Tag Archives: republicans

It’s Now A War on Contraception


In the aftermath of the stunning reaction of extremist Catholic Bishops (you know…the guys who’ve taken an oath of celibacy) to President Obama’s recent rules regarding contraception, nothing rings more true than the fact that the Class Warfare initiated by the Republican Party and it’s increasingly effective off-shoot, the Tea Party, have a strong and hate-filled contingent of those waging not only a War on the Poor and Middle Class, but a War on Women.

First there was the fiasco that nearly (and may still) bring the once-honorable Susan G. Komen Foundation to it’s knees in submission thanks to a political agenda set forth by Republican and staunch opponent of Planned Parenthood, Karen Handel, who weaseled her way into the hierarchy of that group. What came out of the bloody fray was a once proud Foundation whose name will from now on connote the seedy side of political posturing and influence.

Next was the recent contraception policy set forth by the Administration that precipitated a manufactured outrage from the religious right, Constitutionalists, and the Catholic Church in particular.

Failing to realize the issue had less to do with a constitutional freedom of religion issue and more to do with the right of the individual, regardless of employer or religion, to seek contraception in pursuit of their own health, financial status, and well-being, the religious right used the issue to return to their heyday of the 1980’s, that of the so-called Moral Majority – of which they are neither.

The issue should have been a non-sequitur following the President’s compromise making the issue one between the patient and the patient’s insurer, which it always should have been. With support from the Catholic Health Organization, who’s Director, Sister Carol Keehan stated the resolution “protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions”,  while the Catholic United issued a statement of support stating that President Obama “has shown [them] that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic Institutions”.

Other groups and institutions praising the President’s compromise include:

Catholic Charities: “Catholic Charities USA welcomes the Administration’s attempt to meet the concerns of the religious community and we look forward to reviewing the final language. We are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction and are committed to continuing our work to ensure that our religious institutions will continue to be granted the freedom to remain faithful to our beliefs, while also being committed to providing access to quality healthcare for our 70,000 employees and their families across the country.”

Rev. John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame” “We applaud the willingness of the administration to work with religious organizations to find a solution acceptable to all parties.”

Broad Coalition of Faith Community Leaders: “Today the Obama administration announced an important regulation that will protect the conscience rights of religious organizations and ensure that all women have access to contraception without a co-payment. We applaud the White House for listening carefully to the concerns raised by religious leaders on an issue that has provoked heated and often misinformed debate. This ruling is a major victory for religious liberty and women’s health. President Obama has demonstrated that these core values do not have to be in conflict.”

That should have brought an end to the consternation. But no! The Catholic Bishops (you know – those guys who’ve taken an oath of celibacy) still aren’t happy!

President Obama’s effort to accommodate the Catholic Church by altering his administration’s rule on birth control coverage has not appeased the church, congressional Republicans or GOP candidates trying to take his job next year.

Their continued anger over a requirement that nearly all employers offer free insurance coverage for contraception — even with changes Obama announced Friday (Feb. 10) for faith-based institutions that object on religious grounds — guarantees that the issue will percolate throughout the presidential election season.

Nor are the politicians who, on any other day, oppose telling others what to do:

Republican leaders in Congress stuck by their plans to overturn the requirement with legislation. The issue “will not go away until the administration backs down,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on CBS’ ”Face the Nation.”

Three of Obama’s potential opponents in November — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — thundered against funding birth control under Medicaid or through employer subsidies, calling it a radical overreach by government.

Where will this go? Who will win The War on Contraception? We now have politicians introducing “Personhood” legislation at both the State and National level. We have one State Senator introducing a bill granting “Personhood” not only to embryos, but to sperm!

“However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

Will the misogynistic actions of the religious right devolve even further into banning not only contraceptives, but condoms?

Will we be arresting men who masturbate into socks and charge them with murder? 

Let’s hope not. But – considering the insanity we’re seeing today – could it happen?

Another question: What if this craziness actually does result in the banning of contraceptives and condoms? Who will be charged with raising the millions of unwanted children born to mothers who don’t want them?

Catholic Charities?

Asshole of the Day – Sen. Jim DeMint


Crazed and confused Sen. JimBob DeMint is at it again

We saw within a few days that this President was going to be heavy-handed, he was going to implement his agenda and pay back his political allies, and it just went on from there to ObamaCare and then to Dodd-Frank. It has been the most anti-business and I consider anti-American administration in my lifetime. Things that are just so anathema to the principles of freedom, and everything he has come up with centralizes more power in Washington, creates more socialist-style, collectivist policies. This president is doing something that’s so far out of the realm of anything Republicans ever did wrong, it’s hard to even imagine.

Really,  Sen. DeMinted? Somehow I think if then Sen. Barack Obama had said back when that Dubya was the most “Anti-American” president in his lifetime, you’d be screaming in a very high voice in front of Congress “TREASON!”, FOX news would go fucking ballistic in criticizing his lack of respect for the President, and your fellow Congressmen would be banging on the doors of the Sergeant-At-Arms demanding Censure and expulsion.

Of course, in your sick little bigoted mind, the only real Americans are the rich, white guys, huh?

Truer Words…


I don’t even know who wrote the following. With the exception of the last line, these words express how I feel today:

The Republican Revolution has gone the way of all flesh. It took over Congress, their horns blew, church bells rang, sailors kissed nurses on street corners, celebrated “the biggest repudiation of the White House since 1932.” The Republicans, after all, led us into a reckless foreign war and steered the economy toward receivership and wielded power, influence, and money as if there were no rules. Two short year later, Democrats are accused of bankrupting the country with their stop-gap measures and of not being able to reverse the course of the worst financial catastrophe since the ‘20’s whose seeds were planted well before their time.

Republicans have won based on shallow appeals to fear and lip service to the middle class pocket book—all the while doing nothing substantially different than what gave rise to the narrow oligarchy that really benefits from their policies. Income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite.

As Faulkner said, we are “sinking back into the darkness where the spirit cried for the first time and was not heard and will cry for the last time and will not be heard then either…” ABSALOM!! ABSALOM!!!

…and thus begins one man’s journey into another two years of liberal angst.

The End of Independent Thinking?


I’ve come to a realization in the past few days.

I guess maybe my age is showing but it’s becoming increasingly evident people are unable to think for themselves. I remember as a child, I built model cars built by AMT, JoHan, or Revell; piecing and gluing each individual part, following instructions meticulously, painting each door, body and engine to perfection, assembling the final product and marvelling in it’s creation. 

I was taught Mathematics, Geometry and Algebra (along with other advanced courses) in High School; as well as the English language and the construction of our language. In order to solve mathematical problems we used the Slide Rule, a device complicated enough to require it’s own learning process. Remember diagramming? To take it even further, some of us were fortunate to learn other languages which enabled a deeper understanding of the construction of, and more importantly, the deconstruction of words and sentences.

I remember when I joined the Air Force and was being considered as a Language Specialist. One of the tests to determine the ability to learn new languages involved the development and structure of a “non-language” (The exam was the Defense Language Aptitude Battery).

Each of these facets of learning had one thing in common. The ability to reason, or quite simply, “figure it out”. One actually had to think in order to formulate a response and/or answer to a particular situation. Whether it was a mathematical formula, a sentence, or even putting together a model car, the success and gratification was in the accomplishment of the final product and the thought that went into it.

It’s not like that today. Today our children (or more importantly – their teachers and school administrators) focus more on passing state standard exams such as the woefully useless FCAT in Florida. Today we don’t buy model cars to put together, they already are. Today our High Schoolers depend on expensive electronic calculators to merely show them the correct graft or equation on a little green screen. Today the art of learning a language, nay…the art of learning the discipline of language, is lost in Google Translator. Today, people are spoon-fed information without the need to think about it.

As is our ability to research. Again, and once more – think for ourselves! Case in point: A few hours ago someone I know (without a computer) called me and asked me to Google a personal Hurricane Evacuation Plan for him.

Aside from the obvious fact that A. You get in the fucking car and head west!, or B. It’s all in the fucking phone book! is the most distressing: C. You couldn’t figure out A and B for yourself?

Which brings me to one final epithany.

Our country has always been one of political partisanship. The Constitution was written with the goal of perpetual discussion of the merits and demerits of a democracy. The process of our government has been under the microscope of evaluation for centuries.

What’s missing today, especially on the right, is Reason. We have pundits, politicians, prognosticators, and populists even networks throwing out wild theories and accusations. Why? Because they know the folks who listen to them are totally incapable of the thought processes needed to think things out. They are incapable of processing the words they hear, they can’t think it out…

When we have leaders of the Republican Party telling people ridiculous stuff like “The President’s not born in America!”, or “Brown people are illegal and don’t deserve rights”, or when people like Bill Wilder say “I want to see Florida a fag-free state!”, or the Attorney General of the State of Florida state that he doesn’t want a child raised by two loving people, or the outlandish Islamophobia coming from politicians and lilMike‘s keypads, we’re in a conundrum. Those of us with the intelligence, and reason, to realize this is bullshit, aren’t the targets.

It’s those who just don’t get it. Those who lack the intelligence or ability to “think it out“.

Think about it…

Nobody Said They Were Smart!


We all know people who worship Glenn Beck probably aren’t the smartest around. When I read this story I just had to giggle…

From the WFTV-Ch 9:

Dozens of people who parked at the University of Central Florida for an event say they were set up after their cars were towed. They said event parking signs directed them to a lot, but more than 50 cars in that lot were towed. People said those signs and their cars were gone when they got back. A viewer contacted WFTV after his car was towed Saturday, along with 52 others. All of them were in line to recover their cars at an impound lot and all of them attended the Glenn Beck show at UCF. The people parked in a Kappa Sigma lot. Mike Vedder thinks they were set up. He doesn’t know if it was a dislike of the conservative commentator or money. “Maybe the have a deal with the tow truck company or maybe they got kickbacks under the table,” Vedder said. They all said an event parking sign clearly directed them into the lot. Students at the fraternity wouldn’t comment, but WFTV caught up with the owner of Orange County Towing and Recovery, Ronald Hulbert. “I have a lot at stake, a lot invested. I’m not going to lose it over a $125 tow, times 53, times 53, it was a good day,” Ronald Hulbert said. Hulbert admits he’s never towed that many cars in one day before; he said it took him at least eight hours to tow all the cars. Each driver had to pay cash, netting him more than $6,600. Dozens of people who parked at the University of Central Florida for an event say they were set up after their cars were towed. They said event parking signs directed them to a lot, but more than 50 cars in that lot were towed. People said those signs and their cars were gone when they got back. A viewer contacted WFTV after his car was towed Saturday, along with 52 others. All of them were in line to recover their cars at an impound lot and all of them attended the Glenn Beck show at UCF. The people parked in a Kappa Sigma lot. Mike Vedder thinks they were set up. He doesn’t know if it was a dislike of the conservative commentator or money. “Maybe the have a deal with the tow truck company or maybe they got kickbacks under the table,” Vedder said. They all said an event parking sign clearly directed them into the lot. Students at the fraternity wouldn’t comment, but WFTV caught up with the owner of Orange County Towing and Recovery, Ronald Hulbert. “I have a lot at stake, a lot invested. I’m not going to lose it over a $125 tow, times 53, times 53, it was a good day,” Ronald Hulbert said. Hulbert admits he’s never towed that many cars in one day before; he said it took him at least eight hours to tow all the cars. Each driver had to pay cash, netting him more than $6,600.

I wonder if the tow company accepted GOLD as payment?

The Rape of Florida Medicaid


The other day, in my post Without a Doctor, I claimed that the Medicare system here in Florida had been raped by the gubernatorial administrations of Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist; thus decimating their effectiveness as originally envisioned.

In the comments section of The VSJ, in ekg’s post They Really Will Stop at Nothing…our sparring partner lilMike, in a reply to me, asked:

Medicaid in Florida is trashed because Republicans have ruined it?

The short answer: YES! ABSOLUTELY!

In 1965, President Johnson signed the law establishing Medicare and Medicaid. The original purpose of the Medicaid program was:

The Medicaid program, authorized under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, was enacted to provide health care services to low-income children deprived of parental support, their caretaker relatives, the elderly, the blind, and individuals with disabilities.

Going way back to the days of Gov. Claude Kirk (whom I had the pleasure to know personally, regardless of his political leanings), Medicaid has been a prime target of Republican Death Squads.

Gov. Bob Martinez (whom I worked under while with the Florida Board of Nursing) cut, sliced, and pared Medicaid at an alarming rate, especially with regards to our elderly.

But it wasn’t until the reign of Jeb Bush (for whom I billed Medicaid and Medicare at a home health agency) that Medicaid in this state went under the greatest change.

One of Jeb’s first actions upon taking office was to kill his predecessor’s, Lawton Chiles (the only Florida governor in recent history to actually care about health care for children, the disabled and the poor) health care initiative for individuals and small businesses, the Florida Health Care Purchasing Alliance.

But that wasn’t Jeb’s first foray into the rape of Medicaid. In 2003:

Governor Bush is proposing to drop health care and long-term care coverage for about 26,000 seniors and people with disabilities, although they would retain prescription drug coverage.  The governor also is proposing steep increases in co-payments for prescription drugs, which likely would make it harder for some poor patients to afford their medications.  The state already implemented modest cuts in the Medicaid eligibility of elderly and disabled people last year.

In 2005, Jeb had the bright idea (not!) to be among the first to follow his brother George’s edict to make state Medicaid coverage over modeling it like (get this!) a health insurance company, complete with limits on coverage:

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, both Republicans, have proposed radical changes intended to inject market forces and competition into Medicaid. Under their proposals, the state would give Medicaid recipients a fixed amount of money to buy health care or private insurance.

Under Governor Bush’s proposal, Florida would contribute a fixed amount toward coverage for each Medicaid beneficiary. Patients could use the money to “opt out of Medicaid altogether and purchase health care insurance in the private market,” Mr. Bush said.

(Ironically, today Jeb is on the board of Tenet Healthcare, the same company required to repay the government over 900 million dollars in Medicare and Medicaid overpayments and is plagued by scandal after scandal.)

Even today, Jeb Bush’s failed Medicaid managed care decisions are affecting the State negatively:

”We’ve done the experiment. It has failed,” said Durell Peaden, the Senate’s health care budget chief. “The reports are unsettling. People couldn’t get to specialists, couldn’t get adequate care. And they couldn’t do it cheaply.”

I’m sure Lawton Chiles, the only Florida governor in 40 years to care about it’s citizens, is rolling in his grave right now
 
The son of Gov. Lawton Chiles said today Gov. Charlie Crist has “betrayed” needy children and old people by raiding a tobacco-funded trust fund for $700 million needed to balance Florida’s budget.
 

Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?


Is it a right? Are the American people guaranteed good health?

That’s a question I’ve seen a lot over the past year or so. Many of those opposed to health care reform often cite the Constitution; usually with the rally cry,

WE THE PEOPLE

Perhaps they should read a little further…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Here’s the definition of “Welfare” from Merriam Webster: “of, relating to, or concerned with welfare and especially with improvement of the welfare of disadvantaged social groups…”

From The Free Dictionary: “Health, happiness, and good fortune; well-being.”

We The People, Indeed!

We, The People…


In a letter today to Democrat and Republican leaders of Congress, President Obama pointed out several points of agreement with issues voiced by Republicans during last week’s Health Care Summit.

“No matter how we move forward, there are at least four policy priorities identified by Republican Members at the meeting that I am exploring. I said throughout this process that I’d continue to draw on the best ideas from both parties, and I’m open to these proposals in that spirit,”

From The Washington Monthly:

The GOP ideas include:

1. Although the proposal I released last week included a comprehensive set of initiatives to combat fraud, waste, and abuse, Senator Coburn had an interesting suggestion that we engage medical professionals to conduct random undercover investigations of health care providers that receive reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal programs.

2. My proposal also included a provision from the Senate health reform bill that authorizes funding to states for demonstrations of alternatives to resolving medical malpractice disputes, including health courts. Last Thursday, we discussed the provision in the bills cosponsored by Senators Coburn and Burr and Representatives Ryan and Nunes (S. 1099) that provides a similar program of grants to states for demonstration projects. Senator Enzi offered a similar proposal in a health insurance reform bill he sponsored in the last Congress. As we discussed, my Administration is already moving forward in funding demonstration projects through the Department of Health and Human Services, and Secretary Sebelius will be awarding $23 million for these grants in the near future. However, in order to advance our shared interest in incentivizing states to explore what works in this arena, I am open to including an appropriation of $50 million in my proposal for additional grants. Currently there is only an authorization, which does not guarantee that the grants will be funded.

3. At the meeting, Senator Grassley raised a concern, shared by many Democrats, that Medicaid reimbursements to doctors are inadequate in many states, and that if Medicaid is expanded to cover more people, we should consider increasing doctor reimbursement. I’m open to exploring ways to address this issue in a fiscally responsible manner.

4. Senator Barrasso raised a suggestion that we expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). I know many Republicans believe that HSAs, when used in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, are a good vehicle to encourage more cost-consciousness in consumers’ use of health care services. I believe that high-deductible health plans could be offered in the exchange under my proposal, and I’m open to including language to ensure that is clear. This could help to encourage more people to take advantage of HSAs.

The President should be commended for continuing to pursue a bipartisan health care reform bill. However, such overtures are worthless. It’s obvious the Republicans are against health care reform in any way, shape or form, and are adament in their refusal to work with the President:

“We fundamentally disagree with a comprehensive proposal to reform health care.”

I’ve always thought members of Congress were elected to represent the people. The constituents. Too many times over the past few months we’ve heard of Republican, and Blue Dog Democrat members of Congress state they are opposed to health care reform. The silly reality of all of this posturing is that they’re not concerned about the constituents they serve – they’re more concerned about getting reelected!

Note to the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats: You are in office to serve us. We really don’t give a damn if you remain in office if you don’t serve us.

We, the People, are in favor of health care reform. In fact – We, The People, favor health care reform with a Public Option.

Now. Get off your asses and pass the damn bill!

The Health Care Summit


Courtesy The Huffington Post

Here’s a look at yesterday’s Health Care Summit (kudo’s to The Huffington Post for publishing a full transcript of the summit) I’ve highlighted Republican talking points and constructive dialogue in Red, Democrats in Blue:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Welcome. Thank you so much for participating today. I am very grateful to all of you because I know how busy you are.

THE PRESIDENT: …it’s for that reason that last year, around this time, actually, I hosted in the White House a health care summit and indicated to Congress that it was absolutely critical for us to begin now moving on what is one of the biggest drags on our economy and represents one of the biggest hardships that families face.

SEN ALEXANDER: …clean sheet of paper

SEN ALEXANDER: …start over

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Lamar.

SPEAKER PELOSI: It was almost a year ago, March 5th of last year, when you brought us together in a bipartisan way to set us on a path to lower cost, improved quality — expand access to quality health care for all Americans. In the course of that time in our committees in the House and the Senate, we’ve had lively discussions. Here we are today.

SENATOR REID: Mr. President, my friends in the House and in the Senate, I want to spend a few minutes talking about Nevada, about our country, and not what’s going on here in Washington. I want to start by talking about a young man by the name of Jesus Gutierrez. He works hard. He has a restaurant in Reno, Nevada. He had everything that he wanted, except a baby. He had health insurance. He had employees that liked him. But he was fortunate — they were going to have a baby and it was going to be a little girl. And the baby was born, and in just a few minutes after the birth of that baby, he was told that the baby had a cleft pallet. “But that’s okay,” he was told. “We can take care of that.” And they did. They did some surgery on the baby; he was happy — that is, Jesus was happy — until he got his mail four months later, opened the envelope, and the insurance company said, “We didn’t realize that your baby had a preexisting disability. We’re not covering the $90,000 in hospital and doctor bills you’ve already run up.” So he’s trying to pay that off. The baby needs a couple more surgeries. This shouldn’t happen to anyone in America. He had health insurance. He paid his premiums. 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Harry…  just want to address very quickly, Lamar, the issue of process that you raised at the beginning and then we’ll move on and start talking about the specifics. As I listened to your description of the House/Senate bill, as well as the proposal that I put on our Web site, obviously there were some disagreements about how you would characterize the legislation.

On the other hand, when I listened to some of the steps that you thought Republicans would be open to, I thought, well, a bunch of these things are things that we’d like to do, and in fact are in the legislative proposals.

SEN ALEXANDER: Well, may I — may I — You’ve made some interesting points…

SENATOR McCONNELL: …some liberties have been taken here…

SENATOR COBURN: …with young kids going to the ER, whether they have meningitis or asthma, they’re going to get treated in this country…

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Tom, I appreciate what you said. I think we’re going to have Steny Hoyer go next. I just want to make this quick point. Every good idea that we’ve heard about reducing fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid system, we’ve adopted in our legislation. So that’s an example of where we agree — we want to eliminate fraud and abuse within the government systems.

You mentioned the idea of buying across state lines, insurance. That’s something that I’ve put in my proposal that’s actually in the Senate proposal.

CONGRESSMAN HOYER: Mr. President, thank you very much. A quote I will use is, we should have available and affordable health care to every American citizen, to every family. I suppose there are a whole lot of every Americans and American families listening to us today and watching us, and they’re hoping that we’re all sitting around here talking about them, not about us.

THE PRESIDENT: Before you go, Max, I just want to ask, whether it’s you, Tom, or anybody else on the Republican side, and maybe some of the House members might be interested — Senator Coburn mentioned some cost containment issues where it sounds like we agree: fraud and abuse. We agree. It sounds like you have maybe one other idea that you don’t think is in our proposal, but the idea of undercover patients, but that’s something that I’d be very interested in exploring. I don’t think conceptually that would be a problem.

CONGRESSMAN KLINE: …we’re looking at thousands of pages of legislation…

SENATOR BAUCUS: Sure. Absolutely, though I’d first like to say something that just strikes me just in spades. Frankly, we all have studied this issue a lot — health care reform. We basically know what the problems are, all of us. We basically know that the current system is unsustainable. We are actually quite close.

CONGRESSMAN CAMP: …maybe you shouldn’t be spending a trillion dollars on health care…

THE PRESIDENT: Dave, I don’t mean to interrupt. But the — we’re going to have the whole section talking about deficits. And we can talk about the changes in Medicare. We were trying to focus on costs related to lowering families’. And the only concern I’ve got is — look, if every speaker at least on one side is going through every provision and saying what they don’t like, it’s going to be hard for us to see if we can arrive at some agreements on things that we all agree on.

CONGRESSMAN CAMP: …mandates…

CONGRESSMAN ANDREWS: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank my friend Tom Coburn, and John Kline, for the spirit of conversation which they offered and try to carry that forward a little bit. The President asked at the beginning of this what ideas do we share about cutting costs. And Tom, I think you had some very good ones. Fraud, that the President has a proposal that says we should have a database, if you’ve committed fraud against Medicare once, you can’t make a contract again. Wellness, there’s a lot of good ideas in the bills. Junk lawsuits, I think that there’s — what Secretary Sebelius is doing is very important in curtailing that.

CONGRESSMAN KLINE:…I don’t hear people complaining about the insurance policies that they’re getting from their big companies.

CONGRESSMAN ANDREWS: But, John, would you favor a standard that says they have to do something like that or would you just leave it up to the insurance company?

SENATOR McCONNELL: Mr. President, could I just interject one quick point here very quick, just in terms of trying to keep everything fair, which I know you want to do. To this point, the Republicans have used 24 minutes, the Democrats 52 minutes.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m the President and so I made — (laughter) — I didn’t count my time in terms of dividing it evenly. In this section, Mitch, we’ve gone back and forth pretty well.

THE PRESIDENT: But I just wanted to point out that when we start talking about how much government involvement is at issue here, it’s not because the House or the Senate bills are a government takeover of health care; it is that the House and the Senate bills put in place some regulations that restrict how insurance companies operate, and if there’s an exchange or a pool that’s set up, that there’s a baseline sort of minimum requirements that were expected. And I understand that there may be some philosophical differences on the other side of the aisle about that issue.

SENATOR KYL: federal government would mandate it under your legislation

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, Jon. I’m going to go to you, Jim, but I — since as has tended to happen here, we end up talking about criticisms of the existing bill as opposed to where we might find agreement

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I think this has actually been a very useful conversation. What I’m going to do is move on to the next topic, but maybe after we break for lunch and come back, I want to go through some areas where we decided we agreed and I know that abuse is a good example; some areas where we still disagree.

SENATOR KYL: …employers would drop you from their coverage…

REPRESENTATIVE BOUSTANY: …take a step back, and go step by step…

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Thanks, Charles. We’re going to go to George Miller — and if you want to respond to some specific things that Charles raised or make some more general points. We’ll then go back to a Republican. At some point in this discussion — and we’re going to have to be a little more disciplined in our time in order to stay on schedule on this section — at some point I’d like Secretary Sebelius, who is not only a former governor but also an insurance commissioner, to address some of the issues that have been coming up around insurance and minimum payment.

SENATOR McCAIN: …the 2,400 pages…unsavory…deal-making…people are angry…special interests…PhRMA

THE PRESIDENT: John, can I just say —

SENATOR McCAIN: Can I just finish, please?

…back to the beginning

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just make this point, John, because we’re not campaigning anymore. The election is over.

SENATOR McCAIN: I’m reminded of that every day. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. So we can spend the remainder of the time with our respective talking points going back and forth. We were supposed to be talking about insurance.

SENATOR McCAIN: Could I just say, Mr. President, the American people care about what we did and how we did it. And I think it’s a subject that we should discuss. And I thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: They absolutely do care about it, John. And I think that the way you characterized it obviously would get some strong objections from the other side. We can have a debate about process, or we can have a debate about how we’re actually going to help the American people at this point. And I think that’s — the latter debate is the one that they care about a little bit more.

REPRESENTATIVE CANTOR: Mr. President, thank you again very much for having us and for staying with us for the six hours. I appreciate that. I don’t know if you will after the six hours or not. But I want to — (Places stack of papers on table…)

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just guess — that that’s the 2,400-page health care bill. Is that right?

REPRESENTATIVE CANTOR: We don’t care for this billthere are plenty of taxes additional taxes mandate…

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me — since you asked me a question, let me respond. The 8 to 9 million people that you refer to that might have to change their coverage — keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we’re talking about — would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better. It would be a better deal. So, yes, they would change coverage, because they’ve got more choice and competition. So let’s just be clear about that, point number one.

Point number two, when we do props like this — stack it up and you repeat 2,400 pages, et cetera — you know, the truth of the matter is that health care is very complicated.

And we can try to pretend that it’s not, but it is. Every single item that we’ve talked about on the Republican side, if we wanted to exhaustively deal with fraud and abuse, would generate a bunch of pages. So I point that out, just because these are the kind of political things we do that prevent us from actually having a conversation.

Now, let me respond to your question. We could set up a system where food was probably cheaper than it is right now if we just eliminated meat inspectors and we eliminated any regulations in terms of how food is distributed and how it’s stored. I’ll bet in terms of drug prices, we would definitely reduce prescription drug prices if we didn’t have a drug administration that makes sure that we test the drugs so that they don’t kill us.

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does


From the “Duh Department”….

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the beautiful state of Florida. Home of our Governor, Charlie Crist, a career politician lacking a political agenda for the State…unless it involves furthering his political career.

For several years now, he’s been flipping back and forth from being a Liberal Republican to a Moderate Republican to a Center-Right Republican to a Right-Wing Republican in his quest to please the Republican hierarchy in our state and nation.

Today, he’s given up on running Florida so he can run for U.S. Senator in a seat (formerly held by Mel Martinez) in what he thought a few months ago was a cakewalk. Hell, he even managed to appoint a Do-Nothing Lackey, one George LeMieux, as a temporary caretaker to the seat in the Senate he so desires in his quest for personal satisfaction, the Presidency.

Yet, Gov. Lisp, as I affectionally call him, has somewhat of a shady past. After a quickie marriage and divorce to a lesbian in the eighties, he’s spent the better part of his career as a “confirmed bachelor”.

Over the years, rumors of his sexuality spread through the Florida government and populace. When I first met Charlie thirteen or so years ago, I was impressed with the fact that one of his “aides” never left his side at functions. A well-dressed, handsome young man. Reports of his dalliances littered the political landscape for years, and his sexuality became “The Worst Kept Secret in Florida”.

Until the day, almost two years ago, when Charlie decided he wanted to be Vice-President. A few overtures to John McCain later, the name of Florida Governor Charlie Crist started showing up on short lists of possible VP nominees.

Unfortunately, Charlie had baggage. A past. So he concocted a whirlwind romance with a handsome divorcee and a quick engagement to her. Then paraded her in front of McCain during a visit to McCain’s compound in July, 2008.

I guess even that didn’t convince McCain or his people, as the chosen VP nominee turned out to be Sarah Palin. But that’s a whole other story!

Which brings us to today…

Charlie’s in a losing battle for the Senate seat he so desperately needs. Losing to an extreme right wing state legislator from South Florida, Marco Rubio. Now Charlie’s in the process of reconfiguring his political stance once again.

So…What does he do? In an astonishing announcement (and another flip flop on a previous stance) regarding the repeal of DADT, the St. Petersburg Times reports:

“We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes,” Crist campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

Yup. Gov. Lisp is telling gays in the military to stay in the closet.

Go figure.

DUH!