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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,220

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

The Real Story Behind the Phony Canceled Health Insurance Scandal - MotherJones

(emphases my own)

Over the past few weeks, insurers have been sending out hundreds of thousands of notices alerting customers that their current plans won't comply with the ACA as of January 1 and that the owners of these plans need to find alternatives. Republicans and conservatives pointed to the development as evidence that Obama lied. Several prominent right-wingers who were covered under these plans, including Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, have helped fuel this outcry. When Malkin got her cancelation notice, she went on the Twitter warpath. She later wrote a piece for the National Review slugged, "Obama lied. My health plan died." Malkin had a high-deductible plan from Anthem Blue Cross that doesn't meet the minimum coverage requirements created by the ACA. So she has to get a new plan on the state health exchange. Malkin blamed Obamacare for destroying the individual insurance market.

The media have covered these complaints with gusto, as if the cancelations are a genuine crisis and indication of a failure of Obama's health care law. The ACA was designed specifically to prevent insurance companies from peddling lousy insurance plans and to force these firms to replace these subpar products with affordable plans providing better and effective coverage. The plans being canceled are ending because they offered insufficient coverage—and only a few years ago both Rs and Ds were upset about these kinds of plans. But there's been collective amnesia about the shoddy plans that GOPers have happily exploited in recent days. Perhaps Obama should have said, "Those of you who obtain insurance on the individual market can keep your plans unless it’s the sort of rip-off plan the ACA will forbid. Otherwise, you will be offered new options that actually give you decent coverage at a decent price."

Here's what led to the current situation: In the early aughts, the number of people with employer-based coverage declined dramatically. That left an increasing number of Americans uninsured and about 30 million adults underinsured and at serious financial risk. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that between 2003 and 2010, the number of underinsured Americans nearly doubled.

The fastest growing group of underinsured was people in households around the national median income, the $40,000 to $50,000 annual income range—folks who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but who don't have employer-sponsored plans or who can't afford the ones they're offered. Insurance companies jumped into the void with a lot of products Consumer Reports dubbed "junk insurance." These were plans that barely qualified as insurance because they had very low caps on coverage or weren't even really insurance at all. Many were merely medical discount programs that didn't protect against health-related financial calamity. Insurance companies, including many of the biggest, marketed these products aggressively and often misleadingly—which was made easier by the lack of disclosure requirements in the sale of health insurance. Regulators struggled to protect consumers because so many of the junk plans were perfectly legal.

PBS broadcasts "Flight: the Genius of Birds" an Intelligent Design pitch-piece. Was it free to PBS?

PBS on some stations has been broadcasting an intelligent design pitch, an affectation of a science based documentary. but if you to to find it on the PBS web-site you can't find it except on the sites of one station Colorado PBS: http://www.cpt12.org/community/viewer_buzz.cfm?s=898&ta=1 There are viewer complaints registered here, but no program details are available.

Another PBS station, KLRU Austin, Tex, has a page for the show on their web-site which has nothing but a link to the organization who produced it!

I'm assuming PBS got the ID piece for free. They seem to be treating it on their web-sites as an advertizement.

it's a very challenging problem not made less so by the fact that ALL corporate media is involved in


How many times (in the thousands?) have we seen 'discussions' about President Obama's 'leadership' and how many times has the word "filibuster" been mentioned on M$M since Obama took office (how about ZERO). The 'discussions' of Obama's "leadership" are right out of a Frank Luntz play-book on framing (twisting) the presentation of an issue. They've had probably thousands of these 'discussions' framed on Obama's 'leadership' but never have the M$M ever mentioned during Obama's administrations that the Repugnants have set records for filibustering legislation (they have madereport on the GOP filibustering Presidential appointments).

I don't know if the meeting, organized by Luntz, the GOP had on the day of President Obama's innauguration, detailed in Draper's book: "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives", has ever been brought up on M$M (possibly on 60 Minutes before Don Hewitt retired). But I do know, I have never seen it or heard of it. The GOP toadies making up the M$M prefer to have discussions of Obama's leadership rather than bring up the fact that the GOP leadership, at that meeting, decided on a strategy to fight everything Obama and the Democrats tried to do - in particular anything he tried to do to rebuild the economy after the Republicans Trickle Down - Deregulation disaster.

This is why millions are running to the internet and away from NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Diane Sawyer, CBS's Scott Pelley and PBS (Fox News - light) Gwen Awful and Judy Woodruff, to try to find out what's really going on. M$M carefully edit's their reporting so as to not offend the GOP.

For one of the best articles on the GOP mission of Government destruction/sabotage (so they could then campaign saying: "See, the Democrats/Obama can't get anything done/ Obama lacks 'leadership'! ") by Peter Beinart, published in Time magazine, read "Why Washington is Tied up in Knots".

For more on Frank Luntz see: Introducing a Searchable, Easily Accessed, Text-Version of the Frank Luntz Republican Playbook

the Luntz Republican Playbook was noted way back by DUers: freeandbrave, and Papau and NAO.

also from the Frank Luntz Republican Playbook PART X "APPENDIX: THE 14 WORDS NEVER TO USE" - this is a good short indicator of the crafty machinations of the Luntz mind.

NOte to anybody interested: note that I used names of celebrity news readers of M$M. This increases likelihood that the criticism of M$M will be seen by them. They all google their names to see how the public is responding to their performances. I suggest that when critiqueing M$M use names and any other terminology (i.e. if your criticism is specific to an issue) relevant to the issue/coverage you are talking about to increase the likelihood that it will be seen.


I checked this out a bit. Found that FRONTLINE had something about the meeting on Obama's innauguration day. They talked to Draper, among others (Republicans) about the meeting: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/government-elections-politics/inside-obamas-presidency/transcript-36/
(emphasis my own)
NEWT GINGRICH, NEWT GINGRICH, Speaker of the House, 1995-99: The point I made was that we had to be prepared, in the tradition of Wooden at UCLA, to run a full court press. And we had to see how Obama behaved and to offer an alternative to what he wanted to do.

ROBERT DRAPER: So they decided that they needed to begin to fight Obama on everything. This meant unyielding opposition to every one of the Obama administration’s legislative initiatives.

NOte Gingrich said "we had to see how Obama behaved and to offer an alternative to what he wanted to do"... this is exactly how the GOP operated. They didn't have any ideas of their own. They just waited to see what Obama wanted to do and then they came up with a plan that would obstruct delay or kill whatever it was Obama wanted to do. They brougth no ideas of their own to the table. This is nothing new for the GOP, but it was much more blatant.

PBS Frontline gave Luntz a chance to RE-FRAME "the meeting" of the GOP leaders (no doubt because Luntz knew the account of 'the meeting' in the broadcast of Jan 15, 2013 "Inside Obama's Presidency" sounded pretty bad, the GOP probably demanded a Luntz Reframing of "the meeting" which appeared on Feb 12, 2013 as a part of the broadcast "Cliffhanger: "How how Washington has failed to solve the country’s problems of debt and deficit". (don't expect anybody at PBS to agree this is how the interview came to be and came to be included in Cliffhanger). The Frank Luntz interview transcript is here: "How the “21st-Century Republicans” Changed Washington". The part about the meeting is pure Luntz disinformation wizardry. Luntz could get a murderer on trial off by convincing a jury that the murderer was using the gun as a fireworks display and unfortunately: "the victim ran into the bullets ... 24 times."

Roberts strikes down freedom of speech for the 99% & for sale to the 1%ers: "Down with Democracy"

Because there is only so much time available in a day for advertizing, those who have all the wealth will out bid those with less funds for media time. Most of the ad time will be bought by the 1%ers (including the Roberts 'corporate-humans' in that figure) leaving little time for those with less funds to get their message out. Roberts has made 'free speech' not free, but for sale to the highest bidder. It follows then, that the government will also be for sale to to the highest bidder.

With Citizens United and this decision Roberts has pretty much made it "open season" on government "by the people ... for the people" in America. ..."So long, it was sure good to know ya."

Roberts' animus for government "by the people for the people" and his craftiness in his pursuit of the end of Democracy in America, places him among the greatest villains of history.

Roberts Court continues assault on campaign finance law

Continuing its steady and unrelenting assault on the laws that limit the ability of wealthy Americans to influence the course of electoral campaigns, the Supreme Court today declared that regulations that limit the aggregate amount donors can give to electoral campaigns in a single election cycle are unconstitutional. This is a campaign finance limit you probably haven’t thought much about, and it’s one that affects a relatively small number of donors (at least up until now).

It’s too early to tell how much the removal of this limit will alter the electoral landscape. But the implication is clear. The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court seem determined to dismantle the entire edifice of campaign finance law.

Today’s ruling is a small but important step on the road to the ultimate victory for those who would like to make it possible to literally buy any politician you wish: the removal of all limits on contributions to candidates. That’s the end game, and that’s where this Court is headed.

There’s a nice explainer of what was at issue in this case here, and I’ll let the Post’s Aaron Blake explain what the Court did today:

In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that individuals should be able to give the maximum per-candidate and per-party contributions to as many party committees, presidential and congressional candidates as they want. Under the current limits, individuals could give no more than $123,000 in total and $48,600 to candidates for the 2013-2014 election cycle.

The court did not strike down contribution limits per candidate (now $2,600) and per party committee (now $32,400), but the decision does overturn previous rules that restricted individuals from giving those maximum donations to dozens of candidates and several party committees.

This meant that wealthy donors would have to be more selective about whom they contributed to — contributing to House Democrats’ campaign committee, for instance, but not Senate Democrats’.


Michael Morell: No cover-up on Benghazi


Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell denied Wednesday that there was any cover-up or political influence in messaging after the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“We did not deliberately downplay the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack in our analysis or in the talking points,” Morell said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

“And neither I, nor anyone else at the agency, deliberately misled anyone in Congress about any aspect of the tragedy in Benghazi,” Morell added.

Morell was deputy director of the agency at the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Both Morell and the agency, as well as the administration, have faced criticism from the right regarding the handling of the attack, including claims that there were political motives behind the framing of the information surrounding the incident.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/michael-morrell-benghazi-cia-105290.html#ixzz2xmOQ5N4q

7.1 million sign 4 ACA: there'll be much gnashing of teeth & rending of garments in GOP salons


_Uninsured getting insurance, insurance companies can't cancel when you get sick ("AAARRGGHHH").
_No more annual and life-time limits ("AAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!").
_Serfs getting medical treatment without waiting in emergency rooms anymore ("AAAWWWW SUNOFA....!!").

With over 7.1 million signed up for Obamacares, President Obama spikes the ball in the rose garden


THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you so much. Welcome to the White House.

Six months ago today, a big part of the Affordable Care Act kicked in as healthcare.gov and state insurance marketplaces went live. And millions of Americans finally had the same chance to buy quality, affordable health care -- and the peace of mind that comes with it -- as everybody else.

Last night, the first open-enrollment period under this law came to an end. And despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces -- 7.1. (Applause.)

The truth is, even more folks want to sign up. So anybody who was stuck in line because of the huge surge in demand over the past few days can still go back and finish your enrollment -- 7.1 million, that’s on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan. That’s on top of the millions more who have gained access through Medicaid expansion and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Making affordable coverage available to all Americans, including those with preexisting conditions, is now an important goal of this law. (Applause.)

And in these first six months, we’ve taken a big step forward. And just as importantly, this law is bringing greater security to Americans who already have coverage. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 100 million Americans have gained free preventive care, like mammograms and contraceptive care, under their existing plans. (Applause.) Because of this law, nearly 8 million seniors have saved almost $10 billion on their medicine because we’ve closed a gaping hole in Medicare’s prescription drug plan. We’re closing the donut hole. (Applause.) And because of this law, a whole lot of families won’t be driven into bankruptcy by a serious illness, because the Affordable Care Act prevents your insurer from placing dollar limits on the coverage they provide.

These are all benefits that have been taking place for a whole lot of families out there, many who don’t realize that they’ve received these benefits. But the bottom line is this: Under this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up and the growth of health care costs is down, and that’s good for our middle class and that’s good for our fiscal future. (Applause.)

Now, that doesn’t mean that all the problems in health care have been solved forever. Premiums are still rising for families who have insurance, whether you get it through your employer or you buy it on your own -- that’s been true every year for decades. But, so far, those premiums have risen more slowly since the Affordable Care Act passed than at any time in the past 50 years. It’s also true that, despite this law, millions of Americans remain uncovered in part because governors in some states for political reasons have deliberately refused to expand coverage under this law. But we’re going to work on that. And we’ll work to get more Americans covered with each passing year. (Applause.)

And while it remains true that you’ll still have to change your coverage if you graduate from college or turn 26 years old or move or switch jobs, or have a child -- just like you did before the Affordable Care Act was passed -- you can now go to healthcare.gov and use it year-round to enroll when circumstances in your life change. So, no, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t completely fixed our long-broken health care system, but this law has made our health care system a lot better -- a lot better. (Applause.)

All told, because of this law, millions of our fellow citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn’t just a few years ago -- and that’s something to be proud of. Regardless of your politics or your feelings about me, or your feelings about this law, that’s something that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our country. And there’s no good reason to go back.

]Let me give you a sense of what this change has meant for millions of our fellow Americans. I’ll just give you a few examples. Sean Casey, from Solana Beach, California, always made sure to cover his family on the private market. But preexisting medical conditions meant his annual tab was over $30,000. The Affordable Care Act changed that. See, if you have a preexisting condition, like being a cancer survivor, or if you suffer chronic pain from a tough job, or even if you’ve just been charged more for being a woman -– you can no longer be charged more than anybody else. So this year, the Casey family’s premiums will fall from over $30,000 to under $9,000. (Applause.)

And I know this because Sean took the time to write me a letter. “These savings,” he said, “will almost offset the cost of our daughter’s first year in college. I’m a big believer in this legislation, and it has removed a lot of complexity and, frankly, fear from my life. Please keep fighting for the ACA.” That's what Sean had to say.

Jeanne Goe is a bartender from Enola, Pennsylvania. Now, I think most folks are aware being a bartender, that's a job that usually doesn't offer health care. For years, Jeanne went uninsured or underinsured, often getting some health care through her local Planned Parenthood. In November, she bought a plan on the marketplace. In January, an illness sent her to the hospital. And because her new plan covered a CAT scan she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford, her doctor discovered that she also had ovarian cancer -– and gave her a chance to beat it. So she wrote me a letter, too. She said it’s going to be “a long tough road to kill this cancer, but I can walk that road knowing insurance isn’t an issue. I won’t be refused care. I hope to send a follow-up letter in a few months saying I am free and clear of this disease, but until then, I know I will be fighting just as you have been fighting for my life as a working American citizen.”

And after her first wellness visit under her new insurance plan, Marla Morine, from Fort Collins, Colorado, shared with me what it meant to her. “After using my new insurance for the first time, you probably heard my sigh of relief from the White House.” (Laughter.) “I felt like a human being again. I felt that I had value.”

That’s what the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is all about -– making sure that all of us, and all our fellow citizens, can count on the security of health care when we get sick; that the work and dignity of every person is acknowledged and affirmed. The newly insured like Marla deserve that dignity. Working Americans like Jeanne deserve that economic security. Women, the sick, survivors -- they deserve fair treatment in our health care system, all of which makes the constant politics around this law so troubling.

From the Buying of Government front: Koch Group, Spending Freely, Hones Attack on Government


WASHINGTON — Americans for Prosperity — the group backed by David H. and Charles G. Koch that has been pouring millions of dollars into competitive Senate races to the rising alarm of Democrats — was also among the politically active groups on the ground in this month’s special House election on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

But its agenda had little to do with the fate of David Jolly, the Republican candidate who won that race. The group’s ground troops — including those who knocked on doors, ran phone banks and reached out through social media to gauge ways to motivate voters — were part of a much greater project, with a prize much larger than a congressional seat.

Americans for Prosperity turned the Florida contest into its personal electoral laboratory to fine-tune get-out-the-vote tools and messaging for future elections as it pursues its overarching goal of convincing Americans that big government is bad government.

As the group emerges as a dominant force in the 2014 midterm elections, spending up to 10 times as much as any major outside Democratic group so far, officials of the organization say their effort is not confined to hammering away at President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. They are also trying to present the law as a case study in government ineptitude to change the way voters think about the role of government for years to come.

more here: Americans for Prosperity has already spent $7 million on ads against Kay Hagan. No, that’s no typo http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251359036

Americans for Prosperity has already spent $7 million on ads against Kay Hagan. No, that’s no typo


Readers of this blog know that Americans for Prosperity has spent huge sums of cash on ads criticizing vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection. But one state stands out from the pack: North Carolina, where the Koch brothers-backed group has already dropped a whopping $7 million+ on the airwaves barraging Sen. Kay Hagan (D).

In Monday's Read In over on Post Politics, Reid Wilson breaks down how much AFP spent in nine Senate races through the end of last week. North Carolina accounts for 44 percent of the more than $16 million the conservative group has shelled out.

So why North Carolina? Well, for starters, there arguably isn't a more crucial race in the battle for the Senate. Republicans need to pick up six seats to win back the majority. On our most recent rundown of the 10 seats most likely to flip party control, North Carolina was -- wait for it -- No. 6.

Secondly, of the four states won by Mitt Romney in which Democratic senators are running for reelection, North Carolina is the most expensive. As we wrote last week when we took a closer look at the Alaska Senate race, air time there as well as in Louisiana and Arkansas, isn't as expensive. Those states have smaller populations, thus less expensive media markets.


On the Airwaves: You've heard a lot about Americans for Prosperity hammering Democratic Senate candidates with early advertising. Here's a look at how much the outside group has spent on TV ads as of the end of last week, numbers they don't have to report to the FEC but were provided by a Democratic outside group watching the ad market:

Alaska (Sen. Mark Begich): $632,897
Arkansas (Sen. Mark Pryor): $1,196,944
Colorado (Sen. Mark Udall): $810,862
Iowa (open seat): $484,431
Louisiana (Sen. Mary Landrieu): $2,923,893
Michigan (open seat): $2,017,624
Montana (Sen. John Walsh): $376,279
North Carolina (Sen. Kay Hagan): $7,270,324 (!!!)
New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen): $699,233
Total: $16,412,487

-- Calendar check: It's only March 31! (AFP has reportedly spent $30 million so far this cycle, but the $16 million figure is just what it has spent on TV in those nine Senate races.)

Michigan GOP continues its attack on labor, will strip funding for MSU for teaching labor courses


Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education included language in an appropriations bill they voted out of committee last week which will strip Michigan State University of a half million dollars in annual funding if they continue to offer a training program for members of a variety of building trades unions. The legislation strips the funding if they offer any course which includes “participating with any business or union, or group of businesses or unions, in hosting, sponsoring, administering, or in any way facilitating an academy, seminar, class, course, conference, or program that provides instruction, in whole or in part, in techniques for encouraging or discouraging employees in regard to union organizing.”

The penalty for each violation of the provision would be a $500,000 reduction in a university’s state appropriation.

Meet the New Kochs: The DeVos Clan's Plan to Defund the Left ("Right to work" laws)

(emphases my own)
"In early December, the Michigan Freedom Fund unleashed its freedom-to-work ad campaign. The group also enlisted GOP pollster and communications guru Frank Luntz to help craft a message "bible" that was distributed to every Republican state lawmaker for use during the right-to-work push; it included prepackaged answers to potential questions from constituents and reporters. ("Q. Isn't this really just about trying to break unions? A. Freedom-to-work is about restoring workplace fairness and equality, not curtailing unions.") The Freedom Fund even brought Luntz to Lansing to rally lawmakers. This is your chance to make history, Luntz exhorted them. It's now or never.

On December 6, Snyder shocked the state by announcing that lawmakers would vote on right-to-work that day and that he would sign the legislation when it got to his desk. DeVos worked the phones all the way to the end, even calling several lawmakers on their cellphones as they prepared to cast their votes."

"Passing right-to-work in Michigan was more than a policy victory. It was a major score for Republicans who have long sought to weaken the Democratic Party by attacking its sources of funding and organizing muscle. "Michigan big labor literally controls one of the major political parties," Dick DeVos said last January. "I'm not suggesting they have influence; I'm saying they hold total dominance, command, and control." So DeVos and his allies hit labor—and the Democratic Party—where it hurt: their bank accounts. By attacking their opponents' revenue stream, they could help put Michigan into play for the GOP heading into the 2016 presidential race—as it was more than three decades earlier, when the state's Reagan Democrats were key to winning the White House.

More broadly, the Michigan fight has given hope—and a road map—to conservatives across the country working to cripple organized labor and defund the left. Whereas party activists had for years viewed right-to-work as a pipe dream, a determined and very wealthy family, putting in place all the elements of a classic political campaign, was able to move the needle in a matter of months. "Michigan is Stalingrad, man," one prominent conservative activist told me. "It's where the battle will be won or lost." "
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