July 26, 2009
You might be wondering what this blog is all about. By the name, you might think I’m some Democratic Party shill, doling out the latest talking points. In actuality, it is the opposite. From the How This Site Started link above:
I wrote to the DNC about Rush Limbaugh a while back after they went on the attack against him. Subsequently, I went on their mailing list and began receiving emails from them a couple times a week. The letters are usually attributed to (though, probably not written by) various names in the Democrat party–Pelosi, Carville, Albright, Vogel, etc. This blog puts those emails out there for all to see, and I’ll comment on the many fallacious arguments they make regarding conservatives and the Republican party. I’ll tell you right now, half of the arguments they make are straw man and ad hominem.
Virtually all the emails I have received thus far devolve into begging for funds after attacking their opposition in a way that is thin on facts and heavy on playing to fears and stereotypes. Where are those funds going? Fancy names like Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund are used to mask how the money will be used. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that the “Response” fund is all about advertising and marketing whatever legislation they are too afraid to give the American people the whole truth about.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. No special comments in this blog besides what is directly (or sometimes indirectly) mentioned in the “dispatches” I receive from various mechanisms of the Democratic Party. If you know of any more sources, I’d be glad to hear about them. And skewer where appropriate. And (I know this is a longshot) applaud where appropriate.
July 25, 2009
Another shameless ask-letter from Pelosi via the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). It’d be one thing if she was actually trying to argue based on the merits of the proposed health care bill, but this is simply just a money grab for advertising dollars. Here goes:
Republicans have made the cynical political calculation that it’s better to attack Democrats and do nothing to address soaring health care costs rather than deliver change [what does that even mean?] for the American people.
Republicans have many ideas in Congress to address “soaring health care costs.” It’s ironic that Pelosi is the one that will never let them see the light of day. One is the Patient’s Choice Act.
Well, I’m not going to let Republicans derail health insurance reform. Recently, one prominent Republican senator even went as far as saying: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
As President Obama said in response: “This isn’t about politics. It is about a health care system that is breaking American families, breaking America’s businesses and breaking America’s economy.”
Wait—I thought it was the loan and banking industry that was “breaking American families, breaking America’s businesses and breaking America’s economy.” Or was it outsourcing of jobs? Oh, that’s right, the stimulus was supposed to fix it all! What’s that—it didn’t?
Pelosi continues, now moving into “ask” mode:
I could not agree more. But delivering this change depends on us. Please help the DCCC raise $250,000 before the August recess for the Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund.
That is, money we can use to advertise our health care bill. Since when do you advertise legislation? Why don’t they just call it the Advertising/Marketing Fund? You know, because we, the American people, are the ones who vote for these bills in Congress. What’s that—we’re not?
Stand with President Obama: Contribute $5, $10 or more to support historic Health Insurance Reform today and my colleagues and I in Congress will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
America’s families, who are struggling to cope with skyrocketing health care expenses, understand the true cost of doing nothing. If we fail to act, the cost of health care for the average family of four is projected to rise by $1,800 every year for years to come and insurance companies will make more health care decisions. That’s $18,000 per family over the next 10 years.
On its face, the constant increase of $1,800 a year, every year, is ridiculous. The market would not allow that to happen. Little of it there may still be out there, we have enough competition in the market to ensure that this won’t happen.
Last week, House Democrats introduced historic legislation to meet President Obama’s goal of comprehensive health care reform. Our legislation lowers health care costs for everyone. Our bill offers greater choice, including the right to keep your own doctor and it includes a public option to compete with private insurers.
This has been repudiated repeatedly here (see links from previous posts) and elsewhere. Health care costs, by design, cannot be “lower for everyone.” Someone will have to pay for those who aren’t paying a dime. And when your current employer drops private coverage to switch to GovCare, you’re not guaranteed to keep your doctor.
Even ‘Harry and Louise’ from those infamous television ads that attacked President Clinton’s health care reform effort have now switched sides. Yet even though Harry and Louise may be on our side now, we must be able to counter the Republican attacks and set the record straight. And, we need your financial support to do it.
Contribute $5, $10 or more today to support historic Health Insurance Reform today and my colleagues and I in Congress will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
Democrats will not be deterred and the American people will not be denied quality affordable health care. Please help us fight these attacks and pass historic health care reform this year. Together, we will move America in a New Direction.
What’s with all the capitals? Is “New Direction” some bill we don’t know about? And, by the way, Harry & Louise are actors!
Speaker of the House
P.S. Republicans and their powerful special interests are trying to defeat President Obama’s plan to make quality health care affordable for everyone. We must have the financial resources to counter their attacks. Contribute $5, $10 or more to support historic Health Insurance Reform today and my colleagues and I in Congress will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
In summary, the recent letters are all about getting money for advertising. There is no attempt to inform DNC and DCCC members (or at least people like me who are on the mailing list) of what any of these bills actually contain. No pdf links to the bill itself, or links to blogs/magazines/newspapers/networks that are actually trying to defend the Health Care bill on its merits. Oh, and another email from Pelosi just popped into my inbox—joy!
July 24, 2009
Harry and Louise, who appeared in commercials that helped sink HillaryCare back in the 90’s, are back in the news. But this time they’ve switched sides and believe that health care reform is needed. The thing is, they are just actors. From a Reuters story:
The actors who play Harry and Louise appeared at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday with Senate supporters and advocacy groups pushing for healthcare legislation now.
Okay, so maybe they genuinely believed their message in the 90’s, and now genuinely believe we need “healthcare reform.” But healthcare reform doesn’t mean throw out the whole system and bring in a new one that is close to a complete failure economically and care-wise everywhere else it has been implemented.
Enough of my ranting. Here’s Carville’s latest communiqué via the DCCC. The only time he mentions Harry & Louise is at the beginning, and he essentially name-drops with even explaining who or what they are about. He simply says that they’ve switched sides.
The rest of the email is a plea for donations using the same old ad hominem attacks about Republican “fat-cat CEO friends.” As if the DCCC and DNC relies solely on $5 & $10 donations. As usual, anything in bold/brackets is my commentary.
Subject: Remember Harry & Louise?
Fight Back Against Republican Scare Tactics
You know the Republican attacks on President Obama’s health care plan must be pretty vicious when even Harry and Louise from those infamous TV ads way back when decide to switch sides.
From launching attack ads on television, creating ridiculous attack web sites and using every single lie from the Karl Rove playbook, Republicans and their fat-cat CEO friends are doing everything they can to try and derail President Obama’s plan to make health care more affordable for everyone.
See previous posts for links on how this is total BS. And there he goes again using words like “everyone”—he really thinks it will cost everybody less when somebody is going to have to pay for somebody else’s free health care?
But you and I can say not this time, not this year. That’s why my pals at the DCCC are looking to raise $250,000 for their Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund before the next recess starts at Midnight on July 31st. House Democrats are so committed to this – they will match all gifts dollar-for-dollar.
What is the “Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund”? Nothing in this letter mentions the purpose, but it is essentially to fund attack ads (or counterattack ads) in the healthcare debate.
Contribute $5, $10 or more to our Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund and get a free “Health Care Reform NOW” window decal. If you contribute today, House Democrats will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
Sweet. A sticker. Whoop-dee-freakin-do.
Here’s the good news. Last week, the House introduced a bill to meet President Obama’s goal of comprehensive health care reform. It’ll lower health care costs for everyone. [Again, a lie. Quit using the word “everyone”, Carville. Of course, then it wouldn’t sound nearly as good to say, “It’ll lower health care costs for everyone except the middle and upper class—and maybe the segments of the poor, also.”] It’ll offer greater choice, including the right to keep your own doctor and it’ll include a public option to finally keep all those big insurance companies honest.
That last point has already been debunked. See previous posts for links.
But here’s the bad news. Republicans have already started their truth-twisting attacks. And if we think it’s bad now, just wait till Congress leaves for the August Recess after passing the bill.
Uh, sorry to tell you this, James, but as of right now the bill isn’t even going to make it to a vote.
Congressional recesses are when the Republicans like to kick their attack machine into overdrive. We have to be ready with everything we got.
Contribute $5, $10 or more to our Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund and get a free “Health Care Reform NOW” window decal. If you contribute today, House Democrats will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
Harry and Louise may be on our side this time around, but trust me, this fight is just getting started. Help President Obama make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself in 2009.
Republicans are scraping every last dollar from their fat-cat CEO friends to try and derail President Obama’s plan to make health care more affordable for everyone. Fight back hard by contributing to our Emergency Health Care Rapid Response Fund. House Democrats will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
Of course, the bill seems doomed to fail at this point. It looks like the American people are starting to bring the pressure on, mostly because of information they have gleaned from the not-MSM (talk radio, blogs, other online publications, their own common sense, etc.). Pelosi seems a little disoriented, though, as I’ve just received another official DCCC email from her (dated 7/23) begging for more dough. Maybe they’re just looking at it as a fundraising opportunity now.
July 19, 2009
Here’s a great example of the DCCC’s style of identity politics, courtesy of James Carville. Probably not written by Carville, but at least signed-off by him. Key phrase here is “fat cat.” I’ve gotten a few other emails from Carville (via the DCCC), and he seems to really enjoy using this phrase to insinuate that the Republicans are exclusively prone to corporate interests and the interests of other big donors. I’m sorry, James, but neither party has a monopoly in that area. (bolds mine)
There are just a few hours left to deliver a huge victory for President Obama and a devastating blow to the Republicans.
At midnight tonight, the FEC deadline hits and we will have to report how much money we have in the bank. As of now, we’re still $43,124 away from hitting our million dollar goal.
If we hit our goal, that means the media is gonna judge that President Obama still has momentum on his side when it comes to health care and everything else. If we fall short, they’ll be saying that Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, with the over $14 million they just raised for Republicans, are stealing our thunder.
Contribute $5, $10 or more to the DCCC’s Million Dollar Match campaign. If you give by tonight’s deadline, House Democrats will chip in two bucks of their own money for every single dollar you give.
There are just a few hours left to tell good ol’ Newt and Sarah that their fat cat money is no match for what grassroots Democrats can do. We’re just $43,124 away from hitting our million dollar goal.
This was actually sent June 30, 2009. A little old, I know, but good to see what is being sent out from the DNC and DCCC, official entities of the Democrat party, on a regular basis.
In a June 22 letter, Carville also wrote (bolds mine):
The Republicans called on none other than Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin to headline their big fat-cat fundraising dinner and claimed to raise over $14 million dollars in one night!
That’s right — $14 MILLION.
You know what I say? Thanks, but no thanks – how about you get back on that bridge to nowhere, Sarah. We don’t need you or any of your fat cat friends who are rooting for President Obama to fail.
Again, the “fat cat” insinuation. And get your facts straight, Palin didn’t order up the “bridge to nowhere.” I think we need an internet ombudsman. Oh yeah, that’s us!
July 16, 2009
I just got this one today from my buddy Jon Vogel, Executive Director, DCCC. He’s pretty geeked about the new healthcare bill. Again, bold and bracketed commentary are mine:
“The House proposal will begin the process of fixing what’s broken about our health care system, reducing costs for all, building on what works, and covering an estimated 97% of all Americans”
– President Obama, July 14, 2009 [Obama said it, it must be true. BTW, almost anytime a politician uses the word/phrases for all, everyone, everything, anyone, etc. as it relates to legislation, alarm bells should immediately go off in your head.]
Those are the words by President Obama on the historic legislation that was introduced this week in the House to finally lower health care costs, provide a public option, and offer greater choice and a higher quality of care for all Americans. [literal fallacy of false choices—see IBD editorial showing bill actually limits choices to current carrier when bill goes into effect, or gov’t care]
The status quo of skyrocketing health care expenses for America’s families shows the true cost of doing nothing. If we fail to act, the cost of health care for the average family of four is projected to rise by $1,800 every year for years to come and insurance companies will make more health care decisions. [As opposed to some tangential gov’t committee making the decision for you? That’s better? Also, now health expenses will be necessarily increased for those who can actually “afford” to pay taxes, where some will be paying for tens, if not hundreds, of other people’s health care in some instances. But I digress…]
This bill is a cause for hope, but also a reminder of the tough fight ahead. [You don’t even know…]
Republicans [and an increasing number of Democrats] in Congress, backed by powerful special interests, are already recycling their same playbook of fear mongering that they used to block President Clinton’s health care reform. They’re even calling it “Hillarycare Revisited.”
Help us show that the American people stand with President Obama: Sign our petition declaring your support for Health Care Reform today.
America’s Affordable Health Choices Act – The Details
Here is what the House legislation will mean for America’s middle class families… [Class warfare readily on display. Why not talk about what it will do for the poor, the immigrant, the rich—the “super” rich “fat cats,” as Carville has said in previous letters from the DCCC?]
- GUARANTEED COVERAGE – The days of being denied coverage because of a preexisting condition – or being forced to pay higher premiums because of it – would be over thanks to the House bill. Insurance companies will also be prohibited from other discriminatory practices like charging higher rates because of gender, health status, or other factors. [Seems that health status would kind of be an important factor in how much you get charged for health care. That is, get more care, pay more money. What’s wrong with that? Mind you, I’ve had health issues myself, so this isn’t coming from Joe Healthyguy, here.]
- GREATER CHOICE – If you like your doctor, your local hospital, or your current insurance plan, you can keep it under the House bill. It also sets up a health insurance exchange to act as a marketplace where individuals and small employers will be able to comparison-shop among private and public insurers. [Again, see IBD editorial above that disputes this]
- LOWER COSTS FOR EVERYONE – The House bill would lower health care costs for all Americans. It ends co-pays and deductibles for preventative care and puts an end to rate increases for preexisting conditions. [I’m still wondering how they expect to pay for all this. Oh yeah, we’re still paying for it!] It will give you access to the lower group rates from a national pool if you buy your own plan. It also includes a public option to compete with private insurers and caps annual out-of-pocket spending to prevent bankruptcy from medical expenses.
- HIGHER QUALITY – The House bill makes sure that you and your doctor make health care decisions, not insurance companies. It provides new incentives, scholarships, and training to encourage the very best and brightest to become doctors and nurses. [These really have nothing to do with “HIGHER QUALITY.” One does not guarantee the other.]
- PREVENTION AND WELLNESS – The House bill also expands community health centers, strengthens wellness and prevention services, provides oral, hearing, and vision care for children, and ensures that mental health care is covered.
Despite this great step forward, the real fight for health care reform is still just getting started. President Obama needs your help to fight the lies, attacks, and scare tactics [Ad hominem and mischaracterization, bordering on slander. Are you calling those who oppose this legislation liars just because they use facts—e.g., the text of the bill itself—to argue against it’s passage?] being used right now by the Republicans and their special interest friends. [Yes, only Republicans have special interest friends.]
And stay tuned for future editions of @Stake for more late breaking news from the campaign trail.
Executive Director, DCCC
I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced.
I wrote to my US Congressman George Miller (D-CA) before the recent vote in the House on the Cap-and Trade bill, officialy called the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009. In my opinion, it will accomplish none of those things–clean energy, security, or aces. I indicated as much when I wrote to him. Alas, it my efforts were (of course) in vain. Here is the reply I received today (bolds are mine except for the act title):
Thank you for contacting me about climate change and energy policy.
This is a critical moment, and one that we must seize if we are ever to shift our national energy policy away from an over-reliance on fossil fuels: global warming is one of the most serious challenges that we have ever faced, and under President Obama, we are taking bold strides towards a clean energy future.In June, I voted for the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009, a landmark bill that represents the single greatest effort in our country ever to address climate change and create a sustainable American energy policy.
The ACES Act sets a science-based limit [???] on carbon pollution, requires electric utilities to bring new clean energy sources online, and invests billions of dollars in green jobs, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency measures. The bill will also work to protect wildlife and natural resources imperiled by warming seas and a changing climate
It is also clear that this legislation has the potential to create millions of new American jobs while making America the global innovation and clean technology leader. One recent study [where?], for example, concluded that the American Clean Energy and Security Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would create 1.7 million new clean energy jobs, while the energy efficiency provisions alone are estimated to generate 770,000 jobs by 2030 [how can they know this?]. As Speaker Pelosi said during debate on the House floor, we should “remember these four words for what this legislation means: jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs.” [Oh, I see, she said it so it must be true! /s] As chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, I also worked to ensure that the legislation provides health care coverage and training for any workers affected by the transition to a clean energy economy.
The bill uses a cap-and-trade framework to reduce greenhouse gasses, similar to the one instituted by the Clean Air Act amendments in 1990 to reduce the pollution that causes acid rain. Under that cap-and-trade system, sulfur dioxide emissions have been cut faster than expected, at an enormous cost savings.
I am very pleased that the legislation approved by the House now also includes the WATER Act, a bill I introduced earlier this year to help consumers make smarter decisions [you know, because we’re so stupid. “Help” here really means “compel.”] about their water and energy use. The WATER Act will provide incentives for water-saving consumer products so that we can we reduce the amount of energy we use to heat, transport, and clean the water we use every day.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have each found that the ACES Act will shield consumers and homeowners from any potential energy price increases. According to their analyses, the legislation will cost each household less than 50 cents per day in 2020 [aren’t the previous two bolded phrases at direct odds with each other? And also at odds with what Obama said: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.“, a figure which does not even take into account the significant savings that we could realize by energy-saving efficiency investments. This is an extraordinarily small price to pay for such a monumental step towards a clean energy economy and a significant reduction in greenhouse gases.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, is already making historic investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean next-generation technologies including a smart grid and advanced batteries. The economic recovery plan included tax credits and significant funding for these programs so that our efforts to transition to a clean energy economy remain on track during the economic crisis [usually in an economic crisis you try to reduce spending; just sayin’…]. The bill also provides nearly $4 billion to prepare adult, youth and dislocated workers for green jobs, and other emerging industries, including training for retrofitting buildings, green construction and production of renewable energy. It has been estimated that the energy provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create more than 500,000 jobs.
The President’s recovery plan, which I was proud to support, has already delivered over $400 million to California alone for investments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our state’s landmark climate change law (AB 32) and energy efficiency programs are a model for the nation, and are proof that we can combat greenhouse gas emissions while investing in an economy based on clean technology – the investments from the recovery plan will quickly create jobs in California while expanding renewable energy production and reducing energy demand.
These steps give us the opportunity to create millions of clean energy jobs that cannot be shipped overseas while ending our long dependence on foreign oil and other polluting fossil fuels [IMO, it just means we will need to import more fossil fuel].
I appreciate your comments and concerns regarding this legislation which I believe will provide green jobs, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency, and will ensure that workers and families are not harmed by the transition to an economy based on clean energy.
Member Of Congress, 7th District
Judge for yourself if this has strayed at all from the normal Democrat talking points that we have heard over and over as to why we need to pass this bill now. In my letter, I relayed my concern about how the ACES Act was not even read before the vote by anyone who voted for it. This major point is not addressed at all in the letter above.
For some background on the farce that is Cap-and-Trade, here are some good links:
The Krugman-hated Heritage Foundation–Ben Lieberman little reported testimony before the Senate Republican Conference
WSJ Kimberley Strassel–concerning growing worldwide questioning of man-made global warming
CBS News asking about whether any members of the House actually read the bill, or even could have read the bill
Much more out there, but that’s a start.