HomeUncategorized9/15 The Ides of September Are Upon Us, and GOP Loses Recall in CA. Open Thread
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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Tuesday said Senate Democrats were considering $1,000 vouchers for seniors to access expanded Medicare benefits that could form a major part of a $3.5 trillion social spending plan they want to pass this month. He said it would serve as a brief stop-gap measure while the programs are implemented.

“In terms of the voucher, what we want to do is make sure that people understand the significance,” the Vermont independent told Insider. “So as a bridge, I think what we’re looking at is here’s $1,000 right away, use that to go to a dentist if you cannot afford to go. That’s very temporary, but maybe a bridge for a year.”

Senate Democrats are seeking to expand Medicare so it covers dental, vision, and hearing benefits in their party-line social spending package. Widening the reach of the federal health insurance program is a top priority for Sanders as chair of the Senate Budget Committee and it has backing from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

House Democrats introduced legislation for Medicare to gradually initiate vision coverage next year, hearing in 2023, with dental covered in 2028. But Sanders has said he favors a faster timeline for dental coverage.

The measure emphasizes the challenges that Democrats face as they attempt to provide tangible benefits to Americans in a social spending package that’s still taking shape – for seniors in particular ahead of next year’s midterms. Americans over age 65 generally vote at higher rates, making seniors a key voting bloc during presidential elections and more so in midterm races.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider he’d been discussing the idea with Sanders. “I’m talking with Senator Sanders about the best way to get this up and running efficiently as quickly as possible,” he said.

The Oregon Democrat drew a parallel with the Affordable Care Act a decade ago – President Barack Obama’s signature health law – saying the four-year “delay” setting it up after it was made law contributed to an “understandable skepticism people have about government.”

Other Senate Democrats also want to implement the programs sooner rather than later. “I think we should try to get it stood up as fast as we could,” Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told Insider. “I’m not saying we could do it in a matter of months, but I think you can do it a lot faster than a couple of years.”

But experts say it could take years for Medicare to design and implement new programs. Medicare was last expanded in 2003 under President George W. Bush to cover prescription drugs, and it started providing coverage three years later.

For dentists, who largely don’t form part of federal health programs, the process would include setting reimbursement rates and signing up enough dental providers to cover tens of millions of Americans. Tricia Neuman, executive director of Medicare policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently told Insider it could take years for the federal government to “successfully” implement a new dental benefit.


dentist lobby win. gimme tbe money babe

Paul ADK

Um, I’d say seniors win, too, if this thing passes. Try living on what most people get from Social Security. Which, incidentally, is supposed to be a living wage? LOL maybe once, before GOP indexed COLA effectively gutted those benefits. As is? Those expenses, without insurance, are calamatous.

Paul ADK

It’s well past time for another Let Them Eat Cake cat food commission.


David Sirota


The Supreme Court Justices Really Are “A Bunch of Partisan Hacks”

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and the Supreme Court is a dispassionate nonpartisan branch of government free of bias — this is the Orwellian fable that Justice Amy Coney Barrett is now asking Americans to believe.

And Barrett is asking us to believe it not merely after the court’s wildly partisan ruling on abortion rights, but also just months after she promoted climate denialism to a national audience, and refused to recuse herself as she helped secure a legal victory for the fossil fuel giant that employed her father for decades.

This is a tale not just of cartoonish hypocrisy but also of deception — a frantic attempt to try to prevent more of the country from realizing the court is a corporate star chamber that has become one of the most powerful partisan weapons in American politics.

First, the blatant hypocrisy: In an event that seems torn out of the pages of the Onion, Barrett this weekend appeared with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at an event to celebrate a University of Louisville facility he named after himself. After being introduced by the most partisan Senate leader in American history, Barrett declared that the Supreme Court — which now includes three people who worked directly on the Republican campaign to pilfer the 2000 election — “is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

If that wasn’t absurd enough, Barrett then declared that judges must be “hyper vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too.”

That demand for ethical vigilance came less than four months after Barrett discarded her own past recusal list and opted to participate in the adjudication of a major climate case against Shell Oil — the fossil fuel giant that employed her father for nearly three decades. Barrett declined to recuse herself even though an amicus brief was filed in the case by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying group that her father helped steer — and even though one prominent supporter of the case said her father could be subpoenaed for a deposition because of his “direct knowledge of and operational involvement in how Shell managed climate threats.”

But no recusal came — and with Barrett’s help, the Supreme Court sided with Shell and other fossil fuel giants, delivering a big procedural win for the oil and gas industry.

Barrett’s participation in that case followed her Senate confirmation hearing, in which she refused to acknowledge the undisputed science of climate change (and in which flaccid Democrats decided not to bother to push her on recusal). She cast her position as an attempt to avoid being opinionated about the matter, but of course refusing to stipulate basic scientific fact is the opposite of dispassionate. It is an ideological and partisan expression of Republican orthodoxy wholly disconnected from empirical data.

And in case you thought Barrett’s zealotry, hypocrisy, and conflicts of interest are only germane to one isolated case, remember that in the coming years, the fossil fuel industry will be asking the high court to shield it from legal consequences for its climate crimes.


So, she’s crooked on top of being a dimwitted FRightie GOPuke. Where’s the surprise?



Most political analysts describe Manchin as a folksy guy, who lives and entertains guests on a houseboat named “Almost Heaven,” (as in John Denver’s ode to his home state, “Country Roads”), just trying to represent conservative, working-class voters in a red state. In an otherwise excellent profile, The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos claimed that “Manchin’s power is forcing Democrats to expand their focus on systemic inequities to encompass places like West Virginia, where substandard schools, high poverty, and distrust of government helped fuel radical conservatism.”

Except there’s plenty in the reconciliation bill that would help West Virginia, in particular, which ranks first in the nation in opioid addiction, second in poverty, 45th in education funding and 50th in infrastructure. And while most Democrats steer away from directly criticizing Manchin because of his pivotal role in an evenly divided Senate, that’s beginning to change. Lately some are suggesting openly that the coal magnate’s fealty is to his corporate donors, not the residents of West Virginia. And Manchin doesn’t like that one bit.

Last week Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez went off on him. ​​”Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called “bipartisan” fossil fuel bills,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It’s killing people. Our people. At least 12 last night. Sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.” (She was writing after the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed New York, shutting down the subway system, flooding highways, and drowning New Yorkers in basement apartments.)

And her Exxon reference was to this July report in HuffPost, that Exxon’s senior director of federal relations, Keith McCoy, had been caught on tape boasting, “Joe Manchin—I talk to his office every week. He is the kingmaker, and he’s not shy about staking his claim early and completely changing the debate,” McCoy said. Exxon’s put $12,500 into Manchin’s coffers since the 2012 election cycle. (Also in July, the West Virginia senator attended a Houston fundraiser in his honor sponsored by major Texas oil and gas industry leaders, some of them Republicans.)

Manchin howled when CNN’s Dana Bash asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism Sunday. “I keep my door open for everybody. That’s totally false,” Manchin told Bash. “Those types of superlatives, it’s just awful. Continue to divide and divide and divide.”

He went on: “I don’t know that young lady that well. I really don’t. I have met her one time, I think, between sets here. But that’s it. So we have not had any conversations. She’s just speculating and saying things because she wants to.”

I remember the old expression: A hit dog will holler. And will also condescend to a popular two-term Congress member as “young lady.” But last week Progressive Caucus vice chair Representative Katie Porter also questioned whether Manchin is more “concerned about his corporate donors” than American families on MSNBC. Look for more of this in the days to come.

Manchin also revealed what The Washington Post’s James Downie called his “selfishness” in his Sunday show preening. Asked on ABC why his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill was crucial, and the reconciliation package is not, he answered:

“If you don’t need bridges fixed or roads fixed in your state, I do in West Virginia,” he said. “I need Internet in West Virginia. I got water and sewage problems. I have got all the problems that we have addressed in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.” True enough, but so much “I-I-I?” Aye-yi-yi. But that’s Joe Manchin. “I don’t give a shit, you understand?” he told The Charleston Gazette-Mail in 2017, about Democrats’ concerns with his bipartisanship. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that? If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for shit that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”

Downie also pointed, correctly, to the coal empire that made Manchin rich, though his holdings are now in a blind trust. Type Investigations and The Intercept reported that in the 1980s he founded “a series of coal companies” now run by his son, and that he’s grossed $4.5 million from those firms since he joined the Senate in 2010. “Over the decades,” The Intercept concluded, “whether feeding tens of thousands of tons of dirty waste coal into the power plants in northern West Virginia or subjecting workers to unsafe conditions, Manchin’s family coal business has almost entirely avoided public scrutiny.”

In his most recent Senate disclosures, Manchin reported a net worth of between $4 million and $13 million dollars. According to Open Secrets, his Senate career has been powered by lawyers, the financial industry, mining interests, and Big Pharma. All of that is much more important to understand when assessing Manchin’s motives than his fealty to his red-state voters—and it deserves much more attention.

So what’s the endgame here? As my colleague John Nichols reports, Senate Budget Committee chair Bernie Sanders quickly slapped back at Manchin’s proposal to slash the reconciliation bill. “That $3.5 trillion [figure] is already the result of a major, major compromise, and at the very least this bill should contain $3.5 trillion,” Sanders said. But on ABC Sunday, Sanders left room for compromise with Manchin. “We worked together [on the American Rescue Plan], and I think we’re going to do it again,” he said. In that skirmish, you’ll recall, Manchin made loud noises about opposing the bill, but ultimately demanded modest reductions in unemployment benefits, then voted for the $1.9 trillion plan fairly intact.

Can we expect a similar outcome? That Manchin poses as a foe of big spending, for his home-state voters and his donors, but then accepts minor concessions and votes with the Democrats? I’m impressed with Sanders’s dealmaking, but I think the two sides are too far apart this time. For one thing, Manchin’s problems aren’t merely with the bill’s essential climate provisions but also with its corporate tax hikes, which he’d like to see set at lower rates. Lower rates are both politically problematic—voters support the bill’s higher rates for corporate and capital gains taxes—and fiscally: They’ll result in less revenue, which means greater debt—which Manchin is already complaining about. And when on Tuesday Sanders reiterated that the bill would remain at $3.5 trillion, Manchin replied, “God bless him is all I can say.” But maybe that’s how he negotiates.

All I know is that the win he needs most, right now, is that bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will deliver so much that he says West Virginia needs, plus let him boast back home that he’s still a guy who works with the GOP. I think progressives in the House and Senate will have to genuinely pull back their support for that bill, until he understands that he doesn’t call all the shots.

Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer all said from the beginning that votes on the bipartisan bill and the broader reconciliation package would proceed in tandem. But Manchin still thinks it’s possible to pass one and “pause” the other (to October? To October 2023? He doesn’t say). Progressives genuinely hate to block any socially worthwhile bill, and the bipartisan bill does a lot of good things. Still, its utter indifference to climate impacts, its favoring roads and bridges over transit and electric vehicles, is a genuine deal-breaker for a younger generation of progressives who’ve run and won on taking the climate crisis seriously (and who don’t have coal fortunes).

I think this conflict could fracture the fragile Democratic coalition in Congress. I lose sleep over that. I’m a fan of compromise. (Complicating matters further: On Tuesday, Democrats unveiled a compromise voting rights bill spearheaded by Manchin, which will almost certainly only pass if Democrats create a voting rights “carve-out” to block a filibuster—which Manchin insists he won’t support.) If Manchin insists on slashing or scuttling the reconciliation bill, as well as his own voting rights bill when it doesn’t get 10 Republican votes, it will ensure that Republicans take the House and the Senate in 2022. The GOP will see weakness, and the Democratic coalition voters will see it too.

I’m a broken record on this: Democrats have to deliver for their voters, or else their voters won’t turn out next time. If this deal falls apart, and nothing is delivered, it’s on Manchin. He’ll go down in history not as Folksy St. Joe but as the man who restored the Trump Republican Party (if not Trump himself) to power, which would imperil not just social progress but democracy itself.


David Dayen


THIS HOBSON’S CHOICE, figuring out whether to live with less on every policy in the Build Back Better Act, or to jettison some and make sure the policies remaining actually work and are politically potent, is agonizing for advocates and members of Congress. In a better world, this choice wouldn’t exist; the policies reflect critical human needs, and deciding to punt on them yet again should be unacceptable. But the axis of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has decided that they must have a cap on both spending and revenues, which is forcing these difficult conversations.

Adding to the frustration is the sheer number of policies in the legislation. When you put all your priorities as a party into one bill, you draw in every member who’s been fighting for one part or another for years. But when the overall toplines get cut, nobody wants to take out their pet project. The only other option is to cut everything across the board, which can lead to a slew of ineffective half measures.

We’re seeing this play out in several ways. Some programs, like HCBS, are just being cut. Others, like the dental benefit in Medicare, are being delayed for several years. This makes it look cheaper within the ten-year budget window.

In a better world, this choice wouldn’t exist; the policies reflect critical human needs, and deciding to punt on them yet again should be unacceptable.

But that exacts a political cost. “Our investments need to be, number one, transformative, and number two, felt immediately,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “People need to see that giving us the House, Senate, and White House matters, literally feel it in their bones that their lives and livelihoods are transformed.”

And so Democrats can either settle for these chinks in their programs, making them in some cases not work for a lot of people, or they can decide to do a few things well. It’s a tough choice to make.

“We don’t want half measures, we want stuff that’s effective and works,” said Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) on a press call on Monday. “The Congress that’s elected in 2026 will decide what happens in 2027 and 2028. The way we affect them is by creating programs that working families say are right.”

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) agreed with Levin on the call. “It’s better that we do programs well than do half measures that turn out not to materially improve the lives of most people and do not engender the broad support of programs like Social Security and Medicare.”

Even moderates like Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), who chairs the New Democrat Coalition, have stressed the importance of doing “a few things really well,” singling out the CTC. But this theory slams headlong into the realities of pitting programs against one another, and nobody wanting their top priority to be put on the wait list.

One of the reasons this becomes so hard is that the needs are so acute. “All of these pieces are decades-long problems that the federal government hasn’t taken a look at,” Jorwic said.

There is a possible safety valve. As the Prospect’s Bob Kuttner reported this week, a potential deal is emerging that would allow Manchin to scale down direct spending in the reconciliation bill, while including up to $1.5 trillion in “middle-class tax cuts.” Some of these, like the CTC and other low-earner taxes, were already in there. But you could fashion child care subsidies as a tax cut, or do it for Section 8 housing vouchers, or even create a tax cut for union membership. In short, do the spending through the tax code. That would potentially allow something like $3.5 trillion in total outlays to meet Manchin’s approval.

But even if you did that, not everything can be translated into a tax cut, and there will still be some hard choices. The question is whether Democrats and their allies are willing to make them, or whether half measures, which nobody seems to want, will rule the day.


What’s with Levin? We’ve got elections next year, 2022. That Congress will affect what goes down in 2023 and 2024. Dude needs to look at a calendar!


Check out the entire article


Like many left-wing candidates, she cited Senator Bernie Sanders as an inspiration. “The first time I ever did petitioning was for Bernie,” she recalled. “It was different for me to hear a person who was an elected official say you that shouldn’t be working 40 hours a week and still getting food stamps.” Growing up in Buffalo, she had always been told, “The harder you work, the better you do.” But that wasn’t her experience. More than anything, joining a union had helped lift her out of poverty. If socialism meant better conditions for working people, she was all for it.

Yet she knows she’ll have to work with people who don’t share her views. It’s not differences of opinion that offend her, she said, but the refusal to put people first when it’s your job to help them. And that, as Walton sees it, is the primary responsibility of any public official. “That is the beauty of a democracy,” she said. “We don’t have to agree on everything. But what we do agree on is that we should work together for what’s best for the people.”

A pragmatist and a hard worker, Walton is driven by the belief that people can overcome their differences to serve the greater good. She’s seen firsthand how people can come together to meet a need, especially when the stakes are high. “I’m a union girl, and I worked in a neonatal intensive care unit where I was one of five Black nurses in a unit with 150 white nurses who were mostly middle-aged, suburban white women who didn’t often care for my political views.”

Yet, when it was time to save a life, “none of that mattered”—she and her coworkers “worked lock and step” and “saved countless babies.” She sees politics in similar terms. “Buffalo is on life support right now,” she told me. “We all want our communities to be less poor,” she said, referring to Democratic elected officials. “We all want to be housed. We all want people to be healthy… there are just slight nuances in values that we are getting hung up on. And I am hopeful that I can be a bridge that helps us get over it and make significant sustainable change.” At the end of the day, she added, “I have a responsibility to work as best as I can with people to make sure that I get the resources that my community needs to thrive.”


She’s a very inspiring candidate, and I enjoy reading about her.

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Me too


Broward’s unvaccinated employees to lose $20 per paycheck. Vaccinated will get $500, mayor says.
This is from Orls neck of the woods.

Companies are setting precident for employees to get vaxed. First it was extra cash, now this $500 plus or minus in pay. Some airlines are laying off people who dont get vaxed or charging them more for insurance coverage. So how much longer until the craprate insurance get involved and say they wont cover non vaxed covid paitents Those in ICU who have coverage have to be eating into thier profit margins. ICU isnt cheap. Those with out coverage the taxpayer will ultimatly get the bill. How long will it take the insurance companies to lobby to increase preimums for the non vaxed? If they get their way with that how long before they approach their congresscritters to approve surcharges for smokers, drinkers, diabetics ETC. This could get real nasty for the consumer but possibly lead to M4A. The craprate insurance
corps better be careful how they tread forward


Broward County is southeast FL. My neck of the sandbar peninsula is east central FL. 😊 I haven’t heard the bribe deal up here, but the Covid problem is bad as it is overloading the hospitals. What about all the urgent medical cases which aren’t Covid? 🙄 No telling how many deaths have occurred cos of that situation.


T and R, Ms. Benny!! ☮️🐋😊👍




Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) keeps straining to find reasonable-sounding justifications for why he wants to cut back on the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. He has said it’s too large. He has said it could increase inflation. He has said fixing our nation’s broken-down physical infrastructure should take precedence.

But Manchin’s greatest howler came on Sunday, when Dana Bash of CNN specifically asked whether he supported making the expanded child tax credit permanent. “Let’s make sure,” he said, “we’re getting it to the right people. … There’s no work requirements whatsoever. There’s no education requirements. … Don’t you think if we’re going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?”

It’s a dangerous myth, this idea that government help causes some people to just loaf off. It’s also untrue. Reminder: Before the pandemic, most working-age people receiving benefits like food stamps worked. They just didn’t earn enough money.

The belief that people receiving aid from the government do not — but should — work both plays to and encourages stereotypes that people living in poverty are lazy, irresponsible and looking to get something for nothing. It serves to rationalize letting those in need go without, their economic failures viewed as a failure of morals.

Yet the temporary child tax credit signed into law this year by President Biden demonstrates the opposite. It is an extraordinary success. Almost 90 percent of families with children under age 18 are eligible to receive a monthly check from the federal government through the end of the year. Census Bureau data reveals that within a month of the first checks going out in July, the number of families with children reporting they’d gone hungry within the past month fell significantly. Households also appeared to spend the extra money on things most of us would consider rather important, not to mention virtuous, like buying school supplies and paying down debt.

Many other developed nations offer almost all residents a child allowance of some sort. And the evidence, here and abroad, shows that such an allowance can increase paid work by recipients. An expansion of the child allowance in Canada raised the employment rate of single mothers. An unpublished paper by the economist Wei Zheng, highlighted late last year by the Niskanen Center, found the same was true for the more limited earned income tax credit in the United States. In fact, most people receiving the current child tax credit are employed; the Treasury Department estimates that over 97 percent of recipients are working families.

If anything, an argument can be made that the children of the irresponsible deserve more support from us, not less. Children can’t push their parents to get with the work-and-education program. As a result, you’re not “helping” children if you insist on financially punishing their parents for not making an “effort.” You are, instead, punishing children for the sins of their caretakers.

Money makes a difference. Studies of the earned income tax credit reveal it results in improvements in infant health. Schoolwork and grades improve. Children in households receiving the benefit are more likely to attend college. All of this, in turn, helps make the United States a wealthier, more prosperous country.

The next time Manchin is tempted to repeat stale and discredited talking points, he might want to remember that human infrastructure matters too.


More from David Dayen


The latest intraparty skirmish over President Biden’s agenda was set in motion shortly after the 2020 elections. As committee assignments for the next Congress were being doled out, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made a bid to join the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a key panel for health care and climate issues. Eliot Engel, a longtime Energy and Commerce member, had lost his primary to Jamaal Bowman, and his seat on that committee was going to be filled by another New Yorker.

But although AOC had the blessing of Rep. Jerry Nadler, the dean of the New York delegation, she lost out to Rep. Kathleen Rice, a centrist who represents parts of Long Island. This was a power move by establishment Democrats on the Steering Committee, which hands out committee assignments, and was seen at the time as punishment for AOC’s willingness to help with left-wing primaries of sitting members.

Flash forward to this week, where Rice joined with two other centrists to temporarily block an enormously popular drug pricing reform measure from advancing through the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Democratic-Republican split on the committee is 32-26. The objections of Reps. Rice, Scott Peters (D-CA), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) to the drug price reform deadlock the vote. If AOC were on the committee instead of Rice, that measure would have passed.

The standoff does not mean that drug price reform is finished. The Budget Committee can always fit it back in with a “manager’s amendment,” and because it provides at least $700 billion in budget savings for the overall bill, the committee almost certainly will. But it’s a show of force from pro-pharma members in a Democratic caucus that only has three votes to spare to pass the reconciliation package out of the House.

No agreement on drug prices threatens the entire bill and the Biden agenda, because of its importance in offsetting spending.

Weakening drug price reform is a demonstrably fiscally irresponsible policy, as well as deeply unpopular with Rice’s own constituents.
Here, Rice’s position is central. Schrader opposes the entire reconciliation package, and Peters has been agitating against drug price reform for months, including leading a letter in May opposing the House effort. Several of the ten members who signed on to that letter later recanted. But Peters, backed significantly by Big Pharma, hasn’t relented.

While Peters has received $265,100 from pharmaceutical company PACs since the 2020 election cycle, and Schrader has received $166,000, Rice has only received a skinny $8,500. That was apparently enough for her to sign the May letter, though she has kept a relatively low profile on the topic until this week.

Activists are concentrating all of their attention on Rice in attempting to persuade her to flip and support the drug price reform. The popularity of it among her constituents could be a deciding factor.

Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies is supported by 90 percent or more of voters polled in Peters, Schrader, and Rice’s districts. They cannot just say they oppose negotiation. So instead, Peters released his own legislation, backed by Schrader and Rice, on drug prices. It’s not hard to see how it differs from the House Energy and Commerce version, and whom it benefits.