Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Mashup Part Two (10/25/10) (updates to #5)

(Part One is here.)

  • Most of these have to do with stories in The New York Times recently, including an otherwise sensible and somewhat interesting column on books pertaining to Democratic politics reviewed by Jonathan Alter, who also tells us the following…

    "Despite historic advances in 2008, liberals remain better at complaining than organizing, which is a big reason they may take a shellacking in November."
    Click here to find out what Wellstone Action! is doing to organize and encourage voter turnout next week, as well as the AFL-CIO here, the SEIU here, and Move here (and this tells us how labor responded, quite rightly IMHO, to the opposition of a certain Dame Blanche Lincoln to the Employee Free Choice Act).

    “Liberals remain better at complaining than organizing” – screw you, Alter (typical for a corporate media shill who has given us moments like well as this).

  • Next, Brian Stelter told us the following here, about a certain Rupert The Pirate trying to buy more political influence…

    Even more than they did than in 2008, Fox News Channel and its left-leaning counterpart MSNBC…
    OK, hold it right there.

    This tells us that Christine (insert your snark here) O’Donnell said that she had Sean Inanity “in her back pocket,” and this tells us that Sharron Angle goes on Fix Noise because the "mainstream media" won’t let her raise money on the air.

    In response, please tell me the last time that Rachel Maddow publicized the web site of a Democratic politician or Keith Olbermann allowed a Democratic candidate to fundraise on “Countdown,” or Ed Schultz publicized a campaign event that ostensibly promoted that political party (or even the first time).

    Every now and then, the whole “faux equivalency” bit gets a bit too much, and this is one of those times.

  • Sticking with The Old Gray Lady, Sheryl Gay Stolberg is already giving us a preview of what it will be like for Obama when the Dems lose Congress, in her view, including this ridiculous lede (here)…

    WASHINGTON — It took President Obama 18 months to invite the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, to the White House for a one-on-one chat. Their Aug. 4 session in the Oval Office — 30 minutes of private time, interrupted only when the president’s daughter Malia called from summer camp to wish her father a happy 49th birthday — was remarkable, not for what was said, but for what it took to make it happen.

    Not long before the meeting, Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate leader, lamented to his onetime Democratic counterpart, Tom Daschle, that Mr. Obama would never get an important nuclear arms treaty with Russia ratified until he consulted top Republicans. Mr. Lott, who recounted the exchange in an interview, was counting on Mr. Daschle, a close Obama ally, to convey the message; lo and behold, Mr. McConnell soon had an audience with the president.

    The White House says the meeting was about stalled judicial nominations, not arms control. But the fact that a former Senate leader found it necessary to work back channels to put Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell in touch suggests the difficult road the president will face if Republicans win control of one or both houses of Congress on Election Day.

    Before Mr. Obama and Republicans can secure each other’s cooperation, people in both parties say, they must first figure out a way to secure mutual trust.
    I can see that Stolberg reads David Broder; he’s the only person I can think of who would concoct dookey as rank as this.

    Click here to read about how Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao plans to “figure out a way to secure mutual trust.”

    Lather, rinse, repeat…

  • Also, Peter Baker (who Broder actually mentioned in a recent column) wrote the following yesterday, again concerning the supposed coming Repug tidal wave (you can see what kind of skin our corporate media has in this game, so to speak – the column recalls the supposedly glorious days of bipartisanship that started with the Repug takeover of Congress in 1994):

    (President) Clinton employed a triangulation strategy after Mr. Gingrich’s Republicans took control, trying to play off both his own party as well as the empowered opposition. He declared the era of big government over and cut deals with Mr. Gingrich on welfare reform, while positioning himself as a bulwark against Republican excesses during the budget battle that led to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

    “The Republican victory in 1994 saved the Clinton presidency,” said (University of Oklahoma professor and historian Steven M.) Gillon, “because it freed him from the liberal wing of his party and allowed him to be more nimble and flexible, which he’s brilliant at. And it forced the Republicans to develop a governing philosophy. A campaign slogan may get you through Election Day but it doesn’t help you solve these very difficult problems.”

    I guess it’s really not surprising that Oklahoma pulls the stunts that it does from a political point of view if people like Gillon are looked upon as fonts of higher learning.

    Sure, it "saved" Clinton so he could be ruthlessly persecuted for a blow job from an intern while distracting this country from the al Qaeda threat, though Clinton is about the only one who saw it coming in the 90s.

    As noted here…

    Clinton's dire public warnings about the threat posed by terrorism, and the actions taken to thwart it, went completely unreported by the media, which was far more concerned with stained dresses and baseless Drudge Report rumors. When the administration did act militarily against bin Laden and his terrorist network, the actions were dismissed by partisans within the media and Congress as scandalous "wag the dog" tactics. The news networks actually broadcast clips of the movie "Wag the Dog" while reporting on his warnings, to accentuate the idea that everything the administration said was contrived fakery.

    In Congress, Clinton was thwarted by the reactionary conservative majority in virtually every attempt he made to pass legislation that would attack al-Qaeda and terrorism. His 1996 omnibus terror bill, which included many of the anti-terror measures we now take for granted after September 11, was withered almost to the point of uselessness by attacks from the right; Senators Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were openly dismissive of the threats Clinton spoke of.
    And oh yeah, read here to find out about how Clinton’s judicial nominees were stalled due to such glorious “bipartisanship.”

    As I’ve said, ignore our corporate media and vote Democratic next week as if your livelihood depends on it, because, if the Repugs take control and shut down government, launch endless investigations, snuff out almost everything the Obama Administration is trying to do and has done and ultimately send us back down the road to a full-scale economic depression again, it’s safe to say that it will.

  • And finally, I give you someone who will lead that charge backward with every fiber of his execrable being if he is allowed to do so, and that would be none other than PA-16’s waste of space (here)…

    Over the next few years, millions of American families, individuals and retired seniors will see their health coverage transformed by new regulations and decisions made by the Secretary and her successors. The bill uses the phrase, “The Secretary shall,” or one of its variants, more than 1,000 times. This means that Congress has left many of the important decisions regarding implementation up to the Secretary and the bureaucracy.

    If you like it, you can keep it; but only if the Secretary agrees.

    Just recently, the Secretary granted a one-year waiver to 30 companies and organizations that offer plans known as “mini-meds.” Many employers with large part-time workforces, such as McDonald’s, offer these plans. Without the waiver, these employers would have been forced to discontinue coverage. The biggest waiver was granted to a New York teachers’ union with 351,000 members.
    Soo…HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius forced “more than 30 companies” into “Obamacare” – by granting an exemption from it??


    Because of the new law, some insurers are getting out of certain sectors of the healthcare industry. Medicare Advantage plans will be cut by billions of dollars in the coming years.
    Which is actually a good thing concerning Medicare (Dis)Advantage, and this tells us why…

    When Congress created Medicare Advantage in 1997, the idea was that insurance companies could provide the benefits of traditional Medicare more efficiently and at a lower cost.

    Since then, the overall costs for Medicare have skyrocketed for the government, which has led to cost increases for some Medicare recipients.

    Health care costs to the government are expected to reach $2.5 trillion this year, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One of the contributing factors to increasing program costs is subsidies paid to health insurance companies.

    The Department of Health and Human Services says the federal government pays, on average, 14 percent more to private insurance companies for providing Medicare Advantage coverage than what it pays for other Medicare programs. Because the overall program costs have gotten so high for the government, Medicare Advantage is driving up costs for everyone on Medicare.
    Returning to Joe Pitts…

    Medica Insurance Company in Minnesota will no longer sell child-only health insurance plans. The new law allows parents to wait until a child is sick before they buy health insurance, making it impossible for Medica to calculate the costs of coverage. Medica was the only provider of child-only plans left in Minnesota.
    Disinformation involving adults is one thing, but it’s repugnant even for a life form like Pancake Joe to use kids to try and make his hollow argument. As mcjoan of Daily Kos tells us here, maybe one of the reasons why parents can’t enroll their kids earlier (assuming the kids have a pre-existing condition, which, as far as the insurance providers are concerned, could be just about anything) is because the kids only have a limited enrollment window set by the providers (another scam to try and escape coverage).


    Changes are coming to those with employer-sponsored plans also. Just this week, Boeing sent a letter to 90,000 non-union employees informing them that they will pay significantly more for their health plan next year. New taxes on so-called “Cadillac Plans” are forcing companies to make changes years before the taxes go into effect.

    Earlier in the month, 3M informed employees that by 2015 the company will no longer offer group coverage to retirees not old enough for Medicare. This is because the federal government is eliminating tax breaks for companies who currently pay for retirees’ prescription drug plans.
    Concerning 3M in particular, the following is worth noting (here - link #8)…

    The changes won't start to phase in until 2013. But they show how companies are beginning to respond to the new law, which should make it easier for people in their 50s and early-60s to find affordable policies on their own. While thousands of employers are tapping new funds from the law to keep retiree plans, 3M illustrates that others may not opt to retain such plans over the next few years.


    "As you know, the recently enacted health care reform law has fundamentally changed the health care insurance market," the memo said. “Health care options in the marketplace have improved, and readily available individual insurance plans in the Medicare marketplace provide benefits more tailored to retirees' personal needs often at lower costs than what they pay for retiree medical coverage through 3M.”
    Pitts also quotes Democratic governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee as someone who disapproves of HCR, which is typically “loading the deck” in Pitts’ favor (gee, ya' think Bredesen is trashing "Obamacare" because he was passed over for HHS Secretary? Yeah, maybe "cut(ting) 170,000 adults from Tennessee's Medicaid program" would do it, as noted here).

    We have a week, people. Click here to support Lois Herr. Please provide whatever support your means allows.

    As kos once said (and probably will say again), “leave it all in the road.”

  • Update 10/26/10: Oh, and as noted here, Pitts and most of his House Repug playmates are trying to end "birthright citizenship" (charming).

    Update 10/27/10: And 104 Repugs in Congress, including Pancake Joe of course, also want to privatize Social Security (here).

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