June 15, 2009 archive

I admit it. I wish Cheney were president.

I thought it was time I outed myself. And all those like me, on left wing websites, who dare criticize President Obama. For compromising or selling out on trivial issues such as DOMA, the bank bailout, secrecy, torture, or prosecuting war crimes. We don’t really care about issues. We’re all about personality. And we all secretly wish Dick Cheney were president. Because we get the vapors for rabid weasels.

A Bargaining Chip With the AMA?

Barbara O’Brien of the Mahablog today wrote this great piece about the AMA and President Obama

Last week the American Medical Association came out against the most important part of President Obama’s health care reform proposal — public health insurance that would compete with private insurance plans. Now there are reports that President Obama is considering “reducing malpractice lawsuits” as a bargaining chip to get the AMA on board with the public plan.


The AMA has a decades-long history of protecting the interests of the private medical industry and opposing all public programs. In the 1960s, for example, the AMA fought hard to defeat Medicare. As I wrote last week, the AMA’s primary function is to protect the profit margins of the health care industry.


Health care reform and tort law are both issues critical to people suffering asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma. Most likely the AMA’s primary concern in this matter is reducing the cost of physicians’ malpractice insurance.


Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear report for the New York Times that President Obama “views addressing medical liability issues as a ‘credibility builder’ — in effect, a bargaining chip that might keep doctors and, more important, Republicans, at the negotiating table.”


As of this writing it is not clear how the President might reduce malpractice lawsuits. He does not have a history of supporting caps on jury awards, as did his predecessor, George W. Bush. However, in 2005 Senator Obama voted for the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which among other things placed limitations on attorneys’ fees in coupon settlements.


Also in 2005, senators Obama and Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Act (MEDIC), which did not become law. MEDIC would have created a program to seek early compensation for patients and offer liability protections to doctors in exchange for acknowledgment of their errors. According to Stolberg and Pear, the President has been talking about “offering some liability protection to doctors who follow standard guidelines for medical practice.”


Dr. J. James Rohack, the incoming president of the AMA, that he is encouraged by the President’s “recognition that defensive medicine contributes to unnecessary health costs.” Whether so-called “defensive medicine” is a factor in health care costs at all is questionable, however. As I’ve written here before, there is no empirical evidence that physicians change their practices in any way when the threat of malpractice litigation is reduced.


It’s also important to understand that reducing physicians’ malpractice insurance rates, while certainly a welcome benefit for physicians, has no impact whatsoever on the overall costs of health care. We see this in states such as Texas, in which significant decreases in malpractice insurance rates have been accompanied by significant increases in health care costs and health insurance rates.


However, getting the AMA on board with the health care reform proposals probably would make passage of a meaningful health care reform bill a lot easier. Let’s hope President Obama can find a way to soothe the AMA without bargaining away the rights of citizens to sue for damages in court.

Finally: Freedom



They once were terrorism suspects, but even after U.S. authorities determined the men weren’t a threat to the United States, they were kept at the Guantanamo Bay prison for years because no nation would take them – until a few days ago, when Bermuda agreed to let them in as refugees.

“When we didn’t have any country to accept us, when everybody was afraid of us … Bermuda had the courage and was brave enough to accept us,” said Abdulla Abdulgadir, who at 30 is the youngest of the four men who relished their first weekend of freedom in seven years.

Abdulgadir eagerly embraced his new island home. “We are not moving anywhere,” he said.

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports on A ‘time bomb’ for world wheat crop.

    Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and even North America — if it doesn’t hitch a ride with people first.

    “It’s a time bomb,” said Jim Peterson, a professor of wheat breeding and genetics at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “It moves in the air, it can move in clothing on an airplane. We know it’s going to be here. It’s a matter of how long it’s going to take.”

    Though most Americans have never heard of it, Ug99 — a type of fungus called stem rust because it produces reddish-brown flakes on plant stalks — is the No. 1 threat to the world’s most widely grown crop.

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico estimates that 19% of the world’s wheat, which provides food for 1 billion people in Asia and Africa, is in imminent danger.

  2. The NY Times reports Climate change may drive mass migration. CARE, the U.N., and Columbia University have released a new report, “In Search of Shelter, which maps the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement. The study “combined climatological and demographic data with field interviews of migrants already on the move” with the goal of providing “an overview, with rich maps and an oft-lacking dose of empiricism, of where the changing environment is driving decision-making on the ground and which areas are likely to be hit hardest if things get worse.”

    Meanwhile, the United States has been resisting describing people moving because of a changing climate as “climate change refugees” because it “invokes all manner of political, legal and financial imperatives – not least those arising from a 1951 U.N. convention on refugees.”

    Meanwhile, the CS Monitor reports Adapting to climate change depends on site-specific knowledge. “It’s too late to avoid some unpleasant effects of global warming, such as a rising sea level and water shortages. But there’s still time to avert the worst foreseeable consequences, such as an even larger sea level rise and even more extreme temperatures.” However, “One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to coping with the effects of climate change.”

Four at Four continues with years before jobs return, American children are being deprived of an arts and music education, the connection between psychopaths and politicians.

No Future

(Crossposted at The Free Speech Zone)

A survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) said that 45 percent of respondents reported a decrease in their 2009 May 1 yield rates compared with 2008. It said 32 percent of public colleges and 50 percent of private colleges reported a decrease.

The yield rate, as calculated by the survey, represents the number of students who confirm enrollment with a deposit by the May 1 deadline divided by the total number of students accepted to the university during the regular enrollment period.

But even for those students who applied to and were accepted by their dream schools, many are still faced with the economic reality that their families just don’t have enough money to pay the university’s tuition.


So sad, too bad, should of saved up the money you made selling girl scout cookies and lemonade if you wanted to afford the college that accepts those with a high GPA…

* Health insurers oppose a new government health insurance program, saying it could erode the private insurance marketplace and trigger increased costs for their plans. The industry’s lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, has said it would support some marketplace reforms as long as lawmakers mandate that Americans purchase some kind of health coverage.


Special Interests holding up Universal Healthcare because they have enough Republicrats (all heavily corporate sponsored officials) on the payroll to tell us peasants “you better pay something motherfuckers”.

Oh, and Obama turned out to be another fucking blatant Republicrat.  Fucking gay bashing asshole declares DOMA is constitutional:

The constitutionality of Section 2 of DOMA is further confirmed by the second sentence of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which expressly empowers Congress to prescribe “the Effect” to be accorded to the laws of a sister State. See U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1, cl. 2. Although the broad contours of this provision have not been conclusively established, the power exercised by Congress in enacting DOMA clearly conforms to any conceivable construction of the effects provision….

Under this view, Congress obviously acted within its plenary effects power in enacting Section 2 of DOMA. If the Constitution itself does not declare “the effect” of the law of “one state in another state,” McElmoyle, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) at 325, but instead leaves that “power in congress,” Mills, 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) at 485, then Congress clearly had the authority in DOMA to declare that no State is “required to give effect” to the same-sex marriage laws of other States. 28 U.S.C. § 1738C.



A Meta Request

Disgust for Obama’s “lack of Change” runs high here, as we see from this thread.

And that is fine.

I am not as convinced….or as cynical…as some folks here about him, mainly because of one thing.

If we don;t work with him….WHO DO we work with?

If we give up on him and JUST condemn him….what does that gain US?

If we ‘take out’ or condemn or even just give up on our “closest ally,” even if that ally, to your eyes sucks…..

What do we have left?

Ok you think Obama sucks….


What is the plan to get what you want? What are you going to do to get the change you don’t see him bringing?

You can work to protest him, to pressure him, to Change HIM….

Or you can give up.

Those are the only to choices I see, can you, anyone, give me another?

He is the closest thing we have to an ally, he is the best TOOL we have for change. So do YOU want to be effective and suck it up and do what you can do to bring change?

Or do you only care about being RIGHT that he is not a savior?

And spend the energy you could use on being effective to just prove your point over and over again that he sucks?

That is my strategic POV, have at it. Tell me why I am wrong. Let’s argue!


Leaked Results Give Ahmadinejad Third Place In Iran Election

Unverifed ballot counts for the Iran election have been reported on Iranian blogs and websites, in spite of  Iranian government claims that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election with a 2-1 margin, according to a UK Telegraph report:

The statistics, circulated on Iranian blogs and websites, claimed Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively. The authenticity of the leaked figures could not be confirmed.

Mr Mousavi has accused Iran’s government of “fraud” after Mr Ahmadinejad was declared on Saturday to have 62.6 per cent of the vote, making him the landslide winner. The capital has been rocked by disturbances for the last three days.


Whether you despise them with the burning passion of a million supernovas , or merely hate them with every fiber of your being….one thing you have to give America’s Ruling Class is that they sure kow how to keep order!

You  didn’t see millions out in the streets after OUR election got stolen now did  you???

I mean sure, yeah, they may have been out there….but whether they were or not, thanks to the Ruling Class control of the media….you sure didn’t SEE them.

The Ruling Class, since that nasty little decade we refer to as the Sixties, has done, literally, just a bang-up job of preserving order.

And when you take the fact of the size of our nation and thus the size of the potential pool of protesters into account….they really have had to kill, jail, or politically destroy, smear, intimidate or corrupt a VERY small number of people….again that is, relative to the overall population….to do so.

American efficiency at its finest, in service of a grateful and obscenely rich Ruling Class.

(Of course having a massive War on Drugs helped, and being able to politically marginalize gays and lesbians helped immensely! If you can preemptively jail or neutralize you natural opponents, well….Great!)

What’s Up In Iran? Getting Answers.


When the Traditional Media TM seem too slow, or too far from the event, or too stilted, or too unwilling, it’s time for citizen journalism to take over. Journalism in 140 characters is a tough order.  But it works.  And it’s far, far ahead of the Trad sources.

To follow the events in Iran as they unfold, just click this tweetgrid.

This is great stuff.

h/t to TPM for photo

Weekly Torture Action Letter 13 – Judge Sotomayor And The Judiciary Committee

Happy Monday and welcome the Dog’s ongoing letter writing campaign. For those of you joining for the first time the idea is every Monday the Dog writes a to decision makers about accountability for the Bush Administration State Sponsored Torture program. This letter can be cut and by any reader or used as the jumping off point for your own letter. The point is to keep the pressure up on the decision makers to make those who apparently committed one of the worst possible crimes accountable for their actions. Today’s letter is to Sen. Patrick Leahy and the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

The head fake president

The Obama presidency is turning into an extended metaphorical demonstration of a sports technique called the “head fake.” A basketball or football player will move his head briefly in a direction opposite to where he intends to go so as to fool his adversary into making the wrong moves. A sports head fake only works for a fraction of a second, because the real direction of motion must be revealed.

Obama has mastered the art of the political head fake to the degree that his fakes last for months. During his campaign, he faked an anti-war move, an anti-torture move, and an anti-corporate corruption move. In office, he has cranked up the Afghanistan war, provided blanket immunity for CIA torturers, and fed hundreds of billions of public funds into crooked financial corporations.

When Obama is criticized for not carrying out his campaign promises, his defenders insist that the head fakes are the reality and the actual policies of the administration should be ignored. It is this stubborn insistence that the fantasy Obama is real that shows the power of Obama’s fakery.

Americans should be demonstrating in the streets against a president who shields torturers, feeds a perpetual war machine, and engineers massive transfers of wealth from taxpayers to rogue corporations. Instead, they are fooled by one head fake after another. We are being faked out of our democracy and our prosperity by the slickest front man the American plutocracy has ever produced: Barak (Head Fake) Obama.

Crossed Fingers


mcjoan posted an interview yesterday at the Orange with Glenn Sulmasy, a National Security and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard, Professor of Law and Commander and Judge Advocate, U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  The interview spoke of how we should deal with the folks left at Gitmo, the notion of preventive detention.  He wrote a book:

His book presents a “third way” solution for trying the detainees in what he proposes to call the “war against al Qaeda,” and to deal with the thorny issues of the Guantanamo detainees. He proposes scrapping military commissions, forgoing military courts and federal civilian courts and establishing a new court system, a national security court, overseen by civilian judges that allows for habeas appeals and focuses exclusively on trying the “quasi-warriors” picked up on the battlefield in the war against al Qaeda.

It was an interesting post and mcjoan had a lot of criticism of Sulmasy’s ideas on how to deal with those pesky terrorists.  Sulmasy goes into great detail on how we can extricate ourselves from the mess Bush left Obama in making these decisions about what to do with the Gitmo detainees.

But there’s something wrong here and I haven’t seen it expressed to my satisfaction so I’m going to give it a shot.

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