Friday, June 29, 2012

Is Democrats glee over healthcare ruling whistling in the dark?

Soon after the Supreme Court's ruling upholding Obamacare the emails from Democratic groups started flowing. "So this is what victory feels like" crowed Daily Kos. MoveOn sent out their usual petition this one thanking Obama for what I don't know, and asking for money to support Democratic candidates in support of the health care law.

 Nancy Pelosi crowed in a tweet that it was a victory for the American people and some nonsense about it being Ted Kennedy who influenced the outcome from beyond ( had Kennedy been alive he would have scalded Obama for dropping the public option).

 The problem is this isn't what any real Democrat or progressive or liberal or doctor or anyone with any grasp of the issue of healthcare reform was saying back in March of 2010 after Obama committed what was probably the grossest most flagrant sell out of a promise by a president in American history when he capitulated and caved in to health insurance lobbyists and dropped the public option behind everyone's back even though the Democrats had the votes in congress to pass the public option.

 The reason it was behind everyone's back is that in true Obama style, he never publicly told anyone what he did. He never said he changed his mind. He never tried to make a case for dropping the public option and trying to convince people that his bill was better. He didn't of course because it wasn't better it was a giant step backwards and a gutless capitulation and that cant be justified. But the next time Obama held a town hall meeting on health care, without explanation or acknowledgement by Obama, the banner hanging in the hall was changed from "HEALTHCARE REFORM" to " HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM". As soon as I saw that change and saw that Obama wasn't addressing it I knew he had sold out to someone, was pulling a fast one and was hoping no one would notice.  No one did,especially the blind mice known as the press.

At the time of the vote on what is now called Obamacare, Democratic senators like Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders who votes with the Democrats, when asked what they thought of the health care law they just voted for were clearly angry and disappointed. All Harkin could say, was "it's better than nothing". Sanders said the same but was a bit more critical.

 Howard Dean, a physician, former governor of Vermont,Democratic presidential candidate and former Chair of the DNC, said only days ago before the court ruling that he hoped the court struck down the individual mandate and the reason is that's its a poor substitute for a public option or medicare for everyone either of which could have been passed when Democrats controlled congress.

 In fact before the original vote on Obama's health care bill was cast, Dean said publicly the bill should be junked because it was in fact, a piece of junk.

 Pelosi herself during the healthcare debate when Obama floated the idea of dropping the public option said the public option was "the centerpiece of healthcare reform". Democrats in the House said they might not vote for a healthcare bill that did not contain a public option.

 This is the junk that Democrats and Democratic support groups are now pretending to celebrate. A bill that, in 2010 wiped the Democrats out of the House because they didn't deliver the public option that was promised and that every poll showed an overwhelming number of people wanted.

 To be clear, had the public option been passed, not only would its constitutionality never have been in question, but it simplified healthcare, reduced healthcare costs ( Obama's law will increase costs from 5% of gross national product to 9%) reduced the deficit by $160 billion, and would have allowed the government to establish any parameters it wanted for a government health program. Which means that private insurers had two choices which would have eliminated the need for 2700 pages of legal mumbo jumbo -- they could follow the provisions in the public option like dropping pre-existing conditions or annual caps in order to compete and keep customers, or lose them to the public option.

 Instead what Obama's mandate does, contrary to the "Polly wanna cracker" parroting of Obama's spin by Daily Kos and others, is not get insurance for 32 million uninsured. What it does is get 32 million new customers for the health insurance industry instead of the way to real healthcare reform -- the public option or some kind of single payer system.

 But according to Daily Kos in their email, "this is what victory feels like". Which is why Democrats and support groups like DailyKos and MoveOn never get what they want.

This is victory only if you think like a perpetual loser, are willing to accept crumbs because you let your leaders walk all over you and  have seen Republicans walk all over them, are in deep denial about Obama and his presidency, and really have no idea what it takes to be a leader and achieve real accomplishments.

 For those people who think this is what victory feels like, this is what it really is:  whistling in the dark.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Obama and MoveOn's circular firing squad.

On September 13, 2008, President Barrack Obama said this in a public, televised speech in Minnesota on health care reform. This is from the transcript:

" I think one of the options should be a public insurance option. (Loud cheers) Let me be clear. It would only be an option, nobody would be forced to choose it. No one with insurance would be affected by it. But what it would do is provide more choice and more competition. It would keep pressure on private insurers to keep the policies affordable, to treat their customers better. I mean think about it. It's the same way the public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students. That doesn't inhibit private colleges and universities from thriving out there. The same should be true on the health care front. Minnesota I have said I'm open to different ideas on how to set this up and we're going to set this up but I'm not going to back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage we're going to provide you a choice."

President Obama to the Washington Post in March 2010 after pushing through a healthcare bill with no public option:

 "I never campaigned for a public option".


 A few days ago MoveOn circulated ballots for MoveOn members to vote on whether to support Barrack Obama's re-election or to support no one and concentrate on the Democrats controlling congress.

 At first it seemed amazing that the leadership of MoveOn had come to their senses and realized the problem for Democrats all along was Obama and that the problem was so severe that they were putting the question of whether to support his re-election to a vote. It seemed even more amazing given that they had been an organization that for more than four years had been so weak, so myopic, and so gutless in its responses to Obama and so intellectually dishonest about what has easily been the worst presidency in the history of the Democratic party that they had Obama's footprints all over their backs. So change seemed to be in the air.

 But then the results came in. And 91% of MoveOn members decided the best course of action was to continue to prove Einstein's definition of insanity which is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results, and they overwhelmingly voted to support Obama's re-election,  proving that much like the president they voted to support, they are soreley lacking in real principle, conviction and backbone. Not to mention out of touch with reality. Which is why they have been so ineffective in getting what they want.

There is a strange mindlessness, even cultish zombie like aura now around MoveOn and its membership that should make any rational Democrat or progressive uncomfortable. Its why Clinton supporters characterized Obama supporters as "drinking the Kool-Aid".

 Just as the tea party and the extreme right exhibit a mindless gross irrationality in their positions and political actions, and an irrational groupthink that defies independent thought, the same can be said for MoveOn and its membership. And any other Democratic or progressive group that thinks the same way they do.

But while MoveOn's membership continues to demonstrate Einstein's definition of insanity, another group of former Obama voters have apparently had enough and come to their senses. This is the college vote and based on most current polls and statistics, Obama has lost them.

 Obama in his four years in office gutted, reneged, buried and otherwise destroyed just about every aspect of the Democratic party agenda, squandering the biggest congressional majority any president had in 60 years, capitulated to Republicans on almost every front when it was completely unnecessary and destroyed the chance to pass the most transformative legislation in decades from genuine health care reform with a public option to sweeping financial reform, simply because he lacked the spine, principle, conviction or desire for that matter to accomplish anything. Instead what we got from Obama was blatant lying and misrepresenting of the truth on just about everything and doing it more easily than any politician in recent memory. And this is who 91% of MoveOn's membership voted to support.

 This is why conservatives get what they want from their elected officials even when they are in the minority and progressives, liberals and Democrats don't. Conservatives insist their politicians and representatives fulfill their ideology ( as distasteful and un-American as it is) and if they don't they replace them.

 Obama did more to trash and obstruct the Democratic agenda than any Republican and lied about it along the way. And still progressives and Democrats are too spineless to hold him accountable. Instead they try to pretend its everyone else's fault but Obama's.

 For destroying the health care public option alone and the great good it would have done for the country when he had the votes in congress to pass it, Obama does not deserve re-election. Add to that his constant reneging on everything from getting rid of the Bush tax cuts to closing Gitmo, his constant selling out of Democratic ideas and ideals, the ACLU's assessment that Obama's record on individual liberties and human rights is, in their words, " disgusting" he simply does not deserve to be supported or re-elected.

 By now most Democrats will concede he never deserved to be the Democratic nominee in the first place, and got there through chacanery and self-delusion, but the people at MoveOn, back in 2008 ignored the fact that he promised he would filibuster and vote against the FISA bill if it had retroactive immunity in return for their endorsement, and then, after getting their endorsement, not only didn't filibuster the bill but voted for it. And yet they still haven't learned.

 Maybe MoveOn and other so called progressive groups are still flummoxed over the issue of race and are too weak to treat Obama as any other elected official should be. But the best outcome for the country would be for the Democrats to regain control of congress and for Romney to win. Romney would be forced to compromise with a Democratic congress and he would. Which would accomplish a lot more than Obama caving in to a Republican congress. And at the same time it would send a strong message to Democrats as to what Democratic voters thought of the Obama presidency and his constant selling out and it would send a message to other elected Democrats for the future.

 In the meantime MoveOn needs to indeed move on and to think about changing their name to something more appropriate, like

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sandusky trial testimony further indicts news media for attacks on Joe Paterno.

Courtroom testimony in the trial of Jerry Sandusky on child sexual abuse allegations and the subsequent reporting of that testimony has further indicted the news media as a whole and specific media outlets in particular that collectively attacked Joe Paterno over "only" reporting the incident told to him in general terms by Mike McQueary to the Athletic Director of Penn State and Gary Schultz whose job title as described by a Penn State trustee was "head of Penn State Police Services".

 In his courtoom testimony the now 18 year old victim that McQueary saw in the shower with Sandusky in 2002, identified as Victim 2, testified that years before  the Sandusky incident at Penn State,  he told officials at his high school of the abuse he was enduring at the hands of Sandusky. And according to the now 18 year old witness, school officials didn't believe him. He testified that in 1998 one said, "Jerry's got a heart of gold, he'd never do that".

 As reported here months ago from various other sources, there were repeated complaints made against Sandusky years before the shower incident at Penn State by both the boy identified as Victim 2 and his mother, to officials at the boy's high school and the district attorney. There was even a sting in 1998 where a Penn State campus police detective, ( you know, the police agency that ESPN and their journalist collectively think is toy police department) overheard Sandusky all but confess to the boys mother. Nothing was done. And the complaints of the boy and his mother to officials and counselors at the boys high school were also completely ignored.

 They were ignored by  high school officials, ignored by the DA who declined to prosecute, ignored by the Attorney General, ignored by almost everyone with any knowledge of the complaints against Sandusky. But Joe Paterno became the target of choice for only one reason -- because for the news media, that's where the money was.And still is. Because even in reporting Victim 1's testimony and how his complaints were ignored by school officials at his high school, these officials are reported as just that -- "officials". No names, no titles. Just "officials". Because if the names have no star power, who cares?

 When the story first broke that Sandusky would be indicted and news of the incident McQueary had witnessed was being reported, the collective mob mentality in the news media went after Joe Paterno en masse for "only" reporting what he was told to two Penn State University officials within 24 hours and arranging for McQueary to tell what he had witnessed to the man whose job title was Head of Police Services.

But  at the same time, the mass media then, as it does now completely ignored the fact that Sandsusky had been investigated years before and nothing was done.

 Not only was nothing done, but while the media was chest thumping on their pseudo-moral high horse over Paterno "not doing enough" in terms of who he told, while Jay Bilas, Stuart Scott, Jemele Hill and others were busy making fools of themselves, they completely ignored the question of why no one at Penn State, no officials, no one at the DA's office and no police investigating agency at Penn State ever thought to inform Joe Paterno in 1998, four years before the shower incident,  that his defensive coordinator was being investigated for charges of child sexual abuse.

 No one, not the media or the Penn State trustees in their knee knocking cowardice ever considered that, aside from the fact that Paterno reported what he had been told within 24 hours, that perhaps had he been told four years earlier about the allegations against Sandusky and the investigation, that what he had been told by McQueary, even in sanitized form, might have taken on more urgency. So the real problem had nothing to do with what Joe Paterno told or others, but what others never told Joe Paterno.

 But taking on no name high school officials, a dead DA, and other's with no star power wasn't going to allow a collection of bottom feeding journalists like Sean Gregory, Jason Whitlock and a host of pontificating know nothings at ESPN to pretend moral superiority.

 Which is the biggest reason that then as now in reporting McQueary's recent testimony at Sandusky's trial, the media simply referred to these people as "officials". No names. Just "officials".

 The trial testimony made clear what anyone who had the facts already knew --  that it was the inaction of everyone but Joe Paterno that allowed the abuse to continue. In fact, a Penn State campus police detective who was involved in the case in 1998 testified he had no idea why Sandusky wasn't indicted at the time but that the DA declined.

 The other sordid truth is that the DA and the boys high school officials were simply not newsworthy enough to attack. They wouldn't ring the cash register or allow hypocrites in the news media their moment of phony moral superiority the way the name Joe Paterno would.  ESPN was not going to devote hours of programming where anchors could pontificate about the moral failings of a high school coach, assistant principal, DA or guidance counselor whose names no one knew. But Joe Paterno was gold.

 It still remains that of all the people given information about Sandusky's behavior, Joe Paterno, with the least amount of information did more than anyone else involved in the whole sordid mess. He reported what he was told within 24 hours both to his immediate superior at Penn State and the head of the Penn State Campus police which was more than the pope or any cardinal or bishop ever did in response to mountains of evidence  of serial  sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

 So it should also be noted that in Philadelphia, as the trial of Monsignor William Lynn for failing to report child sexual abuse by Philadelphia priests goes to the jury, and using a defense that he was only following orders by then cardinal Bevilacqua to destroy the list of abusive priests he had compiled, the editors of the Philadelphia Daily News have yet to put his picture on the front of page with the word "Shame" as they did with Joe Paterno. Another abject lesson in news media cowardice and dishonesty and what they are really all about.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Did Obama avoid Wisconsin fight because he was wearing his school clothes?

One thing Barrack Obama has learned well. He can tell any lie, make any nonsensical dishonest excuse, make any kind of preposterous claim and he can count on both the press and what passes now for liberals and progressives, to swallow it like a collection of trained seals, let it go and not hold him accountable. He counted on it during the 2008 primaries, during his first four years in office and he is counting on it to get re-elected.

 In an interview published on The Hill that president Obama gave to ABC News affiliate WBAY in Green Bay Wisconsin, Obama said he skipped the recall fight in Wisconsin because he had "other responsibilities" at the time."The truth of the matter" he said,  "is that as president of the United States I have a lot of responsibilites". 

The "truth of the matter"? Has he gotten so narcissitic and so used to spewing  utter hollow nonsense without challenge that he thinks people will believe he is telling a heretofore unrevealed truth that the president of the United States has a lot of responsibilites?

The truth of the matter is that those "responsibilites" included 5 fund raisers for his own presidential campaign and a round of golf. Which made his claim of "responsibilities" as credible as saying he didn't show up in Wisconsin and get into the fight because he was wearing his school clothes.

 Obama ended the interview with another nonsensical comment that had no connection to reality much less the Wisconsin recall . Obama said:

 "My suspicion is governors all across the country, governors who are dealing with tough budgets have to make tough decisions."

 His suspicion? He only suspects it? Is he that out of touch with reality that the effect of the economy on state budgets for the last 3 years is only a suspicion to him ? Does he think his suspicions are going to be confirmed any time soon?

 He also said something else disconnected to reality. He told the interviewer:

 " But one of the lessons learned ( from the Wisconsin recall results) is that it is better to make them ( tough decisions) with people than against people".

 What lesson is that? Given that Walker withstood the recall, what is Obama talking about? He sounds like a kid giving a book report on a book he hadn't read and trying to fake his way through it.

 Which means maybe it's not really a matter of Obama wearing his school clothes, but the naked realization that he has been and will continue to be an embarrassment to the Democratic party and that it about time they realize the emperor never had any clothes to begin with.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roger Simon's anti-Clinton tirade reveals an Obama sycophant posing as columnist.

In a recent piece on entitled "Bill Clinton is Out of Control" Roger Simon, revealed himself not as an objective political columnist reporting on the current political scene, but more of a shameless sycophant for Obama and the result is Simon's credibility is in tatters.

Simon decided he had real problems with Clinton's recent positive statements about Mitt Romney and his work at Bain Management, something the Obama campaign had been trying to use against Romney. Simon's biggest gripe was, he said, that  it undercuts Obama. And Simon clearly didn't like that.

One might ask, even if it did undercut Obama, what is that any of Simon's business?  Why is that, in Simon's view a reason to attack Clinton and to be critical of him,  instead of merely reporting it?

The answer is, when you are not an objective journalist but a sycophant, and are using your public platform to shill for a candidate under the guise of journalism,  that's what you do.

Simon quoted Clinton as saying, "I think he ( Romney) had a good business career,” and added that “a man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”

Simon was livid, as the title "Bill Clinton is Out of Control" indicates. But his next sentence was the most revealing:

"Obama does not need Clinton undercutting him."

Again, one might ask why is that any of Simon's business?  Simon caring about what Obama needs makes him sound more like an Obama political strategist not a columnist, and as such not only destroys his own credibility but also takes the credibility of Politico down a notch or two.

Simon's lack of journalistic ethics and integrity aside, what Simon also ignores is that a powerful argument could be made that the Democratic Party and progressives didn't need Obama undercutting them for four years. And the country didn't need a president without convictions or principles undercutting the Democratic agenda they voted for in 2008. But Simon shows his sycophancy for Obama by ignoring all that under the pretense of being an objective political observer in attacking Clinton for his remarks.

The second problem is, Simon's argument is so transparent in attacking Clinton to support Obama that it's laughable.

In trying to defend Obama by attacking Clinton, Simon wrote of Clinton:

"There are two things going on here. First, Clinton has always been cozier with Wall Street than Obama. In January 1999, I was at a very odd event for then-President Clinton on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center.

Richard Grasso, then-chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, stood up and said, 'In my little corner of southern Manhattan, the Dow Jones industrial average during the course of President Clinton’s tenure tripled. We have the lowest unemployment in 30 years, and 16 million jobs have been created!”. (italics mine).

Simon went on:

'The crowd, which included a number of financial titans, cheered. This was a year after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and months after Clinton had been impeached, but Wall Street did not care. Bill Clinton had been good for The Street, and The Street liked him."

So in Roger Simon's world of bowing and scraping for Obama, the lowest unemployment in 30 years and 16 million jobs created is a Wall Street thing? It was good for Wall Street and therefore what? The lowest unemployment in 30 years and 16 million new jobs was a bad thing?

 For Simon, that's Clinton being "cozier with Wall Street than Obama".

Simon also takes Wall Street to task for not caring as much about Monica Lewinsky or the nonsensical, strictly partisan impeachment as he apparently did."It was a year after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke", and "months after Clinton had been impeached, but Wall Street did not care".  Those heathens.

Here is a belated 13 year old news flash for Simon. Wall Street wasn't the only place that didn't care about Lewinsky or Clinton's impeachment. Main Street wisely didn't care either. Three days after Clinton's impeachment by the Republican House, polls showed Clinton had a 66% job approval rating. And Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, released a photo of he and Bill Clinton sailing on Cronkite's boat  in Martha's Vineyard which said more than a thousand words about what Cronkite thought of the impeachment, the press coverage and the whole Lewinsky fiasco.  But nevertheless Simon wants to bring that up again in his defense of Obama. Which given Obama's political history shouldnt be a suprise.

Except it's backfired.

Because Bill Clinton's 66% job approval rating after his impeachment is something Roger Simon as a political columnist can only dream about. And so in the end,  it's Simon's credibility that has been impeached, not Clinton's.

NOTE: While Simon revealed himself to be a sycophant for Obama, another political reporter, Michael Duffy writing for CNN revealed himself to be either suffering from ADHD or terminal political ignorance. In an article appearing on the CNN web site in which Duffy muses on Bill Clinton's recent statements, Duffy writes:.." in the latest CNN poll Bill Clinton is pulling a 66% favorable rating among Americans ( suggesting that Clinton has the power to help or hurt Obama)..

Then Duffy goes on to say, "the poll is a reminder that Americans tend to be more forgiving of their presidents over time.."

As noted here above, Clinton received a 66% job approval rating back in 1998 and 1999 at the height of the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment. Again proving we are not exactly living in the golden age of  political reporting.