From Noah's March 4 Slate post titled, "Why Stupak is Wrong":
Stupak is right that anyone who enrolls through the exchange in a health plan that covers abortions must pay a nominal sum (defined on Page 125 of the bill as not less than "$1 per enrollee, per month") into the specially segregated abortion fund. But Stupak is wrong to say this applies to "every enrollee." If an enrollee objects morally to spending one un-government-subsidized dollar to cover abortion, then he or she can simply choose a different health plan offered through the exchange, one that doesn't cover abortions. (Under the Senate bill, every insurance exchange must offer at least one abortion-free health plan.)
One dollar exceeds health insurers' actual cost in providing abortion coverage. In fact, it's entirely symbolic. The law stipulates that in calculating abortions' cost, insurers may consider how much they spend to finance abortions but not how much they save in foregone prenatal care, delivery, or postnatal care. (This is on Pages 2074-2075.) This is to keep insurers from pondering the gruesome reality-one they surely know already-that covering abortions actually saves them money. For health insurers, the true cost of abortion coverage is less than zero, because hospitals and doctors charge less to perform abortions than they do to tend pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth. (Ironically, only the Senate bill-not the House bill-provides some small counterweight to this calculus by increasing aid for adoption assistance.)
What really rankles Stupak (and the bishops) isn't that the Senate bill commits taxpayer dollars to funding abortion. Rather, it's that the Senate bill commits taxpayer dollars to people who buy private insurance policies that happen to cover abortion at nominal cost to the purchaser (even the poorest of the poor can spare $1 a month) and no cost at all to the insurer. Stupak and the bishops don't have a beef with government spending. They have a beef with market economics.
On tonight's Hannity, Fox News contributor and "Word Doctor" Frank Luntz appeared to make a very revealing error during his health care reform focus group segment.
As shown in the clip below, Luntz asked the focus group participants if Democrats "should try to get any health care through and accept 51 votes as being enough," noting that, "it's called reconciliation." At that point, close to half of the group raised their hands, apparently in agreement with this idea. After a brief pause, Luntz altered his question, asking who wanted Democrats to use the "so-called nuclear option." At that point, several people in the focus group lowered their hands. Check out the video:
As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, "nuclear option" has been the preferred term for reconciliation on Fox News (and this is after they redefined what the "nuclear option" meant). And based on the negative reaction that is invoked by using "nuclear option" displayed in that clip, it's clear why.
From the March 3 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
From the March 4 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
From The Fox Nation on February 25:
Since last night, Major Garrett's Fox News colleagues have been pushing the completely baseless allegation that President Obama nominated Scott Matheson for the court of appeals in order to buy the vote of Matheson's brother, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), on health care reform.
Tonight on Special Report, Garrett portrayed the issue as a he-said/she-said controversy rather than the evidence-free smear that it is. Garrett said: "A senior administration official tells Fox, Matheson -- the circuit court, the appellate court nominee -- has been vetted for many months and calls Republican charges of an effort to switch Matheson the lawmaker's vote on health care, quote, 'stupid.' "
What Garrett didn't bother to tell his viewers, however, is that the White House isn't the only source rejecting the "Republican charges." According to Politico, a spokesperson for Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah said the exact same thing:
The [White House] official said that Scott Matheson was nominated with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's support. Indeed, Hatch put out a statement hailing Obama's selection of the Utahan calling Matheson "a bright attorney whose experience has prepared him for judicial service."
And fellow Republican Utah Sen. Bob Bennett also rejected the notion that Obama was using Scott Matheson's nomination as leverage.
"Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson's nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time," spokeswoman Tara DiJulio said.
And with that, it appears Utah's two Republican senators cut the legs out from under the shady-deal meme Republicans like Bachmann were hoping to build.
From a March 4 Politico article:
The Cato Institute's health care expert, Michael Cannon, shocked the Twitterverse when he took to the social networking site Thursday to comment on the Senate's possible use of reconciliation to pass health care reform.
"The part's on order, the check's in the mail, I won't *** in your mouth, and we'll fix it in reconciliation," Cannon wrote.
Cannon's personal tweet -- which also landed on the institute's Twitter feed -- was picked up by Media Matters and has since been taken down, but the damage is done.
Ed Crane, president and founder of Cato, told POLITICO through a spokeswoman: "We are very disappointed by this embarrassing display of immaturity on Michael Cannon's part."
When asked if Cannon had been reprimanded, the spokeswoman said she wasn't at liberty to say.
An e-mail was sent to staff Thursday afternoon, stating: Twitter and Facebook are "great tools to reach both the media and the public directly, but something to keep in mind: If you identify yourself with your Cato title or link to your research on Cato's site, anything you post on those platforms does reflect on Cato and many of the people who read your posts will assume you are speaking in your capacity as a Cato staffer. As such, if you choose to use your Cato affiliation on any of your social networking sites, you must keep your posts professional. Rule of thumb: If you don't know how to justify your post to Ed, don't post it."
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his March 4 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
*Allergan, Inc was previously erroneously identified as a parent company of Hydroxatone, LLC. Media Matters regrets the error.
The Washington Independent's David Weigel has obtained a letter soliciting cash for Hannah Giles' legal defense fund and one thing is abundantly clear... James O'Keefe's undercover ACORN video partner loves to annotate her pleas for help with plenty of pink pen -- stars, underlines, double underlines, circles, double parenthesis, arrows... you name it! Other than that, the missive is exactly what you'd expect - chock-a-block full of attacks on ACORN and President Obama.
Here's a fundraising letter sent by the Liberty Legal Institute's Hannah Giles Legal Defense Fund to offset legal costs incurred by Giles - the star of last year's ACORN sting - as a result of a lawsuit filed against her by ACORN and some of its former employees. The mailing was produced by Base Connect, a firm that does work for Republican campaigns.
Here's the first page. Be sure to check out the entire letter.
In a March 4 New York Times article, Charlie Savage reported that former Bush administration official Peter D. Keisler, "who led the Bush administration's courtroom defense against lawsuits filed by Guantanamo detainees is denouncing attacks on Obama administration appointees who previously helped such prisoners challenge their indefinite detention without trial." From the article:
Peter D. Keisler, who was assistant attorney general for the civil division in the Bush administration, said in an interview that it was "wrong" to attack lawyers who volunteered to help such lawsuits before joining the Justice Department.
"There is a longstanding and very honorable tradition of lawyers representing unpopular or controversial clients," Mr. Keisler said. "The fact that someone has acted within that tradition, as many lawyers, civilian and military, have done with respect to people who are accused of terrorism - that should never be a basis for suggesting that they are unfit in any way to serve in the Department of Justice."
Mr. Keisler spoke out one day after the Justice Department confirmed a Fox News report naming nine political appointees who had worked on detainee litigation before to joining the government. The department had declined to identify seven of those officials in response to a request by congressional Republicans.
In recent days, conservative media figures have attacked President Obama and the DOJ for employing lawyers who previously represented terror suspects or supported their legal arguments in their private practices. However, the Bush DOJ also hired lawyers who represented terror suspects.