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Archive for November 9th, 2009

House Passes Health Care Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:48 am by HL

House Passes Health Care Bill
With a few dozen Democrats jumping ship and the support of just one Republican, the House passed a historic health reform bill by just five votes. The measure would expand coverage to most Americans through individual and employer mandates, outlaw some of the insurance companies’ more unsavory tactics and provide a weakened public insurance option. The House bill would cost more than President Barack Obama’s arbitrary limit of $900 billion, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would ultimately reduce the deficit over 10 years—another of the president’s requirements. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to pass its own vision of reform. The two measures would be combined in conference and then head back to be voted into law, or not, by both chambers. It’s easy to be cynical about all this. The House measure, more ambitious than what they’re talking about in the Senate, doesn’t do a whole lot to control runaway health care costs. And while the insurance companies would have to play a more honest game of pool, they would be flush with millions of new paying customers. Then there’s the public insurance option, a nice gesture but really so stingy it would be met with riots in civilized Europe. Still, Clintoncare never got out of committee. This is undeniably a historic moment, warts and all.  —PZS Bloomberg: The House voted 220-215 today to approve the measure, which would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Just one Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, backed the plan, and 39 Democrats broke ranks to oppose it. Lawmakers hailed the step as a historic follow-on to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. They said the bill would cover 36 million uninsured Americans and curb costs. New rules would prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and seniors would get help obtaining preventive care and medicine. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

With a few dozen Democrats jumping ship and the support of just one Republican, the House passed a historic health reform bill by just five votes. The measure would expand coverage to most Americans through individual and employer mandates, outlaw some of the insurance companies’ more unsavory tactics and provide a weakened public insurance option.

The House bill would cost more than President Barack Obama’s arbitrary limit of $900 billion, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would ultimately reduce the deficit over 10 years—another of the president’s requirements.

Now it’s the Senate’s turn to pass its own vision of reform. The two measures would be combined in conference and then head back to be voted into law, or not, by both chambers.

It’s easy to be cynical about all this. The House measure, more ambitious than what they’re talking about in the Senate, doesn’t do a whole lot to control runaway health care costs. And while the insurance companies would have to play a more honest game of pool, they would be flush with millions of new paying customers. Then there’s the public insurance option, a nice gesture but really so stingy it would be met with riots in civilized Europe.

Still, Clintoncare never got out of committee. This is undeniably a historic moment, warts and all.? —PZS

Bloomberg:

The House voted 220-215 today to approve the measure, which would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Just one Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, backed the plan, and 39 Democrats broke ranks to oppose it.

Lawmakers hailed the step as a historic follow-on to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. They said the bill would cover 36 million uninsured Americans and curb costs. New rules would prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and seniors would get help obtaining preventive care and medicine.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Hezbollah, Fearing War, Digs In
Hezbollah is reportedly prepping for another possible conflict with Israel, stocking up on arms and reinforcing fixed positions, as fears grow that the Netanyahu government will launch a new assault against Lebanon as a precursor to any attack against Iran and its nuclear facilities. The Guardian: Hezbollah is rapidly rearming in preparation for a new conflict with Israel, fearing that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will attack Lebanon again prior to any assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Last week, Israeli commandos seized a ship in the Mediterranean loaded with almost 400 tonnes of rockets and small arms – which Israel claimed was being sent from Iran to its Hezbollah allies. In dramatic further evidence of growing tensions, the Observer has learned that Hezbollah fighters have been busy reinforcing fixed defence positions north of the Litani river. Having lost many of its bunkers in the south, Hezbollah is preparing a new strategy to defend villages there. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Lebanon Bombed

Hezbollah is reportedly prepping for another possible conflict with Israel, stocking up on arms and reinforcing fixed positions, as fears grow that the Netanyahu government will launch a new assault against Lebanon as a precursor to any attack against Iran and its nuclear facilities.

The Guardian:

Hezbollah is rapidly rearming in preparation for a new conflict with Israel, fearing that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will attack Lebanon again prior to any assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Last week, Israeli commandos seized a ship in the Mediterranean loaded with almost 400 tonnes of rockets and small arms – which Israel claimed was being sent from Iran to its Hezbollah allies. In dramatic further evidence of growing tensions, the Observer has learned that Hezbollah fighters have been busy reinforcing fixed defence positions north of the Litani river.

Having lost many of its bunkers in the south, Hezbollah is preparing a new strategy to defend villages there.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries



Mikhail Gorbachev Supports US Withdrawal From Afghanistan (Video)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Mikhail Gorbachev Supports US Withdrawal From Afghanistan (Video)
Mikhail Gorbachev supports a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The former president of the Soviet Union spoke to CNN’s John King Sunday on State Of The…

Marcia Angell, M.D.: Is the House Health Care Bill Better than Nothing?
The House Health bill just throws good money after the bad. And because costs will keep rising, there is now a danger that people will conclude reform is impossible, when in reality, we still haven’t really tried.

Robert Kuttner: The Audacity to Change
If you look at what most historians regard as Kennedy’s finest hour, his leadership of the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, you appreciate that Kennedy above all had to face down most of his own advisers. Obama, like Kennedy, needs to overcome the dubious counsel of his own advisers, this time both economic and military. The president needs to listen to other voices, including his own. He had the audacity to run and to win. Now, will he have the audacity to learn and to lead?

Reese Schonfeld: “Informed Sources”: What Really Happened When Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin Got Into Upstate New York Politics
The latest tempest involved New York’s 23rd Congressional district, where the Republican candidate was forced out of the race because of her positions on gay and abortion rights.

Wall Street’s Record Bonuses Return: Analysts Predict $30 Billion In Bonuses At Big 3
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank, survivors of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, are set…


Breitbart fabricates smear that SEIU’s Stern is “sending SEIU goons” to “beat up innocent Americans”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Breitbart fabricates smear that SEIU’s Stern is “sending SEIU goons” to “beat up innocent Americans”

In November 8 comments posted on his Twitter account, Andrew Breitbart accused Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern of “sending SEIU goons” to “beat up innocent Americans.” However, the article to which Breitbart linked offered no evidence to support the claim that Stern was involved in violence at a local SEIU office in Sacramento, and it reported comments from local SEIU leaders that disputed the purported victim’s account of the incident.

Breitbart to Stern: “Stop sending SEIU goons 2 beat up innocent Americans.” On his Twitter account, Breitbart accused Stern of sending “goons” to inflict violence on California state employee and SEIU critic Ken Hamidi. Breitbart also challenged Stern: “Lets settle it like men, u&me. Im dead serious.” [Breitbart’s Twitter account, 11/08/09]

Linked article provided no evidence to support Breitbart’s claim. Breitbart linked to a November 6 article on the website of KCRA, a local Sacramento television station, reporting that Hamidi “claims that union leaders ordered him to be assaulted” at an SEIU Local 1000 meeting. However, the article also quoted a local SEIU official claiming that it was Hamidi, not local SEIU members, who initiated the violence.

From the KCRA article:

A state employee claims he was assaulted Thursday by four or five union members at a Service Employees International Union Local 1000 meeting.

The man also claims that union leaders ordered him to be assaulted.

“They were ordering them to get me thrown out, saying, ‘Throw him out of here, throw him out of here. Beat the hell out of him.'” Ken Hamidi said.

However, union leaders told a different version of what happened.

“He came to a union meeting with another woman who had film equipment. He was asked to leave,” Yvonne Walker, President of SEIU Local 1000, said. “When he refused, he became abusive to members of our staff. He actually physically assaulted a couple of our staff people.” [KCRA.com, 11/6/09]

Stern not part of the story. Despite Breitbart’s suggestion, the KCRA article did not mention Stern in any way. Hamidi’s accusation that “union leaders” ordered him to be beaten was aimed at the leaders of the local SEIU chapter, who, as noted above, strongly dispute the charge.

Hamidi removed from previous SEIU meetings. According to KCRA: “Hamidi is an outspoken critic of the union. He hosts a cable access show that regularly criticizes leaders of SEIU. Hamidi admits that police have escorted him out of previous union meetings.”


Muslim Mafia Booster Rep. Myrick: I’m On The Hasan Case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Muslim Mafia Booster Rep. Myrick: I’m On The Hasan Case
“We can’t continue to be so politically correct that we’re going to say this wasn’t religiously motivated,” Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) said today of the Fort Hood shootings.

Revealed: Pictures Of Gov. Crist’s $50K Birthday Cake From Accused Fraudster
Accused fraudster Scott Rothstein — who Gov. Charlie Crist claims, improbably, is just another supporter — shelled out $52,000 to sponsor the governor’s 52nd birthday cake. The Rothstein joined Crist to help blow out the candles. We’ve got the pictures.


Why the GOP is Dying, Reason 4

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Why the GOP is Dying, Reason 4


Low Turnout Didn’t Cause Democratic Losses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Low Turnout Didn’t Cause Democratic Losses
Charles Franklin: “The shifts in outcomes between the 2008 presidential and 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia were driven far more by shifts in voting preferences among groups than by changes in turnout across those groups. Only age groups show consistently substantial changes in relative share of the electorate. Vote preference, in comparison, shows quite large shifts between election years. While one narrative of the 2009 election was changing turnout motivation, this turns out to be substantially false. Instead, changes in candidate preference drove the Republican wins in both New Jersey and Virginia.”


Pentagon Pouring Your Money Into Afghanistan: Are They Preparing for a Very Long War?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Pentagon Pouring Your Money Into Afghanistan: Are They Preparing for a Very Long War?
Forget the "debates" in Washington over Afghan War policy. Construction activity and the flow of money suggests that the Pentagon plans to be there for a long, long time.

Atheists, It’s Time to Stand Up to Jesus
Civility has its uses, but atheists should not be afraid to mock faith to undermine religious power.

As Foreclosure Nightmares Increase, Will More Homeowners Pay Off Their Bankers in Violence?
The economic crisis revealed late-capitalism’s central offense: Human beings are being transparently treated if they were mere transactions. And they’re going postal over it.

Tea Partiers’ New Hero: Ex-KGB Agent Who Thinks U.S. Will Collapse Next Year
Igor Panarin warns that the U.S. will splinter into separate states controlled by foreign powers in 2010. Conservative activists think he may be on to something.

Young Conservatives Ashamed of GOP
Many college-aged conservatives are turned off by the Bible-thumping intolerance of much of the Republican Party.


Fannie Mae’s results – oh, and what if Bank of America reported the same way…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Fannie Mae’s results – oh, and what if Bank of America reported the same way…
There have been some mathematical corrections to this post discussed in the comments. My pencil notes had the numbers right. By the time I got to writing it out errors had entered. Sorry. Fannie Mae just put out awful looking…


Bank of AmericaFannie MaeBusinessFinancial servicesBanking Services

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Go Vikings! Keith Ellison Blasts Colleagues For Shameful Goldstone Vote — Betty McCollum Rips Israeli Ambassador
I have never simply cross posted something I wrote elsewhere but this is important and I am rushed big time. Besides, I am proud to be associated with Media Matters for America and proud that it is my home base…



Media Matters for AmericaKeith EllisonUnited StatesMichael ChabonMedia Matters


Lieberman Pledges To Filibuster House Bill: The Public Option Is ?Unnecessary?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Lieberman Pledges To Filibuster House Bill: The Public Option Is ?Unnecessary?
This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) about the House’s historic passage of health care legislation last night. Lieberman said that as a “matter of conscience,” he will join a Republican filibuster if a public option — which has supposedly been put forward “by people who really want […]

This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) about the House’s historic passage of health care legislation last night. Lieberman said that as a “matter of conscience,” he will join a Republican filibuster if a public option — which has supposedly been put forward “by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance” — is also included in the bill that goes before the Senate:

LIEBERMAN: A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance. They’ve got a right to do that; I think that would be wrong.

But worse than that, we have a problem even greater than the health insurance problems, and that is a debt — $12 trillion today, projected to be $21 trillion in 10 years.

WALLACE: So at this point, I take it, you’re a “no” vote in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today. I don’t want to do that to our children and grandchildren.

Watch it:

Late last month, Lieberman told reporters that he was planning to filibuster a public option. But a few days later, the Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office was confident Lieberman would “vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.” Today, Lieberman made it clear where he stands.

It isn’t really Lieberman’s “conscience” that is driving him to oppose the public option — more likely it’s his ego (since he told reporters that he likes feeling “relevant“). After all, Lieberman opposed the Senate Finance Committee bill even though it didn’t have a public option, and in 1994, his “conscience” told him that the filibuster was “unfair” and shouldn’t be used to block major legislation. He has also asserted that the public option would raise premiums and increase the debt, even though the Congressional Budget Office has disputed those claims. Furthermore, 60 percent of his constituents support a public option, but Lieberman has dismissed them as just being “confused.”

Transcript:

WALLACE: The House passed health care. What do you think of the bill they passed, and do you still intend — if there is a public option and there is this tax on so-called cadillac health plans — will you support a Republican filibuster on final passage in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there’s some good things in House-passed plan. I think we ought to do health care reform this year to deal with the two great problems that President Obama and others have talked about. There are unsustainable continuing increases in the cost of health care; we’ve got to stop that. And there are millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance.

But I’m afraid our colleagues in the House added a lot onto that that subtract from the genuine purposes of health care reform, and one was to create a public option plan. A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance. They’ve got a right to do that; I think that would be wrong.

But worse than that, we have a problem even greater than the health insurance problems, and that is a debt — $12 trillion today, projected to be $21 trillion in 10 years.

WALLACE: So at this point, I take it, you’re a “no” vote in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today. I don’t want to do that to our children and grandchildren.


Pawlenty’s forays demonstrate need for polish

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Pawlenty’s forays demonstrate need for polish
Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, after making a series of smart strategic moves over the past few months in advance of an expected run for president in 2012, has struggled on the national stage in the past few weeks.

Health bill compromises won over holdouts
So much for the political power of the public option.

Neil’s Must Reads



A vote to make or break a career
When Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao won a stunning victory in a heavily Democratic district in New Orleans last December, the GOP was so thrilled that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner sent a memo to his colleagues headlined “The Future is Cao.”