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Sickening beyond a pile of shit covered with puke….

pile-of-shit-on-the-road

Senate Finance panel rejects govt insurance option

By DAVID ESPO (AP) – 36 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Liberal Democrats failed Tuesday to inject a government-run insurance option into sweeping health care legislation taking shape in the Senate Finance Committee, despite widespread accusations that private insurers routinely deny coverage in pursuit of higher profits.

The 15-8 rejection marked a victory for Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee chairman, who is hoping to push his middle-of-the-road measure through the panel by week’s end. It also kept alive the possibility that at least one Republican may yet swing behind the overhaul, a key goal of both Baucus and the White House.

“My job is to put together a bill that gets to 60 votes” in the full Senate, the Montana Democrat said shortly before he joined a majority on the committee in opposing the provision. “No one shows me how to get to 60 votes with a public option,” the term used to describe a new government role in health care. It takes 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to overcome delaying actions that Republicans may attempt.

Undeterred, supporters of a new role for government in U.S. health coverage immediately launched a new attempt to prevail.

The maneuvering occurred as the committee plunged into a second week of public debate on legislation that generally adheres to conditions that President Barack Obama has called for. The bill includes numerous new consumer protections, including a ban on companies denying insurance on the basis of pre-existing conditions. At the same time it provides government subsidies to help lower-income Americans afford insurance that is currently beyond their means. It also includes steps that supporters say will begin to slow the growth in health care costs nationwide.

After weeks of delay, both the House and Senate appear on track to vote on different versions of health care legislation in October. Passage in both houses would set the stage for a compromise to be voted on deeper into the fall.

Inside the Senate Finance Committee, the first effort to remake a key portion of the bill came from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., who said his proposal was far from the government takeover of health care that critics portray. “It’s not. It’s optional,” he said, adding it was designed to offer competition and a lower-priced, reliable choice for consumers shopping for coverage.

Rockefeller assailed the insurance industry in withering terms. “I hate to use the word ‘rapacious,'” he said — but quickly added it was warranted. He said omission of a government option from the measure was a virtual invitation to insurance companies to continue placing profits over people, adding they would raise their premiums substantially once the legislation went into effect.

All 10 Republicans on the committee voted against the proposal to allow the government to compete directly with insurance companies, Sen. Olympia Snowe among them. Democrats are hoping the Maine lawmaker will eventually break ranks with her party and support the legislation.

Also opposed were Baucus and fellow Democrats Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida and Tom Carper of Delaware.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., backed an alternative approach that he said would introduce more competition into the insurance market nationwide. His version differed from Rockefeller’s chiefly in that it would have allowed for the government to negotiate payments with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers for an initial two-year period rather than pay them at the same rates as under Medicare.

Republicans countered that the proposals would lead to the demise of the private insurance industry and result in a system that is completely run by the government.

“Washington is not the answer,” declared Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, cited private studies — one by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the other by the Lewin Group, owned by United HealthCare — saying millions would be pushed out of private insurance as the government held fees to doctors at artificially low levels. He said the result would be a violation of Obama’s pledge that consumers would be able to keep their current insurance if they wanted once the legislation went into effect.

While Baucus voted against the proposal, he was at pains to counter Rockefeller’s charge that the legislation increased subsidies that would go to insurance companies without dictating changes in past practices.

He said the legislation raises taxes on insurers, bans the practice of denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions and limits the extra premiums that can be charged on the basis of age.

Associated Press writer Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this story.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlMpJGn28kqCcgU-aGcYE_ZHW-ywD9B16AF00

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September 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

gccl_gonzo2

The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what’s coming now. The party’s over, folks. . . – Hunter S. Thompson

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This pic is how the current events in the US is making me feel. Since the S&L rip off way back when, the US has fallen further and further down Dante’s levels of corruption and disregard for the people to a point that it’s difficult to imagine a lower level.

A government “by the people for the… people?” Can anyone in their right mind hear that phrase and even pretend to believe it anymore? A government by the Corps. for the Corps., but even that’s too optimistic.

Let GM fail, but not AIG or Goldman Sacks. The US is favoring sleazy traders over manufacturers that actually PRODUCE things people can use.

Even Pat Buchanan agrees… Enough is enough!

No private entity should be “too big to fail.” The managers of these entities reap the billions of their high risk profit and the taxpayers cover the trillions of their losses….

I worked to convince Barak Obama to run and had really high hopes that he would be the change that would halt the avalanche in this economic sand pile, straight out of complexity theory.

So far he has proven to be the “weak sister” of reform.  Too little, too late seems to be his modus operandi.

We needed a Winston Churchill to save us and we so far seem to have gotten a Chamberlain.

Go ahead, email and call your reps. But be prepared for what’s going to happen if they don’t wake up and put an end to this abuse. Trust me, it’s not going to be pretty… And it isn’t that far away.

Sitting here in Tel Aviv, under the threat of an immanent war with Iran is beginning to feel like a “lessor of two evils” to me.

God bless and help the people of the United States of America to save our country.

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Viddler.com – Your videos – Currently Viewing “Goodbye….”

In the summer of 1971 I was an intern for Ted in his Senate office.  I was there for the vote that killed the SST.  A few of you here may remember that, for those who don’t, it doesn’t really matter.

Every Friday after work we would have a softball game against other Senator’s offices.  I don’t remember any of the other Senators showing up, but Ted was there more often than not.

On numerous occasions he would invite us out to his home in Virginia for a summer barbecue.  He treated all of us the same, Senators and interns alike.

I learned more from him than anyone else excepting my father that “nobless oblige” was not an arrogant toleration of the “rabble,” but a genuine respect for each human being as a “fellow traveler.”

My heart is broken in a way it hasn’t been for a pubic figure since the loss of Bobby and Martin in ’68.  I know I’ll recover, and I hope somehow the US will find its way out of its current catastrophic meltdown without Ted’s input.

It’s just hard for me to imagine how..

This is my simple video tribute to the last politician in the US that I considered a true statesman, who also happened to be my friend.

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August 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

mencken

H.L. Menkin

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Right-wingers are always eager to dismiss the existence — and the threat — of far-right extremists | Crooks and Liars

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August 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should Obama fail to deliver serious reform because his administration treats the pharmaceutical and insurance industries as deferentially as it has the banks, that would be shameful. Should he fail because he in any way catered to a decimated opposition party that has sunk and shrunk to its craziest common denominator, that would be ludicrous. – Frank Rich

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The “Beer Hall Putsch”

The latest of just about every columnist to weigh in on the current situation.  Read it HERE.

The central focus of the piece is about all the smoldering violence of the lunatic right.  Showing up at town hall meetings toting assault weapons etc.  These dangerous nut cases are not only being praised as “patriots” by the cable news bloviators, they are being praised by Republican members of the House and Senate.

Why don’t they just put on “brown shirts” already?  Destroying a dying liberal democracy with self righteous violence was what was attempted in Germany at the Beer Hall Putsch.”  Though the Putsch failed, it set the stage for Hitler’s rise to prominence and his later election to chancellor.   Of course, that election was the end of democracy in Germany.

It was the weakness of the democratic leaders in Germany that allowed Hitler to destroy the system.  Part of the weakness came from the leaders themselves but a large part was brought about through the underlying threat of violence that the putsch represented.

It’s time that the centrists in the US realize what they are up against.  Violence or threats of violence should be  immediately stomped out.  If need be, laws against “incitement” should be enforced against news organizations and politicians who justify it.  This is just too damned dangerous to shrug off.

Obama could and should use his office as a Bully Pulpit to rally the people against this outbreak of intolerance, ignorance and violence.  No more bi-partisan appeasement.  Stomp these bastards into the ground before it’s too late.

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The reluctant blogger is reluctantly back…

I had hoped the election of Obama would have ended the need for me to keep “putting in my oar.”

Sadly, it’s even worse than under Bush.  At least then we KNEW who the enemy was.  Does anyone out there feel for sure that anyone in power is on the side of the people?

I don’t know how long I’ll keep writing here.  I’m in the middle of writing a  book about the place of man in the universe.  If you’re interested, check out the prologue at: http://josephwouk.wordpress.com/prologue/

I’m not going to write a real article tonight.  It’s late and I’ll do better in the morning.  I just wanted to speak my mind to anyone who might happen to read this.

We have to get serious.  Truly everything appears to be at stake.

Joe

August 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Obama Donors Aren’t Rushing to Aid Clinton?

Now you tell me, did anyone expect different?  Between the fact that the last few months of the campaign were an  unnecessary waste of scarce resources (ours!), the costs were apparently  born only so Clinton could continue to act like she might be president for a few more weeks.

What a motivation to donate that produces in all of us…!
You know, the ones who have to work two jobs just to pay the health insurance and the gas.

The Clintons made more than $20 mil last year.

Why should I or anyone else subsidize her ego expenses?

July 9, 2008

Obama Donors Aren’t Rushing to Aid Clinton

A prominent donor to Senator Barack Obama recently sent an e-mail plea to other supporters, asking them — for the sake of Democratic unity — to write checks to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to help retire her $23 million in campaign debt.

Some of the replies are unprintable, given the coarse language, the donor said. A sampling of others included:

“Why would I help pay off debts that Hillary amassed simply to keep damaging Senator Obama?”

“Gas prices are up, the markets are in turmoil, my kid’s fall tuition bill is coming soon. Writing checks to politicians I don’t like is not at the top of my list.”

“Not a penny for that woman. Or her husband. Or — god forbid — Mark Penn,” a reference to Mrs. Clinton’s former senior strategist, whose firm is still owed several million dollars for work that included aggressive attacks on Mr. Obama.

As Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton prepare for their first joint fund-raisers to benefit the Obama campaign, in New York City on Wednesday and Thursday, their two camps are straining under the weight of continued resentments, recriminations and feelings that remain raw since the long primary battle.

Mr. Obama has asked his top donors to help raise money for her debt, and so far they have come up with less than $100,000 (though more in pledges), Clinton campaign officials said — a “paltry sum,” in the words of one.

Several Obama donors said in interviews that they were balking at Mr. Obama’s call for help because they believed Mrs. Clinton accumulated most of her debts after she had lost any mathematical chance of winning the nomination and was hanging on only in hopes of an Obama collapse. The idea of helping her now — and lining the pockets of Mr. Penn, a reviled figure in the Obama camp — is galling to them, they said, especially at a time when they say any available money should go to defeating Senator John McCain and the Republicans in November.

While no other presidential candidate has ever amassed so much personal and campaign debt en route to losing the nomination as has Mrs. Clinton, both Clinton and Obama donors say the larger problem for Democrats is that if the Obama camp is seen as unhelpful, Mrs. Clinton, her husband and their supporters could prove something less than a force for unity.

Among the complaints from Obama campaign officials is that Mrs. Clinton’s expectation for help has been a moving target; in other words, it is unclear how much money from Obama supporters will be enough to satisfy the Clintons. Even Clinton officials and donors were at a loss to specify a number, saying only that Mrs. Clinton was helping Mr. Obama with the understanding that he would do more for her.

“There is no lack of emotion among some supporters of both candidates, but what I think the sensible elements of good will are trying to achieve is debt relief for Hillary consistent with getting Barack elected president,” said Steven Rattner, a New York investment banker and leading fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton, who is working with both camps to help Mrs. Clinton retire her debt.

The bitterness in the Clinton camp about the primary battle is well known, but several Clinton donors and campaign officials said a deeper issue remained unsettled: The belief — or, perhaps, the perception — that Mr. Obama and his aides are half-hearted in their efforts to help Mrs. Clinton and include her top donors on his leadership team.

Some of them griped that major Clinton donors were not being invited to crucial fund-raising meetings; were not being made to feel that they would receive credit for helping Mr. Obama win in November; and were not being given titles within the Obama campaign. An Obama aide said it was still early in the integration process of the two campaigns; he also added that the Obama operation was not as title-driven as the Clinton operation, which had various donors serving as “chairs,” “co-chairs” and “Hillraisers.”

Clinton donors and campaign officials say they remain surprised — and, among some, offended — that Mr. Obama has refused to ask his entire list of donors, more than 1.5 million people, to send $5, $10 or more to chip away at Mrs. Clinton’s debt. (Obama officials said they did not want to distract their donors for the main task at hand, raising money to defeat Mr. McCain.)

“The Obama effort hasn’t yielded much, but we hope it will increase,” said Alan Patricof, a top Clinton fund-raiser and family friend.

“I think most people — I can’t say everyone — thinks that helping Barack is the best way to get help from the Obama camp to help retire her debt, which is a major source of concern for her right now,” Mr. Patricof added.

Mrs. Clinton owes an estimated $12 million to consultants and vendors, like Mr. Penn; she also lent her campaign more than $11 million. That $11 million is listed as a debt, though Mrs. Clinton has told her fund-raisers that she does not expect them or the Obama camp to repay her.

Clinton campaign officials estimated that the millions owed to Mr. Penn and his team was by far the largest part of Mrs. Clinton’s debt, though they emphasized that the money was not only going for Mr. Penn’s time but also for the services provided by his colleagues and his polling and strategy firm. Clinton officials said they could not provide a breakdown of those amounts.

“We’re focused on the vendor debts, especially the Kinkos, the truck drivers and the small-business folks who helped us along the way,” said Jonathan Mantz, the Clinton campaign’s finance director.

Orin Kramer, a leading Obama fund-raiser, said he was working with other members of Mr. Obama’s national finance team, like Frank Brosens and Alan Solomont, as well as Mr. Rattner, Mr. Patricof and other Clinton donors to deal with the debt issue.

The negotiations between the Clinton and Obama camps are so delicate that it is one of the issues being managed by Robert Barnett, the high-powered Washington lawyer that Mrs. Clinton asked to help structure a political relationship between them for the general election.

According to several Democrats who have spoken to Mr. Barnett, he has counseled the Clinton camp that honey will work better than vinegar in the debt talks. But Clinton donors say it is an open question whether the Clintons believe they should play hardball — signaling that they will not rally enthusiastically behind Mr. Obama unless he does more on the debt situation — or appear agreeable with the expectation that the money will ultimately come through.

A crucial test will come at the fund-raisers in New York this week, both sides said. Mr. Obama is expected to ask supporters there to help Mrs. Clinton, and Clinton donors said they were hoping for a great deal more money to come in from people heeding his call.

The New York events are on behalf of the Obama campaign, his aides said; Mrs. Clinton will not receive a cut of the take, but rather, in theory, benefit afterward from Obama donors who decide to help her. Mr. Obama and his wife have each already written checks for $2,300, the maximum donation, to Mrs. Clinton.

“Senator Obama and his staff and his supporters are working very hard on debt relief for Senator Clinton, and will continue to in any way that works best,” said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Requiem for a Truth Teller…

One of the last surviving heroes from my youth died today.

All of us knew George Carlin as a side-splitting comedian who always seemed to hit whatever he spoke about dead on. One of my other heroes, Robert Anton Wilson who passed away two years ago used to call him “America’s greatest philosopher”.

That’s more than a joke.

All of us learned deep truths about ourselves and our society from the man.  It wasn’t only the words he used, but the effect of those words on our own thought processes and reality tunnels.

Socrates was a teacher and an iconoclast; he dared to question the status quo. He taught by asking questions, building one question upon another until the truth emerged.   He never “taught” a class or wrote a book either.

WEBSTER‘S Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines Iconoclast as:

1. A breaker or destroyer of images or idols; a determined enemy of idol worship.

2. One who exposes or destroys impositions or shams; one who attacks cherished beliefs; a radical.

That was Carlin’s approach.  By using humor he gained the widest possible audience to sew his doubts about conventional wisdom on just about every subject.

He kept doing it, too.  His last HBO special entitled “It’s Bad For You” aired a few months ago. I can think of no one, other than Timothy Leary, who had a bigger effect on an entire generation’s perception of reality.

John Stewart and Bill Maher are today’s “Truth Tellers” and we are lucky to have them.  They are the only ones who have been shouting about the Emperor’s clothes while the MSM looked the other way.

But Carlin barely bothered with politics.  Too easy.  He went after the big ones like religion and our own ridiculous, self-serving patterns of behavior.

Here’s a clip of my favorite of his “religion routines”.

Those who want more can watch his last one hour HBO special, complete at the link below.

Watch George Carlin… It’s Bad for Ya! (2008) Online Here!

June 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment