Rep. McMahon’s Response

     Good Afternoon one and all(all 3 of you, lol) A month ago exactly the Health care bill passed the house of representatives by a relatively thin margin, 5 votes as I recall.  I wrote about it, live blogged it (sorta) and at the time I noted that My representative, Mike McMahon, a democrat voted against it.  This was how I spoke of it Nov. 9th: 

And my representative, Rep. Mike McMahon (D) voted against. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I will wait until I hear why he voted against. If I find out he’s a blue dog, he will NOT get my vote come next election cycle. BLUE DOGS SUCK. I don’t want to find out that I actually voted for some half assed republican wannabe when I thought I was voting for a Democrat. THAT would piss me off. We’ll see. I’ll be contacting his office to find out what the hell is up with this vote, and will let you know what happens. 

      and so I sent him an e-mail the contents of which are as follows: 

Greetings, Rep. McMahon. 

I have a few simple questions. Why did you vote against the Affordable Healthcare for America Act? Was there a specific portion of the bill that you didn’t like, or was it just wrong for America in your eyes? What turned you against it? Was there anything they could have done in congress but didn’t to get your vote on this bill? Are you a “blue dog” democrat? 

I write a blog and told my readers I would ask you these questions. I would have written earlier, but i’ve been busy. Looking for work in this economy, after all, is in and of itself a full time job. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

         Well, guess what? Last Friday, he responded. Here is his response: 

Dear Mr. Walsh, 

Thank you for contacting me about health care reform. 

 

Rep. John Dingell

 

On July 14, 2009, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) introduced H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. This bill was separately amended by the House Committees on Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means. On October 29, 2009, Rep. Dingell introduced a revised combination of these three different versions of H.R. 3200 as a new bill: H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. H.R. 3962 passed the House on November 7, 2009 by a vote of 220-215. Similar health care reform legislation must now pass the Senate, the House and Senate bills must be reconciled, and then those changes must be approved by both chambers before a bill can be signed into law by the President. 

As you may know, I recently voted against H.R. 3962. Although there are many important reforms included in H.R. 3962, I was unable to vote for this bill. This legislation contains many changes that I support. It allows individuals to keep coverage between jobs and allows young people to remain on their parents’ plans. It also bans insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and closes the Medicare “donut hole” that forces too many seniors to pay out of pocket for prescription drugs. However, I believe that the net negatives of this bill outweigh the positive effects for Staten Island and Brooklyn residents. 

One thing is crystal clear: the need for health reform is urgent and indisputable. It is estimated that our country will be spending 1 out of every 5 dollars on health care by 2015. Americans are losing their health insurance at a rate of 14,000 people every day. Clearly the status quo is not a sustainable path. But our nation’s health care system impacts every single one of us, and accounts for almost one-sixth of our economy – so we need to get this right. 

H.R. 3962 does not do enough to bring down costs for people who currently have health insurance. The rise of health care costs depresses wages and forces businesses to forego important investments. I also fear that the array of government programs created in H.R. 3962 may pave the way to increased taxes in the future. 

The bill also would cut $170 billion from the Medicare Advantage program which serves approximately 40% of our district’s seniors, and could lead to significant monthly premium increases for Medicare beneficiaries. The hospitals in Staten Island are set to lose nearly $25 million in uncompensated care reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. If such drastic cuts are made, the hospitals will struggle to survive, let alone be able to provide care to thousands of newly insured patients. 

Please keep in mind that my vote on H.R. 3962 was not a vote against health care reform; it was a vote on one specific bill. I remain optimistic that with the House and Senate working together with the Obama Administration, we can achieve a bill that meets the goals of affordability, improved access and coverage, in a way that is also fiscally sustainable in the long-term. 

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding this important issue. Please feel free to get in touch with my office in the future if I can be of any assistance to you on this or any other matter of concern. I hope you will find my website – http://www.mcmahon.house.gov – a useful resource for keeping up with events in Washington and the 13th District of New York.
Sincerely,

Michael E. McMahon
Representative for the 13th District of New York
 

     Mighty nice of him, seriously.  I wrote a senator once, not gonna name names, I didn’t even get a form letter back from the guy.  I respect the fact that he even took the time to have his office send out what looks like a letter put together by a) himself (I’m being an optimist) or b) a staffer and given a signature after the fact.   But I also want to talk just for a sec about some stuff he addresses here.  

    I don’t know enough about the bill to know about the medicare reimbursements in detail, and the particular part about Medicare Advantage I am somewhat uncertain of.  What I can do is link to the legislation itself, go through a bit of it, and write about a few things, let’s start with one word. 

Rep. Mike McMahon

 

    COULD.  It COULD lead to significant monthly premium increases. From what I can grasp about this legislation there is going to be every effort to make sure that the same quality care that Medicare Advantage now provides will continue, and will (section 1161 (o) in fact increase payments into the blended benchmark for qualifying plans by 1.5% in 2011, 3% in 2012, and 5% every year thereafter. 

   Section 1181 (a)(7)(A) will increase initial coverage limits by $500.  There are decreases in out of pocket thresholds, there is an extension to the medicare senior housing plan, there is a Medicare part D(section 1182(g)(3)) discount of 50% on “qualifying drugs” 

    Does that speak to the $170,000,000,000 cut in Medicare advantage? I believe it, to some extent does.  

   Now, am I the be all end all knower of all things medicare? No, not by a long shot, and I’m sure that bears out in some of what I’ve written, but I went through the bill, as thoroughly as I am able, and I saw nothing about  “uncompensated care reimbursements” anywhere in the actual language of the bill.  

     Representative McMahon has his stated reasons for opposing the bill.  It is in fact good to see that he doesn’t dislike the concept of health care reform, and that he hopes that it can come out and benefit Staten Islanders and everyone else alike.  He says that it doesn’t do enough to address health care costs.  Fair enough, but that can be dealt with later, can it not? The bill can be amended after passage, this bill after all itself amends the Social security act, and since no legislation is perfect, it can be worked out at a later date, either in conference or in other legislation further on down the road. The one bit that gets me is this word that he tossed in the last sentence of the 4th paragraph of his letter. 

   Fear. 

   He FEARS tax increases may come about due to the array of government programs created by this legislation… 

    He  fears taxes,  fights quality legislation meant to help the average person claiming it hurts them when it looks for all the world like it doesn’t, he likes many parts of the legislation but can’t vote for it… It saves billions, but not enough…   Damn it!  Ya know, as much as he has his head in the right place, I think he might be a blue dog!  

       Damn it!

Anagram: No More Anagrams, Dammit/ Mainstream Roman Dogma

    It’s Veterans day. Millions have served in this nations armed forces, and over one million Americans have died in War since this nations inception, to protect the rights that we hold so dear.  Remember them and honor them and their strength this day.

         91 years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, WW1 ended.  Over 116,000 men died in battle during our 1 year in that war to end all wars.  23 years later another World War started that took 3 times that number of American lives.  We set aside this day to pause and reflect on the hard sacrifices of the millions of our fine servicemen and women over our 230+ years of history.  One day doesn’t seem enough.

    God Bless America.

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   Not much to look at, unless you think Thom Hartmann is pretty, but an enlightening conversation between radio host Thom Hartmann and Professor and Author George Lakoff.  Enlightening as far as the President’s mindset and political agenda.  Enlightening as far as the admission that there is simply not enough progressive media infrastructure.  It may not be news to you if you are liberal that the Presidents entire agenda is built around the twin concepts of social responsibility and empowerment, but the more conservative elements of society may be a bit surprised by it.  Why? I dunno…

boehner_john_nr

Captain Oblivious

     Perhaps its the way they want so completely to control the “narrative”.  That’s a big word for all the political spinners, narrative.  I would talk to you about the right wing narrative, but I prefer not to.  When I see pictures of Dachau used to reference this government, as if the devil himself, Adolph Hitler, was running it, mere feet away from the minority leader of the House of Representatives and claims to not have seen it, when I hear about inflated numbers given for a “press conference” by Michelle Bachmann where the public was invited, but the press wasn’t and there were no questions asked of those who spoke at that press conference, when I see video run on a right wing network that purports to be from that “press conference” that is in fact from a tea party that happened in September, I tend to not want to help these people along by giving them much in the way of coverage. 

   And if you don’t call that controlling the narrative you really aren’t paying attention. 

       For all that you hear about there being a left wing liberal media bias, the bias that I see in fact tilts the other way, heavily so. The left wing doesn’t have enough media control to create a nationwide narrative like the right wing has, which is why the debate nowadays is so skewed to the wants and needs of the right. 

       Which is why the Presidents attempts at bipartisanship are doomed to fail.  There is the bipartisanship that Prof. Lakoff speaks of in the above video, which is reaching to people on individual subjects.   The President speaks to the people about the subjects he feels he must inform them about, not about politics.  He doesn’t talk  about “Democrats”, he talks about ideas, like health care and banking regulations, and the wants and needs of the people. But actual bipartisanship will elude him, because the narrative the other side has, they have invested in so heavily, it seems, that they cannot break away from it. 

    They have held that narrative in place since the days of Ronald Reagan.  It is all about fear and making Americans feel small in comparison to government.  Giving their followers a scapegoat called government, while never doing anything about the evils they claim to be against.  Taxes never American Flaggo away under these Con$ervative Republican$, no matter how many Republican$ are around, or who is in charge,whether they control the White House and the house and senate or some combination of these three, yet you hear how they are against taxes, but those taxes never really get cut.  The amount taken out of my check in taxes, percentage wise, was just as much in 1988 as it was in 1998 as it was in 2008.  88 was Reagan’s last year, there was a republican majority in the house and senate 10 years later under a moderate democratic president, and 2008….well you all know the mess that we had to deal with in 2008.

    Bipartisanship on that level never really works if those on one side of the aisle think of themselves as separate and apart from those on the other, which is a political narrative that the right has tried to foment in one way or another since at least the early days of Reagan and Goldwater’s presidential run in the 60’s, and became the voice of power in America under the tutelage of Newt Gingrich, with his “Contract on America”.

   I believe that American politics is a road.  A long wide road, there are those on the far left who think the only path is there on the left and see the other side as a path to destruction.  There are those on the right who think the only path is there on the right and see the other side as a path to destruction. What those on the far left and far right don’t realize is that this is one road, which we ALL travel on, and it is wide enough for everyone. 

  I may yell and scream about the tactics and propaganda of those who differ from me politically here in America, and I think I am right to, but they and I are Americans, and I always have enough room in my heart to let them in and treat them like family, because they are Americans. And in the end that is what’s important.  Similarities, not differences, we all want whats best for America, we just have different visions of how to get there and what needs to be done to get us to that great place called the future.

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    One final note, If you read the title of this blog,  you see that it says No more anagrams.  I am going to( if i remember) start putting my titles together without them.  They take a long time to do, time i could spend writing and researching.

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   That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, from our founding fathers, Via Wikiquote:  The art of concluding from experience and observation consists in evaluating declaration_independenceprobabilities, in estimating if they are high or numerous enough to constitute proof. This type of calculation is more complicated and more difficult than one might think. It demands a great sagacity generally above the power of common people. The success of charlatans, sorcerors, and alchemists — and all those who abuse public credulity — is founded on errors in this type of calculation.  Benjamin Franklin

It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.  George Washington

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.  Thomas Jefferson

Anagram: Democracy In Action/ Or A Damn Icy Conceit

        I’ve been watching C-Span for the last few minutes and I am ever so slightly surprised to see the Stupak anti-abortion amendment pass.  766px-houseofrepresentativesFrom what I had heard, there weren’t enough votes to pass the stupak amendment.  I don’t off hand mind, not because I think there should be no abortion coverage per se, but because I think that until something better than the hyde amendment comes along, it is the law of the land and that is that.  The amendment passed 240-194

     The House has rejected the Republican alternative health care plan, 176-258.  This vote went almost  along party lines, with a single republican vote against the republican alternative.  That vote was from Tim Johnson, the representative from Urbana, Illinois. 

    At this point the motion to recommit is being debated, with 5 minutes of speeches by the Republicans before the vote to pass or not pass the Health care bill.  I, and I am sure that a great deal of other people, expect this bill to pass, albeit by a thin margin.  For those who do not know what “motion to recommit” means, it is simply a way to send the bill back to committee, to be reworked from the ground up. 

      But before the final vote, there is going to be a whole lot of yelling cajoling and wrangling.  That is what is going on now.  Rep. Braley from Iowa is speaking now, and they have had to stop the proceedings in order to bring the house to order.  There has been a great many instances of yelling from both sides of the house, both sides are really giving each other the business.

     In truth this is fun. If you want to watch it live, click here

   6 democrats have voted for the motion to recommit, one republican against, but the motion will not pass., with 8 minutes left in the vote, 229 dems and 1 repub have voted against the motion to recommit. 

The vote on the health care bill itself is happening as we speak. The votes tallied quickly early, and after only a few minutes most votes have been tallied. The early vote has gone almost entirely along party lines.  But that is changing as votes come in, with some democrats voting against.

  22 votes left, the bill sits at 208-205.  Passage may well happen in the next minute or two.

  17 votes left… 212-206, ten of those 17 votes are democrats and 7 are republican.

  10 votes left… 216-209, and the breakdown is now 7 dems and 3 gop.

   THE BILL IS PASSED.  11:07 pm  The final vote numbers:  220 – 215.  219 Democrats and 1 Republican for, 175 Republicans and 39 Democrats against.  The one republican to vote for the bill is Rep. Joseph Cao from Louisiana.

    And my representative, Rep. Mike McMahon (D) voted against.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I will wait until I hear why he voted against.  If I find out he’s a blue dog, he will NOT get my vote come next election cycle.  BLUE DOGS SUCK.  I don’t want to find out that I actually voted for some half assed republican wannabe when I thought I was voting for a Democrat. THAT would piss me off.  We’ll see.  I’ll be contacting his office to find out what the hell is up with this vote, and will let you know what happens.

   _____________________________________________________________________

    That’s it for me.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, via wikiquote:   Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.  Adam Smith

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.  Frederick Douglass

Anagram: Getting Old Gracelessly/ Recalled Snotty Giggles

       More is getting old around here than just this blog.  In about an hour, I will turn 42 years old.  I was born 15 minutes after midnight on Thursday the tenth of August in the year of our lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven.  Happy Birthday to me!   

      A viddy about the myths of blogging before I get to the Blog proper.

      A link, about health care legislation.  And now some talk about it.

      I don’t get the yelling and screaming town hall thing that the Republicans are pulling here.  There is justifiable anger, and there is this stuff.  Yes you can be righteously angry if someone is going to spend your hard earned tax dollars and then tell you how you are going to die, but fact of the matter is that most of the crap being spoken about here simply isn’t true.  The “Deathers” as they are commonly called on the left side of this debate have not a leg to stand on.  The legislation does not say anything at all, in any way shape or form about someone coming to your home to decide what level of treatments you may have at end of life. 

     I call Bullshit on this.  There is nothing even vaguely close to this in the legislation.   The closest you can get to this is a clause that states that, AT YOUR REQUEST, you can get Social Security to give you an “advance care planning consultation”. 

     That’s it.  No one telling you when to die.  No one saying what you may have and what you may not have.  And the important words the deathers miss here are the three bold print words in there. 

  boehner_john_nr There are other issues with the debate.   Recently John Boehner said that the health care legislation”will require (Americans) to subsidize abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars.” 

     BULLSHIT.

     The word “Abortion” does not appear in the bill. Anywhere.  And to specifically subsidize a procedure, it would have to mention it within the parameters of both the procedure and when precisely it can and cannot be done.   Tough thing to do when the word is not in the bill.  But Boehner and bullshit were made for each other, so it’s no surprise that they show up together here.

      For those of you who are unfamiliar with the issue, the government does not finance abortions as part of their health care system.  Period.  End of statement. It’s called the Hyde Amendment, and has been the law of the land since 1976.  Click the link and read all about it.  And stop lying about the bill dammit.

   You know what? Read THIS link to find out about it yourself.  In it’s entirety, the text of the bill as produced by the House of Representatives on July 14th.  I’ll comb through it myself in as complete a fashion as I can in the limited time I have.  Unlike Representatives in the house, I don’t have staffers that will read the important bits for me so that I can give you edited highlights.  I gotta do this myself, and it’s gonna take time. 

   I only found it a few minutes ago, after a long and laborious search.  What I may do is over the next few days, just take sections of the bill,  cut and paste them here, and comment as I am able to. 

     Sounds like a plan. Better than watching people yell about a subject they clearly feel, and rightly so, is important but have little actual knowledge of.  Emotion here can only get you so far.  After the emotions run dry, you need facts, and facts I will bring.  But that will bring issues of its own.

     For those of you who have never actually read legislation, it is a very long and tedious job indeed.  An example follows, from the above 766px-houseofrepresentativesmentioned health care legislation.

SEC. 121. COVERAGE OF ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE.

    (a) In General- A qualified health benefits plan shall provide coverage that at least meets the benefit standards adopted under section 124 for the essential benefits package described in section 122 for the plan year involved.
    (b) Choice of Coverage-
    • (1) NON-EXCHANGE-PARTICIPATING HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS- In the case of a qualified health benefits plan that is not an Exchange-participating health benefits plan, such plan may offer such coverage in addition to the essential benefits package as the QHBP offering entity may specify.
    • (2) EXCHANGE-PARTICIPATING HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS- In the case of an Exchange-participating health benefits plan, such plan is required under section 203 to provide specified levels of benefits and, in the case of a plan offering a premium-plus level of benefits, provide additional benefits.
    • (3) CONTINUATION OF OFFERING OF SEPARATE EXCEPTED BENEFITS COVERAGE- Nothing in this division shall be construed as affecting the offering of health benefits in the form of excepted benefits (described in section 102(b)(1)(B)(ii)) if such benefits are offered under a separate policy, contract, or certificate of insurance.
    (c) No Restrictions on Coverage Unrelated to Clinical Appropriateness- A qualified health benefits plan may not impose any restriction (other than cost-sharing) unrelated to clinical appropriateness on the coverage of the health care items and services.

     Fun, huh?

      Unless you have actually read section 124, which then points to a different section of the legislation, and then back at itself, and then read section 203, as well as section 102 paragraph b subsection blah blah blah, you have at best half of the story on what this section says.  And that is if you can get through the standard legalese and jargon in the bill. 

    And what this actually is is a set of standards for the health insurance industry for pre-existing health care plans, and it says that, if you have coverage, and that coverage changes, you have a legal minimum of coverage that must be provided.  And that there are standards that must be met by the insurer to provide basic coverage.

     A tough read, but not impossible, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    I’ll hit this again tomorrow.  A second viddy and I am done.  Watch Senator Kyl from Arizona lie about abortion and the health care bill.  Dumbass.  Does he think we can’t read?

    That’s it for me.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets, Via Wikiquote:   By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.  Lord Acton

Justice, I think, is the tolerable accommodation of the conflicting interests of society, and I don’t believe there is any royal road to attain such accommodations concretely.  Learned Hand

Anagram: Fortitude/Red Outfit

       I watched, for several hours, Hearings by the house banking and finance committee.  I watched as Gary Ackerman and Maxine Waters and Barney Frank  and a number of others questioned, cajoled, needled, and in other ways tried to get exactly what the American people want and need from the giants of the Banking Industry as far as the money we have given them.  Answers.  We got some, but not the answers that we were necessarily looking for. 

     We found out that these guys really want to play nice, to get on the good side of the American taxpayer, and that some of them seem at 595px-dollarnote_siegel_hqleast have their hearts almost in the right place.  They spoke like they really were doing all they could.  They tried to look like they had the best interests of the American people at heart, they failed but they tried.  Their heads may be firmly jammed up their asses, but their hearts are almost in the right place.   Almost, but not quite.

      There were, as you saw in the above video, seeming out right lies told to congress.  Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, said “we haven’t raised rates in two years”.  How many of you have credit cards? From how many different companies? And how many times have you run into a time over the last two years where your rates have gone up? Mister Pandit stretches the truth far beyond recognition. 

      Less than 2 years ago,  Citigroup fought off regulation by telling congress it would not raise rates on accounts until they expire, and then reneged on that promise several months ago. That is less than 2 years, and how can you call it not raising rates when hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of former card holders were being hit with higher rates?  Would not the words “Higher rates” apply to everyone who has to pay instead of just live accounts?

   At the Time this story ran, Rep. Carolyn Maloney made the following statement, from a NYT story from last November:

     Banks appear to be repricing cards for economic reasons — theirs, not their customers’,” she said. “Apparently a deal is only a deal when it doesn’t cost the financial institution too much money 

   

     NUTS!  We knew that about the Banks, but it is angering as all hell.  These guys always think about themselves first.  Which in times of plenty is not a bad thing, but when we are are all flapping in the breeze, don’t just leave us hanging out there and pull yourselves in….at OUR expense. Especially when its on OUR dime.

     The credit they claim to give, we do not see.  That does not mean it does not exist, but they claim that they give credit, and since we are the ones who would receive it, both personally and our businesses, and we are not recieving it, it becomes well nigh unbelievable, their claims fall on deaf ears. 

     All in all what I heard from these Millionaire bankers was “We are doing all we can and we understand your anger.”  Well to that I think America has a simple response.  “No you aren’t and No you don’t”  We’ll understand when our credit card rates fall below the rates they exist at now, which more than borders on usury, and if you think 24.99% interest is fair,  and fees on top of debt and interest payments are fair, you are an asshole .  We’ll understand when you go out of your way to clear up less than clear language in your contracts that trap unsuspecting people into deals that hurt them in the long run.  

       We are responsible for the debts we create, and will pay them off, but when you do business the way you have for years and years, and it hurts the people you claim to be  “Helping”, and then you come to us for help, be thankful we are generous with you.  And try to extend that generosity back to us.  We are, after all, pulling your stupid asses out of the fire you started.

       One More Video, a few quotes, and I am done.

       Barney Frank’s Opening statement from today’s hearings.

    That’s it for me.  Later.

Today’s Nuggets, From Barney Frank, Via Wikiquote :  In the debate between those who believe in essentially unregulated markets and others who hold that reasonable regulation diminishes market excesses without inhibiting their basic function, the sub-prime situation unfortunately provides ammunition for the latter view.   Said in August 2007

In a free society a large degree of human activity is none of the government’s business. We should make criminal what’s going to hurt other people and other than that we should leave it to people to make their own choices.

Anagram: Pragmatic Insult/ Stimulating Crap

     President Obama’s $819,000,000,000 stimulus package passed the house a few minutes ago.  In a not so surprising move, not one Republican voted for it, 766px-houseofrepresentativeswhile 15 democrats voted against.  It passed by a vote of 244-188.  With the exception of those blue dog democrats who voted with the republicans, this was a party line vote.   The Republican house leader, John Boehner, a few days ago said the bill was loaded down with wasteful and slow moving spending that won’t create or preserve jobs in America.  The Indication was that there was little support.  Not none, but it really isn’t all that surprising.  The House Republicans, if this turns into a Giant boondoggle, look like geniuses for keeping away from it. 

       But there is also a downside for the Republicans here.  Not only do they look very partisan in an era when the President is very much trying to work with the other side of the aisle, they also find themselves in the clearly uncomfortable position of rooting against America.  How exactly is that?  If the stimulus fails to do it’s job of creating jobs and stimulating the economy, America is screwed, at the very least in the short term. And that is what they have to root for here, otherwise they voted against the bill that saved the economy.

     And rather than put something in the bill that would help create jobs while stimulating the economy, they tried putting in stupid crap, like the Neugebauer amendment, which would have stripped the bill of it’s spending entirely, making it nothing but a $275 billion dollar middle class tax cut.  Nice as it sounds, the economy needs more than that.  A great many Representatives have said as much, including house republicans.  So why put this kind of useless crap in the bill? As a way of saying they tried….despite the fact that the try is in and of itself a ploy to undermine the effectiveness of the stimulus, instead of an honest attempt at working with the other side of the aisle on legislation. 

     You may also hear stuff from the Republicans like  “Redistribution of wealth”.  What they don’t tell you is that  almost all taxes and all spending measures are, regardless of what side of the aisle they originate from, a “Redistribution of Wealth” .  Again, nothing but partisan bullshit. 

A Bowl of Republicans

A Bowl of Republicans

     A commentary on the above video from Tonight’s hardball with Chris Matthews.  Here he speaks to California republican representative Darrell Issa.   

           He starts off Weird here with the whole George Washington thing, and gets dumb as it goes on.  He hits the talking points hard here, very little actual thought goes on.  He complains about New federal programs, one would guess new programs means new jobs, and that’s…what…bad? OH…Redistribution of wealth…I didn’t think he’d go to the well with that stupidity quite that quick.  He then says something really stupid after that. He talks about giving  “money to people who ultimately spend all they receive as it is” like it’s a bad thing.    Wait… isn’t spending what we WANT people to do, Rep. Issa? Isn’t that what Stimulus means here?

      Then he talks about  “Net new money” saying that states will reduce what they spend.  Really? States need money for Infrastructure, new energy grids and the like.  But they won’t spend the money they get earmarked for spending for what reason exactly?  He says it’ll take a while to see where the waste fraud and abuse is.  Just because that’s what happened for 8 years in the White house does not mean that is what will happen here. 

    And that is just from the first two minutes of it.  Issa is a moron.  Watch and enjoy.

    Listen, I am done with this for the moment.  The Senate vote will come up next week, and I’ll bring more to you on this as I get it.

       A few quotes and I am done.

Today’s Nuggets, Via wikiquote:  A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.   Thomas Jefferson

What is earnest is not always true; on the contrary, error is often more earnest than truth.   Benjamin Disraeli

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      There is cuteness in this swearing in ceremony if you look for it.  All the representatives kids, from both sides of the aisle, took the oath along Calvin and Hobbes Dancingwith their representative parents.  Now THAT is a happy thing.

    The 111th congress came to order in both the house and senate today.   I watched as much of it as i could, but with them both being on at the same time, that made things a bit difficult.  I did for the election of the speaker of the house watch the house of representatives, along with my wife.  We also watched the swearing in ceremonies for the Senators, because both my wife and I were more familiar with them.  She was gladdened by the sight of Ted Kennedy walking up with Senator Kerry to be sworn in. Each senator walked up with a senator, or former senator as a witness to the swearing in.  Ted went up twice, as did former senator Pete Domenici.  The Senators went up four at a time to be sworn in, while, as you saw in the video, the Entire House was sworn in En masse.

      And Hokusai - Dragoni thought the entire thing with Cheney swearing in Joe Biden was a bit odd, seeing how he’ll have the V.P. post in two weeks.  But you do what you have to do, and until he becomes the V.P. He is still the senior senator from Delaware.

     I did not watch the proceedings of the senate after the swearing in ceremony, but i did watch some of the back and forth arguing over the new house rules that were voted on today.  There was a lot of hemming and hawing on both sides, as the Republicans made the claim that the changes to the rules involving the “motion to recommit” would shut them out of proceedings.  The dems fought back by saying that the rule, as is, are meant to send measures back to committee to die, and that is something the dems do not want.  The Legislation also repealed of one of the rules brought on by the “Contract on America” that limited the amount of time anyone could be head of a committee to three terms. 

    The Democrats did not even use up all the time they had to argue the point, something I don’t think I have ever seen done.  The rules committee representative on the floor after a few simple points of procedure were made by Rep. Barney Frank, they didn’t even bother to really argue.  They just let the republicans talk themselves blue in the face.

    Note I did not mention Roland Burris.  That story has gotten enough press.  When there is a definitive answer as to when he will be seated, or not seated depending, I’ll talk about it.  Until then I am done with that subject… well, almost. Watch a video. This is Harry Reid talking about the Burris appointment on the Senate floor.

     For a listing of the events of the day on the official congressional record, as provided to the public by the office of the clerk of the House of representatives, click here.

     I have to tell you I enjoyed watching our congress back in action, regardless of any of the melodrama revolving around Mr. Burris or anyone else.   There was almost no real work done today.  The real work begins tomorrow.  I’ll drop news of any variety that happens regarding legislation as it happens, or as close to that as i can get.

      One  blurb of a story, a final video, a few quotes and I am done.

   JUST caught this one.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta, do you know him? The CNN doctor.  Yes? Good.  He may well be your next Surgeon General.  Yes you read that right.  The CNN Doctor, one of the most visible and well known practicing physicians in America, was on twitter and said that he has been contacted by the Obama transition to become the nations next Surgeon General.    This is a good thing.  For one thing the man is a Practicing Neurosurgeon.  For Another, you should be high profile in that job, where you can help affect, for the better, the health of millions of Americans.  He already does that now at CNN, he will, if he gets this job, be in an even better position to help America become a healthier nation.  And that is something I think America could really use.

      The Last video of the day: Harry Reid talking about the Coleman-Franken race.  The point he makes? You can’t win Mr. Coleman.  Give up. We’ve all been there, get over it.  You Lost.

    That’s it for me.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets, By Joe Biden,Via Wikiquote:   Full disclosure: I do not have absolute faith in the judgment and wisdom of the American obamadebatepeople. We’re all human, and we can all be misled. When leaders don’t level with citizens, we can’t expect them to make good judgments. But I do have absolute faith in the heart of the American people. The greatest resource in this country is the grit, the resolve, the courage, the basic decency, and the stubborn pride of its citizens.   

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that. And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress.