Daily Archives: December 9, 2009

Dems praise new health compromise

“An unvarnished, complete victory for people like me who have been arguing for a single-payer system.” Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama as well as Democratic liberals and moderates all found something to like Wednesday in an emerging compromise to expand the role of government in the nation’s health care system, raising hopes inside the party that passage of overhaul legislation might be within reach after a struggle lasting decades.

The same plan drew critics, though – and the threat of more opponents once closely held details become widely known.

Obama hailed “a creative new framework that I believe will help pave the way for final passage of legislation and a historic achievement for the American people.” He said, “I support this effort, especially since it’s aimed at increasing choice and competition and lowering cost.”

A provision opening Medicare to uninsured Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 drew praise from some liberals.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., called it “an unvarnished, complete victory for people like me who have been arguing for a single-payer system.”

Howard Dean, the former party chairman and an advocate of a government-run insurance option, told CBS, “Using Medicare makes more sense than reinventing more bureaucracy.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the Medicare expansion could help small business “There are a lot of small business people who are between the ages of 55 and 64,” she said. “If that were done (it) would provide some real relief to them.”

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said she approved of the suggested national plans to be administered by the Office of Personnel Management. “OPM being the negotiator will help, I think, be able to bring the best product forward,” she said.

source:

related: Outline Of Senate Health Bill Agreement Emerging
read more here:

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Filed under Health Care Reform, Public Option, Uncategorized

Ed Schultz v. Jonathan Alter: Schultz Ends Up in His Own Segment of Psycho Talk

Posted by Audiegrl

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek

Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter stepped forward to educate MSNBC’s Ed Shultz on the normal legislative process involving the health care bill. Alter accused Schultz of misrepresenting the totality of the billl, telling Schultz that, “You have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.”

Schultz’s take on the process was what our friend Ogenec would call ‘neo-progressive‘, and lacked understanding of what Alter called ‘the sausage making‘ involved in getting a bill through Congress. It was easy to see the direction the show was heading, when Schultz opened with a phone poll asking “Are you disappointed in the way President Obama is handling health care reform?Hit 1 for yes, and 2 for no. BTW, I took Ed’s poll, and after selecting 2 for no, they wanted to transfer me to a operator to discuss a time-share property. 😉

Neo-progressive opinions are nothing new, but are often exasperated by the 24/7 news cycle. The pundits and reporters don’t take time to understand the developments and the facts. Instead, must make a quick assessment of the facts, and make up the rest with speculation or half-baked ideas and opinions. This is not doing their viewers any favors and often unnecessarily leads to voters getting riled up, before they even know the facts.

So for me, I’m with Alter on this one. Even though he tried to explain (from experience) the long legislative process to Schultz, and all of the benefits that were in the new bill… but it was no use… To Shultz, everything hinged on the bill passing with Public Option, and anything other than that, was just a pile of junk.

Sorry Ed, but when you talk like this, you belong in your own segment of Psycho Talk.

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Filed under Bad Journalism, Barack Obama, Ed Schultz, Entertainment, Health, Health Care Reform, Jonathan Alter, Media and Entertainment, MSNBC, Neo-Progressives, News, Politics, Presidents, Public Option, Pundits (print), Pundits (television), Stupak Amendment, The Ed Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube

Newswire: BofA repays $45B in government bailout funds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bank of America says it has repaid the entire $45 billion it owes U.S. taxpayers as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Bank of America funded the repayment through a combination of cash on hand and the sale of $19.29 billion of securities that would convert into common stock. The stock increase remains subject to shareholder approval.

source:

Heath Care breakthrough: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said that he was happy with where the talks had gone.
“I’ve got a smile on my face. I don’t smile naturally,” he said.

Senate negotiators emerged from a full day of meetings Tuesday saying they had made genuine progress toward a deal on health care reform.

They declined to outline the specifics of the agreement, but said that the measures they had been discussing will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office for cost estimates. Once the estimates are returned, the final deal will be put together.

“We have made a lot of progress. There’s a lot of agreement. We have decided to take the next step and that is to ask the CBO to score what we’ve been discussing,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of five conservative Democrats negotiating with five liberals.

The discussion has focused on abandoning or greatly narrowing the public health insurance option. In exchange, people 55-64 would be able to buy in to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to people within 150 percent of the federal poverty line. And people within 300 percent of poverty would be eligible for a program pushed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) modeled on her state’s Basic Health. Cantwell is not one of the ten in the meetings but has stopped by to brief negotiators.

Senators, after the meeting, would not confirm which elements of the discussion were sent to CBO. Much will depend on the results of the CBO analysis.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), one of the liberal members in negotiations, said that he was happy with where the talks had gone.

“I’ve got a smile on my face. I don’t smile naturally,” he said.

source:

Reid: “about access to health care, not abortion.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has rejected an effort to stiffen abortion restrictions in the health care bill.

The vote was 54 to 45.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wanted to ban any insurance plan that gets taxpayer dollars from offering abortion coverage. The stronger restrictions mirrored provisions in the House-passed health care bill.

source:

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Thrown Under the Bus Again: The GOP Made a Pact with the Devil

Posted by LibbyShaw

The Republican Party threw the American people under a high speed train fast tracked straight to hell.

Again.

Predictably Republicans made a pact with yet another devil. This time the GOP sold its and our souls, too, to the hottest and most irresponsible devil in hell.

Let me introduce the banking devil for whom we emptied our U.S. Treasury in an extraordinary effort to save the American economy.

Tragically the Bush Administration and its rubber stamping Republicans in Congress failed to set up any rules, enforcement mechanisms, proposals for accountability, transparency or pay back benchmarks before it allowed the devil to empty our national piggy bank. Sure, guys, just back up your 18 wheeler big mother trucks to the U.S. Treasury and we will help y’all load the bags of taxpayer cash.

Clearly the GOP is totally on board with the banker devil run lawless casinos on Wall St. The devil is gambling with our money that includes our savings accounts, investment portfolios, retirement savings and bail out taxpayer dollars. The GOP also gave its blessing to a continuation of the banks extensive abusive consumer practices. Usury level interests rates and fees anyone? Worse, the GOP obviously does not have a problem with the obscene Wall St. bonuses, earned on the backs of our savings accounts, portfolio investments, not to mention again, the sucker U.S. taxpayer bucks, thank you.

I guess the sold-out Republicans are also supportive of the banks refusal to lend money to small businesses and consumers because it is more profitable for banks to gamble with our money instead.

Hell, at least we know for certain that the Republicans are completely on board with obstructing our nation’s economic recovery. If small businesses cannot get jump started with an influx of cash, it cannot do business. It cannot meet its inventory needs nor can it make payroll. If mortgages cannot be re-negotiated, bankrupted homeowners cannot hold on to their homes. Consumers cannot purchase new homes or cars if we cannot borrow money, either. Nor can we improve or make substantial repairs to our homes if the banks won’t lend home equity funding.

Republicans don’t care. They simply do not care about the people.

Yesterday Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) informed the Huffington Post that the GOP signed a political pact with the banks to kill off regulatory reform measures.

The allegation of a quid pro quo was based on an email that Durbin received last spring after his amendment to allow judges to modify mortgages for homeowners who enter bankruptcy was defeated on the Senate floor. During a discussion to promote publicly-financed elections on Friday, the Illinois Democrat relayed that, shortly after the defeat of his “cram-down” amendment, a “banker friend” forwarded him the note from Tanya Wheeless, president & CEO of Arizona Bankers Association.

I have contacted the market presidents for each of the three banks (Chase, Wells and Bank of America) and explained that in my humble opinion it’s a big mistake to cut a deal with Durbin and alienate our (in Arizona) Senator,” Wheeless’s email reads. “I also told them that I thought this would drive a wedge in our industry. [Senator Jon] Kyl has pointedly told them not to make a deal with Durbin and then come looking to Republicans when they need help on something like regulatory restructuring or systemic risk regulation.”

Repeat:

…Come looking to Republicans when they need help on something like regulatory restructuring or systemic risk regulation.

The smoking gun email is included in the link above.

According to Senator Durbin:

The email, he added, “is a total smoking gun as far as I’m concerned. It tells the whole story and it is in writing as to what is happening behind the scenes… So when people say I don’t know if we should have public financing because that is my tax dollars, I can tell them that their resources, whether tax dollars or personal wealth, are being impacted every day by decisions being made by the special interest groups.”

Special interest groups obviously own most if not all of the GOP and 12 lousy Democrats. Earth to Democrats, having a D behind your name means you are supposed to vote as a Democrat, not as a pimped out Republican, sell-out Republican lite or an anti-democracy, reactionary teabagger. Nor are you supposed to cave into to the greed infested fat cats.

Fortunately, Senate Democrats have not given up. New cram down legislation is likely making a come back.

An amendment allowing judges to modify mortgages on primary residences for homeowners in bankruptcy will finally find a home as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173).
The amendment, which is being offered by Representatives Conyers (D, MI), Turner (R, OH), Lofgren (D, CA), Marshall (D, GA), Cohen (D, TN), Miller (D, NC), Nadler (D, NY), Delahunt (D, MA) and Waters (D, CA), is potentially the best news homeowners and our economy have had in quite some time.

The amendment is essentially the same as H.R. 1106, a bill passed by the House on March 5, 2009, by a vote of 234-191, but subsequently defeated in the Senate by a vote of 51-45. The measure needed 60 votes to pass over Republican objections, and 12 Democrats succumbed to pressure from the banking lobby and voted nay.

Check out Senator Durbin’s searing indictment of bankers on the Senate floor:

One other argument that I think takes the cake: “Senator, you understand the moral hazard here. People have to be held responsible for their wrongdoing. If you make a mistake, darn it, you’ve gotta pay the price. That’s what America is all about.” Really, Mr. Banker on Wall Street? That’s what America is all about? What price did Wall Street pay for their miserable decisions creating rotten portfolios, destroying the credit of America and its businesses? Oh, they paid a pretty heavy price. Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money sent to them to bail them out, to put them back in business, even to fund executive bonuses for those guilty of mismanaging. Moral hazard, huh? How can they argue that with a straight face? […]

We want America to be strong, but if it’s going to be strong, you should be respectful, Mr. Banker, of the people who live in the communities where your banks are located. You should be respectful of those families who are doing their best to make ends meet in the toughest recession that they’ve ever seen. You should be respectful of the people that you want to sign up for checking accounts and savings accounts, and make sure that they have decent neighborhoods to live in. Show a little loyalty to this great nation instead of just your bottom line when it comes to profitability. Take a little consideration of what it takes to make America strong…

I’ll offer this Durbin amendment as I did last year. When I offered it last year, they said, “Not a big problem, only two million foreclosures coming up.” They were wrong. It turned out to be eight million. And if the bankers prevail today, and we can’t get something through conference committee to deal with this issue, I’ll be back. I’m not going to quit on this […] At some point, the Senators in this chamber will decide, the bankers shouldn’t write the agenda in the United States Senate.

Bankers and their enabling Republican lawmakers are oblivious to the notion of moral hazard. Since the Reagan Administration, the Republican Party has been on a crusade to insulate the banks and the corporate sector from its own risk taking. Those big government loathing, tax paying hater Republicans stuck the entire fat cat enabling mess on the backs of the American people.

At least the folks in Illinois can count on their lawmakers like Dick Durbin to step up. Unfortunately for those of us in Texas, however, we have no such luck.

We are tragically saddled with cartoon like characters and carnival barkers. The three below are just a few examples.

Senator Cornyn claims in one sentence that Senate Democrats want to kill private health insurance companies. In the next he says Senate Democrats intend to hand over $450. billion to to private insurance companies. Talk about double speak and stupid talk.

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Senator Hutchison tells serial lies about health care reform and uses the usual GOP scare tactics. Ohmigod! Health care reform would be disastrous for the American people. Not. What we have now is horribly disastrous for 47 million uninsured Americans.

And then there is this.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet our distinguished governor.

The Party of No says no to everything that would help the people whether it is with extending unemployment benefits, banking regulation and fairness practices, jobs, health care reform and the economy. Today,in his speech at the Brookings Institute, President Obama told us precisely where Republicans stand on everything.

Hat tips to Jed Lewison over at Daily Kos for providing the video clip of President Obama’s talk below.

It is about time, Mr. President. Your words are long overdue.

In a sober tone, President Obama portrayed the Republican Party as opportunistic, obstructionist, and deeply hypocritical, accusing them of both having created the economic crisis we face today and having done nothing to help solve it. He also slammed their hypocritical attacks on government spending, reminding them that they are the ones who created the deficit, and that the recovery act represents just a small portion of it.

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Texas, more than a few really rather drop dead and serious kick ass changes are long overdue.

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 9th)

Last Christmas Performed by WHAM!

Last Christmas” is a song by British pop duo Wham!, released on Epic Records in 1984, on a double A-side with “Everything She Wants“. It was written by George Michael, one half of the duo. The song has been covered by many artists throughout the years.

The music video to “Last Christmas” saw George and partner Andrew Ridgeley accompanying girlfriends to see friends at their home in an unspecified ski resort, although the cable-car that can be seen in two shots is from Saas-Fee, Switzerland. It became clear early on, however, that Andrew’s girlfriend had previously been in a relationship with George, and it was to her character the song was aimed. The video also featured the duo’s erstwhile backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie and Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp, the boyfriend and future husband of Shirlie Holliman.



Lyrics

Chorus:
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye
Tell me baby do you recognize me?
Well, it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me

(Happy Christmas!) I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying “I Love You” I meant it
Now I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now I know you’d fool me again

[Chorus:]
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

(Oooh, Oooh Baby)

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes
I’m hiding from you and your soul of ice
My God I thought you were someone to rely on
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on
A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man undercover but you tore me apart Oooh Oooh
Now I’ve found a real love you’ll never fool me again

[Chorus:]
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special(special)

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special(special)

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
(Gave you my heart)
A man undercover but you tore me apart
Maybe, Next year
I’ll give it to someone, I’ll give it to someone special
special-someone-someone

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