Friday, January 22, 2010

Counterpunch: Top Ten Reasons to Kill the Senate Health Care Bill:Obama and Rahm Cheer Republican Victory in Mass: An End to Reform

Thanks to Alex Cockburn for highlighting the poison below about the Senate Health Care Bill.  As of this writing, how many if any of the insults below will pass in some kind of health care "reform."  But if all of the execrable provisions or some of them pass, wouldn't it be interesting that when the Dems had 60 votes they needed all 60 so that the worst elements could be forced through by a single Senator -- like Lieberman. Now that they don't have 60, will it take only 51 to pass some of the outrages below, and pay off Big Pharma and Big Insurance (redundant), BHO's major contributors?
In his lead article for the same issue of CP, "2010: Is The Future Behind Us?" Alex Cockburn refers more than once to the power of Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel in shaping and forcing through the legislation he prefers: anti-abortion for one; and by implication, blocking legislation he opposes. I wonder if people -- besides Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher of firedoglake and emptywheel -- are starting to wake up to who is really the president and who is the empty suit whose words get emptier every week.
It's a nice question how upset Rahm and Obama really are by the Massachusetts loss since their goal seems to be to lose the Democratic majority -- perhaps in both Houses, just like Clinton -- so that the pressure --pressure? what pressure? -- for reform will fade into a memory from last year. Their only embarrassment is the public relations blow and this simply gives a chance for Obama  --again and again-- to sound like he's the populist while he plays  the delaying game. Their plan which has worked for them like a charm, seems to be to create the vacuum that will open the door to the lobbyists and the Tea Baggers whose job it is to make plenty of noise -- the less reality-related the better. Their cacophony gives cover to Rahm, as he dispatches marching orders to Reid and Pelosi, ensuring that only his right wing agenda gets through.
Top Ten Reasons to Kill the Senate Health Care Bill
from CounterPunch (hard copy edition) vol. 16, No. 22, Dec. 16-31, 2009
January 4, 2010
CounterPuncher Chuck Spinney sends us this note:
I got this from a friend who works on budget issues in Congress. If true, this list would explain why Insurance stock just rose to all time highs.
• Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations – whether you want to or not.
• If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.
• Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.
• Massive restriction on a wo-man’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
• Paid for by taxes on the middle-class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase copays.
• Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits – like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions – until 2014, when the program begins.
• Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.
• Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.
• No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.
• The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year – meaning, in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Diebold and Health Care: Bradblog on Election for Kennedy Seat

Who should we root for in the Tuesday special election for senator in Massachusetts: the Republican or the Democrat?  Do we want to stop the  terrible health care reform bill or do we want a Democrat Senator in Kennedy's old seat? I say we take the Republican for 6 years: a good trade off.
Some of the implications of the Bradblog item below.
How long now has it been since we've given up hoping that an incoming Obama administration would help do something regarding the computer voting machine fraud (see below)  and move to establish fair elections in this country?  Has it been 6 months already that we've given up hoping for reform from the Emanuel administration.
On that score, it's a testament to Rahm Emanuel effectiveness that we can't get ONE Democrat to vote against the health care monstrosity. He's as powerful as Cheney was apparently when it comes to ensuring that only the legislation he wants, gets passed. That includes further restrictions on abortion, a huge windfall for the insurance industry and big pharma. We can't even roll back the Bush monstrosities on the costs of medications; nor will we have the Canada option we used to have.
Interesting or ironic that Emanuel/Obama really don't want a Democratic controlled Congress, certainly not a 60 vote majority in the Senate. On the other hand, they want this health care giveaway bill. Tough call.
Where's Walter Karp when we need him?  He's the one who explained that when Democrats win the White House and/or Congress their big challenge is how to dampen hopes for reform. In Indispensable Enemies (1993) he shows that the last thing the Party wants is an activist base pushing and shoving with reform proposals and competing for power. Republicans have an easier time since their platform is anti-Reform.
But this is Emanuel's time so it looks like one way or another the health care disaster will somehow pass.
Easily Hacked Diebold Machines to Determine Winner of 'Toss-Up' Special Election for U.S. Senate in MA
Written by Nathan Barker and Brad Friedman
Since writing today's piece for Upstate New York's right-leaning Gouverneur Times, a new poll has come out this morning showing the Republican Scott Brown now leading the Democrat Martha Coakley by 4 points in
the race for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by a Democrat named Kennedy for nearly 60 years.
As of last night, when I filed the story with them, the latest survey from a Democratic-leaning pollster showed Coakley up by 8, though a day or two earlier, Republican Rasmussen had Brown down only by 2 points.
Suffice to say it's now officially "a toss-up", at least according to the Rothenberg Political Report, and to all
the Dems and Reps now sweating out what was previously thought to have been an easy Democratic win.
With the 60th "filibuster-proof" Senate seat now hanging precariously in the balance, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that the winner will now be whoever Diebold declares it to be. The near-entirety of the
state will vote next Tuesday on paper ballots to be counted by Diebold op-scan systems. The same ones used dubiously in the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, and the same ones notoriously hacked --- resulting in a flipped mock election --- in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy.
And to make matters even worse, the notorious LHS Associates --- the private company with the criminal background, who has admitted to illegally tampering with memory cards during elections, and who has a Director of Sales and Marketing who embarrassed himself with obscene comments here at The BRAD BLOG some years ago, resulting in his being barred from CT by their Sec. of State --- sells and services almost all
of MA's voting machines along with those in the rest of New England.
Read my detailed coverage of the entire sad affair over at Gouverneur Times today. And yes, here we go again...