Tag: Joe Lieberman

Thanks for nothing.

Darcy Burner: The Senate bill is a recipe for national disaster. If it’s that bill or nothing, I prefer nothing.

by Joe Sudbay (DC) on 12/15/2009 08:10:00 AM

The fundamental failing of the newest Senate proposal is that it requires individuals to purchase health insurance, but does nothing to rein in what insurance companies charge. There is nothing to stop spiraling health costs from eating up an ever-increasing percentage of our national productivity.

Democratic leaders are going to have to explain how forcing a mandate on people to buy private health insurance, without controlling the insurance industry, makes sense. That concept might appeal to Joe Lieberman, but it doesn’t sit well with everyone else.

The fire this time

By: TBogg Monday December 14, 2009 10:28 pm

If Rahm Emmanuel is all he was supposed to be, we can safely assume that the Obama White House either never gave a shit about health care reform, or they managed health care reform so horrifically and incompetently that they are now willing to settle for a “win”, no matter how meager.

I hope they enjoy their Pyrrhic victory because they just burned the base.

Where We’re At On The Lieberman Health Care Industry Profit Protection Act Of 2009

By: David Dayen Tuesday December 15, 2009 5:00 am

Another major addition in the mystery “deal” on the public option, the extension of the medical loss ratio to 90% (meaning that insurance companies would have to spend at least 90% of premiums on medical care), took a major hit from the CBO, and an ideological one at that. Doug Elmendorf basically said that such a medical loss ratio would make the private insurance industry into a government entity, “so that all payments related to health insurance policies should be recorded as cash flows in the federal budget.” This would make the health care bill cost several trillion dollars in CBO’s eyes despite the fact that nothing would have materially changed, and so this arbitrary decision basically killed the medical loss ratio, at least at 90% (it’s unclear what the magic MLR number is that turns the private insurance market into a government entity; Elmendorf didn’t explain it, just saying that it was somewhere between 85% and 90%).

One question for those who argued that liberals could easily bargain away the public option for something really valuable and good – how does “nothing” sound to you?

Joe Lieberman, Howard Rich, Louisiana, and AQAH

The MSM has duly taken note that the North Carolina legal firm of Moore & Van Allen is doing work for “AQAH,”  aka  “Americans for Quality Affordable Healthcare,”  which is anything but, as it’s fighting to kill the reform legislation,  but its spokesperson refuses to name the clients who have hired them.  In the ways of the MSM, the search engine is broken… or lacks motivation.  We do have confirmed sightings in NV, ME, and LA.  It was named as Republican astroturf in a front page post at GOS, a start, but didn’t go any further.

It’s going to be the same special interests, just using more identity masks.

Nevada, Maine, Louisiana.    

First thing that makes me think of is the Tea Party Patriots doing their tour bus routine with the Russo Marsh/Move America Forward Republican PR firm, because that PAC did a bunch of anti Harry Reid advertising this summer and toured thru Nevada doing teaparty rallies  (which the FEC is all over their butts for with that filing of Our Country Deserves Better PAC  ). And Prop 8 money from Utah and CA was recently in Maine, letting the 2 moderate lady Republican Senators, Snowe & Collins, know that the Tea Party apparatus was gearing up for Maine 2010.  Louisiana, that’s easy, Sen. Landrieu is on the Republican’s list of mostly likely to be swingable, and she’s also a top recipient of Dem Senate Campaign Committee funding. Louisiana is an oil state.

We’re going to go do some deep sea exploring.  

Bernie Sanders may filibuster if there ISN’T a ROBUST public option for everyone

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    The ONE Senator that I can safely say is NOT bought off, the one Senator that we can be certain is NOT owned by the banks is Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It looks like good ole Bernie is putting his left foot down on the public option and threatening a filibuster of his own if there isn’t a ROBUST public option that is available to everyone in the Senate version of the health care bill.

    I think this is GREAT news, and I’ll explain why below the fold, where you can find a full transcript of this video as well.

Wanted: “Reality”-based criticism of President Obama

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Of all the screwed up things the Republican party and their Corporate Media enablers have done maybe the worst is the souring of the debate on whether President Obama is doing the right thing or not. When the “faithful” opposition in American politics is more concerned with ACORN and socialism than it is with Corproate malfeasance or the corrupt status quo, it just isn’t worth debating with, but that debate is necessary and our system does worse without it.

    Similarly, the left has been conditioned by the raving right to interpret ALL criticism of President Obama as an attack on him. Many on the left see activists who criticize Obama as if they were joining in on the hyperbole, and they fear that Obama, and Democratic majorities, might fall if pressure from the left and the right becomes overheated. These people are often the loudest defenders of Obama, but are they really helping his cause?

     I firmly believe that we MUST, as activists and voters, be able to hold President Obama and the Democratic party accountable, otherwise they will walk all over us. In order to do this, we MUST be able to constructivly criticize our leaders, and since the right wing of American politics long ago left the reality based world, it is the left which must provide this criticism. The problem is, will others on the left allow it to happen?

    More below the fold.

Reid will NOT put anti-trust ending language in Senate HCR bill yet. Why?

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Senate negotiators have decided not to include a provision revoking the insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption in the bill leadership sends to the floor, said a Democratic aide close to the merger talks. Instead, the measure will be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor.


Bold and italics added by the diarist

    The House bill will have language ending the Insurance cartels anti-trust exemption. Why won’t the Senate bill have similar language in it before it is brought to the floor for debate?

    More below the fold

The Parallel Universes of Politics and Popular Sentiment

Politics is one part ballet, two parts theatrical performance, with the same players taking different roles as the latest situation requires.  It is a shifting sort of organic arrangement, whereby that who is one’s ally in the morning can be one’s enemy the next.  The most successful politicians know this instinctively and recognize that this degree of constant posturing and shape-shifting should be attributed to the profession itself, not to the practitioner.  We, however, do not live in such a world of allegiances that shift like tectonic plates.  We do not easily recognize that political pronouncements have a shelf life of roughly three hours time, upon which they are superseded by the latest changing of the wind, or, for that matter, changing of the guard.        

Still, we try to apply the code of conduct and rules of the game that exist in our world of resolute, lasting convictions to that of the politician. This is what leads us to great frustration.  This morning some are criticizing President Obama for not coming down more punitively on Joe Lieberman when he had the chance.  A week ago, Republicans were lashing out at Olympia Snowe for her duplicitous perfidy.  A week before that, Progressives were purple with rage at Senator Max Baucus.  A week from now, a new target will arise, align himself or herself with something we either support or oppose, and the game will begin again.  The process reminds one of nothing less than an endless round of musical chairs.  Those congressional leaders involved in an active tug of war will always reposition themselves on safer ground as need be, while the ones who stand firm are often likely to find themselves without a seat.

In this eternal game of chess,

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag –

It’s so elegant

So intelligent                                                        

“What shall I do now? What shall I do?”

I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street

“With my hair down, so.  What shall we do to-morrow?

“What shall we ever do?”

– T.S. Eliot

Observe the ballet, though the steps may be a bit quicker, the pace may be sterner, and the tempo deliberately accelerated.  As regards politics, in which there is always something tangible to gain or to lose, I only believe in the last statement made by whomever utters it.  This would be considered exceptionally pessimistic in the real world, but makes complete sense within the realm of political discourse.  Lament it if you will, but even a charismatic figure elected to shake up Washington and a largely underwhelming speaker could not betwixt the two of them figure out how to drain the swamp.  It takes more than legislation to undo a complex, frequently befuddling system of strange allegiances and stranger bed fellows.  The skillful politician is a master of both slight of hand and cerebral dexterity.  He or she rarely gets caught in a lie or a half-truth, while the less skilled end up without a chair when the music ends.  The results when tabulated might be half chance, like everyone’s else’s, but they are always composed of calculated risk, with the hope of ultimate profit and gain.              

We may have a rough idea of the relative platform our Senator or Congressperson stands upon, but beyond that, one needs an actuarial table to correctly calculate where he or she might go from one moment to the next.  Risk assessment doesn’t just stop with insurance and rare is the incumbent who can count on an easy re-election campaign, year in and year out.  If we were all more or less the same in allegiance and conviction, then politicians could be reliably counted on to talk out of only one side of their mouth.  Until then, we are stuck with the system we have, which satisfies few and enrages many.    

To better explain my case, I sought to divine what was the historically highest possible Congressional approval rating ever recorded.  While I certainly was inundated with sources which told me what the lowest approval rating for the both chambers had been at many points in time, attaining its compliment, however, provided elusive.  In the data I did find, Congress never polled above 45%, which means that if it as a collective body ran for office, it would never win and probably never even trigger a runoff.  This fact also underscores what a convenient target the legislative branch is for many of us, but also proves that its overall popularity is pointedly meaningless unless it drops to single, or near single digit lows.  By contrast, even the least popular Presidents in modern memory still managed to poll slightly above 20% in their lowest periods and some scored nearly 80% in their times of highest popular favor.  As Americans, we favor personalities over collective bodies, perhaps because we can relate more to a individual rather than a frequently flummoxing deliberative entity whose ways are misunderstood even by the highly educated.    

Returning to the matter of effective analysis, the most skillful strategies for determining future courses of action might be found within the brains of those who think three and four moves ahead while recognizing that events are always subject to change.  This is not to imply that some method to the madness exists, either.  Best intentions are often preempted by breaking news and any schedule ought to be penciled in, rather than chiseled into granite.  Those public servants who are caught flat-footed or utterly unawares are always the easiest targets for ire and criticism.  They also tend to not survive.  That who we have in our cross-hairs today will often be our firmest unforeseen ally with time.  As for the present moment, which is all we are ever granted in politics, the once and future Health Care Reform proponent assumes a temporary position in our affections and our current antagonist draws boos and jeers.  The Public Option is dead, long live the Public Option.  This is, of course, until the funeral is called off and the coronation resumes, once more.

Bipartisanship No, Working Majority Yes

Republican demanding bipartisanship

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

In the grown up world, honorable and reasonable people may initially disagree but eventually compromise upon a collective review of empirical evidence. It was in this spirit, that the nascent Obama administration reached out to Republicans with respect to their proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which finally passed both houses of congress yesterday.

Tell Senate Democrats to remove Joe LIEberman from chairmanship.

Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for providing the information on this action alert.

Republican-in-Spirit Joe LIEberman has supported Republican dictators and right-wing policies for some years now.  In 2006, after losing a primary election to challenger Ned Lamont, LIEberman told Connnecticut voters that their will was irrelevant; he would run for re-election as an independent.  Lamont made a series of missteps afterward, losing out to his extreme right-wing opponent in the general election.  Since then, LIEberman has sided with Republicans on virtually every policy issue and used his caucus status with Senate Democrats to force them to adopt his position on legislation favorable to his Republican masters.

Now that there is an undeniable Democratic majority in the Senate, that political party no longer needs to coddle him by letting him keep the chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  According to Greenwald, president-elect Barack Obama is taking the official position of staying the hell out of Senate affairs.  This creates the opening we on the left require to pressure the Senate to dump LIEberman.

Call Your Senators NOW

Perverts and Sadists.

I’m sorry, the language may get a little rough.

Another Day, Another Corrupt McCain Advisor

Maverick McCainIt hardly seems that a day goes by without a new revelation of lobbyists in John McCain’s campaign. Last week I reported that, so far this year, five tainted staffers have had to resign. Still on the McCain wagon are uber-lobbyists Charlie Black and campaign manager Rick Davis. Media Matters has compiled a superb list of even more tainted McCain staffers

Now the Washington Post is reporting another unethical, and perhaps illegal, McCain relationship with a political benefactor: Citizens Against Government Waste. CAGW has a long history with McCain. They have endorsed his candidacy for president, heralded him as a “Taxpayer Hero” and contributed $11,000 to his campaign. The Post article describes an even deeper partnership that potentially violates election law prohibiting coordination between campaigns and independent advocacy groups.

The Special Love of JonniJoe.

First we had Bennifer, then Brangela, and now Maverick and Joementum are in the middle of a were-not-afraid-of-wrinkly-man-union-tour and… well… it’s got me thinking.

Who are  these guys?

Bush Declared FL Primary Winner; Democrats Despondent (w/Poll)

Crossposted at Daily Kos

In a stunning political development this evening according to the Associated Press, the Florida Supreme Court has intervened in the Florida Republican Primary and declared George W. Bush the winner over Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee.

Senator John McCain, ever the patriot and loyal soldier, had this response

I knew in my heart of hearts that I’d never be able to win in a state full of geezers.  Even so, I’m delighted that the prize deservedly went to President Bush.  In anticipation of this development, I hopped on a plane to Washington, DC and personally congratulated the President. The voters of Florida have chosen wisely.

John McCain

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