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Vandals Attack Dem Offices Nationwide

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | March 23, 2010, 1:00PM

Vandals smashed doors and windows at four Democratic offices around the country in the days surrounding the landmark House health care vote Sunday night, and a right-wing blogger in Alabama is taking credit for starting a so-called “window war.”

Here are the reports we’ve seen from around the country on the mini-epidemic of brick-throwing:

  • Early on the morning of March 19, someone threw a brick through the window of Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office in Niagara Falls, New York, doing $350 of damage, the Buffalo News reported. Slaughter (D-NY) briefly attracted the ire of conservatives over the “Slaughter Solution,” a procedural maneuver that was considered (but, ultimately, not used) to pass health reform.
  • Also in Slaughter’s district, a brick was thrown through the glass doors of the Monroe County Democratic Committee office in Rochester, NY, over the weekend, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. A note attached to the brick bore the Barry Goldwater quote, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice,” a spokesman for the committee told the newspaper.
  • In the early hours of the morning on Monday just after the House health care vote, someone smashed the glass front door of the Tucson office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the Arizona Daily Star reported. “The perpetrator likely had to hop the gated fence to get access to the door, since it’s not viewable from the parking lot,” the paper reported.
  • On Friday night or Saturday morning, a brick bearing unspecified “anti-Obama and anti-health care messages” was thrown through a floor-to-ceiling window at the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, CNN and the Kansas City Start reported.

Pinson, Alabama-based blogger Mike Vanderboegh has been tracking the breaking of windows at Dem offices after issuing a call Friday: “To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break their windows. Break them NOW.”

It’s far from clear whether Vanderboegh’s call to arms has anything to do with the incidents around the country.

The Kansas City Star identifies Vanderboegh as a former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia.

His blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars, identifies with the so-called “Three Percenter” doctrine: “During the American Revolution, the active forces in the field against the King’s tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists.”

The March 19 post says:

They will send the Internal Revenue Service and other federal police to do this in thousands of small Wacos, if that is what it takes to force us to submit. This arrogant elite pretends that this oppression is for our own good, while everyone else understands that this is about their selfish, insatiable appetite for control over our liberty, our money, our property and our lives.

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Here’s one who is. And one who isn’t.

Both articles from TruthDig

Yes, They Made History

Posted on Mar 22, 2010
White House / Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior staff react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House as the House passes the health care reform bill.

By E.J. Dionne

WASHINGTON—Yes, we did.

Finally, President Obama can use those words. The passage of health care reform provided the first piece of incontestable evidence that Washington has changed.

Congress is, indeed, capable of carrying through fundamental social reform. No longer will the United States be the outlier among wealthy nations in leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage.

In approving the most sweeping piece of social legislation since the mid-1960s, Democrats proved that they can govern, even under challenging circumstances and in the face of significant internal divisions.

The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed

Posted on Mar 22, 2010
AP / Charles Dharapak
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, accompanies President Barack Obama as they arrive at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport before the congressman decided to switch his vote and help pass a health care reform bill he had staunchly opposed.

By Chris Hedges

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, will force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, will add to the ranks of our uninsured.

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Health Care Bill PASSES

HuffPost- First Posted: 03-21-10 10:59 PM   |   Updated: 03-22-10 09:12 AM

With additional reporting by Sam Stein.

After more than a year of virulent debate, Democrats marched through a throng of jeering protesters, whose slurs recalled a Washington of the 1960s — when the party forced civil rights legislation and Medicare through a fiercely divided Congress. Against unified Republican opposition, they built on that foundation Sunday with the passage of a health care reform bill that extends coverage to 32 million Americans and tightly regulates the insurance industry.

“It is with great humility and with great pride that we tonight will make history for our country and progress for the American people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) before the vote to a standing ovation on one side of the aisle and silence on the other. “Just think–we will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare, and now tonight, health care for all Americans.”

Democrats passed two pieces of legislation. The first, a comprehensive reform package passed at the end of December by the Senate, now goes to President Obama for his signature, passing the House 219-212. The second piece, passed through the reconciliation process by a 220-211, makes fixes to that measure and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

Watch yesterday’s health care debate condensed into 10 minutes:

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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As soon as health care passes, the American people will see immediate benefits. The legislation will:

  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  • Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
  • Lower seniors’ prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
  • Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

By enacting these provisions right away, and others over time, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health care choices.

Crossposted on the House Democrat’s blog.

SOURCE

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The chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House said Sunday his party has the 216 votes needed to pass President Barack Obama’s historic health care bill.

Other House Democrats were not as optimistic heading into a rare Sunday session to vote on one of the most significant legislative initiatives in decades: overhauling the nation’s health care system to provide coverage to millions of people.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Connecticut Rep. John Larson said, “We have the votes now – as we speak.” However, no one else in the Democratic House leadership was ready to declare victory.

With Obama’s emotional appeal from Saturday ringing in their ears, House Democratic leaders prepared for three showdown votes: on a “rule” to establish debate guidelines; on a package of changes to a Senate-passed bill, including deletion of special Medicaid benefits for Nebraska; and on the Senate bill itself, the focus of intense national debate for months.

Democrats need 216 votes to pass each one. With all 178 Republicans and at least two dozen Democrats vowing to vote no, the legislation’s fate lies in the hands of about 20 Democrats who remained uncommitted late Saturday.

MORE HERE

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CBO Score On Health Care Bill Released: Boosts Democrats’ Hopes Of Passing Reform

HuffPost- Ryan Grim– First Posted: 03-18-10 09:20 AM   |   Updated: 03-18-10 05:40 PM

Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the second ten year period.

The source said it also extends Medicare’s solvency by at least nine years and reduces the rate of its growth by 1.4 percent, while closing the doughnut hole for seniors, meaning there will no longer be a gap in coverage of medication. The CBO also estimated it would extend coverage to 32 million additional people.

The CBO score is the last piece House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was waiting on before putting the puzzle together on the House floor. A contingent of Blue Dogs has been holding out support, insisting that the bill be fully paid for and not increase the deficit. The numbers give a major boost to Pelosi and her leadership team, which can now begin the whip count in earnest and can specifically point to the cost savings.

With the CBO score released, the Democratic whip team has a specific, thoroughly-analyzed bill to show to undeclared members who can no longer claim they are “waiting to see the language.” Pelosi has very little room for error and needs to move nearly every undecided voter to a solid “yes.”

Since the House last passed legislation in November, three Democrats who opposed it — John Tanner and Bart Gordon of Tennessee and Brian Baird of Washington — have announced their retirements, relieving them of some political pressure to oppose the bill. Pelosi may end up drawing on those exiting members for a cushion of support.

MORE HERE

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The health care bill is finally complete. Now that the language is “defined,” what do you think of the finished product?

UPDATE: The CBO score is here.

FULL TEXT OF THE BILL HERE: 111_hr4872_amndsub

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Miles Mogulescu | Huff Post | March 16, 2010

For months I’ve been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. (See here, here and here). I’ve been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further.

Hopefully, that’s changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. Shultz quoted Chip Kahn, chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital industry on Kahn’s confidence that the White House would honor the no public option deal, and Kirkpatrick responded:

“That’s a lobbyist for the hospital industry and he’s talking about the hospital industry’s specific deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee and, yeah, I think the hospital industry’s got a deal here. There really were only two deals, meaning quid pro quo handshake deals on both sides, one with the hospitals and the other with the drug industry. And I think what you’re interested in is that in the background of these deals was the presumption, shared on behalf of the lobbyists on the one side and the White House on the other, that the public option was not going to be in the final product.”

Kirkpatrick also acknowledged that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina had confirmed the existence of the deal to him.

Read more…

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Dennis Kucinich Flips On Health Care Reform: Will Support The Bill

Huff Post- Ryan Grim First Posted: 03-17-10 10:15 AM   |   Updated: 03-17-10 10:51 AM

After an intense White House lobbying effort, Dennis Kucinich announced on Wednesday morning that he has decided to vote for health care reform when it comes before the House in the next few days, reversing his previous position and giving a boost to President Obama, congressional leaders and the reform effort.

“In the past week it’s become clear that the vote on the final health bill will be very close,” Kucinich said at a Capitol Hill news conference. “I take this vote with the utmost seriousness. I’m quite aware of the historic fight, which has lasted the last century.

“I have doubts about the bill. This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich said even as he promised that he would vote “yes” on the proposal.

“If my vote is to be counted, let it count now for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform,” the Ohio Democrat said.

Kucinich had been one of the few remaining holdouts who felt that the bill did not go far enough. Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, objected that the bill did not include a robust public insurance option tied to Medicare rates and did not include a provision to allow states to enact single-payer legislation if they so chose. His support gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a much-needed vote as she looks for 216 members to move the package through this week.

MORE HERE

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Rob Kall | OpEdNews | March 13, 2010

Adam Green, of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Ed Schultz yesterday that he counts 51 votes in the senate for the public option, and cites details on senators who have not yet signed the letter, but who have clearly publicly stated that they will vote FOR the public option if they get that bill from the house.

Nancy Pelosi has said the votes aren’t there, so she won’t include the public option in the House legislation. Read this and try not to be angry.

Green told Ed Schultz, “In some cases a commitment is better than a signature.” and goes on to assure Ed, “…We can say with confidence that are at least 51 votes for the public option in the senate IF the house goes first. ”

He describes how his organization’s own whip count of 41 has been used against them. But he then documents senator after senator who has spoken out or written to constituents saying they will support the public option.

There are lots of commitments that are in the bag that indicate that the public option is in the bag, if if the house went first.

Kay Hagen, from north carolina, not on our list yet, told the Huffington post this week, that she would support a public option– her only reservation– that the house bill would pass.

Read more…

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Some articles and comments on Kucinich’s stance on health care reform:

LIMBUAGH PRO-HEALTH REFORM PROTESTERS KUCINICH & A TELLING NEW HEALTH CARE POLL

thevirtueallliberal | YouTube | 10 March 2010

Kucinich is a really good guy .However, I have to admit his purist stand on the public option is pissing me off . We get it Kucinich, your a strong advocate for the public option . However, don’t turn into a Ralph Nader ! Your going to be the spoiler for something that will not come around for another few life times . If your the cause of health care reform failer, you might as well put on the grim reaper costume . 45,000 and more will die because of your misguided stubbornness .”

Read more…

Dennis Kucinich on Standing up as the Sole Public Option and State’s Rights Health Reform Advocate

Rob Kall, OpEdNews, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, Markos Moulitsas, founder/owner of Dailykos.com, on the Keith Olbermann show with Lawrence McDonnell sitting in for Keith, discussed Congressman Kuncinich’s announcement that he was planning to vote against the health reform bill as it currently stands. Moulitsas suggested that Kucinich might be primaried. Earlier, on DailyKos, he called Kucinich a “little prick.” and said, “He’s someone who deserves a real primary.”

I spoke to congressman Kucinich for about half an hour, discussing why he’s voting against the bill, what it would take to change his mind, and the history that goes into the current situation.

Here’s a small part of what he said:

We need to keep the discussion going about alternatives, because every discussion about alternatives puts the pressure in the direction of trying to come up with a better bill. And even at this late date, it would be a huge mistake to just look at the bill and call it a day. No, no no. We have to fight for the best bill we can get all the way down the line and if despite our best efforts, it still can not meet the test of providing care for people instead of profits for insurance companies, then we have to reserve the right to oppose it.

Read more…

Kucinich, Other Progressives Stand Ground Against Attacks

Rob Kall, OpEdNews, March 11, 2010

I interviewed congressman Dennis Kucinich and other progressive leaders in health care reform to get his response to recent attacks and to find out his motivation and what would move him to change his vote. While Markos “Kos” Moulitsas attacks Kucinich, other progressives see him as a hero and saint.

Read more…

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New Health Care Poll Shows Only FOUR PERCENT Of Americans Don’t Want Any Reform

CHARLES BABINGTON | 03/ 9/10 06:41 PM | AP

WASHINGTON � Americans and their lawmakers are dramatically out of sync on health care, with large majorities of people looking for bipartisan cooperation that’s nowhere in sight.

A new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds a widespread hunger for improvements to the health care system, which suggests President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have a political opening to push their plan. Half of all Americans say health care should be changed a lot or “a great deal,” and only 4 percent say it shouldn’t be changed at all.

But they don’t like the way the debate is playing out in Washington, where GOP lawmakers unanimously oppose the Obama-backed legislation and Democrats are struggling to pass it by themselves with narrow House and Senate majorities.

More than four in five Americans say it’s important that any health care plan have support from both parties. And 68 percent say the president and congressional Democrats should keep trying to cut a deal with Republicans rather than pass a bill with no GOP support.

Leaders of both parties in Congress say that’s not how it’s going to work out. After a year of off-and-on negotiations, Republicans adamantly oppose Obama’s plans. The White House and Democratic leaders say it’s now-or-never for a health care overhaul, which would cover an additional 30 million Americans, require almost everyone to buy health insurance and impose new restrictions on insurance companies.

MORE HERE

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