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Chernynkaya On December - 30 - 2010

Thanks to the contest that AdLib announced yesterday, I have been happily reading ( and re-reading) the archived posts. I just finished reading AdLib’s piece The Cool Before The Storm, which contains the video of a speech President Obama made to Democrats right before the crucial vote on Health Care Reform.

Several thoughts came to mind as I listened and quite a few emotions too.  My first thought was: Where did anyone get the idea that this president hasn’t been critical of Republicans?? I have seen several speeches and press conferences in which the president was very hard on them–short of calling them venal, evil asshats, that is. (I would also refer anyone so meme-afflicted to check out the all-day, televised meeting with House Republicans—the one in which Obama reminded McCain that, “John, you lost.”)

So, while my initial reaction to that inspiring speech was on the order of, “You TELL it, Mr. President!” I also found myself wondering if what he said back in March holds up to present scrutiny. And for that, I am asking any and all of you for help. I don’t particularly want to re-litigate the Bill; I am just wondering if this specific speech, with the benefit of hindsight, still rings true. I am a bit conflicted, and I welcome all comments—they really do help me figure out what I think.

Here is the video of the speech:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/it-time-pass-health-care-reform

And here is the transcript:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-house-democratic-congress

These passages stand out for me:

I have the great pleasure of having a really nice library at the White House.  And I was tooling through some of the writings of some previous Presidents and I came upon this quote by Abraham Lincoln:  “I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true.  I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.”

I am asking—sincerely asking—how do we square this ideal with political reality? Does Obama act in a way true to this statement?

It’ll turn out that this piece of historic legislation is built on the private insurance system that we have now and runs straight down the center of American political thought.

I believe that this statement is not only factual, but represents the very most that was possible. What it leaves me wondering is, is the center of American thought good?

And that’s why the Congressional Budget Office says this will lower people’s rates for comparable plans by 14 to 20 percent.

Is this true? I have read that insurance companies have raised rates in anticipation of the law going into effect in 2014. Anyone know if that is the case?

I know this is a tough vote.  And I am actually confident — I’ve talked to some of you individually — that it will end up being the smart thing to do politically because I believe that good policy is good politics.  I am convinced that when you go out there and you are standing tall and you are saying I believe that this is the right thing to do for my constituents and the right thing to do for America, that ultimately the truth will out.

Virtually every House Democrat from a swing district who took a gamble by voting for the health law made a bad political bet for the Midterms. Among 22 who provided crucial yes votes from particularly risky districts, 19 ended up losing on Tuesday. That included all five members who voted against a more expensive House version last November and then changed their votes to support the final legislation in March.

But of the 30 Democrats who opposed the final bill and then stood for re-election, 17 lost anyway.

Indeed, among 49 Democratic incumbents who lost, 32 had voted for the health care law and 17 against it.

So it maybe didn’t matter in the end anyway. But I think we should consider rethinking the statement that good policy is necessarily good politics—not in the United States of Retardistan.

The President concluded with this:

And now a lot of us have been here a while and everybody here has taken their lumps and their bruises.  And it turns out people have had to make compromises, and you’ve been away from families for a long time and you’ve missed special events for your kids sometimes.  And maybe there have been times where you asked yourself, why did I ever get involved in politics in the first place?  And maybe things can’t change after all.  And when you do something courageous, it turns out sometimes you may be attacked.  And sometimes the very people you thought you were trying to help may be angry at you and shout at you. And you say to yourself, maybe that thing that I started with has been lost.

But you know what?  Every once in a while, every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made in all those town meetings and all those constituency breakfasts and all that traveling through the district, all those people who you looked in the eye and you said, you know what, you’re right, the system is not working for you and I’m going to make it a little bit better.

And this is one of those moments.  This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself, doggone it, this is exactly why I came here.  This is why I got into politics.  This is why I got into public service.  This is why I’ve made those sacrifices.  Because I believe so deeply in this country and I believe so deeply in this democracy and I’m willing to stand up even when it’s hard, even when it’s tough.

I want to believe this, and for the most part, I still do. Yet there is now a tiny grain of worry, if not outright doubt. I am worried about Social Security. I hear the faint drumbeats building that will weaken it—and among Democrats! I am concerned that compromise on this ultimate Democratic issue will occur, in the name of deficit reduction—a canard. But I still hold onto the Hope that I am wrong.

Categories: Featured, News & Politics

Written by Chernynkaya

I am an artist and have lived in Los Angeles all of my life, except for a brief hippie period when I lived in SF. I am currently (semi-unwillingly) retired, but have had several careers.

63 Responses so far.

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  1. bito says:

    Cher, in our little debate on compromise and SS, I came across this on age of retirement.

    Robert Samuelson’s Social Security Demagoguery at the Washington Post

    Samuelson goes on to complain that Social Security has become a “middle-age retirement system,” citing Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute. Samuelson apparently is not familiar with data on life expectancy that shows that workers in the bottom half of the wage distribution have seen relatively small gains in longevity over the last three decades.[….]there is no discussion of the fact that the current generation of near retirees experienced an unprecedented period of wage stagnation over their working lifetime. The median hourly wage in 2010 is less than 10 percent higher than it was in 1973.

    I do agree with you that the the age requirement should not be raised. When will ONE talking head say that SS has nothing to do with the debt? It is fully solvent until 2037.

    I like Dean Baker and his site “Beat the Press”

    • javaz says:

      Lindsey Graham threatening to hold debt ceiling vote unless changes to Social Security -- means-testing and raising the age of retirement -- are passed.

      http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/03/graham-security-hostage/

      I am hoping that President Obama and the Democrats do what Clinton did with Gingrich and let ’em shutdown the government.

      It wouldn’t be good for the country and the economy, but it wouldn’t be good for the Republicans either, and it’s time to take a stand and call their bluff.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I like Baker too. I spent most of yesterday posting about the debt ceiling, and found a great rebuttal about the deficit that cited Baker a lot:

      “Bogus Arguments about the Burden of the Debt”
      http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/02/bogus-arguments-about-the-burden-of-the-debt.html

      And this:
      http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/social_security/

      • bito says:

        Cher, very good links (sorry, soup making interrupted my reading). I think it is shameful the lack of even any attempt to explain some basic principles of economics in our society, on MSM. I am no whiz, far from it, but I do make an attempt to understand and it is not from anything I hear on the tube.
        Excellent articles. I would have liked to have seen your postings on the debt ceiling yesterday and wonder if your fellow debaters even had a clue?

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Bito-- I am making soup too! What did you make? Me, Bubbe’s chicken soup.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          No, they didn’t. I mean, several agreed with me, but for strange reasons, as far as I could tell. I struggle to understand it all myself--but like you, at least I struggle!

          What prompted me to find those articles was all these incoherant posters who just kept mouthing slogans about “our grandchildren/debt burdens.”

          I basically quoted Baker:

          If we ran up debts so that we could finance schools and colleges, and make sure that our children and grandchild­ren were well educated, then we probably made them richer than if we didn’t run up debt but left them illiterate­. Similarly, if we ran up the debt to construct a modern physical and informatio­n infrastruc­ture, then we probably made future generation­s much wealthier than if we had handed them a country that was debt free, but had no Internet and no computers.

          In short, the debt is not an accurate measure of whether we have been generous to or short-chan­ged the generation­s that come after us. The answer to that question depends on the economy and society that we pass on. There are many scenarios in which we would have impoverish­ed future generation­s, even if we were to hand them a government that is free of debt or alternativ­ely left them very wealthy, even if there is a substantia­l government debt.

          Some things are worth going into debt for, and even if we pass on that burden, they will have something valuable for it.

          • bito says:

            Cher, I think that that was both Krugman’s and Baker’s (and others) argument about the stimulus package that was finally passed. Too small and not enough going for infrastructure development and improvement. I think that that compromise may have been worse than HCR.
            Meanwhile, let’s cut science, medical research and edumaction!!! The Debt! The Debt!! 😯

            ( Issa is an idiotic jerk)

  2. bito says:

    Some more thoughts to mull over from Ezra Klein
    What sort of loser should Obama be

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/12/what_sort_of_loser_should_obam.html

    I do like Ezra Klein

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Bito-- that was one of the BEST columns I’ve read in months. It plainly articulated many of my conflicting thoughts, as well as validating them.

      This section addresses what I meant in my original post, when I asked about Obama’s quotation by Lincoln (“I am not bound to win…”):

      By losing well, I mean losing in a way that builds a coalition, demonstrates to your allies that you are serious, takes a pound of flesh from your opponents and leaves them with the blame, and convinces those on the fence that it is an important issue for which you have the answers. Lose for the long run; lose in a way that leaves liberal institutions and infrastructure stronger, able to be deployed again at a later date.

      This is spot on! But I would add my 2 cents and say, not only less likely to be able to deal, but when dealing with terrorists, WRONG to deal--mostly.

      I find both arguments fairly convincing. But not at the same time. The White House’s argument made a fair amount of sense given the Democratic tilt of the 111th Congress, which offered unusual possibilities for getting things done, and so made strategies that would alienate even a couple of votes fairly risky. But the liberal argument makes somewhat more sense going forward, as the mixed composition of the next Congress makes getting things done through deals and patience somewhat less likely, while the upcoming election where the president is on the ballot makes the need for an excited base more acute, and makes the consequences of crossing that base more serious for both the White House and swing senators.

      • bito says:

        Ah, but I can’t totally disagree with the this retort:

        I think the White House’s reply would look something like this: Successful governance is about getting 60 votes for things that move the ball forward.The people who tend to control the 55th through 60th votes on any given issue are not like you and me. They are driven by a baffling combination of raging egomania and crippling terror.[…]Taking a pound of flesh from these people — or even their allies — would mean never getting their votes. Want to see what we mean? Look at Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In the end, it got done because Murkowski, Brown and Collins let it get done. Alienating them would’ve been satisfying, but unwise.

        Governing for the whole nation ain’t easy.

        Now if I were President…. 😆

        (bit by bit,we will have the whole post up :-) )

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    Kalima, AdLib, C’Lady, et al – I really appreciate your replies; as I said, they really help me sort out my feelings.
    (I also posted long replies, and they disappeared, so I know how hard it is to recreate them!)

    I re-read my post to see if it came off as critical of the president, or of health care reform. To be clear, I have no issues with HCR, and I would be furious if it were repealed or unfunded by the Repubs. As I re-read it, I don’t see the post as critical of Obama per se, but I did express my recent worry about his compromising on the issue of SS. And it’s not even so much that Obama would, but I read of many Centrists lately agreeing with those who insist that SS MUST be “saved.” How did this suddenly become more mainstream thinking?

    I feel that when he quoted Lincoln: “I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have, ”he was speaking from the heart. And I don’t necessarily see that compromise is a contradiction to that ideal. Lincoln made a ton of compromises to keep the Union together, and to try to prevent the Civil War. Yet he too had the line in the sand! There is nothing wrong, to my thinking, to want our president to do the same.

    Actually, the lesson of Lincoln and of the Confederacy just began to help me formulate my feelings. I’ll try to articulate them.
    I see today’s Republican Party as every bit as seditious as the Rebels. As I wrote in a few recent comments here, the baggers and their Republicans have driven me a bit insane. My blood is boiling at their plans. I am seething that they have just been rewarded for proposing things I consider to be ruinous to the United States. As well as MORALLY offensive. And I mention how I feel about them because it impacts my reason. Since I consider them to be such a real threat, I am perhaps overwrought in what I think the response to them should be. Yet, I am still optimistic enough to hold the thought that Americans will say ENOUGH in 2012. I think Repubs will pull so far to the Right that the rubber band will snap the majority of voters out of their stupidity. But I am not certain. History has examples of times when a bad economy made citizens react in insane ways. Couple that with the enormous amount of Right-wing money, Citizens United, and a full on Right-wing media empire with 24/7 lies and an undereducated populace, and I honestly don’t think we can rest assured that sanity will prevail.

    So, given what I feel about the Republicans, it is harder for me to be unconcerned about compromise. I am not talking about any particular policy right now, but about compromising with people who I see as sociopaths and determined to destroy the government, this President, and all I love about America. In short, they are my enemies. And I am also aware that the very fact that I have vilified them as the “other” makes dealing with them repugnant. It is a vicious circle.

    I feel that “the people”—as in The Grapes of Wrath—as in we little guys, are about to be stampeded. At this point, I want someone on MY side as ruthless and brutish as the Reptilians. (However, I am willing to concede that brutish does not always mean successful.) I believe that President Obama is completely on the side of the People. And I can prove that I believe that: I have been posting at Huffpo for months and I am famous (or infamous) for defending this Administration relentlessly. And while I know that the Fan thing is juvenile, I take comfort the fact that at least 3300 other readers there agree with my passionate defense of Obama. Nonetheless, I am not convinced that compromise with people who are so far to the Right is effective. Up until now, it has been. I am really thinking of the way forward though.

    I understood the necessity of compromise on the fin/reg bills, the health reform bill, even though it pained me. I even came around to supporting the tax extensions. I saw the way the Senate kills progressive legislation; I recognized the phony super-majority that included too many conservadems. I was still rational then, and swallowed some bitter pills to get some (not inconsequential) things. In fact, I am the first to point out we got tremendous things!!

    So, I recognized that Obama was dealt a terrible hand, that he was the adult, and that his heart was in the right place. But, in aggregate, I’ve had enough with these Righties! There is only so much maturity and reason I can muster in the face of it all. The trouncing we took by the Tea Baggers (!) has sent me into pure Id Ville. I suppose the threat I see to Social Security –albeit just beginning—makes me scared, and fear produces irrationality, as well as motivation.

    And you know what? I think it is good to voice my concerns. That is what citizenship requires. It is not disloyal, because when push comes to shove, I have Mr. Obama’s back. I believe he has mine too, but can he save us from them? He is only one man.

    • choicelady says:

      Cher -- I’ve seen you over at HP so do know some of your thoughts, and no, I did not take what you were saying as a criticism so much as musings and, as you noted, questions.

      I think I’m well and truly sick of Americans who don’t think but who think they think, if that makes any sense. It’s the knee jerk reactions to things based on some headline (HP is FAMOUS for headlines that don’t even match the content) and no reflection. That’s why I like it here -- so many people offer up info, data, background, substance. I’ve been deeply aided in my work by all that is posted here. (Well, OK, not so much the Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire, but mostly everything.)

      The thoughts posted here are superb. The debates are superb. The ideas are superb, and this post, Cher, is one of them. I think, mostly without huge evidence other than this tax agreement, that Obama is a far cagier negotiator than we’ve given him credit for being. What he got -- and I just have scratched the surface -- is vastly more than he “gave up”. I suspect he will pay huge attention to what the GOP desires, then hold it as his trump in exchange for what we want.

      And yes, I really do think his policies are about us. I’ve had personal calls with him (and 140,000 of his other BFFs in the faith communities across the nation) on health care where MY question actually got into the mix and was answered. It was not an easy question about the extra expense of doing health care by subsidizing private insurance. It’s poor “stewardship” I think. He agreed but said that given popular support for continuing to use private insurance, subsidizing families and individuals was at the moment the thing Americans wanted. I agree. He listened and still listens to what we need. I can’t recall any time before when I felt a President -- not even the ‘I feel your pain’ Clinton -- actually heard us. Clinton listened and ignored, fed the beast with deregulation and lousy trade deals, but Obama is moving toward those things Clinton ignored and could not, did not, achieve.

      So I take ALL your concerns about bipartisanship to heart since we’ve “been there, done that” under Clinton, but I see this cool and unflappable president -- no drama Obama -- giving up less and less of that sort of Clinton-type thing and getting more and more through unyielding horse trading. If that’s true, then we’ll be OK. But it IS our essential job to make sure Obama knows what we want and how much we want it.

      Democracy is not a spectator sport nor for the ill informed or weak of character. It is maintained not by the blood of martyrs but the vitality of the engaged. That’s who you are, Cher. That’s why your comments and thoughts do matter to us. Thank you!

      • bito says:

        Hey, C’Lady “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire” was for entertainment purposes only. No actual “glorified hamsters” were actually harmed at any time. 😉

      • Chernynkaya says:

        C’Lady--you are one of the people who keep me centered and honest. I so appreciate your perspective and comments!I need to hear from you, and the other Planeteers, to save my sanity.

        I am one of those people who literally thinks by writing--until I write it, I often don’t exactly know what I think!I am grateful that you help me refine my thoughts by responding to my rants.

    • Kalima says:

      You have every right to be scared Cher, you have the right to say exactly what is on your mind, and being as I see the opposition in exactly the same light as you do, can no longer just laugh, and call them destructive or ignorant. As for the hate, I hate what they stand for, I feel bilious to witness their hypocrisy, and I hate what they have done and plan to do to your country. They are dangerous to the health of your country, and to the majority of it’s citizens. Your msm is a disgrace, and only fool those who want to be fooled or are too lazy to put two and two together, you can also bet that they don’t even know how they have been used to line many pockets, when they realize they have been had (if ever) it will be too late.

      My criticism wasn’t on your thoughts here at all Cher, I was talking about the know-it-all bloggers, the boring self-righteous tv “experts” the people who voted in the last elections against the Dems rather than for the TP or the GOP because they were having an extended foot stomping episode, and thought that by acting like spoiled arseholes they would gain attention, rather than realizing they had just voted to make life even more difficult for themselves and the next congress. Quite frankly the absolute dumbness of doing this, is still hitting home with me, and although I knew that a big change was coming, it always happens everywhere, the sheer number of crazies elected in your midterms is nevertheless staggering.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        I forgot to mention, Kalima, that I in no way thought you were being critical of my comments! I am so sorry if I left that impression, and I see how I did.(Since my original reply vanished, I was just responding in general to all.)

        This is a great discussion!

        • Kalima says:

          😆 Cher, we will end up like they do here in Japan. You bow, I bow. You bow deeper, I bow deeper. Anyway so I’m glad that we’ve straightened that out, and neither of us were criticizing the other. It’s all good. :)

          Yes, it would be odd for people to have been on HP and not noticed the slide to the right, which in my opinion started before the primaries even. If someone is still there after this all went down, the vile troll comments staying up while valid comments by Progressives, Liberals and Dems were stuck in pending never to appear. The slew of racist comments, also left up, the word filter which eventually banned the word McCain or anything derogatory to do with the Repubs suddenly being a bad word. It was so obvious that it just couldn’t be missed unless you desperately wanted to believe that AH was actually, or had ever been a Progressive.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            As long as I get to bow last, and the lowest!

            😆 😆

            • Kalima says:

              Tough choice Cher. I’m someone who has bowed on the phone a few times until someone pointed it out. How about we just hold hands and do the last one together, on the count of 3. 1-2-3! 😯 Ouch hardhead. 😉

      • Chernynkaya says:

        About those asshat bloggers, this was encouraging to me:

        I posted this comment on Effington today, in response to a story outlining all the evil things the House Reptilians are planning:

        First, this site spent the months leading up to the Midterms doing all it could to demoralize the Democrats and to depress Dem turnout. Not a day went by when there wasn’t some story (and usually several) whining about how little the Dems accomplish­ed. HP was successful­. Fools stayed home.

        And now, looky here, they report what the consequenc­es of the voter apathy-- that HP encouraged­-- are. Now that’s what I call real Progressiv­ism-- and integrity. NOT.

        It was marked as favorite by 70 readers and I got 40 replies, of which this was representative:

        Sadly, I feel that you are very correct.

        In the short time that I have been visiting this site I’ve noticed a shift towards focusing on the negative more and more.

        It’s this shift that has drawn me away from Huffington­post, which is a pity. Back in 2008 it helped to inspire me to support the Democratic Party and to be involved in politics. Now, I rarely visit this site anymore.

        For the last 18 months, they may as well have been on the Republican payroll, spinning their talking points and carrying their narrative, and demeaning and otherwise underminin­g virtually everything this President has done … cheering on the anticipate­d Republican “sweep” in the midterms and giving the Dems absolutely no reason at all to even bother going out on Nov. 2.

        I know this is a minuscule cross-section, but I was heartened at the increase in people who get it.

        • escribacat says:

          That is heartening, cher. I’m so glad you made that post. That’s all I do over there any more — try to offset the toxic Obama-bashing atmosphere created by HP and the new breed of far left tr0lls, whose vicious and unwarranted attacks on Obama are just as sickening as those from any rightwing tr0ll. I can’t tell the difference any more between far left and far right. The personality characteristics seem exactly the same to me. Small minded, bitter, vicious, and shallow.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            E’cat, you know what is the MOST effective with the HP Left-trolls? YOUR Rashamon headlines. I post them all the time. It’s like ice water on them. I used to always credit you, but admit I sometimes just post them. Sorry-- I will be moire diligent and give you your justified kudos!

        • bito says:

          And another thumbs up here from me, Cher!!!

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Thanks, Bito! And I think I see a shift among Huff readers. To their credit (and I say that very begrudgingly) HP mods featured my comment at the top of the thread. The thing I find encouraging is that even when Dem posters are upset about something or other the Dems did or didn’t do, they seem to be aware that they are being punked by Ms Effington.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      You’re great, Cher! I fully support your comments here, and agree completely that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a president, an administration, a government, a party, ANYTHING so long as we have the right to -- and when things are as bad as you correctly (I feel) perceive them to be.
      Every time I hear someone use the lame put-down “didn’t get your pony”, I want to smack someone.

      Closing Gitmo -- a pony? Ending the madness taking place in the Middle East and Central Asia -- a pony?
      I am NOT expecting Obama to do everything, especially with the odds stacked against him as they are, but I totally reject the idea that criticism, and holding him to his words, is out of bounds.

      • bito says:

        WTS, how do you propose he shut down GITMO? Executive Order? Solutions can sometimes be more difficult than problems. Problems are often not solved with straight lines. Getting in traps is easier than escaping traps, well, I guess one can always gnaw a limb off. 😀

        Criticism with solutions is invaluable, criticism for the sake of criticism is what?

        • whatsthatsound says:

          see, the problem that I have with this type of argument, bito, is that it seems like it ends up being the “America Sucks” argument. As in, “Because America sucks, such and such just can’t get done.”
          -- Take healthcare. The argument becomes, “Don’t blame Obama that we can’t get single payer in this country even though every developed and advanced country on this planet besides us considers the health of its citizens a matter of national security, not an afterthought. America Sucks so that will never happen.
          -- Environment and green technology -- Every other country has given up any hope that the U.S. will lead, either in reducing emissions OR bringing new, green technology to the forefront. Thom Hartmann says that in Germany it is not uncommon to see solar panels on one out of every four or five homes depending on where you are. But, you see, America Sucks, so we can’t ever expect to see that happen here, in spite of Obama’s best intentions.
          -- Closing Gitmo? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe just the fact that he said that he would do it. Executive order or not, I’m sure he wasn’t thinking, “I’ll do it, but only if America doesn’t Suck so much that the only way to do it is by executive order.
          -- The Bush tax cuts? “America Sucks, so we’re never going to get the billionaires to pay their fair share, EVEN THOUGH they do in most other countries. In Sweden they pay ninety percent, but Sweden, you see, doesn’t SUCK.”
          So, personally, I really don’t like that argument. America DOESN’T SUCK, and it is entirely possible that an executive can rise to the moment and institute policies, forge directions, etc. that lead us back to the family of nations that are making progress, little by little, on the environment, on the rich/poor gap, on finding peaceful solutions to problems.
          Germany, Japan, Sweden, even China -these countries aren’t being run by super-geniuses, and they are making big mistakes along the way toward progress. But they are making progress where it counts.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            In addition, while in principle I agree with Bito that some problems are intractable and we really need to take the long view, I also think that I personally don’t need to have a good solution in order to ask our leaders to figure it out either. They are not automatically smarter, but they have staffs, they have resources to figure it out-- heck that’s their job.

            I try very hard to do as much research as I am able to in order to make a case for one solution or another-- I don’t want to be unreasonable. But finding solutions can be like juggling plates, or playing whack-a-mole. One solution effects another thing.

            I might not have the overarching picture, but I can still request that those in Congress-- or at least my representatives-- try to solve problems we face.

            BTW-- GREAT discussion!

            • whatsthatsound says:

              agreed! The assumption is that one of the reasons they campaign for office is that they are adept at achieving solutions. You and I are artists, Cher, and if anyone criticizes our art, we don’t get very far with telling them, “Oh, I suppose YOU could do a better job?”, do we? :)
              The assumption is that if we are going to put ourselves out there and call ourselves artists, we’d better be able to have something to show for it.

            • bito says:

              The assumption is that one of the reasons they campaign for office is that they are adept at achieving solutions.

              😆 You weren’t here for the last midterms!! 😆

    • Questinia says:

      I agree it will be futile to reason with Republicans. Reasoning requires looking at the peripheries and relativities. Republicans are full steam ahead and practically hard-wired to be punitive and callous. They have been able to run amok, becoming a monoculture of what they now stand for, because the so called “liberal media” of corporately owned hacks have been asleep at the switch. We know this and it is repeated ad nauseaum, so I’m saying nothing new. But, it’s the futility of negotiation that I think is lost on many, including perhaps our President. At some point there WAS a Civil War. We may need another war, and like terrorism, a war that is “fought” more on the insidious nature of owning the narrative. It will be a war fought on the terrain of influence, not Antietam.

      I agree with what c-lady says below, people are working and there are independent news media that steadfastly report another side, usually a most sinister one. But, at least now, our pained emotional responses to the seditious acts of this party are not allayed by the tenor of the country.

    • bito says:

      Excellent comment, Cher, but I am still having a problem with this:

      but I did express my recent worry about his compromising on the issue of SS.

      What compromise, did I miss something?

      • Chernynkaya says:

        No, no, I should have written “about his potential for compromising…”

        • bito says:

          What compromise will you take? Raising the ceiling for pay-in from 82% to 90% of wage earners for raising the retirement age in 2050 from 67 to 69 years old, which would make SS solvent for 50+ more years?

          • Chernynkaya says:

            I would not make any compromise on the retirement age until 2050 and address it then. I would also approve of some provision whereby wealthy individuals-- those in the top 1% at least--are somehow exempted from receiving SS or Medicare, based on their income and savings at retirement age.

            In fact, I think the age of SS should be lowered, and would not mind if deductions from paychecks were increased.

            • bito says:

              Ah, once a discussion is opened-- a compromise, too bad the discussion for Mr. Obama is with a bunch of complete close-minded slime-balls who have never read, or skipped over the part of the constitution that says” promote the general Welfare,”
              (why did they capitalize Welfare?)and read it as promote and protect the welfare of the rich.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Bito--it’s a deal!

            • bito says:

              Playing the advocate-- I will give you your means testing, which will extend solvency, but I want the retirement age increased in 2050, or no deal. What say you?

  4. Questinia says:

    Not have only rates gone up (but I believe not as drastically as during the Bush admin), insurance companies seem to be also making pre-existing conditions so all-encompassing that even a mild thyroid condition will get you rejected for obtaining new insurance. All meds are needing pre-authorization by the docs, even when the pt has been on them all along. All attempts at slowing down leaking profits.

    There will ALWAYS be an issue as long as insurance companies are for-profit. They will always move the line in the sand.

    No matter what Obama does. I may be wrong. I hope so.

  5. Chernynkaya says:

    Kalima--First, do I know the Ant and the Grasshopper? I grew up on it! And it left a permanent impression! I think you’ll get a kick out of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAd0jOuQg8o

    • Kalima says:

      Now you come to mention it Cher, it did sound familiar, and somewhere there in my childhood memories too. Long ago, too many things to forget, too many more to remember.

      Thanks for the reminder with the video. :)

  6. choicelady says:

    Hi Cher-

    Part of the health care dilemma is timing -- some of the provisions such as rate control, don’t kick in until 2014 UNLESS you have a new policy. Americans are stinking selfish -- they demanded that Congress let them keep the insurance they have, and then whine when it acts like the insurance they HAVE. Existing policies make you “grandfathered” so that the new plan does not cover them yet. Or maybe ever. Existing plans don’t have to let you add your kids, get freebie preventive care, etc. -- and people demanded that they keep what they had. So those who got what they wanted -- keep your hands off my health care -- discovered that their companies are gouging them. Surprise!

    I agree with bito -- Social Security may well be under assault (it has been ALL my life) -- but the existence of the Deficit Reduction Commission’s guidelines don’t worry me much since they WERE shot down with a huge input from the American people.

    And that, I think is what is the missing link. I doubt that outside the Tea Party many of us know how active people in general have been on the side of health care, of protecting Social Security and Medicare, on eradication of DADT, etc. The MSM and extremist blogs such as FDL (which is SO wrong so often I’m amazed anyone listens to her) simply ignore the voices of people. They both contribute to the very WRONG notion that policy is created in a vacuum or by only conservative corporations. Well, it’s NOT. People have been mobilized around the nation on behalf of lots and lots of issues -- and not a single word about it has been written save one small article in The Nation after the health care vote. MSM, HP, etc. never showed the crowds outside the Capitol in DC clamoring FOR health care passage -- even on “the walk” from the office buildings to the Capitol, the House leadership and members voting for it all went over to the hundreds standing outside, shook their hands, and thanked them for being present, and you never saw anything but cropped pictures ELIMINATING the crowds of supporters including a large number of clergy in collar and vestments who were there. I have friend who were present so I know what happened. You never would.

    I watched Lawrence O’Donnell eviscerate Jane Hamsher on the tax agreement NOT just in disagreement but over the fact that she simply LIED. She either was asleep during the middle class cuts only Senate vote or she thought she could pretend it had not happened. Time after time I watched her say things that were factually untrue -- same with stories in HP -- and yet people who should damned well know better keep touting those screaming headlines as FACT when they are FALSE.

    I think Obama has lived up entirely to his own words. I have seen him put his foot wrong twice only, and that is simply amazing. Twice in two years. Period. He said he’d be president for all of us, and that does include the Teabaggers, but he’s been centered on his policies and on the PROCESS of democracy.

    Now, will he use more Executive Orders? I believe so, yes. It will be a loss for the process, but it will be a gain for the nation. He has done well by most of us, can do better on foreclosure bans by far, but I am watching him achieve huge things and keeping promises. And I’ve never really felt that way since LBJ -- and he had Vietnam as the millstone around his neck that diminished what he’d done domestically.

    We all seem to love Clinton -- I did -- until it became clear he allowed this crisis to happen. I think Obama is the stronger of the two. Clinton has the palaver. Obama has the grit. I vote grit.

    I’m pretty happy with Obama, hope for more, fear for him daily. But with the GOP/TP in disarray, I think he will rise to the occasion with every resource at his disposal. And I don’t give a damn what Lying Jane or Arianna have to say. It’s not progressive to distort the truth for sensation and snark. It IS progressive to work for policies wanted by the people and good for the people, all the people, everywhere.

  7. escribacat says:

    I think the rumors of the death of Social Security are greatly exaggerated. If they want to see a grey revolution, Congress can try it but they won’t succeed.

    • Khirad says:

      Me as well. Concern and caution are one thing, but the freak out by Firebaggers was, as usual, quite disproportionate.

      On the latter part. A poll today confirmed this, though it was on Medicare.

      You know who see SS and Medicare most unfavorably? 30 and unders.

      Seriously. I can say this because I’m a year off if this age group: effing shortsighted idiots.

      • escribacat says:

        Khirad, I’m not surprised about the under 30 crowd seeing SS and Medicare unfavorably. They have been told over and over and over by places like HP and Drudge and Fox that they are paying for the older generation who have screwed up and that there will be nothing left for them when the time comes. They just accept those scare tactics at face value instead of looking for candidates who want to make sure the programs remain solvent.

  8. javaz says:

    Cher, have you seen this article?

    The author examines both sides -- the ‘haters’ and the ‘believers’ of President Obama and discusses Social Security.

    http://www.freespeech.org/blog/its-about-social-security-and-new-deal-not-barack-obama

    I’m trying to find an article by Ezra Klein(I think) in which he explained that the FICA temporary tax cut could lead the way to Obama pushing to raise the cap, which would save Social Security.

    I share in the concern over Social Security and Medicare, but I really have a hard time believing that a Democratic president would sign anything that cuts or guts Social Security.
    It would be political suicide for Obama and the Democrats.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Javaz-- that was a good article-- thanks! I disagree with some of Escrow’s ideas, but the most important one-- Social Security-- I agree with completely. We need to hear exactly where the president stands on this.

      • bito says:

        What exactly is your concern with Social Security, and when exactly has anyone at anytime heard anything about the President hint at cutting Social Security? The articles premise on Social Security cuts is based on “some reports say.” The reduction in payroll taxes (social security payments)was one thing that many economists have been calling for to put money in peoples pockets and stimulate demand. The so-called “helicopter drop.” The rest is conjecture and speculation.
        Of course, we could have the President hold a presser to answer each and every made up scenario that the media and bloggers invent, daily. That would only take about 3 hours a day.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          My concern is the Deficit Commission--whose recommendations were not adopted by Congress but which put the cuts on the table. My concern is that, on SS, it is indeed important enough for the president to address clearly. That is hardly answering each and every made up scenario. There has been plenty of overt talk about cuts to the program and/or an increase in the retirement age among Repubs to merit a response.

          I am not at all opposed to compromise in general, nor to pragmatism. But this for me is an essential line in the sand. The “third rail” as they say.

          I disagree with almost everything I read by the Firebaggers at FDL but I am also not one to ignore possibly valid point of dispute. This argument, against the position taken by my favorite Lawrence O’Donnell, is worrisome to me. And O’Donnell is truly a fierce advocate of SS!
          If even he is receptive to the idea of raising the age, I am worried.

          Social Security is definitely under assault. I don’t think it is at all unreasonable to want a statement (at the least) from my President. I look forward to that, possibly during the State of the Union address.

          http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/08/31/lawrence-odonnell-is-dangerously-wrong-about-social-security/

          http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/128649-fiscal-panel-proposes-drastic-changes-to-social-security

  9. Kalima says:

    I made a copy of my comment to your post here Cher just in case of glitches during maintenance, it just went poof on my computer when I tried to C&P, so sorry.

    I’ll try to recreate it later, but I feel the passion has gone. I do remember the story about “The Grasshopper and the Ant” though, will get back here when the clouds part in my morning. I had something to tell you, darn it!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Please try to recreate it when you get a second wind, Kalima!

      • Kalima says:

        I’ll try to be brief as I think that I speak both from an advantage and disadvantage when I consider your President, his strengths and presumed weaknesses.

        I firmly believe that he has been steadfast in keeping his promises of 08″ unfortunately for some his words of that time about it not being easy, that it would take time, and that he couldn’t do it alone, were lost in the stampede of impatience along the way for many. Even here he has been called pragmatic and I want to know what is wrong with that after 8 years of Bush and co, nothing I believe.

        If all the doubters could meet with the man, spent time listening to what this man’s hopes for America and it’s people is, I think that they would find that he thinks mainly for the future of your country, not about instant fixes or band aid alternatives many people are used to, again, what is wrong with that?

        Cher do you remember the audio/picture link I left in MB quite a few months ago, depicting his journey from childhood to the Senate, to the WH, you said you were enjoying or had enjoyed it then. I found this to clearly define his path in how he has always dealt with any opposition, it defined his essence now and in the past. While the Repubs act like a bunch of agitated caged primates, I think that he is already looking ahead. He made a promise to rebuild and reform the country, brick by painstaking brick, from the bottom up, and some of those who voted for him and wanted the instant fix are disappointed.

        My husband was always someone who thought and still thinks of the future, believes that today takes care of itself, and dwelling in the past too long stops us from progressing. In my 20’s and 30’s this sometimes drove me batty, but you know something, he was right, and although he doesn’t run a country, he heads a successful business while many of our competitors have closed their doors.

        You ask if his style of politics is right for the climate in your country now, I say, “Hell yes it is!” How else is he going to be able to affect any change in Washington, how else can he continue to keep his campaign promises if he becomes like the opposition?

        Look how much he has accomplished without losing his goals, politics are basically about compromise when heads crash together, if people want force they should move to the nearest country under a dictatorship, see how that works out for them.

        So for all of the detractors, many of whom are able to make waves because the actual issues they are complaining about don’t affect them personally, I’d say tough luck, changing something that has been left to rot for decades, can’t be fixed by clicking the red shoes three times, the problems that have been holding America back are as deep as it’s core, and believing the President should have fixed it in 2 years, says more about their expectations than the seemingly “slow” pace they view the President’s agenda, or the bills he has signed so far. I think they forgot about about the brick by brick reference as soon as his victory speech was over, and now find it convenient to blame him rather than themselves.

        This brings me to the story about “The Ant and the Grasshopper” I’m not quite sure if it’s a universal story because I heard it here, but the message could fit into any society, anywhere in the world.

        During the summer the ants are busy collecting food for the winter, they pass a grasshopper playing and singing in the grass, he asks them why they are working so hard in the heat, they tell him that they will need food in the winter to eat, he laughs and hops away.

        Winter comes, the grasshopper finds there is nothing left to eat, he makes his way over to the ants house and asks for food. At first the ants asks him why they should give him any food when he just played while they worked tirelessly through the summer. He looks forlornly at his feet, just as he is turning to leave, the ants invite him in, they are having a party and share their food with him.

        I suppose this story could have many different meanings to many people, to me it means patience,.Doing something slowly, meticulously and often seemly boring to others who watch, while being rewarded in the end if we stick with what we believe in, even if it is unpopular with many, but you believe that in the future the rewards will be worth the wait and hard work.

        Sorry Cher, I’m sure there are things missing, but mine and also AdLib’s comments here, the first two, were casualties of the maintenance yesterday, a case of “butterfingers” it seems, and not AdLib’s. I had copied the comment just in case, and when I tried to C&P it last night, I deleted it instead. :(


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