“We can't let the people who've been hit the hardest by this recession, and who need to create the jobs that will get us out of it, foot the bill for the Democrats' two-year adventure in expanded government.” – Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Can't go to bed without pointing out the jackassedness of this comment by the ranking GOP Senator. He is of course referring to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for fools earning over $250,000 a year. Just let that sink in… “the people who've been hit the hardest by this recession“…
That's right, asshole. Them rich folk done been hit so hard they can barely afford to pay the MARGINAL TAX ON ALL DOLLARS EARNED OVER $250,000. Meanwhile, in the real world…
Forty-four million people in the United States, or one in seven residents, lived in poverty in 2009, an increase of 4 million from the year before, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.
The poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent — the highest since 1994 — from 13.2 percent in 2008.
Over the past two years these scumbag Senators have managed to thoroughly crush any delusions I once had about the possibility of national crisis giving birth to transformative change in this country. And I mean the good kind of change, not the teabag variety that is currently suffocating the last vestiges of moderation in the Republican party. [Note to you Mainers – Olympia is next].
What I'm trying to say is, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts are the only thing I care about politically these days. There's really nothing else on the horizon that's going to elicit more than indifference or disgust out of me. The class divide gets greater every day and it's completely unsustainable for a healthy society. I'll have to dazzle you with charts and graphs some other time, but for now I'll just say, NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR YOU RICH MOTHERFUCKERS.
Who am I kidding, here's a chart…
What this says to me is, if the Democrats really feel the need to be total pussies about this, then they better at least give me a new marginal tax bracket at $500,000, which is where the real highway robbery begins to kick in. Otherwise I don't want to hear any more bullshit about “deficit reduction”.
This is another pitch for an all Al TV channel:
Anyone who followed Congress under Republican control until 2007 was absolutely puking in their hat when McCain started spouting his righteous indignation. Anyone who watches a little CSPAN every once in a while knows that people get cut off all the time. But the worst and most egregious hypocrisy of the predictable Republican outrage is how they bent and twisted Congressional rules in meaningful and despicable ways when they were in power. I’m not talking about cutting of a minute of bloviating, I’m talking about literally eliminating the committee’s legislative process alltogether on some critical bills. Bypassing committee amendments, votes and debates. Right to the floor! This is what ‘shutting the democrats out of the process’ meant to the Republicans. If the Democrats had the same balls (and disrespect for the Constitution, hatred of democracy, anti-American sentiment, etc) then we wouldn’t even be talking about meaningless amendments to healthcare relating to illegal immigrants, abortion, etc that score political points for the opposition but don’t really provide substantial changes to the legislation.
Process is important, and the Republicans have written the book on gaming the system. I’d recommend John Dean’s “Broken Government” if you want more detail on the tactics they employed…here’s a review that I think is pretty accurate:
In his latest anti-Republican polemic, ex-Nixon White House counsel and Watergate whistle-blower Dean (Conservatives Without Conscience) moves from policy to process, how necessary government functions are corrupted and hobbled by Republican politicians and their ethos of authoritarianism, secrecy, partisanship and dogmatic contempt for the public sphere.
It’s a long indictment. The last Republican Congress, Dean contends, rubber-stamped Bush’s policies, shut Democrats out of the legislative process, neglected pressing issues and made a shambles of government finances. Meanwhile, the Bush administration–the worst presidency ever–has sought to replace constitutional checks and balances with a unitary executive that brooks no congressional interference and undermines civil rights. All of this is enabled by the swelling ranks of fundamentalists on the federal bench and Supreme Court (some of whom, he insists, committed perjury to get confirmed).
For this, McCain gets my nomination for “Hypocrite of the Week”
I had to put a moratorium on posts about the healthcare reform effort, because after awhile, as noted in the comments, the sheer mountain of hypocrisy begins to crush one’s soul. These asshole senators criticize government-run health insurance on the grounds that it is too expensive, even though every reputable study shows that it dramatically lowers the overall cost of healthcare. Last week it seemed like the public option got pushed down a flight of stairs in the senate negotiations, only to land on its feet in the form of Medicare buy-in for people aged 55-64. Not the greatest, but not too shabby either! It’s basically the middle of the road proposal Ted Kennedy was working on a few years ago. I’m especially partial to this particular compromise, because I know for a fact it would provide direct relief to my in-laws, who, as members of the 55-64 demographic, are stuck in medical insurance hell purgatory (not to be confused with the poor bankrupted individuals who really are in medical insurance hell).
My father-in-law retired a few years ago from his job at, of all places, an insurance company, because the stress of working for those fiends was affecting his health. So he took another job in order to keep some health benefits, this time at a health clinic. He’s a network engineer, and he was tasked with bringing their woeful computer system into the 21st century. Right after he finished the upgrade, the fuckers cut his health benefits. Curious timing, that!
Thus began the quest for a 55-year old couple to find private health insurance. And guess what? It’s damn near impossible. All plans were prohibitively expensive. Finally they got hooked up with AARP, which got them a plan that they could afford, but really only protects against catastrophic illness. All other costs (doctors visits, etc) are basically paid out of pocket. And they are still 10 years away from qualifying for Medicare.
So the Medicare buy-in compromise has resonance with me, and I hope they pull it off. Naturally Lieberman has to come shit on everything. As Ezra Klein put it:
Lieberman was invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill’s failure that much more. And if there’s a policy rationale here, it’s not apparent to me, or to others who’ve interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.
God damn right! Apparently, this post hit a nerve, because Ezra is now under attack from the various spineless suckling creatures affixed to the underside of Lieberman’s droopy balls for rudely bringing up the subject of needless deaths. it’s bad form, you see. Even though, you know, it’s the moral imperative for this whole god awful initiative.
But I’m not posting this to focus on blogger wars. What kills me is this (h/t Greg Sargent):
If you’re like me and can’t stand to listen to that punk speak for the full two minutes, let me paraphrase for you. He voices his support for Medicare buy-in. This was taken from an interview THREE MONTHS AGO.
Fucking. Swine. At what point does Lieberman get reviled by polite society? I’m thinking one last job for Blackwater before they go… I’m sure there’s an old Yoo memo still kicking around somewhere that ought to cover it.
Nearly 15 years ago, two Democratic senators — Joe Lieberman and Tom Harkin — decided that the filibuster had become an institutional menace. They called the parliamentary maneuver a “dinosaur” that had become “a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today,” and presented a plan to kill the filibuster once and for all…
Ironically, Lieberman is now a “dinosaur” that has become “a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today”.
Here’s Glenn Greenwald on Maddow last night talking about the flagrant insurance company whoredom of senators Evan Bayh and Joseph Lieberman. Unsurprisingly, the same two who have made the most noise about killing the public option. For shame!Bayh’s ties…
His wife, Susan Bayh, sits on the board of WellPoint(WLP Quote) in her hometown of Indianapolis. Over the last six years, Susan Bayh has received at least $2 million in compensation from WellPoint alone for serving on its board.
She joined Anthem Insurance (the precursor organization to WellPoint) in 1998, when she was 38 years old and a midlevel attorney working for Eli Lilly (LLY Quote). Her work experience prior to her stint at Lilly was five years as a junior law professor at Butler University in Indianapolis. Her work background at the time she was appointed to the Anthem board would have been surprising, given that she had no insurance experience and was relatively young and inexperienced to serve as a director on a multibillion-dollar board.
… and Lieberman’s lies…
When he was seeking reelection in 2006, Joe Lieberman campaigned as a supporter of healthcare reform and expressed his support for “universal healthcare.” When the rubber hit the road, however, Lieberman emerged as a frontline warrior for the healthcare industry in its efforts to block reform. Yesterday, he not only noted his opposition to the very modest public option contained in the legislation that Majority Leader Harry Reid put forward, he also stated that he would cross the aisles to support a Republican filibuster. Should we be surprised? No. Lieberman has long been one of the industry’s favorite players on the hill, accepting more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry and more than $600,000 from pharmaceuticals and related healthcare-products companies. But his ties run deeper than that. His wife Hadassah previously worked for two lobbying firms, Hill & Knowlton and APCO, handling matters for their healthcare and pharmaceuticals clients.
Also, building on some sentiments to which I alluded in the last post, here’s Ezra Klein putting the public option with opt-out clause into proper perspective.
In the Senate, this is about to become the “liberal” half of the debate. But it’s not very liberal at all. It is a compromise, and a conservative one at that.
For the real liberals, the public option was already a compromise from single-payer. For the slightly less radical folks, the public option that’s barred from partnering with Medicare to maximize the government’s buying power was a compromise down from a Medicare-like insurance plan. For the folks even less radical than that, the public option that states can “opt out” of is a compromise from the straight public option. Access to the public option will be a political question settled at the state level. It is not a settled matter of national policy.
In many ways, this is a fundamentally conservative approach to a liberal policy experiment. It’s only offered to individuals eligible for the insurance exchanges, which is a small minority of the population. The majority of Americans who rely on employer-based insurance would not be allowed to choose the exchanges. From there, it is only one of many options on the exchange, and only in states that choose to have it. In other words, it has been designed to preserve the status quo and be decided on the state level. Philosophically, these are major compromises liberals have made on this plan. They should get credit for that.
And yet we should expect to see this bill watered down even further before it craps out the end of Congress. I’m guessing they will ultimately pass this by taking a few last kicks at the usual victims – restricting abortions and immigrant access, that kind of thing. It’s a caveman mentality. They can’t be satisfied unless someone gets hit with a club.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
First off, don’t know why, but Pinky’s Gravalicious post consistently generates the most comment spam for this site. It must be linked somewhere out there on the edge of the internets where the spambots run wild and free, but hell if I can find it.
What’s that you say, gentle reader? “Who gives a hot shit?”
That’s fine, I have more. Turns out that the CEO of Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain that You’re Not Good Enough to shop in, is a major league libertarian douche bag. His offense? Penning an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal deriding the health care reform bills that are moving through Congress.
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
So this guy, John Mackey, goes on to list several eminently reasonable-sounding steps that should be taken instead. Some are actually good (repeal state laws that forbid competition across state lines – though I don’t even want to know how wildly difficult that would be to achieve), others just plain suck (high deductible plans that force employees to pay the first $2500 of all annual medical bills out of pocket – so it will be spent more carefully! How much do his baggers make anyway?). I won’t bother breaking it all down. Here are the salient points to take away:
- Though he doesn’t spell it out explicitly in the article, dude opposes employee mandates and the public option. Without either one of those, there is no real healthcare reform.
- Where was this piece six months ago? The healthcare reform bills are already written (save for one). This article should be regarded as the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. He’s trying to scuttle reform, for which we only get one chance every 20 years.
- Whole Foods Market, for all its organic over-priced pretension, presumably benefits from some perceived hippie chic among progressives, with whom Mackey is no-doubt trying to leverage his obstructionist arguments. Man, fuck your arugula!
- The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page is a cesspool of rabid right-wing corporate opportunism. You better write something special if you want to overcome that shame.
- This is not the first time Mackey has dabbled in right-wing politics. He’s a major opponent of the pending Employee Free Choice Act legislation, and is a notorious opponent of unions, having compared them to herpes.
Getting back to the article, Mackey lures in the reader with his alterna-plan, then goes on a rant about our basic “rights” as Americans:
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.
Put him in the pork products and mark it for sale, because this swine is starting to stink! And it smells like… BOYCOTT! (7200 Facebook members when I last checked, how bout it, Jimmy?) We spend a fair amount of money at Whole Foods, if only because it’s so close to our house, but honestly, they can suck it for all I care. Just STFU and sell your fish oils for crying out loud!
For those like me who’ll need a new source for the elusive bag of organic potatoes, tristero provides links to an organic store locator, as well as the Eat Well Guide, where you can look up farmer’s markets, restaurants, etc.
On a related note, here’s Stephen Colbert on the power of the American consumer.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
UPDATE: Dueling Op-Eds! Here’s Obama with the pro-reform argument in the NY Times.
Because we all need more romance in our lives… Here’s a selection from the love letters of South Carolina’s governor laureate, Mark Sanford, to his Argentinian mistress:
Two, mutual feelings …. You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light – but hey, that would be going into sexual details …
Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true – at the same time we are in a hopelessly – or as you put it impossible – or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes …
Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before – so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know… In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.
That’s good stuff, I say! Who says southern gentility is dead?
After his performance at the press conference today, I’m beginning to suspect Sanford is a political genius. He just raised his national visibility in a huge way, he’s cornered the Clinton adultery vote (but in a way that demonstrates to women he’s not just in it for the punani), while simultaneously courting the Latin vote. If “Maria” turns out to be a fox, all bets are off for the presidency in 2012.
P.S. The local newspaper claims they had these emails since December. While the more recently disgraced governors of New York and Illinois were brought down by simple wiretaps on the part of the Feds (curious that they just so happened to be monitoring the governors representing Clinton and Obama’s home states during an election year, eh?), there is no such thing as privileged communication these days. One must assume that everything you say, write, or fart has already been heard, read, or sniffed by the prying ears, eyes, and noses of someone other than the intended recipient. (And yes, I target my farts.)
Brought to you by Donald Rumsfeld.
There’s also an article associated with the slide show, which explains how these explicitly Christian jingoist messages came to be on the cover of Bush’s daily briefings in the run-up to and execution of the Iraq War. Talk about revelations that will inflame the Muslim world… I think Obama is suppressing the wrong pictures.
On the subject of inflammatory revelations, the article also sheds light on Rummy’s response to that whole New Orleans thing:
And three years later, when I asked a top White House official how he would characterize Rumsfeld’s assistance in the response to Hurricane Katrina, I found out why. “It was commonly known in the West Wing that there was a battle with Rumsfeld regarding this,” said the official. “I can’t imagine another defense secretary throwing up the kinds of obstacles he did.”
Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”
The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”
“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”
The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”
Ah yes, the glorious “United States of America”. I remember it well!
Lest I leave the impression that Bush’s tirade got immmediate results, I should note that according to the article, it took Rummy another day to get the troop deployment order together, and he only handed it over after waiting for Bush to ask him again. Nothing like passive-aggression at the top of the command chain.
Ultimately, Rumsfeld’s obfuscations about National Guard rotations, unity-of-command challenges, and the Insurrection Act did not serve his commander in chief, says one senior official intimately involved with the whole saga: “There’s a difference between saying to the president of the United States, ‘I understand, and let me solve it,’ and making the president figure out the right question to ask.”
Especially when the president is a fucking maroon.
I’ve been fuming all week and was going to do a bunch of research, but Greenwald’s post yesterday summed it up perfectly, thanks for linking to that…
This Administration cannot sweep the crimes of the previous administration under the rug, we absolutely must attack every policy and action, we must be open with this process to heal our country and to restore our moral standing and credibility in the world. Photos of detainee abuse have already been released. The cat is out of the bag. If we continue to deny what happened we look like cowards, but worse we lose our moral standing in the world. There is no room for nuance and middle ground – torture, transparency, human rights…these are central to democracy around the world and to the core values of our country for generations.
If we are successful in reversing the direction of the W administration, then history books will put the Military Commissions Act alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts…misguided mistakes that we reversed in short order. We cannot adopt one single aspect of these horrible, hateful, and mindless reactions to terrorism – they must rejected completely or they will continue to fester in the hearts and minds of Americans and we will never recover. This nation will forever have the precedent of the Bush administration to allow the ends to justify the means. Our system of checks and balances will be forever broken, and Nixon/Cheney/Rice will be right – if the president does it then it must be OK.
We need a suite of new legislation that rolls back the abuses of the Bush administration, and we need to prosecute any illegal actions. It should be a no brainer. Partially adopting any of these shameful and ineffective debacles of the previous administration like the military commissions is completely unacceptable. Even if these tactics go un-used, without a complete reversal of this country’s direction in this regard the Obama Administration will be part of that disgrace. You can never cede the moral or philosophical high ground on these issues. If we do not prosecute torturers, we betray the many soldiers who had every right to want to exact revenge and take an eye for an eye, but held themselves to the higher standards espoused by their country.
I fully support any candidate’s rights to contest the results of any election in accordance with the laws of that state, even if that state has really f’ed up laws (which is why I support national standards for our electoral process which really wouldn’t cost as much as they say it would) But Coleman no longer has a rational argument except ‘it was so close that we need to do a re-vote’ even though the state’s laws don’t allow a revote, so essentially he has no argument at all. Of course, we all know what this is about these GOP bastards aren’t really hiding it…
“The battle in Washington is real. Every day in the Senate without Al Franken is a great day,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) recently told a Tulsa audience. Politico reported that Republicans back the idea of Coleman appealing his case indefinitely because “a long fight is worth it if it keeps Franken from becoming the 59th Senate Democrat, which would give President Barack Obama a huge advantage over the next two years.”
In light of 2000 this ranks as hypocrisy of the decade. The entire state has been recounted. The state has a very simple process of contesting and deciding contested ballots. Its over, deal with it assholes.