Letters: The birthers in Congress – Salon


At first I found this "movement" amusing. Then, annoying. Now I am just plain scared as I have watched what I perceived as an irrational fear of Barack Obama as president grow into a newsworthy "movement". It is as if many seemingly rational people suddenly find it impossible to believe that Barack Obama is exactly who he portends to be. It is one thing to be cynical of a politician’s motives, but to question his legitimacy, and to disbelieve any attempt on proving it goes beyond the pale. I understand a general "fear" coming from the right, of a strong candidate with so much popularity while their party seems to be in self-destruct mode. But what drives this more intense, irrational fear? Is it his "liberal" bent – I think not, as other liberals haven’t generated this amount of irrational fear in the past. Is it his intelligence or charisma

Letters: The birthers in Congress – Salon

The Great Debate » Debate Archive » Where the healthcare debate seems bizarre | The Great Debate |

The Great Debate » Debate Archive » Where the healthcare debate seems bizarre | The Great Debate | 

In America, the health care debate is about to come to a boil. President Barack Obama has put pressure on both houses of Congress to pass versions of his flagship domestic legislative program prior to their August recess.

Good luck.

Opponents are filling the airwaves with the usual litany of lies, damned lies and statistics about socialized medicine and the twin nightmare of bureaucratically rationed health care and high taxes amongst allies like Britain, France and Germany. So here is a brief overview of health care in some of Europe’s biggest economies: Britain’s National Health Service is paid for out of a social security tax. Services are free at the point of provision. No co-pay, no reimbursement. The budget last year was 90 billion pounds (about $148 billion). That makes the average cost per person about 1,500 pounds ($2,463).

The Great Debate » Debate Archive » Where the healthcare debate seems bizarre | The Great Debate |

Daily Kos: State of the Nation


The System At Work

by Hunter
Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 10:00:04 AM PDT

The GOP goal is to kill healthcare reform outright; their strategists are saying as much. Not to kill single payer or a public option, but to kill the whole notion of reform. The legislators tasked with coming up with alternative plans  declared, this last week, that none were needed; Senator Inhofe muses out loud about how much his party might be helped if they can manage to stop reform outright.

I suppose it is worth pondering the how and the why of such things.  Do they earnestly believe that there’s absolutely nothing that needs to be done about health care in this country?  Are they so transparently in the pockets of the lobbyists that they are willing make a bold stand on "everything is fine", when a mere look out the window says it’s not?

It’s puzzling that such a stance could even be remotely effective. Everybody in America seems to hate their insurance provider, at least everyone who has ever had to use it because they actually got sick. Everybody knows how bad getting actual healthcare has become in this country; everybody has stories of being screwed roundly by their insurance, or not being able to get insurance in the first place, or knows someone else who has had worse experiences.

And yet even in something with such widespread support, all you have to do to foul up the works is (1) invoke partisan pride, so that all the other conservatives or Republicans will simply oppose whatever-it-is out of reflex, and (2) make up a bunch of scary-sounding bullcrap, much of it provided by the insurance companies themselves, and hork it up on television via friendly hosts and anchors. (And again — transparently. The very same scary-sounding phrases or made-up statistics make it into twenty or fifty or a hundred different political and pundit mouths in a single day, with not even an attempt to disguise the obvious commonality of the source.)

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Democrats Must Settle For Half A Loaf | The Cook Political Report


This column was originally featured on CongressDaily/AM on July 21, 2009.

Whether or not you agree with the substance of President Obama’s and congressional Democrats’ health care reform and climate change packages, it’s hard to deny their ambition or intentions. They are trying to address enormous, consequential and long-neglected problems that our country, sooner or later, must face.

The magnitude is, to borrow somewhat from one of Obama’s books, "audacious," to say the least.

But no matter how sincere their intentions and bold their efforts, it is increasingly clear their grasp is exceeding their reach on these two issues. While the Obama White House has always said compromise would be necessary, the cold realities of the state of the economy, budgets and deficits, and, for members of Congress, re-election are going to force a significant scaling down of the health and climate proposals. They find themselves in a situation in which compromising a quarter or a third of their original packages is not nearly enough. Their choice is either half a loaf or no loaf at all.

Perhaps if the recession had not been so deep, or if they had inherited a smaller deficit, the budgetary and political climate would have been such that they could have held out for more ambitious versions of these two proposals

Democrats Must Settle For Half A Loaf | The Cook Political Report