Demonstrations resume in Iran

The crowds are forming again.

Teabagger dumbass-in-chief

It’s hard to imagine how the angry right helps the GOP in the long run. The angry 30% of this country might get energized, but one would this this stupidity would turn off the middle.

Here’s “Tea Party” leader Mark Williams appeared on a CNN panel on “Anderson Cooper 360″ last night making a complete ass of himself.

Jon Stewart and the teabaggers

The lunatic fringe has consumed the right. Funny stuff.

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Frum takes on Beck

It’s stunning to me how many conservative intellectuals have stood by and said little while the crazies have taken over the conservative movement. Some of them had the guts to take on Sarah Palin, and more are starting to speak up as idiots like Joe the Plumber and demagogues like Glenn Beck become the new faces of conservatism.

David Frum has been one of the loudest voices of sanity on the right, and he takes on Glenn Beck in his latest column.

We conservatives are submitting our movement to some of the most unscrupulous people in American life. This submission disgraces conservatism, discredits Republicans, and damages the country. It’s beyond time for conservatives who know better to join us at NewMajority in emancipating ourselves from leadership by the most stupid, the most cynical, and the most truthless.

The entire column is worth reading, as Frum defends Cass Sunstein against Beck’s hysterical fire.

Why insurance companies suck

Here’s one of millions of examples.

The untimely disappearance of Sally Marrari’s medical coverage goes a long way toward explaining why insurance companies are cast as the villain in the health-care reform drama.

“They said I never mentioned I had a back problem,” said Marrari, 52, whose coverage with Blue Cross was abruptly canceled in 2006 after a thyroid disorder, fluid in the heart and lupus were diagnosed. That left the Los Angeles woman with $25,000 in medical bills and the stigma of the company’s claim that she had committed fraud by not listing on a health questionnaire “preexisting conditions” Marrari said she did not know she had.

By the time she filed a lawsuit in 2008, she also got a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and her debts had swelled beyond $200,000. She was able to see a specialist by trading office visits for work on the doctor’s 1969 Porsche at the garage she owns with her husband.

This outrageous behavior by insurance companies happens way too often in this country. It’s an outrage and it’s why we need reform. Insurance companies want to increase profits, so they screw over patients by canceling their policies when they need it most.

In the past 18 months, California’s five largest insurers paid almost $19 million in fines for marooning policyholders who had fallen ill. That includes a $1 million fine against Health Net, which admitted offering bonuses to employees for finding reasons to cancel policies, according to company documents released in court.

If health care reform implodes this year, the administration could ratchet up the pressure by having the Justice Department investigate these companies for fraud and potential RICO charges. There was a clear conspiracy to screw over patients, and they ought to be held accountable.

This also highlights why it’s important to pass reform with or without the public option. Insurance reform would benefit millions of Americans by protecting them from these practices.

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Ignoring the obvious

This is a pretty useless interview conducted by Keith Olbermann with Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos. I respect that both of them strongly favor the public option. I do as well. I also understand the point raised by Olbermann that many polls show broad public support for the public option. Yet the entire discussion is cast in terms of whether Obama is abandoning his progressive base by looking for a compromise on this issue, and Olbermann never mentions the real obstacle – the fact that many moderate Democrats in the Senate will not vote for a bill with a public option.

Olbermann has addressed this before, so he’s clearly aware of the political stumbling blocks, yet he makes no attempt to engage Markos in a constructive conversation about where we might be able to go with this. The only point here seemed to be a progressive high-five session similar to the right wing backslapping that we get on lame shows like Hannity.

I’m still a fan of Olbermann, but too often he slips into an “all-or-nothing” approach to issues that justify the caricatures of Olbermann now coming from the right. Unfortunately, it takes away from the good work he often does on his show.

Any notion that sweeping health care reform that gets rid of pre-existing conditions, stops insurance companies from dropping customers, and makes health care accessible to millions of Americans who can’t get it, but doesn’t include a public option that pleases everyone, is somehow a failure by the Obama administration is just ridiculous.

Olbermann should consider this simple fact. Progressives do NOT have a majority in either the House or the Senate. Public opinion is important, but in the end that alone does not get you the votes you need to pass a bill. All those moderate Democrats might be pissing you off now, but they help provide the majority that makes this health care discussion even possible. The Republicans might talk a good game about reform, but we all know they will do nothing to achieve it. They didn’t even try when they ran the place.

That said, progressives should push as hard as they can for a public option, but killing a bill that doesn’t meet all progressive demands is a terrible option.

Fortunately, I don’t think most progressive members of Congress will turn their backs on Americans without insurance and vote against reform when they are faced with a final bill. Arms will be twisted, deals will be made, and this thing will pass if it gets that far.

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