Markos joined Tavis Smiley, Ed Gillespie, and Joe Scarborough yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press to talk about the state of play on health care and the political landscape heading into the 2010 elections. Markos also sat down with David Gregory for an extended interview on the netroots and the progressive movement. Watch that interview here:
We're not changing our health-care system very much at all, in fact. Nothing happens in 2010. Or in 2011. Or in 2012. In 2014, when the bill really begins, the insurance situations of 18 million people change. A full 16 million of those people are uninsured. Aside from the small sliver of people who will pay a surtax on the final few dollars of uncommonly expensive insurance plans, the country simply will not notice this legislation.
Put THAT on the teleprompter.
Speaking for me only
All of us are looking for the 60 votes of learning, hope, and kindness to get past the endless filibuster of ignorance, anger, and greedWe are corralling all our efforts and resources to get to the point where we can proceed.We want to proceed so that we can have good lives and so that we can [...]
Read The Full Article:
Yesterday, I was watching the Eagles play on television and wanting to see the Ravens but couldn’t because we live in Newark, Delaware and Comcast only gives us Phila. channels, while my kids were beginning to go a little stir crazy. We were all outside earlier in the day and found a hill in Newark, [...]
Read The Full Article:
Major General Anthony Cucolo, who is responsible for operations in northern Iraq, has issued a controversial new policy — which went into effect on Nov. 4 — that allows throwing women servicemembers on active duty in jail if they become pregnant:
Under the new policy, troops expecting a baby face court martial and a possible prison term ? and so do the men who made them pregnant.
And the rule applies to married couples at war together, who are expected to make sure their love lives do not interfere with duty.
Usual US Army policy is to send pregnant soldiers home from combat zones within 14 days.
But Major General Anthony Cucolo, who runs US operations in northern Iraq, issued the new orders because he said he was losing too many women with critical skills. He needed the threat of court martial and jail time as an extra deterrent, he said.
All troops under his command are covered by the extension to the military?s legal code — the first time the US Army has made pregnancy a punishable offence.
Military staff judge advocates for the Army have reviewed and approved the policy. The policy is legal under military law, but it raises “a mare?s nest of legal, ethical and policy issues.” For example, while the policy does say that a man who impregnates a woman will receive equal punishment, it may be difficult to identify him unless the woman reveals who he is.
Additionally, it’s unclear what will happen to a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant. She would technically be eligible for jailtime, but if she is unable to identify her attacker(s), they may go free. Rape and other forms of sexual assault are severe problems in the military. In May, the Pentagon reported that it had “received 2,923 reports of sexual assault across the military in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 2008. That’s about a 9 percent increase over the totals reported the year before, but only a fraction of the crimes presumably being committed.”
With the military resorting to these extreme discriminatory tactics to retain soldiers with “critical skills,” it’s another reminder about why the Obama administration needs to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Typical Republicans acting like like terrorists…[...]
Read The Full Article:
Hell has officially frozen over. After more than a decade of hyper-partisanship and knee-jerk, reactionary opposition to the other, the entire political spectrum of Meet the Press's roundtable panel--Markos Moulitsas, Joe Scarborough, Ed Gillespie and Tavis Smiley--all agree on one thing: the health-care reform bill sucks. There's the vaunted bipartisanship Obama sought.
Laughing off Whiter House adviser David Axelrod's spin of the historic (and not-as-bad-as-it-seems) nature of the bill, Markos points out that all this bill does is expand an already broken system, a proven failed program in Massachusetts. Scarborough adds that for all the White House talk that the insurance companies hate the bill, there is no regulation that Congress didn't capitulate on after pushback from the insurance lobbies and if they hate it so much, why has the value of their stock gone up so much recently? Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie can barely contain his glee at the thought of the seats the GOP will pick up, because of this bill, and Smiley notes that Candidate Obama's rhetoric doesn't measure up to President Obama's actions and bemoans the incrementalism mentality:
I do believe that you have to stand on your principle. With all due respect to the White House and the President, who deserves who deserves great credit for taking this issue on and pushing further down the field than any other seven Presidents have done, you still have to ask, where is the principle that we started out with, and how firm have we stood on that principle? I thnk the danger for this White House is this: that the President and his team appear to be incrementalists. I warned the last time I was on this program, quoting Dr. King, about taking ?the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.?
I love that line, and it resonates as much today as it did when Dr. King tried dissuade those who wanted to take an incremental approach to civil rights and segregation.
The sad thing is how clear this is to us here outside the Beltway, and how badly calculated this was to those inside the White House. And I don't think this was some malevolent intent on their part, but just a triangulating, DLC/Centrist move that completely didn't take into account that we now inhabit the post-Clinton/Bush era. I don't think there's any question that the White House must accept responsibility for the lameness of the bill--although they'll never do it publicly and risk giving more fodder to the GOP media--Feingold and Webb are already pointing fingers.
And at this point, I don't know what can be done to make this better. Tempting as it might be to thrown in the towel, the ramifications of that politically (you throw a bone like that to the GOP and nothing will get through Congress next session) will be a nightmare, and besides which, there's no guarantee they'd be able to achieve anything, much less anything better on a second go-round. So all in all, I have to agree with Joe Scarborough, as much as it deeply pains me to do so: we've been screwed.
Sen. Whitehouse predicts a "day of judgement" for the GOP's "desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood obstruction and fear" on health care reform. See the video. [...]
Read The Full Article:
The health-care bill that looks likely to clear the Senate this week [. . .] is very close to the health-care bill that Barack Obama promised. [. . .] [T]here are, to be sure, some differences. The public option did not survive the Senate. The individual mandate, which Obama campaigned against, was added [. . .] Drug reimportation was defeated, and a vague effort to have government pick up some catastrophic costs was never really mentioned.
But other than that, EXACTLY the same. From the guy who spent the summer attacking Howard Dean for supposed "flip-flopping," this is damned funny. Look, the Senate bill will stand and fall on it own merits. And campaign promises are not worth the paper they are written on (NAFTA renegotiation anyone?) But this type of silly stuff does no one any good - not Obama, not Ezra, and not anyone else.
Speaking for me only
David Limbaugh continued the right-wing assault on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, using anti-gay rhetoric and advancing a number outrageous smears and distortions in order to attack him as a "known homosexual activist" who was appointed to "propagandiz[e] for the normalization of homosexuality." These smears and distortions include the conclusively debunked falsehood that Jennings "failed to report statutory rape," the false suggestion that Jennings praised a gay rights activist because he was a "promoter of pedophilia," and the claim that Jennings - currently a board member of Union Theological Seminary - should be disqualified from public service because he purportedly "harbored a hatred for God" as a teenager.
Limbaugh uses anti-gay rhetoric to attack "known homosexual activist" Jennings. In his December 18 Creators Syndicate column targeting "known homosexual activist Kevin Jennings," Limbaugh says Jennings is a "federal bureaucrat in charge of making our local schools indoctrination facilities for homosexuality, er, safe." Limbaugh concluded: "How many of you believe this appointment has to do with promoting safe schools, as opposed to propagandizing for the normalization of homosexuality?"
Right-wing media has unleashed anti-gay rhetoric in attacks on Jennings. In their attacks on Jennings, numerous conservative media figures have resorted to thinly veiled homophobic appeals to paint Jennings, who is gay, as a "radical" "gay activist" with an "agenda" of "promoting homosexuality in schools," and have misrepresented or distorted Jennings' previous comments about religion and tolerance. Moreover, in a blatant appeal to homophobia, the right-wing media have termed a series of allegations "Fistgate," even though several of those allegations have little or nothing to do with the sexual practice of fisting -- or, for that matter, with Jennings himself.
From Limbaugh's column:
Why would Obama, a self-professed Christian, choose Jennings, who admitted in his 2006 memoirs that he harbored a deep-seated hatred for God and religious believers at the time he embraced a homosexual lifestyle?
Jennings wrote: "Before, I was the one who was failing God; now I decided He was the one who had failed me. ... I decided I had done nothing wrong: He had, by promising to 'set you free' and never delivering on His promise. What had He done for me, other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat. Screw you, buddy -- I don't need you around anymore, I decided."
Limbaugh subsequently acknowledged that Jennings "may have since modified his beliefs," but offered no explanation for that statement.
Passage Limbaugh cites concerns his mindset as a teenager more than 30 years ago. The passage Limbaugh references from Jennings' 2006 memoir, Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son, describes his feelings as a "seventeen-year-old-boy" in the early 1980s [Page 100].
Jennings also wrote in his memoir that he since found from the Bible "the inspiration I need to continue my work." In Jennings' 2006 memoir, he also wrote:
How ironic that, in my middle age, I have returned to the book that shaped the lives of my father and mother, the book whose misreading almost destroyed me as a child, and have found in it the inspiration I need to continue my work. I guess so doing honors them. "Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land" (Exodus 20:12).
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the difference between right and wrong. I honor you by passing the lessons you taught me on to the next generation. And I know that those who oppressed and opposed you once and who try to oppress and oppose me still will one day be greatly ashamed. I know this because I'm your boy, and because I'm a preacher's son.
And because the Bible tells me so. [Pages 262-263]
Jennings is reportedly an active member of the board of the Union Theological Seminary. Think Progress wrote in its "fact check" of right-wing smears of Jennings:
Jennings later went on to serve as an active member on the board of the Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York, the nation's most prestigious Protestant seminary. ThinkProgress spoke with Rev. Serene Jones, President of UTS, who disputed any claims that Jennings was anti-religion:
In my role as the president [of UTS], and as pastor, I have met few people as deeply Christian and as deeply committed to the work of justice in the world than Kevin Jennings. He's a man of enormous faith, and not just in terms of prayer and church attendance -- both of which he does devoutly -- but in terms of his care for the poor, the suffering, the children, the vulnerable in our society. [...]
He's an active member of the board at Union Theological Seminary and Kevin Jennings tithes, not only in terms of his use of money, but his use of his time and his values and I just wonder how many of the people who are attacking him have taken their own faith serious enough to make the kind of financial, moral, vocational commitment that Kevin Jennings has made with his life.
Limbaugh falsely claims Jennings failed to report "statutory rape" of student. Limbaugh claimed that Jennings "failed to report the homosexual statutory rape of a high-school sophomore to the administration or the police." In fact, a 2004 letter from Jennings' attorney, as well as a statement from the former student and his Massachusetts driver's license, definitively show that he was at least 16 -- the legal age of consent in Massachusetts -- when he approached Jennings.
Limbaugh attempts to link Jennings to promotion of pedophilia. In his column, Limbaugh wrote that "Jennings is also the man who admits to being inspired by Harry Hay, a homosexual activist and promoter of pedophilia." In fact, in a 1997 speech, Jennings praised Hay. But like many obituaries written about Hay upon his death in 2002, Jennings was touting Hay as a gay civil rights pioneer for his role in helping start "the first ongoing gay rights groups in America" in 1948, and Jennings' comments had nothing to do with pedophilia. Right-wing media sources including The Washington Examiner, The Fox Nation, The Washington Times, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Karl Rove have similarly used his praise of Hay to attempt to link Jennings to pedophilia.
Limbaugh falsely claims that "GLSEN presenters taught kids how to perform 'fisting.' " Limbaugh wrote that at a workshop during a 2000 conference for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which was founded and directed at the time by Jennings, "GLSEN presenters taught kids how to perform 'fisting' -- a vile, despicable, obscene act involving the fist and other body parts." In fact, the workshop in question was conducted by three state Department of Education employees or contractors; Jennings reportedly criticized some of the workshop's content when the recordings of that workshop were first released by the anti-gay group now known as MassResistance in 2000.