Failbot Pretzel Logic

July 8, 2009

koolaid

(This started in the comments of Dakinikat’s morning post but I think it deserves front page attention.)

If you want to see some EPIC FAIL check out this post by John Cole. Responding to a WaPo report that Obama is considering issuing an executive order that would “reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely” Cole says:

Not only will this infuriate a certain portion of Obama’s base, but using an executive order for this also completely undercuts any defense regarding his inaction on DADT. I’m not sure what will be funnier- the hysterics of the PUMA crowd or the idiots on the right wing who will crow that Bush has been vindicated, completely missing that the executive order will be issued in order to help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo.

Yeah John, he’s gonna repudiate Bush by copying him, and somehow it’s all our fault.

I should point out that John Cole is a poster boy for Clinton Derangement Syndrome and was a hardcore Bushbot Republican.  He left the GOP and became a Democrat about six months before he started supporting Obama.

IOW – Cole has been a Kool-aid junkie for many years, but about a year and one-half ago he switched flavors.  At least he finally admits that PUMA is on the opposite side of the political spectrum from the wingnuts.

For a thorough discussion of Obama’s tentative proposal for the arbitrary power to lock people up indefinitely without trial read Glenn Greenwald:

There has now emerged a very clear — and very disturbing — pattern whereby Obama is willing to use legal mechanisms and recognize the authority of other branches only if he’s assured that he’ll get the outcome he wants. If he can’t get what he wants from those processes, he’ll just assert Bush-like unilateral powers to bypass those processes and do what he wants anyway.  In other words, what distinguishes Obama from the first-term Bush is that Obama is willing to indulge the charade that Congress, the courts and the rule of law have some role to play in political outcomes as long as they give him the power he wants.  But where those processes impede Obama’s will, he’ll just bypass them and assert the unilateral power to do what he wants anyway (by contrast, the first-term Bush was unwilling to go to Congress to get expanded powers even where Congress was eager to give them to him; the second-term Bush, like Obama, was willing to allow Congress to endorse his radical proposals:  hence, the Military Commissions Act, the Protect America Act, the FISA Amendments Act, etc.).

This paragraph is also noteworthy:

Those journalistic practices produce egregious sentences like this:  “‘Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order’, the official said.”  I’d love to know which so-called “civil liberties groups” are pushing the White House for an Executive Order establishing the power of indefinite detention.  It’s certainly not the ACLU or Center for Constitutional Rights, both of which issued statements vehemently condemning the proposal (ACLU’s Anthony Romero:  “If President Obama issues an executive order authorizing indefinite detention, he’ll be repeating the same mistakes of George Bush”).

Here’s the money quote from WaPo:

Concerns are growing among Obama’s advisers that Congress may try to assert too much control over the process. This week Obama signed an appropriations bill that forces the administration to report to Congress before moving any detainee out of Guantanamo and prevents the White House from using available funds to move detainees onto U.S. soil.

“Legislation could kill Obama’s plans,” said one government official involved. The official said an executive order could be the best option for the president at this juncture.


The Congress shall have the power . . . to make all laws


Where did I see that before?


Rachel Maddow briefly reverts back to her pre-Kool-aid self:


Failure is a feature, not a bug

July 8, 2009
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Max Baucus

The New York Times had this to say about Max Baucus:

He conceded that it was a mistake to rule out a fully government-run health system, or a “single-payer plan,” not because he supports it but because doing so alienated a large, vocal constituency and left Mr. Obama’s proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.

Matt Yglesias doesn’t get it:

I thin that’s right. Framing effects are important in politics. The public-private competition is supposed to be a compromise between the pristine vision of single-payer and the desire of private insurers not to be put out of business. It creates a situation in which insurers are challenged to prove that single-payer advocates are wrong, rather than simply assert it. But with no single-payer plan in the mix, this gets lost, and the compromise becomes the leftmost anchor of the debate. A single-payer plan couldn’t possibly have passed, but I think having hearings on single-payer and having one committee draft a serious single-payer bill that gets a serious CBO score would have been a useful exercise. In particular, it would have focused the mind on the costs involved in rejecting this option.

Neither does Duncan Black:

I don’t know why the Dems never learn this lesson. If you start with the compromise position, you will and up compromising on that. They prefer a strategy of pulling together a coalition and getting them all to buy in on something they can agree with, but than that of course gets watered down into crap no one actually supports.

Nor does Paradox:

The entire premise of the Yglesias post is bullshit—give me a break, that Republican-wannabe Baucus didn’t somehow have the magical ability to give up on single payer from the git-go, hell, single payer was given up on in stupid weakness because of this moron Baucus—but the point still vividly stands that giving up on single payer before we ever started was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I do think the precise mechanics of this flaming fuckup would good to know for the liberal community, accountability is a good thing. The first I ever heard of it was last year in Texas at Netroots Nation from Ezra Klein, who actually had the youthfully obnoxious arrogance to state having single payer as a goal “was a naïve pursuit of perfection.” Well, Ezra, just where did you learn that? Who gave you that strategy to push that was and is so stupid? It’s not just me, your old companeros Atrios and Yglesias say it too. Well? I suppose graduation to the establishment big time means the badass Ezra can ignore the lowly blogger question, but we’ll see.

The obnoxious sneering from a hopelessly wrong fool isn’t the point, it’s that even a nobody from nowhere like me knows never to give up crucial goals in negotiation before you even start, so how come professional politicians like Democrats don’t know?

Bob Somerby gets it:

Are we all Professor Rosen now? Having asked, let us offer a fairly obvious speculation:

In all likelihood, Baucus took single-payer off the table for a very good reason—because he isn’t trying to create a progressive health reform package. His statement to the Times was pure BS. After all, Baucus is a corporate man (data below). He wants health reform near the “center.”

After the fact, he was covering his keister for those on the left. Our other professor bought it.

Yglesias penned a thoughtful piece about the meaning of Baucus’ move. He too failed to note an obvious possibility: When Baucus voiced his regrets to the Times, it was a big silly con! (emphasis added)

From Physicians for a National Health Program:

Here’s why Baucus is not doing the peoples business:

According to OpenSecrets.org over his career he has taken donations from:

The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313

Health Professionals $1,016,276

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry $734,605

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $541,891

Health Services/HMOs $439,700

That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:

Insurance $592,185

Health Professionals $537,141

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $524,813

Health Services/HMOs $364,500

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $332,826

That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from industries who he can now make wealthier by deforming health care reform.

Do you get it?

Not only are we not gonna get single-payer out of this motley crew, we’re not even gonna get a true “public option.”  All we’re gonna get is a Rube Goldbergesque clusterfuck that guarantees the health care leeches will continue to grow fat on our blood.

Meanwhile some of the allegedly brightest minds in Left Blogistan will be bleating about the Democrats’ “bad strategy.”  The problem is that it isn’t a bad strategy – it is a very effective strategy.  The Democratic leadership (Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Baucus et. al) are accomplishing their goal – to avoid real health care reform at all cost.

We know the Republicans aren’t on our side, but the Democrats pretend to be our friends while selling us down the river.  They are the political equivalent of the Washington Generals.  They get paid to put on a show and lose.

Nothing will change until the lefty blogosphere quits making excuses for them


real ponies


UPDATE:

Paul Krugman:

The point is that if you’re making big policy changes, the final form of the policy has to be good enough to do the job. You might think that half a loaf is always better than none — but it isn’t if the failure of half-measures ends up discrediting your whole policy approach.

Which brings us back to health care. It would be a crushing blow to progressive hopes if Mr. Obama doesn’t succeed in getting some form of universal care through Congress. But even so, reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail.


NOW the truth

July 8, 2009
Terry O'Neill
Terry O’Neill

There are lots of salacious stories and juicy rumors floating around about the National Organization for Women’s national conference last Saturday in Indiananapolis.  Violet Socks tells it like it is:

#1: The real issue at the NOW election was that the organization is broke and going nowhere fast. Membership has nose-dived and so has revenue (which is primarily based on membership dues):

During the two year period from 2005 to 2007, total revenue declined $1,189,644 or almost 40%. For the past three years, NOW’s expenditures have exceeded income, and NOW Inc. has been forced to borrow money from The NOW Foundation to stay solvent…

During the last election cycle (2005-2009), NOW’s membership declined approximately 10% per year and current membership figures are probably around 60,000…

The current Membership VP (Latifa Lyles) and her five-member team are directly responsible for a catastrophic 40% decline in membership and corresponding decline in revenues that imperils the continued operation of NOW.

In addition, something like 28% of NOW’s membership revenue goes just to pay the salaries of the four people at the top (the president and three VPs).

#2: Latifa Lyles has been the Membership VP during this period of catastrophic decline. She was running for president on a record of under-achievement, to put it mildly. Terry O’Neill, on the other hand, maintained overall membership levels during her tenure as Membership VP a few years ago, enhancing outreach efforts and bringing in new members each year.

#3: Latifa Lyles was not the candidate of change; she was the hand-picked successor of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (who is the power behind the throne, as it were). Latifa’s election would have meant a continuation of Ellie Smeal’s control and a continuation of the inside-the-beltway strategy NOW has pursued in recent years.

#4: Terry O’Neill ran on a platform of change: shaking up the organization, re-invigorating the grassroots, re-establishing vendor relations, restoring financial integrity, and re-building membership.

There is a bunch more, but you need to visit The Reclusive Leftist to read it.

(#7 and #8 are especially shocking)

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go see Violet.  While you’re there you can read her archives and check out her pictures of alpacas too.


Hell’s Grannies takeover NOW

July 8, 2009
Canvassing for votes
Canvassing for votes

The NOW convention in Indianapolis must have been off the hook.  You can find one version of events in the comments at Reclusive Leftist.  For another take on the events check out “Planes, Trains & Attack-Dog Feminism” at FemNation:

For example, all of those who thought the “dream team” of Latifa Lyles, etc., would win the NOW presidency and vice-presidencies…because we needed a youthful, fresh face for the aging, tired women’s movement…were wrong. Six votes – that’s all it took for Latifa, a woman of color in her early thirties, to lose to Terry O’Neill, a mid-50s white woman. (Race does matter – a lot – in the women’s movement.) Terry and her team may succeed in turning NOW around – I hope so – but I’m worried. There’s nothing fresh there. Policy ideas are stale and positions are delivered in a rote, scripted fashion. The veterans on the ticket – Terry and the Illinois NOW v-p – do not inspire me in terms of vision or practical skills or ability to deliver. The “new” faces on the ticket – two women in their late 20s, early 30s – have a lot to learn. A lot.

[…]

A few people have asked me to write more about the NOW elections. Both teams – Latifa Lyles and Terry O’Neill – had strengths and weaknesses. But it’s not about ideals or visions or even skills – it’s about who can turn out the most voters. Total numbers of voters – 404 (really). Late Saturday, people were coming in from California to vote for Terry – she was supported by a woman named Shelly Mandell of Los Angeles, who supported McCain-Palin publicly after Hillary lost the nomination. Shelly says she didn’t support McCain-Palin as a NOW person – but the press thought otherwise.

[…]

Really! The people who won were nasty. I wish I had been in the plenary when the vaunted Patricia Ireland (Terry’s treasurer) lashed out at Kim Gandy, questioning her budget figures – while supporters of the Terry team lined the back of the room, shouting at Kim to “tell the truth” – in reference to the budget situation. (I was working on credentialling so wasn’t in the plenary.) Financially, NOW is in bad shape. So we have reason to be worried. But is this feminism? Perhaps this is a new version – attack-dog feminism. How does that distinguish us from every other political group? It doesn’t.

The anger and bitterness of this crew – desperate to hang on to power, refusing to believe anyone else could run the organization – was shocking. (You’ve got to remember – these folks have a lot of history together – they’re like Chicago politicos – byzantine alliances – cross them at your peril.) There were people I like and respect on Terry’s side – people who felt she had the brains and experience to turn the membership decline around and that Latifa was just not ready for prime time. But they didn’t sway many voters (although granted, Terry was only in the race about 3-4 weeks!) – all they did was win by 6 votes. And what the hell were they doing in the past eight years to stop the hemorrhaging of members and money – or – as one Terry supporter said – the “death throes” that NOW is in? Come to think of it – what was the person who said “death throes” doing during the past eight years?

[…]

That wasn’t all – there also was the sideshow of the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain permanently (apparently) pissed off about her loss. The so-called “PUMAS” – Party Unity My Ass. Clinton seems to have gotten over it – why haven’t they. Some of these ladies are angry at NOW for not being supportive of Sarah Palin; apparently, the fact that she’s a woman is sufficient qualification. A few blame Kim Gandy for EVERYTHING they don’t like. I’d dismiss them as idiots except they are contributing to the anger within the women’s movement and the splintering of the women’s movement and they are very good at getting publicity.

Wow, where do I start?

First of all, Latifa Lyles was the establishment candidate endorsed by the outgoing Kim Gandy.  Secondly I’m increasingly disturbed by the emphasis on the “young black Latifa Lyles” vs. the “old white Terry O’Neill” meme I keep hearing from those who are unhappy with the outcome of the election.  It’s like someone is recycling Obama’s strategy from last year.  Where is the evidence that O’Neill supporters were motivated by race?

As for the allegation that “people were coming in from California to vote for Terry” here’s what Violet Socks had to say:

To attend the conference, you have to have been a NOW member for at least three months. And to vote in the conference, you have to be not only a member (naturally), but also a delegate from your chapter. There are a limited number of delegate slots, and the delegates are chosen by the chapter presidents. And once you get to the conference, you have to be credentialed, a byzantine process involving picture IDs, membership records, sign-offs, etc.

It is not possible for some alien group of infiltrators to just show up and take over the conference.

Last time I checked there were NOW chapters here in California so why shouldn’t they get to participate at the national convention? According to Violet, the Los Angeles delegation wasn’t allowed to vote anyway.

I’m gonna stop now. There is so much more “FAIL” to discuss but if I go any further I’ll want some hard liquor and it’s not even lunch time yet here in Big Smoggy.


Anti-Single Payer Trolling

July 8, 2009
Astroturfer
Astroturfer

The astroturfing of the blogosphere continues.  From “No Thank You” in the comments to my earlier post:

Universal Health Care = Rationed Health Care

Waiting lists are for dinner reservations, not doctor referrals.

No, thank you.

[…]

I used to be a citizen of Canada. My wife died of IBC 15 months ago. She was referred by our doctor to an IBC specialist. After waiting for an appointment for 4 weeks, her breast had swollen to nearly two times it’s normal size. We took her to the hospital, and she died two days later.

I am not in need of a lecture on universal health care. I know exactly what it means. Cheaper/Free insurance, and lots of pain.

What a tragic story. Only a heartless monster would dare to challenge it.  A heartless monster like me.

First of all, “rationed health care” is a wingnut talking point.  The catchy little line about dinner reservations was a nice touch – professional quality.  But the comeback in the second comment was a classic troll move designed to squish any challenge with guilt and shame.  Too bad for our visitor that I’m shameless.

A total stranger drops by to share a heartbreaking story of the evils of socialized medicine.  Proof?

None.

Sorry, but I don’t believe it.

But even if the story was true it would be anecdotal and not necessarily typical.  We’re not even provided with causation – an explanation of how the alleged delay caused death.  Unfortunately when he discovered we aren’t sheeple our visitor skeedaddled without providing answers.

Canada has had single payer health insurance for over 30 years.  They seem pretty happy with it.  From “Debunking Canadian Health Care Myths” by Rhonda Hackett:

There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists’ care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs.

Reality has a well known liberal bias.



Real Ponies Don’t Oink

July 8, 2009
Not ponies

Not ponies

Paul Krugman:

America’s political scene has changed immensely since the last time a Democratic president tried to reform health care. So has the health care picture: with costs soaring and insurance dwindling, nobody can now say with a straight face that the U.S. health care system is O.K. And if surveys like the New York Times/CBS News poll released last weekend are any indication, voters are ready for major change.

The question now is whether we will nonetheless fail to get that change, because a handful of Democratic senators are still determined to party like it’s 1993.

[…]

The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.

What the balking Democrats seem most determined to do is to kill the public option, either by eliminating it or by carrying out a bait-and-switch, replacing a true public option with something meaningless. For the record, neither regional health cooperatives nor state-level public plans, both of which have been proposed as alternatives, would have the financial stability and bargaining power needed to bring down health care costs.

[…]

Honestly, I don’t know what these Democrats are trying to achieve. Yes, some of the balking senators receive large campaign contributions from the medical-industrial complex — but who in politics doesn’t? If I had to guess, I’d say that what’s really going on is that relatively conservative Democrats still cling to the old dream of becoming kingmakers, of recreating the bipartisan center that used to run America.

Gee Paul, for a really smart guy you can be kinda dumb sometimes. Your thesis is based on a false premise. The Democratic leadership (Obama, Pelosi and Reid et al.) have no intention of enacting any real health care reform. They never did. Their goal is and always was to preserve the status quo while giving the illusion of reform.

If they tried and failed that would be one thing, but they aren’t trying. There has never been a better time in our history to make single-payer


a reality, but the Democrats took it off the table before discussions began.

What we are seeing now is just Kabuki – when the final curtain drops all we’ll have is some new lipstick on the same old pig.


Blame Obama, Pelosi and Reid – it’s their fault.


You’re not my father!

June 21, 2009

ObamaDisgusted

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I am eagerly anticipating some really cool gifts from my kids to add to my collection of singing fish and kung-fu hamsters. The last thing I need is some sycophantic drivel like this:

President Obama donned his father-in-chief hat on Friday, devoting much of his afternoon to emphasizing the importance of mentors and father figures for young people and to prodding young men to be better parents.

Excuse me? Father-in-chief? Where the f*ck does it say in the Constitution that the President is our #1 Dad?   George Washington was the father of our country but Barack ain’t even our step-daddy, and Michelle ain’t our mommy-in-chief neither. Jeebus! Can you say “patriarchy?”

“When fathers are absent, when they abandon their responsibility to their children, we know the damage that does to our families,” Mr. Obama told teenagers and community leaders in the East Room of the White House, beginning what he called a “national conversation on responsible fatherhood and healthy families.”

Oh goody! Another “national conversation.” That “national conversation on race” worked out so well.

That Mr. Obama was giving such attention to the issue at a time of crisis in Iran and high-stakes debate on health care and financial overhauls shows how personally he takes fatherhood, White House officials said.

He takes fatherhood so seriously he devoted a whole speech to it! By the way, what exactly is he busy doing about Iran, health care reform and our FUBARed economy anyway?  Consulting with his Dairy Godmother?

During the question-and-answer part of the event, one student, who introduced himself as Larry Holmes from St. Albans School, asked Mr. Obama: “Traveling from state to state, country to country, being the president, which one is funner? Being a father or being a president?”

“There’s nothing more fun than being a father,” Mr. Obama said, then quipped, “Now, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, so I don’t know whether that will maintain itself.”

Fatherhood is sooo important that Barack left his family in Chicago when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, then spent the last two years running around the country without them while he ran for President. That’s four years of being gone more than he was home, starting when Malia was six and Sasha was three.  Now he wants to give lectures on fatherhood to the rest of us?

Gee Mr. President, maybe you don’t realize it but some men sacrifice their ambitions for their children.

That’s real fatherhood.

____________________________________________________

p.s. – Someone needs to tell Daddy Dearest that his “kids” need health care.

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