Monday, November 30, 2009


Brilliant: the GOP feels the momentum for health care reform, and can’t stop it – so their new idea is just to put it on hold until next year

For all the tough-guy posturing of the Bush/Cheney gang, the fact is that they failed us repeatedly on national security, starting with 9/11 itself – and most of Cheney’s attacks on Obama have actually been efforts to deflect attention away from their own failures. Obama started his term with two unfinished wars and the debt they had already imposed on the nation. Let’s never forget how they started
Report: 'Bin Laden was within our grasp'


Judis on Meacham on Cheney

If the right is consistent (ha!), this could finish Mike Huckabee as a national candidate

The last time:

Lobbyists have gotten quite used to bending govt policy to suit their interests. Now they are shocked – shocked! – that anyone would think this wasn’t their birthright

Sigh. I was hoping that the silly “global warming hoax” story would die down and fade away. Unfortunately, it is just the kind of story the right knows how to keep alive. Now it will be years getting people to take the problem seriously again

The Republican civil war and the “Eleventh Commandment”


Do the Dems need a “purity test”?

Bonus item: Sarah Palin gets pranked by a Canadian comedy show – again

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, November 29, 2009


What might have been
[Atrios] There Was A Giant Network Of Mobilized Individuals
Who were waiting to continue doing things after the election. They weren't really wanted anymore.

The demoralized left

A counternarrative
[Jacob Weisberg] About one thing, left and right seem to agree these days: Obama hasn't done anything yet. Maureen Dowd and Dick Cheney have found common ground in scoffing at the president's "dithering." Newsweek recently ran a sympathetic cover story titled, "Yes He Can (But He Sure Hasn't Yet)." . . .

This conventional wisdom about Obama's first year isn't just premature—it's sure to be flipped on its head by the anniversary of his inauguration on Jan. 20. If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn't an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It's a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office. . . . [read on]

The real reason the right doesn’t want health care reform to pass is that they’re afraid it will be a successful, popular program

The right kind of “trigger”?

We hear that Obama is going to get serious about the deficit next year. Could an assault on Social Security and entitlements be part of that?

Everyone knew that it was a mistake to give the banks buckets of money with no real regulatory requirements attached. Now the Obama admin is reduced to asking “pretty please”
The Obama administration on Monday plans to announce a campaign to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners, as evidence mounts that a $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at stemming foreclosures is foundering. . . . [read on]

Not good
[Mark Kleiman] “Black jail” in Afghanistan . . . Not under Bush. Now. [read on]

Jon Meacham (Newsweek editor), always good for a laugh
"I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country. (The sound you just heard in the background was liberal readers spitting out their lattes.)"

"Why? Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people."

No one has noticed this, but Doug Hoffman, running again for NY-23, is kind of an idiot,-Hoffman-Makes-Weak-Attempt-at-Conciliation-and-Lies-in-the-Process

Sunday talk show line-ups
STATE OF THE UNION (CNN): Sens. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.); Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.); and former British prime minister Tony Blair.

THIS WEEK (ABC): Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

FACE THE NATION (CBS): Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.); former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.); Dede Scozzafava, former Republican candidate in New York's 23rd Congressional District; Ed Gillespie, Bush White House counselor.

MEET THE PRESS (NBC): Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It was the anthrax
Anthrax Attack Used to Justify the Iraq War

Cheney Thought He Had Lethal Anthrax Dose
Scare Prompted Veep to Take Hard Line on Terror Suspects, New Book Contends
[Jane Mayer] In time, the Situation Room alarm turned out to be false. But on October 22, the Secret Service reported that it had found what it believed to be additional anthrax traces on an automated letter-opening device used on White House mail. By then, Cheney had convinced the President to support a $1.6 billion bioterrorism-preparedness program. Cheney argued that every citizen in the country should be vaccinated against smallpox.

During the ten days after the Vice President’s scare, threats of mortal attack were nonetheless so frequent, and so terrifying, that on October 29 Cheney quietly insisted upon absenting himself from the White House to what was described as “a secure, undisclosed location” . . .
Jane Mayer: Cheney Became 'Obsessive' About Terrorism After 9/11

Climate change bill “dead” in the Senate, GOP gloats

Blue Cross crosses the line in anti-health care reform ads and robo-calls


Could a health care “trigger” work?

The Party that Lies
Number Five: Paul Ryan Draws Line On Graph
Back in the Spring, when Democrats were putting together the federal budget, House Budget Committee ranking member Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a much-mocked Republican alternative ... his numbers weren't based on any analysis at all. Instead, Ryan used CBO numbers through 2018 and then drew an upward-sloping line on the graph completely at random. It didn't take long for Republicans to catch on and begin claiming that Democratic policies would make government spending half of GDP before the end of the century.

Number Four: Senate Health Care Bill Will Cost $2.5 Trillion
This one's only now catching on, and it's a doozy. Hours after the CBO released an analysis of Senate health care legislation last week, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-NH) released a statement: "American taxpayers are about to see an unprecedented expansion of the federal government that will cost a staggering $2.5 trillion when fully implemented." From there, it went viral

Number Three: Republicans Try Math
It seems like so long ago that the House passed far-reaching cap and trade legislation. Before they did, though, the GOP did its best to raise the specter of another energy crisis, thanks to a new, and tyrannical "light switch tax." To underscore their point, they claimed that, based on an MIT study, cap and trade legislation could cost the average household $3,128 a year. Too bad the author of that study claimed it was all hogwash.

Number Two: Inhofe Says Obama 'Gutting Our Military'
His claim was based on a meme, which made the rounds in early April, that the White House's call for a modest increase in defense spending amounted to a "defense spending cut." Inhofe took it to a whole new level. And to add insult to injury, he was in Afghanistan at the time.

Number One: Death Panels
It's possible that if TPM's Eric Kleefeld hadn't pored over every word in this rambling Facebook post by Sarah Palin, somebody else would have stumbled across it. But it's also possible that it would have gone unnoticed, and we would have had a very different political summer. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care."

How’s that big Republican comeback going?
Fundraising for Democratic campaign committees is surging, USA Today reports, "helping the party to extend a winning streak in competitive special elections and giving House Democrats a more than 3-to-1 advantage over Republicans in cash stockpiled for the battles ahead."


Still, the "enthusiasm gap" is ominous news for 2010
A pretty staggering number out of the new Daily Kos weekly tracking poll. They asked voters, basically, how are sure are you you're going to vote next year. . . .


The GOP’s Purity Test is killing them. But don’t let us stop ya!

Doug Hoffman, fresh off his embarrassing defeat in NY-23, and after a definitive recount, announces that he’ll run once more next fall – and implies yet again that maybe, somehow, his loss was the result of something nefarious

Quick! Donate now: Cheney/Palin 2012

On the other hand:
[Matt Yglesias] I know some liberals who are excited about the prospect of a joke candidate like Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney getting the GOP nomination in 2012. Not me. The basic fact of the matter is that power tends to alternate between the two political parties. Ultimately, the nation’s interests require both parties to nominate the best people possible. So I hope the Republicans find someone who’s very smart and compelling and does an excellent job of identifying and explaining the flaws in Barack Obama’s approach. Cheney couldn’t possibly win a presidential election . . . unless somehow he could, in which case the country would be set for a world of pain.

Glenn Beck – what he says is bad enough, but the people he inspires are incredibly scary


Karl Rove – the man has no shame

Bonus item: Fox News, still math-challenged

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Friday, November 27, 2009


Why is the traditional first day of buying gifts for friends, families, and loved ones known as “Black Friday”?
JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing . . .

Many merchants objected to the use of a negative term to refer to one of the most important shopping days in the year. By the early 1980s, an alternative theory began to be circulated: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. When this would be recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period where retailers would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black). The earliest known use, again found by Bonnie Taylor-Blake, is from 1981, again from Philadelphia, and presents the "black ink" theory as one of several competing possibilities:

If the day is the year's biggest for retailers, why is it called Black Friday? Because it is a day retailers make profits -- black ink, said Grace McFeeley of Cherry Hill Mall. . . .

Not much in the blog world today either. But what there is, is cherse

Pushing back the lobbyists
Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street's influence in Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.

The new policy -- issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel -- may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts. . . .

Coalition of the Half-willing
Tony Blair's government decided up to a year before the Iraq invasion that it was "a complete waste of time" to resist the US drive to oust Saddam Hussein, opting instead to offer advice on how it should be done, the former British ambassador to Washington said today.

Sir Christopher Meyer, testifying to the Chilcot inquiry into Britain's role in the war, made it clear that once the Bush administration decided to take military action, the Blair government never considered opting out or opposing it.

He said that the timing of the invasion was dictated by the "unforgiving nature" of the military build-up rather than the outcome of diplomacy or UN weapons inspections, which had not been given sufficient time. British officials were left "scrabbling for the smoking gun" – evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – as preparations continued. . . .

Why it’s important for Harry Reid to keep the threat of reconciliation alive

But he isn’t:
Reid Says “No Reconciliation,” ConservaDems Immediately Get Leverage

The world is dying, and the know-nothings are in charge
Among the world’s wacky conspiracy theories – the Elders of Zion, the Illuminati, trutherism, birtherism, perpetual-motion machines suppressed by Big Oil, the fossil record as an evolutionist hoax – global-warming denialism stands out for the sheer vastness of the conspiracy it imagines, involving thousands or tens of thousands of scientists.

The people who say that global warming is not a big deal are wrong, or at least they don’t understand the nature of uncertainty. . . [read on]
[Rush] I'm not a scientist. I'm just a guy imbued with an above-average abundance of common sense. . . .

I am imbued, again, with a decent education and common sense. I know that science has nothing to do with consensus. And so the primary selling point of the global warming crowd has been "a consensus of scientists." Consensus, meaning a majority. But there are some scientists that don't believe it? Well, wait a minute: That's not science we're talking, then. We're talking politics. . . .
[Rush] Well, belief in God is a very personal thing, but I happen to believe in a loving God of creation -- and I just intellectually cannot accept the fact that a loving God which has created all this beauty and has blessed this country -- I cannot believe that a God like that -- would punish the human being he created for progress, for improving the quality of his life. No longer do we have to follow plow mules in the fields. No longer do we have to have kids out milking cows. We have enhanced human life, the life experience, the quality of life, the standard of living. I refuse to believe that a God who created the universe would create creatures who, by virtue of improving their lives and making progress, would destroy another part of His creation.

It just doesn't compute in a logical sense. If you don't believe in God, then you probably are a global warmist or a liberal. . . .

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


It looks as if some people are leaving the Obama admin over its detainee and Gitmo policies

We have to accept it: Obama’s rhetoric is transcendent, but his basic instincts in governing are very, very cautious

Goodbye public option?
[Josh Marshall] Here's the most thought-provoking and perhaps most important piece I've seen written on the Public Option. And it was written back in June. . . .
[Paul Starr] In the current battle over health reform, progressives may have set themselves up for trouble by pinning all their hopes on the creation of a government-run insurance plan. A public plan is not a bad idea -- indeed, it could be a critical element in successful reform -- but it could also easily turn out to serve the opposite purposes from the ones progressives intend. . . .

The great danger is that the public plan could end up with a high-cost population in a system that fails to compensate adequately for those risks. Private insurers make money today in large part by avoiding people with high medical costs, and in a reformed system they'd love a public plan where they could dump the sick. Although the proposals before Congress aim to limit insurers' incentives to skim off the best risks, the measures are unlikely to eliminate those incentives entirely. . . . [read on]


Good advice
[Nate Silver] If I were Blanche's Lincoln's Chief of Staff, my advice to her would be as follows:

1. Vote for cloture.
2. Vote against the bill itself.
3. Articulate this position clearly.
4. And then Shut The Hell Up.

The GOP has successfully made the 60 vote requirement for everything the New Normal. But it wasn’t always that way

The Little Tent: the GOP’s “Purity Resolution” is just a piece of PR BS – even their own campaign committees won’t honor it

John McCain, who likes to talk about Sarah Palin as if she were his daughter, bemoans the “vicious” attacks against her. Vicious, huh?
I'm so proud of her and can I say I'm entertained and sometimes a little angry when I see this constant, vicious attacks by people on the left that, you know, tell them to calm down. I've never seen anything like it in all the years that I've been in politics, the viciousness and the personalization of the attacks on Sarah Palin.

But I'm very proud of her. I'm proud of the job she's doing. . . .

The Top Right-Wing Protest Moments Of 2009

More on today's version of right-wing populism

Meanwhile, Palin hones her message as part of the Cheney/Armey/Bachmann wing of the party. So this is how it’s gonna be, huh?
"There's been a lack of acknowledgment by our president in understanding what it is that the American military provides in terms of, obviously, the safety, the security of our country," Palin said during an interview with Fox News's Greta Van Susteren. "I want him to acknowledge the sacrifices that these individual men and women -- our sons, our daughters, our moms, our dads, our brothers and sisters -- are providing this country to keep us safe." . . .

[Steve Benen] Even for Palin, this is vile. . . .


It’s good to see that Lou Dobbs is just another lying weenie like all the rest of them. Now that he is pondering a political future, he’s suddenly reaching out to the Hispanics he’s been slamming all these years

Glenn Beck gives his version of detainee policy
"Shoot them in the head"

Rush Limbaugh thinks the President should be arrested as a traitor

Bonus item: It’s the season of top-ten lists
Top 10 Wild And Wacky Political Voices

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Thanks to Marcy Wheeler, a look back at the destruction of the torture tapes. The time line leaves little doubt about what was going on
November 1, 2005: Dana Priest reveals the use of black sites in Europe. In response, CIA starts moving detainees from the countries in question.

November 3, 2005: [Judge] Leonie Brinkema inquires whether govt has video or audio tapes of interrogations. CIA IG Report on Manadel al-Janabi’s death completed.

November 4, 2005: Member of Congress writes four page letter to CIA IG.

November 8, 2005: CIA requests permission to destroy torture tapes. CIA reaffirms March 2005 statement that all interrogation methods are lawful. Duncan Hunter briefed on torture. Pete Hoekstra briefed on torture.

November 9, 2005: CIA confirms destruction of torture tapes. Doug Jehl article on spring 2004 CIA IG report on interrogation methods appears.

November 14, 2005: Govt tells Brinkema it has no audio or video tapes.


The mainstream media “knows” that Obama had a bad trip to China. They know this because Drudge told them so and because everyone they talk to agrees with everyone else they talk to. But James Fallows, who actually knows what he’s talking about, has a different view
Here is how it looked to a foreigner who has just written me -- a person who has lived in China for two decades, still does business there, and speaks Mandarin . . .

It's not just me. Two colleagues with different perspectives -- from each other's, and sometimes from my own -- marvel at how badly the mainstream American press distorted the picture of what happened during Barack Obama's just-ended tour of Asia. . . .

Can Obama “finish the job” Bush and Cheney started?

Cheney accuses Obama of “dithering” over shipping more troops to the hell-hole in Afghanistan. In Cheney’s world, leaders should be clear-headed and decisive – like his former boss
The Weekly Standard reports that Cheney told Scott Hennen that the bow reflected the fact that Mr. Obama "doesn’t fully understand or have the same perception of the US role in the world that most Americans have." . . .

And he again made the case that the president's "dithering" on what to do in Afghanistan and Pakistan is hurting the country. . . .

Cheney went on to suggest the "very costly" delay in a decision could be attributed to "inexperience" and argue that "every day that goes by raises doubts in the minds of our friends and allies in the region about what you’re going to do.",8816,235395,00.html
[May 2002] Two months ago, a group of Republican and Democratic Senators went to the White House to meet with Condoleezza Rice, the President's National Security Adviser. Bush was not scheduled to attend but poked his head in anyway — and soon turned the discussion to Iraq. The President has strong feelings about Saddam Hussein . . . He showed little interest in debating what to do about Saddam. Instead, he became notably animated, according to one person in the room, used a vulgar epithet to refer to Saddam and concluded with four words that left no one in doubt about Bush's intentions: "We're taking him out."

[NB: What Bush actually said was, “F--- Saddam. We’re taking him out.” Now, 4300 dead, 30,000 wounded, and $700 billion later, we’re still in Iraq. Aren’t we lucky he was so "decisive"?]

Oh, and by the way:
Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before he was elected

There’s a reason I’ve been calling her “Alice in Wonderland”
Perino: "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term"

A new documentary on Bush’s National Guard service? Well, better late than never, I suppose

Why did Obama make this article “required reading” in the WH?
[Ron Brownstein] Both the Senate bill's priority on controlling long-term health care costs, and its strategy for doing so, represents a validation for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). When Baucus released his health reform proposal last September, after finally terminating months of fruitless negotiations with committee Republicans, Democratic liberals excoriated his plan as a dead end. And on several important fronts--such as subsidies for the uninsured, the role of a public competitor to private insurance companies, and the contribution required from employers who don't insure their workers--Reid moved his product away from Baucus toward approaches preferred by liberals.

But the Reid bill's fiscal strategy, and its vision of how to "bend the curve," almost completely follows Baucus' path from September. Baucus' bill was the first to establish the principle that Congress could expand coverage while reducing the federal deficit; now that's the standard not only for the Senate but also the House reform legislation. And, perhaps even more importantly, the Reid bill maintains virtually all of Baucus ideas' for shifting the medical payment system away from today's fee-for-service model toward an approach that more closely links compensation for providers to results for patients. . . . [read on]


All screwed up
Why reconciliation might not save the public option

“The Final Four”
Who's Standing In Reid's Way, And Can They Be Won Over?

This tells you that ALL the usual right-wingers are lined up to defeat health care, at all costs. A defeat for Obama is a win for them, period
You might not necessarily think that health care reform would end up in the crosshairs of the gun lobby. But you'd be wrong. Gun Owners of America have been raging against the Senate health care bill for all sorts of imagined threats to the Second Amendment . . .

Grim news
Kentucky state police have ruled that Bill Sparkman, the census worker found dead with a rope around his neck and "fed" scrawled on his chest, was a suicide. Sparkman apparently made his suicide look like a murder in the hopes that his son would get a pay out from his insurance policies.


CNN is paying Alex Castellanos to work for the Republican National Committee – that’s what this works out to
[Josh Marshall] Alex Castellanos is really getting around. He's now CNN analyst, "senior communications advisor" for the Republican party and top strategist and consult for AHIP (the insurers lobby) and the Chamber of Commerce. . . .
CNN will retain the services of Alex Castellanos, despite his new role as unpaid flack for the RNC (his official title will be Senior Communications Adviser). . . .


Rush Limbaugh’s philosophy of life

The GOP’s new ideological purity test: I’m all for it. Look who it would cost them

NY-23: Doug Hoffman concedes (again)

Michele Bachmann (R-MN) doesn’t understand why the Dems are mad at her? Really? Maybe this will refresh her memory

Everything is more fun in New Orleans – even their mayoral ads!

Pretty funny: Obama readies to pardon a turkey before Thanksgiving. Here is the lead-in

Bonus item: Really, really creepy

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL ( I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


34,000 troops to Afghanistan?

A new strategy:

We’re gonna burn in hell for the deal we’ve made with Blackwater
[John Aravosis] Yes, the Blackwater that Bush's DOJ was considering indicting last December. The same Blackwater that was accused of shooting at innocent Iraqi civilians. The same Blackwater that was accused, just a few weeks ago, of bribing Iraqi officials to quell criticism of the civilian shooting incident. Yes, that's the Blackwater that the Obama administration is reportedly employing to help plan assassinations in Pakistan. . . .


Howard Dean: how the Democrats blew it on health care

[Ezra Klein] I once heard an activist say that leadership is the process of managing your constituency's disappointment. If that's accurate, then the next few months are going to offer ample opportunities for leadership.

What will happen if the Dems squander this opportunity
Mr. Axelrod did not dispute the notion that the fate of some Democratic incumbents could rest on how popular Mr. Obama is next summer. In fact, that is precisely the argument White House officials are making to nervous Democrats in urging them to rally around the health care bill, rather than risk having Mr. Obama suffer a debilitating defeat that could turn Americans against him. . . .


Why we need the public option

But at this stage, is the kind of “public option” we’re likely to get even worth fighting for?

Triggers are back on the agenda again

On filibusters
[JB] As you know, I used to work in the Senate. When I did, the threat of extended debate was made fairly often: usually to delay legislation until some matter of parochial concern to one or more Senators was dealt with, occasionally to threaten with extended publicity the passage of legislation thought to be unpopular.

It was always understood that legislation thought deeply inimical to one or more states' most vital interests might be opposed with every resource at the disposal of an individual Senator or group of Senators. The inhibitions -- all of them unwritten -- against deploying those resources routinely, though, were considerable. If this had not been the case, legislation like the 1986 Tax Reform Act (which overhauled the entire federal tax code), the Goldwater-Nichols bill of that year restructuring the Pentagon, and the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments could never have been enacted.

Within today's Senate it appears understood that these inhibitions are all gone now. Even the threat of extended debate -- the traditional filibuster -- has degenerated into the threat to prevent debate, by objecting to the motion to proceed to legislation. Southern segregationists in the 1960s, facing the passage of voting rights legislation aimed at uprooting the foundations of their states' political and social order, did not go as far in obstructing the consideration of legislation as opponents of health care reform are going today. . . . [read on]
A political scientist TPM Reader begs to differ with TPM Reader JB on the filibuster and the difficulty of getting hard bills through the senate . . . [read on]

The Big Lie about health care reform, and how the media enables it

[Steve Benen] Good lord, Republicans sure do lie a lot about health care. . .

Dick Cheney, along with his daughter, seems on a full-time crusade against Obama
Cheney Hits Obama’s Bow, But Cheney Served Two Presidents Who Bowed


Chris Matthews thinks Obama’s loss of independents is a huge crisis
Neither Democrat nor Republican, they're independents. But while they swear allegiance to no political party they're moving away from Obama in droves. . . [read on]

One problem:
[Charles Franklin] "But support for Obama has not plummeted among independents, and that needs to be clarified before it becomes erroneous conventional wisdom... Claims of abandonment of Obama by independents (or lib-Dems or con-Dems) are substantially exaggerated over the past three months. Significant decline from May through August, yes indeed among Inds and Reps, but that trend halted in August."

I don’t want to hear about how powerful and resurgent the Republicans are. While polls show declining numbers for Obama and the Dems, this doesn’t translate into support for the GOP. Their party is led by an absolute moron, and now their leadership faces another shake-up. The Dems continue to outraise them in money. The national party stands for nothing except stopping whatever Obama wants. Their right flank is devouring their moderate members, and this civil war is exacerbated by madmen Beck and Rush, who no one seems prepared to stand up to or criticize. Their most visible political figure is the guy who lost a humiliating defeat in 2008, and their most popular figure is his VP, a complete ditz who may very well be a leading contender for 2012. This is a formula for a big comeback?
[WP] Trevor Francis, the communications director at the Republican National Committee, is leaving his post, an odd mid-cycle departure that suggests some level of turmoil within the GOP's chief campaign committee. . . .
Alex Castellanos, a Republican media consultant [NB: and conspicuously biased CNN talking head] will take over as a senior communications adviser to RNC Chairman Michael Steele, according to a source familiar with the move. . .
[Watertiger] Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale . . . from the RNC’s very own word saladsmith, Michael Steele. It’s been a while since I’ve actually listened to the Mayor of Simpleton, and I’d forgotten how bad he is at actually trying to spin the party’s message. I mean, embarrassingly bad. . . [read on]
Conservative Writers And Pols Dance Around Questions About Palin’s Intellect And Qualifications
[Ross Douthat] Palin and Huckabee "owed their appeal more to personality than to substance," and would have been wise to "take their newfound eminence seriously" and start hitting the books. Instead, they chose to "cash in on their celebrity," leaving them no better off when it comes to gaining credibility and/or positioning themselves for national office. . . . [read on]


And now this: the party has a new litmus test for candidates, who must sign on to a conservative Purity Resolution
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

[BarbinMD] It's official: the Republican Party has lost its collective mind . . .

The Plan: Glenn Beck’s formula for a New Conservative Movement


Crazy Lady
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a champion of the right wing and a key organizer of the recent Capitol Tea Party, wonders why Democrats attack her so much -- after all, decades ago she was a Democrat herself! . . . [read on]

Mark Sanford (R-SC) is in big trouble

Haw haw: dogged by a series of embarrassing on-screen goofs, Fox News gets serious about its credibility. Now if they can just do something about all the lies. . .

Dr. Beck explains economics: don’t - miss - it!

Bonus item: The scariest film of the season

Extra bonus item: Find the worst written sentence in Sarah Palin’s bio. It’s gonna be hard to top this one
"As the soles of my shoes hit the soft ground, I pushed past the tall cottonwood trees in a euphoric cadence, and meandered through willow branches that the moose munched on."

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, November 23, 2009


From the Sunday shows
Ben Nelson: If Bill Isn't Improved, I Won't Vote to Get It Off The Floor
Appearing on This Week, Sen. Ben Nelson, made clear that his vote last night to proceed with debate on the health bill was contingent on being able to amend the bill in the next stages of the process -- and that he has a continuing list of issues with the bill, including abortion and other concerns: "Even if that -- even if that was perfected, where I could support that particular provision, if the public option is wrong, if the CLASS act is still in it, if -- if there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn't vote to get it off the floor."

Lieberman: Nobody Thinks The Bill Can Pass As It Is
Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. JOe Lieberman (I-CT) reiterated that he would filibuster the health care bill if it still contains a public option, and explained why he voted last to proceed with debate: "Well, I voted last night, as 59 others did, to go ahead with the debate because I, I want us to begin not only debating healthcare reform, but doing something about healthcare reform. But I don't think anybody feels this bill, as Senator Reid put it down, though he made a lot of progress in blending bills together, I don't think anybody thinks that this bill will pass as it is."

McConnell Blasts 'Arrogant Approach' Of Dems
Appearing on State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted the Democratic leadership. "Well, we don't often ignore the wishes of the American people. They are literally screaming -- many of them -- telling us, 'Please don't pass this. Don't pass this bill,'" said McConnell. "If the majority is hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of the American people, they have 60 votes in the Senate. You would think that they might be able to do this, but I believe there are a number of Democratic senators who do care what the American people think and are not interested in this sort of arrogant approach that everybody -- sort of 'shut up and sit down, get out of the way, we know what's best for you.'"
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), one of three centrist Democrats whose vote was in doubt until Friday, said he expected to talk to Reid frequently over the Thanksgiving recess. He said he had given Reid a two-page document that listed parts of the bill that needed to be changed to win his final vote, though he said a number of the issues were minor. . . .

The specter looms of a bloody intra-party fight over whether to create a government-run public option insurance program to compete with private plans. Though far from the only issue dividing Democrats, the public option has proven the hardest problem for the party to overcome.

Liberals steadfastly maintain that the public option is an essential component of the legislation and is needed to promote competition in the insurance market and provide consumers with an alternative to private coverage. As the healthcare debate has progressed this year, liberals have seen the public option continually scaled back; the Senate version, for instance, would allow states to opt out. The House-passed bill does not include the opt-out provision.

But if the Democrats want to hold on to the support of Landrieu, Lincoln and Nelson, they likely will have to bend even further. Each senator made plain their opposition to the public option in Reid’s bill – and their willingness to oppose the legislation when it comes up for a final vote, or even join a Republican filibuster to kill the bill.

“Let me be perfectly clear: I am opposed to a new government-administered healthcare plan as a part of comprehensive health insurance reform and I will not vote in favor of the proposal that has been introduced by Leader Reid as it is written," Lincoln said on the Senate floor, echoing similar sentiments previously expressed by Landrieu and Nelson.

Nelson explicitly threatened to filibuster the bill when the debate comes to an end. “I support parts of the bill and oppose others I will work to fix. If that's not possible, I will oppose the second cloture motion — needing 60 votes — to end debate, and oppose the final bill,” he said in a statement Friday. Nelson also is the strongest critic among Democrats of the abortion provisions in the bill, which he says are too weak to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortion services.

Discarding the public option, however would create even bigger problems among liberal Democrats, who outnumber their centrist colleagues in the Senate and in the House, said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a vocal champion of the public option. Brown expressed optimism, however, that Democrats would come together in the end.

“Fifty-five Democrats want the public option and I don’t believe that any Democrats want to bring this bill down on a procedural vote, in the end. I don’t think they want to be on the wrong side of history,” Brown said. The centrists, he said, “will realize that they’re part of a team and this country needs this bill.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he believes there are 60 votes in the Senate for some version of a public option.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): "And I think, in the end, I don't want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it's not going to be in it."

And Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a freshman, said that a vote for health care reform was worth losing his seat over.

On Meet the Press, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two boss in the Senate, said that the Senate bill would likely be modified: "We are open because we want to pass this bill," he said. He also said that the Senate bill must pass before the end of the year and was confident that it would.


Joe Lieberman, Man of Principle

Still fighting for the public option

Next year, Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts are set to expire. Expect a big fight from the GOP that not extending them will be RAISING TAXES
[Eric Alterman] When the Bush tax cuts sunset at the end of 2010, the previous administration will have left the government holding the bag for well over $2 trillion in lost revenue. The extraordinary debt and deficits accrued during Bush’s tenure have been compounded by the implosion of the financial system. In addition, the estimated eventual costs of the costly, unnecessary, and counterproductive Iraq war are now in the trillions to say nothing of the costs of more than six years of failure in Afghanistan. . . . [read on]

The debate over cancer screening: don’t call it “rationing”,-Politics,-and-Communication


Conservative Populism, an historical essay

Bonus item: The parts of Sarah Palin’s book you HAVEN’T heard about
[Frank Rich] The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush. . . .

The book’s most frequently dropped names, predictably enough, are the Lord and Ronald Reagan (though not necessarily in that order). Easily the most startling passage in “Going Rogue,” running more than two pages, collates extended excerpts from a prayerful letter Palin wrote to mark the birth of Trig, her child with Down syndrome. This missive’s understandable goal was to reassert Palin’s faith and trust in God. But Palin did not write her letter to God; she wrote the letter from God, assuming His role and voice herself and signing it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.” If I may say so — Oy!

Even by the standard of politicians, this is a woman with an outsized ego. Combine that with her performance skills and an insatiable hunger for the limelight, and you can see why she will not stay in Wasilla now that she’s seen 30 Rock. The question journalists repeatedly asked last week — What are Palin’s plans for 2012? — is a red herring. Palin has no obligation to answer it. She is the pit bull in the china shop of American politics, and she can do what she wants, on her own timeline, all the while raking in the big bucks she couldn’t as a sitting governor. No one, least of all her own political party, can control her.

The fact-checking siege of “Going Rogue” — by the media, Democrats and aggrieved McCain campaign operatives alike — is another fruitless sideshow. Palin’s political appeal has never had anything to do with facts — or coherent policy positions. The more she is attacked for not being in possession of pointy-headed erudition, the more powerful she becomes as an avatar of the anti-elite cause. As Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, has correctly observed, “She represents less a philosophical strain on the right than an affect and a demographic.” . . .

After the Palin-McCain ticket lost, conservative pundits admonished her to start studying the issues. If “Going Rogue” and its promotional interviews are any indication, she has ignored their entreaties during her months at liberty. Last week, Greta Van Susteren chastised Oprah for not asking Palin “one policy question,” but when Barbara Walters did ask some, Palin either recycled Dick Cheney verbatim (Obama is “dithering”) or ran aground. Her argument for why “Jewish settlements” should be expanded on the West Bank was that “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.” It was unclear what she was talking about — unless it was the “rapture” theology that requires the mass return of Jews to settle the Holy Land as a precondition for the return of Christ. . . .

But it’s better for Palin’s purposes to remain as blank a slate as possible anyway. Some of her most ardent supporters realize that she’ll drive still more independent voters away if she fills in too many details. . .

The only person who can derail Palin is Palin herself. Should she not self-destruct, she will doom G.O.P. hopes of a 2012 comeback. But the rest of the country cannot rest easy. . . . [read on]


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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The good news: the Senate health care bill passed a major hurdle, and the principle was perhaps established that conservaDems can vote to block a filibuster while still voting against the bill (though Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried mightily to equate them). But it was also clear that a couple of key votes probably won’t be there for a strong public option down the road

Talk of negotiations to further weaken the public option has already begun. Looks like the “opt-out” will be out, and some kind of hideous triggered co-op could be coming back in

How we got here

Lieberman Repeats Claim That Public Option Not Part Of 2008 Presidential Campaign


McConnell’s last gasp: throw everything and hope something sticks
"The battle has just begun. We are going to do everything and anything we can to prevent this measure from becoming law."


Theocracy watch: God wants Obama to fail
Psalm 109:8 reads, quote, “Let his days be few and let another take his office.” The psalm then continues, “Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds and beg. Let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. Let the creditor seize all that he has and let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him nor let there be any favor to his fatherless children.”

Yes, free speech and all that – but is this the best they can do?
[MSNBC] A billboard showing President Barack Obama wearing a turban has sparked a lot of attention at the suburban Denver used car dealership that put it up.

The sign, completed Friday by artist David Lee, shows a grinning, cartoonish Obama and bears the words "PRESIDENT or JIHAD?"

Underneath the president's image is a big yellow square with the phrase, "BIRTH CERTIFICATE, PROVE IT!"

Impeachment for Mark Sanford (R-SC)?

Sunday talk show line-ups
• ABC, This Week: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

• CBS, Face The Nation: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The PROCEDURAL vote later today on whether to BRING THE HEALTH CARE BILL TO THE FLOOR for amendment and debate is not a vote FOR the bill. Repeat as necessary.

What will the “centrists” do? The votes to watch


Looking ahead to the Senate/House conference -- how the bills differ

The state of our political discourse. According to the Republicans, we now have a President who hates America and is TRYING to kill us

Republican strategist Cheri Jacobs said on MSNBC that the KSM trial will be a "referendum on torture." If only. Evidently, she was riffing on her piece this morning in The Hill in which she compared KSM to OJ Simpson and accused the Obama administration of having the trials in NYC in order to get a liberal jury to acquit Khalid Sheik Mohammed because they hate Bush and are trying to distract from their failed presidency . . .


Auditing the Fed – what a notion!

How many words can you use to avoid using the word “perjury”?
[To Roland Burris, D-IL] “The Committee found that you should have known that you were providing incorrect, inconsistent, misleading or incomplete information . . .”


His office issued a statement welcoming the news that the panel "cleared the senator of any legal wrongdoing."

Please, Sarah, keep talking

Yeah, but they really LOVE her out there . . . right?

McCain in trouble in Arizona in 2010

Can Palin save him?

How many seats will shift in the Senate next year?

Chris Matthews at his most annoying
[Obama] is leading with his chin on just about every issue out there -- healthcare, terror trials, job losses, even the breast cancer report. He's exposed and vulnerable. His poll numbers are dropping.

Is he just too darned intellectual? Too much the egghead? Why did he bow to that Japanese emperor? Why did he pick Tim Geitner to be his economic front man? Why all this dithering over Afghanistan? And who thought it was a wonderful idea to bring the killers of 9/11 to New York City, the media capital of the world ... so they could tell their story?

Is Obama channeling Adlai Stevenson . . .?


Glenn Beck: crazy AND dangerous
What's in this legislation? The end of America as you know it, I believe. . .


Bonus item: Self-parody

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***