The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

Answering Questions: A Response to BrokeSnake

Posted by ALmod on October 29, 2009

In response to Five questions that linger for me about Health Care reform:

My apologies to BrokeSnake for not simply leaving a comment, but there is a character limit, and so I’m taking this opportunity to answer him on my own blog.

1.  Do people want good, low price health care or more government control?

Well, here’s the rub.  You can’t have good, low price health care without more government control.  We know that doing nothing certainly won’t give us good, low price health care.  That’s obvious.  And while I’ve seen folks argue that less government control might work, consider that we already allow them to be exempt from anti-trust laws (a government control).  Look at the good that’s done us.  It’s eliminated competition for them, and we’ve got health care that is more expensive than in any other country and isn’t guaranteed– even if we’re paying for it.  That scenario alone should tell us that these companies at the very least need to be subjected to anti-trust laws so that they are forced to compete with each other, but that’s a type “government control.”  Even without a public option, you’ll still at least need some government regulation to improve the situation.

2.  Is the guarantee to all Americans a service that will provide all of us with free health care?

No, and it never has been.  The idea that there was somewhere a guarantee for “free” health care actually comes from opposition talking points.  Even proponents of a single-payer system will tell you that it isn’t free.  Of course, you might have some gullible loony somewhere that believes there’s some public services fairy that waves her wand and gives us police protection and public schools, but most people with an iota of common sense realize that nothing is ever free.

The actual goal is not free health care.  The goal has been better quality health care with a cheaper price tag.  That’s a realistic goal that’s been implemented in too many other countries for us to say it’s impossible here.  Americans deserve it.

3.  If affordability is the issue, what the hell is wrong with Medicaid?

Affordability is one issue, but it’s not the issue.  While the cost of health insurance is too high to be acceptable, many people are still able to afford it and will actually buy it.  The problem is that many of those people cannot get insurance because the insurance companies refuse to sell it to them.  Or some buy it but get dropped after they get sick.  Let me repeat that for you.  People who are able and willing to pay for health insurance and some who actually have insurance are the ones who most need reform because there are too many cases where the insurers will only cover a certain amount and then drop you or they will refuse to cover a treatment that you thought was covered.

Back to the affordability thing.  Let’s say that you are dropped.  Let’s say that you can’t afford insurance.  In order to qualify for Medicaid, your income cannot exceed a certain amount.  Therefore, you are encouraging those people to be less productive so that they can get medical coverage.  Do we really want that?  Add to that, when you have government providing coverage for the sickest, oldest, and poorest Americans, it guarantees a profit to insurers.  It’s basically a government subsidy for a private corporation.  Why not instead do what other governments do and require private insurers to offer coverage to everyone and allow the pool of younger, healthier patients to offset the cost of the older, sicker ones?  Meanwhile, those who actually do have a lower income can receive a tax credit so that they can purchase a private plan and keep that money flowing through the private sector rather than the federal government.

But again, it’s not the poorest among us who are suffering the most.  As you pointed out, they’re covered by Medicaid.  The larger issue is in fact the middle class and the stability, quality, and affordability of the coverage that they pay for.

4.  How would a government option not be a monopoly?

Before I answer this question, let me say this.  I am not a health insurance executive.  The profits of a private corporation are not my concern.  For me, it is much more important that, should someone in my family become seriously ill, we would not have to sell our home or declare bankruptcy and could instead focus on that person getting better.  There are some things more important than corporate profits, and it does no less than infuriate me that someone who is not an executive of one of these companies would actually argue that corporate profit is the REAL important issue.

Now, let me direct you to the salary for the faculty of Harvard University.  Take a gander here as well.  That should at least in part answer your question.  Those are not crappy salaries, and yet this is a private institution in direct competition with a government option.  If you ship a package, you don’t have to do it through the USPS.  Companies still get sprinkler systems and hire security guards and get surveillance cameras in spite of public fire departments and police departments.If your objection is that a corporate exec should not have competition so that he can make a $12 million bonus instead of a $3 million bonus, then I’m sorry that I can’t see eye to eye with you.  Now, there’s no doubt that these companies would make a lot more money if government equivalents did not exist; however, they do in fact exist and do quite well.

But if you are seriously arguing that we should not inject government competition into the mix that would encourage lower costs and better care simply because a health insurance executive would earn $2 million a year instead of $12 million, then I can’t sympathize with your argument.  They can compete.  They just won’t be able to compete and make obscene profits at the same time.

5.  If we were not happy with the service, how do we change it?

The same way you change it now.  Seriously.  Have you even looked at the contents of what’s being proposed?

There would be a large variety of plans offered– all by private insurers.  And if you add the public option, it would be as simple as adding one more insurance company to the list.  You can get coverage through your employer or on your own.  One cool change is that if you have a good plan through your employer that you like, you can keep that plan should you go elsewhere or start your own small business.  The same variety will still exist.  Selecting those offered through the proposed Health Insurance Exchange will look like this.  (That link, by the way, is the system used by members of Congress and federal employees.)  Of course, packages will still be offered outside the exchange, and you are free to purchase one of those if you like, but plans offered within the exchange have a minimum set of benefits that must be covered and must have a cap on the amount that you will pay out-of-pocket.  Those plans must also be fully portable and cannot be dropped due to health or age.  Insurers can offer as many benefits as they like and as many different kinds of plans as they like as long as they cover those minimum benefits.

Additionally, if your income is within a certain range (most of us), then you’ll receive a tax credit to help you purchase insurance through the exchange.  Basically, the only real change is that your insurance companies will be required to offer more plans that meet certain standards, and you’ll be offered the opportunity and assistance in purchasing them.  In essence, you’ll have even more variety to choose from than you do now.

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Posted in Bama Bloggers, Blogroll, Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Answering Questions: A Response to BrokeSnake

On the misuse of “centrist” and “bipartisan”

Posted by ALmod on September 21, 2009

Take a walk on over to The Moderate Voice for an excellent piece on this.  I really don’t think there’s anything I can add to it.

Posted in Blogroll | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on On the misuse of “centrist” and “bipartisan”

Conspiracy Alert: The White House statement that never was, but it is.

Posted by ALmod on June 10, 2009

Okay, so this is kind of a response to this blog post (h/t to The Snake Pit).  It popped up on my RSS feed, and it got my attention.

Before I begin, let me just say that this particular blogger could easily be grouped with those who broke the hero-shot non-scandalwhich I promptly made fun of.  When you take a look at his typical fare, it pretty much falls in line with what Bob McCarty and Michelle Malkin are pumping out.

Now, I will give the writer that, at the time of this post being written, he is correct in that the release does not appear on the White House website.  Does this spell conspiracy?  Not exactly.  Some press releases are distributed to certain media outlets, some are televised, and some are distributed through electronic feed.  If something was distributed to the major news outlets but not placed on the feed or website just yet, well it wouldn’t be the first time that something like that had happened on the White House website or any other website for that matter.

Do I agree that the matter was handled differently than the Tiller murder?  Yes.  Do I agree that the statement came later than it should have?  Yes.  Do I think it shows that President Obama “disrespects” or “DOESN’T care about his troops” or “DOESN’T appreciate his troops”?  No.  Particularly since it’s not unusual for any president to be occasionally late with a statement– particularly this one and not just on this matter.  Besides, there are worse things that he could have done that would have been far more disrespectful to dead soldiers than taking a few days to release a statemtent.  But depending on which way you lean politically, the question of respect is a matter of opinion.

Did the media report differently on the two issues.  Yes, and they should have.  They were, in fact, two totally different issues that should have been handled differently.  Whether or not they media did a good job of that or not is another matter of opinion, and it depends on who you read and consider to be your media source.  Either way, the president has no control over how the mainstream media covers these things, as no public official ever should.

The part that is a matter of fact is whether or not the White House released a statement.  Did they or didn’t they?  It’s as clear cut as that, and the writer says that they didn’t.  There’s the fact in this posting, and whether or not he got it right is going to heavily play into whether or not the rest should probably be considered to be credible analysis of the president’s actions.  So on the author’s suggestion, both AP and CNN came up with the exact same lie at the exact same time and participated in a conspiracy to cover up Obama’s failure to release a statement.  At face value, the suggestion already sounds absurd.

But then I also look to Fox News for my media “checks and balances.”  Leaning heavily to the right, Fox News would be and should be the first to jump on any perceived conspiracies regarding such a matter.  But as it turns out, Fox News reported on the same statement.  So now according to the writer’s suggestion, CNN and AP both reported on a statement that doesn’t exist, and Fox News is helping them in their conspiracy to make Obama look good.  Let me repeat that.  Fox News is part of a conspiracy to make Obama avoid embarassment.  Tell me when that starts to sound a bit off.

To the writer’s credit, he did include a half-sentence to suggest that Obama “is playing favorites with whom he sends his statements.”  It’s not so much a matter of that so much as when you want to get something out, it’s not unusual to fax it to a few larger news outlets and then let it spread out from those sources.  And it’s quite possible that the statement will be posted on the website (the source of the press release feed, to which I am also a subscriber) but simply hasn’t been yet.  It could be as simple as an oversight made by any number of people, but none of that makes this a conspiracy.

Posted in Bama Bloggers, Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage, Religion, Scandal, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Welcome back, Dan!

Posted by ALmod on May 17, 2009

Dan Roberts has relaunched his Daily Dixie blog.  If you have a moment, go check him out.  I’ve also added him back to my list of Alabama blogs.

UPDATE: Dan will be posting over at Flashpoint, instead.

Posted in Bama Bloggers, Blogroll | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Welcome back, Dan!

The Pundits Who Cried “Wolf”

Posted by ALmod on April 17, 2009

A shepherd boy decided to entertain himself one day.  He ran into the village and starting yelling that a wolf was near his sheep and that someone should come and help save his flock from this wolf.  So several villagers came to the rescue only to find the boy laughing at how he’d gotten everyone riled up.  After a short time, the boy became bored again, so he decided it would be fun to play his trick again.  He called for help, the villagers came running, and once again they found him laughing at their expense.  Shortly after, the boy spotted a large wolf coming toward his flock.  The boy ran into the village and screamed, “Help!  Wolf!”  The villagers just sat there thinking to themselves that this was just another of his tricks.  And so, the wolf ate his sheep.

A message to my friends on the far right:  The sky is not falling, and if it was, nobody would believe you at this point.

Case in point, the recent uproar and outrage over a DHS report on right-wing extremism (PDF) in this country.  Basically, it’s nothing more than a report on the topic of groups and lone wolves within our country who might be prone to attacks– some violent and some nonviolent– and continues to profile them.  The uproar was started by the usual suspects, not the least of which was Michelle Malkin.  This report that was issued by the DHS under Obama was surely his effort to stamp out those who disagreed with him politically!  They’re targeting the tea partiers.

Or not. That one was debunked in a rare moment of actual journalism by Fox News, of all things.

Among other things, we’ve learned that there is a very similar report on left wing extremism (PDF).  And yes, this report does cover general definitions as well, which you’ll find if you read the report.  (As does its counterpart discuss specific right wing incidents and groups.)  We’ve also leared that both documents were produced as a series that was ordered by the previous administration and just happened to be released while Obama was in office.  (We also remember the infamous “Free Speech Zones” during the Bush administration.  Nothing new.)  We also know that the FBI produced a similar report (PDF) on right-wing extremist groups and their recruitment of military veterans back in July of 2008.

“If Bush had done this…”  No, hon.  Bush did do this, and that’s the point.

Given all of this information, we can logically conclude that the most recent report was neither aimed at tea parties (which were organized and planned after the reports were made) nor was it was a hitjob by the Obama administration (which did not request them).

“Wolf.”  Can’t believe you fell for it again.

My problem is that we need a right.  We need a logically sound right that is coiled and ready to pounce when the president and his goons try to pull a fast one on us.  It has happened already, and it will happen again.  I doubt he’s a sinister evil overlord in disguise, but I’m not stupid enough to forget for one second that he’s still a politician.

But when the far right is so skittish right now that they’re inciting panic and fear about everything, then my fear is that they won’t be taken seriously at all when a real issue arises.  I’ve already taken to waiting a few days to discuss anything coming from the right because I’m sure that there’s more to the story.  What if there was a real threat from this administration that needed to be addressed urgently?

That’s a real problem.  That’s a big problem.

Posted in Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Other Blogs, Public Outrage, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Honestly, what kind of moron needs to rely on a teleprompter?

Posted by ALmod on March 10, 2009

This kind.

Honestly, I’m not splitting hairs.  I just got sick of the tired old “make fun of Obama because he uses a teleprompter” bit during the elections.  I just found this to be a somewhat funny response.

Posted in Laugh It Off, Other Blogs, Republicans | Comments Off on Honestly, what kind of moron needs to rely on a teleprompter?

Interview with Artur Davis

Posted by ALmod on June 3, 2007

I meant to post this earlier this week, but Jeff Vreeland over at Politics in Alabama has posted his interview with the U.S. Congressman who shook up a certain former DOJ employee.

Posted in Blogroll, Federal Government, Scandal | Comments Off on Interview with Artur Davis

Do You Have a Question for Rep. Davis?

Posted by ALmod on May 30, 2007

Note:  This is a cross-post from Politics in Alabama.  To see the original post and to respond to it, click here.  I have turned off commenting on this particular post so that all questions will be directer toward the original author, Jeff Vreeland.

On Thursday morning I will have the privilege of meeting and talking with United States Representative Artur Davis while he is in town at his Birmingham office. I hope to be able to discuss some of the going ons of Alabama Politics as well as chat with him about his future political endeavors.

One thing I wanted to do was give my readers an opportunity to submit questions that I will present to Representative Davis. Obviously I am not going to be able to get every question answered, but I will hopefully get a majority of them. So please, submit all questions via the comments and I will post Wednesday night exactly which questions I hope to ask.

Posted in Blogroll, Federal Government | Comments Off on Do You Have a Question for Rep. Davis?

Roaming

Posted by ALmod on May 23, 2007

That’s me, at least. As you already know, I’ve been contributing to Between the Links on occasion. I’m very happy to announce tonight that I’ll also be contributing a couple times a week to The Gun Toting Liberal, which The Moderate Voice refers to as “one of the best blogs on the Net.” I was very humbled and honored that the GTL would ask me to join in on the fun. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ll be able to live up to the other contributors over there, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

I’m adding a new feature later this evening. If you’ll keep an eye on the links to the right, I’m going to add a new category for other blogs that I contribute to. Maybe if I send Gunny a few of my readers, he’ll be a little more forgiving when I write a stinker or two.

Posted in Blogroll, Site News | 2 Comments »

Blogging the GOP Debate

Posted by ALmod on May 16, 2007

Brian has a wonderful take on the GOP debate from last night.  Great reading.  I highly recommend it.

Posted in Blogroll, Elections | Comments Off on Blogging the GOP Debate