Friday, September 10

Soledad O'Moran vs Imam Rauf

In this interview it is revealed why CNN isn't worth a good God damn.

Soledad O'Brian is snide, rude, dismissive and completely uninformed about her subject, Imama Feisal Adbul Rauf, head of the Cordoba Initiative and architect of the Park 51 project- but then again, what else should you expect from the Corporate News network?

Just as a contrast look at this report from that radical network - CNN - which profiles Imam Rauf, and contrary to Soledad, seems to know something about him. Wow, look what some basic research on your subject can do!

In this piece, it is noted that Imam Rauf has indeed been working on behalf of the U.S. State Dept for the past 2 months and has been overseas in that capacity, feeling that is was inappropriate to address a situation like this from other shores.

In this piece, it is said that he is of the Sufi sect which is opposed to the radicalism and violence of Al Qeada, Hezbollah or Hamas. (Yet, Still Soledad has to ask him if he "condemns" Hamas for their actions - FACE PALM!)

In this piece it's pointed out that Park 51 is not an Islamic Mosque, but an true Inter-Faith Center which will include not only a prayer space for Muslims but also for Christians and Jews. It is pointed out that it will contain a 9-11 Memorial that will be open to persons of all faiths. (Yet still, Soledad has to ask him repeated why he won't simply move "the mosque" somewhere else - where, naturally it's 9-11 memorial would have no meaning or power - and continually harangue on him about how people who don't know half the facts, like the fact it's not a "Mosque", "feel" about it)

Simply put this is not a "Victory Mosque", but is instead an Inter-Faith Community Center Design to enable Muslims and non-Muslims to get to know each other casually in order to help build the bonds of peace. (Yet Soledad continues to ask, over and over again, "Are you still going to build it there" - ignoring the fact that opposition to the mosque has already helped Taliban Recuitement, the result of moving it in capitulation to all the whining would at the very least make it skyrocket, and hence Feisal being sensitive to that old pesky issue - National Security - is not going to run away and hide simply because of few opportunistic politicians have decided to create a false issue out of the situation and put our Troops in the crossfire as a result)

Watching this, is literally like looking at two people who are living in two parallel dimensions try to have a coherent conversation. instead of the multi-phasic quantum train wreck their experiencing.

The bit about the strip clubs, which Soledad blows off as irrelevent is especially poignant as Rauf responds to her "How can something be 'Sacred Ground' when it includes Strip Clubs?".

is this a Sacred Strip Club? Holy Strippers for the Lord? Oh geebus, don't let any of those dirty Muslims near the Strippers - who knows what might happen! (Someone might wind up with big pile of singles in their g-string)

This is a farce, from top to bottom.

Whose side are you on Soledad, America's or the Radical Christian/Muslim Extremists? Frankly the the radicals from both sides (as Feisal points out repeatedly) are only people who benefit from this situation and want to prolong it, so why are you helping them so stupidly and enthusiastically, Ms. O'Brain? (No, that wasn't a typo)

For his part Feisal does a credible job of making his case, despite Soledad's dismissive attitude and rude interruptions. It's fair to say that some hard questions needed to be asked and answered in this situation, but - gee - if Soledad had only bothered to watch her own damn network she would have already had the answer to half those questions, and wouldn't have had to repeat them 4 or 5 times after Feisal gave a perfectly logical and coherent answer.

Sad and pathetic "journalism" you got there.


The True Lesson of 9/11 - It's Just Us.

It is so much better to now have a President that can, off the cuff, articulate the true American heart in such a clear and heartfelt way.

Everyone has talked about this in the last day, but listen to him - really listen to him.

"I think I've been pretty clear on my position here. And that is, is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights; one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site...

On the day nine years ago, America was attacked, America was wounded. America was broken and in response we lashed out. We attacked and invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of those who attacked us.

Then America got off track. And we connected Saddam to 9/11 and al Qaeda. We began to go after them - everywhere. We invaded a secular nation, in search of a pack of Sunni Religious Extremists. Finally that war is winding down, nearly ended - the first Afghanistan War is beginning to reach it's conclusion.

And our new President, even if not entirely according to his plan, is leading us out of that darkness and back into the courage and the light of our true ideals.

"We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts. And we've got to be clear about that. We've got to be clear about that because ... if we're going to successfully reduce the terrorist threat, then we need all the allies we can get. The folks who are most interested in a war between the United States or the West and Islam are al Qaeda. That's what they've been banking on.

We are at War not with Islam, but with Extremists who would distort Faith into Hate. Who would kill in order to "save" us from ourselves. Islam is not our enemy and never has been. Some of us have known this all along, others still seem to be ignorant of it.

On this day, we should strive to remember not only our collective shock, horror, pain and grief on that day, but also what binds us all - what common hopes we all have, what common values. We should not let those who wish to continue to divide us, be they American Conservatives who wish to Demonize Islam as Rachel describes here, or be they radial Islamicist radicals overseas who attempt to do the same.

We can only defeat and out argue all of these forces if we do so together - rather than separately.

"And fortunately, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world are peace-loving, are interested in the same things that you and I are interested in: how do I make sure I can get a good job, how can I make sure that my kids get a decent education, how can I make sure I'm safe, how can I improve my lot in life. And so they have rejected this violent ideology for the most part, overwhelmingly.

"And so from a national security interest, we want to be clear about who the enemy is here. It's a handful, a tiny minority of people who are engaging in horrific acts and have killed Muslims more than anybody else.

A tiny minority of people. Just 19 guys on a set of airplanes. Just about 100 guys in Afghanistan. Just about 30-50 people in Gainseville Florida. All it takes is a few people will to stand up against that hate, like those who fought through the smoke and fire on that day, to undo all the harm that they wish to do.

"The other reason it's important for us to remember that is because we've got millions of Muslim-Americans, our fellow citizens, in this country. They're going to school with our kids. They're our neighbors. They're our friends. They're our coworkers. And, you know, when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?

"I've got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan, in the uniform of the United States armed services. They're out there putting their lives on the line for us, and we've got to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sakes and their sakes: They are Americans. And we honor their service. And part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don't differentiate between 'them' and 'us.' It's just 'us.'"

Ultimately this battle moving into the future is not simple a War of bullets and bombs, but a War of Ideals and Ideas.

It is not "Them" vs "Us" across a religious gulf. It's Just Us!.

That is the true lesson of 9/11. Many died during the attack on towers. Many more died in the invasion and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. In then all of those people - combatants, non-combatants, military, civilian, innocent, guilty - are just us.

We live on one world. We are one people. We are one race - the human race.

God bless us all.


Obama's Weekly Address on This Day.

My own Video Retrospective/Tribute to all of what we've seen and done these past 9 Years:

Wednesday, September 8

The Supremacist Radical (Terry Jones) vs the Interfaith Moderate (Faisal Rauf)

Despite what Gen. Petreaus says about this proposed Hate Crime of burning the Qur'an - and make no mistake It Is A Hate Crime - this wackjob actually thinks he's defending America? He's defending Christianity? Just imagine if they were planning to Burn a Cross on their front lawn? (Which the SCOTUS determined was not a protected form of free speech in 2004)? Burning a Flag is a political statement, but burning someone elses religious text is an act of Hate and Terrorism. He's an embarrassment, he's a Hate-Monger and nothing more.

Attorney General Eric Holder has come down hard against this action, considering how anti-mosque protests have already emboldened the Taliban and helped their recruiting efforts.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is calling the planned burning of the Quran at a Florida church idiotic and dangerous. The Justice Department confirms that Holder made the remarks in a meeting with religious leaders to discuss recent attacks on Muslims and mosques around the United States.

The first video is good, but it's actually during the second portion of the interview that Andersen really nails this apparent scam artist and American Talibani. Full Transcript.

COOPER: Sir, on -- on your Web site -- on television, you say one thing. On your Web site and in your preachings, you say something else.

You say there should be no Muslims allowed to immigrate to the United States and you say there no new mosques should be allowed to be built in the United States.

Do you deny saying that on your Web site and in your preaching?

JONES: No, I do not deny that.


JONES: That is my -- that is -- that is my opinion, but my opinion does not supersede the Constitution.

My opinion, we would be better off if we paid more attention. We would be better off if we really checked the Muslims that immigrated here. We see that problem very clearly in Europe. That is my opinion. That is not the Constitution.

So, I stand to the Constitution, that they have freedom of worship and freedom to build mosques.

He doesn't just oppose building Park51 near the Ground Zero site, he opposes building Any mosque in the U.S., or even allowing any Muslim to enter the U.S. So is he a bigot?

COOPER: Do you consider yourself a bigot?

JONES: No, not at all. And we do not consider our message a message of hate.

It is -- it is a clear message of warning. We have tried to make it very, very clear that, according to the United States Constitution, Muslims are more than welcome in America. They are welcome to worship. They are welcome to build mosques.

We have made that very, very clear. I understand they're not in agreement. And they're mad and angry. They're -- they're -- they're insulted because we are burning the Koran, but they should, indeed, be with us on the fact that radical Islam is bad. It is evil. We do not want it in this country.

See, he's not a bigot - he's just against radical Islam - and every mosque in the country, and every Muslim in the country. But he's not "hateful". Nooooo.

Cooper: But I asked about the bigotry, because the definition of a bigot that I just got off is a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics or race.

You do appear to be remarkably intolerant on any ideas other than your own regarding religion.

JONES: We are -- as the Bible teaches, as Jesus teaches, we are intolerant, yes.

COOPER: So, if bigot -- so if being a bigot...

JONES: And the Koran does not...


COOPER: So, if being a bigot is being intolerant of anyone else's ideas on religion other than your own, you would -- you would say, yes, you're a bigot?

JONES: We believe there is only one way, and that is Jesus Christ. People have freedom to worship as they please. That is what I said.

People have the "Right" to worship as they please, they should just worship how I say they should. Yea, that would be the definition of Intolerant Bigotry right there.

JONES: Jesus Christ is the only way.

COOPER: You're stating a fact there. But that's not your desire. You don't want Muslims to have freedom to worship in this country. You don't want Muslims to be able to build new mosques here. You don't want more Muslims coming to the United States. Correct?

JONES: That is not correct. And it depends on who you are asking.

COOPER: On your Web site, you say: "Stop all Islamic immigration. You're only coming to this land to take over and try to enforce the Islamic laws upon us." And you say, "Stop building all mosques until churches can be built in Saudi Arabia."

So, you don't want Muslims coming here and you don't want new mosques being built. You're -- I know you're not saying that's the law. Under the Constitution, they can. But you're saying, you don't like that.

JONES: It is my opinion, yes. As I said -- as I said, as a Christian, I wish that all Muslims would get saved. I wish that they would all convert to Christianity, because Christianity is the one and only true religion.

The Koran, in our opinion, is an evil book.

Yeah, that's not bigoted at all. He's only against Radical Islam except that he's thinks the book read and worshiped by all the non-radical Muslim's is "Evil".

JONES: Do you want to know what the Bible says about the Koran?

COOPER: ... to answer the question, I understand. But -- but I'm just asking the question, have you read the Koran?

JONES: I said no. I have read parts of the Koran.

If you add to this book, let him be accursed -- that's what the Bible says about the Koran.

My wife tells me this is quote from St. John the Apostle in Revelations - but it's out of context. John was talking about his own writing - he was talking about Revelations itself which was written around 87 C.E., not the entire Bible which wasn't compiled as a comprehensive book until Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome around 331 C.E., nearly 150 years later.

The Qur'an wasn't even written until 632 C.E., another 300 years later - so how exactly did St. John comment on it 5 centuries previously?

You know who else believes that "everything would be fine if everyone would just convert to his religion"? Osama Bin Laden, that's who.

Contrast this Dangerous Nutball with the actual Imam for Cordoba House/Park 51 who has written an Op/Ed in the NYTimes. Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf is a Sufi, part of an Islamic sect which opposes the extremism of the Sunnis in Al Qaeda or the Shia in Hezbollah, and has operated a Mosque just ten blocks from Ground Zero for the last 28 years.

Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.

I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing.

President Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg both spoke out in support of our project. As I traveled overseas, I saw firsthand how their words and actions made a tremendous impact on the Muslim street and on Muslim leaders. It was striking: a Christian president and a Jewish mayor of New York supporting the rights of Muslims. Their statements sent a powerful message about what America stands for, and will be remembered as a milestone in improving American-Muslim relations.

Quite a few people, like David Gergen and even Newt Gingrich have argued that if they want to truly generate "Inter-Faith" with Park 51/Cordoba they should include an Inter-Faith area of Worship. I myself had argued that this is the only compromise they should seriously consider. Well, THEY ALREADY DO.

At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths. The center will also include a multifaith memorial dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

So why should this be moved? It already is a inter-faith and multi-faith worship center - not a "Victory Mosque". It contains a Memorial to 9/11 open to people of all faiths. So the argument is that this memorial is TOO CLOSE to the actual 9/11, or that the fact that in includes Muslims as well as everyone else should be a reason that is "too insensitive" to the victims of 9/11 when many of those victims were Muslim too?

Talk about the opposite of Intolerance and bigotry.


The News of the Impending Dem Bloodbath may be premature

You can look at it from a lot of angles, but it's fair to say that generally speaking the picture for this November is ugly. According to Election Projection Democrats are likely to lose control of the House by 1 Seat :

House Results
Democrats 217 -39
Republicans 218 +39

And in the Senate by 2 Seats

Seenate Results:
Democrats 48 -9
Republicans 50 +9

Although this would be a horrible thing for the Democrats, it appears that it's actually a much more fragile prospect than much of the Punditocracy would like us to believe.

Now Election Projection is simply looking at the most recent set of polls without the benefit of analysis or context, but I think it's shocking to really consider the possibility that we could lose both Houses. That means Speaker John Boehner with Darryl Issa running his own Inquisition with Subpoena power, and Paul Ryan and his Reverse-Robin Hood Plan running the budget committee, not to mention Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with Senators Rand Paul and Sharon Angle?

I mean seriously.

So what does it take to avoid this fate? Looking at this worst case scenario who are the seats and races that we have the strongest chance of preserving and ensuring that Republicans have to take to gain control of either the House or Senate?

The Senate according to Nate Silver's (which has an excellent track record and is now sponsored by the New York Times) there are just 9 seats currently listed as "Tossup".

FiveThirtyEight Gives us 46 Safe Democratic Seats, 4 Leaning Democratic and these 9 - (Current most likely Winners in Bold)

StateDemocratRepublicanInd/OtherChance of Win
ColoradoMichael BennetKen Buck77% Rep
FloridaKendrick MeekMarco RubioCharlie Christ52% Rep
IllinoisAlex GiannouliasMark Steven Kirk53% Dem
MissouriRobin CarnahanRoy Blunt91% Rep
New HampshirePaul Hodes5 Candidates77% Rep
NevadaHarry ReidSharon Angle59% Rep
OhioLee FisherRob Portman82% Rep
PennsylvaniaJoe SestakPat Toomey88% Rep
WisconsinRuss Feingold3 Candidates69% Dem

So the more sophisticated projection shows us probably keeping the Senate as long as we keep at least one of the above, even if we do lose Harry Reid (but don't count him out yet!). All we need to do is KEEP THOSE TWO SEATS ON THE BUBBLE. I mean, I won't be satisfied by that considering the filibuster abuse we've been going through already, but even looking at it this far out it doesn't yet seem like a total bloodbath.

FiveThirtyEight doesn't yet have a similar analysis in place for the House, so using the less sophisticated ElectionProjection we basically have this when we look at the threatened Democratic Incumbents and Seats.

SeatDemocratRepublicanRep Lead
Arizona-1Ann Kirkpatric-IncPaul Gosar+0.3
Arkansas-1Chad CauseyRick Crawford+7
Arkansas-2Joyce ElliotTim Griffin+13.8
Colorado-4Betsy Markey-IncCorey Gardner+4
Florida-2Alan Boyd-IncSteve Southerland+1.3
Florida-8Alan Grayson-IncDan Webster+3.6
Florida-24Susan Kosmas-IncSandy Adams+1.8
Illinois-11Deborah Halvorson-IncAdam Kinizinger+8
Illinois-14Bill Foster-IncRandy Hultgren+2.6
Indiana-8Trent VanHaaften-IncLarry Bucshon+3.8
Indiana-9Baron Hill-IncTodd Young+1.3
Iowa-3Leonard Boswell-IncBrad Zaun+3.5
Kansas-3Stephene MooreKen Yoder+5.3
Louisiana-3Ravi Sangisetty-Incundetermined+10.3
Maryland-1Frank Kratovi-Incundetermined+2.5
Michigan-1Gary McDowell-IncDan Benishek+5.6
Michigan-7Mark Shauer-IncTim Walberg+4.3
Mississippi-1Travis Childers-IncAlan Nunnelee+3.4
Nevada-3Dina Titus-IncJoseph Heck+1
New Hampshire-1Carol Shea-Porter-Incundetermined+2.8
New Hampshire-2undeterminedundetermined+2.8
New Mexico-2Harry Teague-IncSteve Pearce+2
New York-24Michael Arcuri-Incundetermined+1.8
New York-29undeterminedundetermined+10.3
North Dakota-ALEarl Pomeroy-IncRick Berg+4.6
Ohio-1Steve Driehaus-IncSteve Chabot+3.3
Ohio-15Mary Jo Kilroy-IncSteve Stivers+3
Ohio-16John Bocceri-IncJim Renacci+3.8
Penn-3Kathy Dalkhemper-IncMike Kelly+1.3
Penn-7Bryan LentzPatrick Meehan+0.2
Pann-10Chris Carney-IncThomas Marino+1.3
Penn-11Paul Kanjorski-IncLouis Barletta+7
S. Carolina-5John Spratt-IncMike Mulvaney+1.3
S. Dakota-ALS. Herseth-Sandlin-IncKristi Noem+3.1
Tennesee-6Brett CarterDiane Black+10.3
Tennesee-8Roy HerronStephen Fincher+3.5
Texas-17Chet Edwards-IncBill Flores+1.8
Virginia-2Glenn Nye-IncScott Rigell+2.1
Virginia-5Tom Periello-IncRobert Hurt+8.5
Washington-3Denny Heck-IncJaime Herrero+5.6

Although there are a lot of Democratic seats with a huge Republican lead in double digits, what's most notable about this is how many of these races (26) are at just 1% to 3% down - which is within the margin of error. A lot of these races could go either way, and in order to take congress, Republicans Have to RUN THE TABLE.

Beyond the safe Republican and Democratic seats, these Battleground Districts need to be vigorously defended.

We can't afford to lose Alan Grayson, but certainly can't let former Rove Lackey Tim (Vote Cager) Griffin become a member of Congress. Someone who while a member of the RNC violated a Federal Court Order to block the counting of absentee ballots submitted by African American Troops while they were serving in Iraq, then as a reward he was granted a spot as U.S. Attorney - replacing Attorneys like Robert Iglesias who wouldn't setup bogus prosecutions of ACORN and bypassing Senate Confirmation thanks to loopholes in the Patriot act - this Bushie leftover CAN NOT become a member the Controlling Majority in Congress. No way. No how!

We need to show who these people are...


Sharon Angle -"We might have to resort to Second Amendment Remedies", "The People have become Spoiled", "Phase out Social Security" yet she lives off her Husbands Federal Pension.

Rand Paul - "I would have a discussion about Public Accomodations and business right to discriminate", Holding BP accountable is "Un-American"

Joe Miller - "Dismantle Medicare"

Rubio - 'Repeal Health Care", "Make Bush Tax Cuts Permanent" but "Employee Benefit extension must be paid for"

Mitch McConnel - "I take Obama at his word that he's a Christian"

Joe Wilson - "You Lie"

Mike Pence - "I don't think Rush Limbaugh has a Racist Bone in his body"

Joe Barton - "I apologize to BP" for the White House "Shakedown"

Michele Bachmann - "Obama Stands with Achmedinejad", "We have to stop this Gangster Government", "I want people armed and dangers on cap and trade", "We need an investigation of Congress for their Anti-American views..."

John Boehner - "The Stimulus hasn't created a Single Job","We'll Defund Health Care"

To avoid this Democrats need to get out and Campaign Hard as the President did yesterday, they need to stand on their record - be willing to push back on all the GOP Talking points about "Government Takeover" and "Death Panels", note as was mentioned this weekend on Meet the Press that even though this recovery has been tough, it's still been one of strongest recoveries in history (after one of the largest crashes in history) - they need be willing to point to wavering Liberals and Progressives that the final Health Care Bill actually came out a little bit better with the Non-Profit Option than it would have been with the Public Option.

They need to FIGHT, and we need to help them.

We will probably lose some seats this November, but really there's no reason for us to lose All OF THEM - not if we ActBlue and move to protect our Democratic Majorities right now, and keep doing so right until November.


Monday, September 6

Revealing the Stealth Public Option

Heading into the midterm elections, the level of vitriol and energy on the right continues to rise while those and the left feel demoralized, betrayed, and dispirited despite numerous legislative accomplishments by the Democratic Congress and President Obama.

Chief among those disappointments is the lack of single payer plan, or at the very least - a public option within the plan to allow people to avoid having to choose exclusively from health insurance agencies motivated entirely by profit, not patient satisfaction.

What many of us apparently don't know is the final version of the PPACA as passed actually does include something that functions as a public option, and in some ways may even be slightly better as scored by the CBO.

Here's one recent diary which wistfully pines for better non-profit options.
Where we should be talking about the future reforms we need - i.e., opening up Medicare to more Americans on an opt-in basis, creating a more powerful nonprofit option (whether it's negotiated on Medicare rates or not, putting patients ahead of profits), and reining in insurance company abuses and rate increases - instead, we're too busy attacking and ceding political turf to the Republicans, who did NOTHING to support reform and even lied about it to scare voters.
My point here is this nonprofit option already exists.

The final Health Care bill included the "Non-For-Profit Option" as overseen by the Office of Personal Management which scored just as well as the Public Option for Budget Reduction and Cost Savings according to CBO - so for those who desired downward pressure on costs, that's exactly what we have.

The Original Kennedy-Dodd Senate Bill did not include a Public Option and Scored at about $1 Trillion, but after the PO it was re-scored at $389 billion cheaper initially - but also that it's long term projection of over ten years would have increased the deficit by over half a billion

Indeed, according to CBO's July 2 score of the HELP bill, under the legislation, 21 million fewer Americans would be uninsured in 2019 than under current law. In a July 1 letter to members of the HELP committee, publicly released the following day, Kennedy and Dodd wrote that the "Congressional Budget Office has carefully reviewed our complete bill, and we are pleased to report that the CBO has scored it at $611.4 billion over 10 years, with the new coverage provisions scored at $597 billion" -- a cost they noted was a "significant reduction from earlier estimates." The preliminary score of the complete bill that the committee released stated that Title I of the bill would increase the deficit by $597 billion over 10 years.

See that? The Kennedy Bill with the PO included increased the deficit.

The final bill came in with a higher initial costs due to increased subsidies for low income insurance seekers, but long term deficit reductions were an almost $2 Trillion improvement over 20 years.

Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the second ten year period.

The source said it also extends Medicare's solvency by at least nine years and reduces the rate of its growth by 1.4 percent, while closing the doughnut hole for seniors, meaning there will no longer be a gap in coverage of medication. The CBO also estimated it would extend coverage to 32 million additional people.

The Public Option was removed during negotiations with Sen. Joe Leiberman in the "Manager's Amendment". That amendment was scored by CBO here, where it showed that this option saves just as much of a cost savings as the Public Option did, in fact it came out $2 billion cheaper.

This estimate incorporates the effects of the manager’s amendment, which would make a number of changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as originally proposed. The changes with the largest budgetary effects include: expanding eligibility for a small business tax credit; increasing penalties on certain uninsured people; replacing a "public plan" that would be run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with "multi-state" plans that would be offered under contract with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); deleting provisions that would increase payment rates for physicians under Medicare; and increasing the payroll tax on higher-income individuals and families. Of the total deficit reduction of $132 billion projected to result from the legislation, the manager’s amendment accounts for about $2 billion, and the act as originally proposed accounts for the remaining $130 billion.


The proposal would call on OPM to contract for two national or multi-state health insurance plans—one of which would have to be nonprofit—that would be offered through the insurance exchanges.

Considering the intensity of the opposition against the public option, the Stealth Option was able to slip in under the wire without being noticed by the press, and largely without being noticed by the legislators themselves. As a result they haven't been able to respond back to their own constituents on the Left who loudly complain that they caved when the rubber met the road.

In the end, we got 90-95%% of what we wanted and needed.

One of the few Democrats I've even seen bring this provision up was Sen. Mary Landrieu (at 11:58) as she was being attacked and criticized by Howard Dean. (Some of Dean's long list of criticisms here especially the ability to charge older person were removed, along with the "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kick-back" via Reconciliation after the House passed the Senate version of the bill with the Manager's Amendment)

Landrieu: In the Bill that the Governor now says he's not for, there is a national non-profit option that gives the same choices that members of Congress and Federal Employees have...

In all the twists and turns of the legislation - this point was completely lost. We have something that is just as good as what most of us wanted, and maybe having it going through in the background was best, because otherwise if it had gotten more focus and more press - just like Single Payer, and just like the PO, it might have been stripped out too, but it wasn't.

Other issues criticizing the bill, which I've seen are arguments that it doesn't contain "cost controls" - this has especially been brought up by NYCEVE. in What happened to the promise to "control skyrocketing premiums"?!

However, the PPACA does have cost controls, it requires an 85% Medical Loss Ratio, which means that at least 85% of the money paid in as part of premiums has to go to actual care, not advertising, not overhead, not stock value.

NYCeve's next major complaint is that their aren't any limits on deductibles in "junk insurance" - but there will be for people buying employer based insurance outside of the Exchange through their employer.

(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a health plan offered
in the small group market, the deductible under the plan shall not exceed—
(i) $2,000 in the case of a plan covering a single
individual; and
(ii) $4,000 in the case of any other plan.
The amounts under clauses (i) and (ii) may be increased by the maximum amount of reimbursement which is reasonably available to a participant under a flexible spending arrangement described in section 106(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (determined without regard to any salary reduction arrangement).

Prior to the actual implementation of the full plan in 2014, it's not that surprising that some insurers would try to price gouge before they get hit with the ban on life time limits, the 85% medical loss ratio, and the limit on out-of-pocket cost, however they do so at their own risk of being punished for it because there are penalties for Insurers who issue exorbitant rate hikes.

The law allows states that have, or plan to implement, measures that require insurance companies to justify their premium increases to be eligible for $250 million in new grants. Insurance companies with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014.

If the companies try to jack up prices now, as some appear to be doing - although these may be outliers according to the Kaiser Report which says that overall 2010 insurance rates have only increased between 3%-5% - before the exchanges come online if 2014, they either have to justify it or not get any access to the new customers available in the exchanges.

Lastly on this point, if an insurer takes the risk of gouging anyway though the exchange, they can be forced to pay back their customers via rebates.

From the CBO

Several provisions regulating insurers were added, including a requirement for an insurer to provide rebates if its share of premiums going to administrative costs exceeds specified levels and a general prohibition on imposing annual limits on the amount of benefits that would be covered.

If insurers charge more than the 85% limit they have to GIVE THE DIFFERENCE BACK as a rebate. That would be what's called a Price Control.

Nyceve's issue with the junk insurance would not apply to the insurance offered through the Exchanges in 2014 which require that preventative care be offered for free (not with a high deductible), and that a fairly comprehensive minimum set of coverage - for the bronze plans - which haven't even been established by the Secretary of HHS yet be made available at a reasonably affordable price, with subsidies available for those who still can't afford them.

Beyond Health Care the second major criticism of the Obama Administration has been their failure to address the War Crimes of the previous Administration and their overall handing of the "Rule of Law".

The problem isn't just with the Administration, it's with the Law itself and Congress failure to correct that law, although the SCOTUS has been gradually correcting much of this on their own.

After losing the Hamdan case the Bush Administration pushed through the Military Commissions Act which stripped Foreign Enemy Combatants of Habaeus protection, some of which was restored by Boumediene in regards to Gitmo, but as yet has not been restored for Bagram A.F.B. which is were the current detention sore festers. Thus Far the Courts have ruled against Bagram Habeas petitions in accordance with the MCA, but this issue has yet to reach SCOTUS.

On two levels, both via executive order and via both Hamdan & Boumediene at the SCOTUS Habeaus has been restored for Enemy Combatants - but not yet for those held in Bagram, and that is where Congress needs to act.

Don't like Warrantless Searches? Congress essentially Ratified them with the FISA Fix Congress needs to "Unfix" it. Unlike the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration's Justice Dept has been implementing the law as written even if it's a lousy law. The problem is the law itself, not the Administration who has pledged to uphold the law - even when that law sucks.

The investigation of Torture & Bush War Crimes has been handed off to a Special Prosecutor, and although there is no guarantee exactly what that prosecutor will do, or how far they will or won't take the case - it is clearly NOT fair to argue that the Administration has ignored the issue, they've done what they should have done which is let a prosecutor handle this outside of the political process, but under the law. The problem is with the law itself, specifically the MCA which effectively immunized many of these activities retroactively by re-writing the War Crimes Act to match the Bybee Standard (Torture equals Likely Death Only) during the lame-duck session of 2006 right after the Hamdan decision came down. Obama wasn't even in the Senate when that happened.

Admittedly Obama hasn't addressed this since campaigning but he has made it known that he realizes the MCA needs to be repealed and Habeaus restored, the Detainee Treatment Act needs an update to include civilians under Geneva and the AFM, the War Crimes Act needs an update which includes providing legal advice designed to deliberately circumvent the law, and Obama needs to get both Gitmo and Bagram closed down - but those are all works in progress (many of which were delayed by Health Care, The Stimulus and Financial Reform) as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars wind down, not failures. Not yet.

Even though Bush is gone, he left behind a pile of bad laws that Congress needs to fix, not just Obama - and as a result we need the best possible Congress we can get if we're going to have any hope at all of addressing this continuing issues.

Right now Barbara Boxer is in Trouble. Russ Feingold - the only U.S. Senator to vote against the original Patriot Act - is threatened. We may have our issues with Blue Dogs like Mary Landrieu, but we can't let that frustration be taken out actual progressives like Boxer or Feingold. They need our help, and they need it NOW!

I'm not arguing for anyone to just "clap louder", but to admit these are complex and difficult issues - it will take years to clean up this mess and all the while we're doing it we'll have to fight hard to keep the Conservatives and the out-and-out Wingnuts from rebuilding the mess as fast as they can.

The facts are on our side, we don't have to feel bad or down about anything. This legislation is far from perfect and still has many fixes and changes need, but we're not likely to get any of that done with even fewer Democrats in Congress than we currently have. It's not time give up or give in, it's time to double-down - and to ActBlue.

We all may our issues with how things went down, but one thing we can't do is let the Know Less-Than-Nothing Party steal the day and benefit from their own strategy of obstruction and obfuscation. We have to keep Congress in Democratic hands, at all costs.


Sunday, September 5

Restoring teh Stupid

these people are dumber than a pile of broken rocks. And deluded too.

Interviews with Attendees of the "Restoring Honor" Rally...

Restoring teh stoopid - it burns - it Burns!

Frankly, this set of interviews, which is independently done by New Left Media is the best coverage of the event I've seen so far.

Woman: We came out here to stand together and show people we're not crackpots.

Man: We have to take back America.

Woman: We're restoring honor and freedom. The things that are going on in the White House right now are just insane, it's becoming communist and socialist - it's just crazy.

Woman: They used to teach pride in your country in schools, they don't do that anymore.

Woman: We're the only nation like this in the world.

Man: This is the last bastion of hope, in the world. Right here. America. (Ed. "Help me, Obi-Wan Merica - you're our only hope!")

Interviewer: A lot of people are criticizing Glenn Beck for having this rally on the Anniversary of Dr. King's "I have a dream speech".

Man: It's not "insensitive." The idea that Al Sharpton is going to come here, and bring his Black Panthers to try and start some kind of wrong. Because Al Sharpton doesn't own the day. The Black people don't own the day. The African American People don't own the day.

Yeah, I'm really glad to know that everybody has the day, both the Black AND African Americans..., and their Black Panthers with Al Sharpton.

Woman: No one owns George Washington as an occasion.

Well, that would be correct ma'am - I have yet to have the occasion of George Washington. Owned or unowned.

These people are like meat - with eyes.

Interviewer: A lot of what people were concerned with was the fact the person who was speaking at this event is someone who had accused Barack Obama of being "a racist, with a deep seated hatred for white people".

Man: They're saying that Glenn Beck said that?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Man: I don't think he said that, you're getting that wrong. No, I don't think he said that.

Interviewer (Asking woman): You think he said that?

Woman: I haven't heard him say that.

Man: I never heard Glenn say he was a racist. I never heard him say that. I've never heard him be disrespectful to the President.

Man: Glenn Beck wouldn't say that. You're just turning words around here and I ain't talking to you no more.

Man: Well, if I heard that I'd believe it - because he is a bit of a racist, and a bit of an elitist.

Woman: I agree with him.

Interviewer: And why is that?

Woman: Barack Obama has done nothing but separated this country, and caused Blacks and White against each other. (That's an exact quote!)

Interviewer: How's he done that?

Woman: Oh, a long list of things.

Woman: I can't believe this country would elect someone so anti-progress and pride of America. That would willfully destroy the country and divide us on the issue of race.

Woman: I believe with the Birther People, I don't believe he's even a legalized citizen. I don't think he's a Christian, I think he Muslim at heart and he only joined that Church in Chicago for political reasons.

Wow. Just wow. Now we know that even without all their stupid signs, they're still pretty stupid and more than a little bigoted.

It's not like you sound like an ignorant hick, but yes you're fat ass does racist and idiotic in those pants.

For further context - you have this bit from Sam Seder and "That's BULLSHIT!"

.0046 percent Black people? And to think that instead of Park Police estimate of 87,000 if you use Glenn Beck's attendance estimates (over 100,000) or worse - Michele Bachmann's (500,000) - you start having to deal in negative exponents of 10. Which is pretty damn small.

Man: I love Glenn Beck, I just wish he's be more consistent about one thing. When it comes to Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Barack Obama he shows the communist connections very well, he demonstrates that and gives proof. But when it comes to Martin Luther King he feels the need to toe the political correct line

I'd love to see more black people at tea party events, because when they do come they're treated like celebrities... I wish there were more.

I'm thinking that "Dr Martin Luther King the Communist" rhetoric isn't going to get us to jump up and come running your way. Not hardly. It's more like shades of Hoover and COINTELPRO with that noise pal.

Anyhoo - back in the first video they did start to discuss the "Victory Mosque" at Park 51, not that any of them even knew what it was really called. Black people don't "own the day" and have no right to feel "sensitive" about King - who was also killed by a terrorist - or Beck - who insulted the first Black President by calling him a racist - but all the White Christian-Americans (who don't live in New York and had no direct connection to the attack) apparently have Ground Zero and the blocks East, West, North and South of it around Tikrit, on Escrow!

Man: I think it's a stick in the eye to the American people.

Man: This has nothing to do with religious freedom.

Man: How many mosques are in New York right now, a bunch of them. why do they another one - just to slap us in the face?

Man: Islam is not just a religion, they couch it as a religion - but it's a lifestyle. When you buy into the Islam Religion, it's everything.

Woman: It's not that they can't build the mosque, but why do they have to build it there? They don't need to thumb their nose up at us.

Man: I think it's sticking the eye in the America people. 3,000 people died there - by Muslims.

Man: They're sticking their thumb in our eye. (Ed: Ok, this guy at least got the anatomy correct)

Man: We don't want this to become another Mecca, a Muslim victory.

Man: Not only does this smack the families in the face, but America in general. (Ed: Well, at least they didn't try to ram it down your throat, like Health Care - now it's all about eyes and faces!)

Interview: How far away should they put it?

Man: How about 100 miles?

Woman: They have more mosques in New York than you can shake a stick at, why the devil do they need another one?

Interviewer: Some say they are confusing radical Islam with more moderate Islam?

Man: I learned everything I needed to know about Islam on 9/11.

Well, I think one of the actual 9/11 families might have something to say about that.... especially Talat Hamdani who lost her son, an EMT who rushed into the Towers to save people, on 9/11.

First people assumed that because he was muslim, her son was somehow involved in the attack. She is now receiving HATE MAIL, apparently through someone who had access to her DMV records.

My favorite portion of this interview occurs about 6 mins in ... it should be on a permanent loop in front of Park 51.

Hamdani: He (Gringrich) has no right to get involved in this issue. He did not lose anyone over there. He is not a New Yorker.

All of these politicians are just jumping on the bandwagon, ostracizing me - Americans or muslims like me. Our people are dying. Why are we being held accountable for this action of a foreign terrorist group?

Olbermann: Do you have any concerns about speaking out, in favor, and with your group 9/11 Families in favor of the Park 51 project?

Hamdani: I have no worries because I am standing for what is duefully mine. They are cloaking this issue - as a sensitive issue, too close, too soon. To me it's a issue of Freedom of Religion. All the people who were murdered that day, where not murdered for their faith, race or ethnicity, but for being American and believing in the American values of democracy, freedom, liberty of speech and to persue a faith of your own choice. So the best we can do as a tribute and a legacy to them is to uphold those American values. Unlike, New Gingrich and whoever who is jumping in on this feeding on the bloodshed of 2,700 Americans like vultures. They are the lowest of mankind.

THAT is what being an American is all about. It's not about wearing your cute flag t-shirt while your spouting hated about the "Commies" and the "Muslims" and the "Insane Socialists" - it's not about putting on the clothing and mantle of Ben Franklin while knowing nothing about the values that he stood for - it's about having the courage to say that Rights Matter, even when it makes other people uncomfortable or "sensitive". To be willing to Lead by Example not via Entitlement and whining that "America used to be Special", but not willing to actually stand up and Be Special.

Talat Hamdani is Ten Times the American that any of those thimble brains on the mall will ever be.