Well, more accurately, major portions of the bill are “incomprehensible”.
Since doesn;t have time to read the whole damn thing, he’s going to analyze a page at random for the next seven days :
I will look at my Sitemeter page count for seven straight days, and whatever the last three digits are on the page count, I will turn to that page in the House Bill. I will use whichever section of the House Bill appears at the top of the page, even if the section starts on prior pages. … I will try to explain what the section and provisions on the page mean.
Check out his first attempt, page 780 in the House Bill3200 … Sec. 1721:
VERDICT: Close to incomprehensible. I think this means that there will be an increase in reimbursements to states for payments to primary care physicians under Medicaid. I could be wrong. There are so many cross-references, that it would take hours to figure out the full implications and all the conditions to which such payments are made, much less the source of revenue for the payments.
What this section does show is the density of the House Bill. Understanding just this single provision is a daunting task. Call it the banality of bureaucracy. Someone, be it a lobbyist or staffer or both, spent an enormous amount of time writing this dense text to accomplish something which is not explained in a form almost anyone could understand or comprehend.
That’s just the conclusion, look at his blog to judge the fairness of it.
A good example: why would a magazine that features more pictures than words waste so many of those precious words griping about amount of coverage of given to Ted Kennedy’s death? For some reason left-leaning CNN and left-left-left-leaning MSNBC are somehow the gold standard here… and Fox News must conform.
Yep, Kennedy was very influential and in the Senate for a zillion years … but what would have been the point of the full-on “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead” treatment?
Everyone knew his death was coming soon. There was no particular mystery about it. He’s never been a head of state. He’s not wildly popular in the Michael Jackson mode.
… and …
From CNN Money :
The more the country lives on a credit card, the more it makes itself beholden to the demands of its creditors — many of which are overseas. The danger is that buyers of U.S. debt could become concerned that the country is running too high a balance. If so, they will demand higher interest rates — thereby making the country’s debt problem worse — or they’ll put their money elsewhere.
At that point, things would get ugly.
“Taxes would rise to levels that would make a Scandinavian revolt. And the government would not be able to provide anything but the most basic public services. We would no longer be a great power (or even a mediocre one), and the social safety net would evaporate,” tax policy expert and Syracuse University professor Len Burman wrote in a recent op-ed cheerfully titled “Catastrophic Budget Failure.”
That’s why acting sooner rather than later makes sense. But acting too soon could cause its own set of problems since the economy is only beginning to lick its wounds from a punishing recession.
Economists and tax experts, no matter their ideological position, agree raising taxes when the economy is down is self-defeating.
But as the economy finds a solid footing, the hard choices will have to be made.
“We need to do this in stages at the right time,” said David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general, in a CNNMoney.com video.
Right now there is a lot of talk, but not a lot of planning, about how to address the situation.
In fact, President Obama is pledging to keep taxes low for most people.
For example, Obama has proposed keeping in place the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 (under $200,000 for individuals). The cuts are scheduled to expire in 2011.
A number of temporary tax relief measures, including the patch to protect the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax, are set to expire even sooner. And Obama has said he would like to keep many of those measures in place as well.
Experts say that’s not going to cut it.
“Taxes are going up and they’re going up for a lot more people than those making more than $250,000. Why? Math. The numbers don’t come close to working,” Walker said.
For instance, the president’s proposal to raise taxes only on high-income families would raise an additional $600 billion over 10 years, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
That’s not a lot when the government is staring at a 10-year deficit of $9 trillion. A 10-year deficit of that magnitude means the debt held by the public — the accumulation of all annual deficits over the decades — would reach 82% of gross domestic product come 2019. That’s double the 41% recorded in 2008.
From the Detroit News :
One reason the public so distrusts the health care plan being considered by Congress is that so many troublesome details keep bubbling out of the massive legislation.
The latest example is the $10 billion taxpayers will be asked to shell out to prop up the United Auto Workers’ retiree health insurance program.
That provision is tucked deep into the bill passed by the House.
In effect, it would ask every taxpayer, regardless of whether they’ll have health insurance coverage themselves after they retire — and most won’t — to chip in to maintain the UAW’s coverage, which even after the union’s givebacks is still better than what the average American worker receives.
The helping hand is a recognition by Congress that the union’s volunteer employee benefit association, or VEBA, can’t possibly stay solvent if it is asked to cover all of the union workers taking early buyouts from the Detroit automakers.
So the union’s supporters added language to the House’s gargantuan health care bill that requires the federal government to pick up most of the cost of catastrophic claims for union retirees age 55 to 64.
Bear in mind that the unions are also exempt from participating in Obamacare.
… he just doesn’t seem to realize it. Thrashing around to find some way in which “Republicans want to pull the plug on Granny”, he comes up with this:
The estate-tax revision [Sen. Grassley] championed reduces the estate tax to zero next year. But when the law expires at year’s end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley’s exploding offer has an entirely foreseen if unintended consequence: It’s going to encourage those whose parents and grandparents are worth anything more than a million bucks to get them dead by midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. This would be a great plot for a P.D. James novel if it weren’t an actual piece of legislation.
There’s an obvious fix to this problem, of course…. keep the death tax at zero. After all, the “motivation” embedded in the current law is that there is a .. ahem … Drop Dead Date on the last day of 2010. Keep the rate at zero … and the problem no longer exists.
Welcome to the age of Hope and Change.
This charming flyer was placed on car windshields of those attending a town hall in Reston, Va on Tuesday night, after the with Rep. Jim Moran and Howard Dean. Apparently, this is the way Obama supporters deal with dissent. Sad, really.
There are obvious parallels to be drawn between the above “art” and that of any number of authoritarian regimes. When inconvenient questions are asked, simply vilify the questioner.
Have a look at gatewaypundit to find out. Short version : apparently Rep. Tim Bishop’s actual constituents were numerous enough that it didn’t do Bishop much good.
Strike blow for the free exchange of ideas… by buying food!
From CNET :
They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”
Reminds me of the “Death Panels” in the healthcare bill; the problem here isn’t that there are explicit provisions. The problem is that the proposed law is so subject to interpretation that it could have devastating effects on civil liberties at some point in the future, when the law is already passed and it’s time to interpret it.
Says Lee Tien of the Electonic Forntier Foundation :
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)
“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”
“As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.
MSW is coming up; it honest makes a lot more sense than the Official Government Trivialization of 9/11. Let’s face it, if it’s a service week, some people will actually be helped. If it’s a day, most people will have other things going on. Yes, yes – you can sign up for stuff and then do it later … but then why would you have a day or a week set aside? Just for a warm fuzzy?
Heh. Cindy Sheehan is protesting Obama’s war policy … and there are only 38 hits in google news…. and most of those are articles about how the press doesn’t care.
… a moveon.org production. Ted Kennedy’s body hadn’t even reached room temperature when Nancy Pelosi issued the call to exploit his death to pass the most reckless legislation in a generation or three.
It’s disturbing to see Pelosi and the Democrats rummaging through a dead man’s pockets, hoping to find some political capital.
The CtW Investment Group called on the Whole Foods Market (NYSE:WFMI) board to remove CEO John Mackey as Chairman and to begin the process of naming a new CEO in a letter to Whole Foods’ lead independent director, Dr. John Elstrott, yesterday afternoon. Citing the risk to Whole Foods’ brand reputation caused by Mr. Mackey’s editorial opposing President Obama’s proposed healthcare reform, CtW urged the board to take immediate action to prevent continued damage in the face of a quickly-growing boycott by Whole Foods’ progressive customer base. (more)
But…. wait… what is CtW Investment Group? They manage union pension funds:
Founded in February 2006, the CtW Investment Group works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, a federation of unions representing nearly 6 million members, to enhance long-term shareholder returns through active ownership. Members of CtW affiliates participate in Taft-Hartley plans with an estimated $217 billion in assets.
The long-term health of these pension plans, and the retirement security of the workers and families who rely upon them, are threatened by conflicts of interest on Wall Street and in the boardroom, a corporate backlash that seeks to weaken the accountability of executives to shareholders, and outright corporate fraud.
The CtW Investment Group responds to these challenges by organizing workers’ capital into an effective voice for corporate accountability and retirement security. (more)
Whole Foods workers did not choose to unionize. “Change to Win” is a big backer of Obamacare; the UFCW and SEIU have their tenticles all over it.
Do the math,
One of two people suspected of shattering 11 windows Tuesday morning at the state Democratic Party headquarters has an arrest record and a history of helping a Democratic political candidate, public records show.
Police said that about 2:20 a.m., 24-year-old Maurice Schwenkler, now in custody, and an at-large accomplice took a hammer to the picture windows displaying posters touting President Barack Obama and his health care reform efforts.
Early Tuesday, Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Waak said the damage to her building in Denver’s art district was a consequence of “an effort on the other side to stir up hate.” She tempered her statement after Schwenkler’s political history was revealed. [Oops! – DRH]
“What I’ve been saying is there is a lot of rhetoric out there from both sides of the spectrum,” Waak said. “That’s what’s been disturbing to me. People are saying a lot of things not appropriate for civil discourse.”
For weeks, people on both sides of the health care debate have rallied across the country.
Schwenkler is charged with criminal mischief and is to make his first appearance in Denver County Court today.
He is accused of doing an estimated $11,000 in damage and could face a felony conviction.
On the last day of the 2008 Republican National Convention, he was charged with misdemeanor unlawful assembly in St. Paul, Minn.
Court records provided through the St. Paul Pioneer Press show he was jailed about 2 a.m.
Schwenkler received $500 in November 2008 to walk door-to-door in support of Democrat Mollie Cullom, who lost her race to Republican state Rep. David Balmer of Centennial.
Waak, who was not involved with the group that paid Schwenkler, said she’s never heard of the suspect and pointed out that just because he canvassed “doesn’t mean he’s a good Democrat.”
If Democrats agree on a health care reform bill that is opposed by all Republicans in Congress, 24% of voters nationwide say the Democrats should pass that bill.
But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% believe the Democrats should change the bill to win support from “a reasonable number of Republicans.” Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure what congressional Democrats should do.
Republican voters overwhelmingly think the bill should be changed, and so do 62% of those not affiliated with either major political party.
However, Democrats are more conflicted. Forty-one percent (41%) of those in the president’s party believe their legislators should pass the bill without any GOP votes, while 34% disagree and think the legislation should be changed to attract Republican support.
Here’s another story, buried by the media back in May…
A 23-year-old man from Austin, Texas, who was connected to a group that planned to disrupt the Republican National Convention (RNC) in September 2008, was sentenced today in federal court to possessing destructive devices. On May 14, in Minneapolis, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced Bradley Neal Crowder to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of possession of a destructive device. Crowder was indicted on Sept. 22, 2008, and pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2009…
On Aug. 28, 2008, Crowder and other members of the Austin Affinity Group traveled from Austin, Texas, to Minnesota. The group brought a rental trailer with them that contained 35 riot shields, made from stolen traffic barrels. The intended use of the shields was to help demonstrators block streets near the Xcel Energy Center in order to prevent convention delegates from safely reaching the convention. St. Paul Police seized these shields on Aug. 31.
According to trial testimony, McKay and Crowder, angered by the loss of the shields, purchased supplies for constructing Molotov cocktails at a St. Paul Wal-Mart on Aug. 31, including a gas can, motor oil and tampons. They also purchased gasoline at a gas station. They then manufactured the eight Molotov cocktails at an apartment on Dayton Avenue where they were staying.
During a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, authorities learned through an informant that McKay and Crowder had manufactured the Molotov cocktails. Crowder was arrested on Sept. 1 for disorderly conduct during an RNC demonstration.
During a conversation overheard by law enforcement through electronic surveillance on Sept. 2, McKay told an informant that he intended to throw the Molotov cocktails at police vehicles parked in a lot near the Dayton Avenue apartment. The parking lot was used as a checkpoint area for vehicles entering the security perimeter around the convention site. It was visibly patrolled by the U.S. Secret Service, various police agencies and the military.
Dunno what Bradley Neal Crowder’s race is… nor do I much care. He may be angry and he may be white… but he’s a leftie, not a rightie.
Read about it in Ace of Spades blog. ETHIC FAIL!