Obama’s Reelection Reconciliation Publicity Stunts

Update II: Exactly two years ago, today, a real leader spoke the truth and was attacked for telling the truth by Big Media and the Big Media darling and the Big Media darling’s Hopium guzzlers:


Update: Good thing Hillary Clinton is far away from this Mess-iah mess:


It’s days like today, that confirm how correct our analysis has been and continues to be. We have written very little about “health care” strategy and issues after the primary elections because we know meaningful health care reform died in Denver in August 2008. We have instead focused on the ceaseless flim-flams and incompetence, and inexperience, and outright boobery of Barack Obama in order to force Barack Obama out of office and make room for a certain plucky blond lady who is ready on Day 1.

On a day like today the flim-flam is blatant, the boobery in flagrante delicto. The flim-flam confidence game is dependent on big promises (“Hope! Change!”) and rush rush talk. When a flim-flam confidence man inevitably gets in trouble the strategy is bigger promises, even faster rush-rush “buy it now in the next minute or the deal goes away”.

We are therefore not surprised that the Obama Chicago Thugs chose today to release an “Exclusive” to the always willing-to-be-used Politico. The “Exclusive” is a devoid-of-news flim-flam about how the “White House privately plots 2012 campaign run“. Don’t waste your time reading the full article, it has no news, and no insight. It does end with this hilarious paragraph:

The themes for Obama’s campaign are not yet chosen, but a top adviser said not to expect a radical surprise: “He knows who he is.

We know who he is too: a flim-flam thug from Chicago who has never done anything for anyone other than himself his entire life.

While there is no news in the Politico stenography session, what is news is the appearance of such a story. As we wrote, it is no surprise to us because flim-flam confidence men when in trouble promise bigger and faster. The publication of the reelection article is the pimp exploiting his “ho” with promises of eventual marriage and children and a house with a white picket fence. There will be no marriage, but the wedding promise is bigger, faster, than the lucrative-for-the-pimp business relationship.

Our job for now is to continue to expose the pimp and educate the “ho”. In other words, our job for now is to get rid of Obama and make way for the plucky blond lady.

* * * * * *

Generally a reelection bid is a time to tout success in the first election term. But for Barack Obama, who ran for president with an utter lack of experience, the reelection bid will be a time to revel in the phenomenal failure of the first term. Elected with massive majorities not seen in generations by the Republicans in the House of Representatives and with a filibuster busting 60 vote super-majority in the U.S. Senate, Obama has produced little to nothing – other than massive transfers of wealth from the American taxpayers to irresponsible speculators and the wealthy. The Obama health scam too is a massive transfer of wealth to the Big Insurance and Big PhaRma companies. What to do? Promise bigger, faster.

The latest Obama scam is the publicity stunt summit scheduled for tomorrow along with a bigger faster corollary scam that somehow “reconciliation” is the answer to force through the scam. We wrote a rather definitive article about the “reconciliation” process back in July of 2009 called “Obama’s Bluff”. Think of today’s article as an update to reconfirm what we wrote in July 2009.

Since we wrote “Obama’s Bluff” there have been many articles written about the “reconciliation” rules. The Hill quoted the former Senate parliamentarian on why the process is not “suited” to healthcare reform.

Today we have the latest pronouncements from Senator Conrad which pretty much reconfirm what we wrote so long ago. Conrad is almost invoking last rites:

“The only way this works is for the House to pass the Senate bill and then, depending on what the package is, the reconciliation provision that moves first through the House and then comes here,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) outside the upper chamber this morning. “That’s the only way that works.”

I pointed out that House leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has repeatedly insisted they won’t take a flier on a reconciliation package–that they will only pass the Senate bill after the smaller side-car reconciliation bill has been all wrapped up.

“Fine, then it’s dead,” Conrad said.”

The Obama loving New Republic in January 2010 published another confirmation of what we wrote last year. It’s a comprehensive article which discusses the current ploys and plots and effectively comes to the same conclusions we did a year ago. The article discusses how “When it comes to enacting laws and then later amending those laws, it doesn’t matter in what order Congress passes bills. All that matters is the order in which the president signs those bills into law.” The article then discusses what we wrote about a year ago, in a New Republic fashion:

“But the problems with reconciliation are legion. [snip]

The process is not as quick as some have made it out to be. In order to qualify for reconciliation, three committees in the House and two committees in the Senate have to mark up provisions within their jurisdiction. Since there are no time limits on committee markups, these would last until recalcitrant Republicans drop from exhaustion and stop offering amendments. Then the committees in each chamber have to give their work product to the Budget Committees, which are then required to hold their own markups of the bill (amendment-free, this time) and report reconciliation bills to the chamber without substantive change (after waiting two extra calendar days in the House to allow Republicans to file minority views). Under the budget resolution, each committee’s portion of the bill must lead to a net reduction of the deficit of at least $1 billion over five years.[snip]

But in the Senate, once the bill gets reported, any grouping of 41 senators can knock out any provision in the reported bill that a) has no budgetary impact (or which has a budgetary impact that is only incidental to the policy provision), b) increases the deficit by any amount over a five-year or ten-year period, c) ups the deficit by more than $10 billion in any one year before 2014 unless fully offset over a five-year period, or d) makes any change to title II of the Social Security Act. And of particular importance to a massive and open-ended bill like health care, the Senate’s PAYGO rule requires 60 votes for any provision that would increase the deficit by more than $5 billion in any ten-year period going all the way out to the year 2059. (You read that correctly: 2059.) This is why so many provisions in reconciliation bills have to “sunset” and expire after ten years.”

It would be entirely irresponsible to create a health plan that would potentially collapse and end in ten years. The uncertainty alone would likely lead to increased health costs. There is also the problem of 41 Republican senators able to knock out non-germane provisions. There is also the amendment problem:

“But in the Senate, while the Budget Act caps the total debate time on a reconciliation bill and all related amendments and motions at 20 hours, the authors of the Budget Act who drafted this provision back in 1974 neglected to limit the number of amendments that can be offered.

This leads to perhaps the Senate’s most stupefying activity (in a chamber chock full of stupefying activity)–“vote-a-rama.” At the conclusion of the 20 hours of debate, senators can still offer an unlimited number of amendments, which must then be voted on immediately, without debate. And by “unlimited,” I mean it is never less than dozens but could easily stretch into the hundreds. The Senate usually gets unanimous consent to shorten the time for roll call votes from the usual 15-plus minutes down to two minutes each, but that requires unanimous consent, which has been lacking on anything having to do with health care. As political scientist (and my old college professor) Walter Oleszek says, the Senate basically only has two rules: unanimous consent and exhaustion. So Republicans can keep offering amendments and forcing roll call votes until they are physically no longer able to do so. (This is why the Majority Leader prefers to schedule a reconciliation bill or budget resolution right before the Senate is supposed to take a long vacation–to give the minority an incentive to cut the vote-a-rama short and go home. The next scheduled Senate recess is the week of President’s Day, so the most logical time to schedule the reconciliation bill for the Senate floor would be the few days leading up to Friday, February 12.)”

February 12 has already come and gone, so perhaps Obama will prove he is the Mess-iah by scheduling an Easter vote.

Other problems then loom large:

“Once the House and Senate pass a bill, it would have to go to House-Senate conference (the Budget Act appears to make no provision for ping-ponging a reconciliation bill). And under a new Senate rule, nothing can be added to that conference report that was not already in either the House or Senate bill, or such provision would require 60 votes in the Senate as well. But the debate on that conference report in the Senate is limited to ten hours, after which there is a final passage vote by a simple majority.

So reconciliation would give the minority party in the Senate a chance to force a separate roll call vote on every line of the bill. The requirement that every single provision in a reconciliation bill have budgetary impact means that the bill cannot address regulatory issues, consumer protection issues, or items like abortion. The open-ended limitations on deficit increases sharply curtail any additional spending in the bill and mean that most changes made by reconciliation that affect spending and revenues must expire in ten years. And the requirement that congressional committees hold a new two-stage markup process, combined with the usual (if time-limited) floor consideration and conference processes, means that using reconciliation would occupy all of Congress’s attention until late February, at a time when legislators are anxious to shift their public focus away from health care and back to the economy.”

It’s apparent that reconciliation is Obama’s Bluff, and not a very good bluff. The procedure is flawed, the legislation stinks, and the votes are not there. So why bother with the bluff? Because Obama wants someone else to take the blame. It’s what Obama always does. It’s Barack Obama’s flim-flam let someone else take the blame reelection publicity stunt.

Why are the Republicans going along with Obama’s Bluff? We’ll answer that tomorrow.


140 thoughts on “Obama’s Reelection Reconciliation Publicity Stunts

  1. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/23/87726/pennsylvania-loved-obama-in-08.html

    Elden Buck, a self-described independent, voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, persuaded by the then-candidate’s pledge to remake Washington.

    Nearly 16 months later, Buck, 52, is clinging to his job at an art supplies store in a small southeastern Pennsylvania town buffeted by the recession. He’s worried about paying his bills. His optimism has turned as dull as the slate-colored sky over this once-proud industrial city.

    “I don’t know about Obama anymore,” Buck said. “He talked about new leadership. Potentially, that was really good. Now, I don’t know which way we’re headed.”

    Buck’s dissatisfaction echoes across Pennsylvania, where Obama’s 60-plus percent job approval ratings in some polls a year ago have evaporated. After he carried the Keystone State by 10 percentage points in 2008, opinion polls now find that a clear majority of Pennsylvanians disapprove of his performance as president, a troubling election-year sign for Democrats in this notably independent-minded state.

    The anger is obvious in places such as Reading, a depressed former railroad town about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

  2. “I don’t know about Obama anymore,” Buck said. “He talked about new leadership. Potentially, that was really good. Now, I don’t know which way we’re headed.”

    Yes but that is all he did…talk. He didn’t give any solutions/explain how he was going to accomplish anything whatsoever. And lets face it, the celestial choir has yet to show up for this misfit.

  3. JanH, it is also day’s like today that we are happy that Hillary is far, far, from this Obama mess. This video is one reason why we are happy Hillary is away from all this:

  4. Admin,

    Whether he intended to or not, bambi did Hillary a huge favor by getting her away from his mess. She continues to shine as SOS and he continues to go downhill.

  5. There is also this from the Pennsylvania article (which sounds exactly like the “situation comedy demographics” we have been writing about and which increasingly is proven correct):


    “It’s the pessimism factor,” said G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at the college who directed the poll. “It’s odd because we’re in another change mood, but the change is very different than what we saw in 2008. This is based on anger and frustration, on hostility to government.” [snip]

    “The Obama coalition that many of us thought would be similar in terms of its ability to create a new dominant majority in the country — as (President Franklin D. Roosevelt) did between 1933 and ’36 — has not materialized,” Madonna said.

    “In our state, if you can’t win the suburbs, including Berks County, you don’t win. The polling now is a bad sign for Democrats; there’s no way to say it any other way.”

  6. Admin,
    February 24th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    This video is why so many people are disgusted with most politicians and the political parties. All these politicians in the video should be made to watch this and confronted with their willingness to go ahead with reconciliation on HCR. Do they not understand why their poll numbers are so pathetic?

    On another note: I miss wbb already. I have learned so much and value the stories and perspective wbb brings to this blog. Please reconsider.

  7. Clinton seen pushing Iran on Latin America trip

    Wed Feb 24, 2010

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Latin America next week, including a visit to Brazil where she is expected to seek support for new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

    The State Department said on Wednesday that Clinton’s February 28-March 5 trip would begin in Uruguay, where she is to attend the inauguration of incoming President Jose Mujica on March 1.

    She will then travel to Chile, before moving on to Brazil for talks with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Foreign Minister Ceso Amorim, a State Department statement said.

    Brazil, which has been cool to the idea of new sanctions on Iran, currently holds one of the rotating non-permanent slots on the U.N. Security Council and is actively lobbying for a permanent seat.

    The United States, along with other permanent members of the Security Council as well as Germany, are discussing possible new U.N. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, which western powers fear is geared toward producing weapons.

    Russia and China, which both hold veto power, are widely believed to be reluctant to move to new sanctions however, and U.S. officials have said Clinton would likely raise the Iran issue in Brazil, an influential voice in the developing world.

    Clinton in December warned Latin American countries not to get too close to Iran, saying it was a “bad idea” that could have consequences.

    After ending her first trip to South America as secretary of state, Clinton will fly to Costa Rica, where she will address an economic conference, and Guatemala, where she hopes to meet leaders of other Central American countries, the State Department said.


  8. I’m glad to hear this. This decision is another ridiculous one by the terrorist-loving obama.

    February 24, 2010

    Clinton Says Syria Must Still Address US Concerns

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration’s decision to send an American ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence does not mean U.S. concerns about the country have been addressed.

    Speaking to lawmakers Wednesday, Clinton said the nomination of career diplomat Robert Ford to be the new U.S. envoy in Damascus is a sign of a ”slight opening” with Syria. But she said Washington remains troubled by suspected Syrian support for militant groups in Iraq and elsewhere, interference in Lebanon and Syria’s close relationship with Iran.

    Former President George W. Bush withdrew the last U.S. ambassador to Syria in 2005 to protest its actions in Lebanon after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which his supporters blamed on Syria.


  9. “On another note: I miss wbb already. I have learned so much and value the stories and perspective wbb brings to this blog. Please reconsider.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  10. On the Middle East front there is this bit of news which shows the Israelis know what they are doing:


    JERUSALEM – The son of one of Hamas’ founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

    Mosab Yousef’s memoir, “Son of Hamas,” is being published next week in the United States, and highlights of the book and an interview with the author appeared Wednesday in Israel’s Haaretz daily. Yousef declined comment, but his Facebook page plugs the book as “a gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices.”

    The revelation of such a high-level informant would deal another blow to Hamas, which suffered a key setback last month when one of its top commanders was assassinated in Dubai last month. Dubai authorities have accused Israel of carrying out the hit, and there have been reports that a Hamas insider assisted the killers.

    BTW, he is now a Christian living in California.

  11. wbboie,

    I have loved your comments & learnt so much. Seriously, reconsider your decision. You have been here a very long time. Don’t do this… Come back….

  12. admin
    February 24th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you for the heads up. I am definitely going to have to look for that book.

  13. I would imagine that Hamas will probably put a contract out on Mosab Yousef. Very brave man to have done what he did.

  14. From the ever-ready batteries called the HillBuzz boys (and thanks for the kind words):


    Here’s the deal: something — SOMETHING — is definitely up in Hillaryland because too many people have been emailing, calling, and mobilizing in the last few days in “Fire Drill” mode, testing networks, and checking to make sure email lists are still valid for this to be just out of the blue.

    It feels like someone from “upstairs” gave a little push. It might have been NoLimits.org changing its social network system this last week, so people reconnected through old channels to make sure everyone was still in touch. As we have repeatedly told you, Hillary’s Army never went anywhere, except to Winter Quarters. There are many Hillary supporters who went back to their old lives after the election and are not involved in politics anymore, the way we are. Those, in many ways from our perspective, are smart people.

    BUT, what makes the last several days interesting is the fact that THESE are the people who we have been hearing from, in spades. ”Saw the Bat-Signal and am reporting in”, is the gist of it. ”Is it time to kick ass or what?”.

    Here’s what we think is going on: coming from the grassroots, it looks like Hillary’s Army is mobilizing on its own to call back its general to the field, to take back the country from Dr. Utopia and end The Golden Age of Hope and Change. What Clinton will decide to do is up to her, but it feels like her ground troops are starting to mount an effort to court her back into the political world, to leave the State Department, and to hit Dr. Utopia hard in the primaries in 2012. [snip]

    An excellent source for any insight onto what could be happening is The Big Pink, Hillaryis44.org. They were one of the first pro-Hillary sites out there, and are still one of the best. We read them every day. Keep an eye on what’s going on over there, always. They are well-sourced, and they came on the scene two years before any of us here ever thought we’d be spending so much time on a computer.

    If we figure out more of what’s going on, we’ll fill you in, but this feels like it’s a 100% grassroots effort to draft Clinton for 2012, perhaps sparked by someone upstairs, but most likely in response to the failure of this current presidency and the possible primary challenge Bayh might be mounting.

  15. We have survived so many fissures and remained together – I hope we will always be united by our love for Hillary.

    Without sounding preachy (hardly my intension) – the reason we are here is for Hillary. We all come from different walks of life. We need to understand and appreciate how a diverse set of people are pulling for Hillary. Our diversity is a thing to be proud of. We don’t have to see eye to eye on other issues.

  16. Secret, I just signed up over on TeamHillary’s facebook page. Their are many already there. I hope to have a pic of mine up there soon, but will probably chicken out and just put a pic of my dog there, she is much, much prettier.

  17. I mostly lurk, but wbboei, please come back. I always look forward to reading your postings and the insights that you offer.

  18. Confloyd, unfortunately I have perm deleted my facebook after being hacked by someone on bambi team and it was a bit scary! I will never go back to facebook! EVER

  19. I just voted in the republican primary, first time ever to do so. It was weird. There were several propositions there mostly to do with keeping us fiscally responsible here in Texas, but the last one irritated me the most. It was a proposition to make it law that anyone wanting an abortion was to have an ultrasound first and be counseled first.

  20. admin
    February 24th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Buck’s dissatisfaction echoes across Pennsylvania, where Obama’s 60-plus percent job approval ratings in some polls a year ago have evaporated. After he carried the Keystone State by 10 percentage points in 2008, opinion polls now find that a clear majority of Pennsylvanians disapprove of his performance as president, a troubling election-year sign for Democrats in this notably independent-minded state.

    Reading, Pa, fine, but what about Scranton? What do the nice people at Dunder Mifflin think about POTUS?

  21. Secret
    February 24th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Well said.

    I’ve heard so many “horror” stories about facebook that I don’t intend to go there either.

  22. It was rather traumatic. This was my personal facebook account (not a political one) and I just had a “I love Hillary” sign. Never thought much about it.

    Someone tracked my political username to my personal facebook and hacked in and added lot of Obama friends. I was shocked. And got threatening emails. I was baffled. I am not such a big deal. I am an ordinary supporter of Hillary who likes to keep politics private.

    Boy, that was scary. I had to write and get facebook to close the account perm. When I deactivated. The bambi people kept activating it!!

    Facebook was so lethargic but finally they agreed to perm shut down my account!!

  23. Well I just connected to all my high school friends I haven’t seen in 40 years, but I haven’t been there long enough to be hacked. It maybe they have improved it since you guys were on it.

    Looks like all the politicians are going to use it.

  24. JanH
    February 24th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Whether he intended to or not, bambi did Hillary a huge favor by getting her away from his mess. She continues to shine as SOS and he continues to go downhill.

    As SoS, she can travel far and wide, and can zip back into DC anytime. So she can pick her locale, pick her topics, and she ain’t afraid to speak up against totalitarianism and tyrrants.

    As contrasted with Mr. Appeasement squatting at 1600, who might as well have said, “I will meet unconditionally with all the bad actors in the world. But our friends and allies like Israel and the Dalai Lama are going to have to be escorted out the back door like a cheap date. We don’t want to let China and North Korea or Iran know that we have relations with democracies.”

  25. Confloyd,

    My account was hacked around March 2008 and became intense after 2009 Bambi victory.

    I finally got it perm shut down Sep 09. I had it pretty bad with Facebook. But,

    you may not have a bad experience.

  26. Secret
    February 24th, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    It was rather traumatic. This was my personal facebook account (not a political one) and I just had a “I love Hillary” sign. Never thought much about it.

    Someone tracked my political username to my personal facebook and hacked in and added lot of Obama friends.

    That’s pathetic, and probably what Obama’s “Legions of Internet gurus” are up to, pure destructiveness.

    But it won’t work. You can’t sell sh*t and expect people to come back and ask for seconds.

    And democracry is like water, it finds its way around barricades. In countries run by tin-horn despots (China, North Korea, Iran, etc.), suppression of democracy results in people circumventing the blockades.

    How did that whole Maginot Line thing work out, Obama-loving dudes? Your little Chicago dictator looks smaller and smaller every day, and all your Facebook and Myspace hacks won’t turn that lemon into a Lamborghini.

  27. BTW, the lesson is never send anyone you do not personally know an email you use regularly. It’s very easy to create extra emails at free email providers to send to solicitations for emails and accounts at various sites.

  28. Thanks Admin. That’s something I learnt after this bitter experience. I thought, what is so wrong about supporting Hillary? And if someone from DNC is asking you who you support, I thought there was no prob in telling them – Hillary!!!
    Oh how naive I was! I learnt quite a lot of things last election season.

  29. Admin.

    Thanks so much for your extensive scholarship and astute analyses. I read Hillary is 44 daily and am greatly enlightened thereby and usually (today especially) inspired and exhilarated!

    You are appreciated, and for me indispensable.

  30. Admin

    Remember, those days – we used to guess how you would look like? People came up with different sketches of your looks? I still wonder, who you are and how you look. But, I love the mystery! I can picture you differently every day!

  31. Home
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    The Largest Selection of Liberal-baiting Merchandise on the Net!
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    White House Accused of Federal Crime in Specter, Bennet Races
    By Jeffrey Lord on 2.22.10 @ 6:09AM

    “Whoever solicits or receives … any….thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” — 18 USC Sec. 211 — Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest: Acceptance or solicitation to obtain appointive public office

    “In the face of a White House denial, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak stuck to his story yesterday that the Obama administration offered him a “high-ranking” government post if he would not run against U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary.”
    — Philadelphia Inquirer
    February 19, 2010

    “D.C. job alleged as attempt to deter Romanoff”
    –Denver Post
    September 27, 2009

    A bombshell has just exploded in the 2010 elections.

    For the second time in five months, the Obama White House is being accused — by Democrats — of offering high ranking government jobs in return for political favors. What no one is reporting is that this is a violation of federal law that can lead to prison time, a fine or both, according to Title 18, Chapter 11, Section 211 of the United States Code.

    The jobs in question? Secretary of the Navy and a position within the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    The favor requested in return? Withdrawal from Senate challenges to two sitting United States Senators, both Democrats supported by President Obama. The Senators are Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet in Colorado.

    On Friday, Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democrat challenging Specter for re-nomination, launched the controversy by accusing the Obama White House of offering him a federal job in exchange for his agreeing to abandon his race against Specter.

    In August of 2009, the Denver Post reported last September, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina “offered specific suggestions” for a job in the Obama Administration to Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff, a former state House Speaker, if Romanoff would agree to abandon a nomination challenge to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Bennet was appointed to the seat upon the resignation of then-Senator Ken Salazar after Salazar was appointed by Obama to serve as Secretary of the Interior. According to the Post, the specific job mentioned was in the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Post cited “several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post.”

    The paper also describes Messina as “President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop.” Messina’s immediate boss is White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

    Sestak is standing by his story. Romanoff refused to discuss it with the Denver paper. In both instances the White House has denied the offers took place. The Sestak story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, reported by Thomas Fitzgerald, can be found here, While the Denver Post story, reported by Michael Riley, from September 27, 2009, can be read here.

    In an interview with Philadelphia television anchor Larry Kane, who broke the story on Larry Kane: Voice of Reason, a Comcast Network show, Sestak says someone — unnamed — in the Obama White House offered him a federal job if he would quit the Senate race against Specter, the latter having the support of President Obama, Vice President Biden and, in the state itself, outgoing Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. Both Biden and Rendell are longtime friends of Specter, with Biden taking personal credit for convincing Specter to leave the Republican Party and switch to the Democrats. Rendell served as a deputy to Specter when the future senator’s career began as Philadelphia’s District Attorney, a job Rendell himself would eventually hold.

    Asked Kane of Sestak in the Comcast interview:

    “Is it true that you were offered a high ranking job in the administration in a bid to get you to drop out of the primary against Arlen Specter?”

    “Yes” replied Sestak.

  32. Well, Confloyd, thanks for posting something the media should be shouting about from the rooftops-

    “Asked Kane of Sestak in the Comcast interview:

    “Is it true that you were offered a high ranking job in the administration in a bid to get you to drop out of the primary against Arlen Specter?”

    “Yes” replied Sestak.”


    So when will Systak be filing a complaint? It wouldn’t be too soon for me.

    Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

  33. Admin

    I want to thank you too for keeping up the good fight with your well researched articles. I read everyday or catch up as fast as I can.I have given out this web site to many others that I know don’t post but look forward to your research and analysis. Always a step ahead of the pack.

  34. confloyd
    February 24th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Just one of many things he’s done that could be considered impeachable offenses. It would take one brave man to get the ball rolling eventually approaching him with an offer (just like Nixon) resign or face Impeachment.

  35. A something for the Gore fans

    Al Gore Is Lying Low — for Good Reason
    By Rex McBride

    Maybe Al Gore’s been advised by legal counsel to lie low. He may be the leader of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) movement, but he’s not defending it in public, not even when it’s falling apart and his new fortune is based upon it.

    Mr. Gore and his financial backers earned millions of dollars in start-up “green” companies and carbon trading schemes. If the scam worked, he could’ve become the first “carbon billionaire.”

    “What goes up can fall down” applies to ill-gotten gains in the stock market or “carbon trading” schemes. In such schemes, it’s foreseeable that trusting investors will (a) not only get hurt when the scam collapses, but they’ll also (b) pursue legal remedies and sue him for fraud.

    Mr. Gore’s financial gains were based on the contradictory and error-plagued assertion that man’s release of the trace gas CO2 will fry the planet.

    Once it becomes clear to everyone that the AGW theory is based on cleverly manipulated data twisted by rigged computer models controlled by several dozen IPCC politicians/scientists, we can expect that investors who lose millions by investing in these companies will eventually haul Mr. Gore and the insider IPCC scientists into court.

    Over the years, American tax dollars were poured down the fantasyland AGW “rat hole.” Sooner or later, Al Gore needs to answer some hard questions. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for lawsuits from private investors. Today, legal counsel will advise him to remain silent.

    It’s impossible to predict how many lawsuits, or what kind, might arise once everyone realizes that the AGW scam dwarfs Bernie Madoff’s $50-billion Ponzi operation. New studies appear almost daily that further undercut AGW theory. The biggest daily newspaper in the Netherlands vindicated that country’s leading AGW critic in the article “Henk Tennekes — He was right after all.”

    Dr. Tennekes was fired in the 1990s from a prominent research position and blacklisted for debunking AGW theory. He upset the same IPCC scientists who control the leading “peer review” climate research journals and who blocked the publication of all contrary research in those journals for decades.

    As investors learn the extent of the scam, Mr. Gore’s start-up “green” companies will lose considerable value, like flaky dot-com companies lacking a real product. Investors in these “green” companies — who reasonably relied upon Gore’s alarming claims — may pursue several possible remedies:

    – derivative shareholder lawsuits, disgorging from Mr. Gore and other senior officers in these companies any illicit gains from any insider trading that could be proven; and/or

    – lawsuits against brokers who did not perform the SEC’s necessary “due diligence” research before peddling those shares; and/or

    – civil RICO lawsuits against Mr. Gore and any IPCC scientists who participated in blocking the publication of contrary research, cooking the data, all of whose annual income skyrocketed from the public hysteria.

    On the state level, it’s impossible to predict if one or more state attorney generals will look back on the tobacco industry cases and decide, representing the taxpayers of his or her state, to file criminal and/or civil RICO actions against Gore and the enriched IPCC scientists.

    (On the federal level, while President Obama is in office, the Justice Department will not file RICO or SEC actions against their buddy Al Gore. Remember, the president originally hoped that Boxer-Kerry cap-and-trade would generate over $600 billion in new corporate taxes — “emergency” measures justified by fantasy AGW theory.

    Remember the joke about the government taxing air? In the Twilight Zone of Boxer-Kerry, say hello to cap-and-trade.)

    If Mr. Gore’s “green” companies do crash and significantly injure private investors, attorneys in a civil lawsuit could compel Gore to answer questions like:

    (1) When you claimed that “the science is settled,” did you mean that it’s “settled” that you and the IPCC scientists could make quick millions by manipulating the data and fomenting public hysteria?

    (2) What does “peer review” mean if none of the IPCC scientists who controlled the academic journals protested that there was no original data to support your frightening claim of accelerated temperature increases after 1995?

    (3) If the very scientists that the public trusted to act as the “check and balance” against careless research — or worse yet, to protect against research fraud — did not catch a “tiny” problem like not having original supporting data after 1995, does “peer review” mean that IPCC’s scientists would secretly work in concert to cover each other’s asses and keep the grants coming?

    Such questions need answers.

    In “The Dog Ate Global Warming”, an article at the Cato Institute, Patrick J. Michaels noted that “[i]f there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer.”

    Obviously, Al Gore cannot be compelled to answer questions in a criminal court under the 5th Amendment. However, his admissible bank and stock portfolio records would prove his skyrocketing wealth, making him a “deep pocket.”

    Since 1970, the scope of RICO cases has grown far beyond prosecuting mafia operations. The law firm Nixon Peabody explained:

    RICO was written in broad terms. To state a claim, a plaintiff must allege four elements: (1) conduct (2) of an enterprise (3) through a pattern (4) of racketeering activity… Each element of a RICO claim requires additional analysis: an “enterprise” is marked by association and control; a “pattern” requires a showing of “continuity” — continuous and related behavior that amounts to, or poses a threat of, continued criminal violations; and “racketeering activity” involves the violation of designated federal laws …

    RICO lawsuits are now won in a wide variety of civil disputes — e.g., insurance companies working in concert to delay/shortchange payments owed to dentists.

    Other RICO cases resulted in court judgments against the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, Catholic sex crimes, and Major League Baseball.

    It violates federal law to fake taxpayer-funded research and then manipulate or destroy data to enrich oneself. If an insider group secretly conspires to do so, it looks and smells like RICO.

    If more AGW-destroying news rolls in, and if Gore’s “green” companies lose significant value, then shareholder derivative lawsuits and/or state RICO lawsuits will follow — more so as the losses grow.

    Mr. Gore is in hiding today — no longer the “courageous” leader of the AGW movement. Apparently, Planet Earth is “no longer in grave danger” or “needing to be saved,” but Gore could lose all of his ill-gotten assets.

    If the victim list grows and criminal intent is proven, Mr. Gore could do serious time. After a much smaller scam, Bernie Madoff got 150 years.

    What if you want answers about the potential misuse of tax dollars that enriched AGW insiders but didn’t invest in one of Al Gore’s fantasies?

    Call Congress and demand that the GAO audit all climate change grants. GAO has the professional audit expertise to follow the money, gather objective facts, and report on any significant fraud or abuse.

  36. Not a promising outcome in the short haul, but if it will keep the fraud from re-election and the swell for Hillary keeps building, well, get ready…makes one wonder WTF he is spinning his wheels on this ridiculous, unsustainable HCB

    February 24, 2010
    Obama’s Ides-of-March Moment is Near
    By Monty Pelerin
    By the end of March, Barack Obama’s administration will face its destiny, its Brutus a pawn of the fates.

    In Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the Wall Street Journal editorialized about “Ratcheting to Ruin.” The title derived from the fact that each cycle high in unemployment was higher than previous ones, and each cycle high in inflation was also. “Stagflation” was the neologism coined to describe what up until then was believed to be impossible in the Keynesian world. This period ushered in a new era in both politics and economics. Carter was replaced by Reagan, and Keynes was replaced by Friedman.

    Thirty years later, Keynes is back in vogue, Obama has ascended to the White House, and times are reminiscent of the Carter era. The economy is awful. Fear and dissatisfaction prevail. Politicians are held in contempt. There is one major difference — Carter did not face an “ides of March” event.

    In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to “beware the Ides of March.” The prescient warning did not help Caesar. As Obama approaches his March moment, no warning can change his fate.

    Ben Bernanke promised to end Quantitative Easing (the printing of money to stimulate the economy and fund the deficits) by the end of March. Some believe his commitment was a “campaign promise” to ensure his Senate reconfirmation. Others believe it was a real commitment, necessary to maintain a stable dollar. Shortly, the world will find out.

    Mr. Bernanke, quite unintentionally and through no fault of his own, will be Obama’s Brutus, regardless of his decision. To understand why, some numbers are necessary. Government needs funding this year of $2.0 trillion (that includes the federal budget deficit, off-budget spending, and state and local needs). Private industry needs about $0.5 trillion. Part of the funding will come from the country’s savings. Total gross savings (new savings) is estimated to be $1.5 trillion. Assuming all savings is available, a shortfall of $1.0 trillion exists.

    This shortfall can be met from two sources:

    Foreign lending
    Quantitative Easing (QE)
    Another possible source could result from a reallocation of existing savings, as would happen in a major stock market decline. That outcome cannot be quantified. Furthermore, a stock market rise would produce a drain of funds from debt markets. Either effect is one-time, therefore not a continuing source of funding.

    As the need for foreign investment increases, foreign willingness to lend is declining. Two reasons are apparent: worries about the sustainability of our deficits/dollar and large foreign needs for capital at home. Martin Crutsinger reports:

    The government said Tuesday [last week] that foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities fell by the largest amount on record in December with China reducing its holdings by $34.2 billion. The reductions in holdings, if they continue, could force the government to *make higher interest payments at a time that it is running record federal deficits.

    The Treasury Department reported that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell by $53 billion in December, surpassing the previous record of a $44.5-billion drop in April 2009.

    Accuracy in fund flows is difficult to obtain. Foreign investment of all types appears to have increased about $500 billion last calendar year. If all of that were for government debt, then our Fed would have bought, directly or indirectly, another $500 billion. That amount of QE is significant, representing about 25% of government tax receipts. It represents a rise of over 60% in Fed assets using a pre-crisis base. In a normal economy, a monetarist would likely claim that continuation of that expansion rate would result in annual inflation of at least 60% per year. Another 140% increase resulted primarily from Fed purchases of distressed assets from the banking industry.

    Foreign funding was insufficient last year and will be even more so this year. The deficit will be larger, and foreign funding will be smaller. QE must be larger. There is no way to fund these deficits without QE.

    The problem is bigger than the numbers above might suggest. Budget forecasts show that the problem increases over time. In addition, 40% of existing debt matures in the next year. That means $2.8 trillion of debt has to be refinanced. The Treasury must sell on average $90 billion of debt a week! In five weeks, we need to sell $450 billion. That is equal to the largest full-year deficit in history, at least until Obama’s first year.

    There are no plans to curb spending or cut deficits. President Obama just increased the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion. To outsiders, we appear like a banana republic with ICBMs. Does anyone seriously believe that funding based on “the kindness of strangers” is workable much longer?

    Bernanke has two options, neither of them good. He can do what he promised and stop QE. Or he can renege on his promise. Either alternative has radically negative consequences for the country, Bernanke’s role in history, and Obama’s presidency. If Bernanke stops QE, he fulfills his role as an independent central banker. Presumably, that action stops the decline in the dollar and reduces the risk of future inflation. It was the course that Paul Volcker chose in the late 1970s.

    Volcker’s action was bold, highly controversial, and highly criticized. Volcker’s action had the support of President Reagan, who was willing to face short-term unpopularity to fix the economy. Bernanke’s task is harder than Volcker’s. Volcker stopped the economy dead in its tracks. If Bernanke ends QE, he will stop both the economy and the federal government dead in their tracks.

    Without QE, the government will be unable to honor its obligations. Non-payment of Social Security or Medicare or federal payroll or welfare checks or retirement checks, or military payroll, etc., etc., would show up almost immediately. That would jeopardize foreign (and domestic) purchases of additional federal debt, exacerbating the problem.

    Bernanke’s second option enables the government to continue operating irresponsibly until market forces eventually stop the profligate behavior. Market discipline would likely be imposed in the form of a collapse of the dollar or raging inflation (or both).

    Under either scenario, the Obama presidency is destroyed. Obama probably prefers the second option, because it might extend the period before sovereign bankruptcy. However, it might not extend it very much. Foreign bankers have chastised our behavior regularly. If the Fed is perceived as “The Great Enabler” rather than as protector of the currency, a run on the dollar and the dumping of Treasuries could result.

    From Bernanke’s standpoint, it is not clear which option he might prefer, or if he even has a choice, given Congress’ involvement. If he behaves like a central banker and pulls the biggest punch bowl in history away, it would force the government to address its problems before they became more serious.

    History will not look kindly on this period regardless of Bernanke’s decision. Bernanke never had a chance for a favorable legacy. If he plays his role as a central banker, history may be less unkind, stating, “He did what he had to do.” If he chooses to continue QE, it likely will judge him as “The Great Enabler,” rating him even less favorably than they did his predecessor.

    Obama loses either way. He inherited a difficult situation, but then, via foolish policies, he turned it into a terminal one. At this point, Jimmy Carter may be the happiest person in the country. His lead position in the Pantheon of Shame is in jeopardy thanks to Obama.

    For the country, times equivalent to the Great Depression are likely ahead. My guess is that Bernanke chooses (or is forced into) continuing QE. Courage is a rare and dangerous commodity in Washington. Hard decisions occur only in crisis.

    When the country is perceived and treated by the world community as the wastrel it has become, then remedial action will take place. Hopefully, something is still salvageable.

    Monty Pelerin blogs at economicnoise.com. He can be reached at montypelerin@gmail.com.

  37. “History will not look kindly on this period regardless of Bernanke’s decision. Bernanke never had a chance for a favorable legacy. If he plays his role as a central banker, history may be less unkind, stating, “He did what he had to do.” If he chooses to continue QE, it likely will judge him as “The Great Enabler,” rating him even less favorably than they did his predecessor.”


    Pelerin never makes note of the loss of revenue that had been factored into Obama’s/Soros previous plans. Had the Climate Warming Accord been signed sealed and delivered in Copenhagen, the subsequent revenue coming in to government coffers bleeding Tax Payers dry under a scandalous Carbon Tax imposed on every living breathing human being in the world, would have had a significant impact on our way of life. The rich would have gotten richer and the personal carbon tax would have been the final nail ensuring the complete distruction of the Middle Class.

    TG- for the e-mail hackers and the discovery of the Climate Warming hoax… We’ve dodged another bullet.

  38. gonzotx
    February 24th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Al Gore Is Lying Low — for Good Reason
    By Rex McBride


    Thanks for posting this article.. Gore’s predicament is much worse than I ever imagined. If the research into his holdings has gone as far as it has, he is in deep doo-doo!

    But of course, money talks, and that is a “green” Gore’s got plenty of!

  39. admin
    February 24th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Clinton Karma:


    Backstabbers never WIN… interesting, all at once, Hillary karma has turned into an unstoppable Hillary Tsunami. sweeeet! 🙂

  40. Admin 8:10

    Yes, that was in the local news tonight. It could not happen to a nicer Judas Governor. He also started out over 60% APPROVAL Ratings.

  41. Clinton rolls back Bolton-era arms control shakeup

    Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday announced plans to reorganize the “T” bureau at the State Department, seeking to roll back changes made by former Under Secretary John Bolton during George W. Bush’s presidency.

    “We are undertaking a focused reorganization of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation and the Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation,” Clinton wrote in a letter to T bureau staff. “The goals of this reorganization are to realign the missions of the VCI and ISN bureaus to better leverage their support for key national security objectives and to create dedicated organizational advocates for arms control and verification and compliance, and nonproliferation.”

    Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher, who leads the T bureau, explained the rationale in a town-hall meeting with about 200 staffers Wednesday morning.

    “Arms control, verification, compliance, and nonproliferation will no longer be starved for resources; quite the contrary, these missions along with our political-military efforts will be adequately resourced and well-staffed with first rate professionals,” she told her personnel. “The proven and time-tested tools of arms control have been seriously underutilized, if not neglected, by the United States, and nonproliferation efforts have at times lacked focus and follow-through. This dysfunctional approach culminated in the 2005 reorganization.”

    Within T, the Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation (VCI) will be renamed the “Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance.” Adding arms control to the bureau’s portfolio will help consolidate and strengthen that effort within T, a State Department official told The Cable.

    The International Security and Non-proliferation Bureau (ISN) will now be left to focus solely on nonproliferation work. T’s third bureau, the Political-Military Affairs shop, will go on unchanged.

    Confused yet?

    None of the plans are final, the official explained, and today begins a long process of consulting with T employees and Hill staffers alike. Small personnel shifts are expected from ISN to VCI.

    “This is really the beginning of a conversation with the VCI and ISN staff to reorganize and strengthen both of these bureaus,” the official said. “This is an effort to restore both bureaus to their previous prominence … you now have a president who cares about nonproliferation.”

    The 2005 reorganization consolidated three bureaus into two, joining arms control and nonproliferation together into the ISN bureau, in what was then touted as a streamlining measure. A 2009 GAO report said that State was never able to demonstrate that the changes produced any benefits. Current officials saw the move as a way to marginalize both efforts.

    ISN is currently without a permanent leader and being run by acting Assistant Secretary Vann Van Diepen. The State Department forwarded the name of Steve Mull, sources said, but the White House has yet to respond.


  42. JanH

    They still are investigating him for the pay to play crap. Probably all hell will break loose after he is out of office. Look at all that staff (450) that he hires and their wages are way higher than the same job at the state level. What a mess.

  43. NMF,

    It continues to amaze me that politicians like Richardson and other obama buddies aren’t targeted more by the media when they commit crimes.

    I rarely hear or read about this guy anymore in mainstream news.

  44. Media is unbelievably biased. And they exposed themselves during the 2008 campaign. They have lost all credibility in the eyes of the public.

  45. I was listening to many dems, including Obama and Hillary, saying in 2005 that reconciliation was undemocratic….while Hillary is thakfully far away from the current mess, how can Obama, Biden, and others justify using reconciliation when their own words vehemently denounced said “nuclear option”.

  46. Exactly two years ago today (we updated the article with the video) Hillary gave her memorable “celestial choirs” speech. Today, Hillary spoke about the partisan “gridlock” in Washington. Was Hillary being naughty and reminding us that she was right two years ago? Are we imagining things? Here’s the story:


    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday blamed partisan politics for holding up nominations and weakening the U.S. position abroad.

    “We’re now more than a year into a new administration and whether you agree or disagree with a particular policy, a president deserves to have the people that he nominates serving him,” Clinton said before the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the AP.

    “It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with,” Clinton said in reply to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.)

    “People don’t understand the way our system operates, they just don’t get it,” she continued. “And their view does color whether the United States … is in a position going forward to demonstrate the kind of unity and strength and effectiveness that I think we have to in this very complex and dangerous world.”

  47. pm317
    February 24th, 2010 at 10:05 am
    February 24th, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Hi pm317, You asked about my change in diet. I found the beginnings of it in Prevention magazine, then as always seems to happen information pops up from everywhere. In the Sunday Parade magazine there was an article reporting that diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids did the usual stuff (prevent heart disease, diabetes) but also prevented the onset of cognitive dysfunction or if you were already a sufferer it slowed or stopped the progression.
    I could go on and on but you can search all that. The way I eat is 4 meals a day 4 hours apart and each consisting of 400 calories. Sounds like a lot but you have to include a monounsaturated fatty acid in each meal. Pick from:
    one tablespoon of oil (olive, safflower, walnut, sunflower, hazelnut, flax, other oils but NO corn oil, and I won’t use canola).

    If you can’t fit in a oil then 2 tablespoons of nuts (peanut butter, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed) think of a cool, crisp salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing sliced strawberries and pecans.

    Or else you can eat 10 olives, black or 10 green olives or olive tapenade, tahini (sp). Or 1/4 cup avocado, or 1/4 cup dark chocolate. They have a recipe for oatmeal with 1/4 coup cho chips but I don’t care for that. I like chopped walnuts in the maple brown sugar instant stuff. Lists are not complete.

    I have been eating more or less this way for 7 months now, I have lost over 40 pounds and my skin is better, my hair is better, mornings I used to wake up and my hands were so puffy I had a hard time opening and closing my fist and now that is mostly gone. Hope that gives you enough information and encourages you.

    And one other thing always try to eat food in it’s most natural state.

  48. jbstonesfan, they get away with it because as Joe Wilson stated correctly about Obummer, “YOU LIE!”

    wbboei, you are an integral part of the Big Pink.

  49. admin
    February 24th, 2010 at 9:53 pm
    Exactly two years ago today (we updated the article with the video) Hillary gave her memorable “celestial choirs” speech. Today, Hillary spoke about the partisan “gridlock” in Washington. Was Hillary being naughty and reminding us that she was right two years ago? Are we imagining things? Here’s the story:

    Yes, Admin — exactly so. When I saw this story that is the first thing I thought of — she is acting like she’s complaining about Republicans but really she is saying “See, I told you nothing would change with this guy.”

  50. Here is a great article from the Economist on Healthcare.
    18th 2010 | NEW YORK | From The Economist print edition

    eyevineOTTO VON BISMARCK believed that the ordinary worker “is unsure if he will always be healthy and he can predict that he will reach old age and be unable to work. If he falls into poverty, and be that only through prolonged illness, he will find himself totally helpless.” So in 1883 Germany’s Iron Chancellor introduced a health-insurance law that required both companies and workers to contribute to the costs of care.

    Until then health insurance had been essentially a voluntary affair. In many parts of Europe private non-commercial organisations (such as mutuals) had sold health insurance for centuries. Bismarck’s “social” insurance scheme found many imitators. Most of the world’s health care is financed directly by governments, but private insurance, which now makes up nearly a fifth of the total, looks set for a state-sponsored boom.

    Private health insurance comes in different flavours (see chart 1). In America, the Netherlands and Germany, it provides primary coverage for those not on government schemes. In Australia, Britain, Ireland and New Zealand, private insurers duplicate the coverage of state-run health systems, usually offering perks like better service or shorter queues. In many countries, notably France, complementary private cover is used to top up official schemes, for example by covering out-of-pocket payments.

    Governments want to spur private insurance in the hope of solving three big problems bedevilling their national systems of health care: inadequate access to care; soaring costs; and a paucity of innovation. They hope thus to improve their citizens’ health without tearing more holes in tattered public finances. The evidence so far suggests that relying on private insurance may help in some respects. But it will not solve all these problems, and may even be making some of them worse.

    Picking cherries, dropping lemons
    Start with access. In countries where state-financed health care is not available to all, some governments are worried that too few of their citizens have sufficient cover. They want private insurance to be expanded to cover everyone. The most prominent effort is under way in America, where about 47m people lack health insurance of any kind. Under Barack Obama’s plan, which is bogged down in Congress, the private-insurance market would expand dramatically—but so would regulation. The proposal would require all Americans to buy cover. To make it affordable, the government would regulate products and prices and offer subsidies for the poor.

    This effort is similar to reforms undertaken over the past decade in the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Swiss were keen to expand access to all, and to contain costs; the Dutch saw private insurance as a boon both to consumer choice and to innovation in the delivery of health care. To ensure equitable access, both countries forbid private insurers from discriminating against applicants because they are in poor health or at high risk of falling ill. This practice, known as “lemon dropping”, continues in the American market for individual health coverage.

    Inevitably, however, some insurers (say, those offering cheap, bare-bones packages) will attract younger, fitter and cheaper customers while others (with a reputation for quality or gold-plated coverage for chronic diseases) will attract the old, the sick and the costly. In the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, which copied some earlier Swiss reforms, regulations force companies that make “excess” profits in this way to hand over that money to those who end up with costly patients. Uwe Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University, jokes that Germany has the illusion of 200 private health insurers but because of risk adjustment it in fact has just one. The Dutch are now shifting from risk-smoothing after the fact to doing it even before the fiscal year begins.

    Such a tightly regulated expansion of private insurance—in effect, turning health insurance into a utility—can expand coverage. European countries that followed this path now enjoy near-universal access. So does the American state of Massachusetts, which has implemented similar reforms. If Congress eventually accepts Mr Obama’s proposals, the rest of America will also see coverage increase markedly.

    This is also likely to be true in developing countries, whose public health-care systems are often hopelessly overstretched and underfunded, although because poor countries cannot afford the subsidies and regulatory apparatus of the rich world, coverage is likely to be confined to the better off. Healthy middle-class people in India are enjoying private hospitalisation insurance in today’s lightly regulated market. But private insurers had better pick cherries while they can: Swiss Re, a big reinsurer which is helping private health insurers get off the ground in developing countries, points out that as countries get richer and people become politically more assertive, governments squeeze insurers to cross-subsidise the sick and poor.

    However, aiming for universal access by expanding private insurance has costs as well as benefits. To some extent, as private insurance grows it will call forth extra resources, helping to relieve the strain on state health-care systems. But because private cover is often supplemental and incomplete, many still turn up at public hospitals for the most expensive procedures (at the taxpayer’s cost). And government doctors and nurses may be encouraged to divert time to lucrative private patients.

    The provider rules
    Worse yet, there is evidence that private insurance can lead to even higher public spending on health—compromising governments’ second objective of bearing down on the costs of health care. Supplementary insurance that reduces or eliminates “out of pocket” spending or “co-payments” blunts patients’ incentive to watch costs: an extra specialist’s visit or fancy scan is attractive if it seems to be free. Also, America, Australia and Canada offer tax breaks and subsidies for private coverage, such as that offered through employers. This also encourages over-insurance and over-consumption of health care.

    To this has to be added the cost of treating health insurance like a utility: regulating prices and stopping insurers cherry-picking and lemon-dropping. This cuts across government’s other objective, encouraging innovation: Mark Pauly of Wharton Business School argues that “the goal of limiting risk selection clashes with the goal of innovation.” Even Clark Havighurst, an academic affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, says: “As long as health insurers’ only significant function is the simple one of financing health care, government itself is probably capable of performing that role nearly as well as they do—without incurring competition’s added costs”, such as marketing, duplicative regional offices and so forth.

    The second reason why governments have turned to private insurance is cost control. The hope was that by ruthlessly tackling costs and promoting efficiency, market-minded insurers would help rein in runaway health inflation where flabby government bureaucrats could not.

    However, private insurance seems to have pushed expenditure up not down. Francesca Colombo of the OECD sums up the evidence: “Whatever the role played in a health system, private health insurance has added to total health expenses.” It is no coincidence, she says, that the countries with the biggest private health-insurance sectors—America, France, Germany and Switzerland—also have some of the highest health-care costs per person.

    There are several explanations for this. Researchers at Swiss Re point to problems with incentives. Because a third party pays the bill, patients have every incentive to consume too much health care. The true cost of health services is rarely made clear to them. Nor is the true price of insurance, especially if coverage is provided through an employer.

    Another incentive problem also arises from lack of transparent pricing. Studies have shown that the fees for similar procedures vary widely among hospitals in the same area. Because hospitals and doctors both decide on the services patients must have and dictate the price of those services, they often enjoy a powerful informational advantage over insurers. Swiss Re argues that competition on price and quality is rare because of a lack of data on the outcome of treatment. It adds that because doctors and hospitals have an informational advantage, they have an incentive to over-supply their services.

    A further force driving up costs in private insurance markets is a long-term shift in the nature of medical risk. Paul Mango of McKinsey, a firm of consultants, argues that health insurance was simpler half a century ago. Lives were shorter, risks were clearer and more easily pooled. People live longer now, in part because of medical and economic advance. That is not bad news for insurers in itself, but bad behaviour is making customers fatter and sicker as they age. Chronic diseases and unhealthy lifestyles are pushing costs up. Once untreatable diseases can be managed, but at a cost.

    The biggest factor behind the cost conundrum, however, is that insurers lack market power. Health-care providers hold all the cards. On this argument, the problem with private health insurance is not that market forces do not work: it is that reforms have not gone far enough to allow proper competition to emerge. For example, in Germany and the Netherlands some insurers have started to negotiate special deals with providers that make the management of chronic diseases easier for patients. However, there are strict limits on what they can bargain for. And insurers cannot easily favour only the best hospitals, because politicians will not let inefficient hospitals go bust.

    Reforms initiated in 1996 never managed to contain costs in Switzerland, which has one of the most expensive health systems after America’s. Robert Leu of the University of Bern argues that “competition was not really set free.” Insurers do not negotiate on tariffs with individual hospitals but with a cartel of local hospitals and the cantonal government.

    The problem is worse in America. George Halvorson, the chief executive of Kaiser Permanente, an innovative hospital chain that offers health insurance integrated into its own health care, points to a chart showing how difficult it is for private insurers to tackle costs in the country’s “fee for service” health system, which rewards transactions rather than health outcomes. As insurers have squeezed hospitals, the average duration of hospital stays has indeed fallen—but that has been more than offset by a rise in prices (see chart 2). You might ask why competition among hospitals has not held prices down. The explanation is that there is not much of it. Hospitals have local oligopolies or even monopolies, especially after a recent wave of consolidation, so price competition is rare. The opacity of pricing makes it hard for insurers (and harder still for patients) to shop around.

    The third attraction of private insurance, innovation, is also proving elusive. “It is striking how uninnovative health insurance is,” says Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School. She points to various examples from America, supposedly the world’s most sophisticated market for private health cover. Many people count long-term care among their biggest financial worries, she says, so why do most insurers not cover it? Why is Discovery, a South African firm, paying its customers to get healthy while most Western insurance giants do not?

    The bureaucratic brake
    She believes she knows why private insurers are not as inventive as they should be. The buying of health insurance is too concentrated in the hands of “risk-averse bureaucrats”, she insists: human-resource managers at big companies or in the public sector. The OECD agrees, concluding in a report that so far “private health insurance has had only a minimal impact on the quality of care” in most countries.

    Others argue that private insurance can—if done properly—lead to innovation. Jan Willem Kuenen of the Boston Consulting Group argues that if allowed to do so, private insurers can catalyse hospitals and doctors to perform better. Having compared the quality of health services across Europe, his firm concludes that countries relying primarily on insurance, like France, Germany and the Netherlands, do better than those that rely chiefly on tax, like Britain, Italy and Spain—which also happen to spend less on health relative to GDP (see chart 3). Gelle Klein Ikkink, director of health insurance for the Netherlands, concurs: “We don’t believe government bureaucrats can motivate providers to deliver higher quality health care—but we firmly believe competitive insurers can.” That, he says, is why the Dutch go through all the trouble of risk-smoothing rather than have a single state insurer.

    Some developing countries, whose systems are too young to have developed bad institutional habits, are jumping ahead. Hospital chains like India’s Apollo Group, which lures many Western medical tourists with cheap yet modern treatment, offers its own insurance schemes. Some African firms are miles ahead in the use of text messaging, financial incentives and other clever tools, for instance, to encourage patients to take AIDS drugs properly.

    The growth of private health insurance in Kenya began to force hospitals to improve; neighbouring countries without private insurers were less lucky. In Rwanda a novel hybrid of non-profit insurance co-operatives and government reinsurance has greatly expanded health cover for the poor. Leapfrog Investments, a for-profit financial group, sees such potential in micro-insurance for the poor that it is creating a $100m fund to invest in private insurers.

    The rich world is perking up a bit too. Ronald Williams, chief executive of America’s Aetna, argues that health insurers like his own firm do much more than government schemes like Medicare to encourage the prevention and management of disease. Unlike the government, his firm pays for extra nurses to work with doctors accepting Aetna’s patients. His firm’s efforts at managing diabetes, he says, have reduced hospital admissions by 26% and costs by 10% for those patients.

    America has long had isolated examples of excellence. Kaiser Permanente’s Mr Halvorson insists that private insurance can boost the quality of health provision, “but only if competition is based on care delivery and outcomes.” Sadly, this is often not so. He claims that American private insurers and Medicare pay the worst hospitals as much for the same procedures as they do the best ones, even though the chance of death at the worst is 80% higher. According to Alain Enthoven of Stanford University, an economist whose theory of managed competition inspired Dutch reformers: “If they are to deliver innovation, insurers need more market power…or they must integrate like Kaiser Permanente.”

    Heart of the matterAmericans spend more on health care than any other people in the world. The question is, do the results reflect the expense? In some areas, such as advanced-cancer care, America’s health system is the best there is. Yet according to Christopher Murray of the University of Washington and Julio Frenk of the Harvard School of Public Health, America is falling behind many countries in infant mortality and overall life expectancy. In an essay published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, they note that rich countries such as Australia have similar demography but healthier people. Within America, they write, “the health disparities…are shocking…some counties have life expectancies similar to some of the poorest parts of the world.”

    Still, private insurance has its defenders. Aetna’s Mr Williams observes that American consumers are much more demanding than those elsewhere. He points out that they expect hospital visits to include such things as valet parking, good food, short queues and speedy access to specialists. But do all these extras improve health? “I suspect”, he says, “these service features are not related to better clinical outcomes or health quality.”

  51. from Red State

    Scorched Earth: Charlie Crist Steals State GOP Records & Leaks Them to Press to Smear Rubio

    Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)

    Wednesday, February 24th at 10:41PM EST

    There is growing speculation that Charlie Crist is going to run as a independent candidate in Florida as he continues sinking in the polls. Just a few weeks ago, Crist and Vice President Biden were caught having a private meal together in Miami. In addition, Crist has returned to embracing the Obama stimulus fraud. Either he’s going Democrat or he’s going independent.

    Before he goes, however, Crist is determined to do everything possible to run a scorched earth campaign against Marco Rubio. The latest is beyond the pale. Crist has taken the private credit card records of the Republican Party of Florida and leaked them to the press.

    The only records leaked, of course, were those of Marco Rubio. As the Speaker of the House in Florida, Rubio had a credit card with the Florida GOP. He used it to help get Republicans elected, though some of the charges were personal. Rubio reimbursed the Florida GOP for the personal expenses.

    That hasn’t stopped Charlie Crist from misappropriating the records to smear Rubio. But for perspective, Charlie Crist’s hand picked Director of the GOP in Florida charged in one month what Rubio charged in two years.

    Make a donation to Marco Rubio right now and teach Charlie Crist that the more he tries to smear Rubio, the more Rubio’s war chest will grow to combat the smears.

    Remember, the NRSC threw its weight behind Crist because he was ahead in the polls and the NRSC did not want to have to spend a bunch of money. If Crist runs a scorched earth policy against Rubio, throwing every possible smear and lie at Rubio, the NRSC is going to have different arithmetic in Florida.

  52. This is just a ridiculous smear campaign…

    Hillary’s ‘indecision’ to blame in death of officer in campaign motorcade, according to family

    By Alex Pappas

    Then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s “indecision” is partly to blame for the death of a Dallas policeman who crashed his motorcycle while riding in her motorcade, according to a lawsuit filed by the slain officer’s family.

    The suit filed this week alleges that 49-year-old Victor A. Lozada, a 20-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, died in 2008 because he was not properly trained or sufficiently experienced to accompany Clinton’s motorcade on motorcycle — and he was forced to do so because Clinton waited until the last minute to request assistance from the department.

    The suit claims that with Clinton’s experience as first lady and senator, having been in numerous motorcades over the years, she should’ve known that “motorcade escorts require sufficient notice and advance coordination to be performed safely.”

    Clinton and her campaign “waited so long to request the motorcycle escort that there was insufficient time to adequately prepare for the safety and well being of the officers,” the suit claims.

    “Clinton knew from first-hand eyewitness observation that the officers conducting the motorcycle escort detail were required to operate at very dangerous speeds and that a motorcade required careful planning and coordination,” the suit reads.

    The family’s attorney, David Schiller, did not respond to several calls to his Plano, Texas law office.

    Along with Clinton — now Secretary of State in Obama’s administration — the suit is filed against her presidential campaign committee, the City of Dallas and the company that manufactured his helmet.

    Clinton campaign lawyer Lyn Utrecht could not be reached for comment.

    The accident in Clinton’s motorcade is just one in a long line of motorcade accidents in recent years:

    •This month in Vancouver, figure skater Peggy Fleming and bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers suffered minor injuries when riding in Vice President Biden’s motorcade, which was rear-ended.
    •In November, a sheriff’s deputy in New Mexico who was blocking an intersection for Biden’s motorcade was injured when he was hit by a car.
    •A New York City cab driver in November was struck by a police car in Biden’s motorcade on the way to a taping of “The Daily Show.”
    •Two Secret Service vehicles in Biden’s motorcade hit and killed a pedestrian in November outside Washington.
    •New Mexico cop Germaine Casey died in 2008 in President George W. Bush’s motorcade when his motorcycle crashed.
    •Honolulu police officer Steve Favela died in 2006 after his motorcycle in Bush’s motorcade crashed on wet roads.


  53. Clinton speaks to sold-out Cal crowd

    Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Former President Bill Clinton told a UC Berkeley audience Wednesday that many solutions to the world’s problems – namely the massive gulf between wealthy and poor people – are often beyond the reach of government.

    Urging young people to get involved in attacking global problems, Clinton said non-governmental organizations have an increasingly important role.

    “Politics are important, but they’re not an excuse not to do this kind of work,” Clinton told 2,000 people at a sold-out Zellerbach Hall.

    He told the audience composed largely of UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students that even if their candidates win and pursue policies they support, “there will still be gaps in the social fabric that will be filled by citizens.”

    Wednesday’s address was one of the first public appearances for the Democratic former chief executive since doctors placed two stents to open a clogged blood vessel in his heart earlier this month.

    He appeared animated and sharp in his 51-minute speech, often taking off his reading glasses to speak extemporaneously about everything from public sanitation systems in Haiti – which he has visited twice since last month’s devastating earthquake – to a dissection of how the international financial crisis crushed Iceland’s economy.

    His talk, “Global Citizenship: Turning Good Intentions Into Positive Action,” was sponsored by the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies.

    Greeted by a prolonged standing ovation in the heart of liberal Berkeley, the audience heard Clinton in full policy-wonk mode, with each of his anecdotes designed to show how the world is connected.

    To succeed, he said, citizens would have to adopt a “communitarian spirit” to deal with a world that is unequal (in wealth), frequently unstable and unsustainable on its current path.

    Clinton largely stayed away from partisan political remarks – not using the word “Republican” or mentioning any politician other than his former Vice President Al Gore. He focused his frustration on Washington’s inability to pass health care reform or address climate change.

    Clinton, the United Nations’ special envoy to Haiti, oversees U.N. aid and reconstruction efforts in the Caribbean nation after a magnitude-7 earthquake crushed it Jan. 12.

    President Obama appointed Clinton – along with former President George W. Bush – to lead the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, a major fundraising effort to help the quake’s victims.

    While most of the students in the room were in elementary school when Clinton was president from 1993 to 2000, they snapped up free tickets in five minutes.

    “Clinton was president when I was 5 years old,” said Ariana Sarfaruzi, a UC Berkeley senior majoring in political economy and Middle Eastern studies. “But I’m impressed that he’s using his celebrity to try to inspire us to get involved on a global level.”

    Senior Jennifer Jensen said she was impressed that Clinton “doesn’t write a check to his foundation. He actually goes to places like Haiti.”




    Political Punch
    Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper

    Obama Quotes on Senate Rules in 2005 Given New Scrutiny

    February 24, 2010 12:43 PM

    At the National Press Club on April 26, 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about a move being discussed by Senate Republicans, then in control, to change the Senate rules so as to require a mere majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a potential filibuster.

    “You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward,” then-Sen. Obama told the audience.

    His remarks have garnered some attention in recent days given the current likelihood that Senate Democrats will next week use “reconciliation” rules, which require only a 51-vote majority, to pass health care reform legislation, bypassing the current Senate rules of requiring 60 votes to cut off a potential filibuster and proceed to a final vote.

    The White House has been in recent days setting the table for use of reconciliation rules for health care reform. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted that reconciliation rules were used for both of President George W. Bush’s major tax cut provisions in 2001 and 2003.

    And, it should be noted, reconciliation rules have been used for various health care measures, including the creation of COBRA, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare benefits for hospice care, and so on, as National Public Radio correspondent Julie Rovner detailed this morning.

    In 2005, then-Sen. Obama was not talking about the use of reconciliation rules; but rather about a larger rule change, what came to be known by opponents as the “nuclear option,” and by supporters as the “constitutional option.” (Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., originally coined the “nuclear option” terminology but then stopped using it.)

    At that time Senate Democrats had been blocking some of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees through use of the threat of a filibuster; of 57 nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 42 were confirmed, five never received hearings, and 10 were blocked by threat of filibuster. Democrats said this was nothing compared to 60 or so nominees of President Bill Clinton for whom Republicans refused to even hold hearings.

    Republicans responded by threatening to raise a point of order to – for all intents and purposes — declare the filibuster unconstitutional for judicial nominees, which they could have done with a majority vote. Senate Democrats, in turn, threatened to all but shut down the Senate. The showdown was avoided by a compromise created by the so-called “Gang of 14” Senators.

    “I would like to think that this is something that we could sort out,” then-Sen. Obama said. “And I think that the way to sort it out would be for this administration to do what every administration previous to this one has done; which is to say, ‘Here are a set of nominees. Let’s run them by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, figure out which of these judges generate the most heat, are considered most out of the extreme, and then let’s work out what the list is of judges who in fact can gain some bipartisan support.’ I mean, that’s what every president has done up until this point.”

    He continued: “And what we have now is a president who has decided, you know, ‘I’ve gotten 95 percent of my appointees, but there are these 10 that I want just because I want them.’ Hasn’t gotten his way. And that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever.”

    Mr. Obama recalled being in the minority in the Illinois state senate when the Republican leader adopted tough rules.

    “I remember what it was like the first several years that I was in the minority,” he said. “You couldn’t attach an amendment. You could not get a thing done. If you were in the minority, you might as well not have even showed up. And then there was redistricting, and a few years later, the Democrats are in charge, and now the Republicans cannot get a thing done. And the Democrats don’t have to pay them any attention whatsoever.

    “And what I worry about would be you essentially have still two chambers — the House and the Senate — but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the founders intended,” Obama said.

  55. JanH
    February 25th, 2010 at 8:07 am

    This is just a ridiculous smear campaign…

    Hillary’s ‘indecision’ to blame in death of officer in campaign motorcade, according to family

    Sure. Right.
    She might as well have just stabbed him to death. So ruthless of her to be running for president and require people to die for her cause.

  56. The suit filed this week alleges that 49-year-old Victor A. Lozada, a 20-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, died in 2008 because he was not properly trained or sufficiently experienced to accompany Clinton’s motorcade on motorcycle — and he was forced to do so because Clinton waited until the last minute to request assistance from the department.

    Improperly trained after 20 years on the force?

    Was this like the first time he ever rode on a motorcycle?

    And for argument’s sake, let’s say clinton’s limo accelerated and was doing 120 mph. At some point, the officer could say, “60mph…70.. whoa, I am not going to get killed following this out of control limo driver, especially with my 20 years of experience, which also includes knowing to use a helmet and a good one at that”.

  57. acroixthesea said
    February 25th, 2010 at 12:57 am
    lurker here.

    confloyd, i think u drove off wbboie. any chance you two can reconcile? wbboie is missed.

    I want to post my support for confloyd…..whose posts I often agree with.

    I certainly welcome all Hillary supporters to this site and think it is a testament to her policies and leadership that she attracts supporters of many different backgrounds.

    I do believe, however, that posts to this site should support Clinnton’s policies and beliefs. When I read extensive posts that clearly support opposition views, I get turned off and start to wonder if I am on the right site for me. If I wanted to hear Republican propaganda re health care and the like, I could just tune into Fox all day.

    So I welcome all, but ask that we stay focused on promoting an agend that I hope we all support.

    just sayin……

  58. I posted the Jon Daily video last night as most of you know Glenn Beck has been smearing Hillary daily as well as the progressive agenda. Glenn uses a tape of Hillary during the debates where she says she is a progressive and he goes on to discuss that progressives are nothing less than a dangerous communist. I think Jon Daily did a great job shutting that down.
    If Hillary runs again I think we will need to keep the Jon Daily video close.
    I am sure the republicans will use her own words against her many times over.

    JUst saying!

  59. Is he saying Obama is not the answer?! ;))

    February 25th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Clinton speaks to sold-out Cal crowd

    Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Former President Bill Clinton told a UC Berkeley audience Wednesday that many solutions to the world’s problems – namely the massive gulf between wealthy and poor people – are often beyond the reach of government.

  60. Looks like this health care summit, is going to be nothing but a stage for all the grand players to talk, talk, and talk more and get nothing done……nothing new.

  61. pm317,

    It sounds like he is saying that the government can’t help us at all. There will be a huge gulf between the rich and the poor and there’s nothing that can be done.

  62. confloyd,

    I had a discussion with some friends a few weeks back about possible 2012 scenarios. One of them wondered, given obama’s poor leadership record, etc… whether the media would still back him when the time came.

    His rational was that the people are rising up against the dims in larger numbers now and would media risk even more dire ratings by backing a loser like obama.

    We took this farther and wondered if any would now back Hillary or would go repub all the way.

    No concensus yet but I told them that I didn’t think media would ever back Hillary, let alone a woman for potus. I guess time will tell.

  63. the only reason for the health summit is to trap repubs.

    The public can see that the dims have tried but that it is the repubs who are bipartisan. This gives obama and his dimwitted friends a way out of this whole mess.

  64. Confloyd, it was a tongue in cheek comment about the Obots thinking Obama was the answer. I know very well what BC was talking about.

  65. JanH, I think your right the media hates Hillary even though they know she is the only one that will fix this situation.
    I think the only way to even get Hillary to run is to make Obama either drop out or get thrown out.
    So I wonder if we here will start looking to Obama’s dirty dealings again?

    I have question for those lawyers out there and it is WHY has Rezko not been sentenced yet??? He’s been in jail for over a year now, do they not have to sentence folks sooner that that??

  66. What are they doing, we have heard all these heartwrenching stories of healthcare in America. Shutup and start working, this is what is wrong with Congress and the Senate, they all like to hear their own voice.

  67. Iran and Syria put on show of unity in alliance

    Clinton finds ‘troubling’Ahmadinejad and Assad accuse the Americans of trying to dominate Middle East

    Thursday 25 February 2010

    Iran and Syria put on a show of defiant unity today, scorning US efforts to break up their alliance and warning Israel not to risk attacking either of them.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, flew to Damascus for talks with Bashar al-Assad days after the US appointed an ambassador to Syria after a five-year gap – a move seen by some as the start of a diplomatic thaw.

    “The Americans want to dominate the region but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that,” Ahmadinejad said during a press conference with Assad. “We tell them that instead of interfering in the region’s affairs to pack their things and leave. If the Zionist entity wants to repeats its past errors, its death will be inevitable.”

    Assad made clear that Syria would not distance itself from Iran, its ally since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. “We hope that others don’t give us lessons about our region and our history,” he said. “We are the ones who decide … and we know our interests. We thank them for their advice. I find it strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same time talk about dividing two countries.”

    Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said yesterday that the US was troubled by Syria’s relationship with Iran and characterised the appointment of an ambassador as a “slight opening”. Ties between Washington and Damascus were downgraded after the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri, in 2005 was blamed on Syria.

    Al-Jazeera reported that Ahmadinejad also met Khaled Mash’al, the Damascus-based leader of the Palestinian movement Hamas, and Ramadan Shallah of Islamic Jihad, both of which are supported by Tehran. Links between Hamas and Iran have been highlighted by the killing of the Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, by an alleged Israeli hit squad in Dubai.

    Two years ago the military leader of Lebanon’s Hizbullah, Imad Mughniyeh, was assassinated in Damascus in an attack that was also blamed on Israel’s secret service, the Mossad. It was not clear whether Ahmadinejad was also meeting Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbullah leader.

    Syria and Iran announced they were cancelling visa restrictions between their countries. “We must have understood Clinton wrong because of bad translation or our limited understanding, so we signed the agreement to cancel the visas,” Assad said.

    Syria was prepared for any Israeli aggression, he said. Talks between the two countries over the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in 1967, broke down in 2008 and show no sign of resuming.

    Syria has also offered to mediate between Iran and the west over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme but says it opposes any sanctions.

    Clinton said the US wanted Syria “generally to begin to move away from the relationship with Iran, which is so deeply troubling to the region as well as to the United States”.


  68. Jan, I would write a post on this in a heartbeat enough to get me out of my self-imposed exile from writing blogposts. His speech is brilliant. It would be great if we can get a full length video of it.

  69. I will second what Okie said at the end of previous thread. I would rather read wbboei comments (I don’t think he should feel so ruffled as to leave but he does). That does not mean that I want to discourage anyone else. Though I do like some self-policing on what is current, what is interesting to the majority on the board, and to be responsible that this is your rented space and you can’t take over a conversation and drown out others with incessant comments on every damn thing. An apology once in a while for ruffling someoneelse’s feathers will be good too.

    February 24th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I mostly lurk here now, but….

    I’ll put it out there if you guys won’t: I’d rather read wbboei’s than confloyd’s stuff. Where the bodies are buried and political spectrum discussions seem more salient than the state of Rick Perry’s coiffure.

    A big part of it is I see Confloyd getting swept up in something else altogether while the rest of us are still (mostly) anchored with Hillary. Not to say Perry isn’t a dick, that goes without saying.

    I could care less about Medina, et al., but I am becoming worried that things that do seem too tinfoily for rational discussion of late and distract from our girl. Frankly, the Soros- Bilderberg stuff seems straight out of Beck-istan.

    Can we get back to the subject somewhat? Or at least start posting porn links? 🙂

  70. Looks like Obama may catch the republicans in a few of their lies, and maybe the republicans will catch the dims in a few of theirs.

  71. Oh, Oh, Obama caught them lying about the plan hikes, now the republicans want to say they are representing people who don’t want healthcare reform, which is a lie again. Who do the republicans have on a Doctor, oh boy!

  72. • pm317
    February 25th, 2010 at 10:23 am
    Is he saying Obama is not the answer?! )
    February 25th, 2010 at 8:17 am
    Clinton speaks to sold-out Cal crowd
    Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Thursday, February 25, 2010
    Former President Bill Clinton told a UC Berkeley audience Wednesday that many solutions to the world’s problems – namely the massive gulf between wealthy and poor people – are often beyond the reach of government.
    Perhaps he is saying that governments can make policies, extend material aid, etc, but the most effective helping hands are person to person. He was encouraging young people to go to places in the world where they can make a difference because governments can only do so much. Notice how Bill goes where the pain is and he listens and with his own hands he touches shoulders, comforts babies, the troubled, the injured as well as unloading supplies, offering water etc and encouragement. That kind of sharing of our humanness heals and inspires and restores confidence. His every action says he cares – personally. A check in the mail is not the same as the neighbor who turns up at your burned-out house with a bag of groceries in one hand and a hammer in the other to say “You are not facing this alone – we’re here to help.”

  73. First Iran and Syria and now China? obama’s insistence in making nice with these countries is crashing down on him.

    China snubs US call for harsher Iran sanctions

    Thu, 25 Feb 2010

    Beijing once again has shrugged off Washington’s call for harsher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said she expects the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against Iran within the “next 30 to 60 days.”

    Clinton claimed that the US administration’s overtures to Tehran have helped Washington gain greater international support for tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

    Clinton said, “Iran has left the international community little choice but to impose greater costs for its provocative steps.”

    However, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that his country believes diplomatic efforts have not yet been exhausted.

    “We believe there is still diplomatic room for the Iranian nuclear issue,” Qin said.

    “We hope all parties concerned can put the overall interest in their mind and enhance consultation and dialogue so as to come to a peaceful solution,” he added.

    Qin said China would “continue to play a constructive role” in resolving the issue.

    Aside from China, Russia — another veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council — has voiced opposition to new Iran sanctions proposed by Clinton.

    Tehran has repeatedly declared that the Western-backed sanctions will not force it to give up the Iranian nation’s legitimate nuclear rights.


  74. To all on this board that seem to want to weigh in on Wbboei comments to me a couple of days ago.
    1) I have done nothing wrong!
    2) I have posted personal things, but so does everyone else.
    3) Is this not a political blog?
    4) No one can tell me I am not a Hillary supporter, unfortunately I think in order to help Hillary and to help reorganize our party (DEMOCRAT) we must look at the overall big picture. The fraud that took place in 08′ is rampent in the whole government as well as at the state level.
    5) We must take back our country from the mobsters that took in over all the way back to 00′.
    6) The last truly elected Potus we had was our beloved Bill Clinton and we just can’t sit back and let BM and the corrupt government officials to take over or lambast any of our candidates no matter which state they come from.
    7) If you want to rid our govt. of the scourge of corruption, you just can’t stop at just limiting ourselves to posting Hillary stuff. SHE NEEDS OUR HELP TO CLEAN THIS COUNTRY UP SO SHE CAN RUN AN HONEST CAMPAIGN.
    8) All here post republican proganda from time to time and Wbboei kept asking me to prove Perry was dirty and I merely was doing what he asked. He also challenged me throw out everything I was raised to believe about the democratic party and I was just responding to his arguments.
    9) We can’t shut down honest political differences as that is exactly what they’ve done to Hillary, haven’t they? They discredited her at every turn.
    There will be NO apology from me!

  75. Now there is much to do, and I hope this stop all the comments. We really need to focus on the job at hand and that is to draft Hillary for 2012′.

  76. Thank you,Jan — we love our Clintons — and for such good reasons!

    re wbboei…I wasn’t going to say this, but … oh, here goes…

    Someone said: “confloyd, i think u drove off wbboie. any chance you two can reconcile? wbboie is missed.”
    Yes, wbboei is missed. I miss him, too. BUT…
    Mighty confloyd, able to drive off the giant wbboei? I don’t think so.
    Maybe wbboei simply ran out of gas or maybe wbboei was bored by our possibly, to him, inferior knowledge and/or intellects or maybe wbboei aspires to a different audience, but wbboei driven away by challenges from mighty confloyd?
    Fact is, wbboei walked out on all of us, and I am very disappointed in him.
    You don’t walk out on all your friends because you’re pissed at one of them.

  77. And where in hell is Amb90? He said he was leaving, too.
    Hey, buddy, we have welcomed your comments over and over and told you repeatedly how much we value you — we have been your friends. Please come back and say you just had a bad day and didn’t mean you were leaving permanently. Look at all the good Clinton stuff here — where are your reports on Hillary’s activities? Don’t you miss us? — at all?

  78. confloyd,

    As you say we have all posted republican, independent, and dim articles. If they support our discussions then I see nothing wrong with it.

    I don’t reply to every single one, either because I don’t feel knowledgeable enough or my interest lies in other areas.

    As far as wbboei is concerned, I have to think that this decision was on his mind for quite a while. And although I miss his cutting edge deliberations, this was his choice and no one else’s. I would love for him to return but again that is his choice.

  79. The stupid dims did not bring one doctor in to help with their side. The republican brought all the speciality Doctors in (cardiologists, etc.) When will the dims learn. Obama trying to control the conversation with haaa, heee awwh, ain’t going to happen.

  80. Dissent in the ranks…

    Clinton says US committed to free trade


    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration is committed to free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
    Clinton’s comments Thursday came after Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen asked why the administration is “doing nothing to pass” the agreements with the pro-American countries.

    Clinton told lawmakers that the administration wants to work with Congress and believes the accords are important.

    President Barack Obama has called for strengthened trade relations with the three countries.

    But his fellow Democrats have refused to act on the agreements signed by the Bush administration. They want human rights concerns in Colombia, and South Korean restrictions on U.S. autos, dealt with first.


  81. John McCain is going after Obama for lack of transparency and dirty deals on health care. Obama tried to interrupt but McCain said “can I just finish please”. The Republicans are doing a good job of making the publicity stunt a failure for Obama.

  82. admin: I thought Obama was supposed to keep everyone on track. The republicans have been walking all over him. He’s the President, he can tell everyone to shutup and get to work. We don’t need any more gripping what we need to action. He can’t do it, he is weak, weak and weaker.

  83. He has gotten a few zingers in on the republicans. I just wonder if they have agreed on one single thing yet……I don’t think so.

  84. The publicity stunt is blowing up in Obama’s face. The Republicans started out slow but now are making strong points. McCain started the pushback and Eric Cantor just scored points too.

  85. So it was Louise Slaughter that made the most sense out of all the men talking. Women are the ones who can fix it, but we can never get the guys to shutup.

  86. Having participate so little in the Senate process, and really avoided confrontation in his career, someone appears in over their heads.


    GOP Tells Obama to Start Over on Health Care; Harry Reid Fires Back
    Posted: 02/25/10Filed Under:Health Care, The Capitolist 196 Comments + Join the discussion »TEXT SIZE:AAAPRINT SHARE President Obama began the bipartisan health care summit Thursday morning by framing health care costs as a catastrophic drag on the American economy, and by imploring Republicans to abandon their talking points and engage in an open-minded discussion about how to improve health care delivery for all Americans.

    “I hope that this isn’t just political theater, where we’re just playing to the cameras and criticizing each other, but instead are actually trying to solve the problem,” Obama said to the Republicans and Democrats assembled in the Garden Room of Blair House in Washington. “That’s what the American people are looking for.”

    But when the president turned the floor over to the Republicans, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee put a challenge on the table for Obama and the Democratic leadership in the room.

    “The American people have tried to say in every way they know how . . . they oppose the health care bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve,” he said. “We believe we have a better idea. Take the ideas you mentioned and start over.”
    Get the new
    PD toolbar!Alexander then asked Democrats to commit that they will not use reconciliation — a process that requires 51 votes rather than 60 — to pass health care in the Senate.

    “Renounce this idea to use reconciliation to pass your version of the bill,” Alexander said. “You can say this process has been used before, and it has, but not for something this big. It’s not appropriate to use [for] 17 percent of the economy.”

    With reconciliation as a possibility, he concluded, “the rest of what we do today will not be relevant. The only thing bipartisan will be the opposition to the bill.”

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the floor shortly after Alexander and slammed the Republican’s contention that Americans do not want the Senate’s bill.

    “I would say to my friend Lamar, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.” Reid cited a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll that showed 58 percent of the American people would be “disappointed” if Congress did not pass health care reform this year.

    As Reid concluded his remarks, he did not say reconciliation wasn’t an option.

    Nor did the president.

  87. Good exchange which I noticed at a conservative site:
    McCain is still fast —
    to Obama’s “The election’s over,” he quipped.: “I’m reminded of that every day.”

  88. Reid does not understand that American do want a health Care Reform bill this year. But they do not support the bill that has been passed.

    Dims seem to read the lines the way they want them.


  89. 47% Oppose Public Option Health Plan; 58% Oppose If Workers Forced To Change Coverage

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    As President Obama convenes a bipartisan summit today in hopes of getting his health care plan back on track, voters remain closely divided on the creation of a government-run health insurance option. But opposition increases dramatically if its creation might force people to change their existing coverage.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% favor the establishment of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option that people could choose instead of a private health insurance plan. But slightly more voters (47%) oppose the creation of a so-called “public option.” Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

    In December as the Senate worked out the final details of its version of the plan, 40% supported a public option, and 48% opposed it.

    Democrats continue to be strong supporters of a public option, while Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party oppose it. If the creation of that public option encourages companies to drop private insurance coverage for their workers as many critics contend it will, opposition among all voters jumps to 58%. Support drops to 28%. These findings are unchanged from October.

    That’s explained in part by the finding that 59% of voters believe it is more important to guarantee that no one is forced to change their health insurance coverage than to give consumers the choice of a public option. Thirty percent (30%) think the choice of a government-run health insurance program is more important. These findings have changed very little in surveys stretching back for months.

    Voters are only slightly less concerned about what might happen if workers are forced to change their health insurance coverage. Thirty-one percent (31%) say it would be good for employees if their company dropped the insurance coverage it provides and they were enrolled instead in a government-sponsored health insurance plan. Forty-five percent (45%) disagree and say it would be bad for the employees to be forced into a government plan. Nearly one-in-four voters (24%) aren’t sure.

    Forty-one percent (41%) of voters favor the overall health care plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats, but 56% oppose it. Support for and opposition to the plan are at the same levels they’ve been at since just after Thanksgiving.

    Earlier this month, just after the president called for today’s summit meeting, 61% of voters said Congress should scrap the proposed health care plan and start all over again.

    Sixty-three percent (63%) say a better strategy to reform the health care system would be to pass smaller bills that address problems individually. Twenty-seven percent (27%) still think passing a comprehensive bill that covers all aspects of the health care system is a better idea.

    Fifty-four percent (54%) of men oppose the public option, compared to 41% of women. But nearly six-out-of-10 male and female voters oppose the public option if its creation encouraged employers to drop their existing private coverage for their workers.

    Support for the government-run insurance plan is highest among voters ages 18 to 29, and that support is unwavering even if workers might be forced to change coverage. Voters in this age group are also the only ones who think the choice of a public option is more important than guaranteeing that no one is forced to change their coverage. They’re also the only age group that thinks it would be good for employees to be forced into a government plan.

    Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats favor the public option. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans and 51% of unaffiliated voters don’t.

    Opposition among GOP voters and unaffiliateds is even higher if creation of a public option encouraged companies to drop existing coverage of their employees. Fifty percent (50%) of Democrats still think it’s a good idea.

    While Republicans and unaffiliated voters feel strongly that guaranteeing no one is forced to change their current coverage is more important than the creation of a public option, Democrats are narrowly divided on the question.

    If a company dropped its private coverage and their workers were enrolled in a government-run plan, 61% of GOP voters and a plurality (48%) of unaffiliated voters say that would be bad for the employees.

    Democrats by a 46% to 29% margin say it would be good for the workers.

    There’s no question that voters are following the health care debate, though. Eighty-nine percent (89%) say they are following news stories about the health care reform legislation being considered by Congress, with 58% who are following very closely.


  90. Megan Kelly is just ridiculous, I hope she gets the raise she’s working for because she sure isn’t helping the common ground.

  91. The McCain/Obama exchange was testy..two guys that don’t like one another. I wonder what Bill/Hill are thinking …

  92. Carol
    February 25th, 2010 at 9:46 am
    acroixthesea said

    I welcome all views on this site. It is only by educating yourself on others views that your world view grows. We are in this together and if we limit our discussions we will not be prepared for the decisions that must be made in support of Hillary.
    I am not talking about crazy bots, but all view points such as Repub, conservative,Democratic, progressive,libertarian. I know I use to think of myself as a do or die Dem. I have become Indie and it was a long process that had it not been for boards such as this one and the brilliant narratives produced, I may have just given up.

    Wbb, I too think made this choice a while back, and it’s not fair to pin his decision on anyone but his own. For the book, I found myself looking forward to his brilliant analysis of the brilliant Admin. and will miss them.

  93. I’ve been working from home due to the snow today in NJ, and have had on Winter Olympics curling, people sliding heavy rocks rather than Obama trying to score debating points.

    What an asshole.

    As for people who com and go, I think we’ll just have to live with people’s decisions to participate or not. There is no way to have a political blog site without differing opinions and the occasional sore feelings. People can join, they can lurk, they can blog.

    Whatever, dude.

  94. taking a break from curling, TingleLegs on MSNBC saying that after today’s PostureFest ends at 4pm, that he expects Ofraud to go off and hold his own press conference where he can give his spin, before the 6pm news cycle.

    Apparently, Tingles is still under the assumption that Obama can sway the debate when his lips are moving.

    Maybe he hasn’t been paying attention, that the more Obama spouts off, the less effective he is, and the lower his ratings get.

  95. Carol said on
    February 25th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I certainly welcome all Hillary supporters to this site and think it is a testament to her policies and leadership that she attracts supporters of many different backgrounds.
    I do believe, however, that posts to this site should support Clinnton’s policies and beliefs. When I read extensive posts that clearly support opposition views, I get turned off and start to wonder if I am on the right site for me. If I wanted to hear Republican propaganda re health care and the like, I could just tune into Fox all day.


    Good for you, Carol. I’m glad you’re hanging in.

    We can doubt Hillary’s recent lip service to Obama and the Dims, but it would be crazy to think she’s secretly become RIGHTWING about issues she’s worked for for decades — such as environmentalism, abortion rights, etc.

    Or that the VP she and Bill chose in the 90s has suddenly become some sort of crook (along with most of the climate scientists of the world), subject to people posting long vague nasty hit pieces entire, the sort of thing that the Clinton haters used against the Clintons. I don’t want to answer such nasty stuff at length, so I just post links, and seldom read the comment string lately.

    Maybe the few Hillary style progressives still dropping in here, should talk more among ourselves, so non-rightwing lurkers won’t flee in panic. 😉

    1950democrat at gmail

  96. Hillary Clinton blasts Greenspan on U.S. deficit

    WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said she was heartbroken by the state of U.S. finances and laid the blame in part on “outrageous” advice from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

    Clinton, appearing before a congressional panel to defend the State Department’s $52.8 billion budget request for the 2011 fiscal year, said the Obama administration was well aware of the fiscal pressures battering average Americans.

    “It breaks my heart that 10 years ago we had a balanced budget, that we were on the way of paying down the debt of the United States of America,” Clinton said.

    “I served on the budget committee in the Senate, and I remember as vividly as if it were yesterday when we had a hearing in which Alan Greenspan came and justified increasing spending and cutting taxes, saying that we didn’t really need to pay down the debt — outrageous in my view,” she said.

    Greenspan was named central bank chief by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and held the office until 2006, serving throughout the presidency of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. Seen an economic oracle when in office, Greenspan’s words regularly moved financial markets.

    But his image became tarnished after he retired, with many blaming him for helping inflate a housing bubble that eventually burst, setting off a grave financial crisis and plunging the economy into recession.

    Public concern about the debt mounted after the government posted a record $1.4 trillion deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The issue looms large ahead of congressional elections in November.

    Greenspan, known as a deficit hawk, late last year endorsed a proposed bipartisan commission to help make tough calls needed to bring U.S. debt under control.

    Clinton noted that the 2011 budget request for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development represented a $4.9 billion increase over 2010, most of which would fund work in the “frontline states” of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “We are now assuming so many of the post-conflict responsibilities, and that is the bulk of our increase,” Clinton said.

    Republican Representative Ron Paul, who has helped lead congressional efforts to rein in the deficit, pressed Clinton on U.S. diplomatic spending including a plan for an expensive new U.S. embassy building in London

    Clinton said the costs of the proposed modernist glass cube would be offset by savings on rent for satellite offices that embassy personnel must now use.

    “I believe I can make the case that we’re not asking for new money,” she said.


  97. turndownobama
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Have fun, talk amongst your selfs. I see Hillary has come on hard against one of Husbands employees, Greenspan. I must say MANY what we thought were Hill and Bill supporters did not end up being the people they, or we thought they would be.

    If you want a blog that supports only YOUR viewpoints, I suggest you start one. Then you will have all the control.

  98. What I love about a blog that allows ALL opinions is that I learn so much and sometimes even change my views on important matters.

    None of us are omnipotent. The older I get the more I realize I have so much to learn.

    Thanks to all here who care enough to put in their two cents.


    MSNBC had air time available when POTUS had the stage. Now, after Mr. Hotair has ceded the floor, they think Olypmics hockey takes precedence over hearing Congress people talk, including the Repubs’ rebuttal.

    Let me guess, it was just a “scheduling thing”, no slight intended???


    Yes, George Will is a conservative. I think many conservatives have valid criticisms of Obama. I wish more liberals could take off their Obama-tinted glasses and admit how bad he is.

    This doesn’t mean I am now a Republican, but the Dems have successfully alienated a vast swath of their party, INCLUDING THEIR BASE.

    So now, for what it is worth, “an opinion” by a noted talking head from the right-wing part of the spectrum. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that :^)


    February 25, 2010
    Why Dems’ Health Care Bill is Stalled
    By George Will

    WASHINGTON — Today’s health policy “summit” comes at a moment when, as happens with metronomic regularity, Washington is reverberating with lamentations about government being “broken.” Such talk occurs only when the left’s agenda is stalled. Do you remember mournful editorials and somber seminars about “dysfunctional” government when liberals defeated George W. Bush’s Social Security reforms?

    The summit’s predictable failure will be a pretext for trying to ram health legislation through the Senate by misusing “reconciliation,” which prevents filibusters. If the Senate parliamentarian rules, as he should, that most of the legislation is ineligible for enactment under reconciliation, the vice president, as Senate president, can overrule the parliamentarian. This has not happened since 1975, but liberals say desperate times require desperate measures.

    Today’s desperation? Democracy’s majoritarian ethic is, liberals say, being violated by the filibuster that prevents their enacting health legislation opposed by an American majority.

    Some liberals argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional, for two reasons, the first of which is a non sequitur: The Constitution empowers each chamber to “determine the rules of its proceedings.” It requires five supermajorities (for ratifying treaties, endorsing constitutional amendments, overriding vetoes, expelling members and impeachment convictions). Therefore it does not permit requiring a sixth, to end filibusters.

    The second reason filibusters are supposedly unconstitutional is that they exacerbate the Senate’s flaw as “inherently unrepresentative.” That is, the Founders — who liberals evidently believe were dolts or knaves — designed it to represent states rather than, as the House does, population.

    Liberals fret: 41 senators from the 21 smallest states, with barely 10 percent of the population, could block a bill. But Matthew Franck of Radford University counters that if cloture were blocked by 41 senators from the 21 largest states, the 41 would represent 77.4 percent of the nation’s population. Anyway, senators are never so tidily sorted, so consider today’s health impasse: The 59 Democratic senators come from 36 states containing 74.9 percent of the population, while the 41 Republicans come from 27 states — a majority — containing 48.7 percent. (Thirteen states have senators from each party.)

    Since there have been 50 states, Republicans have never had 60 senators. There were 60 or more Democratic senators after seven elections — 1960 (64), 1962 (66), 1964 (68), 1966 (64), 1974 (61), 1976 (62) and 2008 (60, following Arlen Specter’s discovery that he is a Democrat, and the protracted Minnesota recount). But both parties have been situational ethicists regarding filibusters.

    In 2005, many Republicans, frustrated by Democrats blocking confirmation votes, wanted to ban filibusters of judicial nominees. They said such filibusters unconstitutionally prevent the president from doing his constitutional duty of staffing the judiciary. But this is not just the president’s duty; the Senate has the constitutional role of consenting — or not — to nominations.

    “Great innovations,” said Jefferson, “should not be forced on slender majorities.” Hence Barack Obama recently embraced a supermajority mechanism: The 18-member commission he created to recommend measures to reduce the deficit requires that any recommendation be endorsed by 14 members.

    Filibusters are devices for registering intensity rather than mere numbers — government by adding machine. Besides, has a filibuster ever prevented eventual enactment of anything significant that an American majority has desired, strongly and protractedly?

    Liberals say filibusters confuse and frustrate the public. The public does indeed mistakenly believe government is designed to act quickly in compliance with presidential wishes. But most ideas incubated in the political cauldron of grasping factions are deplorable. Therefore, serving the public involves — mostly involves — saying “No.” The Bill of Rights, like traditional conservatism, effectively pronounces the lovely word “no” regarding many possible government undertakings — establishment of religion, unreasonable searches and seizures, etc.

    The fiction that government is “paralyzed” by partisanship is regularly refuted. Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush reached across party lines in 1986, 1996 and 2001 to pass tax reform, welfare reform and No Child Left Behind, respectively. The $700 billion TARP legislation and the $862 billion stimulus were enacted with injudicious speed.

    Liberals are deeply disappointed with the public, which fails to fathom the excellence of their agenda. But their real complaint is with the government’s structure. And with the nature of the politics this structure presupposes in a continental nation wary of government and replete with rival factions. Liberals have met their enemy and he is the diminutive “father of the Constitution,” of whom it was said that never had there been such a high ratio of mind to mass: James Madison.

  101. Kent Conrad is really doing a good job getting out how these poor folk get stuck with so many meds, which sometimes causes them to come in to the ER in an altered mental status. Its really sad, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

  102. They love to hear themselves talk. I like the lady that talked, she siad the real stuff. Here we go again with the damn Dr.’s again.

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