How Bullshit Magically Turns Into Fact

by Karoli on November 25, 2011 · 94 comments

I used to write these stories debunking the right wing only, and usually in the context of Fox News. But lately, it seems as though the entire angry political blogosphere, whether right, left or libertarian, seems to need to magically transform bullshit into fact. I’m going to give you two examples of how this works so you can actually figure out for yourself why it’s important to keep your critical thinking cap on.

Shriek loudly! The DHS has infiltrated OWS on behalf of the 1%!!!!

Naomi Wolf wrote a nonsensical piece today that’s being spammed all over Twitter. It asserts that there is a deliberate plot afoot via collusion by the United States Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and our oligarchical overlords to undermine the very populist, leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement. One of her key pieces of evidence is an unsupported and unverified report that 18 mayors coordinated their crackdowns with the Department of Homeland Security. There’s only one problem with that: It’s nothing more than innuendo. Here, let me show you.

Here are the two links she provides as evidence: One to Wonkette; the other to Both articles point back to this absurd article on the site (a very, very right-wing Phil Anschutz, write-out-of-your-butt-with-no-evidence kind of site). Washingtonsblog goes one step further, updating with this:

(And for those who are understandably doubtful about as a news source,here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)

Got that? The headlines on both of these stories (Wonkette and WashingtonsBlog) were splayed across the sites in very large heading fonts: “Homeland Security Coordinated….” and yet the AP confirms everything BUT DHS coordination. Still, that didn’t stop Wolf from ignoring the AP story entirely and writing a piece for the Guardian that included links to bolster her argument that clearly don’t.

Why? I reiterate. No one has a source, no one has any evidence, and the originating story which Michael Moore and now Naomi Wolf breathlessly spread quotes an anonymous source with the promise of still more to come in the future. Well, it’s the future. It’s two weeks later and crickets from Mr. Ellis. Mission accomplished, though. Ask people who are paying attention to the OWS movement and they’ll swear up and down that yes, it was coordinated by DHS because MICHAEL MOORE and now NAOMI WOLF say so.

Truth: We don’t know. It isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility for mayors to consult with DHS. After all, that’s what they’re there for. To help local and state governments deal with threats. At best, one can conclude that maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t coordinate.

But again, it doesn’t matter if you can spread it on the Internet and get Keith Olbermann to pick it up and give Michael Moore a mic to spread that nonsense further (see video).

Milt Shook did a fantastic job showing us that the originating writer is not a credible source, too. Read it.

Undeterred, Wolf actually says this like it’s something readers have reason to believe:

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

There you have it. Bullshit, spread worldwide, with the full cooperation of so-called journalists. It’ll work, too, because she has enough name recognition that people won’t question her claims. Which leads me to example number two.

President Obama personally killed the public option

This one is big. It started on the big-name lefty blogs like FireDogLake, and Jane Hamsher was instrumental throughout the health care debate at spreading it around. The only problem is that it’s untrue. Even those who acknowledge that it’s untrue dig in deep, saying that if he’d just used his bully pulpit, just simply taken it on the road with the Public Option Gospel Tour, we’d have a public option today. Except, well, have a look at the jobs bill. Even with people in the streets, parks, tents and on bridges, Congress does nothing but block it. Nothing.

Still, the myth persists. This article from last week by Jonathan Bernstein on The Plum Line got no attention, but it should have.

Bernstein’s post was inspired by yet another disappointed lefty using it as evidence that we have somehow been betrayed and left behind by our Democratic President. (cue weeping and gnashing of teeth). Drew Westen wrote this:

…as pundits endlessly debated the popular “public option” in health care reform, that the president had cut a deal with health care industry executives to block it the year before.

He links to a Talking Points Memo story asserting that Jim Messina killed the public option in exchange for concessions by hospitals. The TPM story links to “corroboration” by a for-profit hospital lobbyist and David Kirkpatrick, a New York Times reporter.

Here’s the problem: The reporter is quoting the same lobbyist TPM used for their story. Yet again, all of it points back to one source and that source happens to be someone with a deep vested interest in a) stirring dissent just before a vote on the health care bill; b) eroding Obama’s credibility with his own party and constituents just before a vote on the health care bill; and c) it stretches the existence of a deal to one with a secret public option death clause.

Here’s what Kirkpatrick confirmed: There was a deal on costs with hospitals. This was widely reported when it was made. In fact, the President had a press and photo opportunity at the time the deal was made. Here are a few links to articles ahead of the actual deal, reported by various sources:

Politico: Hospitals nearing a deal with White House
USAToday: Biden announces White House deal with hospitals
New York Times: White House and Hospitals Are Reported to Be Near Deal

Those were in July, 2009, long before the public option debate became a full-scale war. Remember, the House passed a bill with the public option included later in 2009. Here’s an analysis in the New York Times of what hospitals got and gave. In a nutshell: Hospitals would receive about $171 billion in extra reimbursements under Medicare changes in the ACA while giving up $155 billion in cost cuts, with most of the cuts coming into play on a delayed basis. There were some deals on emergency care, provided the numbers of uninsured came down.

Read this: There was no mention, not even a whisper, of any “dealmaking” over the public option, but that didn’t stop the New York Times from quoting the very same lobbyist with no independent verification in August, 2009.

That didn’t stop the Hamshers and Uygurs of the world from jumping on the “public option killed in secret deal train”, but not until about eight months later. Watch Cenk Uygur tell his audience all about how the public option was killed in a secret deal:

He repeats exactly the same thing everyone else repeated, except no one bothered to verify facts. No one.

That, my friends, is how bullshit magically transforms into fact on the left, with magical unsourced, unverified, but narrative-friendly assertions.

Why do facts matter?

Great question. Why do they? Clearly we can have top-name journalists out there on top-name newspaper sites like the New York Times and the Guardian spewing whatever nonsense they think fits their narrative, with no consequence. A large segment of the left will view their claims as further evidence they shouldn’t bother supporting a President who is one of the most progressive Presidents in modern history while the right wing will cluck and concern troll about how evil the left is. A fact-free environment gives everyone the right to turn the narrative into one they want in order to persuade a larger segment of the population they’re right.

Here’s the problem. The right wing has this mastered and they have a 24-hour news network to help them spread the word. They’ve gamed social media and aren’t shy about buying sponsored links on every left-wing page they can. When the Naomi Wolfs, Michael Moores, and others hand them something they can use on their influential but fact-free networks, they run with it.

Our side is less organized, and generally less in step with what the average low information voter might respond to. So when the LEFT begins to spread these lies across their sphere of influence, it peels off and suppresses enthusiasm, one small group at a time. Their goal is purity. They don’t live in practical terms. If you don’t believe me, please go review Ralph Nader’s role in handing the election in 2000 over to George W. Bush. Between Nader and the United States Supreme Court, one has to wonder which masters they serve, but if you’ve read this far, know this: They are not serving masters who want anything good for you, or anyone else.

Yes. Facts matter. They matter, and it matters that so-called reputable publications exist as fact-free entities when the narrative suits. Who benefits? The same people Naomi Wolf and Michael Moore call the 1%. Who are they working for again?

Update re: alleged DHS coordination In Portland, Feds were involved because occupiers were on federal land. But pay attention:

There is another line of thinking out there that runs directly counter to the federal-coordination theory: Ruiz wouldn’t comment on this, but one well-placed city source said, in fact, that the feds were mostly inclined to leave Schrunk Plaza open. It was city officials who cajoled them into getting on board—lest they watch most of Occupy’s camp merely move several hundred feet south onto federal land. Which would have been awkward for the city. But also interesting.

Should you accept as fact the idea that the feds were reluctant and the city pushed them along? NO. Why? Because it’s attributed to an anonymous source with nothing to back it up, which makes this theory as worthy as the DHS coordination theory, or just speculation with no facts behind it.

Update 2: AngryBlackLady has a post at her site that reminds me there were three other posts strongly debunking the whole #OWS coordination “theory”. Check them out here and here. Finally, Joshua Holland, senior Alternet editor, wrote a terrific post a couple of weeks ago about why DHS probably didn’t coordinate with cities.

Strange how those counterpoints went ignored by Ms. Wolf.

  • Dorothy Rissman

    A+.  thx.

  • Pirate Wench

    The lines that annoys me most in this Countdown clip are when Moore says “Obama wants it both ways” and “Even though I support him” (In reference to Obama). 
    To start with – Obama is the President for ALL Of Americans, not just the 99%, and although I believe the 1% MUST be reigned in and quashed in so far as what they are doing to the rest of us, I also believe that the President can’t take sides because no matter what – if he stands with the 99% – the 1% will use their endless wealth to brain wash more of America into believing that Obama is the worst thing that’s happened since the fall of the Roman Empire. 
    As far as Moore’s “support” of Obama – well, no I’m sorry – I haven’t seen that at all.
    Maybe it just comes down to the fact that I dislike Michael Moore because he seems too opportunistic to truly be interested in anything that isn’t going to get his name out there and get him more media time.
    I’m probably wrong on all these points – but hey that’s just how I feel.

  • Cain S. LaTrans

    She’s lost it.

  • Suz Prescott

    I talked with a woman today who
    likes Romney because “he seems like a decent man.” She said her
    friends in Mass like him and his healthcare plan but seemed to know little else
    about him; she  seemed like another victim of social contagion rather than the possessor of any evidence
    besides her friends’ comments.  Critical thinking remarkably absent. Lots of work to do.

  • Anonymous

    This is all Big Lie propaganda. Josef Goebbels would be pleased.

  • Pingback: Balloon Juice » #OWS: The Shocking Truth of Naomi Wolf’s Journalistic Hackery

  • Pingback: Balloon Juice » #OWS: The Shocking Truth of Naomi Wolf’s Journalistic Hackery

  • Anonymous

    quality! quality! quality! bravo Karoli! Not sure what the point of the whole “the evil-obama-1%-corporate-america” is out to get folks who don’t seem to have a specific strategy or agenda beyond voicing general frustration which while noble, isn’t exactly catching anyone in power by surprise.

  • charlesfrith

    I always love bumping into friends on the net. We’ve been doing this a long time.

  • charlesfrith

    Though to be more constructive as I’ve seen you make this point on twitter. What if enough people protested without demands until the power elite made concessions. This would be an interesting protest model. A whaddya got strategy.

    Think about it. Something got to give.

  • Karoli

    I’m not sure of the point either, but you’d like to think one side would be better stewards of truth. Wolf could have, for example, written an article that showed both sides of the assertion and posed a question, rather than being breathless and urgent. Seems like another Naomi called that  a “shock doctrine.”

  • Pingback: An Open Letter to the Left | Blog of the Moderate Left

  • George Bartsch

    The headline on a KO clip last week specifically said DHS coordinated attacks on #Occupy camps, but the clip itself did NOT say that. It said attacks were coordinated by “an international agency with ties to the DHS’.  There’s a pretty big leap from what clip to headline.

  • Karoli

    and then you have the clip i embedded above, where the headline says it and then it’s all about “supposing.” That international agency is PERF, which is a trade association and isn’t tied to DHS as any official consultant and/or liason. The conclusions just boggle the mind.

  • MaryAnn Bova

    Thank you. The truth does matter especially to the Left. Why? Because the Right lies outright and feeds it to their followers like truth soup. Progressives need to be above and beyond that. We have a more important agenda. Obama 2012.

  • Michael Charney

    Brilliant;  we are constantly subject to creative marketing designed to package crap into sound bites (or 140 character snippets). It’s horrid behavior, made even worse by the fact that there’s no accountability.

  • we’re all in this together

    mmm hmmm, and what did you leave out Karoli?  strange how your article wasn’t a ‘present both sides and ask a question’ kind of article either.

  • minnecrapolis2003

    While the DHS claim lacks evidence, you are off base on the public option.  You cite only TPM
    and Firedoglake for that part of the story, but Tom Daschle said the same thing. The public option “was taken off the table as a result of the understanding that people had with the hospital association, with the insurance (AHIP), and others.” That was in July of 2009.  In August of 2009, Linda Douglass, communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform, told Politico, “Nothing has changed.” Meanwhile, the president
    was saying, “…the public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it.”

    This marks a dramatic change from when he said, “Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange, INCLUDING A PUBLIC OPTION to keep insurance companies honest.” So must any plan he signs contain a public option or not? Sounds like he alters his rhetoric depending on who’s in the room.

    So this isn’t an instance of bullshit vs truth; it’s an instance of bullshit vs bullshit. And we’re going to see more bullshit like this as the election nears, because — gasp — we don’t want a President Bachmann, do we?

  • Hart Williams

    Brava! Well said, Karoli. This is a complicated world, but the Conclusion Jumpers would have us believe that all questions are answered, and all answers are obvious. 

    Still, pointing out that conclusions have been arrived at, not by logic and facts, but by beliefs and emotions tends to create a “shoot the messenger” mentality. “How DARE you suggest that emotional self-gratification is not backed up by facts?!?”

    Or, “Never yell ‘theater!’ at a crowded fire.”

  • Yvette Carnell

    “Even those who acknowledge that it’s untrue dig in deep, saying that if he’d just used his bully pulpit, just simply taken it on the road with the Public Option Gospel Tour, we’d have a public option today. Except, well, have a look at the jobs bill. Even with people in the streets, parks, tents and on bridges, Congress does nothing but block it. Nothing.”

    That’s exactly what this story needed, a little gospel. *sigh*
    You’re being disingenuous here. The fall of 2011 is not the fall of 2009. President Obama’s approval rating was much higher and Republicans hadn’t taken over the House. He had momentum that could’ve, and should’ve been used to push for a public option then. Now, he’s a lame duck and even Democrats aren’t willing to spend any political capital by putting their own skin in the game (And I certainly wouldn’t put any skin in the game for one of the most risk averse Presidents in American history, would you?). Not the case in 2009. So you can compare apples and oranges all you like, doesn’t make it true, or even relevant. 

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, you can’t throw all of it out as nonsense.

    By following just one of her links, I learned there are still people who call themselves poets, and even better, can write beautiful, inciting, original opinion pieces worthy of being published in the New York Times.

    That’s more than I ever got with Fox and Friends.

  • Yvette Carnell

    Such an elementary argument. You may as well have just said Obama plays chess while we play checkers. C’mon folks…

  • GN

    And he, and Dems, chose to use their political capital to expand Medicaid to encompass 10-15 million impoverished childless Americans rather than fight for the weak tea public option in the House bill which would have been accessible to about 3 million people and would not have been as affordable as we needed.  From a policy standpoint, HCR is a stellar achievement.  No wonder the right wing and professional left/netroots spend so much time panning it.  Can’t let the public get a taste of reform and want more…

  • GN

    Except that the public option *was* one sliver of HCR, and I’m tired of seeing HCR derided and panned by the heartless netroots which has chosen to not celebrate something which alternatively expanded an existing publicly administered insurance program (Medicaid).  I cannot comprehend what is going on here.

  • Yvette Carnell

    Do you grasp why Republicans and so-called moderate Dems fought so voraciously against the public option? Because they rightfully believed it would’ve been a stepping stone in the direction of universal care. The consequence of a public option was huge, and so was the consequence of not having one, and not fighting for one. 

    The health care industry has successfully captured the regulatory process and thus, the little good in Obama’s tepid bill will undoubtedly be undone in the days to come. As it stands, there’s still no competition in the market and so, little in the way of competition to drive down costs. And what’s worse, Obama didn’t even use the opportunity to make the case for a big, bold initiative. He played his usual grandfatherly role of convincing scared little Americans that they’d never have to change what they already have. As opposed to challenging the system they already have and making the case for a substitute. Even a substitute which allowed for competition in the market with no universal health care would’ve been preferable to Obama’s amiable approach. 

    But it’s all pretty much moot since the Supremes will likely strike it down. Guess our law professor President should’ve considered that…

  • Ergomaniac

    Another impartial voice–a debunker no less–trying to reach a balance between the 99 and 1 per cent!

    I especially love it when one if these dilettantes drag out their Leftie credentials!

    With friends like this you don’t need enemies

  • GN

    Your comment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Again, you are attempting to cast an entire omnibus bill (which contains everything from medical loss ratios to grant money for universities) as “tepid” because it does not contain a publicly administered insurance program which would have helped about 3 million people while completely ignoring the fact that it contains an expansion of publicly administered insurance program which will help anywhere from 10 to 15 million people.


    For me, consequences are measured in demonstrable help to real people’s lives, not media memes and narratives. I’m in good company, as the architect and years-long advocate of the public option looked incredulously as people tried to use his program as a basis for panning HCR, and is on record as a strong advocate of the legislation which was passed.

    No way in the world would I ever exchange universal health care coverage or close to it (with Medicaid, Medicare, and the subsidies) for a symbolic public option which the vast, 95-98% of the country wouldn’t even be able to access!

    I do grasp that Republicans have expended a great deal of resources attempting to kill HCR, afraid that once the public experiences its benefits, appetite for more reforms will increase. Which is why they have issued multiple legal challenges and indeed the question is before the Supreme Court. Not sure how and why GOP misbehavior is the President’s fault, but I’m no longer an active participant in the netroots and thus I wouldn’t get that logic. Have a nice day.

  • Karoli

    yeah, I wrote about that on Crooks and Liars last week. How, exactly, does that possibly support her theory that there’s a civil war on?

  • John Ullmann

     You can deny, dispute and inveigh against  it all you want, Karoli, but Mayor Kwan let slip that she was on the coordinating call herself. 

    And as for your claim that Obama did not kill the public option…I heard him at his very own town hall meeting saying that he didn’t want to do single payer because “it would be too disruptive.”   Who do you think killed the public option?  Baucus?  Lieberman? 

  • Dusty, Hells most vocal bitch.

    I read all the articles you quote here when they originally were written, then did some research of my own to write a post. What I found was more in-depth than Wolf’s pablum and it was at the San Fran Bay Guardian website. They even provide information from and about the non-governmental group they talk about, PERF, who does have some sort of ‘relationship’ with the DHS, but nothing to do with the whole issue Wolf is talking about concerning the police brutality at numerous OWS events recently or the cities that tore down various encampments. PERF admitted to conference calls with at least half a dozen or more police chiefs to DemocracyNow, according to the SFBG writeup:
    Speaking to Democracy Now! On November 17, PERF Executive Director Chuck
    Wexler acknowledged PERF’s coordination of a series of conference-call
    strategy sessions with big-city police chiefs. These calls were distinct from the widely reported national conference calls of major metropolitan mayors.

    Just saying, you are doesn’t hurt to do your own research if something sounds pretty far-fetched.

  • GN

    You’re all over the place.

    1. That student loan reform sidecar to HCR was bold as hell; you have no idea what you’re talking about. The HBCU grant money is both significant and indeed indicative of the diversity of what was packed into that bill.

    2. Because of HCR, insurance companies are going to be regulated as public utilities. The days of unrestrained profit=over. The days of unrestrained administrative costs=over. The days of denying the sickest Americans insurance coverage=over. That’s huge.

    3. Again, you continue to parrot the public option talking point while willfully ignoring the reality that while we indeed did not receive a new publicly administered insurance program which I’m sure everyone reading here would have loved, we *did* receive a three to five times BIGGER expansion of a publicly administered insurance program.

    4. There is no way in hell that we were going to pass single payer, a completely fantastical and non-reality-based demand which typifies why the left has been getting our asses handed to us for 30 years while the right wing has lauded its incremental progress-makers into sainthood (like St. Ronald Reagan) and by appreciating step by step progress have completely transformed the country.

    5. HCR has been legally challenged by Republican groups which resulted in the current court cases. It’s patently absurd to imagine that the GOP was simply going to walk away from something as transformative as HCR without an enormous fight.

    6. Thank you for your comments, as they are fairly typical of the thinly veiled contempt for President Obama which underlies so much of the propaganda against HCR despite the enormous good which it’s already doing, and the greater good which it will do when fully implemented.

  • Doug B.

    The President could’ve been bold and spent the capital on a total reboot of the health care system by breaking the hold of the insurance industry but he didn’t. Public Option was killed early.

    I would feel more victorious for HCR if he and the Dems had fought for the Public Option and lost than not to even bring it to the table after it passed in the House.

    I do know that simply saying “we got health care reform” speaks loud to low information voters but those of us who do dig deeper see the lost opportunity and it’s bittersweet.

    Obama 2012!

  • GN

    So how do you feel about the expansion of Medicaid? Do you think that 10 to 15 million new participants in a publicly administered health insurance program is a tangible victory and an avenue to increase the public’s appetite for single payer? Particularly because the public option in the House bill had been watered down and would have only been accessible to a fraction of that number? I’m just asking, because I find it strange that people fixate on what we lost to the exclusion of what we gained; it truly doesn’t make sense to me that people pan HCR for not having a public option while having nothing to say at all about the manner in which an existing public program was expanded. Glad that you’re still on board for 2012 though.

  • Anonymous

    She said she was on a conference call – she did NOT list the participants on that call.

    Obama has continually had to negotiate and compromise in order to get ANYTHING at all done with the do-nothing Congress in place. Apparently, that is interpreted to mean he, in fact, killed something (versus having to compromise with people who don’t know that compromise means BOTH sides have to give). 

  • Bob

    Chuck Wexler a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, from whom DHS takes advice, and yet you claim that his coordinating these calls with big city mayors advising them on policing issues and #ows has nothing
    to do with the DHS.

    OK, let’s take your contention at face value. A
    shadowy private NGO of ex-cops and security personnel are advising both the big city mayors and
    DHS — and the fact that both are unnecessarily “rough” with college
    students and airline customers. Pepper spray, full body cavity search,
    tasers, unlawful detentions…all just coincidentally occur at both OWS protests and DHS-controlled venues.

    There. Do you feel better now?

  • Anonymous

    The struggle to enact healthcare reform has been going on, at least since Truman, and may be as far back as Teddy Roosevelt. Can you cite a non-”grandfatherly” president who was able to do more than what President Obama has done? I know people like you cite FDR and LBJ as examples of Presidents who used the so called “bully pulpit”  to cower congress in enacting monumental legislations. The problem is those legislations you hail were just as “tepid” and flawed because they were a result of compromises. For example: FDR’s Social security excluded  domestic and agricultural workers in order to gain support from Southern segregationists. Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public facilities like motels, hotels, restaurants, exempted businesses that could show that their facilities were not affected by interstate commerce. And, unlike President Obama, both FDR and LBJ had over 2/3rds Democratic majorities in both houses of  Congress. How come these great and powerful presidents failed to use the “bully pulpit” to enact perfect laws? I don’t know how old you are, but I am old enough to have lived under ten Presidents. I also have studied history. That is why I totally reject your characterization of President Obama’s monumental and historic ACA as a “tepid bill.” By the way, a health care reform bill which requires insurance coverage for all Americans, as well as provides government help to insure those who can’t afford to pay for insurance is, by definition, “universal health care….”

    As much as you may try to trivialize and denigrate President Obama’s historic achievement in passing the ACA, objective historians and those who study politics will record otherwise. The truth is what President Obama did is what other Democratic Presidents, beginning with Truman had attempted, but failed to do

  • Anonymous

    GN, Thanks for your excellent summation of both the obstacles the President faced as well as the benefits of ACA. By the way, Ms. Yvette Carnell seems to confuse single payer and/or private insurance with a public option, to be the same as “universal health care.” The ACA mandates universal healthcare administered by private insurance companies with government assistance for those who can’t afford it. 

    The question for Ms. Carnell is: If the ACA is not such a big deal how come the GOP, obviously with strong financial support from Insurance companies, is fighting this law all the way to the Supreme Court? I really get tired of these holier than thou people who think they are so superior that they know better than the President. Except, once you peal their sanctimonious onion, you quickly realize that they are not as smart as they think when it comes to understanding how the political process functions. 

    I keep wondering where Ms. Carnell and other cynical critics of President Obama were during the Summer of 09 when the teabaggers were out in force against the ACA. How come supporters of single payer and/ or the public option were not out there loudly challenging members of Congress just as the teabaggers were doing? FDR supported collective bargaining because the workers were in the streets. JFK/LBJ proposed and passed Civil Rights laws because Blacks were in the streets both demanding and lending support to those efforts. The modern PL think the President alone can act as a dictator to enact a perfect bill to their liking without worrying about the ideological divisions in the country, and by extension the ideological divisions in Congress.

  • Neil

    I agree

  • Anonymous

    Um, Public Option ≠ Single Payer

    also, too, conference call ≠ DHS coordination

  • Anonymous

    Bravo, well done…. I broke the news about that examiner article being bullshit a few hours before Mike Moore even went on Countdown to regurgitate it and was summarily raked over the coals for it. Apparently, if Micheal Moore and Keith Olbermann and Naomi Wolf talked about it, then it MUST be true! Sad to say our side suffers just as much from hero worship as the right.  

  • Neil

    I agree Wolf’s evidence of DHS involvement was non-existent.  Her only evidence was  observations of different police tactics from earlier in the occupations (nighttime evictions using tear gas and destroying tents) that we hadn’t seen before and that were similar from one city to the next .  What we haven’t heard is a full accounting of who was on the conference call, and what other coordination or advice meetings may have been held. When tactics have similarities from one city to the next its fair to ask or even expect that have similar origins whether that’s from pre-occupy or post and that there was a training/advice/consulting  mechanism in place. (FWIW, A DHS van followed the N17 march in Boston, even as MA has its own fusion centers and Boston Police have their own anti-terrorism unit.)  It also bothers me that anti-terrorism units are being used on occupyboston.  It truns our PERF advise is based on an assumption anti-terrorism units have an interest in large assemblies simply becuase they may be a target or cover for terrorism.

    On health care reform and the public option you are wrong.  President Obama was directly involved in the negotiations over the Affordable Care Act.  Since he was involved in striking the grand bargain he owns the decision of punting the public option whether or not he was the one who traded it away or someone on his staff or someone in the Senate or House,. he was involved in negotiations and he approved.

    At one stage, he announced that the public option wasn’t very important relative to other aspects.  He was clearly signaling that it would not be included which it was not.  For you to argue that the assertion that “Obama killed (traded away, negotiated away, gave as a concession) the public option is bullshit” is undermind by the facts we know.  We know he was involved in the negotiation directly. We know he approved of a bill that did of include the public option.

  • Neil

    Furthermore, Obama could come right out and give us the details of how that negotiation went down.

    It’s done in rooms with powerful people representing corporate interests and the rest of us can pretend we have a democratic republic in which what the majority wants  matters at all.

    Check the polling on the public option.  It never dropped below 50 and it was in the high 70s at one time.

  • Yvette Carnell

    “The HBCU grant money is both significant and indeed indicative of the diversity of what was packed into that bill.”

    Really?  Now who’s all over the place. Yes, those HBCU dollars are really going to get us on the way to single payer or a public option aren’t they? And I am a graduate of an HBCU, are you? So tell me again please about how I don’t know what I’m talking about and how you’re the authority. I just never tire of such beleaguered condescension.  

    “Because of HCR, insurance companies are going to be regulated as public utilities. The days of unrestrained profit=over.”Even in a parallel Obamasphere, you surely don’t believe that. The Democrats have surpassed Republicans in fundraising from the health care sector, and you sincerely believe that Democrats won’t be sympathetic to insurer’s desires to put profit ahead of people? In fact, the Obama health insurance reform plan leads to increased revenue for insurers, or at least so says Business Week and Harper’s and many others, but what would they know right?

    And I’m not ignoring the good in the bill. In a previous post, I said the bill is tepid, not irrelevant. Unlike you, I can’t in good conscience paint the bill as a major reform of the health care industry because, well, it just isn’t. 

    “There is no way in hell that we were going to pass single payer, a completely fantastical and non-reality-based demand …”

    Well, when you say it that way, when you use eminent failure as you’re starting point, you’re sure to be disappointed. You (and Obama) never believed you could win. You never believed you could convince the American people. You never believed that even if you lost on single payer, you could win on the public option. Therein lies the problem. We’ve been getting our asses handed to us for 30 years because we have risk averse fellows like yourself pretending to lead the charge. We’re a leaderless party. That’s the problem in a nutshell. 

    Part of the reason the GOP wins is because they fight. They don’t walk away, as did Obama on health care, debt ceiling etc. This is about the internal fortitude that you and your President lack. 

  • Anonymous

    A-friggin-men. I spent a year trying to explain to folk that not only did Obama not kill the public option but many Dems–blue dog and otherwise–went on record saying they wouldn’t support a Public Option. But no, somehow the Public Option dying was put on Obama as if he’s secretly sum sort of straw man for the corporate America.

    We can’t have it both ways–either Obama is a socialist wealth re-distributor or he’s Wall Street’s puppet. he’s either a Fascist Dictator or he’s a weak too-moderate pushover… But he can’t be all of these things. Come on, people. Catch up.

  • Yvette Carnell

    If you’re really going to pretend that Obama gave us universal health care, there’s no conversation to be had. 

  • Anonymous

    So you would rather have 30 million people without health insurance to score political points? There were 60 Dems in the Senate for about 6 months. The Blue Dogs and Liberman were NEVER going to vote for a public option. My god, some of you sound worst than the one-issue Republicans. We have a health care law. Something NO President has been able to do, PERIOD. It’s like Social Security – it can be built upon. Blacks and many women were not covered under Social Security when it was first enacted. These people who constantly hold up the public option are worst than a dog gnawing on a bone. No other accomplishment President Obama (and there are plenty) matters because we didn’t get the public option. It just sound ridiculous to most thinking individuals.

  • Dusty, Hells most vocal bitch.

    Kwan was not on the coordinating call between PERF and the Police Chiefs  regarding cracking down on the encampments and how to ‘deal’ with the OWS sites in their cities. Those are two distinct calls. Kwan was conference calling with other Mayors whereas PERF was conference calling with police chiefs. Big Difference many of you are missing.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that you completely left out the state homeland security departments which are extremely well-funded by DHS and under the Patriot Act. Here in Tampa, FL they have a tank. Of course speculating that there might be coordination is irresponsible because it brings into question where the president actually stands on these issues, the silent president who has yet to speak publicly on any of these issues outside of a quick soundbite acknowledging that people are upset. Wow, now that’s progressive support!

    Thinking that someone will break a story like this under the current state of secrecy and politics is noble indeed and it makes a wonderful lickspittle piece for “the most progressive president in memory”.

    If only we would all accept the far-rightward lurch of America as progressive then everything would be fine and dandy and we could all be happy with all the amazingly progressive things that have happened in the last 3 years.

    But I’m over 50 and I don’t buy the BS. I know from progressive and this isn’t it. Not by a long shot.

  • Karoli

    Here’s some more information on PERF. Until about a week ago, they were considered a “progressive” outfit intended to make policing a more community-centered, less violent proposition.

  • Karoli

    Keep in mind, I’m not against the public option. I’m against the unsubstantiated allegation that it’s death came at the hands of the White House in a secret deal.

  • Yvette Carnell

    I hear you, and on that point, we agree. 

    My main point is that the political landscape in 2009 is a lot different than it was in 2011. I don’t think it’s fair to say that since it can’t be done now, it couldn’t have been done then. It’s an oversimplification in my view. 

  • Yvette Carnell

    “By the way, Ms. Yvette Carnell seems to confuse single payer and/or private insurance with a public option, to be the same as “universal health care.” 

    Actually, I don’t confuse the two, I’m just discussing them both in the same dialogue. I’m discussing how championing one could’ve led to the other. I really don’t see how that could’ve confused you.

  • GN

    Aha, so in other words, you had no idea previous to this discussion
    that HCR was passed with a student loan reform side car which amongst
    many other items contained HBCU grants and increased federal student
    loan and aid funding. Long story short: the student loan reform
    component of the HCR side car has nothing to do with single payer; it
    was included because Dems seized the opportunity to add a panoply of
    items on the liberal wish list to legislation which they knew they could
    pressure even fiscal hawks to pass.  This is why I cautioned you
    against panning omnibus legislation. Notice the difference between our comments? Mine are about facts; yours
    are about personality, specifically, your interpretation of President
    Obama’s personality (a character attack which in addition to its
    irrelevance to policy items which help real people, also happens to have
    no basis in reality). Mine are about how people are helped by
    legislation, about how HCR can increase the public’s appetite for
    tweaking and improving this reform,  and about discussing the merits of
    expanding existing publicly administered health care programs to folks
    who claim to care so much about said programs yet curiously only seem
    concerned to the extent that they can bash POTUS for the lack of a new
    public program. 

    New rule: if you don’t care about the Medicaid expansion, I’m not going to believe that you care so much about publicly administered health care programs that you’d destroy the most significant addition to the safety net in 50 years in your rage that we didn’t get a new one.  Point blank period.
    And btw, I don’t give a sugar honey iced tea what you think of my “internal
    fortitude,” lol, I care about policy and facts. For any lurkers who are
    tired of feeling uninformed and fed contentless talking points, a
    fact-based and reality-based assessment of the debt deal is available

  • GN

    The confusion is deliberate; this is how HCR has been purity trolled for years, alongside heaping spoonfuls of character attacks which curiously match the right wing’s contention that POTUS lacks conviction, isn’t a leader, etc.  It’s not only tiresome and completely fact-free, but quite frankly, I find it suspicious.

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  • GN

    Excellent comment, written by woody45 in response to this article and comments section:

    What is is about this thing [loss of the public option] that keeps them up at night? It would have
    cost more and covered less people. It wasn’t even a blip on the radar
    screen during 2008 then suddenly it became the totality of health care

    Jacob Hacker invented the darn thing and practically
    begged Congress to pass the bill knowing the public option was not going
    to be in it. What do they know more than the guy who created it?

    much was a regular policy for the average family going to cost? They
    never tell you. If it was going to be dirt cheap (aka as drive the
    insurance companies out of business) then how do you get the votes to
    even get it out of committee?

    They got a national health system,
    the end of rescissions, a ban on lifetime caps, a ban on preexisting
    conditions, the overhaul of the delivery system, an unprecedented
    expansion of Medicaid, national exchanges to spur more competition,
    historic investments in community health centers, an industry that’s
    creating jobs and all of it paid for in a responsible manner.

    after all that they’re still crying. It’s raining a hundred dollar
    bills and they’re outside searching for a nickel they lost three weeks

  • Anonymous

    yeah, the chapter 13 bankruptcy i filed 6 months ago due to medical expenses was mostly just my liberal whining as is my employer’s 18% increase for my health insurance that i found covers very little but at least they didn’t drop it altogether like they threatened and since my state is opting out of the exchange program the fact that i’m screwed shouldn’t get in the way of my obama love, should it? oh and the religious exclusion for birth control coverage brouhaha. — hey, look over there! obama is so totally like progressive and cute!

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  • GN

    My life isn’t perfect either; doesn’t mean that I’m going to come onto websites bashing progressive legislation which helps others. So let’s kick all of the young adults who are on their parents insurance back off; let’s cancel all of the new policies for sick people who had been previously denied insurance because of a preexisting condition; let’s take it all back because you feel “screwed” and thus why shouldn’t everyone else? Those aren’t my liberal values. I’m of course very sorry to hear about your travails, genuinely, but this is not a compelling comment with regards to HCR as a policy and expansion of the social safety net.

    eta: your experience right now is that HCR is not helpful to your personal immediate situation (although it will be helpful to you as the legislation approaches fuller implementation); however, it’s helpful to this person and millions like her

    Does she matter? Or are liberals no longer about helping people and it’s every person for her or himself? You can try to trivialize this with the usual caricatures, but I’m interested in policy, not media memes.

  • Yvette Carnell

    Oh, jeez. Really? Of course I know that it passed. And you know I know it. My question was about the relevance of it passing as it relates to health care reform. Let’s not play games with one another or be disingenuous. I’m assuming, maybe wrongly, that we’re both grown. If this is some sort of sophomoric competition for you, then feel free to move on. 

    “ Long story short: the student loan reform component of the HCR side car has nothing to do with single payer; ”That was kind of my point. Next time, do both of us a favor and read my entire post before coming. It would be helpful to our exchange. And please stop using the word “omnibus”, I worked on the Hill. I know an omnibus contains several measures and don’t require a tutorial from you (maybe you should look into Big Brother / Big Sister). 

    And here are facts I previously outlined in my post:

    1) Health care reform is a windfall for health care insurers

    2) Reducing costs is key to reform. Obama’s plan doesn’t reduce costs with a single payer plan, free market competition, or a public option. 

    3) Our new economy requires flexibility (read Umair Haque) and as such, a revamped health care system would’ve made for a mobile and secure workforce. Obama’s plan doesn’t come close.

    4) And on and on… just read what I’ve said objectively without any desire to do Obama’s bidding and I’m sure you’ll take a different view. You’re too invested in the man to be objective. 

    But character is important in a President and so is temperament. Being President is about leadership, not forever playing the role of the “grownup in the room” or “leader leading from behind.” Character assessments, and flaws, shouldn’t be discounted in a President – ever. If Obama had effectively used the bullypulpit, I’m sure you’d be in his cheering his steeliness, so let’s not be hypocritical. 

    And I really don’t care about your sugar, honey, or ice tea. Goodness…

  • GN

    Well, you most certainly threw around personality nonsense and internet personality diagnosis, so don’t creep away now, lol. Your “facts” are unsubstantiated claims “Obama’s plan doesn’t reduce costs…” and character attacks “you’re too invested in the man to be objective” masquerading as sound policy analysis. Again, I thank you for your illustrative commentary.

  • Yvette Carnell

    Funny how you can tell gooberpeas not to bash progressive legislation, but you have no problem bashing him (or her). What s/he’s telling you is that the legislation hasn’t changed his life. In fact, it appears as though it’s made it worse. It pays to listen to people who are actually living the repercussions. Everything isn’t learned from anecdotal. 

  • Yvette Carnell

    Just awful. In Georgia, insurers stopped carrying child only policies. People are hurting but we’re all expected to just cheer Obama’s “effort” and carry on…

  • cousinavi

    “Progressives” (and I count myself one) are never going to be happy with any Democratic president (leaving aside how much less happy we’d be with any Republican).
    The difference between what we would wish to see done and what can actually be accomplished, crossed with the fact that liberals are a fractious demographic that do not march in lockstep but rather break immediately into pet-issue factions all demanding immediate solutions to particular issues (Gitmo, Wall St., jobs, taxes, LGBT…) creates a perennial set of circumstances.
    The focus on the left devolves into constant whinging about the gap between reality and some idealized end point instead of recognition – and CREDIT – for what has been accomplished in the face of unprecedented and borderline treasonous obstructionism, and in an environment flooded not only with outright lies from the right but with Firebaggers like Hamsher, Wolfe, Greenwald et al on the left.
    The repeal of DADT; a deficit cutting HCRA that extends care to millions of previously uninsured Americans; pulled the economy back from the brink of global collapse; killed Osama bin Laden; ended the war in Iraq; appointed two pro-choice women to the USSC…

    There’s plenty of room to criticize this president:  Gitmo is still open, the Patriot Act is still on the books, none of the war criminals in the previous administration has been frog-marched before congress, and no one responsible for selling AAA-rated junk CDOs while betting against them with other people’s money has been pimp-walked off to a 50-year prison sentence…but none of that diminshes the ocean of difference between THIS president and where we’d be today with President McCain, or where we’ll be in five years with President Gingrich.

    It’s one thing to steadfastly push in the direction we need to go.  It’s another to holler, “Traitor!” at the best chance we have of moving in that direction.  It’s still another to do so while relying on the sort of willfully blind, fact-free bullshit employed by the right as your justification.
    What’s wrong cannot be fixed in one term.  It cannot be FIXED in two terms, and may not ever be fixed to any progressive’s satisfaction, and certainly not every progressive’s satisfaction.  But go right on ahead assisting the GOP in splitting and demoralizing the left.
    A Republican house with a Republican president – do you prefer the Evangelical or the Mormon, the serial adulterer or the serial harasser, the pathetically stupid or the pathological liar? – is sure to be a step in the right direction.

    Yes, it’s true:  Obama failed to provide rainbows and unicorns for everyone immediately.
    This is war…and you take the ground a few inches at a time.  If you’re not in it for the long haul, at least stop tossing grenades at our own trenches.

  • GN

    I doubt that the legislation has made his life worse and there’s a difference between bashing and questioning. No need to catch feelings.

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  • Otis

    Facts? You have no facts. These are not facts.

    I will give you some facts, Karoli.

    We are an insignificant species on an insignificant planet in an insignificant star system tucked away in an insignificant corner of an insignificant galaxy. The universe most likely contains hundred of billions of planets with life on them, and not one of them cares even an iota whether we exist or not.

    This planet is a tiny, blue lifeboat spinning through a vast and inhospitable void. There is no god — that is just human arrogance and intellectual dishonesty. We project ourselves onto the void and imagine that we are somehow the center of the universe and that some remarkably-human-like “superior” being is watching over us — a superior being who acts amazingly like an ill-tempered human. We do so love to be the center of attention.

    We believe that we are special — that we are separate from the rest of the animals. That we have “souls” and an “afterlife.” But this is more hubris. We are animals, nothing more. As with every other animal, we spend virtually all of our lives engaged in only two activities: self-preservation and procreation. And our daily behavior reveals our true primate nature. We are inevitably tribal, and we are obsessed with hierarchies and the domination and submission that they entail.

    All else is nonsense. It’s the mass hallucination to which we all subscribe voluntarily each day. We invent all sorts of silly stuff — like, say, money, or private property, or law, or religion — and then we pretend that these things are real, and because we all agree to pretend, we make them real. And we destroy anyone who refuses to go along.

    One of the biggest and silliest of our illusions is that there exists a class of “rulers.” This hallucination is shared by “right” and “left” alike. These rulers have “power.” They are the ones in control, and we must do as they say. We become fascinated by the leaders, and we begin to live our lives vicariously through them, whether they are billionaires, or politicians, or famous movie stars. We pretend that they have all the power. Because then we can pretend that we don’t have any.

    See, that let’s us off the hook. Every day we go out into the world and we work all day long to prop up the mass delusion. And we violently oppose anyone who tells us that emperor is not wearing clothes.

    You want a real fact? Here is a fact: Hitler most likely never killed anyone. Not one single person. But wait, wasn’t he the most evil man who ever lived? No. He was just a lost soul. Left to his own devices, how much harm could he have done?

    George Bush probably never killed anyone either, though maybe he offed a few unlucky cats when he was a kid. Don’t say that to a liberal, though! And though I’m not so sure about Dick Cheney, I’m pretty sure that Donald Rumsfeld never tortured a soul, though I hear that he watched on video and gave instructions like on those live person porn sites.

    What these people actually did, as far as I know, is tell other people to torture, murder, and destroy. And then those other people did so, as if they had no say in the matter. Obama is not killing anyone, understand? It’s some gal just like you or me sitting in a bunker somewhere in the Southwest who pushes the button that shoots the missile that blows the small child into little, bloody chunks. And who then high fives her coworkers. It’s somebody’s brother or sister who shoots somebody else’s father or son or niece in the head. It’s you and me.

    Just as it’s gals like you and me that are making sure the trains to the death camps run on time. We’re making sure that our brothers and sisters on the killing fields and in the torture cells have the tools they need, and that they have a bunk to sleep in and some hot meals in the canteen. We’re driving the trucks that supply the things they need, and we’re digging the oil and coal and uranium out of the ground to do it. And we’re voting for the people who will coordinate this (while pretending that we’re voting to end it).

    None of the people in the so-called ruling class do any of this. They wouldn’t know how. They are powerless. Some of them can’t even feed themselves without help. Like the human parasites they are, they don’t know how to live without the services of other human beings who do their dirty work.

    We are the people who are destroying this earth. We are the people who are killing each other. The crap you get all worked up about on this site is nothing more than political theater. It is meaningless. There was never going to be a public option because we — the so-called 99% — don’t really want one. We don’t really want a single payer system. Or, more accurately, we do, but not as much as we don’t really want to take any risks or rock any boats.

    We know that there is a better system out there somewhere. We know that we should get off our lazy asses and change things around. But change is dangerous. We might lose what little we have. So we bitch and whine and blame everyone but ourselves and we do nothing. We show up at our crappy jobs and we put up with our overbearing bosses and we go home and watch while imaginary people live the lives we wish we had on TV. And then the next day we do it all again.

    And meanwhile, the planet slowly dies, and we inch ever closer to extinction. But we close our eyes, deny the reality, and continue to bleat that there is nothing we can do! We have no power. All we can do is beg our “leaders” to lead us to safety, even though we know that they are as lazy and fearful and stupid as we are, and that they are not leading us to safety, but to the roaring abyss. And, of course, we blame everyone else. Everyone but ourselves. We would do the right thing, if only everyone else would. You go first.

    OWS is a joke. More bleating. It will fail miserably. Nothing will change. The reason is obvious: the whole point of OWS is to further reinforce the idea that the real power is with the 1%. We have to beg them to change things. We have to demand change from them. They have to agree to it. But it is not the 1% who are bruising us with batons, burning us with chemical sprays, electrocuting us with stun guns, and worse. Who are these cops hiding behind the armor and masks? Are they not our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews and mothers and fathers and cousins? Are they not us?

    And when the military’s turn comes, who will be pointing those rifles at us? Who will be flying those unmanned drones. Who will be manning the checkpoints and doing the strip searches? Will it not be us?

    Those are the true facts, Karoli. But you know that already. We all do. But you’re not going to do a damn thing about it, are you?

    While Rome burned, Nero blogged. Go back to sleep. It will all be over soon.

  • Guest


  • Crgr

    The articles you link to claiming to debunk Wolf et al establish that (1) 18 mayors did consult on how to deal with, i.e. get rid of, the protesters and their camps and (2) a Homeland security representative (or representatives, this point is not clear) was involved in at least one of the conference calls. This is not actually disputed; rather merely dismissed as insignificant because a source within Oakland’s mayor’s office says “Why would anyone think we don’t talk?” [and the article concludes] “In other words: the story is much ado about nothing at all.”A more accurate conclusion – the one asserted by Wolf and others – is that this is and should be of major concern because the mayors together with the DHS representative were discussing strategies for controlling if not shutting down citizen protest. This does not, in my opinion, constitute a threat to state and local government that should be blithely accepted as precedence for DHS to help control. This is precisely why the whole concept of homeland (sic) security and the Patriot Act that established it is so dangerous and objectionable. I repeat “precisely” full stop!

  • Barbara O’Brien

    First, I filed bankruptcy this year too; it’s been a hard year for a lot of us. But your medical expenses did not happen because of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), most of which won’t go into effect until 2014. You might have been told that Obamacare was the reason for your health insurance hike, but that would have been a lie. When the Act does go into effect, more than 30 million Americans who have no insurance at all now will be insured. And all kinds of regulations will kick in to protect consumers from the insurance companies.  If you’re going to blame Obama for your miserable life, try to be better informed about it.

  • Dusty, Hells most vocal bitch.

    Obama’s Administration has quietly been handing out waivers to a key part of the healthcare bill which affects those that have the crappiest HC out there:

    But, as of Dec. 3, the federal government had approved a total of 222 one-year waivers
    that allow the insurance plans at companies like McDonald’s, Jack in
    the Box and Ruby Tuesday, and unions, to ignore the requirement on
    annual limits.

    Companies seeking (and receiving automatically) these waivers claimed the limit regulation would
    force significant hikes — in some cases, even a 100 percent increase —
    in premiums, according to an Oct. 6 New York Times article.
    AHIP’s Zirkelbach told us the regulation could cause seasonal,
    part-time or temporary workers that are typically covered by
    limited-benefits plans to lose all of their coverage.

    The companies that have been approved for the waivers must reapply for them next year. Waivers are available until 2014. For people with these types of crappy healthcare NOW, they better hope to hell they don’t get cancer or any other expensive, life-threatening illness, as my sister did last year, because they will be joining the ranks of those filing BK because of medical bills until at least 2014.

  • Otis

    Go back to sleep, little guest. President Obama will take care of you. Close your eyes and pretend that the lifestyle you lead doesn’t steal the resources that others need simply to live. Pretend that “our” soldiers are fighting for your freedom, and that the U.S. is a beacon of hope and justice that somehow emerged from genocide, slavery, violence, and oppression. You are not responsible for what others do in your name, and besides, if you stopped supporting the torture and murder of innocents, you might lose that big screen TV and those frequent flier miles. So back to sleep, little one. Sweet dreams.

  • Anonymous

    Um, no, I’m not blaming the “Affordable Care” Act for my misfortune. I’m pointing out how ludicrous it is for people to cheer about how amazingly wonderful that act is (or will be if it ever becomes law in 2014) when real people are hurting with real pain RIGHT NOW. And those 30 million Americans: how will they pay for this amazing new insurance? What curbs are there on price-gouging by the health care industry to make up for any lost profits? There are none.

    Stop trying to sell me a shit sandwich while calling it caviar on toast. It ain’t and it never will be. I’m left out of the amazing new health care world and so are millions of other Americans. I know 30 million sounds like a lot but nearly 50 million Americans are now living in poverty so it’s not as great as the soundbite makes it sound.

    I like Obama once too and I worked to get him elected and then I realized that I had deluded myself into thinking that he really meant to change things in a meaningful way. I was wrong and I admit it.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah rainbows and unicorns. Amazing how every time someone points out how little has actually changed (and many things like DADT happened without any direct support from Obama himself) we get this tired answer. What if Obama had actually tried to bring about major changes for the good instead of constantly moving the goalpost downward and complaining about how he couldn’t do any better? Yes, congress thwarted him from the beginning but instead of standing up to congress he accepted that limitation without a whimper and lost the game.

  • Anonymous

    You know, if it was just me sure, I’d take one for the team. But I work in the public sphere and there are many, many, many just like me. If I can stay alive long enough I’m anxious to see if the “Affordable Care” Act makes any difference at all for me and those like me. It would be better, I know, for people like you if we’d just silently accept our fate because it furthers the Obama is Great! cause. But I don’t run that way. Sorry!

  • Singhps

    You have left out the most important point in your # 2, and that is that democrat had majority in the house, and in the senate, and also controlled the White House. If President wanted a public option… had a better than chance that he could have given the public option to public. And your comparison of public option with jobs bill failed to mention that democrat do not control the house any more. Your analysis lacks facts as well.

  • Dusty, Hells most vocal bitch.

    The ‘fact’ you mention Singhps, with regard to the public option, wouldn’t of changed the outcome as the Blue Dogs would not of changed their votes on that point. Personally, I think Obama took the public option off the table too quickly and too early as his heart wasn’t in it or he didn’t have what it took to convince the BD’s to vote with him on that issue. LBJ didn’t have a slam dunk when he got the civil rights bill passed, but he got it done.

  • Dusty, Hells most vocal bitch.

    Does she matter? Or are liberals no longer about helping people and
    it’s every person for her or himself? You can try to trivialize this
    with the usual caricatures, but I’m interested in policy, not media
    That is a ridiculous statement and you know it. What about the millions who work now for McDonalds, JackInTheBox, etc that still won’t have insurance that gives them anything but lip service until 2014? Obama did not have to give out the over 200 exemptions he has so far to corporation’s with big bucks and plenty of lobbyists or is that a liberal value I missed somehow?

  • Heather Zingara Romaine

    Otis, you are correct. This is why people are showing up at OWS though, to take the power back. It may fail, but at least it’s an effort to change these things. You come across almost identical to many, many people I have had discussions with at OWS. 
    We live in a terrible place and we are the cause, so let’s correct it. We need people like you. Please find your hope for humanity. 

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  • GN

    lol, now I know that you’re bullshitting. Right wing troll much?

  • GN

    People who are not earning a living wage are EXACTLY why POTUS decided to expand Medicaid. Doubt you’re liberal…

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  • Anonymous

    You Obamabots are so funny. I’m an over 50 lifelong democrat that would be described as to the left of Ted Kennedy. I’ve been working elections and voting for 32 years, always democratic party. But if I criticize the president I’m a rightwing troll. I never said that the Affordable Care Act made my life worse. I said it hasn’t yet made it better and may not so it’s hardly a worthy riposte. It’s like fundamentalists who argue using a bible verse — if I don’t accept the bible as inerrant it’s a worthless argument to me. So is using the Affordable Care Act as proof of Obama’s progressive awesomeness and success. Sorry but you have no credibility with me.

  • Anonymous

    You are completely unaware of cuts to Medicaid by the states and how Medicaid is part of deficit reduction? Really?

  • Anonymous

    Actually there have been 2 congresses. Funny that one was a huge democratic majority and one is a republican majority and yet we still get the same kind of negotiating and the same kind of legislation. And the senate has renained under the president’s party control throughout.

  • GN

    HCR hasn’t yet personally enhanced *my* life either, neither has Medicaid, Medicare, expansion of children’s healthcare programs, or the partial dismantling of welfare reform which was contained in the stimulus. I haven’t personally benefited from cash for clunkers, I haven’t personally benefited from the earned income tax credit and a progressive tax code which gives people who are raising families a break. I also haven’t gotten anything for myself from federal infrastructure spending in rural areas. Yet somehow I manage to see the value in all of those items, and not pan or dismiss them…because I’m a liberal. You did not merely criticize the President or one of the President’s policies. So please save the bible-thumping, sanctimony, and trying to pull rank. Again, I’m sorry that you’re going through a clearly difficult time. But that does not invalidate HCR nor does it negate the progress made by hands down the most progressive presidency in more than 50 years.

  • GN

    I’m very aware of *state* budget cuts (which would have been far worse without the stimulus), that has what to do with HCR? The “catfood commission” lies about entitlement programs slashed via deficit reduction are just that…lies.

  • Yvette Carnell

    This is a stinging comment, but it couldn’t be more true. 

  • Anonymous

    The Senate wouldn’t pass the Public Option.  That’s the way it actually happened.  The Democrats needed every single one of their votes to pass a bill and Lieberman, and probably others, simply wouldn’t vote for a public option.  If the President had insisted on having the public option in the bill, we would have nothing.

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