Tuesday, December 22, 2009
by Jane Hamsher
FDL has become the go-to place for coverage of the health care bill due to the work of our incredible team. Jon Walker's second-to-none knowledge of the health care bill has made the policy and political analysis he offers up at FDL Action a driving force. Dave Dayen's reporting at the FDL News Desk, Marcy Wheeler 's research and in-depth analysis at Emptywheel, Laura Flanders' interviews at GritTV, our FDL team of writers and editors, and our community members at The Seminal provide the most independent and comprehensive picture of what's happening moment-by-moment on the health care debate to be found anywhere.
So, I asked them to help make it simple: how do we let people know what's going to happen to them if the Senate bill passes. Everyone put their heads together and came up with a list:
Top 10 Reasons to Kill Senate Health Care Bill
- Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations - whether you want to or not
- If you refuse to buy the insurance, you'll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.
- Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can't afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums
- Massive restriction on a woman's right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court
- Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays
- Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won't see any benefits - like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions - until 2014 when the program begins.
- Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others
- Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.
- No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years
- The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year - meaning in 10 years, your family's insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.
Background information on each point:
- Hardship Waiver And Restrictions On Immigrants Buying Insurance Undercut Arguments For An Individual Mandate, by Jon Walker
- What's in the Manager's Amendment by David Dayen
- MyBarackObama Tax by Marcy Wheeler
- Emperor Ben Nelson: All Your Uteruses Are Belong To Me by Scarecrow
- The Senate Bill is Designed to Make Your Health Insurance Worse by Jon Walker
- Best way to "Fix It Later" Is With No Individual Mandate Now by Jon Walker
- The Senate Health Care Bill is Built on a Mountain of Sand by Jon Walker
- The Devil in Anna Eshoo's Details by Jane Hamsher
- Liveblog of the Dorgan Reimportation Amendment by David Dayen
- Answering Nate Silver's 20 Questions on the Health Care Bill by Jon Walker
The Senate bill isn't a "starter home," it's a sink hole.
A terrifying show about compulsive hoarders.By Troy Patterson
Honey, I swear to start cleaning the den this weekend, the bulging bibliomaniacal den where a cotton-blend rabbit burrows in the James Baldwin section, where a backup alarm clock has wedged itself between Balzac and Zola, where I cannot even find Gogol's Dead Souls to quote a relevant passage about the old miser Plyushkin and his troves of trash. I swear to clean the den. Up by the ceiling, between the spare printer and the complete run of Men's Vogue, the señorita on the cover of the Alfredito Plays Mambo LP will end her obstinate cha-cha-cha with Vanessa Lorenzo, the cover girl of the March 2003 issue of Glamour. No longer will a stack of summer hats shade a precariously stationary tower of stationery boxes. Hoarders (A&E, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET) has scared me straight.
Compulsive hoarding is the excessive collection of items, objects, things, stuff, and, quite literally, sentimental junk. On each installment of Hoarders, A&E profiles two people suffering from the disorder, and the channel does so in a way consistent with its gravelly voice. Throughout A&E's transformation from a network airing footage of the cellist Pablo Casals to one scheduling performances by the bounty hunter Dog, it has kept up its interest in noir tales and investigative narratives. Hoarders announces its link to that tradition with a bit of text appearing on-screen near the top of each episode. Rendered in a central-booking typeface, it reads, "More than 3 million people are compulsive hoarders. These are two of their stories." The hoarders stand accused of violating standards of personal hygiene and public health, the laws of the fire marshal and the feng shui master. Having hit bottom, they may be faced with eviction or losing custody of their children. Their homes are crime scenes, and the evidence is everywhere.
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Americans are entering 2010 with a negative view of the events of the past decade, which was largely marked by President Bush's tenure from 2001-2009:
According to the poll, a combined 58% said the decade was either "awful" or "not so good," 29% said it was fair, and just 12% said it was either "good" or "great." [...]
Asked what they thought had the greatest negative impact on America this past decade, 38% cited the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 23% picked the mortgage and housing crisis, 20% said the Iraq war, 11% chose the stock market crash, and 6% said Hurricane Katrina.
But 37% said it lost ground on the environment, 46% said it lost ground on health and well being, 50% said it lost ground on peace and national security, 54% said lost ground on the nation's sense of unity, 55% said it lost ground in treating others with respect, 66% said it lost ground on moral values, and a whopping 74% said it lost ground on economic prosperity.
Census Bureau figures released in September largely support the public's pessimistic take on the last decade:
On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially. [...]
Bush built his economic strategy around tax cuts, passing large reductions both in 2001 and 2003. … But the bleak economic results from Bush's two terms, tarnish, to put it mildly, the idea that tax cuts represent an economic silver bullet.
The report deals another blow to the credibility of the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded terror alert system, and comes after Ridge's claim that the system was used as a political tool when he was DHS secretary.
The man who prompted the December 2003 Orange alert was Dennis Montgomery, who has since been embroiled in various lawsuits, including one for allegedly bouncing $1 million in checks during a Caesars Palace spree. His former lawyer calls him a "habitual liar engaged in fraud."
Working out of a Reno, Nevada, software firm called eTreppid Technologies, Montgomery took in officials in the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology and convinced them that technology he invented -- but could not explain -- was pulling terrorist-produced "bar codes" from Al Jazeera television broadcasts. Using his proprietary technology, those bar codes could be translated into longitudes and latitudes and flight numbers. Terrorist leaders were using that data to direct their compatriots about the next target.
But Montgomery's "technology" could not be reproduced, and the Playboy piece explains how he fell out of favor after word of what was going on spread in the CIA:
The federal government was acting on the Al Jazeera claims without even understanding how Montgomery found his coordinates. "I said, 'Give us the algorithms that allowed you to come up with this stuff.' They wouldn't even do that," says the first officer. "And I was screaming, 'You gave these people fucking money?'" ...
Over the unexplained objections of 30 Republican Senators, an anti-rape amendment authored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) became law Monday with President Obama's signature on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010.
The provision was sparked by the gang-rape of a 19-year-old Kellogg, Brown & Root employee by her coworkers in Iraq. After returning to the United States, Jamie Leigh Jones found she couldn't sue the company because of a clause in her employment contract.
Franken's amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act prohibits companies from using employment contracts to bar litigation over sexual assault or discrimination.
When the Senate took up Franken's measure, 30 Republicans voted against it. None cared to explain why, with some suggesting it's simply not the government's business to rewrite employment contracts.
In an especially well-publicized confrontation, a tearful Jones asking Senator David Vitter (R-LA) why he wouldn't support the amendment. He simply walked away.
The group of Senators eventually become a target of a satirical Web site called "Republicans for Rape."
By Sahil Kapur
Health care for everyone is like a giant Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. At least according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Tempers are flying high over the successful health care cloture motion, and the reputedly hot-headed senator on Monday accused Democrats of engaging in a Madoff-like ploy to rip off the American people.
"It's one of a great Bernie Madoff gimmicks that anybody's ever seen," McCain said on ABC's Good Morning America. "Republicans were never brought in to the negotiations. This is what you get a split country when American people are opposed to what we're doing."
"That's nutty stuff," McCain added. "And by the way, it's unacceptable."
McCain, who was visibly angry late Sunday night on the Senate floor, said several times that the negotiations were one-sided. His colleagues agreed, but none of his them appear to have taken the accusation so far as to compare Democrats to the greatest financial swindler of all time.