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Steve Brodner
October 2009
The Trouble with Harry
posted:
After Harry Reid finally announced he would send up a bill containing a public option regardless of who didn’t like it, he called his doctor in the middle of the night in a panic. The doctor told him to relax; it was only late-onset spinal growth. And that it wasn’t a pre-existing condition.
Barrage O'Bomber
posted:


Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has reported that the number of US drone strikes in Pakistan has gone way up since President Obama took office. During his first nine-and-a-half months in office, Obama authorized as many CIA aerial attacks in Pakistan as President Bush did in his final three years in office. At any time, the CIA now has multiple drones flying over Pakistan, scouting for targets. Mayer writes, “there is no longer any doubt that targeted killing has become official US policy.” David Kilcullen, a former adviser to General Petreaus, says that the propaganda costs of drone attacks on civilians have been disastrously high. He recently wrote, “Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new revenge feud, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased.”
Strike Me Pink
posted:



In this week’s Observer a fun piece by Steve Kornacki on Rudy’s recent debacle: his idea of running for governor.  When he sized Paterson up as a political non-entity he was right, says Kornacke, but too right.  Soon Cuomo became the fave in a Democratic state leading now by over 50 points.  Now you’d have to be emotionally disturbed to run the next year as a Republican. So, this makes sense.


It’s my first cover for them (and honored to be a part of the great tradition, while Victor takes an enlightened time off).  The big discovery is that pink  paper matters.  And how.  One of my informal rules is to allow for even the tiniest bit of 100% white and 100% black in a piece, to cue the eye to the full range of contrast.  Not possible here!  So the paint tends to vanish and the drawing remains.  Especially if you use, duh, pink. Duly noted. Thanks to Tom McGeveran for the great article and how perfectly he gets what we do.






Health Care Heroes
posted:


Yesterday was mobilization day for health care activists. In the clammy rain folks gathered and sat in at insurance corporate offices across the country. Here's a drawing of demonstrators at United Health at Penn Plaza, where I was yesterday, where 14 people were arrested.  People on 34th Street were completely with us.  It was inspiring, weather and all. This video of people at Wellpoint (Sen. Baucus' favorite insurance comapny) has some clips of strong testimonials. This group Mobilzation for Health Care For All tells it straight.  I don't see Single Payer happening yet, but this point of view, uncovered by Main Stream Media is important to hear.  And might get us something better than what garbage the Senate is preparing. From a photo by Jane Maisel.

Mr. Bill
posted:

The Senate Finance Health Bill that has been the result of very effective “consultation”  (Oooh Nooo, no public option!!!!) with the Insurance Industry is now confronted by an industry “report” that states clearly that ANY reform will cause premiums to go up by more than $4000 per family.   Anthony Weiner sees this as an opportunity.

Appearing on MSNBC, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) was asked about the hot news of the day on the health care front: a new report commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans, which concluded that, under the Senate Finance Committee's legislation, family premiums would rise more than $4,000.

While dismissing the report's findings as typical of an industry that seeks to protect its profits, the New York Democrat also made a fairly salient point. The analysis basically assumes that insurers will raise their rates because the finance committee won't make the pool of consumers more desirable for them. All of which lays out the logical case for providing consumers with a cheap and available alternative, set up and administered by the federal government.

"I think in a strange way and obviously they didn't mean this, the health insurance lobby fired the most important salvo in weeks for the option," said Weiner. "Because they have said clear as day... they'll raise rates 111%."

"Here is a tell," Weiner offered earlier. "If you have the health care industry complaining that we're going to raise costs because of these changes, it is then putting us on notice that we haven't put enough cost containment in the bill. You know if the health care industry themselves is putting out a whole report saying that, that should be a tell to the Baucus team that, you know what, maybe it is time to go back and revisit the public option.

"But the other thing that is interesting here is the deal was always good for the health care guys. Look, you'll get all these new customers coming in and that is going to be the reason that you're going to take a hair cut here. But make no mistake about it, if the health care industry keeps raising costs, and I think this is what's going to happen with the Baucus bill, we'll put new requirements on them, they raise costs. And whatever subsidies we are giving people to buy their own insurance, they won't be able to afford it And we'll keep on losing people. This is the whole argument for the public option. It is right here laid out by the health care industry right now."

The congressman's argument seems eminently logical. Indeed, champions of the public option essential make the case that the provision is necessary because private insurers won't simply bring costs down on their own. The report commissioned by AHIP and put together by PricewaterhouseCoopers hints as much -- making the case that the finance committee's bill can't and won't reduce long term costs because it does not require enough young, healthy consumers to buy insurance.


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/12/weiner-ahip-report-makes_n_317561.html


And here’s Wendell Potter, once again, telling it plain:


"Take it from me," Potter says, "the Senate Finance bill is a dream come true of the health insurance industry. If there is no public option insurance companies aren't going to change. The choice of a public health insurance option is the only way to keep insurance companies honest."









This Week in Boredom
posted:
I’m a (dead) Soul Man.

In the accelerating race to the top of the boredom pop chart we have the NY Times review of “American Idiot”, a rock opera by the Berkeley Reperatory Theater.  It’s based on the album by Green Day.  The Times spends hundreds of words trying to describe the phenomenon of young people emerging from a shrink-wrapped suburban life, disconnected by the mind-numbing screens that surround them.  To them nothing has meaning.  Words and action are meaningless. Everything then is a joke or a joke based on a joke. Can we see the perceived hopelessness in the economy, the wars, the social fabric of America as having an impact on the psychology of young people today? The “Idiot”, then, as a hero in a kind of war on human sense and sensibility, makes perfect sense . . . as in: “no sense”.

Here’s the song "American Idiot":

Don't want to be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new mania
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.

Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.

Don't want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It's calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.


Kenny Boy
posted:
Today we heard that Ken Lewis is retiring from Bank of America.  He’ll get $125 million in retirement and stock.  When you get $45 billion in the bailout it really doesn’t seem so much.  And it wasn’t easy. Paying $50 billion for Merrill Lynch’s toxic lunch, especially at Paulson and Bernanke’s Soup Nazi Kitchen is a crazy way to spend a career.  If I were an insider I’d probably think he’s worth every penny. Art done for Jason Treat at The Atlantic.
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