Thursday, March 18, 2010

Healthcare reform: all this for "better than nothing" ?

The healthcare plan that Obama has been pushing and that the House is now trying to get the votes to pass is the same bill that Tom Harkin and many Democrats have called "better than nothing".

This is the bill that Obama said had 95% of what he wanted but a plan that didnt have the public option, something Obama never fought for or pushed for but the one aspect of reform that matters most.

But without it, Obama's health plan is just what Harkin said it was. Better than nothing. But after all the country has been put through is "better than nothing" good enough?

The one thing that Democrats can universally agree on, is that when it has come to the entire healthcare debate Barrack Obama has not been better than nothing -- he has been a disaster. He has been a bigger problem and bigger obstacle than the Republicans talking out of both sides of his mouth and selling out the public option.

Everyone pushing for healthcare reform including most congressional Democrats have said publicly or privately that Obama has shown no leadership, no conviction, no courage, no vision and has undercut the public option,the most important part of healthcare reform.

Instead Obama's plan will create 30 million new customers for the insurance companies and make the other reforms like preventing people from being dropped for pre-existing conditions,no bargain because insurance companies will just raise rates to cover it.

To show just how weak Obama's plan is, he was in Ohio making yet another speech and told the crowd that if his plan is passed its going to reduce healthcare insurance premiums by -- ta da! -- 14%.

A whole 14%. All this for a 14% reduction in premiums? A family of four in New York is looking at insurance premiums that will top $24,000 a year and we have supposedly gone through all this angst, all this political upheaval and all this political bloodletting with congressional Democrats sticking their necks out and possibly putting an end to their political careers to vote for healthcare reform so people can see a 14% reduction in premiums?

The public option is the best and only way to radically reform health care and its something Obama has thrown under the bus, supporting it publicly but reneging when it came to taking action. He had no problem trying to twist the arm of Dennis Kucinich to get his vote but was spineless when it came to Joe Lieberman's 60th vote for a public option in the senate.This is why most congressional Democrats would rather Obama just stay out of it and let the congress handle what has to be done.

The idea now is for the House to pass the senate bill with assurances that all the things the House objects to will be removed in the reconciliation process. The problem is that bill contains no public option. But the senate says it now has the votes to pass a public option but needs the House to include it in the bill they send to the senate for reconciliation. Where is Obama on this? Ducking. Because there is evidence he made a backroom deal with lobbyists for hospitals back in August to kill the public option.

So everytime Obama made a speech since August supporting the public option he was out and out lying, something Obama has done many times before and explains why Obama has not come out for the public option now even though there are votes now in the senate to pass it.

The public option has consistently polled better than any other aspect of healthcare, and more than that, the polls show its a lot more popular than Obama himself. People want the public option a lot more than they want Obama. And why not? The public option will do more good for more people for a longer time than Obama ever will.

If it becomes clear there are enough votes in the senate to pass a public option and it doesn't become reality because of a lack of Democratic leadership, Democrats will fulfill Republican warnings of getting destroyed in November. Supposedly this bill is just a start and according to some Democratic House members they will be back to introduce and vote on a public option later.

But for those interested in taking things into their own hands now and who wish to pressure Pelosi into including the public option in the healthcare bill, her Washington office phone number is: 202-225-4965.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Democrats should dump Obama's health plan and pass a public option

President Obama unveiled his "new and improved" health plan last week and implored congress to pass it even it meant using reconciliation.

Of course reconciliation was something Obama could have advocated11 months ago when it was clear Republicans were united in opposing healthcare reform but instead Obama wasted 11 months and opened himself and fellow Democrats to all the political skirmishing and bloodletting that has gone on since then at the hands of Republicans and the town hall crazies.

A few weeks ago Democratic senators began to circulate a letter to Harry Reid to use reconciliation to pass, not Obama's healthcare plan, but a public option. The number started with 4 and has now grown to 35.

Obama in unveiling his plan, left out the public option, running from it once again, reneging on his promise to support it going back to 2007, then lying about having never campaigned for it. He reneged on a pledge to support it as recently as his State of the Union message. Since then, Obama has thrown it under the bus. Which is ironic since the public option according to all the polls is a lot more popular in the country than he is.And a lot more important.

Now is the time for the Democratic leadership in congress to throw Obama and his healthcare plan under the bus and follow through on passing a public option using reconciliation.

In the first place the House, which has always supported a public option will be, as Maxine Waters said the other day, "thrilled" if the senate passes a public option. The opposition to the public option was in the senate all along where there was always 56-57 votes to pass it but not the 60 needed if reconciliation wasn't used.

Second, the public option is as Howard Dean and Pelosi and most others have pointed out, the centerpiece of healthcare reform, something Obama just doesn't get because Obama is a lot on talk and not much on policy. It is the most important component of healthcare reform. A lot more important to the country than Obama himself and his entire presidency.

Third, with the public option consistently polling close to 60% approval, passing it will save the Democrats in the fall elections and probably destroy the Republicans. Not passing it will lead to political catastrophe for the Democrats and the Republicans know that too.

And fourth, the public option is the most legitimate use of reconciliation since it affects the deficit like nothing else, with the CBO saying it would reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years.

None of this can happen with Obama's healthcare plan.

The public option is the surest way to reduce costs and without it, high premium areas like New York City could see premiums rise to $24,000 a year for a family of four by 2016.

The senate and the House should ditch Obama's plan, respectfully ask Obama to shut up on healthcare and let the congress do their work, and pass the public option using reconciliation. The truth is for those Democrats who can stomach it is, Obama cant be trusted, his word is on anything is worthless and overall he has been a disaster as president. Not the diaster Bush was -- no one will ever match that -- but probably the biggest diaster of any Democratic president in history ( so much for electing someone because of their father's genes which, come to think of it is probably what got W elected as well as Obama, but for very different reasons).

Obama will sign anything that's put in front of him so its not as if the congress needs Obama's support which is worthless anyway both among most Democrats and out in the country.

With only a simple majority needed, a public option can pass the senate easily using reconciliation. Its now up to Reid to use it, save healthcare reform, give the country the most important peice of legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and save the Democrats politically come the fall elections.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Obama's NAFTAgate lie under scrutiny in Canada

In Canada its called Obama's NAFTAgate. When Barrack Obama was running for president during the Ohio primary he was caught red handed in a blatant, cynical and unconscionable lie to the people of Ohio, exploiting their pain and fear over their faltering economy and massive unemployment and using it for his own political benefit without a second thought about lying.

For those who don't remember Obama was caught lying in Ohio, making a promise he never intended to keep promising to get rid of NAFTA if he was elected, which he blamed for Ohio's high unemployment. But he never intended to keep that promise and this blatant political lie was exposed when a memo that included notes of a meeting at the Canadian Embassy in Chicago was leaked to the Associated Press

According to the memo, whose authenticity has never been in doubt, at the same time Obama was telling the voters of Ohio that if he is elected he would get rid of NAFTA, he sent one of his economic advisors, Austan Goolsbee, to the Canadian Embassy in Chicago to tell the Canadian government to ignore everything Obama was saying publicly about NAFTA, that he doesn't mean a word of it and its all for political posturing.

Extensive and accurate notes were taken of the meeting and someone in the Canadian embassy who obviously didnt think much of Obama's duplicity, leaked the memo to the Associated Press who published it.
It created a minor stir at the time as the mainstream press, who had an agenda to see Obama elected, chose not to make a major issue of it and played down the story lest an embarrassment that exposed Obama as anything but a candidate of "change" derail Obama's quest for the presidency.

But it did prompt an investigation by the Canadian government to find out who leaked the memo. And the emails dealing with that investigation, which the Canadians called NAFTAgate are now being published.

At the time, the initial reaction by the Obama campaign, which was typical of Obama's response to bad news, was to lie about the leaked memo.

At first they said Goolsbee was not part of the Obama campaign. When that proved to be untrue and that Goolsbee was indeed an economic advisor to the Obama campaign, Obama then admitted Goolsbee was an advisor but said he was at the embassy under his own initiative and not sent by the Obama campaign. When that proved to be a lie as well, Obama said Goolsbee was in fact sent but that Goolsbee was never told to say what he did. But the memo shows the opposite is true.

Goolsbee himself tried to deny it by saying the interpretation of the person writing the memo was "crazy"but documents and emails have proved what most people knew to be true at the time -- that the content of the memo was accurate. And subsequent events have proved that true.Obama did not get rid of NAFTA and has never even considered it.

The American press including people like Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, the NY Times, most at MSNBC and CNN chose to ignore NAFTAgate as a potential scandal refusing to report it for what it was -- an act of political deceit unseen since Richard Nixon, by a candidate who was claiming to be "different" and a new politician.

The new documents and emails obtained by the Canadian press through their version of the Freedom of Information Act show that the Canadian government who at the time tried to paper over the scandal over the leaked memo as well, conducted an investigation to find out who leaked the memo and what to do about it.

Additional documents show that far from their public position of trying to claim the memo did not accurately reflect the meeting, they were very concerned that the leaking of the document could hurt American-Canadian relations should Obama become president. No one privately questioned the accuracy of the memo which incriminated Obama in the lie.

Stewart Beck, assistant deputy for foreign affairs said of the memo in an email that it was "succinct, insightful and enjoyable read... Good job by Chicago!”

But others in the Canadian government were worried. The Canadian Globe and Mail quotes Roy Norton, an official at the Canadian Embassy at the time as saying in an email:

“If we're to retrieve any standing with the Obama people we need to be seen to be making it clear that we have never interpreted anything they have said to us as two-faced, cynical — whatever.”

But that is exactly what the leaked memo proved Obama to be. And as everyone has seen on other issues from healthcare reform to the middle east, two faced is what he has continued to be.

The emails between the government in Ottawa and the Canadian Embassy in Chicago not only show that Obama was dishonest with the people of Ohio and that the memo was accurate but that the Canadian government had gone into damage control to maintain relations with Obama should he be elected president.

It was the collective decision by the American media to report the existence of the memo but to drop it as an issue as it pertained to Obama's veracity, honesty, integrity and sincereity, all characteristics that have proved to be severely lacking in Obama from issues from healthcare reform to the economy.

But it was this decision by the press to look the other way over NAFTAgate that largely helped Obama win the Democratic nomination.