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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Jindal turns down $300 million in stimulus funds for high-speed rail.

cec says:
What do the people of LA think of Jindal and his turning down stimulus money and then passing out checks from stimulus money and taking credit for it?


In response to President Obama’s national address in February, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal pointedly went after stimulus funding for high-speed rail projects as “wasteful spending.” But in August, state officials began drafting plans to request $300 million in stimulus funds to develop a high-speed rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. An official in the state Department of Transportation and Development called the project “a very valuable economic incubator.” The plan had the backing of Louisiana legislators such as Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R), who was pressing Jindal to request the money. Jindal, however, let the midnight Friday deadline pass, allowing his right-wing ideology to win out: LinkHere

If The Russians Did This To Us, We’d Kill ‘Em

By David Michael Green
October 02, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- What if the Russians invaded?
It's not so far-fetched an idea, you know. We spent half a century and trillions of dollars to make sure that it would never happen, so it's really not such a strange notion.
So what if the Russians invaded?
What if they came and stole all of our money?
What if the Russians invaded and enslaved our children as cheap worker bee drones locked in dismal dead-end jobs?
What if the Russians invaded and excavated all of our natural resources, leaving only mountains of toxic debris in their wake?
What if the Russians invaded and they ruined our infrastructure, thrashed our educational institutions, and stuck us with a grossly inadequate healthcare system?
What if the Russians invaded and incarcerated a huge percentage of our people in for-profit jails? What if they ruined our military by sending it off on big-money colonial expeditions? What if they cut the legs out from under the middle class?
What if the Russians invaded and turned us against each other, tricking this tribe of Americans into hating that tribe, in order to keep any of us from realizing that they were looting our country?
If the Russians did any of these things, we’d kill ‘em. Dead.
If the Russians invaded, we'd send our army to crush them in defense of our country (or, at least, we hire somebody to do it).
If the Russians invaded, we'd be furious and raging and hateful and destructive – for good reason, too – and we would bring to them the full measure of American organized violence in order to take back our country from their plundering rampages.
Of course, the Russians haven’t invaded. But what's astonishing about the moment we live in is that America has in fact been subjected to all these travails. We have essentially been invaded by those who wish us ill, and our national and private resources are being stripped bare. This country is being looted, and everything in it that isn't nailed down is being carted away and sold off.
Our children are being saddled with enormous financial burdens. Our educational and healthcare systems, sucked dry as mere revenues sources, are falling to pieces. Our infrastructure is approaching ruin.
Our jobs, our industries and our community resources have been bundled up and exported to where the work can be done far cheaper, and the workers are compliant. Increasingly we are scrambling just to survive. Admittedly, our government remains absolutely dedicated to making sure that some of us do extremely well. It's just that that ‘some’ doesn’t include anyone you know.
What is absolutely astonishing about the moment that we live in is that we have been essentially invaded, we have been absolutely looted, and yet we don't seem to be the slightest bit angry about that.
If the Russians had done it, we would be absolutely furious. But in fact, it was our own overclass that did it, and not only are we not furious at them, we don't even notice the crime. Or, if we do notice, we’re furious at some ridiculously inappropriate target, like a ‘liberal’ president who isn't even remotely liberal.
America has always been a country with its full and fair share of flaws, but for quite some time during the middle part of the twentieth century, we got one thing reasonably right. There was a bargain then, between elites and the government and the public. According to the terms of the deal, the aristocracy would still be fantastically rich, but there would be limitations on their wealth, because some of that wealth, some substantial amount, needed to be shared with the working people and the middle class, and it was the role of government to make sure that that happened. Many among the well-to-do even shared that consensus.
Since Ronald Reagan rode into town, however, that deal is off the table, replaced by what is essentially a new New Deal – or, more accurately, simply the Bad Old Deal. Under the terms of this new/old arrangement, the unregulated wealthy grab absolutely everything they can get their hands on, the middle class scrambles for whatever bare existence it can maintain, and the rest of America, the working class and the poor, fall deeper and deeper into third world-style poverty. Under the terms of this new system, the role of the government is no longer to provide for the welfare of the people, nor to ensure that there are limitations on what the plutocracy can liberate from them. Under the terms of this new arrangement, the function of the government is simply to serve as a tool, assisting that plutocracy in depriving America's own people of everything that can be taken from them.
That means that in the last thirty years we've entirely restructured the economy so that the super-wealthy have become obscenely-super-wealthy, and the middle class are lucky to have stood still, and haven't really even managed that. If one examines the destination of the considerable GDP growth that America has sustained over the last three decades, it's gone entirely to the richest of Americans. The middle class has actually lost ground. That's an astonishing fact, but think about it: Despite robust economic growth, workers today actually make less than they did back in the 1970s. LinkHere

Former GOP Majority Leader Bill Frist on Senate health legislation: I’d vote for it.

In an interview today with Time’s Karen Tumulty, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist dismissed the GOP’s balking over health care legislation. Underscoring how much Republicans have become the “party of no” and how much the Senate Finance Committee legislation has been watered-down, Frist said that if he were still in office, he would vote for the bill. “I would end up voting for it,” he said. “As leader, I would take heat for it. … That’s what leadership is all about.” Frist has already come out for the individual mandate and has said that Democrats would be well within legal and ethical guidelines using the reconciliation process to pass health reform. In his interview with Tumulty, Frist also took issue with his party’s fearmongering, saying that “death panels and public plan arguments have been overblown.”

Bush Administration’s Tourist Visa Policy May Have Cost America The 2016 Olympics

Now that I can certainly attest to, so many International students have told me the same thing.
In spite of President Obama’s lobbying efforts, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) may have chosen to reject hosting the 2016 summer olympic games in Chicago due to the post-9/11 visa tourist policies established by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Michael Froomkin, Professor at the University of Miami School of Law, is convinced that the “the same stupid anti-visitor policy that is destroying American higher education” also sunk Chicago’s Olympic bid. Chicago was eliminated during the first round and received the fewest votes. A New York Times article points out:
In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be “a rather harrowing experience.”
A “harrowing experience” may be an understatement. Immediately after 9/11, the Bush Administration began requiring fingerprints and photographs of tourists from all but 28 countries entering the US. President Bush required that all foreigners register online within three days of travel. Thirty-five (mostly European) countries now participate in the US Visa Waiver program, however tourists from the rest of the world still have to jump through the following hurdles:
•Pay hefty visa processing and issuance fees.
•Undergo an interview by a visa officer at the US Embassy.
•Provide evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided.
•Present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide financial support if the applicant does not have sufficient funds to support him or herself.
The average wait for a US visa has risen to about three months. Brazil, which will host the 2016 Olympic summer games in Rio de Janeiro, has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries. US tourists are required to have a $130 advance visa before entry into the country and are fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival — matching US requirements for Brazilians LinkHere
UNAMERICAN I ask you? hmmmmmm why does the right hate America?
Conservative conference attendees erupt in cheers when the U.S. is eliminated as Olympics site.
Conservatives are currently gathered in Virginia for the American for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit, which features speakers such as radio host Hugh Hewitt and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Today when the IOC announced that the United States was eliminated from the running to host the 2016 Olympics, a room of conference attendees immediately laughed and applauded. Watch it:
The Weekly Standard “world headquarters” also erupted in cheers today at the announcement, although blogger John McCormack later changed his blog post and deleted the reference.

Weekly Standard deletes reference to ‘Cheers’ in their office after Chicago lost Olympic bid.

Soon after news broke that the International Olympic Committee had rejected Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics, which President Obama had personally lobbied for, Weekly Standard blogger John McCormack published a celebratory post on the magazine’s blog, titled “Chicago Loses! Chicago Loses!.” McCormack wrote that “Cheers erupt at WEEKLY STANDARD world headquarters”:

But the post has now been changed. The reference to cheers have been removed and the title has been shortened to a non-exclamatory “Chicago Loses.” The current post neither acknowledges nor explains the changes that were made.

LinkHere

EXCLUSIVE: Obama agrees to keep Israel's nukes secret

Wrong, that sucks, who the hell are they to be treated differently anyways!!!!!!!!
Iran has frequently accused the U.S. of having a double standard by not objecting to Israel's arsenal
Source: Washington Times
By Eli Lake
President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.
The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May.
Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
-snip
Mr. Netanyahu let the news of the continued U.S.-Israeli accord slip last week in a remark that attracted little notice. He was asked by Israel's Channel 2 whether he was worried that Mr. Obama's speech at the U.N. General Assembly, calling for a world without nuclear weapons, would apply to Israel... Link Here
US Lawmakers Vote to Punish Iran's Fuel Suppliers
By Tom Doggett
As Washington and Tehran began talks over Iran's nuclear program, U.S. lawmakers approved legislation to bar foreign companies exporting gasoline to Iran from also delivering crude oil to America's emergency petroleum stockpile. LinkHere
Bitter Fruits of Mideast Wars
The sanctions road appears headed for dead end, or war.
Darn, do I agree with him on something

By Patrick J. Buchanan
"Smart sanctions" that punish Iran's leaders are not going to persuade them to give up a nuclear program for which they have already suffered and sacrificed greatly. And a cutoff of gasoline to Iran would hit hardest not the Revolutionary Guard but Iran's middle class, which tends to be anti-regime and pro-Western. LinkHere

Israel trying to dodge overseas prosecution:

Stung by a damning U.N. report alleging war crimes in Gaza, Israel is taking extraordinary steps to fend off potential international prosecution of its political and military leaders, hiring high-powered attorneys, lobbying Western governments and launching a public relations blitz. LinkHere

They had a 60 Majority, and the public option has been shelved!!!!!!!!!They don't deserve to be in power!!!!!!!

Moochy
Ben Nelson's Mission Accomplished


Source: Omaha World Herald
By Robynn Tysver
The idea to allow the federal government to compete with private insurance companies via a so-called “public option” has been “shelved” in Congress, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson said Friday.
It doesn't have enough votes, he said.
“For the moment, the public option is shelved,” said Nelson, who gave an update on health-care reform to a group of Nebraska doctors in Omaha.
Between 250 and 300 doctors gathered for a two-day convention of the Nebraska Medical Association in downtown Omaha. The national health-care debate was at the top of the doctors' agenda. LinkHere

Ensign Shows There's No Blushing in Politics

Here's the inspiring part: the sight of John Ensign sitting behind a microphone and talking about how people need to follow the rules. He can do all this while keeping a straight face! LinkHere
WSJ: Ensign's Senate Prospects Grow Cloudy
Sen. John Ensign's future grew more unsettled Friday as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to offer his support or express confidence in the embattled Nevada Republican, following additional fallout from Mr. Ensign's affair with a staffer. LinkHere

Friday, October 02, 2009

Claim: US paid reward to Lockerbie witness

Scottish detectives discussed secret payments of up to $3m made to witness and his brother, documents claim
Two key figures in the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber were secretly given rewards of up to $3m (£1.9m) in a deal discussed by Scottish detectives and the US government, according to legal papers released today.
The claims about the payments were revealed in a dossier of evidence that was intended to be used in an appeal by Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of murdering 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988.
Megrahi abandoned his appeal last month after the Libyan and Scottish governments struck a deal to free him on compassionate grounds because he is terminally ill with prostate cancer. Now in hospital in Tripoli, Megrahi said he wanted the public to see the evidence which he claims would have cleared him.
"I continue to protest my innocence – how could I fail to do so?," he said. "I have no desire to add to the upset of many people I know are profoundly affected by what happened in Lockerbie. My intention is only for the truth to be made known."
The documents published online by Megrahi's lawyers today show that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) was asked to pay $2m to Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who gave crucial evidence at the trial suggesting that Megrahi had bought clothes later used in the suitcase that allegedly held the Lockerbie bomb.
The DoJ was also asked to pay a further $1m to his brother, Paul Gauci, who did not give evidence but played a major role in identifying the clothing and in "maintaining the resolve of his brother". The DoJ said their rewards could be increased and that the brothers were also eligible for the US witness protection programme, according to the documents.
The previously secret payments were uncovered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which returned Megrahi's conviction to the court of appeal in 2007 as a suspected miscarriage of justice. Many references were in private diaries kept by the detectives involved, Megrahi's lawyers said, but not their official notebooks.
The SCCRC was unable to establish exactly how much the brothers received under the DoJ's "reward-for-justice" programme but found it was after Megrahi's trial and his first appeal in 1992 was thrown out.
A memo written by "DI Dalgleish" to "ACC Graham" in 2007 confirms the men received "substantial payments from the American authorities". LinkHere

(U.S. Army Gen.) Odierno: May not be possible to declare victory in Iraq

bemildred
Somebody tell him that the Bushites already declared victory in Iraq several times.

May 2 2003

Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed

Source: CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It isn't clear whether the United States will ever be able to declare victory in Iraq, the top U.S. commander there said Thursday.
"I'm not sure we will ever see anyone declare victory in Iraq, because first off, I'm not sure we'll know for 10 years or five years," Army Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon.
...
"What we've done here is we're giving Iraq an opportunity in the long term to be a strategic partner of the United States, but more importantly, be a partner in providing regional stability inside of the Middle East," Odierno said.
Odierno also highlighted continuing security issues inside the country, saying Iraqi security forces have recently seized several "very large" caches of Iranian-made rockets and armor-piercing munitions known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs.
"If you're training people ... in Iran to come back into Iraq, and you're providing them rockets and other things, I call that significant because it still enables people to conduct attacks not only on U.S. forces but on Iraqi civilians," Odierno said. LinkHere

GOP opts against new Grayson resolution Tuesday

Source: CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Republicans will not offer a resolution Thursday asking that Rep. Alan Grayson be condemned for charging that the GOP health care plan calls for those who get sick to die quickly, but Republicans did not rule out taking future action against the controversial Florida Democrat.
"No resolution will be introduced today. Mr. Grayson's actions on the floor were an embarrassment to this Congress and warrant an apology both to his colleagues and, more importantly, to the people of his district who he insulted on the House floor," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Georgia Rep. Tom Price, who chairs the Republican Study Committee.
"It is the job of the Speaker to ensure the House runs with proper decorum, and we would hope that she would not tolerate such behavior. As Mr. Grayson has shown no remorse for his antics, we have called on the Speaker to take the appropriate action to resolve this matter. Any future decision on a resolution will rest on the ability of the Speaker to control her members." LinkHere

Revealed: millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms

Source: Guardian UK
Six lobbyists for every member of Congress as healthcare industry heaps cash on politicians to water down legislation
America's healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.
Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.
The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totalling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law.
A former member of Bill Clinton's cabinet says fears that the industry could throw its money behind the populist rightwing backlash against public insurance have scared the Obama White House into pulling back from the most significant reforms in return for healthcare companies not trying to scupper the entire legislation. LinkHere

Ensign scandal worse with new details

Rachel Maddow is joined by the New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton who broke the news of new details on Sen. John Ensign's affair and whether he could now face criminal charges. Full story
Vitter faces accountability for association with prostitutes.

Dems ease impact of health bill, big advance nears

Source: AP
WASHINGTON – Fearing a backlash, Democrats smoothed the impact of sweeping health care legislation on working-class families Thursday night and steered President Barack Obama's top domestic priority toward a crucial Senate advance. The most far-reaching overhaul in decades aims to protect millions who have unreliable coverage or none at all.
Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee attacked the bill as riddled with tax increases that violated Obama's campaign promises, but failed to remove any of them.
After marathon public debate, agreement by the committee is all but certain for the legislation, although no final vote was expected until next week. That formality — Democrats hold a 13-10 majority on the panel — will clear the way for the full Senate to begin work on the measure at mid-month.
The legislation, like a companion bill under construction in the House, would bar insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. It also includes federal subsidies to make insurance available to millions who lack it, and it takes steps to slow the skyrocketing growth in health care costs nationwide.
snip
Senate Democrats coalesced behind two of their own that could alter the legislation in significant ways. Link Here

SandWalker1984
The harsh, cold facts & my conclusions regarding health care reform.
Before we can have any meaningful reform of the health care industry (and it has become too big of a business), we must face the harsh, cold facts of what we are up against.
PROFITS - the focus of these companies is PROFITS, not people and not health care. What kind of profits? Huge, excessive profits, achieved by rationing health care.
HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY PROFITS IN 2007:
1. UnitedHealth Group—$ 4.654 BILLION. UnitedHealth Group owns Oxford, PacifiCare, IBA, AmeriChoice, Evercare, Ovations, MAMSI and Ingenix, a healthcare data company
2. WellPoint—$ 3.345 BILLION. Wellpoint owns BLUES across the US, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Healthy Alliance, and many others
3. Aetna Inc.—$ 1.831 BILLION
4. CIGNA Corp—$ 1.115 BILLION
5. Humana Inc.—$ 834 million
6. Coventry Health Care—$626 million. Coventry owns Altius, Carelink, Group Health Plan, HealthAmerica, OmniCare, WellPath, others
7. Health Net—$ 194 million
****************
EXCESSIVE SALARIES AND COMPENSATION - the CEO's that run these corporations are compensated well for denying and rationing YOUR health care. How much do they make?
(from dailykos.com)
2008 Salaries & Compensation - the top 10 in Health Care
Ron Williams - Aetna

Total Compensation: $24,300,112
Details: Williams earned $24,300,112 in total compensation for 2008, with more than half of that ($13,537,365) coming from option awards. He also received an additional $6,456,630 in stock awards to go along with his base salary of $1,091,764.
Personal use of a corporate aircraft and vehicle, as well as financial planning and 401(k) company matches added up to $101,487 for Williams.
H. Edward Hanway - CIGNA
Total Compensation: $12,236,740
Details: Hanway took a significant pay cut from 2007 to 2008, due mainly to a drop off of more than $11 million in his non-equity incentive plan compensation. Still, his base salary of $1,142,885 surpasses that of Aetna's Williams, and is supplemented by just over $3.6 million in option awards, and just over $820,000 in non-qualified deferred compensation earnings.
Also, nearly $21,800 in "other compensation" included the use of a company car with a driver, in-office meals, and emergency assistance services relating to medical exams.
Angela Braly - WellPoint
Total Compensation: $9,844,212
Details: Braly, like Williams, earned more money in 2008 ($9,844,212) than in 2007 (9,094,271), increasing her option rewards by nearly $1.5 million, and also receiving a $200,000-plus bump in base salary, from $922,269 to $1,135,538. Braly's stock awards dropped from $2,160,159 to $1,750,015 because, according to the SEC, "performance-based restricted stock units awarded in 2008 were cancelled because our ROE target for 2008 was not met."
Braly's "other compensation" comprised use of a private jet for her and her family on business trips, just under $10,000 for legal services relating to her employment agreement and cash credits.
Dale Wolf - Coventry Health Care
Total Compensation: $9,047,469
Details: Wolf is the only CEO on this list who is no longer employed with his associated health plan; he retired from his position on Jan. 30 of this year after serving in that role since Jan. 1, 2005, and was replaced by former CEO Allen Wise.
Wolf, whose total compensation dipped quite a bit from 2007 ($14,869,823) to 2008 ($9,047,469), was pleased with the direction the company was headed in at the time of his departure.
"I am proud of what a talented group of people have accomplished over the past 13 years of my association with the company," Wolf said, "and I am confident that the fundamentals which are in place today will carry the company forward to continued success."
Wolf carried a base salary of $965,000 in 2008, and earned just over $1.9 million in stock awards. His "other compensation," which amounted to $486,447, included transportation on the company's airplane, a company match retirement savings plan and a company match 401(k) plan.
Michael Neidorff - Centene
Total Compensation: $8,774,483
Details: Neidorff, who's base salary remained at $1 million, received increases in both his bonus ($1.25 million, up from $1 million) and his stock awards ($4.7 million, from $3.98 million) in 2008. According to the SEC, "Neidorff's agreement was amended twice in the past twelve months; (1) to eliminate the non-compete and non-solicitation requirements if there was a ‘hostile change in control' as defined in his agreement and (2) to add language to the agreement to make it compliant with Internal Revenue Section 409A."
Neidorff's "other compensation" of just over $418,000 comprised of use of the company airplane "for all travel," life insurance benefits, security services, and tax preparation services, among other things.
James Carlson - AMERIGROUP
Total Compensation: $5,292,546
Details: Despite a lawsuit regarding Medicaid fraud that cost the Illinois plan $225 million, Carlson himself earned roughly $2 million more than he did in 2007. All aspects of his compensation increased in 2008, from his base salary (up from $608,000 to just over $761,000) to his non-equity incentive plan compensation (up to about $2.8 million from $1.98 million a year ago). Carlson's bonus also grew quite a bit, going from $225,000 in 2007 to $520,312 in 2008; much of that amount was based on long term incentive program goals being met.
Carlson's "other compensation," which nearly tripled (going from about $7,000 to just over $20,000), included his employer 401(k) contribution, life insurance premiums, an executive health screening, flight services and a medical insurance stipend.
Michael McCallister - Humana
Total Compensation: $4,764,309
Details: Despite its pick ups of two smaller health plans (OSF Health Plans of Peoria, IL and Cos/Cariten Healthcare of Knoxville, TN), Humana's McCallister earned roughly $5.5 million less in 2008 than in 2007. While his base salary ($1,017,308), option awards ($3,078,897) and "other compensation" ($668,104) all increased, his non-equity incentive plan compensation and his nonqualified deferred compensation earnings totaled zero dollars. The latter represents a discontinuation of the Officers' Target Retirement Plan, according to the SEC.
McCallister's "other compensation" included personal use of the company aircraft for him, and sometimes his family; company contributions to the Supplemental Executive Retirement & Savings Plan and the Humana Retirement & Savings Plan; a once-a-year physical, financial planning assistance, and more.
Jay Gellert - Health Net
Total Compensation: $4,425,355
Details: Gellert, whose company is considering selling off divisions in at least four states, earned nearly $740,000 in additional compensation for 2008. His overall base salary increased to a little more than $1.2 million from about $1.18 million in 2007, and his stock awards also rose (from about $1.4 million to more than $1.8 million).
Gellert's "other compensation," which totaled $131,526, included, but were not limited to, a $53,000 housing allowance, a corporate car and tax reimbursements of nearly $41,000.
Richard Barasch - Universal American
Total Compensation: $3,503,702
Details: After taking a pay cut from 2006 to 2007, Barasch more than doubled his total compensation for 2008, jumping up from $1,564,293 in 2007. Barasch's base salary jumped up to $857,851 from $798,340 in 2007; his stock and option awards also increased, as did his "other compensation," which reflected a car allowance, relocation benefits and a matching contribution to his 401(k).
Also of note for Barasch was the fact that his non-equity incentive plan compensation earnings totaled $1,195,147; in 2007, he did not receive any money in 2007 for such compensation, but took home $1.1 million in 2006.
Stephen Hemsley - UnitedHealth Group
Total Compensation: $3,241,042
Details: An $895 million class-action lawsuit over stock-option back dating aside, Hemsley still manages to make the cut for this list at No. 10. The UHG CEO's base salary was $1.3 million in 2008, to go along with a non-equity incentive plan compensation worth just over $1.8 million and "other compensation" amounting to slightly more than $119,000.
Hemsley's other compensation was a combination of the company matching his contributions under the 401(k) plan and the company matching contributions under his executive savings plan. According to the SEC, "in May 2006, the amount of Hemsley's supplemental retirement benefit was frozen based on his current age and average base salary and converted into a lump sum of $10,703,229." Because of this, "there was no increase in the benefit payable to Mr. Hemsley under his supplemental retirement benefit" in 2008.
***********
I've reached the following conclusions regarding Congress & health care reform:
(1) The profits are too large, the pay scales too excessive for the health care industry to willingly allow meaningful reform that benefits us, the people.
(2) Many, if not most, members of Congress, along with Obama, are recipients of large donations from these health industry corporations. Donations they do not wish to see stopped or given to opponents in the next election cycle.
(3) Therefore, Congress is attempting to make the so called health care reform into token reform to try to appease us, the voters, while in reality they are planning the biggest giveaway (500 billion dollars or more, according to Jay Rockefeller) to that industry ever. They also plan to mandate we purchase private, overpriced and under delivering insurance from this industry to keep their donations rolling in.
(4) No meaningful regulation of the health care industry will take place as long as the industry is calling the shots with Congress. Most of the Baucus bill was written by lobbyists from WellPoint.
Unless some more Democrats suddenly get religion regarding true health care reform, it is better to defeat the Democrats and this sham legislation. It is better to defeat it now rather than hand the health care industry more customers, more money, more power so they can buy even more members of Congress.
NO legislation is better than bad legislation.
Better to end this battle now and fight again later than to surrender our well being to these mega, profit generating, out of control machines.
No wonder the Republicans have been sitting this one out - do the math, it's far more advantageous politically for them to let the Democrats hang themselves on this corporate giveaway of a bill.

Grayson: The GOP is a "lie factory"

BY honest citizen
Lie factories? Sounds about right — although he left out ignorant-proud, demon-haunted, crazy, and immoral.Otherwise, spot on.
HELL YES
Source: The Hill
The now-infamous Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) unleashed another verbal tirade against Republicans on Thursday, calling the party a "lie factory" that hoped only to stall the healthcare debate.
Grayson also dismissed calls that he apologize for his remark earlier this week that Republicans' healthcare plan was to "die quickly" -- an allegation that has since invoked the ire of the entire GOP.
"America is sick of you, Republican Party; you're a lie factory, that's all you do," he told MSNBC on Thursday. "Why don't you work together with the Democrats to solve America's problems instead of making stuff up?"
Grayson then called the party a bunch of "no-mongers," and he chided GOP lawmakers for failing to come up with their own healthcare plan in the 48 hours since he first attacked their strategy.

LinkHere

McCollum's 'ACORN' bill targets corporations that run afoul of law

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
It's Betty McCollum vs. Michele Bachmann in a congressional smackdown over ACORN, the community organization that's been the target of Republican attacks since the 2008 presidential election.
Just weeks after embarrassing footage from an amateur sting prompted the U.S. House to defund ACORN, Rep. McCollum, D-Minn., is introducing a similar bill aimed at barring federal dollars to corporations that run afoul of the law.
"It just points out the hypocrisy," McCollum said in an interview Wednesday. "Here we have corporations that have been convicted of felonies, and continue to do business with the government."
The bill, dubbed the "Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act (ACORN)," is a play on ACORN's real moniker, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
LinkHere

Kevin Jennings: Obama Aide Under Attack From Fox News, Conservatives

The hypocrisy is truly unbelievable.
And to think the last administration only had war criminals, murderers, and adulterors. Those were the good old days for sure.
Conservative media figures have set their sights on another obscure Obama administration official. This time it's Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
Right-wingers, outraged by Jennings' work as a gay-rights advocate, claim that he has expressed a desire to spread homosexuality among schoolkids, contempt for religion and enthusiasm for drug use. (The Family Research Council has a scare-quote filled petition circulating.) Those hits have been rebuffed by people who have actually worked with Jennings. But the charge that's gained traction is that Jennings, while a high school teacher, failed to report a statutory rape. He said in a talk that he counseled a student who went home with a man he met in a bus station:
=======
Fox News' Sean Hannity has been particularly focused on Jennings; Greg Sargent speculates that he's jealous of the attention his colleague Glenn Beck got for his successful crusade against Van Jones.
The ombudsmen of the New York Times and the Washington Post chastised their papers for not picking up on previous smear campaigns fueled by fringe conservatives; how they will handle the attacks on Jennings remains to be seen. LinkHere

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cities Too Poor To Bury Dead

In morgues across the country the corpses of dead poor are stacking up as the the government runs out of money to bury them. State and county budgets for interring indigent and unclaimed bodies have been drying up faster than usual in the current economy, as more families are unable to come up with the money to lay their loved ones to rest. LinkHere

Baucus' Network Of Health Care Bundlers Revealed

An investigation conducted by the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics found that networks of lobbyist bundlers are funneling money to key members of Congress, including self-appointed health care reform leader Sen. Max Baucus.
Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, collected contributions from 37 bundlers -- outside lobbyists who collect contributions from others and direct money to a particular candidate -- representing Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and 36 others representing drugmaker Amgen, from January 2007 to July 2009.
All together, Baucus received extra donations from 11 major health and insurance firms through 10 or more outside lobbyists, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
PhRMA and Amegen have most outside lobbyists contributing to lawmakers on their behalf. Roche Holdings, Pfizer Inc. and Blue Cross/Blue Shield follow closely behind, the investigation found. LinkHere

Judge Orders Release Of Cheney Interview With FBI


No one was charged with leaking Wilson's name.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled Thursday that the FBI must publicly reveal much of its notes from an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney during the investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative.
Cheney agreed to be interviewed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in June 2004 during the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame's identity after her husband publicly criticized the Bush administration. Both the Bush and Obama administrations said they wanted to keep the interview confidential because future presidents, vice presidents and their senior staff may not cooperate with criminal investigations if they know what they say could became public.
But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled there was no justification to withhold the entire 67 pages of FBI records documenting Fitzgerald's interview since the Plame leak investigation has concluded. He said that limited parts could be withheld to protect national security and private communications between the president and vice president.
The Justice Department told Sullivan in a hearing this summer that if he ordered the documents released, they would appeal and seek to withhold them until the matter is resolved. The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling Thursday.
Plame's identity was leaked to news organizations after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq in 2003.
The leak touched off a lengthy inquiry that led to Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, being convicted on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. During his trial, jurors found that Libby lied to the FBI and a grand jury about his conversations with reporters. Then-President George W. Bush commuted Libby's sentence, and Libby never served prison time.
Libby was the only person charged in the case. No one was charged with leaking Wilson's name.
Libby told the FBI in 2003 that it was possible that Cheney ordered him to reveal Plame's identity to reporters. The prosecutor in that case, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, said in his closing remarks at Libby's trial that there was a "cloud" over Cheney's role in the case.
In July 2008, the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department seeking records related to Cheney's interview in the investigation. The Justice Department said there were two sets of notes taken by FBI agents during the interview and a report summarizing it, but declined to turn over the records. CREW filed a lawsuit in August. LinkHere

Petraeus: We Won't Repeat Russia's Mistakes In Afghanistan

I'm not holding my breath
General David Petraeus said on Thursday that the United States fully understands the long history of defeats foreign powers have suffered in the hills of Afghanistan. And as President Obama contemplates sending an additional 40,000 troops into that eight-year long war, the head of U.S. Central Command vowed that America would avoid the pitfalls that doomed the most recent occupation, by Russia.
Heeding history, Petraeus said, "certainly means don't try to do what the Russians did, which was a very oppressive and very brutal occupation. There has been concern, legitimate concern, about our footprint. And we should be concerned about that.
"What we have to do is make sure the reasons [for] concern [are] mitigated by our actions," he added. "The Afghans will be welcoming or not to foreigners if those foreigners are seen to be improving their lives or not. If those foreigners distribute toys that are explosive, as the Russians did, needless to say, over time they will certainly wear out their welcome." LinkHere

I Have Not Met One American Who Supports The Public Option

"This is about as unpopular as a garlic milkshake."
Is this Wanker for real
?
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has just more or less dared proponents of a public option to bombard his office with their expressions of support of the plan.
Boehner claimed, with a semi-straight face, that he has yet to meet a regular "American" who favors the option -- despite polls showing that a majority of voters support to the idea of having the choice of a government plan.
"I'm still trying to find the first American to talk to who's in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration" said Boehner, whose sole recent foray into a public discussion of health care reform was a tea-party-style event in Ohio a few weeks back.
"I've not talked to one and I get to a lot of places," he told reporters at his weekly press availability. "I've not had anyone come up to me -- I know I'm inviting them -- and lobby for the public option .
"This is about as unpopular as a garlic milkshake." LinkHere

NO BLOGGER OR CITIZEN JOURNALIST WELCOME.

Why Did Sen. Schumer Attempt To Limit The Press Shield Law?
The U.S. Congress has been working all year on the development of a federal shield law, which would offer journalists a "qualified privilege against disclosing the identity of sources and turning over information obtained or created in the course of newsgathering." The long-sought protection would allow journalists to work with whistle-blowers and anonymous sources free of the fear that they could be compelled, at the threat of prosecution and punishment, to disclose the identity of such sources.
But now, thanks to an amendment put forward by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a boundary line has been drawn around who shall be shielded, and everyone who plies their journalistic trade as an independent blogger or a citizen journalist has ended up on the wrong side of that line.
Why on Earth did Schumer do this? Schumer's spokespeople were not available for comment. But I've been taking a look at the matter, and from my vantage point, what seems to be at work here is an effort to find common ground between a Justice Department that does not want to expend its resources extending blanket protection to all journalistic entities, and powerful corporate media interests who don't want to expend their dwindling resources keeping their reporters out of the stir. Schumer's amendment creates this common ground by putting up a big sign that reads: NO BLOGGER OR CITIZEN JOURNALIST WELCOME. LinkHere
White House Proposes Changes in Bill Protecting Reporters’ Confidentiality
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has told lawmakers that it opposes legislation that could protect reporters from being imprisoned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security, according to several people involved with the negotiations.
The administration this week sent to Congress sweeping revisions to a “media shield” bill that would significantly weaken its protections against forcing reporters to testify.
The bill includes safeguards that would require prosecutors to exhaust other methods for finding the source of the information before subpoenaing a reporter, and would balance investigators’ interests with “the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information.”
But under the administration’s proposal, such procedures would not apply to leaks of a matter deemed to cause “significant” harm to national security. Moreover, judges would be instructed to be deferential to executive branch assertions about whether a leak caused or was likely to cause such harm, according to officials familiar with the proposal.
The two Democratic senators who have been prime sponsors of the legislation, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said on Wednesday that they were disappointed by the administration’s position. LinkHere

GOP Brand In Worse Shape Than Any Opposition Party In Recent History

This bigoted, uneducated pair, are the face of the GOP

How weak is the Republican brand right now? This issue came up yesterday when a Media Matters criticized The Hill for failing to mention the GOP's poor polling numbers in a story on the 2010 elections. Similarly, I recently suggested that that the damaged Republican brand might limit the number of seats that the party picks up. But is the party really worse off than previous opposition parties at this point in the election cycle?

As a first cut at the question, I pulled all the relevant polling on approval of the party in Congresss and party favorability from the Roper iPoll database for the periods leading up to the four most recent midterms (1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006). In both cases, the results are consistent, but I'll focus on the favorability questions since Pew and CBS asked comparable questions about party favorables in each cycle.*
The overall finding is simple -- the GOP's standing relative to the Democrats on both measures is worse than any opposition party in the sample. For instance, the Pew data show that the Republicans are currently viewed more negatively than any minority party in the previous four midterms in terms of both net favorables and the difference in net favorables between parties:**
LinkHere

GOP Opposition To Health Bill Goes Beyond Details, Right To The "Core"

HoracePManure
CORRECTION:
And the bottom line, said McConnell, is that Republicans don't like the bill at all.
SHOULD READ:
And the bottom line, said McConnell, is that Republicans don't like the President at all.
The Senate Republican leader made clear on Wednesday that his party, despite all its griping over the public health insurance option, abortion-funding or health care for illegal immigrants, is simply and flatly opposed to the "core" of the Democratic health care reform proposal.
Satisfying every Republican demand short of scrapping the entire project, said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would still not capture GOP support.
"Senator Kyl and some of the others have talked about some of the things that are happening in committee," McConnell told reporters, referring to Senate Finance Committee Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona.
"But the core point is this: At the end of the day, if the government plan is either in the bill or out of the bill, whether they will be able to argue successfully or not whether tax funds are gonna be provided for abortion, whether or not they will be able to argue at the end that dollars for health care for illegals is in or out, what we do know is what the core of the bill is going to look like. We know that for sure," he said.
And the bottom line, said McConnell, is that Republicans don't like the bill at all. LinkHere
Stewart Destroys Dems For Not Getting Public Option Passed
Jon Stewart went off on Senate Democrats last night for failing to get their health care reform plan past the Senate Finance Committee despite having a super majority. The Democrats had the numbers on the committee, but several members of their party voted against the amendments despite 65% national approval for the plan. Stewart argued that the "Democrats couldn't get laid in a house [where people's] sole purpose is to have consequence and disease-free sex with legislators on finance committees." LinkHere
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Alan Grayson: Republicans Want Sick People To Die Quickly

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) took to the House floor last night to give his take on the Republican health care plan: Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.
After saying he was inspired to read the Republican health care plan by the paper-waving GOP lawmakers at Obama's recent address, Grayson summed up his findings with a few simple pieces of posterboard. "The Republican health care plan: don't get sick," he said. But, he added,"The Republicans have a back up plan in case you do get sick ... This is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly!"

House Republicans called on Grayson to apologize; he did not. They quickly jumped on the remark, declaring deep offense.
"That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I've ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don't appreciate it," said Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.).
"It's fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another Tennessee Republican. LinkHere

McCain: Health Care Will Pass With No GOP Input Or Support

Senator John McCain predicted on Thursday that health care reform legislation would pass Congress without GOP input or support, insisting that the partisan warfare erupting over the issue would benefit neither Republicans nor Democrats and could end up moving the country to "a new political era."
The Arizona Republican and 2008 presidential candidate said that Democrats would simply forge a consensus amongst themselves while in conference committee before unilaterally sending a bill to the White House. LinkHere

HowdyDoody

The GOP as a whole are suffering from mass delusion that, as McCain mentions, the viciousness shown by birthers and tea partiers is legitimate backlash against the progressive agenda. It doesn't occur to him that there are other explanations, like these right-wing organizations ginning up the most powerless and least educated among us by giving them 15 minutes of fame and a protest sign.
What is he smoking?

GOP Health Care Plan Just A Mess Of Bizarre Amendments
Robin Hood, the Amended Version

It's getting late in the Senate Finance Committee's writing of a health-care bill, but not too late for Republicans on Wednesday to make one more valiant stand for the health insurance industry.
Late in the afternoon, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the committee, requested consideration of the "Grassley F-1 Modified Amendment." Its goal: eliminate $7 billion a year in fees that the government would charge private health insurance companies, and make up the shortfall by reducing benefits to poor people and legal immigrants.
It was dangerously close to a parody: Republicans demanding that fees be reduced on a profitable industry and shifted to low-income Americans. But Grassley pressed on, unafraid. The fees on the corporations, he said, are a "bad idea" and would undoubtedly result in higher insurance premiums. "I urge my colleagues to vote for my amendment, to strike the fees," he exhorted.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) recognized the fat target that Grassley had just set up. "I think it's a 'message amendment,' " he said, suggesting Grassley was sending a symbolic signal to the conservative base. "It certainly takes on legal immigrants and Medicaid in a very sharp way."
Grassley looked hurt. "You don't really believe that this is a message amendment, do you?"
Now, why would anybody get that idea?
Committee Republicans have made it clear they would not propose, as Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) put it, a "massive GOP alternative" to the Democrats' health-care bill. Rather, they offered nearly 300 amendments to the legislation that would, if adopted, represent a most curious piece of social policy. LinkHere

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

He was impressed, big deal, he still voted no didn't he.

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Jon Stewart Schools Sean Hannity About History, The Food Chain

Magazine Publishes -- Then Pulls -- Article On Military Overthrow Of Obama

Extremists who oppose the president have begun fantasizing about a military coup to overthrow Obama.
Newsmax columnist John Perry wrote Tuesday that President Obama "is inviting" a military coup and that it might not be such a bad thing: "Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars."
Newsmax subsequently took the column down. A spokesperson told Talking Points Memo, "Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions." However, she also defended Perry's column, saying that he "clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one." LinkHere
Michael Steele Calls Thomas Friedman A "Nut Job" For His Concerns Over Psychotic Rhetoric
RNC Chairman Michael Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday and was confronted with Thomas Friedman's recent New York Times column, in which he warned that the tenor of critical rhetoric directed at the White House was becoming disturbing.
Friedman wrote:
Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.
What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, "Should Obama be killed?" The choices were: "No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care." The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.
Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly.
To Steele, such concerns were the hallmark of an insane person: LinkHere

WHY?????????

Senior official in Bush domestic propaganda program remains Obama's Pentagon spokesman
A key senior figure in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program, which used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage, remains in the same position today as a chief Obama Defense Department spokesman and the agency’s head of all media operations. In an examination of Pentagon documents the New York Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — which reporter David Barstow leveraged for his April 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé on the program – Raw Story has found that Bryan Whitman surfaces in over 500 emails and transcripts, revealing the deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations was both one of the program’s senior participants and an active member.
Whitman’s conspicuous presence in these records is notwithstanding thousands of documented communications the Bush Pentagon released but for which names were redacted and an untold number the prior administration successfully withheld after its two-year legal battle with the Times.
Barstow’s Times expose revealed a comprehensive, covert Pentagon campaign — beginning during the lead-up to the Iraq War and continuing through 2008 — that shaped network military analysts into what internal documents referred to as “message force multipliers” and “surrogates” who could be trusted to parrot Bush administration talking points “in the form of their own opinions.” Barstow’s reporting also detailed how most of the military analysts, traditionally viewed as authoritative and independent, had ties to defense contractors with a stake in the same war policies they were interpreting daily to the American public.
The program was ostensibly run out of the Pentagon’s public affairs office for community relations, as part of its outreach, and attended to by political appointees, most visibly in these records by then community relations chief Allison Barber and director Dallas Lawrence. LinkHere

Senators set the bar higher than necessary. Crap!!!!!!


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The Truth About the Baucus Healthcare Bill

Fight Back Against Health Insurance Lies

Sick For Profit’s Latest – Putting CIGNA In The Spotlight

fdr_democrat 2 weeks ago
That first woman's story doesn't make sense to me.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a liberal, single-payer-supporting, Kucinich-supporting Democrat. But in that first story, the woman says she "went to CIGNA", and "CIGNA told me I had bronchitis", and "CIGNA gave me medicine and sent me home."
CIGNA is an insurance company, not a hospital - is that right? How could CIGNA diagnose anyone, or give them medicines?
Can anyone give me some clarification here? If I'm wrong about how CIGNA operates, please let me know. If I'm right, then this woman's testimony needs to be deleted from the video, because it destroys the video's credibility.

jojoshuagodfrey 2 weeks ago in reply to fdr_democrat
I will answer that question for you, Cigna owned and operated 29 wholly owned health Clinics where they employed the doctors. We are posting an article that will hopefully explain it for you.http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Cigna+draws+regulator+ire+for+second+time+in+four+years.-a016409372
You may also go to unitedpatientsofamerica.org, and read the full original newspaper article on this site.
LinkHere

Thank You at least someone has the balls, to go after them.!!!!!!!!!

Friking Republican Hypocrisy
Vitter Slapped With Prostitution Complaint
The complaint filed against Vitter emerged as a response to his push for an investigation into the community organization ACORN. Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director said:
Sen. Vitter's zeal to see ACORN criminally investigated for offering advice in setting up a prostitution ring reminded me he has yet to be held accountable for his own role in a prostitution ring... "While ACORN's conduct is indefensible, so is Sen. Vitter's and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. LinkHere

Jon Stewart Defends NEA, School Children From Republicans, Fox News

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Generals Accuse Cheneys Of Spreading Scaremongering "Nonsense"...

About a dozen retired generals and admirals, trying to add momentum to President Barack Obama’s effort to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison, are accusing former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz of scaremongering about the dangers of closing it.
“It’s up to all of us to say these arguments advanced by Cheney and his acolytes are nonsense and that really what they’re doing is undermining our national security by delaying the date at which Guantanamo is closed,” retired Brig. Gen. James Cullen, a former chief judge of the Army’s Court of Criminal Appeals, told POLITICO Tuesday.
“Some of the fear issues that are being raised in this are really unfortunate. It gets people excited about things they shouldn’t be excited about and impedes doing what is critical to this country. Get that damn symbol off the table,” said retired Gen. David Maddox, a former Army commander-in-chief for Europe. “We take a setback every time somebody, whether it’s the vice president or his daughter comes out and says the things that they say….We have to get out there again and just keep pounding.”
The former vice president and his daughter declined comment on the criticism. LinkHere

PUBLIC OPTION SHOT DOWN

First Public Option Amendment Fails With Five Dem No Votes...
Five Democrats joined with all the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to shoot down a public health insurance option on Tuesday, voting 15-8 to reject an amendment by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
Five Democrats opposed the public option: Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.). LinkHere
Senate Finance Committee Hearing On Health Care Reform

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SarahSamudre: Senate Finance Committee voted down Schumer plan: Second public option amendment defeated 13-10. Two votes more than last one.
39 minutes ago from web
Nelson Supported Majority Vote For Bush Tax Cuts, But Not Health Care
Now that Sen. Ben Nelson, (D-Neb.) has definitively stated that he opposes the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform, it's worth noting that on at least two previous occasions the Nebraska Democrat had no qualms supporting the budgetary procedure as a means of passing legislation.
On May 26, 2001, Nelson was one of a dozen Democrats to support president George W. Bush's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001: the massive tax cut package that defined the administration's plans for job growth. The bill was passed using reconciliation -- meaning it wasn't subject to a Democratic filibuster -- and received the support of 58 Senators.
Two years later, Bush had introduced a second tax-cut package, this one entitled The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. That too was passed through reconciliation with Nelson's vote proving even more critical. The Nebraskan was one of only two Democrats to back the measure, giving it exactly the 50 votes needed to become law (Vice President Dick Cheney voted yea to break the impasse). LinkHere
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