Monday, July 27, 2009

Headlines - Monday

Republicans just can't help themselves – they can't help but make the debate over health care reform all about politics instead of policy.

First, there was SC Sen. Jim DeMint:

On a [recent] conference call with conservative activists dealing with health care reform, in what is sure to become a rallying point for the White House, Sen. Jim DeMint said "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

And thenthere was OH Sen. George Voinovich:

Looking to score political points against President Obama makes up at least half the motivation for some Republicans' opposition to healthcare reform, one Republican senator said Wednesday.

"I think it's probably 50/50," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told CNBC in an interview when asked how much of the GOP's opposition to healthcare reform proposals backed by Obama is driven by a desire to "declaw" the president politically.

And OK Sen. Jim Inhofe:

And so we have all the issues on our side on this thing, and I think, you know, I just hope the President keeps talking about it, keeps trying to rush it through. We can stall it. And that's going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election.

And now MN Rep. Michele Bachmann:

This is radicalization of America like we have never seen before in the history of our country. But don't lose heart. Because the polling data is showing — Rasmussen for instance — polling data is showing that President Obama's numbers are dropping like a rock. As a matter of fact, his polling data now says that President Obama is a mere mortal. (Laughter) And so we can take heart. That is absolutely true.

Of course, I get politicking is all they have–the GOP's health care reform plan is all of 4 pages long:

House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn't know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.

Plus, MO Rep. Roy Blunt has said that the GOP has no intention of producing an actual health care reform plan:

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, "Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they've got to whatever we're offering right now?"

The Party of No Ideas doesn't have the slightest clue  how to reform health care; all they have are political games.  Sure, they'll keep sniping at the Democratic proposal, but at least the Democrats have a proposal; at least they have a plan that will reform our broken health care system and offer nearly-universal coverage.

22,000 Americans die each year because of inadequate health care coverage. I say it's time we started lowering that number, which means we have to start implementing policies instead of just playing politics.  The GOP might be okay with 22,000 preventable deaths annually, but I'm not, and nobody else should be, either.

In spite of the above, after having admitted that the GOP only wants to kill health care, and belonging to the MAJORITY PARTY, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) demands bipartisanship.


Oh, now I feel so reassured

Michael Hayden, former chief of the NSA and the CIA, in an op-ed piece in today's NYT, says that the warrantless wiretapping program was lawful:
There has been much controversy about the lawfulness of the program. Here I must point out that agency lawyers — career attorneys with deep expertise in the law, privacy and intelligence — assisted their professional Justice Department counterparts in their review of the program but remained comfortable throughout with the lawfulness of all aspects of the surveillance effort.
Yeah, the same career lawyers who opined that torture was legal? Those guys?

While demagoguing health care and jobless benefits, Governor Goodhair lives large off taxpayers
I would like to know what a man who lives in a house that rents for $9,900 a month, and has his every whim taken care of by chefs, stewards and housekeepers to the tune of $168,000 a year, knows about the travails of working people.

Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry of Texas seems to think he knows enough about the subject, since he is refusing $555 million worth of federal unemployment aid. And he says he would invoke something about states' rights in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution to keep any Obama-spawned national health care plan out of Texas.

Let's go back to the lead paragraph. This money is coming from the taxpayers of this state, even as Governor Goodhair rails against the wicked largess of the federal government.

The Houston Chronicle has run a couple of insightful pieces about the propensity of the longest-serving Texas governor (who started out as an ordinary West Texas farm boy) to live very high on the hog.

Here's a link to a March commentary, and here's another link to a report published just the other day.

In addition to this brazen hypocrisy and demagoguery, there's the matter of his response to swine flu. Perry solicited federal help to avert a pandemic, right after he all but advocated Texas secession. He taketh and does not giveth when it comes to questions of ordinary Texans' day-to-day survival. But, understand that a flu pandemic wouldn't exempt Governor Goodhair's superrich friends, or even him. That federal loot certainly comes in handy during times like that.

It's a long way to go until the Texas Republican Primary in 2010, so I expect plenty more hayseed grandstanding from Perry in the meantime. Stay tuned.

I am big, it's Alaska that got small 

My favorite line from the latest million mile an hour speech by the Resignator was the one where she told people to be careful about accepting "government largess" (looks like she got out a thesaurus for once).

This from governor who to doled out checks of literally thousands to each Alaskan resident (each man, woman and child) in her few years of office.

Not to mention Alaska takes far more money from the Federal Government per capita than any state, something that hasn't ended under Sarah Palin.

But, of course, there is also insistence she's a hero for quitting the job she was elected to serve, driven out, among other things by "delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets" who oppose shooting animals from helicopters. And then this bon mot to the media, ''How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin' things up?'' Yes, she managed to dedicate her quitting to soldiers who cannot until their terms are over (and sometimes not even then).

Someone had the right idea:

Larry Landry, 51, of Fairbanks held up a red, white and blue sign that that read, "Quitting: the new American value." The other side read: "Thanks for the laughs."

Yes, but you know the sequel is on the way.


What the federal government is doing in Utah

utah train line

People of a libertarian bent often ask "What has the federal government ever done for you?"

Well, in the case of Utah, here's one thing that the federal government is doing: While the free market is ignoring the problem of traffic congestion and lethal air pollution around Salt Lake City, the federal government is coming in and paying for the creation of a new commuter rail line running from the center of the city to the north, out past Ogden.

The new rail line will reduce traffic and air pollution, as well as cutting energy prices, lowering our nation's dependence on fossil fuels. The construction, maintenance and operation of the line will provide lots of jobs, and improve the economy of Salt Lake City.

Well, besides that, what has the federal government ever done for anybody? Lots, actually. The new Salt Lake City commuter line is just one project among many, many projects that the free market system is too heartless, blind and just plain dense to engage in.

Why is Obama apologizing about this?

President Barack Obama isn't apologizing for promoting expanded offshore drilling. He isn't saying he's sorry for blocking protections for polar bears, or ignoring other endangered species petitions. Obama isn't expressing remorse for abandoning the roadless rule he said he'd work to uphold. Obama isn't apologizing for knocking single payer health care off the table from the start, or for keeping George W. Bush's massive spy operations against American citizens going, or for establishing kangaroo courts, or promoting imprisonment without trial or criminal charges, or for defying the Freedom of Information Act to help Bush and Cheney cover up their torture regime, or for mixing church and state through his expanded "faith-based initiatives", or for sending Justice Department lawyers to court to spread some slurs against gays and lesbians now and again.

There's a lot of awful things that Barack Obama is doing that he doesn't seem to feel the need to apologize for. So, why the hell does he have to apologize for saying that it's stupid for police officers to arrest a man seen trying to get back inside his own house after the man has shown the police officers identification proving that it's his house? 


Scott Roeder, who shot Dr. George Tiller, links himself to Operation Rescue in a jailhouse interview. Color me shocked: 

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