Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last Call

And if it's not Joe F'ckin Lieberman screwing over the Dems, it's Evan F'ckin Bayh.
Evan Bayh (D-IN) said on CBS’s Washington Unplugged said that if fifty senators were dead set on getting a real public option they could always do that by using reconciliation. Reconciliation measures can’t be filibustered, so a bill brought up through reconciliation would only need a simple majority to pass (50 votes plus the VP).

Evan Bayh said, “If the people [who] want the public option in its fullest form are just adamant about that they can always just get that with fifty votes.”

In other words, Bayh has no intention of giving the public option Senate bill an up-or-down vote because it will pass.

Think long and hard about that tonight. I suggest doing so while holding your health insurance bill for this month.

The Real Chicago Way

Steve Benen's right: Isn't Obama supposed to be the most bloodthirsty, partisan, ruthless President ever? I mean the nerve of him, appointing yet another well-respected Republican to his administration like Chuck Hagel. Obama named him as co-chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board today.
If memory serves, Hagel is the seventh Republican to take on a fairly significant role in the Obama administration. He follows John McHugh (Secretary of the Army), Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation), Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense), Jim Leach (National Endowment for the Humanities), Jon Huntsman (U.S. Ambassador to China), and Anne Northup (Consumer Product Safety Commission). It would have been eight were it not for the unpleasantness with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed Obama's numbers slipping on his "willingness to work with people whose viewpoints are different from his own."

I'm not sure what more the White House can do on this front. Obama has not only repeatedly sought out GOP lawmakers for support on legislation, but he also keeps giving Republicans jobs in his administration, arguably at a level without modern precedent.

Also note that the president's efforts haven't generated any goodwill with the opposition party. Obama has added more than a half-dozen Republicans to his team, and GOP leaders continue to whine about the president being some kind of strident partisan.

But it doesn't matter, you see. None of those Republicans count as Republicans anymore because they are now working for the Other in the White House. When they joined his administration, they ceased being Republicans. There are no Republicans in the Obama administration. If they joined Obama, they were really closet Dems. Ergo, Obama is a horrible partisan who lied about doing things differently in Washington because there are no Republicans in his administration.

It really is that simple to the GOP.

Even better, the Village buys it hook line and sinker. Do a Google search of "Obama" and "Nixon" and see what you find. Obama could appoint Rush Limbaugh as VP, and he would still be the most divisive President ever.

Thirty Pieces Of Silver

Joe F'ckin Lieberman on FOX News today:
If the public option, the government run health insurance company negotiates hard to lower the reimbursement — the money it’s paying to hospitals, doctors — they’re [providers] going to have to get that money somewhere. And where they’re going to get it is from the 200 million Americans who today have private health insurance. Premiums will go up. It’s exactly what’s happened with Medicare and Medicaid. [...]

When people hear public option, I think they think it’s for free. It’s not for free. Somebody is going to have to pay for it and you can bet it’s going to be the taxpayers and the people who pay health insurance premiums now.

Hey Dems? When your Homeland Security chairman is on FOX repeating the GOP's talking point lies, you have a party discipline problem.

Joe F'ckin Lieberman has no intention of allowing Obamacare to pass without getting his thirty pieces of silver. That's how democracy works, you see.

[UPDATE 3:15 PM] CNBC's Julie Roginsky takes Lieberman to task on his lack of logic. Methinks she's not going to last long over there.

[UPDATE 3:58 PM] What Digby said, as she reminds us that Obama said "Gosh, we have to keep Joe F'ckin Lieberman, he'll be grateful to us."

How's that working out for ya, 11-dimensional chess grand master guy?

Quote Of The Week

John Cole on this Village Idiocy:
The endgame of this is so obvious. This isn’t about sexism. This isn’t about Barack Obama. This is another beltway game where the press sees how much they can make the administration jump. Are they really proposing that Janet Napolitano come out and do some half court with Obama, the UNC guys, and secret service agents? Do they want Lisa Leslie on retainer?
We're right back around to the African-American man/Caucasian woman dynamic, and everyone has their own set of preconceptions on that relationship, what the rules are, and what the rules should be. Happened during the primary and the general election, and now we're seeing it again here in the White House press corps.

Been a problem in this country for, oh, couple of centuries now.

Nothing New Under The Sun

Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, now Obama.
The Obama Administration has doled out access to the White House and to top aides as a way to keep top Democratic donors feeling special.

The Washington Times has a good rundown today on how it all works, including invitations for two bundlers to bring their families to the famous bowling alley at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House.

As in past administrations, access to the White House is an irresistible addition to the Dems' quiver of perks for donors.

The Times reports:

At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.

Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some events at the presidential mansion.

DNC documents obtained by the Times show that donors who promised to give $30,400 for four consecutive years were promised access to meet "senior members" of the administration and "senior members" of Congress.

Needless to say, the Republicans DEMAND AN INVESTIGATION and all that.

Granted, it's to a lesser degree than Dubya or Clinton, but it's still there and needs to stop. Then again, there's a lot in Washington that needs to stop.


No doubt this article will be disparaged with the idiotic claim that the 388,000 jobs saved by the stimulus only cost taxpayers $2 million a piece, because the roads, schools, projects and infrastructure in the stimulus package that will benefit everyone don't actually count as a benefit to Republicans who don't believe in the tyranny of the socialism of highways.

Breaking Moose Flash

America still doesn't think Sarah Palin has any business being President.
Seventy-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning believe the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee is not qualified to be president, with 29 percent saying she does have the credentials to serve in the White House. Republicans appear split, with 52 percent saying she's qualified and 47 percent disagreeing with that view.

The poll indicates that about half of the country, 51 percent, has an unfavorable view of Palin, with 42 percent seeing her in a positive light. Nearly two-thirds of those questioned say Palin's not a typical politician, and feel she's a good role model for women. Fifty-six percent add that Palin cares about people, and a similar amount think she's honest and trustworthy. But the survey indicates Americans are split over whether Palin shares their values, agrees with them on the issues, or if she's a strong leader.

"Sarah Palin has one advantage that many past Republican candidates have not shared - Americans think she cares about people like them," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But her biggest Achilles heel is the number who think she is not qualified to be President. Those numbers are similar to what Dan Quayle got in 1993, when only 23 percent thought he was ready for the White House."

Most interesting draw from these numbers: Mathematically there are people out there that say Sarah Palin is honest, trustworthy, empathic and a good role model for women, but she still has no f'cking business being in the White House.

I'd like to talk to some of those people about the terms "projection" and "wishful thinking."

The other people I'd like to talk to are the 47% of Republicans who think she shouldn't be President, and I'd like to ask them who they voted for in 2008 for President. The ones that said "the septuagenarian cancer guy with the massive temper problem" I get to rochambeau.

Also, what Atrios said.

Timmy's At It Again

Tim Geithner is what Zandardad would call "a classic serial enabler."
Tim Geithner's getting ready to shovel more taxpayer money down the rat hole, this time to GMAC.

GMAC, in case you're in understandable denial, has been bailed out twice already.

And now Tim Geithner wants to shovel another $2.8 billion in.

What is the US taxpayer getting in exchange for all these GMAC bailouts?

Preferred stock.

Why are we getting preferred stock, which is neither a claim on the future upside of the company's equity, nor a senior debt security that will be completely repaid in the event that taxpayers finally get mad as hell and won't take it anymore?

Because Tim Geithner is worried that if he makes the folks who voluntarily lent money to GMAC -- the bondholders -- lose so much as a cent, the entire US economy will collapse.

The problem with Obama's economic team is that I know they're smart enough to see the obvious moral hazard they are creating by always coming to the rescue of busted financials.

They do it anyway. Obama also has to be smart enough to see the problem it's creating. Obama allows it to be done. There's a major problem here, and while Tim Geithner is certainly making idiotic decisions, he's doing so with the green light of President Obama. If Obama wanted to stop Geithner from shoveling money at failed companies, he would.

He hasn't yet. That's not Geithner's fault, nor is it totally his responsibility at this stage anymore. The difference between an error and a mistake is the refusal to correct it.

He's a classic serial enabler working for a classic serial enabler.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

How many more months of stories about home sales falling "unexpectedly" will we have to endure before people start realizing that we're still deep in a housing depression and start expecting sales to fall?

The Little Zygote Needs Some Michael McDonald

From Engadget:
Hey, you want to start annoying your kids with your crummy taste in tunes before they've even been born? Fine, go for it. The Lullabelly prenatal music belt -- which is like a giant, soft cummerbund with a speaker stuffed into it -- is here to help. Just plug your fave PMP into it and you'll be all set to turn the womb into a super musical fun fest. The speaker has an output of about 60 to 80 decibels, and you can jack in with your earbuds to jam along. Just remember: you're the one with the volume control, and no matter how good the Tran-Siberian Orchestra sounds to you at 11 am, some people would rather listen to Megadeth.
And I know this will sell *billions*. I wish I had thought of it. Then again, to have thought of it, I would of had to have asked myself "Zandar, wouldn't it be great if you could plug your iPod into somebody's womb and let fly with the Weezer?"

And then I'd have to core my frontal lobe out with a melon baller.

Epic Engineers Solve Problems, You See Fail

When the bits you used to supposedly fix the Bay Bridge fall off said bridge and into traffic, it's time to reevaluate your procedure for fixing bridges in general.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge closed indefinitely Tuesday night after a piece of the span fell onto the roadway, prompting the thousands who use the bridge to hunt for alternative routes. The 73-year-old bridge spans the San Francisco Bay and carries an average of 280,000 vehicles daily, the state's Transportation Department says.

"All traffic is being diverted to other bridges. Motorists are advised to expect delays, use alternate routes, and plan ahead for the morning commute," said a message on the Web site of 511, a group of public agencies that provides travel information to Bay Area travelers.

The section of the Bay Bridge from which the debris fell is the same section that was repaired during Labor Day weekend when crews worked almost around the clock to fix a crack in the span.

To ease roadway traffic jams, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, or BART, said it plans to run longer trains and increase its service during rush hour.
Here's a thought. ACTUALLY SPEND THE MONEY TO FIX THE BRIDGE. I know it's California and all, but hey, that's one of those infrastructure things people keep talking about. Somebody throw up a sign and get to work, dig?

Or is that Socialism/Communism/Fascism? I forget.


Fellow Travelers

Appreciated linkage from the folks over at They Gave Us A Republic, and I'm glad to be returning the favor. Definitely one of the better progressive Kentucky blogs out there, check them out.

Also, welcome NY Daily News readers.

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Them Back

CNN seems to think the country is ruled by teabaggers as Kevin at Rumproast notes:
Check out the massive turnout for tea party in Fresno on Monday (video—top right). My favorite part in the local news report occurs at around the 40 second mark when the guy in the black shirt with no one else around him looks over his shoulder to see who else is there. Answer: NOBODY. Except for CNN.

UPDATE: CNN’s Patrick Oppmann was reporting from Tonopah, NV. Here’s the massive turnout that somehow didn’t make it into his report:


No report on whether anyone blurted out, “Bingo!” DEVELOPING.

No matter what the election results are, the Liberal Village Media will always let you know that upset old white conservatives are the future of American politics.

Not pictured: the 1,999,975 invisible teabaggers that CNN swears they can see out of the corner of their eye and don't want to admit aren't there.

Looking Ahead A Few Moves

Let's say that the opt-out public option does indeed pass. Let's game that out.

Sully argues that there's no way Republicans at the state level will opt out of the public option because it's political suicide.
But imagine for a moment that the opt-out public option passes and becomes law (I give it a 65 percent chance at this point). Then what happens? Well, there has to be a debate in every state in which Republicans, where they hold a majority or the governorship, will presumably decide to deny their own voters the option to get a cheaper health insurance plan. When others in other states can get such a plan, will there not be pressure on the GOP to help their own base? Won't Bill O'Reilly's gaffe - when he said what he believed rather than what Roger Ailes wants him to say - be salient? Won't many people - many Republican voters - actually ask: why can't I have what they're having?
John Aravosis wisely disagrees.
Imagine Republicans in red states convincing voters who don't have a lot of money, have precarious jobs if any, have a bad school system, have under-educated and less-than-healthy children, and whose home is about to be foreclosed on - imagine the Republicans being able to convince that voter that abortion and gay marriage are more important than their family's livelihood.

That is the definition of Red State.
Absolutely with Aravosis on this one. If Wingers/Teabaggers/Tenthers/Birthers were governed by logical, enlightened self-interest, they wouldn't be Wingers/Teabaggers/Tenthers/Birthers in the first friggin' place.

Case in point, Dan Riehl's reaction:
The problem is, the bill is quite possibly unconstitutional on its face. It'll see a court challenge before anything else, perhaps even from both sides. If it's constitutional, then a state government would have every right to do away with Medicare, along with several other federal programs, too. Try and rationalize that in a single SCOTUS brief. Somehow I doubt you could unless the court stands ready to take the Federal government apart piece by piece. The court would ultimately be tasked with determining if health care is indeed a constitutional right. Elections have consequences. What do think Sotomayor believes, not that she's much different than the justice she replaced?
And that's exactly how I see this playing out, Republicans will make sure this goes all the way to the top with the intent of using the Bush legacy Roberts court to dismantle as much of the Federal government as possible. It's the Club For Growth's wet dream.

There will be much sturm und drang, and in the end they just may get the Dems they need to Judas the party and kill it outright. But if it does pass somehow, you can bet the legal challenges will begin immediately to the law, with the intent of a 5-4 SCOTUS ruling to basically declare as much of the last 70 years of legislation as unconstitutional.

And that should scare the hell out of all of us.

Golf Clapping For Joe

Everything you need to know about the Village response to Joe F'ckin Lieberman's announcement yesterday can be summed up in today's WSJ editorial board.
Bravo, Joe. It's a relief to see at least someone standing up to the Washington rush to rearrange 18% of the U.S. economy without carefully inspecting the cost and the consequences. (See above for what the Senate Finance bill that is the basis for Mr. Reid's bill would do to insurance premiums.)

Mr. Lieberman added that he'd also oppose a bill that includes Mr. Reid's provision for states to "opt-out" of the public program "because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line." Exactly right again.

The opt-out language is a ruse designed to give the impression of political and consumer choice when it will provide none in practice. The many new mandates, regulations and taxes in Mr. Reid's bill would so distort every state's insurance market that premiums would rise fast in states that did opt-out, assuming private insurance was still available at all.

States would quickly have no choice but to sign onto Mr. Reid's Medicare-for-everyone alternative, which would charge lower rates because the government will rig the rules in its favor. Democrats on the left know that if they can create the public-option architecture in any form, it is certain to become the only option in relatively short order.

It's funny how an industry making massive profits where revenue is rising at the rate of 5-8% yearly and with anti-trust exemptions allowing functional monopolies can't possibly find any way to make any money in the free market.

How nice of Joe to stand up for America's endangered insurance company profits.

Just in case some friend of a friend of a nameless aide ever sees this, keep telling yourself that voters are going to reward Democrats that block health care reform and maintain the status quo. That worked so well in 1994, after all.

Conduct Unbecoming

But still amusing on a sophomoric level.
At the San Francisco Democratic Party annual gala, it was something of a scene when Arnold Schwarzenegger crashed the joint. Specifically, Tom Ammiano's comments, caused some stir when they were heard around the Capitol.

You might have thought there would have been some repurcussion. A bill vetoed that you wouldn't expect. And that was the case as AB 1176 was vetoed. But the SF Bay Guardian thought the veto message was a little bit odd. And after reading the bizarre message, they played a little codebreaker and figured out this little juvenile prank.

Ignoring the fact that he vetoed a bill that he probably should have signed in order to allow financing to go forward on several projects along the San Francisco waterfront, how low can this governor stoop? Implanting secret epithets into veto messages?

Yes, the first letters on each line of Ahnold's veto message told Tom Ammiano exactly what he and San Francisco can do, rhyming with "muck chew".

Pretty juvenile and petty...but in the end Ahnold is a Republican after all.


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