Open Thread

In defence of Betsy McCaughey

Back a few days ago Jon Stewart did an interview with Betsy McCaughey. While Jon did a good job of entertaining, I don’t think he did a good job of debunking the issues. In fact, I think he may have missed the point.

In the first segment …

Betsy gets into the subject of what folds into the rating of doctors and she raises (a) a criteria to introduce living wills, and (b) the measurement of the follow-through on those directives. In effect, what Betsy is saying is that when your healthy you more likely to say “no – I don’t want to go onto a machine that goes beep beep beep” – and her punch line is that when your staring God in the face things can be different. Thing is both Betsy and Jon stuffed up here because neither party provided any grounded facts. I mean, seriously, I could imagine signing a living will in which I state categorically that if I suggest that I would vote for Sarah Palin then please shoot me – but what if the alternative on the ballot was Carl Rove in drag? This is Betsy’s truth – when you reach the moment of biting the bullet – Sarah or Carl – are you really ready to stand by the living will – and should your doctor be accountable to the federal government on your “Oh no not Sarah” death wish?

In the second segment …

Forgetting about the doctor insensitive thing for a moment – let’s just move on into the second segment we get to the 500 million dollars cut from Medicare. Now – I know Obama has said that this is just eliminating graft in the system – but at the end of the day if you take 500 billion away from the insurance companies – it’s just going to move back on to premiums. Go figure – I don’t need an accountant to do basic maths. As Betsy suggests – the way you adjust things is to play with edge conditions – such as denial of coverage (granny does not get her hip replacement).

In the third segment ..

One item resonated with me – and that was the question concerning the life expectancy in the USA versus the rest of the world. Jon raised the point that the USA is a 46 in the international ranking of life expectancy. Betsy put up what I though was a very salient piece of information – she responded by raising the point that when you remove violent crime and car accidents the USA is no. 1.

Things unfold in the third segment and this gets really interesting because the subject moves to what America wants to spend it’s money on. Disposable income comes into play. According to Betsy, Americans have spent a declining portion of their income of food and energy, a steady level in housing, and this differential has permitted an increased expenditure in healthcare. Betsy goes on to suggest that this is basically a shifting in spending priorities.

At the end of the day – it’s difficult to disagree with the lady.

UPDATE: 28 AUG 2009

Ok, for clarification, while I don’t agree with Betsy’s conclusions, I respect the fact that Betsy has gone digging, I respect that she has constructed a foundation for an argument, I respect the fact that she has identified weaknesses in the opposing argument. I respect the fact that she has been ready to go toe-to-toe based on a written word – and the thing is, you can’t say that about media or the Senate. Before we crucify Betsy McCaughey we have a obligation to listen, a responsibility to evaluate her arguments, and a moral imperative to debate the questions she raises (irrespective of our political or moral alignment).

173 replies on “In defence of Betsy McCaughey”

gaffhook at 98

Interesting video.

We have allegations that government supplied evidence (the security-cam footage, lamp-post destruction, flight data) is manufactured based on the conflict between eye-witness accounts and official accounts. If we take the eye-witness accounts as legitimate – it raises the really interesting possibility the security video was fabricated and that the lamp-post evidence was fabricated prior to the incident. As to the assertion that the plane flew over versus a collision, I figure that’s another subject all together.

Give praise to whatever deity makes you an Australian, and NOT an American:

A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine this month found that 62 percent of American bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. These medical bankruptcies had increased nearly 50 percent in just six years. Astonishingly, 78 percent of these people actually had health insurance, but the gaps and inadequacies left them unprotected when they were hit by devastating bills.

…read it and weep for them, what a total friggin’ mess ‘free enterprise’ (with its blood-sucking lobbyists and compliant pollies ) has created.


I am no expert with photoshop etc but i can clip and paste home videos etc so i figure that an expert in this field could do almost anything they wanted to do and we only have to look at some of the visual effects in modern movies to see what people are capable of and lots of young theatre goers come away believers.
I have an open mind on the whole thing and what interests me is that , being forever the cynic, if those coppers were going to be liars to give fabricated evidence, then they would be the first ones got at to say what “official” course the plane was on and not what they said.
The cab drivers stuff was very intrigueing and i sort of believe that he came clean at the end and said he wants to not be any part of it.
Also none of the witnesses out front said they saw the plane hit the building nor did those who were out front say that they saw it miss. The only thing they said was they saw the fireball. They did not say what caused the fireball but assumed that it was the result of an explosion from the aircraft.
Of course the guy out back only saw a plane go past after he heard the explosion.
When you read the complete timeline of 9/11 for Dick Cheney anything could have taken place at any given time.

It is clear that the Opposition ‘Democratic Party of Japan’ has won the election in a landslide. They will hold approximately 300 seats to the Liberal Democratic Party’s 100 seats.

Davids favourite pollster caught cooking the books.
Well he did say that a lot last year.
Rasmussen Caught With Their Thumb On The Scale
by Steve Singiser

During this year, the nightly polling and political wrap-up has always been rife with comments from Kossacks skeptical of any polling done by Rasmussen Reports.

Over the years, RR has been one of the most prolific pollsters in the game, and despite the fact that it is an open secret that founder Scott Rasmussen’s political proclivities are well to the right of center, their numbers on campaigns have been on the fairway more often than not.

This year, however, it is hard not to go to their webpage and sense an agenda. Apparently, other people in the blogosphere have noticed it, too. Greg Sargent, for example (emphasis mine):

Rasmussen Reports, which often skews its presentation of polling for conservative media pickup, has a funny new poll that’s clearly designed to suggest public opposition to Dems going it alone on health care.

…Take a look at the question wording:

Suppose that Democrats agreed on a health care reform bill that is opposed by all Republicans in Congress. Should the Democrats pass that bill or should they change the bill to win support from a reasonable number of Republicans?

Indeed, as Sargent points out, the trick here employed by Rasmussen is to use the term “reasonable number” of Republicans. “Reasonable” is a very powerful word here, and carries with it the unspoken implication that a bill without ANY Republican support would be, somehow, unreasonable.

continued on The Daily Kos

Major win’ for Japan opposition.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is set for a massive election victory, exit polls suggest.

The DPJ has won 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house, ending 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), NHK TV says.

The DPJ says it will shift the focus of government from supporting corporations to helping consumers and workers.

Japan is suffering record unemployment and its economy is struggling to emerge from a bruising recession.

The conservative LDP, led by Prime Minister Taro Aso, has governed Japan for all but 11 months since 1955.

The DPJ leader, Yukio Hatoyama, has promised to boost welfare, reform the bureaucracy, and seek a more balanced relationship with the United States.

Mr Hatoyama is the wealthy grandson of the founder of Bridgestone tyres, whose other grandfather was a former LDP prime minister.

Thanks GhostWhoVotes

continued here……..

Japan Election Results: Opposition Democrats Win Huge Victory

Japan’s opposition swept to a historic victory in elections Sunday, crushing the ruling conservative party that has run the country for most of the postwar era and assuming the daunting task of pulling the economy out of its worst slump since World War II.

A grim-looking Prime Minister Taro Aso conceded defeat just a couple hours after polls had closed, suggesting he would quit as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan for all but 11 months since 1955.

“The results are very severe,” Aso said. “There has been a deep dissatisfaction with our party.”

Unemployment and deflation – and an aging, shrinking population – have left families fearful of what the future holds.

Fed up with the LDP, voters turned overwhelmingly to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which ran a populist-leaning platform with plans for cash handouts to families with children and expanding the social safety net.

“This is a victory for the people,” said Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democrats and almost certainly Japan’s next prime minister. “We want to build a new government that hears the voices of the nation.”

Hatoyama and his party – an eclectic mix of former Liberal Democrats, socialists and progressives – face a daunting array of challenges, economic and demographic.

Japan’s economy has been hit hard amid the global recession and falling demand for its exports. The unemployment rate has spiked to a record 5.7 percent and younger workers have watched the promise of lifetime employment fade. Incomes are stagnant and families have cut spending.

continued on The Huffington Post

As Internet turns 40, barriers threaten its growth.

Goofy videos weren’t on the minds of Len Kleinrock and his team at UCLA when they began tests 40 years ago on what would become the Internet. Neither was social networking, for that matter, nor were most of the other easy-to-use applications that have drawn more than a billion people online.

Instead the researchers sought to create an open network for freely exchanging information, an openness that ultimately spurred the innovation that would later spawn the likes of YouTube, Facebook and the World Wide Web.

There’s still plenty of room for innovation today, yet the openness fostering it may be eroding. While the Internet is more widely available and faster than ever, artificial barriers threaten to constrict its growth.

Call it a mid-life crisis.

A variety of factors are to blame. Spam and hacking attacks force network operators to erect security firewalls. Authoritarian regimes block access to many sites and services within their borders. And commercial considerations spur policies that can thwart rivals, particularly on mobile devices like the iPhone.

continued on The Huffington Post

gaffy, just had a squiz at the clip you posted at 98. The “in camera” closed-shop, BushCo, snow-job 9/11 enquiry left many more unanswered questions that it set out to answer. Certainly lends weight to the demands of reasonable people with expert qualifications who are rising in crescendo for an open 9/11 enquiry.

So, if the “silver passenger aircraft” didn’t hit the Pentagon, what did?!?

Or are Seps still going to gobble BushCo’s explaination up like they did Arlen Specter’s “magic bullet” explanation for Johnny Kennedy’s whacking in ’63?

RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
A brilliant series of video’s, well researched. The clear Sirhan Sirhan
and thoroughly implicate the CIA.
Psst. Don’t tell David. It’s a conspiracy

Japan’s Hatoyama sweeps to power. (more)

Japan’s next leader, Yukio Hatoyama, is beginning a transition to power after winning a landmark general election.

Exit polls show his Democratic Party of Japan overwhelmingly defeated the Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed almost unbroken since 1955.

PM Taro Aso has conceded defeat and said he would resign as LDP head.

Media forecasts give the DPJ 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house to the LDP’s 119, almost an exact reversal of their previous standing.

continued on BBC News

Two of the biggest/powerful and most conservative governments in the world have now fallen. 😈

With Bold Stand, Japan Opposition Wins a Landslide, (even more).

TOKYO — Japan’s voters cast out the Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in postwar history on Sunday, handing a landslide victory to a party that campaigned on a promise to reverse a generation-long economic decline and to redefine Tokyo’s relationship with Washington.

Many Japanese saw the vote as the final blow to the island nation’s postwar order, which has been slowly unraveling since the economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

In the powerful lower house, the opposition Democrats virtually swapped places with the governing Liberal Democratic Party, winning 308 of the 480 seats, a 175 percent increase that gives them control of the chamber, according to the national broadcaster NHK. The incumbents took just 119 seats, about a third of their previous total. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties.

continued on The New York Times. You may need to be registered.
Previously I said that I was wondering whether the new Japanese government would follow all new governments that have been out of power for a long time and make lot of mistakes and be thrown out. They have already done that part of their apprenticeship back in 1993, when they were thrown out after 11 months. They are promising not to make the same mistakes again.

Outed this fundie in the nick of time. Got him before he could do any damage.

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master’s thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.” He described as “illogical” a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families — a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

In his run for governor, McDonnell, 55, makes little mention of his conservative beliefs and has said throughout his campaign that he should be judged by what he has done in office, including efforts to lower taxes, stiffen criminal penalties and reform mental health laws. He reiterated that position Saturday in a statement responding to questions about his thesis.

“Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and Attorney General and the specific plans I have laid out for our future — not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven’t thought about in years.”

McDonnell added: “Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older.” He said that his views on family policy were best represented by his 1995 welfare reform legislation and that he “worked to include child day care in the bill so women would have greater freedom to work.” What he wrote in the thesis on women in the workplace, he said, “was simply an academic exercise and clearly does not reflect my views.”

continued in The Washington Post. You may need to be registered.


Instalment 2 of my course on the US Constitution and the power of the President introduced the argument that the US would have had better health care coverage had Ted Kennedy not opposed it in 1971 and 1974. Nixon wanted to introduce some healthcare reform that would have resulted in better coverage, but, in a nutshell, the plan wasn’t good enough for Kennedy. 1971 was perhaps the best chance to get some major healthcare reform through – when the Republicans had it on their agenda. By the second round in 1974, Watergate kinda took over. This is a link to a newsreel from that time about the healthcare debate….
A quick google proves that this argument is running hot on some blogs. No doubt some people will be using it to attack Ted Kennedy, or the Democrats, but I think others are simply pragmatists. If Nixon had got this bill up in 1971, even if it was not ideal, the arrangements could have been changed over time. Something is better than nothing, and maybe it could have been improved over time. I think it’s unfair to put this all on Ted Kennedy – that’s not my intention – but it highlights the issue of whether to compromise.
IMO, it would be ideal if the US had a single payer system, which I understand is similar to our Medicare. From what I’ve read, people seem to have given up on this as a possibility, and are holding out for a plan that includes the public option – which is like Medibank Private – an alternative insurer. This seems the second best outcome. But would it really wise for any politician to oppose any reform that did not include a public option, because it’s not good enough?
I guess one could say, why do progressives have to make the compromise? But wouldn’t it be a bigger failer to not do anything on health care, than to hold out for something better?

I think that progressives have to make compromises because people in general are fundamentally conservative. This is good in one way, in that it promotes stable societies. It is bad, however, in that it promotes stable societies …

Pul Krugman writes on the difficulty Dems face in reforming healthcare, and muses that it would have been easier to deal with Nixon than the current political and corporate interests.

“I’m not saying that reformers should give up. They do, however, have to realize what they’re up against. There was a lot of talk last year about how Barack Obama would be a “transformational” president — but true transformation, it turns out, requires a lot more than electing one telegenic leader. Actually turning this country around is going to take years of siege warfare against deeply entrenched interests, defending a deeply dysfunctional political system.”

Katielou above ..

It will be interesting to see how things unfold. Will the healthcare evolution process in the US continue along the lines of a partisan muddle wrestling event, or, will we see a little more trench warfare wherein we see different front opening up (public options as a competitive instrument, insurance reform measures, etc.). I suspect we will see insurance industry getting through this year and a public option deferred until a time where the numbers are really there in both houses (i.e. possibly post 2012).

P.S. That article at 124 with the evolving political portraits of Japan was a really good read!

Krugman makes a lot of sense KatieLou. The criticism levelled at Obama pretty much boils down to him being “owned” by the corporations, whereas I think in reality he is not able to single-handedly and quicly break the hold they have on the entire political and social systmes. We need to get real about what can be done, as well as be critical when those opportunities are missed.

Oh ye of little faith! It will not be compromised David.
Once Obama passes health care and it will be good. Then uses the Ronald Regan “Blame Jimmy Carter far everything” method. Obama will successfully “Blame George Bush for everything” for the next 6 years. Tie in the upcoming immigration debate. The Republicans won’t be able to stop insulting the Latinos. Bingo! Landslide!

The Airhead is still peddling mistruths about the Healthcare Bill.

On CNBC, serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey again advanced a falsehood about health care reform, claiming that the “legislation that’s now in Congress will force everyone under age 65 to buy the same one-size-fits-all government plan” and that “Page 16” of the House bill “says you must be enrolled in a qualified plan.” In fact, McCaughey’s claims are false; the provision she referred to does not require anyone to give up their private individual health insurance plan.

No wuckers Jen.
I know exactly how far i can push the envelope with the exceptionaly brilliant house mouse. :mrgreen:

Oh what a tangled web they weave.
Guv Sanford has lost his State board of Education Chairwoman, who sent him a letter of quittal on Friday.

Controversial State Board of Education chairwoman Kristin Maguire has unexpectedly stepped down from her post.

Maguire, who has served on the board since 2000 and has served as chairwoman since January, sent a letter to her 16 board members and Gov. Mark Sanford on Friday, citing her parents’ poor health and the growing needs of her teenage children as the reason for her resignation.

The state board oversees teacher certification, selects textbooks and approves educational standards for the state’s public-school students.

She has stated her reasons for quitting , but alas, some one else has put forward some other reasons for her quitting by exposing her alter-ego.
The bastards.
Seems her alter-ego didn’t quite fit in with her goodie two shoes school curriculum ideas.

Read the links at the end at your own pleasure Peril.
the two links are apparently some of her works and xxxx.
Don’t go there Chris.

Sept 1:

Sept.1: “Well strike me pink misted! Whether it’s a Kabul Kebab or a Fallujah Felafel, this Raghead food all tastes the same to me!”

Sept 1:

Aug 31:
Touching base with your inner Compassionate Conservative:

Sep1: 1/ buy granny a Death Panel ticket.

2/ place her on the train

3/ throw her from the speeding train

4/ if she still moves, an ice floe is the way to go!

Jen at 131
Just had to throw these links your way.

WSJ: Cheney for President

Is the war on terror really over?
If not, he may be the best man to lead it.

MSNBC: Cheney for President?
Rachel Maddow: On the Cheney Story


But on a completely different topic, this exchange on healthcare that appeared on my radar from ‘I don’t know where’ is at the end of the day an interesting read.

The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog

Lefty Groups Raise $60,000 — In One Day — For Ad Attacking Grassley

Here’s the latest sign that the public option, and the specter of GOP obstructionism, remain powerful motivators of the liberal base:

Two progressive groups have raised nearly $60,000 in less than 24 hours for a new ad attacking Chuck Grassley for opposing the public option.

The groups, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America, pulled in $59,747 since their anti-Grassley ad went up yesterday, via their fundraising pitch on the Dem fundraising clearinghouse Act Blue.

“We’ll be significantly increasing our ad in Iowa,” Adam Green, a spokesman for Progressive Change Campaign Committee, tells me.

continued on The Plum Line

Chris B,

It already has been compromised.

As to a Democratic landslide in 2010, perhaps. As the resident pessimist, all I can do is point to the polling that shows the congressional dems are only 6 points in front at this point, when they were 15 points in front a couple of months ago.

The healthcare debate has thus far not hurt the Republicans in any way.

152 David Gould I refer to the Ronald Regan method of electioneering. eg blame Jimmy Carter for everything. When 2010 comes around Obama will blame George Bush for everything. Polls mean nothing at the moment. He is getting into hard issues, when its all sorted, especially health, it will be a landslide in 2010.

As I said last year, if the democrats can’t do it, let me. The Democrats didn’t let me down last year and they won’t this year.

As Bill Clinton pointed out once the health issue is fully sorted, watch the polls rocket once the smoke has cleared.

“So ?………….”

First of all, Dick Cheney has all sorts of nerve purporting to speak in defense of the CIA. His administration outed a senior CIA operative, Valerie Plame, in retaliation for her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, exercising his freedom of speech (because he exercised it to criticize the Bush administration’s lie-filled, one-way propaganda train to the Iraq war).

“Newspapers are left wing, television is right wing, and the media as a whole tends to favour the Coalition.

And surprisingly, according to researchers from the Australian National University, the ABC Television news is the most pro-Coalition of them all.

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard railed against the alleged left-wing bias of the ABC, but the researchers found Aunty was more likely to favour his side.”

paddy, please don’t ever stop Moon Doggyin’. His/her effort today is the pinnacle of political satire. It’s a gift to be able to be savage and funny, to have cachet both locally and universally in a one-page, one-off strip.

Luurved it! :mrgreen:

Much as i like to be patient etc, i can’t help but wish some things like this would come to the fore and draw the line in the sand.

Ten Democrats can abstain or vote against it and it will still be passed by the Democratic caucus, with the Vice President breaking the tie. But those moderate Dems MUST make it clear that they have demolished, obliterated and wiped out the filibuster in the 111th Congress. Either they work with the Dems or they don’t. If Baucus and his “centrist” Dem cronies won’t block the filibuster, what good are they in the caucus? Tell them to guarantee a filibuster-proof Congress or go join the other side– and lose his committee seat and whatever other penalties can be applied to Montana, including a cut in funding for Montana projects, wherever possible. Votes have consequences– for the constituents who send assholes to Washington and the assholes who constipate progress.

Spineless Blue Dems indeed, gaffy. What’s the point of having power if they don’t use it to deliver on the CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN promises instead of their own venal purposes.

Foreign War Spending Up: great society spending down.

True, he doesn’t seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. LBJ also had a progressive agenda in mind, beginning with his war on poverty, but it was soon overwhelmed by the cost and divisiveness engendered by a meaningless, and seemingly endless, war in Vietnam.

Cheney should definitely be put in a leadership role in the “war on terror” – he should be sent to the front line in Afghanistan to show how its done.

David this is how they are going to negotiate the health bill.

Plan B for Health Care Reform

Now that two of the three Republicans Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) picked to negotiate with over health care (Sen. Michael Enzi and Sen. Chuck Grassley) have basically said they don’t want reform and are just trying to kill what they consider a bad bill, Democrats are looking at other options. One obvious one is to try to find a couple of other Republicans to negotiate with, but there are not likely to be many takers.

Then what? Using the reconciliation process is getting more attention, as it requires only 50 votes plus Joe Biden and cannot be filibustered. TPM has an interesting story on this option. In short, only bills with a major impact on the federal budget are allowed in reconciliation. So to qualify easily, the bill would need a robust public option that puts a lot of pressure on insurance companies and would lower health care costs. Liberals could go for that. The trouble is that conservative Democratic senators, such as Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), might bolt. If more than 10 Democrats and independents refused to sign on, the bill wouldn’t get the necessary 50 votes. But if the public option were weakened to get enough votes, it might not qualify for reconciliation.

continued on

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