Thursday, March 29, 2012

Debating Obama's sell out of healthcare.

As the debate over Obama's health care bill winds down in front of the United States Supreme Court with its very constitutionality and survival at stake, its a good time to remember that had Obama not sold out the public option to healthcare industry lobbyists there wouldn't be a debate in front of the Supreme Court at all.

At the heart of the Supreme Court debate is the individual mandate, the provision Obama inserted as the substitute for a public option in another one of his unnecessary conviction-less capitulations and now as is usually the case when the wrong thing is done for the wrong reasons, its about to blow up in his face since it is now a vitual certainty the mandate will be struck down as unconstitutional. And with good reason.

But while the Supreme Court debate is making front page news, what most people, especially congressional Democrats, their strategists and the news media seem to forget, is just what a catastrophe on every level Obama's selling out the public option really was and how, had it passed, it would have transformed America. Instead Obama sold out the health care of Americans, the justice of a level playing field for healthcare, the Democratic agenda and congressional Democrats who were prepared to pass a public option,by capitulating to the healthcare industry lobby, the drug companies, insurance companies and of course the Republicans in dropping the public option even though the votes were in congress to pass it. And then, as usual, lying about it.

When questioned about his dropping the public option Obama claimed with brazen, blatant dishonesty that he never campaigned for a public option. And in a press conference defending his healthcare bill, lied again claiming that his bill "got health coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans". What his healthcare bill and mandate would have gotten was 32 million new customers for the insurance companies. The mandate was a boon to the health insurance industry as the spike in their stocks have shown, not to Americans without health coverage. And now not only is the mandate almost certainly to be struck down, it could bring down the entire law which wasn't all that great to begin with, and make all the angst and political bloodletting, all the time and money spent on healthcare reform all be for nothing.

But this is what passing the government run public option could have done:

It would have taken the 2700 page law and probably reduced it to 27 pages because most of the provisions in the law directed at insurance companies would have been unnecessary. It would have been unnecessary to require insurance companies to drop pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny coverage or prevent them from dropping people with catastrophic illnesses, or setting caps or a hundred other things because the public option would have had none of that and if insurance companies wanted to keep customers and compete they would be forced to drop those policies on their own.

Secondly, the government run public option would have greatly reduced healthcare costs since the government (and tax payers subsidizing it) wouldn't abide by hospitals charging $50 for an asprin ( or a Michelle Obama being paid $350,000 a year in a patronage job to do PR for a Chicago hospital, which she did while Obama was a senator). Government run health insurance would have done more to reduce health care costs than just about anything else which was one of the goals of reform.

Third, with a government run public option available, employers and workers could have switched to the public option and that would have had a long lasting positive impact not only on their own health but health of the economy.

It's been estimated that 1/3 of the cost of manufacturing a car is health insurance premiums have to pay for their employees. A public option would have greatly reduced or eliminated an employer's health insurance burden as well as eliminated employees contributions to their insurance coverage which comes out of their paycheck. That would have meant more money back in the pockets of employees and less costs for employers. More money in employees pockets would have meant more spending which would have meant increased demand which would have meant increased hiring and lower unemployment. And increases to a bottom line also increases the value of stock to investors. So aside from all the good things it would have brought to the health of the American people, it would have also made the economy healthier. In fact the CBO also scored the public option as reducing the deficit by $160 billion.

Add to that the common sense provisions that a government run public option would have had which included  preventive care and healthcare maintence like regular check ups, enrollment in fitness centers etc., and  it would have made for a healthier population with less need for expensive healthcare procedures. And a healthier population staying healthy for a longer period of time would have reduced  Medicare costs far into the future since as people grew older and were healthier, they would have less of a need for medical care which would have reduced the drain on the system in a much better way than slashing coverage as Republicans propose.

All of this went down the drain when Obama shortsightedly and for his own political fortunes and because he couldn't take even a little political heat, sold out the public option. It also was the single biggest factor in the Democrats getting wiped out in the 2010 election since polls showed an overwhelming number of people wanted and supported what Democrats promised but didn't deliver.

It should also be kept in mind that Obama's healthcare bill without the public option, the bill that some congressional Democrats, strategists and political shills try to call his "signature piece of legislation", was called a piece of "junk" by Howard Dean, former DNC chair, presidential candidate, governor and physician. Tom Harkin and other Democrats could only say about it that it was "better than nothing".  Dean said before the vote on Obama's healthcare plan that it "should be junked and the Democrats should start over".

It looks like the Supreme Court is about to take Howard Dean's advice and do what congressional Democrats should have done to Obama and his healthcare plan two years ago if only Pelosi and Reid had had the backbone to stand up to Obama who didn't have the backbone to stand up to Republicans and the health insurance companies. Only now it looks too late to start over. And it seems that the Supreme Court is not only going to listen to Howard Dean and junk it, even if the rest of the bill stands while the mandate is gone, it's  not going to be "better than nothing," it's going to be nothing,just more medical waste.

In his closing arguments defending Obama's law, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.lamely tried to tie Obama's mandate to buy health insurance to the concept of liberty, trying to define it as giving people liberty from illness and disease. Rebutting it,Paul Clement said, "it's a funny concept of liberty that forces someone to purchase an insurance policy..."

The concept of healthcare and liberty as related, as well as related to equality ( not racial or gender but human)  is at the heart of the concept of universal healthcare.  And had Obama really cared about healthcare as a civil right he would signed a public option into law. Instead of selling it out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should liberals have to pay to bring conservatives into the world?

As crazy as that sounds that is the other side of a ruling by a Kansas Federal judge in refusing to block a new Kansas law that requires health insurance companies to exclude abortion coverage in their general healthcare policies. The new law forces a woman to buy a rider that would cover medical expenses incurred in electing to have an abortion because it can no longer be covered as part of a general health insurance policy.

 The rationale Judge Wesley Brown used in failing to block the law was this:

 "The law appears to rationally further a state interest in allowing the State's citizens to avoid paying insurance premiums for services to which they have a moral objection,".

 Good enough. So now lets expand that to do the same for everyone so that the majority of those in blue states can pass a law where they don't have to pay insurance premiums that cover the cost of obstetric and post natal care policies for conservatives and Republicans since most Democrats, liberals and progressives have an understandable deep moral objection to Republican conservatives and their beliefs. Based on that, and Judge Brown's legal logic, they shouldn't have to pay to have conservatives bring children into the world who will no doubt grow up to be Republicans. Instead, conservatives and registered Republicans can buy riders to their insurance policies to cover their obstetric and post natal  care.

Using Judge Wesely Brown's logic, and the logic and values of Kansas conservatives who make up a majority in their legislature,  what's good for one has to be good for all since based on the Constitution no one group or majority gets to make only their moral objections law, which is why there is an establishment clause in the first amendment. Given Judge Brown's ruling, no Democrat or liberal should have to pay to subsidize health care premiums for Republicans to bring new Republicans into the world whose ideas, value and ideology for which  they have deep moral objections.
There is no doubt that most liberals and progressives have a deep and abiding moral objection to so called "conservative" values ( as did the Founders of this country and the framers of the constitution by the way). In fact a good case can be made that millions of liberals have a deep moral objection to even keeping conservatives healthy. So there is no reason for them to have to pay health insurance premiums that contribute to the health of conservatives.

According to Judge Brown's logic no one should have to pay insurance premiums to cover the cost of any kind of medical care for which they have a moral objection, so Democratically controlled states could pass laws forcing Republicans or conservatives to buy riders to cover the cost of their pregnancies and post natal care makes sense.
 Or is the judge saying that only the moral objections that he agrees with should be supported by the law? Which is the same rationale that kept African Americans, women, gays and lesbians and other minorities out of mainstream society and even put their lives at risk. Wasn't that also at the heart of Nazi philosophy? Of course the good people of Kansas and Judge Brown no doubt think that their moral objections are superior to everyone else's and are for the good of mankind. So did the Nazis and fascists who took those ideas to the extreme.
How far could Judge Brown's logic extend when it comes to laws based on a community's moral objections? Does anyone doubt that there are communities that have a moral objection to Muslims?  Wasn't the persecution of Jews, blacks, women, gays and lesbians and other religious minorities based on moral objections? Taking the politics out of it, if a state can pass laws based on their "moral objections" against people who don't want children which also results in a financial burden on those people, there should also be laws that put the same burdens on people who do want children, and force them to buy riders to their health insurance policies to cover the costs.

The ACLU should get this ruling by judge Brown struck down on constitutional grounds based on the "moral objection" rationale since it clearly violates the establishment clause of the first amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th.  And if it should be ruled constitutional then the same principle should be used against the people who formed it.
 "Moral objection" as a rationale can be a clear danger to democracy since many, including those on the extreme right have used moral objections as a rationale before to justify most of their agenda which many find immoral, amoral and hypocritical, not to mention that their agenda whenever turned into law became a disaster. Laws based on "moral objections" were used it to keep African Americans enslaved, to deprive them of equal rights 100 years after emancipation, to keep people of different races from marrying, to keep women, gays and others from having equal rights and opportunities, and was at the heart of the actions of the KKK whose symbol of a burning cross signified their belief in the rightness of their cause.It also led to women who were believed to be witches because of their sexual indulgences being burned at the stake by the church in the middle ages.

The "moral objection" idea has been used by dictators from Hitler to Ahmadinejad to not only deprive people of their rights but to persecute them. It's used in Iran and other Arab countries to stone women to death who dont adhere to their ultra right wing conservative moral beliefs, which is not all that far removed in attitude from  Republican conservatives trying to  pass laws banning contraception and forced vaginal ultrasounds along with state sanctioned psychological torture aimed at women wanting to get a legal abortion. "Moral objections" are also the grounds under which gays are executed in Iran.
The Kansas law and the rationale behind it seems to be patently unconstitutionall. It should be struck down. But if it isn't then let's do it the right thing and satisfy everyone's moral objections so Democrats and liberals and progressives and people who believe in the constitution don't have to pay and subsidize insurance premiiums for people for whom they have a deep moral objection bringing children into the world. Let's have everyone's moral objections respected. And lets see what Judge Brown and the conservatives in Kansas and everywhere else think about that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Penn State trustees, Pa. governor issue self-serving whitewash on Paterno firing.

Both Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and the Penn State trustees issued an expected self-serving and sanctimonious report to justify the firing of Joe Paterno in which they cited a "failure of leadership".

 It is both pathetic and not unexpected, that the trustees of an institution of higher learning have demonstrated both with their actions at the time and the report issued three months after the fact, that they either don't have the capacity to logically locate the open end of a paper bag, or that they will do anything to keep from admitting their own egregious cowardice and failures.

 The report is nothing less than a joke and a cover up since not only is there not a shred of logic attached to it, but it flies in the face of their own public statements at the time as to why they fired Paterno.

 In any court room in the country any statement by any witness that is more contemporaneous to the event they are testifying about will have more weight and will be considered to be more truthful and more accurate than a statement made about the same event four months later.

 In the case of Paterno, at the press conference in which they announced Paterno's firing, they said plainly and in so many words that it was the pressure applied by the news media in making what happened at Penn State a big story and the trustees inability to deal with it, that brought them to the conclusion that the best way to put an end to the media mob focusing on Penn State was to fire Paterno.

 It was putting an end to the media glare at Penn State, a glare mostly the result of self-serving motives by the media to create a big story which the Paterno name provided, that the trustees said all agreed was in the best interests of Penn State and so, displaying the kind of cowardice and disregard for principle and truth that a university is supposed to stand for, they fired Paterno for their own self-serving reasons because they not only couldn't stand the heat they wanted to get out of the kitchen as fast as they could.

 The fact that media attention was there and relentless only because of Paterno's status and that it was the Paterno name that rung up their cash registers and brought out the vultures to feed ( had exactly the same thing occurred at a different university with a football team run by an lesser known head coach it would have been a one day story), was besides the point. The fact that the media glare  had nothing whatsoever to do with children or child abuse as subsequent events have proved,  was also besides the point. It was the media attention that they admitted at the time they couldn't handle that was the impetus behind Paterno's firing, and this report which tries to say otherwise makes both Corbett, the Pennsylvania governor, and the trustees the worst kind of cowards and political hacks. Now they are trying to revise history and cover themselves by issuing a report saying the "real" reason they fired Paterno was for "lack of leadership". It is the psychologists term "projection",  which describes behavior which is characterized by a deep denial of ones own flaws and projected onto someone else that is the hallmark of the report.

 Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett proved it himself when two days ago he issued a statement taking a pot shot at Paterno when he said that Paterno "deserved to be fired" for" not following up".

 How self serving was it? For one thing Corbett had a heads up that the report was going to be released a few days later and so wanted to get in the first shot and Corbett is also one of the trustees that voted to fire Paterno in the first place.  So the idea that he would admit he and the other trustees were anything other than sanctimonious idiots for making a knee jerk reaction unsupported by facts  is beyond the realm of possibility. The second aspect that proves Corbett's statement was self-serving, is, who asked him? Who wanted or needed him to make any statement at all at this point, four months after the fact? Doesn't he have anything else to do as governor?  But when you are worried about covering your own backside, that's what takes precedence.

 To demonstrate, again and for the last time, just how dishonest and self-serving both Corbett, the trustees and the news media were then and now,  all the criticism of Paterno was based on one idea -- that  he "didn't do enough". But no one has ever said what "enough" was. No one who has ever criticized Paterno ever said with any specificity what it was he should have done that he didn't,  or what they would have done differently and why notifying the AD at Penn State of what he was told ( not witnessed himself) within 24 hours and then notifying the person whose job title was described by a trustee as "the head of Penn State police services" wasn't enough.

 Both Corbett and the trustees in their self-serving report tried to define it by saying that "not enough" and "failure of leadership" was defined as Paterno "not following up".

 To illustrate how preposterous and self-serving this conclusion is, consider this scenario:

Paterno informs Schultz the head of Penn State police services of McQueary's allegation, arranges a meeting with McQueary to report what he saw, then Schultz passes on the information to Penn State chief of detectives. Based on McQueary's eyewitness account Sandusky is arrested. The legal system plays out in whatever way it does and Sandusky is either acquitted or convicted. Ten years later in reviewing documents related to the case both Tom Corbett and the trustees realize that Joe Paterno,after reporting what he knew to Schultz and the AD, didn't make any follow up calls to the detectives  or prosecutors to check on whether or not they are doing their jobs,  but instead went back to his own job of coaching football. They decide since Paterno didnt follow up he should be fired.

 To take Corbett and the trustees at face value, that it was "not following up" which justifed the firing, they are essentially saying Paterno had to  be fired because the AD and Schultz  didn't do their jobs. According to the trustees, supposedly it was Paterno job and "moral responsibility"  to check on both of them and possibly even the detectives to make sure they were doing their jobs.

 Based on this, Corbett and the trustees are saying that every citizen of Pennsylvania who passes on any information at all regarding a possible crime to the police has a moral responsibility "to follow up" and make calls to the police to make sure they are doing their jobs.  If Corbett actually came out and said anything like that in so many words, if he tried to apply the same standard to every citizen of Pennsylvania that he is  applying to Joe Paterno, every  every police chief in Pennsylvania and every cop would want Corbett's head on a platter.

As for the news media who created the storm for their own self -serving and journalistically dishonest reasons,  further proof of media hypocrisy regarding the entire Paterno affair was on display two weeks ago in Philadelphia when Roman Catholic Monsignor William Lynn went on trial in a landmark case as the first church administrator indicted for failing to take action and report to authorities priests he had known were sexually abusing children in Philadelphia. Lynn tried to get the charges dismissed based on evidence that he had prepared a list of pedophile priests and gave the list to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua in 1994  who ordered the list destroyed. Lynn's defense is essentially  " I did what I was told"  and that he wasn't responsible for the list being destroyed. But prosecutors said they will show that Monsignor Lynn's purpose for creating the list was only to prepare for possible civil law suits against the church, not to weed out or report the predators, and that Lynn took no action himself nor did cardinal Bevilacqua,  to stop or report the sexual abuse of children to authorities, sexual abuse that he knew was going on since 1994.

 Monsignor Lynn's trial began on  Feb 29,2012. News of the opening day of the trial and the evidence against Lynn wasn't even mentioned on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News, the same newspaper that put Joe Paterno's picture on the front page, someone who did report what he was told about possible abuse within 24 hours,with a banner headline, "Shame".  Yet a trial involving a 12 year cover up of child sexual abuse by a monsignor and cardinal of  the Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia and a failure to report the abuse to authorities for more than 12 years doesnt get a word on the front page.  So much  for the Daily News and their ideas of "moral responsibility".  What the Daily News cared about is that the name Joe Paterno sold more newspapers and attacking Paterno was "safe".

So who  really failed in their "moral responsibility" and "lack of leadership"?  Everyone who attacked Paterno, that's who. The news media, Tom Corbett,  and the Penn State trustees  who clearly lied in their report in an effort to rewrite history and get out from under the heat of Penn State students and alumi disgusted with them

 Given the recent success of exerting pressure on the sponsors of Rush Limbaugh's radio show to stop their advertising because of Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke,  people outraged by the Philadelphia Daily News, Corbett and the Penn State trustees could decide on a boycott of their own -- a boycott of advertisers of the Philadelphia Daily News until action is taken against the editors responsible for the Paterno "Shame" front page, and a boycott of donations to Penn State from outraged alumni until the trustees are replaced.   As for Tom Corbett, the best way to handle him is on election day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Obama's Iran policy: lost and not profound

Barrack Obama's recent interview regarding his views on Iran and the nuclear threat they pose and the possibility of a preemptive Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities was almost comical in the kind of empty and overblown rhetoric with nothing substantive behind it  that has been Obama's political hallmark. Except that with the possibility of a nuclear Iran, the stakes arent just political, they are deadly.

 Obama has had a long history of using overblown rhetoric to cover up the fact that he is not saying much of anything, often misusing words to make something he is saying sound weightier than it really is and in an interview leading up to his meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu it became not just comical but something to worry about.

 Perhaps in an attempt at trying to give the impression that he understands the gravity of the situation, Obama used the word "profound" no less than seven times in a matter of minutes. It was as if he thought that simply by using the word "profound", people would think what he was saying was profound. It wasn't. It was just the opposite.

 Here are some "profound nuggets" from the interview, all quotes from Obama:

 "a peaceful and stable and representative Syrian government would be a profound loss for Iran."

 "Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn't just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States."

 "The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound."

 "Netanyahu has a profound responsibility to protect Israelis" (given the Holocaust and anti-Semitism)

 " of the reasons that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has survived so because it has been a profoundly bipartisan commitment to the state of Israel. "

"If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, I won't name the countries, but there are probably four or five countries  in the Middle East who say, ' we are going to start a program and we will have nuclear weapons'. And at that point the prospect for miscalculation in a region that has many tensions and fissures, is profound".

 "If people want to say about me that I have a profound preference for peace over war -- I make no apologies for that.These aren't video games that we're playing here."

The question is who gets taken in by this stuff? Who believes that  all these other countries in the Middle East, none of whom have ever expressed an interest in a nuclear weapon are all sudden going to rush off to develop one because of Iran? If that were the case theyd be doing it now.

 The danger here is not just to make fun of the emptiness, even silliness, of Obama's rhetoric, his thinking and his repetitive use of the word "profound"  to make it sound like he saying profound things when he isnt, but to understand how it  reveals that, as always, he prefers talk over anything. And almost always empty talk. Backed up, as history and experience has shown, by nothing.

 A nuclear Iran is the single biggest danger facing the world today and that should be an easy point to make without a lot of rhetorical gobbledygook. Which points to the real danger of whether or not  Obama is capable of dealing with the danger of Iran since he has made it clear he is reluctant to draw any red lines.The Israelis have suggested that talks with Iran only resume if they allow UN weapons inspectors in first to verify Iran's claims. Obama has rejected that as a non-starter indicating that talking for him, even if its empty, is better than acting.

It is impossible to read the entire interview with Obama or even dissect the statements reprinted above and find anything that Obama said that a 10th grader doesn't already know.

 Is he supposed to be taken seriously because he points out that real war isn't a video game? Is there anyone who doesn't prefer peace over war? Doesn't everyone already know that preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is the most important national security issue of the time? Doesn't a ten year old know that nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists are a mortal danger  and an unacceptable risk? Does Obama think he is making a point when he says these dangers are profound?

 Does Obama think he needs to point out that Netanyahu has a responsibility to protect Israel and Israelis? Does he think saying the responsibility is "profound"  is proof that  he understands? Or approves? Does he know that even if he didnt approve it wouldnt matter one scintilla to Netanyahu or the Israelis?

Its' worrisome because it is a hallmark of a mind not capable of dealing with the significance or reality of the nuclear threat, only the politics of the moment. And saying whatever he thinks he has to say to make political points. And hoping that talk is enough. It may be enough for the New York Times which tends to mimic even the most absurd of Obama's statements,like the idea that an Israeli strike on Iran would make Iran look like the victim. Who Obama and the  New York Times think will feel sorry for Iran if their nuclear facilities are hit neither says. And they are forgetting or ignoring that a year ago Israel hit Syria's nuclear facility destroying it ( though no one will officially admit it) and no one felt sorry for Syria or portrayed them as a victim. It's an absurd argument.

The constant talk may also be an indication that there is a good chance Obama doesn't have any idea  what he will do if sanctions fail, and based on his 16 year history as an elected official, there is a good chance he would prefer not to do anything if it contains some risk. Which, as everyone else knows is the riskiest strategy of all.

Obama is the most risk adverse president in American history. As a state senator in Illinois Obama voted "present" more than 100 times so he wouldn't have to vote for or against anything. As a US senator he both supported the Washington DC gun ban AND the Supreme Court decision a year later that ruled it unconstitutional. And his quick capitulations to political opponents on policy issues, even when he had the biggest congressional majority in 60 years is well documented.

When Obama says, as he did in the interview that,"I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff," it's telling that he felt the need to say it. The reason he felt the need to say is because the Israeli government recognizes, as Iran does as well --  that the opposite is true. All Obama has ever done throughout his political career in terms of policy is bluff.

 Whether its bluffing on a public health care option, rattling a saber in Libya but taking no action until France and England got so tired of his waffling they launched their own air strikes without even bothering to tell Obama first, or his promise to get rid of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, something he promised to do not once but four times, Obama's history is he is all about bluffing. And his biggest bluff is  when he says " I don't bluff".  Netanyahu knows it. And Iran knows it too even if many in the American press led by a blind leading the blind New York Times and what's left of in-denial Democrats and progressives still refuse to  accept it. It's amusing that a New York Times editorial warned Iran not to "test this president's mettle", when it was this president who, during the demonstrations against Iran's rigged elections said he didnt want to "meddle". With Obama, there is more not wanting to meddle than mettle.

The one profundity that Obama is sure to pay attention to though, is the reality that the US commitment to Israel is, in Obama's words, a "profoundly bipartisan commitment". As is his practice of misusing words to make what he is saying sound deeper than it is since no one knows exactly what "profoundly bipartisan" is, a bill went before the senate to isolate and black list the Bank of Iran to  ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran. Obama opposed that bill and made his opposition clear, and made his case for why he opposed the bill.The bill passed the senate anyway 100-0.

It is not likely that anything Obama says is going to influence Netanyahu. Israel has a window of opportunity in terms of a military strike that is far shorter than that of the United States. Iran has the missile capability, once it has a nuclear weapon that could strike Israel years before it would have the ability to launch a missile that could reach the United States. And when discussing preemptive strikes, its also important to remember that it was the Israeli's who saved the world from Sadaam Hussein acquiring a nuclear weapon when they launched a preemptive strike and bombed Sadaam's nuclear plant in 1981 over the irate objections of Reagan and the United States and the rest of the world. A UN resolution, joined in by the United States, condemned Israel for the attack. And regarding Israel's track record they have been proved right every time and US intelligence has proved wrong, going back to Sadaam's supposed WMD that was the Bush excuse for invading Iraq.

 There is little doubt that the Gulf War would have had very different consequences if not a different resolution, and the world would be a very different place had Sadaam had a nuclear weapon.

Instead of publicly emphasizing diplomacy, Obama should be emphasizing that Iran's time is running out even while pursuing a diplomatic solution. And Obama should talk of a military strike if necessary not in vague or subtle terms but openly. Obama  should realize  that for the Israelis the window for using sanctions is fast closing. Something everyone else seems to know but him.Which may be what  is truly profound.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rush Limbaugh, prostitution and living in glass houses.

Everyone knows by now Rush Limbaugh's comment about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who was going to testify about the contraception law and her argument that it should be covered by insurance. Limbaugh called her a "slut" and a "prostitute", and said that if she thinks contraceptive coverage should be part of general insurance coverage she should post sex videos of herself as a way of making payment to Limbaugh and others for the coverage.

 The immediate was response was  tepid:  "this has no place in public discourse", expressions of outrage  and weak petitions to John Boehner to offer a resolution condemning Limbaugh's remarks.

But  one petition which had a glimmer of getting results asked Limbaugh's advertisers to stop buying commercial time and to date 3 advertisers had withdrawn. The petitions to advertisers are having an affect. And the more women and others outraged by Limbaugh's remarks make it known to advertisers they willl not buy products or services advertised on Limbaugh's show, the more Limbaugh will pay for his comments. Severely.

But aside from petitions,you would have thought that someone might have pointed out that Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "prostitute" and "slut" was coming from a former oxycontin addict who had also sent his maid to buy  illegal doses of Viagra.

Limbaugh said over and over that because Fluke wanted contraception to be part of her health insurance plan that  meant she wanted to be "paid to have sex. And if she wants to be paid to have sex, what does that make her? A slut and a prostitute right?"

If that's how Limbaugh looks at it, he might be living in a glass house. And a glass bedroom.
Because it's no stretch to say that if Limbaugh were broke, if he were an insurance adjuster, if he had a modest income, the woman he recently married lying in bed next to him  might very well not be there.  And Limbaugh probably knows it. In fact it could be said that if not for Limbaugh's money and fame he'd have a hard time getting any woman within 20 feet of him.

It could be  pointed out  that a man who wakes up with a woman in bed next to them who possibly wouldn't be there were it not for his money and fame ought to think about what that makes the person in bed next to them. If Limbaugh thinks Sandra Fluke is a prostitute because she wants contraception to be included in her health insurance and in Limbaugh's mind that means she "wants to be paid to have sex", what does Limbaugh think that makes his wife?

Not that prostitutes should be denigrated or looked down on. Most are more honest than Limbaugh and certainly do a lot more good than he does . But there is an old adage that people who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones. And Limbaugh might very well be living in a glass house with a glass bedroom.  With his tirade against Sandra Fluke, he is seeing it shattered.

NOTE: Rush Limbaugh has issued an apology to Fluke for "the words" he used. He apologized because he is running scared, because one of the primary weapons women as well as others who found Limbaugh's attack repugnant have is economic and it's working. To date pressure has caused  6  Limbaugh advertisers to pull their advertising from his show.  Limbaugh knows he cant survive if it continues. So will Democrats, liberals. progressives and women keep up the pressure and not get taken in by the apology? Will they finally see that "I'm Mad As Hell and Im Not Going to Take It Anymore" works?

UPDATE: To date the petitons are working. Not only have advertisers left, so far two radio stations have dropped his show. Reports are that 9 more advertisers have left Limbaugh. If the pressure continues on advertisers and they continue to leave, Limbaugh may be done.