Democrats have to pass healthcare

 Democrats simply do not have a choice.  Healthcare must be passed if it is the only thing Democrats do for the rest of the year.  If nothing passes, we will be dealing with another generation of conservative rule that will likely finish the job in tearing down the New Deal and the Great Society. 


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Mass. Voters Made Correct Choice, For Once

When Senator John Kerry was running for President in 2004, the prospect of having a Republican governor pick his replacement was unacceptable, so the State Legislature passed/overwrote the veto a bill that required a special election in the event of a vacancy, which presumably they would win.  Well, surprisingly, John Kerry lost, Mitt Romney was replaced by Deval Patrick(The Darling of the Far Left, according to Bill O" Reilly).  Ted Kennedy, knowing he was going to die and noticing before anyone the obvious dilemma.  When he died, he would be replaced by an elected candidate.  That might get in the way of healthcare reform.  So they tried to change it back to a governor appointed candidate, and the cries of hypocrisy turned them back.  

I know nothing about Scott Brown, but I don't care at all about him either.  The one thing I am assuming is he will not vote for cloture on the healthcare bill, which means it will die as a filibuster.  A filibuster is as stupid as having fist fights in a legislative body.  It has never protected minority rights, in fact, it has often been used to block minority rights.  And you used to have to stand up, attach one of those things to piss in that you get at a hospital, get a water bottle and read the phone book, 24/7.  In 2006-2008 the Republicans brought 95 filibusters, more than any other congress.  In 2008-2010 I don't have the numbers yet, nobody does, but they are definitely higher.  Its time to get rid of the filibuster and replace it with a better mechanism.  

Having said that, the current health care bill should be defeated.  If someone had called drug policy reform imposing the death penalty for marijuana possession, it would not be what advocates of "reform" had in mind.  The same logic applies to analyzing the current healthcare bill.  It is worth noting no other President ever had trouble passing something with 60 Senate votes in his pocket.  Its always assumed that if you are against the Democrats, you are a Republican.  Not true.  This is why the Massachusetts voters chose Brown.  There where two people in the race and they didn't want the healthcare bill to pass, even though it is basically law in their state.  They know how bad an individual mandate is.  

As for Ted Kennedy's predicting of this tragedy, it show that the Democrats have honored his legacy appropriately.  Recently his enthusiasm for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, his staunch support of the moral denigration of Israel into a racist and colonial human rights violator and his abandonment of single-payer healthcare among other things should have brought criticism.  I'm sorry if this contradicts your image of the Kennedys as these would be saviors, shinning leaders dedicated to leading you out of the woods.  JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, and only Lee Harvey Oswald as the evidence clearly shows.  The movies and books that pump other lies about what happened into the public consciousness do so on the pretext that Kennedy, after winning reelection would have withdrawn troops from Vietnam(even though he ordered the first bombing of South Vietnam), and went further saying he would have abolished the CIA, Federal Reserve, dismantled the military-industrial complex, and ended the cold war.  This is simply not true.  Bobby was merely an opportunist, using the activism of the sixties as a pretext for his gaining of political power.  In fact, replacing Kennedy with Johnson, though tragic, might have been a net plus for society.  Kennedy was a more dangerous leader than Adolf Hitler, willing and able to risk the extinction of civilization to defend his macho man image.  To pretend Kennedy, who grew up in one of the richest families in world history and also one of the most right-wing(his father supported the Nazis, often referred to as "appeasement") would have pursued more "liberal" policies than Johnson, who grew up in absolute poverty in west Texas, is a wet dream.  

Josh Marshall is Right, and Was Right in 2004

In the aftermath of the Massachusetts debacle, a lot of people are wondering what the hell happened.

The talking heads inside the Beltway are sure that it's because Obama is too Librul, of course, but I think that Josh Marshall talked about the core problem in August of 2004.

He was talking about the Bush-Kerry campaign, and he characterized it as follows:

Let's call it the Republicans' Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics. It goes something like this.


Consider for a moment what the big game is here. This is a battle between two candidates to demonstrate toughness on national security. Toughness is a unitary quality, really -- a personal, characterological quality rather than one rooted in policy or divisible in any real way. So both sides are trying to prove to undecided voters either that they're tougher than the other guy or at least tough enough for the job.


One way -- perhaps the best way -- to demonstrate someone's lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves -- thus the rough slang I used above. And that I think is a big part of what is happening here. Someone who can't or won't defend themselves certainly isn't someone you can depend upon to defend you.


Hitting someone and not having them hit back hurts the morale of that person's supporters, buoys the confidence of your own backers (particularly if many tend toward an authoritarian mindset) and tends to make the person who's receiving the hits into an object of contempt (even if also possibly also one of sympathy) in the eyes of the uncommitted.


Only now, it isn't the Republicans bitch slapping anyone. It's the Democrats who bitch slap themselves.

Or as Zaid Jilani's southern ConservaDem friend says:

And can I say this? F*ck the Democrats. They couldn’t get shit done with 60 seats, why the hell would I care if they have 59? F%$# them seriously we deserve to lose Congress this year. And don’t bitch and whine about it either how much has changed since we took over in 2006? Ain’t s%$# as far as I can tell. We capitulated to Bush, then capitulated to Republicans and now are just capitulating to ourselves.

F%$# it dude, I mean Republicans get whatever the fuck they want with 50 seats and we can’t do fuck all we deserve to lose

("%$#" mine, "*" original)

Fundamentally, when we look at what is going on in DC, it looks like no one in the Senate or the White House is even trying to make substantive change. (Pelosi, at least, creates the appearance that she is trying to do something)

What's more, among the DC Dems, there has been near constant bitch slapping of the Party Base, whether it's the capitulation on the public option, the labor union insurance surtax, or the constant drum beat of how "the left" hates the Democratic Party because they want to primary DINOs (Democrat In Name Only) who have safe seats. The central campaign platform of the Republican Party is that government can't do anything.

The Democratic Party seems to try very hard to prove them right.

Cross posted from 40 Years in the Desert.



To help pay for health care reforms, the House voted for a surtax on very high incomes, such as those over $500,000. Sounds like a good idea, since affordable and a step toward fixing the huge inequality in US annual incomes. The Senate rejected this idea, opting instead to tax very expensive health care insurance plans.

As Bob Herbert of the NY Times, points out, the Senate plan hurts many in the middle class. This is supposed to produce savings of $150 billion over 10 years. Herbert notes "According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, less than 18 percent of the revenue will come from the tax itself. The rest of the $150 billion, more than 82 percent of it, will come from the income taxes paid by workers who have been given pay raises by employers who will have voluntarily handed over the money they saved by offering their employees less valuable health insurance plans." Lots of luck counting on this.

The main effort to combat the rising cost of health care is through the insurance companies. Squeeze the insurers and they'll squeeze costs out of medical providers. How has that worked so far? It's beside the point but health insurance is an anomaly; sort of insuring to pay for food.

We don't hear much about computerizing all health records, or other cost saving measures. Or sometimes the savings are supposed to come from patient decisions:      declining tests, selecting lower cost providers. But patients don't work this way. It's difficult to shop for doctors or hospitals. And when your doctor recommends a test,you don't disagree.

Making insurers compete (the public option, removing anti-trust exemption) would of course help the insurance purchaser. But more is needed, negotiated drug prices,
importation of drugs, pushing best medical practice, fostering hospital competition with less duplication, supporting clinics that and medical groups that compete with doctor services.  In many ways, try to wring the high prices,excessive costs, and high profits. out of the system.

Good health care is a right for every citizen. It behooves our government to take the actions necessary to meet this goal.


An Open Letter to KOS

KOS, your progressive voice is a strong, eloquent, and persistent battle cry against the monstrously nihilistic conservative Republicans who are trying to tear our society apart. You were a prime force in getting President Obama and the Democratic Congress elected. Now you are pushing them to achieve progressive legislation, especially health care reform. However, your exertions against bipartisanship and your continued fight for the already-defeated public option only serve to pull Republicans into the next Congress.

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