Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last Call

Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe has declared the public option dead, and wants President Obama and the Democrats to simply drop the matter and move on.
Speaking to CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer on Sunday, Snowe suggested that President Barack Obama had shown "flexibility" on the key feature of his reform proposals during his State of the Union address on Wednesday,

She added: "It's universally opposed by all Republicans in the Senate, and therefore there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option. So, I think it's recognizing that, because it is a roadblock to building the kind of consensus that we need. Even [Senate Finance Committee] Chairman [Max] Bauccus has indicated, no proposal could be passed in the Senate that includes it. So, it would be best to just move forward."

Among those Republicans is Rep. Lee Terry (R-NB), who told MSNBC on Sunday that a recent U.S. Treasury report claiming over half of all Americans will lose their health insurance over the next decade did not affect his resolute opposition to the public option.

Other Republicans, such as Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and John Kyl (R-AZ), were quoted by The New York Times on Saturday arguing from varying perspectives that a public option is just an overstep too far.

Sen. Gregg said called it "a stalking horse for a single-payer plan," then switched his metaphor to, "more than the camel’s nose under the tent."

"It is the camel’s neck, and probably front legs, under the tent," he added. "There is no way the private sector will be able to compete."

Got that? Half of Americans will lose their insurance by 2020, meaning that we will have more uninsured Americans than insured ones in this country.

But there's not a single Republican who will vote for the public option in the Senate, Snowe says. Too worried about America's precious insurance companies. At least Snowe is finally being honest: there's not a single Republican in the Senate or the House for that matter who will vote for a real health-care reform bill. Not a one.

And we're too worried about the horrible "government takeover" of health care to worry about the corporate takeover of it.

If Obama does drop the public option, do you think Republicans are magically going to vote for the Democrats' plan? Anyone? No? Didn't think so.

No public option. No trigger mechanism. What they really want is no health care reform plan at all.

Worse Than Before

Nobel laureate economist Joesph Stiglitz says that the state of the financial services industry is actually worse now than last year before the collapse of Lehman Bros., and I for one agree with him.

“In the U.S. and many other countries, the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger,” Stiglitz said in an interview today in Paris. “The problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis.”

Stiglitz’s views echo those of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has advised President Barack Obama’s administration to curtail the size of banks, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who suggested last month that governments may want to discourage financial institutions from growing “excessively.”

A year after the demise of Lehman forced the Treasury Department to spend billions to shore up the financial system, Bank of America Corp.’s assets have grown and Citigroup Inc. remains intact. In the U.K., Lloyds Banking Group Plc, 43 percent owned by the government, has taken over the activities of HBOS Plc, and in France BNP Paribas SA now owns the Belgian and Luxembourg banking assets of insurer Fortis.

While Obama wants to name some banks as “systemically important” and subject them to stricter oversight, his plan wouldn’t force them to shrink or simplify their structure.

Stiglitz said the U.S. government is wary of challenging the financial industry because it is politically difficult, and that he hopes the Group of 20 leaders will cajole the U.S. into tougher action.

I honestly think it's going to take another major negative financial event or some sort, either another housing bubble pop or another sharp rise in unemployment (or both) that lays the banks' balance sheets open once again, and will force Obama to take action.

Right now nothing has been done. Nothing. Another financial bubble is forming as we speak, only the crash this time will come much sooner, and when it hapens again this time, it really will be Obama's fault. Banks are getting bigger, not smaller.

They'll be forced to shrink soon, along with our economy.

Baked Alaska Is A Dish Best Served Cold

SNL's Tina Fey has picked up an Emmy for her portrayal of America's favorite quitter. Also!
In winning her Emmy, Fey beat out two contenders from her own NBC comedy, "30 Rock," which leads all shows with 22 nominations. She made reference to Palin, who resigned in July as governor of Alaska less than a year after she was chosen as Senator John McCain's running mate in last year's U.S. presidential election.

"Mrs. Palin is an inspiration to working mothers everywhere because she bailed on her job right before Fourth of July weekend. You are living my dream. Thank you, Mrs. Palin!"

It marked Fey's sixth career win, and she is in contention for two awards at the main ceremony, including best comedy actress.

Did Tina Fey deserve it? You betcha!

The Party Of No's Joe Says No

Joe "You Lie!" Wilson told FOX News Sunday this morning that he's not going to apologize publicly in the well of the House.
"I am not going to apologize again," Wilson said on "Fox News Sunday." "I apologized to the president on Wednesday night. ... I believe that is sufficient."

Still, Democrats say Wilson broke House rules and should go to the floor and apologize, or risk facing a resolution condemning his actions.

"My view is that it's politics, this is plain politics," Wilson said. "The Democrats are playing politics. This is just a way to divert attention...It's a diversion from people looking at the bill and their concerns about the bill."

"People know my civility, they know this is a one-time event," he added. "I believe in the truth, what I heard was not true."

But asked by host Chris Wallace if the president were lying when he said the bill would not cover illegal immigrants, Wilson said: "I believe he was misstating the facts," and would have explained his outburst in a different way "if I had time."

Wilson also defended his campaign fundraising off the incident, saying that Democrats have "made me the No. 1 target for the elections.

The response from his district in South Carolina has been overwhelmingly positive, he said, but it'll be "tough" for him to handle when Democrats move to rebuke his actions.

I've said this before: Joe Wilson brought this all upon himself, and like most Republicans he's playing the victim card and blaming the mean old Democrats for making him follow House rules and hurting his feelings.

The man continues to look like an ass, and if the parties were reversed, not only would Republicans be demanding whatever Democrat made an outburst like that be censured, but that they should resign as well. The charge of "Well they're just playing politics!" rings hollow after the Bush administration, folks. None of this you see is Joe Wilson's fault, according to Joe Wilson.

Between this and the Not Two Million Birther March yesterday, it's been a miserable couple of days for conservatives in general and Wingers in particular. But don't be too hard on Joe: he can't apologize. His Obama-hating base would disown him in a heartbeat. Of course, the longer he holds out, the more damage he does to the Republican brand.

I don't envy the position he's in, but he put himself there. Man up, Wilson. Take responsibility.

Epic Seventy Thousand Is Not Two Million Fail

Many of the Wingers claiming two million people showed up at yesterday's "We love this country, now get the hell out" rally in Washington D.C. were working off a quote from ABC News that said the number was 1 million to 1.5 million, later it magically became two million. Freedomworks president Matt Kibbe announced as much to the crowd.

Only one problem. ABC News never said that.
At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as "tens of thousands."

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for FreedomWorks, said he did not know why Kibbe cited ABC News as a source.

As a result of Kibbe's erroneous attribution, several bloggers and commenters repeated the misinformation.

They did indeed, from Malkvinvania to Pajamas Media to A.J. Strata to the UK's Daily Mail.

They of course are having none of the reality of 60k to 70k. It was two million, and anyone who says it wasn't at least a solid seven digit number is clearly working for the Obama media machine, right guys?

Still, those who did show up were folks like this:

No one on the tea party express seems concerned with the vocal fringe of the crowds that come with offensive signs -- besides Nazi imagery, a poster of Obama as an African witch doctor has become popular -- or the numerous conspiracy theories that float around most tea parties.

In Battle Creek, Michigan, a woman in her 60s says, "I really don't want to be a guinea pig for the experiment they have with the population control." In Canton, Ohio, a woman argues with an Obama supporter: "He's going after our kids to try to indoctrinate them into a national defense army."

The Tea Party Express tour has been free of violence, but occasional outbursts of vitriolic hatred toward the president combined with some menacing outward appearances often overshadow the more moderate tea partyers.

In Louisville, Kentucky, two young men in camouflage fatigues roamed the crowd trying to recruit new members for their militia called the Ohio Valley Freedom Fighters. They bear signs reading "AK-47s: today's pitchfork" and "Quit worrying. Start your militia training today."

In Jackson, Michigan, a young man didn't need a sign. He was carrying the real thing: A loaded AK-47 assault rifle and two loaded handguns.

"I don't want a revolution. I don't want a civil war," he said. "But it is a possibility. It's there as an option, as a last resort."

From the stage, Deborah Johns and Mark Williams never interact with most of these characters. Russo shrugs it off, saying that the early stages of every political movement have people like this.


To Wierzbicki these troubling elements are just part of the price of a grassroots movement. He is convinced they will not derail the movement.

"The message will be moderated by the time it gets to 2010," he says.
The message will be moderated. Sure it will. An angry teabagger mob built expressly around the irrational "vitriolic hatred of the president" will moderate its message in time for the 2010 elections.

That's the most laughable thing I've ever heard. Anyone else here believe the message is moderation? Anyone else here believe that the GOP and the astroturf organizers are going to tell these rabid wolverines "Hey, chill out?"

Anyone else believe that should the teabaggers be told this, that they will turn that anger on the Republicans for not having the guts to "do what has to be done?" We have people talking about open, armed revolution here, folks. These guys are deadly f'ckin serious.

This whole thing is EPIC of the largest EPIC FAILS I think I've ever seen.

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