The Real News Network talks to Executive Editor Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.
Ford has a little different take on the situation and analyzing the current political dynamics surrounding the issue says that by excluding single payer plan, Barack Obama allowed the right to dominate the reform debate, and concludes that the longer the Democrats wait to reform the health care system, the more likely it is that the public is going to turn against the so-called reforms.
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"Most trusted" no longer.[...]
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The Congressional Progressive Caucus, in response to pressure from the Blue Dogs to water down healthcare reform, are fighting back. On Friday afternoon, eight members of the caucus wrote to Speaker Pelosi on behalf of the entire CPC, to draw a line on any efforts to further weaken the public option.
The time to reform our health care system is now. As Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, we believe that we must not delay a vote on health care reform. The need for reform is urgent. Approximately 14,000 Americans are losing their health care coverage each day and our businesses on Main Street and Wall Street are struggling to recover from our nation’s economic crisis....
We want to assure you that for our continued support, the public option must not be based on any trigger and must be available immediately. Further, the public plan must be on a level playing field and receive the same subsidies as private plans in the Health Exchange. And, it must be connected to the Medicare infrastructure, including the provider and payment system. Allowing providers to opt out of the public option has already created a loss of $91 billion in savings. We cannot tolerate further weakening of the public option.
We are also concerned about the latest discussion regarding the Independent Medicare Advisory Commission (IMAC). We understand that no final decision has been made. However if discussions move forward to make IMAC a reality, we ask that you include us in discussion as we have concerns with the governance, oversight, and the impact it would have on seniors, people with disabilities , doctors, and hospitals. Furthermore, we are concerned that IMAC could weaken the public option and negate our responsibilities as Members of Congress.
That's 82 votes for the kind of healthcare reform that is worth doing. More than 50 of them are on the record with caucus leadership as refusing to vote for any legislation that does not have a robust public option. Hopefully some of that spirit will inject their counterparts on the Senate side.
This week at Cafe, Cheryl Wagner joins us for a discussion of her book Plenty Enough Suck To Go Around: A Memoir Of Floods, Fires, Parades, and Plywood. With her unforgettably distinct voice, Cheryl tells the story of how Hurricane Katrina wrecked her Mid-City house in 2005 and the three-year arduous journey of rebuilding her life.
As a Louisiana native myself - born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana, later moving to Shreveport for college - Cheryl's intensely personal story hits home in more ways than one. I've never read a more honest and accurate portrayal of the beautiful, tragic city of New Orleans, and despite the account of its last few years of struggle, she finds the perfect places to inject humor (as a New Orleanian would).
Cheryl's work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Harper's, among others, and she is also a contributor to public radio's This American Life.
Joining the discussion are Paul Tough, a New York Times Magazine editor who has written about the post-Katrina school system in New Orleans and author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America; Al Kennedy, historian and author of Big Chief Harrison and the Mardi Gras Indians and Chord Changes on the Chalkboard: How Public School Teachers Shaped Jazz and the Music of New Orleans; Charles Figley, the Dr. Paul Henry Kurzweg distinguished chair and professor of disaster mental health in the School of Social Work at Tulane University; John McQuaid, journalist and former writer for The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and author of Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms; and Harry Shearer of "Simpsons" fame, who has written extensively about Katrina and the aftermath of rebuilding New Orleans for The Huffington Post.
The Obama administration has “released more than a thousand intelligence images of Arctic ice,” following a declassification request by the National Academy of Sciences. These high-resolution spy photos of rapid sea ice loss off the northern coast of Alaska, kept classified by the Bush administration, show “the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic”:
The newly-declassified images also reveal the retreat of glaciers in Washington and Alaska. USGS scientist John Crowe tells ThinkProgress that “security issues” prevented the U.S. Geological Survey from launching the Global Fiducials Library website until now, saying he had been “working for some time to get this data to the public.” The same day the images were made public, NOAA anounced that the world’s ocean surface temperature in June 2009 was the warmest on record.
One of the significant fights on the left has been that between those who believe in a public[...]
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Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page (two actual liberals for once) beat back host John McLaughlin and pundits Rich Lowry and Monica Crowley's patented GOP talking points on health care reform on The McLaughlin Group. Clift gets in the best line of the day when Lowry tried to claim that a private option would put the insurance companies out of business. Lo and behold, Lowry and Co. seemed to be reading right off of this list of health care reform myths.
Lowry: That's the entire point. Unless this is stripped down radically, that's what will happen, and that's what the liberals want.
Clift: There will be 40 to 50 million new customers and a lot of those customers are customers that the private market doesn't even want, and there's plenty to go around that you can coexist with add-ons, and the government is providing, is going to provide a subsidy, a very basic plan and people will buy extras. The insurance industry will flourish but, I'm with Clarence. Since when is this about protecting the insurance industry? This is about protecting people's health care. They're making a ton of money. [..]
Lowry: Do you want your insurer to go out of business, Clarence? Do you want your insurer to go out of business? You want to get dropped from your employer coverage?
Page: My coverage has been going down, Rich, and so have a lot of other people's and I'm not in bad shape....
It was pretty amusing watching Clift and Page basically get Lowry and Crowley to admit the truth: The GOP only wants to protect the private insurance companies. Even if it led to something close to single payer as Clift notes, it would not mean the insurance companies are out of business. To the horror of conservatives and the conserva-Dems who are in the pockets of the insurance industries, it only would mean they'd be making a hell of a lot less money for basic health care and offering supplemental plans to those who could afford it instead.
It was also nice to see someone take one of these talking heads to task when they bring up the Lewin Group and let them know that "non-partisan" doesn't mean "unbiased". I noticed Lowry didn't have much of a response when Clift called him on that nonsense other than to try to keep talking and pretend he didn't hear her.
I'd personally prefer that Congress focused their energies on Single Payer (as we all know, including The Lewin Group, that makes the most sense)--as would everyone who contributes at this site--but that unfortunately is not the political climate we're living in right now. Until we clean up the legalized bribery going on with corporations and lobbyists buying and selling our members of Congress, this is going to be a huge uphill battle. Until that reform happens, if ever, we need to hold their feet to the fire to do the right thing.
No major political change in this country has come because politicians did the right thing out of the goodness of their heart. They've happened because people took to the streets, they marched, they stood up and they demanded that our elected officials do the right thing.
When you look at the history of the labor movement--which has been glossed over or completely ignored by our educational system--every single major change in the United States has happened because people were imprisoned, men, women and children were battered and killed and public outrage finally grew so high that the political class felt compelled to finally act.
The same can be said for the civil rights movement, the women's movement and every aspect of our history that led to the United States even having a middle class instead of just the ultra rich and the poor.
We've been moving backwards for way too long now, and too many have either forgotten or never learned in the first place just how many lives were lost, how much blood was shed, and how long and hard the struggles were to get to a point where everyone could be complacent and feel like what they have could not be taken away, and take that there is a middle class in this country for granted.
More people need to take the responsibility to let our government know that we're tired of the status quo in Washington. This is not business as usual. Let's not allow the Lowrys and Crowleys of the world to dominate this conversation.
I was happy to see Eleanor Clift not allow it on this week's McLaughlin Group.
A number of AT&T DSL users say the Internet/Cable/Phone giant has started censoring which Web sites its customers can access. It's an interesting issues, the notion of your Internet provider itself deciding what sites you should and shouldn't see. There are a number of reports on this, including some suggesting that perhaps this was not motivated by a desire to censor the site in question, 4chan (which I'm told can be pretty NSFW, so I won't link).
Should Internet providers be in the business of censoring which sites their customers have access to? What if the sites are calling the murder of specific abortion doctors, or calling for people to hurt you? Should the Internet provider ever be a place to go for redress?