"THE SWELLS DON’T CARE! What ever happened to 'affordable?' E. J. Dionne doesn’t care" (Bob Somerby, The Daily Howler):
For the record, those middle-income families would be paying 15-18 percent of their pre-tax income for their health care. Does that sound like “affordable” health care? For various reasons, Pear’s analysis is hard to judge. But note one thing well: In a detailed discussion of health care costs for the average family, not a word is allowed to intrude about the stunning foreign experience, in which universal care is achieved at half (or less) the per-person cost we maintain over here. Once again, Times readers are kept from knowing a basic fact: Everywhere else, average people get health care at a massively lower cost than obtains over here.
Alas! In America, we tried “managed care.” Now, we’re having a “managed discussion.” A real progressive would scream and yell about the looting which seems to plague the system—about the massive, apparently unnecessary cost of health care for average people. But as the health reform project has proceeded, the looting seems to have stayed in the picture. In an unfortunate trade-off, the word “affordable” has largely disappeared.
E. J. Dionne is a Serious Person. On Monday, he kept his trap shut about a very large problem. The prospective bill will approach universal coverage. But what ever happened to affordable coverage? To us, the evidence seems rather strong: In the press corps, the swells just don’t care.I really don't care about this insurance give-away. It's not going to do a thing to improve my life or my children's lives.
It will make the insurance companies rich.
What else has it done?
It's demonstrated to me how STUPID my own side is. And it's underscored that Communists and Socialists need to self-identify and not present themselves as Democrats. What I see is that the Communists and Socialists gas bags/pundits are as bad as the right-wing ones. They're incapable of having a discussion, incapable of hearing anyone speak.
They're the ones insisting that the right opposed to ObamaGiveAway are evil people, or hateful people or this or that.
No, not all of them.
Many just don't believe the government needs to be involved. Many feel government screws up enough things as it is. And I can disagree with that but understand where they're coming from. As opposed to the liars insisting upon demonizing everyone on the right-wing.
And I'm beginning to get that those liars (you know who they are) really don't get it. They're so committed to a socialist state that they can't understand why anyone would find that bothersome.
They can't grasp why Van Jones needed to leave the administration, after all this time.
The country is in the worst economic crisis and Barack swore up and down he wasn't a Socialist or a Communist and that he'd govern from the center. Then, at a time of economic crisis, he's got a Marxist in the White House.
How much harm could Van Jones have done? I have no idea. Nor do I know that, if given the economy and sticking to a Marxist economic view, he would have done any harm.
But I do understand why people on the right were disturbed and it wasn't just those on the right.
Those who are not Democrats but continue to pose as them to the public need to get honest because they are dangerously screwing up not only the conversation but the Democratic Party. They are (a) screwing up how we (Democrats) are seen and they are (b) ensuring that we will have a hard time getting winning majorities in subsequent elections.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
It is now time for a broad and sustained military withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq. Whatever American forces of any sort that remain should be paid for exclusively by the Iraqi government.
We can argue forever about the wisdom of our invasion and presence in Iraq beginning in 2003. For sure, Iraq cannot be allowed to become another Korea, where today 30,000 American troops are held hostage to a crazy North Korean regime while "protecting" a rich and prosperous South Korea.
Withdraw now the 120,000 military personnel from Iraq, Mr. President and Congress. Do it as quickly as the safety of those troops will permit.
Are you concerned that the elections on which your withdrawal timetable is based may be delayed? The Iraqi parliament is deadlocked over an election law, even though the deadline has long since passed.
This parliamentary election is a decisive point in the history of Iraq's democracy, and it's also very important to the United States. We have a stake in their success. Iraq has had increasingly better elections over time. Of course we look forward to these elections. And so we're very concerned that we're past the date that the Iraqis wanted to have an election law, and that every day that goes by eats into the established date for the election. Iraq has the opportunity to demonstrate that it has a viable and credible democracy, and can be a model for the region. There's lots of opportunity here and we don't want to miss these opportunities by having this election drift.
Would an election delay also delay the plan to withdraw all U.S. combat forces by August 2010?
We do not think we are at the point where we are off our plan, but of course we are going to watch this very carefully. Any decision to vary from the plan is a policy decision that won't take place here. It's too soon to say whether a potential delay in the election is a potential delay in the withdrawal.
Alsumaria notes rumors that US pressure is expected to lead various parties to accept the United Nations' recommendations on the legislation:
To that, Kurds decried the US pressure calling them to renounce their rights in the city and that after announcing that US Vice President Joe Biden called Kurdistan Governor Massoud Al Barazani in order to talk over the obstructions hindering approving elections law. MP Mahmoud Othman told Al Hayat Newspaper that endeavors of Senior US officials are means to pressure Kurds in order to accept the suggested solutions though they are unfair. The US behaviors are biased, Othman added.
It is no secret that this kind of pressure is expected considering the importance USA gives for holding the lections on time. MP Khairallah Al Basri said that failing to reach an accordance solution regarding elections' law will urge the USA to interfere in order to impose solutions.
Alsumaria sources had said that the Legal committee suggested a draft law that proposes to adopt open list and determines the parliament's seats number. The law also stipulates using multi-divisions system and appoints the number of seats for each division without mentioning Kirkuk. However the relevant parties did not agree on this suggestion.
Ali Karim (Asia Times) reports the recents bombings are said, by some, to have an impact on their votes and quotes MP Mithal al-Alosi stating, "I expect a low turnout in the elections if matters go on this way. The wounds of Bloody Wednesday have not healed yet and the Salehiya bombs have deepened those wounds." Mithal Alusi was noted in yesterday's snapshot, he's the head of the Iraqi Nation Party and he appeared as a guest on Al Jazeera's latest Inside Iraq which began broadcasting last Friday.
AFP reports that Faraj al-Haidari, head of the country's Independent High Electoral Commission, declared on Al-Sharquiay TV today, "The electoral commission held talks with the United Nations on Tuesday to discuss the timetable. We must receive the law in the next two days, otherwise we will be unable to hold the election on the scheduled date of January 16. There is material relating to the election, and international companies need time to print it. Fifteen thousand polling stations have to be made ready for the election, as do 50,000 personnel." UPI speaks with MP Mohammad Salman who states there are currently three options.
So the Iraqi Parliament drags their feet and they aren't the only ones. At yesterday's public hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was learned that the Defense Department had still not submitted all the plans for the draw-down that's supposed to be on the verge of taking place. Not only have they not submitted all of their own plans, they're supervision of KBR is so lax that KBR's been allowed to skip submitting a plan. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Commissioner Robert Henke attempted to get an answer from the Pentagon's Lee Hamilton to this question: "If the president announces on February 27, 2009 the draw-down plan and we're on November 2nd, is it possible that the contractor hasn't provided you any plan to adjust staff accordingly?" Despite attempting to walk Hamilton through slowly (after Hamilton rambled on with a non-answer reply) and despite asking, "How is that possible?", Henke never got anything that would pass for an answer to his questions.
This morning Jen Dimascio (Politico -- link has text and audio) reports:
KBR, the largest contractor in Iraq, is pulling out of that country so slowly that it could end up costing American taxpayers $193 million more than expected, according to a new Pentagon audit.
Furthermore, during a hearing Monday by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, a legislative body set up to study contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Commissioner Charles Tiefer said the company's plodding exit from Iraq could cost even more -- up to $300 million.
As noted in yesterday's snapshot, that's only one portion of the story. Dimascio notes a quote from Commissioner Dov Zakheim and you can see yesterday's snapshot for that full exchange. From last night, Kat's "Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan" covers the hearing and she shares some impression on Commissioner Chris Shays hearing performance. But Dimascio covers one aspect of the big news from yesterday's hearings -- and we did consider skipping it but fortunately didn't because the Commission actually had their act together yesterday (we is Kat, Ava, Wally and myself) -- the other big news was the lack of completed plans.
For the Pentagon, that's especially appalling and it's either an issue of insubordination or the White House isn't really serious about a draw-down. For the Pentagon, the refusal to submit their own plans or demand that KBR draw up their own is appalling. Thompson declared in the hearing that he visited with KBR most recently on September 25th or 26th and they still had no plans -- and Thompson was neither surprised nor worried about the lack of planning.
Rachel Stockman and 12 News (link has text and video) supply this timeline:
-Around 2 p.m. Police say Faleh Almaleki ran down his daughter, friend.
-Around 5 p.m. Nlets Alert with Almaleki's license plate and vehicle description goes out
-U.S. Customs and Border Protection notified.
Addressing the timeline, Rachel Stockman reports, "They allowed the suspect to cross the border into Mexico so we wanted to know where the communication broke down. What we found? Nlets, the system Peoria police use to notify other authorities is not something US Customs always checks." Dustin Gardiner (Arizona Republic) quotes: prosecutor Stephanie Low stating of the father, "By his own admission, this was an intentional act and the reason was that his daughter had brought shame on him and his family. This was an attempt at an honor killing." Iraqi American Romina Korkes offered her thoughts on the so-called 'honor' killing last week in a column for the Arizona Republic.
In Oceanside, Carlsbad, Del Mar and north San Diego County, immigrant day laborers wait by the side of the road, hoping a contractor will stop and offer them work. Alberto Juarez Martinez slings his jacket over his shoulder while he waits. His hands show the effect of a lifetime of manual work, plus arthritis suffered as a child in Zapata, Zacatecas. The hands of Beto, a migrant from Uruachi, Chihuahua, also show the effect of a lifetime of manual work. Juan Castillo, a migrant from Tehuacan, Puebla, waits with his friends in the parking lot of a market they've nicknamed La Gallinita, because of the rooster on the roof of the building.
Police in north county towns have now started cruising by day labor sites in plainclothes, pretending to be contractors offering workers jobs, and then citing them and turning them over to immigration agents, even those with green cards Many community organizations are protesting this practice.
Francisco Villa operates a lunch truck that visits the areas where migrant day laborers live on hillsides and under trees. Villa hands out leaflets advising workers of their rights and letting them know that they can find help from California Rural Legal Assistance. Across the street from Villa's truck, Zaragosa Brito and Andres Roman Diaz, two migrants from Arcelia, Guerrero, sit next to a fence where workers look for day labor, or get rides to the fields for farm work. The men sleep out in the open in the field behind the fence, and have worked on a local strawberry ranch, Rancho Diablo, for many years.
David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which has won the CLR James Award.
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