A couple of hours after President Obama signed the health-care bill, an elated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with a group of columnists and commentators, issuing a warning to insurance companies and offering a surprising view of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Asked if insurance companies might raise their rates on health coverage and blame the increases on the new health-care bill, Pelosi said that the insurance companies should be aware that they’re not “automatically included” in the new health exchanges the bill creates.
“Unless they do the right thing, they’re not going in,” she said. “They will be relinquishing the possibility of having taxpayer-subsidized consumers in the exchange,” she said.
Under the new law, the health exchanges Pelosi referred to will be created in 2014. By pulling customers together, they will give individuals and companies a better chance of bargaining when they buy health insurance. Because the exchanges are expected to serve millions of new customers, insurance companies will want to be part of them.
The electoral-politics aspect of what just happened with health care is a bit strange. It seems to me that the Republicans capitulated entirely to Tea Party sentiment, a move that sets them up for a Sarah Palin candidacy in 2012, which in turn is a move that sets them up for a crushing general-election defeat. Meanwhile the Democrats spent the health care debate fleeing from their own base, a move that… well, I don’t know what it means, exactly, but it does make me a little ill. The whole picture is strange: Democrats running as Republicans, Republicans running as Turner-Diaries conspiracy theorists.
I don’t get what the Republicans have to gain by painting themselves as hysterical survivalist Ruby-Ridge loonies (Kentucky congressman Geoff Davis pulling out the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag was a move more larded with mawkish over-drama than your average drag-queen tribute to Edith Piaf). It feels to me like they played this one wrong.
It doesn’t matter, though. Should I decide to change my politics and become a conservative now that I’m exactly the middle-aged bourgeois/suburban tool I used to rail against, I can always vote Republican by voting Democratic. The new Democratic Party is an excellent substitute for the old Nixon/Ford Republican Party. They even passed Nixon’s vision of a health care plan. That there’s no Democratic Party left is a shame, but I guess one choice is better than none.
For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.
This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.
Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”
The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.
The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.
If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.
That NJ residents would have figured out that Gov. Chris Christie is merely the East Coast mirror image of Arnold “Cut All Social Programs” Schwarzenegger. Gubernatorial elections are more than a popularity contest – they’re the legislative expression (at least theoretically) of a party’s positions.
And if there’s one thing we all know about Republicans, it’s that they’re all about privatization.
At least we’re still surprised when the Democrats embrace it!
“Freedom Concerts” scam foundation that he used to promote himself instead of helping soldiers. Big surprise, huh!
The corporate douchebags at Viacom have been accusing YouTube of violating their rights… over videos they placed on YouTube themselves!
Zahavah Levine, chief counsel for YouTube in its litigation with Viacom, explains:
For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. […] Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.
I’ve seen hundreds of Viacom clips there. Morons.
Q First, earlier this week — sorry, I have two questions. First, earlier this week, both Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore pointed out that the preexisting condition provision of the legislation doesn’t take effect for another four years, and I’m wondering if you could tell us, was that a concession, and if so, who fought for that and what did they — what did you get in return?
MR. GIBBS: There is —
Q For adults, that is.
MR. GIBBS: Right. Well, again, the — as I described earlier and as the President has described, there are certain things that cannot be instituted until you have everyone in the system. Obviously this is a piece of legislation that phases in over the course of many years those changes. And as a result of that phasing in, when that’s done, preexisting conditions for adults will be outlawed. But understand this — when this becomes law, an insurance company will no longer be able to discriminate against a child that has — that they believe or says that has a preexisting condition.
Q That’s on day one.
MR. GIBBS: Right.
Q Children. And so it’s pegged to the mandate then, is that fair to say?
MR. GIBBS: Yes.
What a shitty, shitty bill. What do Democrats stand for, anyway?
Gangsta pimp John Boehner gives advice to the poor abused bankers:
This week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) released the latest version of his financial regulatory reform bill, which aims to correct the deficiencies in the financial system that led to 2008’s economic crisis. The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive regulatory reform bill, and now that Dodd has given up on negotiating with recalcitrant Republicans, he is moving on an expedited timeline, with a markup scheduled for Monday.
It’s taken the Senate a year and a half after the financial crisis to even get to this point, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) told “an enthusiastic crowd of bankers” today that, even if the Senate passes a bill, reconciling it with the House version will take another year. “If the Senate is able to produce a bill, I think it’s just as likely that we’ll be talking about the same issue a year from now as we are right now,” Boehner said at the American Bankers Association government relations summit.
Boehner then added that the bankers should be standing up for themselves against “those little punk staffers” trying to write new regulations:
“Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves,” Boehner said. “All of us are hearing from our friends and constituents on lack of credit, you can’t get a loan, the more your government takes and taxes, the more regulations you have to comply with the more cost you have there and less amount you are going to have available to loan to customers.”