Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jack Kelly Sunday 11/24/13 - Jack Kelly - Sudden Populist

This a copy of a comment I made on Jack Kelly's 11/24/13 column in the PG "Party of the rich: Obama policies have been helping fat cats". Does anyone think that Democrats have been getting their way for the last fives years, the ACA non-withstanding (and perhaps in fact exhibit one, considering the single payer option)? Anyway, here it is:

I am sure many of us remember Pat Buchanan talking about income inequality and fair trade over free trade in the 1990's. That did not make him particularly a friend of the working man, and Jack Kelly gives us no reason to think a Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin administration would be one now. He just sees a angle to attack Barakc Obama on.

It is certainly true that Wall Street has not done badly in the Obama administration. Anyone who watches the documentary "Inside Job" would quickly understand why. And I have long advocated paying attention to what Glenn Greenwald was saying, years before Edward Snowden, but certainly in the Obama administration. Obama has not been the hero liberals thought he would be. Maybe with the utter and total obstructionism of Republicans, he would not have been anyway, but what seems to make things worse is he doesn't seem interested in even trying.

All that said, Republican politicians, pundits and Jack Kelly seem to think that both liberals and their own readers are easily persuaded idiots. Whatever the failings of Barack Obama in specific and the Democrats in general, laying the blame for everything that has happened in the last five years solely at their feet is ignoring reality. I mean, Jack Kelly is right that the rich have gotten richer in the last five years, the poor have gotten poorer and the rich have skated on any consequences from the near depression they essentially caused. But when you think about it, there was some short time period, five or eight months, when the Democrats had a super majority in the Senate, which was mostly squandered with debate over the health care bill. Before that was the stimulus bill, which in the end a couple of Republicans voted for because even the Republicans couldn't let themselves go down in history as the party that allowed America to slide into another great depression (remember George Bush also spent hundreds of billions on that before he left office). Mind you, the couple of Republicans demanded so many compromises of a stimulus bill that was brought to Congress already too weak, facts conservatives like Jack Kelly conveniently forget.

But past the time when Democrats had a super majority in the Senate, Republicans had set records for filibusters in the Senate (really since January 2007). Then in January 2011 they took control of the House. Between those two facts, it is hard to escape the conclusion that any legislation that has passed Congress has had to be at least agreeable to Republicans as well as Democrats. Everything Jack Kelly is saying about income inequality and the rich getting richer is as much if not more the result of Republican policies and efforts.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kelly tries to capitalize on Obamacare 11/09/13

This is a comment I made on the PG on this Sunday's Jack Kelly column More lies about health care Now the president is lying about past lies.

Let's be clear what we are talking about here. The insurance policies that are being cancelled are policies that do not conform to the rules of the ACA, in that they have limited yearly or lifetime maxes, or the deductibles are out of bounds, what have you. You understand that these letters are not coming from the government, they are coming from private health insurance companies. To me it is perfectly clear the insurance companies are trying to lock customers into relatively expensive plans while the ACA website is still a mess. They are trying to take advantage of the inability of customers to shop around at this moment, trying to trap people for a year or more in a more expensive policy.

This is happening because Obama did not want to legislate the health insurance companies out of existence. But does Jack Kelly acknowledge this?

Now clearly when Obama said that if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep, he essentially had in mind the people who get their health insurance through their employer. And I believe for the most part that is still true. As I understand it, there are some employers throwing people off insurance, forcing them to get it through the ACA. I believe they will pay a penalty for having done so, not to mention as the economy gets better their employees may well move to a different job.

But the interesting thing is how extreme Mr Kelly's rhetoric is. As conservatives claim Obama is a pathological liar, it pulls the dialogue of the media outlets that actually want to report the news to the right. We should all remember the summer of 2010 when conservatives started a relentless drumbeat of how Obama hadn't done enough for the unemployed. This was echoed by the Tea Party candidates and probably could be found on Youtube if someone looked hard enough. That conservative drumbeat was commented on by the CNN's and MSNBC's, and then they tried to analyze and in so doing, legitimized it as the dominant talking point of the midterms (to be fair, Democrats failed spectacularly to offer any counter message). Now conservatives are trying to do the same thing, pull CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN to the right with their relentless and baseless propaganda.

The thing is that George W Bush claimed Iraq had WMD's, and that claim cost 4,487 American military deaths, as well as probably over 100,000 Iraq's dead. I don't see conservatives apologizing for that, I see them blaming liberals or distracting us with their complaints about Obama.