Friday, August 28, 2009
Ultimately Sargent is the victor in this debate. Hayes is not only an ideologue tool be is also a tool writing the official Dick Cheney biography. Sphere: Related Content
"With that in mind, I have two suggestions going forward. First, reform proponents should probably start telling the public that even Dick Armey thinks the idea of a public option sounds like 'a wonderful gift.'
And second, Democrats should declare, publicly and loudly, that in response to popular demand, they've decided to make the public plan purely optional. Conservatives drive a hard bargain, but reform proponents are not above compromise. As this item, posted by Josh Marshall, put it, 'I think Obama should use all the fictional friction points as bargaining chips. You want us to give up the tyranny of compulsory coverage? You win, Dick Armey. Will you support the bill now?'"
Sphere: Related Content
I support the appointment of Michael Dukakis to the interim position. My long term hope is that a Kennedy is not the Senator from Massachusetts. The impression of an entitlement to a seat in the Senate has gone on for too long. A Kennedy has been in this seat since 1953, except for the two years after John F. Kennedy was elected President.
If the Democrats want to run a liberal in the image of Ted Kennedy there are plenty of options. Sphere: Related Content
The Post reports:
"J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street's most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show."
Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said:
"'To favor one class of financial institutions over another class skews the market. You don't have a free market; you have a government-favored market,' he said. 'We will never have free markets again if you have the government picking winners and losers.'"Sphere: Related Content
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The WSJ reports how long athlete take to make $100,000. Sphere: Related Content
Monday, August 24, 2009
"don’t want to do the right thing because their self-interest points them toward doing something bad. But it’s impossible to imagine these same Senators stabbing a homeless person in a dark DC alley to steal his shoes. And what’s more, the entire political class would be (rightly!) shocked and appalled by the specter of a Senator murdering someone for personal gain. Yet it’s actually taken for granted that “my selfish desires dictate that I do x” constitutes a legitimate reason to do the wrong thing on important legislation."Perhaps the possibility of losing the next election is the catalyst for this cynical approach to governing but I don't think there is a direct relationship between what the politician does and what the voters know, believe or understand. The way the commentatorate frames the politicans actions is how the voters understand what happened. It is not the wrath of the voters politicians are afraid of it the rhetoric of the pundits.
David Frum has recently laid out a polemic for the right and has been strongly shunned and criticized for his stand on a principle of what he believes is the right thing to do. Most analysis of his actions are framed in the form of Apostasy. Turning on a politician is much more appealing to the pundit because they know who they are talking to, the pols constituents.
We don't have politicians that have the long term goals of the country in mind. If the oath congress takes to the constitution meant something they would be less willing to fold to pundits or voters in favor of the "moral and ethical dimensions of political disputes and political action." Perhaps this is an argument for term limits but would we get better people? We should also ask when were we at a place where the "moral and ethical" trumped the cold political choices?
Sphere: Related Content
"You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals. Hypocrite. The same God who instituted the death penalty for murderers is the same God who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals - sodomites, queers! That's what it was instituted for, okay? That's God, he hasn't changed. Oh, God doesn't feel that way in the New Testament ... God never "felt" anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed."I'm more "Christian" than this man and I am not even religious.
An example of his wife's Christianity from her blog:
"With any luck, this guy will get killed in a car accident while he is out trolling around in his squad car. It might save a Mom's life. Shame on his mother for raising such a worthless excuse for a human being. Yes, I did just say all that. And let me remind you that if you do not enjoy reading my blog, you never need to visit here again, and you will not be missed."Sphere: Related Content
Here is the NY Times story about his release and an excellent interview by Glenn Greenwald with Jonathan Hafetz, Mr. Jawad's lawyer. Sphere: Related Content
That claim may be sort of true. The GOP has been talking a lot but I would not call what they say sound arguments based on truth.
"consider Sarah Palin's controversial statement that Mr. Obama's health-care plan would establish 'death panels' capable of denying care to seniors."This line of 'argument' has been proven to be lies and huge distortions by a bi-partisan group of commentators.
"Better yet, they've stopped bad policies in their tracks. Consider Dick Cheney's decision to challenge Mr. Obama's inclination to go soft in the war on terror in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in May. By winning the argument that the nation needs a vigorous defense against al Qaeda, Mr. Cheney left Mr. Obama little choice but to stick with such Bush era policies as rendition of captured terrorists, immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperated with wiretapping possible terrorists, and targeting terrorist leaders for assassination."Unfortunately, President Obama and Cheney did not have an argument in this area. How could the GOP win if the President's position is so similar to the GOP's position. Michael Crowley at the TNR writes:
"Cheney won the argument that we need a vigorous defense against al Qaeda? When exactly was Obama arguing it the other way?If the arguments are so powerful and true why aren't the independents in the "mass migration" from the President's corner supporting the GOP? Because the GOP is not making and winning arguments. Barnes writes:
And consider the positions into which Barnes says Obama was supposedly badgered by the former vice president. Rendition? It's true that Obama hasn't prohibited the snatching of terror suspects off the streets. But in February he signed an executive order outlawing the extrajudicial 'extraordinary renditions' that were an innovation of the Bush-Cheney era, and will no longer send them to countries where we can expect them to be tortured. Telecom immunity? Obama voted to support it while he was still in the Senate, outraging the liberal left. Targeting terrorist leaders? Obama vowed during the 2008 campaign to do just that--a position conservatives both distorted and ridiculed."
"That's not the way politics works. Political recovery comes in two stages. The party out of power must first discredit the majority's ideas and agenda. Public approval comes later. It shows up on Election Day."Barnes is correct that the Democrat's plan has been somewhat discredited, albeit by lies not arguments, but as David Frum asks what do you do then? If the GOP does not have its own idea how to fix these problems beyond discrediting Democratic proposals, who is going to vote for them. Sphere: Related Content
"If one sifts through the nonsense, looking for something substantive, what we're left with is Steele's uninformed opposition to the creation of an Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC). The idea is to have appointed IMAC members -- physicians and medical experts, appointed by the White House and confirmed by the Senate -- who would have some added authority to help control what Medicare pays doctors and hospitals. The panel would probably help lower costs more effectively than Congress, which isn't especially good at these technical, medicinal, and scientific questions.
The idea was originally proposed by conservatives, embraced by Democrats, and would serve as part of a larger effort to save money and take political considerations out of the process.
And now Michael Steele wants seniors to think big bad Democrats are trying to undermine Medicare."
Sphere: Related Content
"Third, we need to outlaw any effort to ration health care based on age. Obama has promoted a program of "comparative effectiveness research" that he claims will be used only to study competing medical treatments. But this program could actually lead to government boards rationing treatments based on age. For example, if there are going to be only so many heart surgeries in a given year, the Democrats figure government will get more bang for its buck if more young and middle-aged people get them."Steele goes on to call for a bi-partisan approach on health care. The mind of Steele must have forgotten that President Obama has put health care reform in the hands of our only bi-partisan branch of government only to have anything but flexibility or compromise from the Republican party. Steele writes:
"Reversing course and joining Republicans in support of health care for our nation's senior citizens is a good place to start. Doing so will help him restart the reform process to give Americans access to low-cost, high-quality health care."Perhaps this faux call for bi-partisanship should start with Michael Steele telling us where the party he leads is flexible and willing to compromise on it core values. I don't think he can do it, obstructing and killing legislation is not a core value. Sphere: Related Content
"So first Baucus announces a deadline. Then he says we don't need no stinking deadline. I'm at a loss. I have been told by somebody in a position to know firsthand that Baucus, to put it delicately, is not an intellectual giant. But is he such an affable dolt that he simply agrees with whoever speaks with him last? Do other Senators routinely trade him shiny new dimes for drab old dollar bills? Just how mentally feeble is this man?"Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Media Matters Sphere: Related Content
Sphere: Related Content
"The idea of charging for water offends many people who think that would be like charging for air. Is it immoral to extract fees for an essential resource? Precisely because water is a public -- and exhaustible -- resource, the government has an obligation to manage it wisely.
Think of our water supply as a giant milkshake, and think of each demand for water as a straw in the glass. Most states permit a limitless number of straws -- and that has to change."
One proposed solution sounds like something out of fiction, possible the Simpson's:
"Some dreamers gaze upon distant sources of water and imagine that the problem is solved. Plans to divert water from rivers in British Columbia or tow icebergs from Alaska periodically arise."
Towing icebergs, really?
Photo is from hibernia.ca
There will be no health care bill that gets more than one to two Republican votes. It is time for the White House to play harder with the Democrats in Congress, particularly the Senate Dems.
Over the next two election cycles there are eight Democratic Senators running for re-election. It may be time for the party and the President to take advantage of this reality. I don't think it helps these eight Democrats to have a new president under cut on what is likely the biggest policy initiative of his presidency. It would pay off for congressional Democrats to strengthen Barack Obama's political power by passing reform in the strongest form possible.
Since the President, and politics in general, is fond of sports methaphors we can call this last week of August half time. The President needs to set the tone for the team that he leads and have them running out of the locker room with a new game plan and all on the same page. If he can't get firm commitments from the Democrats that strayed from the pack he and the party needs to use real internal party pressure on these politicians. Right now Barack Obama is still the most popular figure in the country and the fundraising possibility is amazing. If the Congressional Democrats want a piece of that they need to get in line. They should be told to imagine the possible electoral and fund raising power of a President that passed a major policy initiative and what that power does for them. Remind them that avoiding huge losses in the mid-terms is good for them as much as it is for the White House.
This week while vacationing in Martha's Vineyard Barack Obama should also make time to sit with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Democratic legislative leaders to stress the importance of changing state succession laws for the US Senate seats as soon as possible. Along with Patrick, President Obama stress to Senator Kennedy the need to resign if the State does change the succession law. It secures the Senator's legacy if a strong bill passes with him in retirement not if a weak bill fails with him kind of in office. A similar conversation should take place with Senator Robert Byrd in West Virginia.
What is likely to be the most important piece of legislation to come out of the Congress in nearly forty years and will create huge changes in our society over the next forty and beyond should not be held up by the lack of congressional and presidential leadership.
Eleanor Clift of Newsweek writes:
"Obama's message of conciliation worked perfectly in the '08 campaign in part because it's an authentic reflection of his personality. Axelrod harbored doubts about whether Obama's aversion to confrontation when it becomes nasty and personal would hamper him as a candidate. 'When it comes to taking a punch, I don't know whether you're Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson,' Axelrod wrote to Obama in a November 2006 memo reported in a new book that reprises the campaign by Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz and former Post writer Haynes Johnson. Now Obama supporters are wondering about their man. If they're to see what he's made of, Obama has to first get in the ring. Forget the niceties, it's time to fight."It is past the time for Barack Obama to get involved in this process. He needs to put out some strong speeches about the moral obligations we have to secure health care for everyone but he needs to get the politics in his party together first.
Photo is from Newsweek Sphere: Related Content