The Democratic 'No' Votes

Rep. John Adler (N.J.)
Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.)
Rep. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
Rep. John Barrow (Ga.)
Rep. Marion Berry (Ark.)
Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.)
Rep. Rick Boucher (Va.)
Rep. Bobby Bright (Ala.)
Rep. Ben Chandler (Ky.)
Rep. Travis Childers (Miss.)
Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.)
Rep. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.)
Rep. Chet Edwards (Texas)
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.)
Rep. Tim Holden (Pa.)
Rep. Larry Kissell (N.C.)
Rep. Frank Kratovil (Md.)
Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.)
Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.)
Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.)
Rep. Mike McMahon (N.Y.)
Rep. Charlie Melancon (La.)
Rep. Walt Minnick (Idaho)
Rep. Glenn Nye (Va.)
Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.)
Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.)
Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.)
Rep. Zack Space (Ohio)
Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.)
Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.)
Rep. Harry Teague (N.M.)

Thanks to The Huffington Post.


I may have stumbled upon a good way to counter conservative hysteria over the passage yesterday of health care reform.

An old pal of mine with whom I now keep up via Facedbook had posted something about waking up this morning in a “socialist republic.”

I try to be demure about political discussions on Facedbook, though sometimes it’s like Odysseus at Scylla. With this one, the damned ropes snapped. The response just rang in my head and my fingers were typing and there it was. “You’re a cool guy and all. But that is nonsense.”

Calling out the nonsense for what it is? Is that perhaps a better response than pointing out the facts that the bill what passed has no way and no how anything to do with involving the federal government in the health care sector, aside from a little bit of regulatin’?

Is it better to just label it for what it is than to explain?


The Bill Is Bigger Than The Bill

I saw two men yesterday who couldn’t help but force a reflection regarding yesterday’s historic vote. The first was at Home Depot. He was a white guy maybe some younger than I. He was wearing a hoodie and I think cammos. He was wearing one shoe. The bare foot was all black and blue. He started murmuring about how he wished he could get a girl to find him attractive…

The second was a gentleman whom I could not help but refer to as “Mister Magoo.” He was crossing the street and was on a medical-issue stainless-steel cane. He was limping, but you just knew that his problems went far deeper than a bum leg. You could tell it required a lot of strategy for him to cross the street. Before the light turned green my way he had actually made it, and he walked over and started looking at a bus schedule.

My thought on both of these fellas was jeez, somebody ought to help that guy.

This, I think, will be the consequence of yesterday’s historic vote in the House of Representatives—and I think the Republigoats understand this—that, while the bill itself is a paltry version of what it needs to be, its overall cultural impact will be quite effective at carrying its reforms further.

What this country has become was illustrated quite vividly in this video, in which a man—apparently a victims of Parkinson’s disease—sat down to counter-protest and was mocked severely by a bunch of ugly white boys:

But that is what this country has become, in regards to most issues, but especially on the issue of health care: The expectation is that care requires dollars, not that care will be forthcoming regardless of the depth of your pockets. Love or hate Olbermann’s hour-long rant on this subject, recently replayed on MSNBC, but his allusion to Dickensian Britain was no stretch. Scrooge lives. And today, he sarcastically hurls dollar bills at a sick guy.

Rep. John Larson, head of the Democratic Caucus, today lists ten immediate changes you’ll see now that reform has passed. They are striking improvements to be sure. But I hope and believe that the passage of this bill, as imperfect and incomplete as it is, will accomplish a larger net effect than its provisions. I hope and believe that people will see the changes, will feel the changes, and that tides will turn; that Americans will cease thinking of health care as just another commodity.

The Madness of HCR

I hope they finally pass health care reform this week simply so that we can stop hearing about it.

But let’s be clear about one thing: What passes this week will be more of a necessary political victory rather than being a necessary policy victory. Yes, there are some nice little chestnuts in there, including a legislated end to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

But, let’s be honest. The thing is useless without a public option.

Here’s the thing about regulative legislation: It requires enforcement. And this is a country that now sports a political party that, when it acquires power, immediately begins doing everything it can to strip the federal government of its enforcement powers.

A public option would be a control above and beyond the purview of regulation and enforcement. It is a true market solution to the problem of escalating premiums. A public option would force insurance companies to become more competitive, to slash overhead, to stop paying their CEOs $57,000 an hour. And it would be far more difficult for Republigoats to jab sticks between its spokes.

This is why they don’t like it. It is too disruptive to their ongoing mission to cripple government. It is too organic and too effective. And that, ladles and jelly-spoons, is why we probably won’t have a public option! Yay!

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking

Have just called my senators and my congressman regarding health care reform. I find it helps to open with a question for the staffer you’re talking to. My question today was, where is so-and-so on health care reform right now?

Answers from senators Webb and Warner’s staff were the same: The senator voted for the Senate version of the bill but has not issued a statement regarding reconciliation. I then told the staffers that I support efforts to pass the bill using reconciliation and encouraged them to sign on to the Bennet letter.

My congressman, Jim Moran, of course is representing his district well, being on the record for the reconciliation process. I told the staffer that I supported that position and also thanked the Congressman again for voting against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. I thank him for this every time I see him or contact his office. Every time.

If you’re in Virginia/NoVa and feel like giving these nice people a call, here are the numbers:

Sen. Webb: 202/224-4024
Sen. Warner: 202/224-2023
Congressman Moran: 202/225-4376

Save The Post Office! Pass Universal Health Care!

PB has noted yet another of what are surely many surprising consequences of a universal health care system: More reasonable alternatives for women in labor. Here’s another one, courtesy of my favorite radio talker, Thom Hartmann.

The U.S. Post Office, you see, is mandated to pre-pay health care benefits for its retirees, a cost of approximately $5 billion a year. Part of Postmaster General John Potter’s plan to cut costs is to end this mandate. Of course, as U.S. News & World Report notes, such a move would require approval by the union and by Congress. Fat chance.

A single-payer system, though, or a Medicare buy-in or outright expansion would nip that $5 billion cost right in the nuts, now, wouldn’t it?

So, let’s see. Better outcomes for pregnant women. Check. A U.S. Postal Service that runs in the black. Check. Eliminates worker’s comp. Check. Could in theory become a more broad system to umbrella the VA system, giving our vets more options and better coverage. Check. Puts a severe check on assholes who earn $57,000 an hour. Check.

The bill that’s in play right now is horseshit. That’s for sure. With no public options, it’s pretty useless, though it does provide subsidies and it does counter the ungodly practice of discriminating against sick people. It’s horseshit, but we’ll take it and then keep on pushing.

Dear Mister President

You gave a rousing speech this afternoon regarding health care reform. It was on television and everything. Congratulations.

How many people do you reckon actually saw it?

When your predecessor wanted to conduct an illegal, immoral, and unnecessary war, what did he do?

Did he give a rousing speech in the afternoon?

No. He put on a suit and appropriated the airwaves in prime time. He looked America right in the eyes and told her why he was taking her to war.

And he got what he wanted.

Does this give you any ideas, Mr. President? Hmmmmm?

A Cup A Cup A Cup A Cup A Cup

Oh dear gods. I mean, I guess it was inevitable. I mean, so long as there’s a group of wackos running around calling themselves the “Tea Party Movement,” there might as well be a damned “coffee party” as well.

I’ve just heard about the thing on the Thom Hartmann show since I haven’t gotten around to perusing the whole damned issue of today’s The Washington Post and Shitty Corporate News Outlet. But apparently, yes, there is a coffee party. And though I’ve just heard of it, it annoys the living hell out of me.

Creating a “coffee party movement,” you see, only further legitimizes the “tea party” assholes. It just smacks of sour grapes; it yields the “tea party” franchise to the Obama-as-Hitler sign holders. This “tea party movement” is stocked with morons who seriously believe Glenn Beck and Bob Basso’s portrayal of Thomas Paine as a neo-con. It is stocked with people who do not actually understand what the Boston Tea Party, the historical event they claim fuels and inspires them, actually was, that it was a protest not just against government or taxes, but against the slimy collusion of government and a top-heavy multi-national corporation.

These people, fueled by corporate dollars, at the beck and call of their own worst interests, these folks should not be legitimized by a smarmy copycat, by a group that says fine, you build your pillow fort in the bedroom, I’ll just move to the living room, so there. And the message the group has chosen, that they want legislators to work better together and blah blah blah, well. Could the timing be any worse considering the massive fault lines that were revealed from the Blair House on Thursday?

As E.J. Dionne points out beautifully today in the aforementioned The Washington Post and Shitty Corporate News Outlet, partisanship is broiling here in Washington, and to discount it is to fail to understand contemporary politics. The fact is that the two political parties in the United States disagree violently about the role of government and are currently duking it out over the subject with ball peen hammers and sharp-toed boots. Handing the “tea party movement” a de facto legitimization and calling for cooperation in Congress isn’t going stop the hammering, raucous battle—certainly not so long as a Republigoat can look you in the eye regarding HCR and can seriously say, ya know, screw it, let’s trash it and start over, what do you say?