July 30, 2009 archive

Distinguishing Youreself From A Republican

I make the following hypothoseis for discussion:  The answer to this question will tell you whether the person asked is a republican or a democrat (no matter their party affiliation).

“If people can be fooled, should they be fooled?”

Pelosi Blasts Insurance Companies as “Villians”

From HuffPo comes the news that Nancy Pelosi is starting to kick ass.  This is what teh presdient must do.  People need a narrative of good guys v. bad guys.  They see it in books, TV, movies, daily life.

 The real “villains” in the fight for health care reform are insurance companies.


They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way,” Pelosi said of the insurance industry after her weekly press conference. “It’s almost immoral, what they are doing,” she said, referring to industry lobbying against a public insurance plan option. “Of course, they’ve been immoral all along. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know about it.”

The current system works so well for insurers that they don’t even want subsidies, Pelosi claimed. “They’ve had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the American people and the health of our country,” she said, adding that it will be tough to keep them from getting their way. “This is the fight of our lives.”

Pelosi referred to the health insurance industry’s campaign against reform — specifically, the public option — as “carpet bombing” and “shock and awe” during the press conference.


I think the President will build on this.  I hope so.  Obama, Pelosi and Reid (yech) must speak with one voice to win.  

Good and evil, right and wrong.  It’s now up to the President, for Nancy has shown a light on the way to success.  He must courageously take the fight to the immoral insurance companies.  No more everyone at the table.  

Progressive Caucus Press Conference/Protest on Cspan Now!

Link http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-…

Cspan 2 on teh TV.

GET The Gotdam Votes! ( +Huzzah for the ProgCaucus!)

First let us praise the Progressive Caucus in the House for standing up and making their voice and power heard on Health Care. This is a great development, whatever the eventual outcome. A strong bloc of Progressives is an absolute necessity on every important issue going forward, so….


Next it must be noted that as ALWAYS….the Republicans are  On that there is only one entity to blame, The White House. A good PR campaign was essential to get a good health care plan passed. Where is it? The polls out today all point to the same conclusion…the Repub Fear campaign is working. As ALWAYS. IF we lose on Health care, that is THE biggest factor right there, eroded public support due to the GOP Winning the Spin. When will the Dems learn?

Finally , on to the self fulfilling prophecy that has dominated the CongDems consciousness for years now, if not decades:

We don’t have the votes.

I have said it before and I will say it again….the purpose of Politics is GETTING the votes.

The famous aphorism of “Politics is the art of compromise” is a sugarcoated version of the truth.

Politics is the art of making deals.

Last night CornSyrupAwareness wrote a great diary at Daily Kos 44 Senators Support A Public Option wherein s/he laid out the current vote count and the status of what can only be called the undecided Dem Senators.

Only TWO “Democratic” Senators have come out firmly against the Public Option.

Only TWO ….out of Sixty. Out of the 60 votes needed. And Olympia Snowe makes up for one of those, since she has said she WILL support the PO. The TWO who are a firm NO are Mary Landrieu.  And of course …..Joe Lieberman.

That leaves 14 Senators who have at least technically are uncommitted. If they are technically uncommitted, that means that they are open to…..a deal.

Another Public Option

Are Liberal Netroots Groups Helping Obama Fail?

by Jeff Cohen

I’ve started deleting them as spam.  

I’m not talking about the enlarge-your-penis emails or “You’ve Won the Lottery” notices.  

I’m talking about the increasingly-urgent emails coming for weeks from liberal Netroots groups calling for a “public option” for health care — a government insurance plan citizens could choose to pay for instead of private insurance.  

Never has so much passion been so misdirected.  If what these liberal groups ultimately wanted out of President Obama and corporate-funded Democrats in Congress was a topnotch public plan to compete with the first-rate private plans, the wrong way to get it was to make that the demand.

Especially of a president whose instinct is toward conciliation and splitting the difference with big business and the right wing.

Sure, Obama was a community organizer once.  That was decades ago when Russia was still our mortal enemy, Nelson Mandela was still an official State Department terrorist threat and the White House was still funding Islamist fanatics in Afghanistan.  

For the last dozen years Obama has been a politician — and a consummate compromiser at that.  Have we failed to notice?

Activists must recognize the surest way to get a strong public option that could compete with the Cadillac of health plans. We needed to mobilize millions of Netroots people, almost every union and 150 members of Congress to endorse a maximum demand: National health insurance . . . enhanced Medicare for All.  In other words, a cost-effective single-payer system of publicly-financed, privately-delivered healthcare that ends private health insurance (and its waste, bureaucracy, ads, sales commissions, lavish executive salaries, profiteering).

Had liberal groups sent out millions of emails building a movement that posed an existential threat to the health insurance industry, Sen. Baucus and Blue Dog Democrats and their corporate healthcare patrons might well be on their knees begging for a comprehensive public option — to avert the threat of full-blown Medicare for All.  

Read the entire article…

Jeff Cohen is an associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America .  

Glenn Beck: Fox News Evangelist Of The Coming Obama-Pocalypse

Glenn Beck’s unique brand of asylum-spawned demagoguery has drawn comparisons to some notable cranks in history and fiction. Most often he has been likened to either the 1930’s fascist radio priest, Father Coughlin, or to the prototypical, paranoia-crazed tele-pundit, Howard Beale, from the film “Network.”

While both of those models contain poignant resemblances to Beck, neither by themselves comes close enough to capture the full spectrum of his dementia. They don’t even begin to explain his silly costumes and props; his facial tics and nonsense, gurgling noises; his panic-laden admonitions of doom. This is a man who, every day, adds new items to his list of things that cause blood to shoot from his eyes. Were he to be taken literally, he would be severely anemic by now, and his studio would be a quarantined biohazard zone.

However, I think I have just found someone with whom Beck shares a more striking resemblance…

The Great Healthcare Schlep

So I’m reading the indefatigable NYCeve’s Diary The August Plan to Secure the Public Option yesterday morning and click the link to the FDL “Whipcount Tool.”  Now, as you might be able to tell from my nom de Kos, I live in the most azure, indigo part of the bluest borough of the bluest city in the country — the People’s Single Payer, Socialist, Zabarist Republic of the Upper West Side.

My own Rep., the estimable Jerry Nadler, is obviously with the program, having taken the FDL Pledge to vote against any bill that doesn’t have the Public Option.  What to do?

Well, my mom, 93-year old (bless her heart) “Grandma West” (as my kids call her) lives in NY-18 in Westchester – which was not listed on the FDL tool.

cross-posting on Kos

Rep. Lowey is having a healthcare conference call at 5:00 pm (est) today.  Call her office for phone in information.

Beer Spazz Hissies

President Obama’s attempt to ameliorate angst between a cuff-happy cop and a Harvard professor is causing a certain amount of spazz hissy fits amongst the American craft brewing scene. The New York City Homebrewer’s Guild e-list is abuzz with discussion of the Wall Street Journal article describing the reactions of American breweries, large and small, to the choices chosen for the President’s table.

First of all I am glad he invited Professor Gates as well as Sgt. Crowley, because that is only fair. I therefore retract my comments yesterday about drinking beer with stupid people. Inviting the professor makes the gesture more genuinely about fairness and enlightenment, a real effort to promote what we valkyries call “frith” (sacred hospitality) and “grith”, the “peace” which is part of my username, Randgríðr.

Initial announcements did not infer that Gates would be invited too, which was making it look like the President was willing to reward over-enthusiastic law enforcers who end up victimizing innocent citizens. That really pissed me off. But the issue is now moot, so enough said on that, and I am pleased that the President has chosen a way of solving this issue which is well known to be linked to (if not founded in) my own religious tradition.

Anyway, it would seem that Jim Koch of the Sam Adams brewery, Bill Manley of Sierra Nevada, and several other craft brewers have weighed in on the subject of what frosty libations should be offered at the Presidential table. One unfortunate but notable absence is Garrett Oliver, one of the founders of the 22-year-old NYC Homebrewer’s Guild; brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery; and author of “The Brewmaster’s Table”, an authoritative reference on the pairing of food with beer. I am guessing that Mr. Oliver is probably in his way trying to be classy by not saying anything, but I am just another sarge-mouthed tough cookie from Brooklyn and have no such worries, so I am willing to pipe up, LOL!!!

The article is a bit silly in that the thrust of it’s message of protest is that the three beers chosen (Red Stripe, Blue Moon and Bud Light) are apparently all owned by foreign corporations. It is true that Red Stripe is a beer based out of Jamaica, but Blue Moon originally hails from a small craft brewery in Tennessee that was purchased several years ago by Coors, who now distribute it nationwide.

As to Anheuser Busch, don’t EVEN get me started. Does Barack Obama know that John McCain paid for his eight frigging houses by marrying the sugar momma who was heiress to that fortune? As if that beer wasn’t a joke already. Never in my lifetime will I pay money for that stuff. I will only drink it if 1) it’s free and 2) it’s the only thing around. However I will most gladly pick up and cash in the empties, and I say that with a vengeance. That bastard can bloody well help ME pay for MY house, he already has enough of his own, LOL!!!

As for my own brewing activities, this is a very busy time of year for me as a mead specialist brewer. Pennsic, the SCA’s two week private renaissance event, is in progress and all my medieval re-enactor friends who are heading off to it this week are wanting to bring bottles of my own frosty libations; plus there’s a contest to enter and bulk varietal honey to arrange delivery logistics for. So the BrauFrau is bizzy bizzy. I must get back to it, in fact.  

Reclaiming American Democracy.

Also on Daily Kos.  Presented here without change, although the venue here needs lesss apologetics.


Watching Baucus try to sell out the President’s plan and all the roadblocks put in the way of what is essentially a half measure, a tepid reform, reminded me of the reality in American politics many wish to deny.

GreenSooner mentioned that he was “actually surprised that real(ish) reform has gotten as far as it has.”  This is because

Our political system has essentially been reengineered to prevent things like actual health care reform.

(Link to comment)  President Obama and progressive Democrats have really worked hard to push some reform in health care against overwhelming odds.  But this fight has once again exposed the reality of Washington.  It’s broken.

More, after the fold.  

Baucus/Conrad did NOT win the election. No more $ w/o Public Option

Simulposted at Daily Kos

   Simply put, I voted for Obama/Biden, NOT Baucus/Conrad. If these fools want to try to squander away our electoral victories through Bipartisanship with the party of “No/Birthers”, I will not give one more cent to any organization that might fund Baucucrat Senators.

    Tell your Senator:     If there is no public option in health care reform, there is no public option in our Democracy.

    I am NOT holding my breath and hoping this Senate will hold Baucus/Conrad and others accountable. They didn’t do shit when Liberman sided against Obama and with McCain, they won’t do it now.

    In my opinion, the ONLY way to force these Baucucrats accountable, the only way to force Senate Misleadership to do something is to hit em in the one place they care about, their election funds.

    Therefore, I propose that we withhold ANY and ALL financial support from groups that fund incumbent Senators until a bill with a robust public option is on President Obama’s desk.  

A prescription that makes the patient sicker

Original article, an interview with Dr. Quentin Young, via socialistworker.org:

The Obama administration is giving up on its August deadline for Congress to pass health care reform legislation, according to press reports. But far worse is what the administration has given up in the substance of the proposals–caving to pressure from a health care industry determined to maintain its power and profits.

Dr. Quentin Young is a veteran of struggles for civil rights and social justice, and a leading member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). He talked to Elizabeth Schulte about why the proposals currently being discussed in Washington fall short of what’s needed.

Docudharma Times Thursday July 30

Thursday’s Headlines:

Lucrative Fees May Deter Efforts to Alter Troubled Loans

Obama’s ‘beer summit’ draws near

Iraq in throes of environmental catastrophe, experts say

What happened to Arab science fiction?

Miracle escape for civil guard families in massive barracks blast blamed on Eta

Move over Virgin – now Aeroflot is upgrading its air hostesses

Public flogging holds no fear for woman who dared wear trousers

Fears of Zimbabwe plot grow after minister is held for stealing old mobile phone

Bangladesh to pull out soldiers

Thailand cracks down on Web users for royal ‘slurs’

Possible US-Colombia military deal raises regional tensions

House Seems To Be Set on Pork-Padded Defense Bill

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Democratic-controlled House is poised to give the Pentagon dozens of new ships, planes, helicopters and armored vehicles that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the military does not need to fund next year, acting in many cases in response to defense industry pressures and campaign contributions under an approach he has decried as “business as usual” and vowed to help end.

The unwanted equipment in a military spending bill expected to come to a vote on the House floor Thursday or Friday has a price tag of at least $6.9 billion.

The White House has said that some but not all of the extra expenditures could draw a presidential veto of the Defense Department’s entire $636 billion budget for 2010, and it sent a message to House lawmakers Tuesday urging them to cut expenditures for items that “duplicate existing programs, or that have outlived their usefulness.”

More protests planned in Tehran to mark end of 40-day mourning

From The Times

July 30, 2009

Martin Fletcher

Defiant opposition supporters will return to the streets of Tehran today, emboldened by tales of prison abuse and an eruption of hostilities between President Ahmadinejad and his fellow hardliners.

The occasion is the passing of 40 days – the official end of the mourning period for Shia Muslims – since Iranian security forces killed Neda Soltan and protesters during a demonstration on June 20.

A mourning ceremony in the Grand Mosala prayer hall, which can hold 100,000 people, has been banned so the opposition is planning demonstrations in at least nine locations around the capital.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, the defeated presidential candidates, will visit the grave of Ms Soltan whose death, which was caught on video, made her a global symbol of the regime’s brutality.

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