The Aeration Zone: A liberal breath of fresh air

Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):

Walldon in New Jersey ---- Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio

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Friday, December 25, 2009

How about actually reading an objective description of the House and Senate bills?

Further to my post from a couple of days ago, I would suggest people take the time and effort to read a careful, detailed, objective and expert description of the House and Senate bills put together by the Kaiser Foundation -- rather than relying on conclusory declarations of what either supposedly does from those who have a particular political ax to grind, really have little expertise in healthcare economics, and have not really read the bill carefully. Then tell us all that either the Senate bill or the House bill does nothing, or is worse than doing nothing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is it worth it, or should we trash it?

The Senate version of the healthcare bill will add 10 million Americans to Medicaid eligibility. Peanuts? Maybe not for those 10 million people.

According to an MIT analysis, a family at the 36th percentile buying insurance through the exchange will see an annual premium drop from the $12,042 needed today in the open market to $1966 – from over $1000 per month to $163 per month or less for over one-third of the American people. That family's out-of-pocket annual maximum will drop from $12,600 under current law to $4200, and its total exposure to healthcare costs in a year will drop from 68% of annual income to 17%. Meaningless?

A family making virtually the same as the median national income – meaning the same as or better than 50% of the population, of course -- will see a premium drop of about 70%, from over $12000 to $3600, and the out-of-pocket maximum cut in half. Think about that: half the population will pay $300 or less per month for premiums compared to $1000 per month.

For two-thirds of the population, monthly premiums will drop by 30% or more (i.e., from $1000 per month to $700 for families at the 67th income percentile). Even people at the 74th percentile buying through the exchange -- solidly middle class -- will see a significant annual cost reduction.

That's a lot of people getting helped, especially a lot of low income people. That's not even counting the people who lose their jobs, people with young adults aged 26 or younger (who can now remain covered under their parents plan) who haven't been able to find a job in this market, or, of course, people threatened with inability to get insurance at all, broadly-stated exclusion riders or refusal to cover a major claim due to a pre-existing condition.

I'm sorry, but in my book Democrats opposing the bill because they are giving priority to making sure insurance companies don't get another cent, and in the process completely disregarding the enormous benefit for the kind of people we claim to care about, are throwing a bona fide hissy fit. That doesn't mean giving up the fight to add a Federal public option and make other changes – including my favorite for massively reducing national healthcare costs, a national, automatic, absolutely universal Federal catastrophic coverage plan that will once and for all take profit-making entirely out of covering people with the worst illnesses or injuries. But this needs to get done. It's time to circle the wagons, and start firing outside instead of at each other.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Liebe Mad


Are there any lengths to which Joe Lieberman will not go in order to punish the Democratic Party for denying him the nomination for senate three years ago? First, he stabs his party in the back and endorses John McCain for President. Then, after President Obama graciously forgives him and asks that he be accepted into the Democratic caucus and given a Chairmanship, he proceeds to fight tooth and nail against the Democratic agenda.

Now, not only is he fighting the Democratic Party on Health Care Reform, he is willing to make forty million Americans pay the price for his revenge. He is going about it in such a transparent way that it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that he is doing this out of revenge. What do I mean? Three years ago, Senator Lieberman came out in favor of expanding Medicare to those under 65.

From hearing and reading various analyses, it seems like Health Care Reform is now in a bit of a bind as a result. Never fear, I have a solution. Ezra Klein said Monday night on Countdown with Keith Olberman that Reconciliation would take a long time because it would mean starting over with house and senate committees, crafting a new bill, etc. I also understand that in order for reconciliation to be used, there has to be a budget impact on all sections of a bill. Fine, the House and Senate should immediately begin work on a reconciliation bill that is short and sweet and extends Medicare to all. A bill like that would probably be ten pages long and would take little time to craft. Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi should convene meetings with the chairs of the committees, hammer out a bill and fast-track them through their committees. Game, set, and 51 votes in the senate later, match.

After that, we can take the action that Senator Lieberman so richly deserves and strip him of his committee chairmanship. Then he can take his scorned-ex act to Hollywood or the stage or to the kiddie pool where it belongs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Dorsey Shaw

A quick history lesson before we begin...

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place during a battle near the city of Balaclava on October 25, 1854. Through a miscommunication of orders, the Light Brigade of approximately 600 British horsemen began a headlong charge into a treeless valley with the objective of capturing some Russian field artillery at its end. Unbeknown to them, the valley was ringed on three sides by some 20 battalions of Russian infantry and artillery. The result was disastrous. An estimated 278 of the Light Brigade were killed or wounded. Observing the charge, a French Marshall remarked: "It is magnificent, but it is not war. It is madness." via Eye Witness To History

Watch as Michele Bachman compares her Tea Party crowd to the above mentioned "The Light Brigade" at today's anti-health insurance reform rally in Washington DC.

Bachman, Palin, Beck, Orally, and the rest live in an alternate universe where only a smattering of knowledge passes for expertise.

I liked Frankin's comment on the Senate floor about his Rep coleague who "is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." Meaning the republican lied about what was in the health reform bill on the senate floor with flop charts..

The spite of a deeply immoral senator

by SusanG

Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 07:00:03 AM PST

Mr. Lieberman said that he grew apprehensive when a formal proposal began to take shape. He said he worried that the program would lead to financial trouble and contribute to the instability of the existing Medicare program.

And he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system.

"Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare-buy in is better than a public option, it’s the beginning of a road to single-payer," Mr. Lieberman said. "Jacob Hacker, who’s a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, ‘This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.’"

Ta-Nehisi Coates nails it:

This a deeply immoral statement. Joe Lieberman is a divorced Dad refusing to pay for private school, in part, because it might please his ex-wife.

It looks like he is against the bill, not becasue of what is actually in the bill, but becaus of what some Congressman said about the bill. Has he actually read the Senate bill? Connecticuit may have to pass a law creationg a mecahnism to recall a Senator to get rid of this guy. He has received over a $1,000,000 from the insruance industry. He is a crook and a prostitute

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who says the oil lobby is without conscience?

This one you've got to see to believe. The “Think Progress” blog (courtesy of a Washington Monthly link) reports on a botched PR effort by the American Petroleum Institute to build sympathy for industry employees who allegedly would be hurt by clean energy environmental legislation. A picture in API pamphlet showing the “hard working Americans” who will lose their jobs – presumably oil industry employees -- turns out to have been a stock photo from Better than that, though, is that the API apparently thought the photo was inadequate in the diversity of those employees. Accordingly, they Photoshopped an Asian face onto one white person, and put an African-American face on another. Problem is, whoever was doing the editing neglected to change the “black” guy's white hands!

Integrity is a great thing to see!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Why Sen. Specter opposes the Afghan surge

Why I oppose the Afghan surge

I'M OPPOSED to sending 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan because I don't believe they are indispensable in our fight against al Qaeda.
If they were, I'd support such a surge because we have to do whatever it takes to defeat al Qaeda, which seeks to annihilate us.

But if al Qaeda can organize and operate out of Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere, then why fight in Afghanistan, which has made a history of resisting would-be conquerors - from Alexander the Great in the 3rd century BC, to Great Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s?

In order to be successful in Afghanistan, it's necessary to have a reliable ally in the Afghan government. The evidence demonstrates that President Hamid Karzai does not have the requisite reliability.

THE LEGITIMACY of his administration is suspect because of vote fraud. There is widespread corruption at the highest levels of his government. His government has tolerated, if not encouraged, drug-trafficking.

President Obama has said, "President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction." In my judgment, any such "message" amounts to a dubious and belated pledge of reform and deserves to be treated with the greatest skepticism.

For too long, the United States has borne the overwhelming weight of providing troops with only modest NATO contributions. We currently provide 68,000 troops, Britain 9,500 and the other countries just over 36,000. NATO has pledged another 7,000 troops, an inadequate response when you consider the combined populations of NATO countries - excluding the United States - and the threat they face from al Qaeda.

In the context of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, it is understandable that the American people are very skeptical about fighting in Afghanistan. Had we known that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, we would not have gone into Iraq.

Historians have replayed the tragic mistakes in Vietnam. When you add the 851 killed and 4,605 wounded in Afghanistan to the 4,369 killed and 31,575 wounded in Iraq, it is understandable that the American people do not want to continue the overwhelming burden of fighting in Afghanistan with so little assistance from our allies and so little prospects for success.

The cost of the Afghanistan war imposes an additional burden. It costs $1 million a year for each soldier, or $30 billion a year to support 30,000 additional troops. The cost for the total force in Afghanistan of approximately 100,000 soldiers would be more than $100 billion a year.

Pursuing a successful war in Afghanistan would require considerable additional support from Pakistan.

While Pakistan has been more helpful in recent weeks, their long-term commitment remains uncertain. For years, I've urged that the United States should take the lead in brokering a rapprochement with India that would allow Pakistan to redeploy forces from the Indian border to Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds in the mountainous regions of the north. If we could cool that tension with India, they could help us fight the Taliban and al Qaeda.

My opposition to the troop surge in no way diminishes my concern over the challenge we face in al Qaeda and the need to confront it wherever it emerges.

But I question whether Afghanistan is the primary front or even the only battlefield when we may face emerging challenges in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan itself. That is where we have the best chance to succeed.

We should concentrate on fighting al Qaeda without limitation on time or resources, but we should not engage in the laborious and problematic task of nation-building, or civil affairs, or the protection of other societies in place of their own security systems.

Arlen Specter, a Democrat, is the senior senator from Pennsylvania.

More C Street Trouble

In case you forgot, this C Street house is a group home for borne again Christian (republican) legislature in DC. The Christian group is Called "The Family." It shouold move to M Street to be located more conveniently to the DC strip joints. So much for the un-Christian Wrong.

Fmr. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS)

One of the ne-er-do-wells from the C Street Group House, former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) is under investigation for assaulting an opposing team's youth league soccer coach after what I suppose must have been a particularly intense game. In a nice extra touch, the unfortunate soccer coach was allegedly already wearing a neck brace when Pickering got all pro wrestling on him.

Pickering was last in the news after his wife accused him of adultery and sued him and his mistress for "alienation of affection" -- not unlike fellow C Streeters Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford.

--Josh Marshall

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Any Club that would have a Right Winger for a Member he wouldn't want to join

01 Dec 2009 12:31 pm

Leaving the Right


Andrew Sullivan

There has to come a point at which a movement or party so abandons core principles or degenerates into such a rhetorical septic system that you have to take a stand. It seems to me that now is a critical time for more people whose principles lie broadly on the center-right to do so - against the conservative degeneracy in front of us. Those who have taken such a stand - to one degree or other - demand respect. And this blog, while maintaining its resistance to cliquishness, has been glad to link to writers as varied as Bruce Bartlett or David Frum or David Brooks or Steve Chapman or Kathleen Parker or Conor Friedersdorf or Jim Manzi or Jeffrey Hart or Daniel Larison who have broken ranks in some way or other.

I can't claim the same courage as these folks because I've always been fickle in partisan terms. To have supported Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Dole and Bush and Kerry and Obama suggests I never had a party to quit. I think that may be because I wasn't born here. I have no deep loyalty to either American party in my bones or family or background, and admire presidents from both parties. My partisanship remains solely British - I'm a loyal Tory. But my attachment to the Anglo-American conservative political tradition, as I understand it, is real and deep and the result of sincere reflection on the world as I see it. And I want that tradition to survive because I believe it is a vital complement to liberalism in sustaining the genius and wonder of the modern West.

For these reasons, I found it intolerable after 2003 to support the movement that goes by the name "conservative" in America. I still do, even though I am much more of a limited government type than almost any Democrat and cannot bring myself to call myself a liberal (because I'm not). My reasons were not dissimilar to Charles Johnson, who, like me, was horrified by 9/11, loathes Jihadism, and wants to defeat it as effectively as possible. And his little manifesto prompts me to write my own (the full version is in "The Conservative Soul"). Here goes:

I cannot support a movement that claims to believe in limited government but backed an unlimited domestic and foreign policy presidency that assumed illegal, extra-constitutional dictatorial powers until forced by the system to return to the rule of law.

I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing and blames its successor for the debt.

I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government's minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.

I cannot support a movement that holds torture as a core value.

I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.

I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.

I cannot support a movement which has no real respect for the institutions of government and is prepared to use any tactic and any means to fight political warfare rather than conduct a political conversation.

I cannot support a movement that sees permanent war as compatible with liberal democratic norms and limited government.

I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.

I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.

I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.

I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.

I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.

I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.

I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.

I cannot support a movement that believes that the United States should be the sole global power, should sustain a permanent war machine to police the entire planet, and sees violence as the core tool for international relations.

Does this make me a "radical leftist" as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not. But it sure disqualifies me from the current American right.

To paraphrase Reagan, I didn't leave the conservative movement. It left me.

And increasingly, I'm not alone.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rant form the DC Underground

If you think that unregulated capitalism will automatically give the working people a living wage, you are ignorant of history.. If you think that unregulated capitalism will result in clean air and clean water you are ignorant of history and your are a fool. What I find amazing about the common wisdom of this country is that the corporations and the Republican Party have convinced the gullible population that unions and environmentalists are evil. The root of all our problems. These corporations have invested millions (not a large number when you consider that the CEO's alone take home 5 or 10 million dollars in salary per year) in a sustained media campaign to convince us that the unions that our fathers and grandfathers fought for are bad, and that the environmental laws that took 30 or 40 years to get signed into law are bad for the economy. They have also convinced us that government is bad. That is "government of the people, by the people, and for the people - democracy" is now bad. That was Reagan's message, and he is revered as a god by many Americans.

So now our air quality and water quality is getting worse. It was improving since the 70's, but now it is getting worse because "we don't need no stinking regulations." Capitalism and the market place will take care of it. And now our middle class is disappearing at the same time that the power of the unions is disappearing. The poor and the middle class are loosing buying power and standard of living every year while the top 1% of Americans are richer that ever before. The gulf between rich and poor is greater now that it was in the Golden Age in the early 1900's. But the gullible believe that we have nothing to worry about because the rich will invest their money and wealth will trickle down to the rest of us. If you believe that you are ignorant of history and a fool.
Slick marketing over many years have convinced us to support union busting and the rape of the environment against our own best interests and the best interests of our children and grandchildren. We are being had and we are fools. Yes, those unions sure are evil - they're <<>> I tell you!!

· 40 hour work week

· paid vacation

· paid sick

· pension plans

· national holidays

· employee insurance plans

· workman's compensation

The rich wanabees are content with the few crumbs off the table to the pee-ons. Government is the problem according to King Reagan and can never do anything right. So deregulation even though it has caused all our current problems is a good thing according to this way of thinking. This ignores winning WWII, going to the moon, our national highway system, the national parks ( which the loggers and ranchers would have destroyed), the American middleclass created by the GI Bill, the invention of the internet, Social Security, Medicare without which Seniors would be consigned to the poorhouse.

The brainwashed would also have us believe that the invisible hand of profit would have achieved all these things. It is the excessive profits by the insurers, drug companies, for profit hospitals, tort lawyers and medical specialists in our healthcare system that results in the U.S. spending twice as much on healthcare than other advanced countries for a health care system that puts us on the bottom in healthcare outcomes. Quite simply we are not getting ourmoney's worth. All citizens have healthcare in the advanced European countries unlike the 46 million Americans who don't or the 25 million who are underinsured and find they really don't have health insurance when they need it. I don't believe in death panels, lies and other scare tactics that Republicans seem to espouse. I am really concerned by the 40% of Republicans that describe themselves as "angry" about Obama policies. You can disagree but to be angry or want to succeed from the Union as one Texas Republican politician has come out for goes beyond the pale. And how about the story of Sealey Mattress Company. A profitable US manufacturer with unionized employees. They were bought out by an Equity Investor firm. The new owners borrowed every penny they could against the company assets. Sometimes using the same assets more than once as collateral for loans. With the money carefull squereled away, they shut the company down. The lenders and the employees were left holding the bag. Why are we not manufacturing matresses in the US, "Well it is those awful unions."