fully expected Lieberman to screw us over and turn Republican at the final cloture vote, WWF-style, with a folding chair to Harry Reid’s head as he crossed the aisle.  The supermajority actually empowers too many assholes, and in fact emboldens the GOP to be completely obstructionist.  Because after all, “Dems have 60 votes, it’s not our fault they’re incompetent!” is pathetic, but had a point.  Now I think (hope) we’ll see more legislation that forces them to make tough votes.  For instance, I dare them to filibuster bank reform.

OK, now I’m rambling.  All I’m saying is, despite all the angst coming from the netroots this week, I actually expect the Democrats to absorb these blows and come out swinging after Wednesday’s State of the Union address.  If they do, it will take everyone by surprise, and they’ll get that much more credit for doing something that should have been a goddamn given all along.  And if they don’t, well… I’m Ron Burgundy.  Go fuck yourself, America.

UPDATESteve Benen has the manifesto.

* * * * *

Apropos of nothing, I’m sitting here watching Festival Express on netflix as I type.  Highly recommended… I was going to link Don’t Ease Me In until I realized Pinky posted the very same clip a year ago.  So Buddy Guy gets the nod instead.  Band is hot, so crank the volume up as loud as it goes for this one…

Bay State Tea Bag

After last night’s election, we finally know what Scott Brown was hiding behind his hand… why a miniature State-of-Massachusetts, of course!

Congratulations, Massholes, for becoming the first state to actually elect a schweaty teabagger!  I know those squiggly lines above the cape look like waves, but they are actually the rippling folds of smelly ball sack.  And though the cape may be getting the worst of it, even the fine residents of Marblehead are affected, as they pick Scott Brown’s pubes from their teeth.

Fortunately, I live in Maryland, home of the great John Waters, and down here we all know the rules…