Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is There Such a Thing as Going Too Far?

See what you think about these turns of events.

From John L. Perry's article on the conservative site NewsMax:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it won't. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:
  • Officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to "obey the orders of the president of the United States."
  • Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
  • They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.
  • They can see that the economy, ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation, is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
  • They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
  • They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America's troop strength is allowed to sag.
  • They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
  • They can see the nation's safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.
So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Obama Risks a Domestic Military "Intervention"

[ Late note: AmericaBlog points out two things. First, NewsMax is sponsored by the Republican Party, so this was no rogue lunatic, this was the Party line. Second, NewsMax has taken this particular article off the Internet. I don't think they intended for it to get attention outside their base. ]

There were some characters in the text that my browser could not interpret, apparently commas, quotation marks, etc., and I took my best guess at them.

The USA has, in general, a two-party political system, and at any point in time one party has the Presidency, one has a majority in the Senate, one has the House -- they may all be the same party, as currently or during the previous administration, or they can be split up. What can you say? When one party has both houses of Congress and the Presidency, things look grim for the other party. It's frustrating. You have to campaign extra hard in the next election.

Or if you are, at heart, one of those antipatriots who hates the American way of life and the law as it is inscribed in the Constitution, you might recommend a military coup or armed insurrection by citizens.

There was a big conference last weekend called the "How To Take Back America Conference," co-chaired by the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, a supporter of our county's Citizens for Responsible Whatever. Speakers included Governor Mike Huckabee, "Joe the Plumber," U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Steve King, R-Iowa, Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dr. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Three-Star General Jerry Boykin.

One speaker at the conference was Eagle Forum's Kitty Werthmann, leading a workshop called “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.” She said:
Now, if we had had dictatorship, dictatorship overnight, and had we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle to the last person. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [audience applauds] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. [...] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism. Conservative Activist Explains How To Recognize Living Under Nazism

I think there will always be extremists, I can remember the John Birchers back in the day, they never actually went away. In a free country they are granted the right to speak out, and I suppose these kinds of people express the sentiments of a constant but small proportion of the population. They distrust government -- well, hey, I distrust government! But I distrust anarchy more. And I cannot think of a better system than the one we have, where the people elect representatives every few years and let them work it out. When the majority rules, by definition the really exceptionally best (and worst) opinions will be ignored, everything will tend toward mediocrity, toward the middle, that's just the way it works. Extremism from both ends of any continuum typically gets washed out. It's not pretty, but it's the best system the human race has come up with so far, and for the last couple hundred years it's worked pretty well.

It's possible that the Republican Party, by whipping up the frustration of working white people who feel they are losing control of the country, can win the next election. That's a plan, maybe that's what's going on here. But when you're telling people to arm themselves, when you're talking about the military rebelling against the elected government, you're in some scary rhetorical territory, it seems to me. Nancy Pelosi's words sounds very reasonable:
"I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, understanding that -- that some of the people -- the ears it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy Pelosi's words are so laughable precisely because she is an extremist who doesn't even try to watch her words!

September 30, 2009 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

citizens do need to have the right to be armed in case a repressive government emerges

that's a constitutionally guaranteed right

as long as the government allows dissent, protest, free speech, free religion and free elections with secret ballots, there's no excuse for armed revolt

we have that now and while things like the Baucus-Humana scandal and the insurance mandate and McCain-Feingold are scary, there's no excuse for any armed revolt when there is open dissent allowed

on the other hand, there's no feasible danger of it either and this is another blatant attempt by a liberal to make conservatives sound scary

September 30, 2009 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is freedom."

--Thomas Jefferson

September 30, 2009 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A government big enough to give us everything we need is big enough to take everything we have."

more TJ

"WASHINGTON (Sept. 30) -- The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether strict local and state gun control laws violate the Second Amendment, ensuring another high-profile battle over the rights of gun owners.

The court said it will review a lower court ruling that upheld a handgun ban in Chicago. Gun rights supporters challenged gun laws in Chicago and some suburbs immediately following the high court's decision in June 2008 that struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia, a federal enclave.

The new case tests whether last year's ruling applies as well to local and state laws."

September 30, 2009 1:57 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Wow, Anon, did I touch a nerve here?


September 30, 2009 2:01 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

You're insinuating that the Republican Party is behind these Radicals, when really they are just trying to capitalize on the rising anger they have no control over.

Likewise the Left is just trying to preposition themselves to point their finger at the right should something unfortunate happen to Obama.


I mean even if he got assassinated overseas by a foreign national, the Left, and you, would find a way to blame the Neo-Cons..... right?

As far as the Military Coup goes...... it'd be nice ....... but the chances are about as close to zero as you can get.

Sadly, the US military is the best in the world at culling out potential revolutionaries early in the training process. You dont make it into the top brass unless your respect for the chain of command is greater than your desire for military victory.

The only time our military's political masters even remotely tolerate rogues is when our continuity of government is in jeopardy.

"When the majority rules, by definition the really exceptionally best (and worst) opinions will be ignored, everything will tend toward mediocrity, toward the middle, that's just the way it works. Extremism from both ends of any continuum typically gets washed out. It's not pretty, but it's the best system the human race has come up with so far, and for the last couple hundred years it's worked pretty well.

Yeah, it has worked out great. It was designed by geniuses to be maintained by idiots. Its gonna be interesting to see how it endures once the "Majority" is comprised of the ancestors of those whom our brilliant Founders' oppressed. Obviously, Thomas Jefferson was just talkin' shit about the necessity to occasionally water the tree of Liberty.

It will also be interesting to see how our divisive system designed for "mediocrity", as you say, maintains its economic advantages over future rivals such as China, where one side of the political equation is not constantly engaged in partisan efforts to destroy to party currently in power. As our system does not allow us to engage in long-term strategical planning that wont be subject to reversal in the next election cycle.

I love being free, and I love being wealthy (relative to the global average) ....... I just hope majority rule, once the majority are socialistic idiots, doesn't force me to choose one over the other.

September 30, 2009 2:17 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

Its gonna be interesting to see how it endures once the "Majority" is comprised of the ancestors of those whom our brilliant Founders' oppressed

RT2 put his finger on the problem. What's gonna happen when pigmented people outnumber us good white folks? Are they smart enough to make representative democracy work? We better buy guns, and ammo, cos they might be too dumb to handle it.

September 30, 2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

both RT2 and Passerby are nuts

"Wow, Anon, did I touch a nerve here?"

which anon are you addressing?

September 30, 2009 2:42 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

"Anonymous" posted four comments in a row.


September 30, 2009 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, you can see the IP adresses and know they're not the same but which comment were you addressing as having hit a nerve?

September 30, 2009 3:16 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yes, Anon, I can see people's IP numbers, and if they're at work it shows me the name of their employer.


September 30, 2009 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, which anon comment do you think indicate a hit nerve?

September 30, 2009 3:47 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I thought the fact that he or she posted four comments in a row was significant. The general tone of paranoid hostility was consistent across all the comments. I wasn't commenting on anything in particular, not the knee-jerk reaction to Pelosi, not the Pavlovian "right to bear arms" reflex, the idealization of intimidating government by threat of insurrection, the fear that the government is going to "take everything we have," it's all the same statement.


September 30, 2009 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, as you know, the four anonymous comments were not by the same person

and none are paranoid

September 30, 2009 4:02 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

They all signed their comments "Anonymous," and don't flatter yourself that I go into the logs and look up the IP number of everybody that comments here. If they all want to use the same name, they're all the same person as far as I'm concerned.

And yes, paranoia saturates each one of those comments.


September 30, 2009 4:20 PM  
Anonymous anon-deluxe said...

oh, OK, I'll try not to indulge in flattery

and maybe the first TJ quote is borderline

I wouldn't have posted it

September 30, 2009 4:46 PM  
Anonymous RT2 said...

What about that racist "PASSerBy" guy ..... did you get his work IP address?

..... "What's gonna happen when pigmented people outnumber us good white folks? Are they smart enough to make representative democracy work? We better buy guns, and ammo, cos they might be too dumb to handle it."

..... sarcastic bastard. ;-)

Surely he can look at how well the local governments are working in Washington DC and Detroit, and extrapolate that everything's gonna be fine once the reigns of national power are firmly in their hands.

You only have to look at their various points of origin to realize they'll have no trouble maintaining the representative Democracy that was handed to them.

I mean yeah, it was great when nobody in the class wanted to play the part of Santa Anna in the school play ...... but its OK if the good guys and bad guys have switched places....... thats progress.

September 30, 2009 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Wow. Just wow.

I believe just proposing a military coup or armed revolution doesn't qualify as treason; one has to actually wield arms in rebellion against the government.

Can someone better informed than I comment?

September 30, 2009 4:52 PM  
Anonymous anon-deluxe said...

I'm better informed than you, Robert, and let me assure you, no one is planning a coup.

RT2, don't know if you mean what you say but you sound crazy.

September 30, 2009 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

None of you "Anon" types are well-informed nor sane. I think we can all agree on that.

September 30, 2009 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

There were so many complaints about it that NEWSMAX has removed the article from their website. Now they're trying to disown it and the author. Salon reports:

"The conservative magazine Newsmax has sent over a statement explaining why it took down a column published on its Web site that appeared to suggest a military coup against President Obama.

The statement, which appears in full below, tries a couple of dodges to get Newsmax off the hook, and they don't quite succeed.

For one thing, the statement says that the column's author, John L. Perry, "clearly stated that he was not advocating [a coup] scenario but simply describing one." That's technically true -- Perry did write, "America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it." But in the context of the full column, that appears to be just an attempt to provide some sort of deniability. Later in the piece, Perry strayed towards advocating a coup, writing:

Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don't shrug and say, "We can always worry about that later."

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

The statement also tries to distance Newsmax from Perry, saying, "He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger." That doesn't appear to be true -- his writings for the Web site are clearly in column and not blog form, and he's been contributing them for years. Plus, the author bio at the end of his articles describes him as "a regular columnist for," and his official biography on the site says he "contributes a regular column to"

By e-mail, Salon asked a spokeswoman for Newsmax how the description of Perry's relationship with the magazine fit with the information available on its site, and whether Newsmax would continue publishing his work. As of this post, she had not responded.

The full statement:

In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military. He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.

After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.

Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.

Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.

September 30, 2009 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are excerpts from an old piece from the Huffington Post, advocating the military arrest of President Bush. I tried to paste the entire thing here, but when I hit the submit button, it said that I had a limit of 4,096 characters. Thus, here's part of it:

"General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.
You can relieve the President of his command.
Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.
Article 134 reads:

"Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court."

Article 133 reads:
"Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

A gentleman is understood to have a duty to avoid dishonest acts, displays of indecency, lawlessness, dealing unfairly, indecorum, injustice, or acts of cruelty.

To be crystal clear - I am NOT advocating or inciting you to undertake any illegal act, insurrection, mutiny, putsch or military coup. You are an honorable patriotic man.

I am NOT advocating or inciting you to interfere with any of the civilian duties of the President. That would not be a legal action by you.

However you have the legal responsibility - under Article 134 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice - to protect the troops under your command by relieving the President of his MILITARY command.
If you have reason to believe that the President is responsible for "disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and for "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital" then you have the obligation to act.

In addition to relieving him of his command as Commander-In-Chief, you also have authority to place the President under MILITARY arrest.
Article 7 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice specifically says:

(b) Any person authorized under regulations governing the armed forces to apprehend persons subject to this Code may do so upon reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and that the person apprehended committed it.

(c) All officers, warrant officers, petty officers, and noncommissioned officers shall have authority to quell all quarrels, frays, and disorders among persons subject to this Code and to apprehend persons subject to this Code who take part in the same.

I understand that it would not be an action to undertake lightly.

In all your 39 years of service you have shown total loyalty to the chain of command.

However, given the current imperilment of US troops, and the "Conduct Unbecoming Of An Officer And A Gentleman" of this President - you have a greater responsibility to your nation, your code of honor and to the US Constitution."

September 30, 2009 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, what we have is this:

Jim found a conservative group which had a break-out section where someone discussed the fact that we need to keep arms in case a repressive government came into power

then another commenter found a piece from the liberal internet site, Huffington Post, from the Bush presidency advocating a coup against Bush

just an interesting trivia fact: Al Haig was planning a coup during the final months of the Nixon presidency

anyway, back to the two parallel Obama and Bush coup proposals

we are a country of 300-odd million

is it really that remarkable that such a thing might go through one of those 300 million minds?

isn't the real question whether such plans are even remotely feasible

let's face it: barring a truly repressive dictator who somehow got into power and abolished our freedoms and Constitution, this would never happen

October 01, 2009 3:22 AM  
Anonymous anon-deluxe said...

Democrats are up to the same old tricks again. A Democrat Congressman says Republicans want you to die quickly and when asked to apologize, said he would only apologize to the dead for not ending this "holocaust".

Similar to Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer and Carter, this Democrat Congressman uses inflammatory language that you don't hear from the leaders of the Republicans in Congress.:

"House Republicans on Wednesday demanded an apology from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for saying from the floor of the chamber, "Republicans want you to die quickly," and brandishing a sign with a similar message.

Republicans even drafted a resolution that criticized Grayson for his remarks, stating that his behavior "was a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House," and that the House "disapproves of the behavior."

But Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) decided not to introduce the resolution, instead asking "respectfully . . . that he apologize to our leader."

Grayson made it clear that he would not be doing that. Instead, he said from the House floor that the only people who deserved an apology were those who did not have health insurance. "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America," he said."

October 01, 2009 6:02 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Representative Grayson interview last night.

Instead of apologizing to Republicans for saying their health care plan is: 1. Don't get sick, and 2. If you do, die quickly, Rep. Grayson opted to apologize to the forty-four thousand Americans who die each year because they don't have health insurance. After all, he's only using their own tactic back at them. Watch the video at the link above and see how many Republicans said the Democratic health care reform plan would lead all sorts of evils like death squads for granny.

In the meantime, Senator Grassley "can only" provide statistics from biased sources.

GRASSLEY: Well, you know, there are health economists around here, and I can only quote two. One is Heritage says that 83 million people are going to be forced out of their plan, employer plans, into public option. And Lewin Group says 120 million.

The "only" sources he "can" cite are the right wing Heritage Foundation and the Lewin group, which is wholly owned by a subsidiary of United HealthCare.

What does the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have to say about the numbers these "health economists" Grassley cited reported?

"...If we assumed that workers at larger firms would be allowed to purchase coverage through the exchanges, our estimate of the number of enrollees involved would undoubtedly be greater than 6 million, but we have not estimated the magnitude. Analysts at the Lewin Group recently estimated that if all employers were given access to the insurance exchanges, more than 100 million people would end up enrolling in the public plan. For several reasons, we anticipate that our estimate of the number of enrollees in the public plan would be substantially smaller than the Lewin Group’s, even if we assumed that all employers would have that option..."

October 01, 2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought about every single relative and friend I know who has died during my lifetime. Every single one of them had a good healthcare policy.

People die with or without healthcare coverage. Go figure.

Also, let's not forget that anyone can go to an emergency room to get care. They can't be turned away. So we can safely say that everyone has access to healthcare right now.

Go figure.

October 01, 2009 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

And I have a friend who is a nurse and had a stroke. She went to her insurer's ER, was given a pill to reduce her blood pressure, a referral for three visits with a psychiatrist so she could discuss her fears that her left side paralysis meant she had had a stroke, and was sent home.

Even WITH insurance, Americans can't get care.

Go figure.

October 01, 2009 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

ER healthcare

October 01, 2009 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you think that government-run healthcare is going to improve the QUALITY of healthcare?

I was in the store the other day and heard two older women talking about their husbands' experiences with the VA system. One was counseling the other to get her Congressman involved. "It's the only way you're going to get the right care" she said.

If Obamacare passes, legislators will need a staff of 1,000 to keep up with the number of people who will ask them to intervene and circumvent the healthcare system.

It will truly be a disaster of mammoth proportions.

October 01, 2009 10:41 AM  
Anonymous anon-deluxe said...

"Even WITH insurance, Americans can't get care."

anon-B, you sad thing

Even WITH national health insurance, Canadians can't get care:

"a cautionary tale from the land of the original public option, Canada. Here are the opening paragraphs of Sunday's Los Angeles Times dispatch:


When the pain in Christina Woodkey's legs became so severe that she could no longer hike or cross-country ski, she went to her local health clinic. The Calgary, Canada, resident was told she'd need to see a hip specialist. Because the problem was not life-threatening, however, she'd have to wait about a year.

So wait she did.

In January, the hip doctor told her that a narrowing of the spine was compressing her nerves and causing the pain. She needed a back specialist. The appointment was set for Sept. 30. 'When I was given that date, I asked when could I expect to have surgery,' said Woodkey, 72. 'They said it would be a year and a half after I had seen this doctor.'

So this month, she drove across the border into Montana and got the $50,000 surgery done in two days. 'I don't have insurance. We're not allowed to have private health insurance in Canada,' Woodkey said. 'It's not going to be easy to come up with the money. But I'm happy to say the pain is almost all gone.'

Whereas U.S. healthcare is predominantly a private system paid for by private insurers, things in Canada tend toward the other end of the spectrum: A universal, government-funded health system is only beginning to flirt with private-sector medicine.

Hoping to capitalize on patients who might otherwise go to the U.S. for speedier care, a network of technically illegal private clinics and surgical centers has sprung up in British Columbia, echoing a trend in Quebec. In October, the courts will be asked to decide whether the budding system should be sanctioned. More than 70 private health providers in British Columbia now schedule simple surgeries and tests such as MRIs with waits as short as a week or two, compared with the months it takes for a public surgical suite to become available for nonessential operations.

'What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated wait list,' said Brian Day, a former Canadian Medical Assn. director who runs a private surgical center in Vancouver. 'You cannot force a citizen in a free and democratic society to simply wait for healthcare, and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list.'"

In other words, while Congress debates whether to set U.S. medicine on the Canadian path, Canadians are desperately seeking their own private option. At least Ms. Woodkey had the safety valve of Montana and private American medicine. Once Congress passes a form of Medicare for all, with its inevitable government price controls and limits on care, Americans might not be so lucky.

Let's hope that by then Canada has expanded its own private option, so Americans will one day be able to visit Alberta for faster, better care. Unless Congress bars that too."

October 01, 2009 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Life expectancy:

Canada: 81.23 years, 8th highest in the world.

USA: 78.53 years, 42nd highest in the world.

Recently Senator Claire McCaskill hosted a town hall meeting. The Senator asked the crowd to raise their hands if they currently had Medicare. Lots of hands went up. Then she asked for them to raise their hands again if they want to get rid of their Medicare. No hands went up, not a single one.

Americans who have Medicare love it and want to keep their single payer public option health insurance.

That's why vast right wing conspiracists and their lemmings like Anon keep trying to scare granny that her Medicare will be cut.

October 01, 2009 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ONLY reason that Medicare works is because there's a private system too. The private system keeps the standards higher for Medicare. In fact, private insurers have to SUBSIDIZE Medicare!

Without private healthcare -- Medicare will go down the tubes -- and granny with it.

October 01, 2009 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, there will be private healthcare. Single-payer never made it to the point of serious consideration.

October 01, 2009 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi to anon-B:

PRESIDENT OBAMA is wrong when he says that his health-reform proposals would not affect benefits received by seniors.

Mr. Obama and fellow Democrats are not proposing changes in ordinary Medicare benefits. But they are pushing to trim billions of dollars -- the Senate Finance Committee would cut $113 billion -- from a program known as Medicare Advantage. These are managed-care-type programs that seniors can join instead of participating in regular fee-for-service Medicare with individual doctors.

Mr. Obama would end what he calls "unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies -- subsidies that do everything to pad their profits but don't improve the care of seniors." That is not accurate. Part of the Medicare Advantage overpayments do go to improve insurers' bottom lines. But insurers are required to plow a significant part of this extra money into added benefits -- lower premiums or co-payments, for example, or vision and dental coverage -- which is why the plans have been growing so fast.

As Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf concluded, the proposed change "could lead many plans to limit the benefits they offer, raise their premiums, or withdraw from the program." The CBO projects that by 2019, 2.7 million fewer seniors would be enrolled in the plans than would have without the changes.

Republicans have a point, when they complain about trimming Medicare without taking the steps necessary to shore it up. Indeed, for all the difficulty the finance panel has had scrounging up the money to pay for the insurance expansion, it is going to have find $200 billion-plus more to pay for the "doc fix" -- the scheduled cut in physician reimbursements that Congress ends up reversing every year. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) chose not to include funding the doc fix beyond next year, even though everyone recognizes that it will be done. It's fair to ask Democrats: Where, exactly, is that money to come from?

October 01, 2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Where, exactly, is that money to come from?"

Did you ask where we would get all the money for the 2003 expansion of Medicare by the GOP controlled government? How about their pre-emptive war in Iraq with its no-bid contracts? How about all their tax cuts for the top few wage earners?

If we can afford all that, then the USA, the richest nation on earth most certainly can afford to provide health care for every citizen.

Don't worry, channel Cheney: "Deficits don't matter."

October 01, 2009 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I wholeheartedly objected to most of Bush's decisions. However, my disagreements with Bush don't cloud my vision of Obama. Just because I didn't like one president doesn't mean I'm going to like the next one.

Regarding the deficit...I'm sure Cheney never envisioned an Obama deficit of this magnitude. Here's an excerpt from an August 24, 2009 CNN article:

"Since the beginning of the republic in the late 18th century, the U.S. government has accumulated a total of $11.67 trillion in debt. In the next decade, under the budget plans the Obama administration has in mind, that debt will almost double to about $20.67 trillion.

The administration is planning to run an average annual deficit of about $900 billion—or almost a trillion dollars—for each of the next ten years.

Until this year, according to historical budget tables published by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the largest annual budget deficit the U.S. government ever ran was in fiscal 2008, when the deficit was $458.5 billion.

The average deficits the Obama administration is now planning to run in each of the next ten years will now amost double that.

The good news that the White House leaked to Reuters late on Friday is that it is now projecting that this year’s deficit will be $1.58 trillion, down from the $1.84 trillion it earlier estimated.

At $1.58 trillion, this year’s deficit will be almost three and a half times as large as last year’s, and thus about three and a half times larger than the largest deficit the U.S. government has ever run."

October 01, 2009 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Jim
What's your opinion on the Honduras situation ?

Or have you followed that at all ?

I don't think we are on the right side there...

And how about the amendment requiring all bills be posted on the internet 72 hours in advance ? Good idea ? Pelosi won't advance it to a vote. Please give me a reason you think it is a bad idea, and if it's not, why have only 5 democrats signed on and the honorable Mr Van Hollen claims to not even be aware of the bill...

between cap and tax and the stimulus (bea justify for me how you think it is okay to spend 1.2 billion on attempting to figure out how to create summer jobs for teens in the same year you cut 1.3 billion from cardiac/cancer care for seniors... ) HUH ?

No I am not advocating violence. however, it was the military that removed the president of honduras when he decided term limits didn't apply to him and honduras supreme court decided he needed to be removed from the country when he announced he would run for a third term. What you would do if obama announced a third term and that he was going to ignore the constitution ? applaud ? (not that I think he is going to get a second term)... and whose side did we come down on as the USA ... the side of the sitting president of honduras trying to become a dictator by ignoring the constitution ? HUH ?

and then when a republican group of congressman say they want to go witness the Honduras election Kerry (the north vietnamese traitor) tells them they can't go ! What ?

did I wake up in China ?

I think so.

I have been studying history with my son. My son's private school is doing a refresher course on the constitution, the revolution, what caused the revolution, and the declaration of independence. Excessive taxation and lack of freedom.

Yes there are absolutely parallels.

because after all, the answer to 1984 is 1776....

I am going to have to buy a shirt that says that.

On my return from new hampshire, my husband came out from the gas station with a present for me. It was a shirt that says "I'll keep my freedom, religon and money" You can keep the change.

they were selling them in the gas station there !

I had to do playground duty at the school this week. usually I chat politics with the other moms, and usually I am to the right of them in my opinions. NOT ANYMORE>

everyone is very very worried.

I would suggest you start admitting you made a terrible mistake.

by the way, did you catch the PRESIDENT OF FRANCE called Obama naive ? I agree completely.

October 02, 2009 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family escaped from a country that was descending into communism, though I was born here. I was raised with a great education on how communism insidiously takes root in a country. People seem to have the impression that a country is totally free -- and then BAM -- it's taken over by some violent means. That is rarely the case. Usually, the people give away their liberties -- and THEN the country is ripe for takeover.

Right now my family is terrified of the government control that is taking place in the U.S. today. Obama is not, by a long shot, the first president to take us down this path, but he is accelerating it at an alarming rate.

October 02, 2009 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Merle said...

Anon, this is nuts. The last guy tapped our phones, read our email, jailed us without charges or representation, declared war on countries that were not a threat ... where were you then?

The present administration hasn't done anything like that. They are trying to get health costs under control and they invested in the economy, as administrations facing recessions before them have done, but your rights as an individual have not been touched.

This is the craziest thing.

October 02, 2009 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

To the Anon who wants to discuss Honduras, go find a foreign policy website.

To the Anon who is terrified our nation will be "...taken over by some violent means...", the people who are threatening armed insurrection in America today are people like James van Brunn, Scott Roeder, William Kostrics, and "Chris" -- all of them right wingers.

You can read the Department of Homeland Security's report on the growing threats of domestic violence here.

October 02, 2009 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

(bea justify for me how you think it is okay to spend 1.2 billion on attempting to figure out how to create summer jobs for teens in the same year you cut 1.3 billion from cardiac/cancer care for seniors... )

You care about $1 billion dollar offsets all of a sudden? Where were you when the Bushman was offsetting multiple hundreds of billions??

1. Dec 8, 2003 Backers say the $400 billion Medicare Prescription Drug Modernization Act will provide much-needed help for the nation's 40 million senior citizens to buy medications; critics say it is a giveaway to drug makers and insurance companies and a prelude to the dismantling of the program.

2. 04/17/03 Dateline: The White House this week announced details and mechanics of President Bush's proposed $550 billion tax cutting program designed to stimulate the still-sagging U.S. economy.

You never said a word about Bush's budget busting ways, Theresa, and have absolutely no credibility on this topic now.

What you would do if obama announced a third term and that he was going to ignore the constitution ?

Third term? I thought the plan was that Palin will win in 2012.

How much time do you waste each day worrying about such ridiculous "what ifs?"

Get a grip T!

You have nothing to fear but fear itself!

October 02, 2009 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bea -
to answer your question, I spend a lot of time worrying. but I don't think it is wasted and I don't believe it is out of my control.

I never believe anything is out of my control and I never accept anything as just done..I believe that I have the power to change numerous things within my control "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"

I always struggle with that last part. I think I can change everything. My dad, God rest his soul, taught me repeatedly that I could be anything I wanted to be and therefore it must be so. He was right - even in the 1980's . He believed in the intelligence of women (my mom would insist !) He said this message over and over again...

If you want something, you can achieve it.

I don't accept that "there is nothing that I can do" ....

because clearly there is. If everyone just "accepted that the problem was too big for them" where would we be ?

what if the congress of 1776 had just accepted the excessive taxes and control and the shutdown of our harbors, where would we be ?

do you agree with the statement - "give me liberty or give me death" or not ? I do.

I will not live in a society where govt tells me what I can and cannot do, even if there are using excessive monetary controls to try and influence the behavior of society.... because unless you go to a flat tax, that just benefits those who are trying to evade.

do you and your husband work on w2 income ? my husband and I do. we are "peons" in the corporate world. middle level managers, even at our 100K plus salaries. but they are w2 salaries, is the key. most executives get paid with "deferred income" packages, where they have excessive amounts placed in their tax deferred accounts, and dividends (taxed at 10-15%), etc.

Your target is in the wrong place.

why so many of us are in favor of the flat tax is to help elminate corporate fraud, where folks declare as business expenses loads of expenses that are personal expenses, and those of us who are standard employees get screwed.

case in point, unnamed friend of mine who does work on w2 had 3 "smarter" siblings, all multi-millionares, who got stimulus checks.

She did not. She is a single mom, and the ONLY child who helped her now widowed mom move out of her large house in bethesda. I show up with my son to help her widowed mom move (while the other 4 multi millionaire siblings had not made an appearance)... when her sister called ... I said.. give me the phone... "I am here helping your mom move" WHERE ARE YOU ?

someone needs to stand up for those who don't stand up for them selves ... you see bea, we are on the same side.

I will agree with you that the price tag for the prescription drug option for medicare is $40 billion per year. And that it was unfunded. A bad place to spend government money given that seniors couldn't afford their meds ? no. not a bad place to spend money.

$400 billion over it's lifetime.

Health care reform is $1T over it's lifetime, so just about double.

October 03, 2009 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Nobody said providing healthcare for every American would be cheap, but a lot of us think it's "not a bad place to spend money."

In fact more people agree every day.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill First said

"I would end up voting for it," he said. "As leader, I would take heat for it. ... That's what leadership is all about."...

...Frist also faults some in his own party for injecting alarmism into the debate. "Clearly, the death panels and public plan arguments have been overblown," he says. Frist noted that Republicans themselves voted for a Medicare prescription drug bill that would have established a version of a public plan--with the government negotiating directly with drug companies--if private-sector competition had failed to materialize

I agree with Senator Frist, the fear factor has been overblown nationally, and right here on Vigilance. No health care reform plan is going to kill granny to save money, Theresa, no matter how many times that lie gets repeated.

The New Republic reports:

For those keeping a tally, that's three former Republican Senate Majority Leaders who have endorsed the sorts of reforms President Obama and his allies are pushing. Previously, Howard Baker and Bob Dole signed on to a plan they negotiated with Tom Daschle and George Mitchell, former Democratic counterparts, through the auspices of the Biparitsan Policy Center.
And this is as it should be. For all of the crazy talk about a radical government takeover, health care reform 2009 is an amalgam of compromises, many based on ideas taken straight from former Republican proposals--the kind of proposal, in other words, at least a few Republicans should be able to embrace in good faith.

Now if only some currently serving members of the party could take a cue from the retired elder statesmen...

Of course Democrats don't need a single GOP vote, but if the GOP wants to remain a viable party, I hope some of their members will see the light and support the public option that the majority of Americans, including their constituents, want. For example, House Minority Leader Boehner might want to take note that "...57% of Ohioans support "giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans" and only 35% are opposed..."

October 03, 2009 9:14 AM  

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