The Progressive Change Campaign Committee's Adam Green, National Journal's Michael Hirsh and our own managing editor at Crooks and Liars, Tina Dupuy in this Wednesday's The Young Turks power panel. Their topics... are progressives better off with Ben Nelson retiring from the Senate? And has President Obama moved so far to the right that he should be considered a Republican?
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- Adam Green
- Barack Obama
- Blanche Lincoln
- Bob Schieffer
- Cenk Uygur
- Current TV
- Deepwater Horizon
- Dylan Ratigan
- Ed Schultz
- Face the Nation
- Fox News
- Greta Van Susteren
- Gulf of Mexico
- Gulf oil spill
- Harry Reid
- Health Insurance Companies
- Herman Cain
- Jay Rockefeller
- Joe Biden
- Joe Lieberman
- Jon Bruning
- Jon Tester
- Kay Bailey Hutchison
- Last Word
- Lawrence O'Donnell
- Leo Gerard
- Lindsey Graham
- Mark Pryor
- Mary Landrieu
- Matthew Simmons
- Michael Hirsh
- Rachel Maddow
- Sam Brownback
- Senator Al Franken
- The Young Turks
- Thomas Jefferson
- Tina Dupuy
- Tom Coburn
- abortion rights
- health care bill
- health care reform
- jobs bill
- oil industry
- police officers
- public option
- senate health care debate
- taxes on millionaires
- welfare recipients
- women's issues
- women's rights
So much for caring more about keeping teachers, firefighters and police officers working. The Republicans in the Senate with some help from the usual suspects when it comes to blocking anything that might help everyday Americans -- Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) -- blocked the passage of a portion of President Obama's jobs bill this Thursday night.
Lawrence O'Donnell showed us some of Vice President Joe Biden's speech from the day before, urging members of the Senate to support the bill -- Supporting middleclass over millionaires:
Vice President Joe Biden eloquently offers Republicans a simple choice: support your local sheriffs or support your local millionaires. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains in the Rewrite.
Here's more from The Hill on the vote -- Senate deals second defeat to Obama's 'jobs' plan:
For the second time in two weeks, Senate Republicans voted in a unison to block “jobs” legislation, which the Obama administration and Senate Democratic leaders have made central to their agenda.
The measure, a piece of President Obama’s larger jobs package, failed by a tally of 50 to 50 after several Democrats joined with Republicans to the Senate from moving to the measure.
Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.
As with last week’s vote, Democrats failed to woo a single Republican vote. The staunchly unified GOP opposition calls into question whether the Democratic strategy has been able to exert the intended pressure on centrist Republicans. [...]
The $35 billion Democratic measure was designed to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters in cash-strapped states. Most of the funding, $30 billion, would have gone to saving teaching jobs and the rest to first responders.
The most controversial element of the bill was a plan to pay for it by raising taxes on income over $1 million by 0.5 percent. Republicans argued that it would put more pressure on small businesses that are already having difficulty maintaining cash flow because of the tight credit market.
Republicans said the latest Democratic jobs measure is a replay of the $787 billion stimulus Congress passed at the beginning of 2009, which they argue had little impact.Senate Democrats say they will bring additional pieces of the president’s jobs bill to the floor. One measure will likely include infrastructure spending; another would extend the payroll tax holiday and extend it to employers; a third would extend unemployment insurance.
Democrats expect to propose the same pay-for — raising taxes on income over $1 million — for each.
And here's more from Greg Sargent on what the blocking of this bill means for the people that these Senators are supposed to be representing, the topic of which, sadly, we now have the answer to -- Will Senators do the right thing on jobs, or will they shaft thousands of their own constituents?:
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow wasn't surprised Tuesday to find out that "sort-of Democratic" Sen. Ben Nelson had been seen cheering then-Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain during his 1991 parody of John Lennon's "Imagine."
Talking Points Memo spotted then-Nebraska Gov. Nelson in the video after it surfaced Monday.
"Do you see who that is?" Maddow asked. "Politics geeks of the world, do you see who that is standing and enthusiastically cheering on Herman Cain? That is Ben Nelson, now a sort-of Democratic senator from the great state of Nebraska, but at the time of this video in 1991 he was the sort-of Democratic governor of the great state of Nebraska."
While the cheering of Cain was telling, it was Nelson's intention to vote against President Barack Obama's jobs bill that really illustrated why he was deserving of the "Conservadem" label, according to the MSNBC host.
"Conservadems like Jon Tester and Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman are siding with the Republican senators, who are siding with no voters -- not even their own!" Maddow exclaimed, noting a recent CNN poll that found that 63 percent of Republicans favored saving the jobs of teachers and first responders.
"Conservadem senators like these guys always try to get ahead by trashing their own party. That is what makes them Conservadems in most cases."
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, a frontrunner to win the GOP nomination against Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), compared poor people to scavenging racoons in a speech this week. [...]
The incident recalls similar language from South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R), who apologized in January 2010 for saying in a speech on America's "culture of dependency" that he learned "as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed."
Pretty astounding from someone, as one of the commenters at TPM pointed out, who comes from a state where over 70% of their farmers received subsidies in 2009. Somehow I doubt Jon Bruning has ever compared any of them to racoons though.
Some choices for Nebraska voters. This guy or ConservaDem Ben Nelson.
Full transcript of his not so subtle racist remarks below the fold.
This is really horrifying news. If oil industry expert Matthew Simmons that appeared on the Dylan Ratigan show and Sen. Ben Nelson's worst case scenarios turn out to be true the situation in the Gulf truly looks dire. Simmons said that they have grossly underestimated the size of the disaster and that it appears to be the result of the biggest blowout in the world and that most of the oil is not coming from the leak the BP cameras are showing, but instead "an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser".
(Rough transcript which I'll gladly add to or amend if someone else can understand what he was saying with that terrible web cam.)
Simmons: When this blew out there had to be resevoir pressures of 40-50,000 pounds per square inch other wise the fire wouldn't have been so intense and what would have come out first is the blowout preventer would have popped out of the water more like a cork. And then what would come out second is the casing. That is what used to kill people on land based blowouts, the casing would come right up to the mouth of the (inaudible) and fall on people. And so we have an open hole that's spewing I would guess somewhere between 100-150,000 barrels a day of oil which is why you now have over a hundred mile oil lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's apparently 4-500 feet deep.
Now one of the most important things that went on this week is the Thomas Jefferson, the United States biggest research vessel is now on location, it was actually in the general arena... area doing ocean bottom profiling and NOAA four days ago put if off and sent it over. They're going to basically find where these plumes are and why there's this oil lake.
I would think by the end of the week we will discover that we have an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser. I bet where (inaudible) of the drilling riser is still connected to the (inaudible) of it and so they've done everything wrong.
Ratigan: So you say they've done everything wrong, what do you mean specifically when you say that?
Simmons: Well they basically are trying to patch a little leak in the drilling riser. You've got to remember that what we're seeing on television, the drilling riser is 22.5" in circumferance. Most of it is a elastomers to make it bouyant. In the middle is a 7" column with the annulus where the drill bit goes down, so coming out of that is a little plume of gas. It's not oil and it's only about four feet high.
That could not by any way have actually covered 40% of the Gulf of Mexico, so what we're going to find when the Thomas Jefferson finishes its work is we have an open hole with no casing in it and the only way we'll shut it off is either let it complete which might take 30 years which could maybe not only poison the Gulf of Mexico but maybe the Atlantic Ocean or to put a nuclear device down the hole like the Russians did in the 70's and actually encase it by turning the turning the rock into (inaudible).
Ratigan: If you accept the inevitability of this oil flow, best case scenario for months, worst case scenario for years is there anything that we could be doing right now or should be doing right now from a containment perspective that we're not doing whether it's not just booms but booms with a curtain that goes to the bottom of the sea, tankers, again it's obviously beyond my pay grade, but is there something we should be doing that we're not doing?
Simmons: The booms don't work because the oil's coming from the bottom of the ocean. They slip right under the boom. It's not on the surface. One thing they should be doing is every time we unload a tanker at the Louisiana offshore loading port which has all this supertanker offshore loading, they should go right over to the oil lake and start sucking up this black crude at the bottom and putting it on the tanker and get it out of the Gulf wet shorelands because when the hurricanes arrive the hurricane actually blows this oil on shore it will basically paint the Gulf shore black and it will shut down the refineries, the power plants and it will be America's worst catastrophe and nightmare.
It appears Sen. Ben Nelson agrees with Matthew Simmons on the failure of the casing. From bmaz at FDL, BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson:
Harry Reid defends the deal made with Sen. Ben Nelson for the so called "Cornhusker Kickback" that the media and especially Fox has been happy to pile on about as proof of the entire process of negotiating the health care bill has being nothing but dirty back room deals and Democratic corruption. During this interview Greta Van Susteren hammers Reid about why the deal wasn't offered to all of the states right off the bat.
Harry Reid shoots back at her for Fox loving to "berate anything that is Democratic in nature" and he's right, especially in this instance. Dave Dayden at FDL wrote this post back in January about what's been wrong with the media narrative on the Nelson deal:
Karen Tumulty picks up on a general awareness out in Massachusetts of Ben Nelson’s Nebraska Medicaid deal, which was used as a symbol for the tainted process of the health care reform debate. [...]
Based on my own conversations, that seems accurate, and also completely insane. Ben Nelson’s Medicaid deal is about the least offensive thing he’s ever done in the United States Senate. He got poor people in his state a good deal for health care, and ensured that enough state governors would vocalize their frustrations about it that this Medicaid expansion would essentially be federalized, which is really good policy. No liberal validators tried to contextualize that element of the deal. [...]
The reason that conservatives seized on the Nelson deal was because it applied to a narrow sliver of easily demonized poor people in a red state. A lot of powerful people in right-wing media saw the opportunity to use the kickback to define the legislation as giving benefits to “other” people. It turns out that the bill pays for the “other,” with the other defined as pharmaceutical company profits, for example, in a multitude of different ways, but only the Nebraska deal fits with a right-wing critique of government as helping the hated poor who should be able to help themselves. That’s why it lodged in the minds of conservatives who heard about it endlessly on Fox News and AM talk radio.
As Dave also wrote before anyone knew how the negotiations were going to go back in January, Ben Nelson’s Medicaid Deal About To Get Much Better Or Much Worse:
It’s clear that the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback,” Ben Nelson’s deal to have the federal government pick up the cost for the expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, will not survive to the final bill. What form the kickback will eventually take is not clear, and according to Live Pulse, Nelson is in negotiations to move it in one of two directions, which are truly diametrically opposed from one another. [...]
Expanding the deal to all states would essentially federalize the Medicaid program at a certain income level. To maintain quality across the nation and streamline the program, it should ALL be federalized, but this would be a step in the right direction. [...]
Incidentally, I want to reiterate what I said yesterday about this deal, and how telling it is that it’s practically the only piece of pork that Republicans have decided to criticize. [...]
More than “telling,” it’s actually expected – anything that helps poor people is “outrageous spending,” while the run-of-the-mill corruption and huge public subsidies from corporate welfare are hardly ever criticized. It’s stunning not only that Republicans are getting away with this, but that liberals are actively helping them.
As Dave noted in both posts, there are plenty of other things to be upset about with the way this bill was negotiated and who it benefits. Why the Democrats didn't do a better job on this Nelson deal and their messaging is beyond me. Harry Reid attempts to do that here but it's a bit late now. The damage is done and even though the Nelson deal went the right way and ended up being applied to all states, the media is going to use this nonsense as an example of Democratic corruption. One which harms poor people if the Republicans would attempt to roll it back later. Reid at least is standing by the decision and explaining it now. He needs to be doing this somewhere besides ClusterFox. Their viewers are going to hear nothing but "Cornhusker Kickback" being used as a talking point for the next year or two with no context ever given to it.
Transcript below the fold via Nexis Lexis.
Let the abortion fear mongering from the GOP begin on the Nelson compromise. From The Hill -- Coburn: Nelson agreement with leaders 'threw unborn babies under the bus':
A number of Republican senators attacked an agreement reached between Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Senate Democratic leaders Saturday, saying it would lead to the eventual reversal of more than 30 years of federal law banning abortion funding.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oka.) said it is “absolutely fictitious” that there is an anti-abortion provision in the Senate Democrats’ reworked healthcare reform bill.
“The negotiations, whoever did them, threw unborn babies under the bus,” Coburn said.
“The abortion language in this bill funds abortion for the first time since 1977,” said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). “We are told this is a pro-life bill. It is not.”
The agreement reached between Nelson and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will give states the choice to ban abortion coverage or not in the insurance exchanges the legislation creates. The deal will also separate premiums from insurance plans that pay for abortion from federal money.
Ed Schultz talks to United Steel Workers President about the mood of union leaders right now after Joe Lieberman torpedoed the health care bill. Gerard points out that it's not just Joe Lieberman but also what he calls the "insurance company Democrats", Nelson, Lincoln and Landrieu. Schultz asked if the unions would work against them.
Gerard: I can tell you this, point blank. If we don't get a meaningful health care bill that reduces costs and has everybody in and doesn't have an excise tax, has a pay or play for employers, has a public option or Medicare buy-in, we're not going to campaign for any Democrat that voted against this bill and we're going to go out and try and defeat them.
I agree with Gerard on that move. I think he gave the President way too big of a pass here.
Sen. Joe Lieberman isn't backing down from his demand that health care reform not include a public option but now he has a few more requirements.
"You have to take out the Medicare buy-in. You have to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the class act which was a whole new entitlement program that will in future years put us further into the deficit," Lieberman told CBS' Bob Schieffer Sunday.
"I want to tell you, we could pass a health care reform bill this week with more than 60 votes and it would be bipartisan if we just took a few things out of the bill as it is today," said Lieberman.
December 07, 2009 C-SPAN
Sen. Al Franken speaks out in opposition to the Nelson Amendment on the Senate floor.