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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stories to Watch: 11/13/13

Greg Sargent has the up-to-the-minute on the Obamacare exchanges and things aren't looking pretty. The big news is that House Democrats may be leaning toward a Republican bill that would allow insurers to keep offering the crap plans that people are getting kicked off of until 2015. This is incredibly stupid, since there's no way that it'll take that long to fix the exchanges and once these people are finally able to get on, they'll find much, much better coverage is available for comparable cost or less, for the most part. Meanwhile, the plan would undermine the entire concept of the exchanges, setting the law on a possible (although still unlikely) path to failure. It's time for Pelosi to kick some weak-kneed dems' asses.

Of course, the news on the enrollment front isn't all bad.

Sargent also points us to a Brian Beutler piece that explains that the delaying bill is a terrible idea for Republicans as well, because it puts them on record as being against kicking people off insurance -- which exactly what repealing Obamacare would do. I'd point out that logical consistency has never been any hindrance to Republicans. I mean, when the initial healthcare reform debate was going on, they were telling everyone who'd listen that they wanted to protect Medicare from cuts. Why doesn't anyone remember that? You got me, but no one does. And look at them now. Where they were once "on the record" with being totally opposed to cuts to Medicare, they're now demanding cuts to Medicare. That's how Republicans get away with the shit they get away with. Because the media has the institutional memory of a freakin' goldfish.

Democrats plan to introduce a bill that would make it illegal for states to regulate abortion clinics out of business with TRAP laws. It probably doesn't stand a chance in hell, but it offers the opportunity to demonstrate that "liberty," "freedom," and "limited government" are just empty buzz phrases when Republicans use them. People who want to micromanage your life aren't fans of "limited government," they're totalitarians.

Make no mistake, by Nov. 2014 the Obamacare exchanges will have been up and running for quite a long time. What won't be up is immigration reform. Because the Orange One says so. So guess which one is likely to be an issue? Every Republican outside a gerrymandered district must be cursing him right now.

Wikileaks releases a massive "95-page, 30,000-word" document from a free trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPP. And what's been leaked is not good. According to the Internet freedom group Electronic Frontier Foundation, TPP would "have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate." Ever notice that so-called "free trade deals" always seem to screw you, the consumer, and favor people who are already stupid-rich anyway? Yeah, me too.

A new study finds that people in red states aren't climate deniers. Now we just need to get them to understand that science is a political issue.

Another loser in Cuccinelli's campaign for Governor of Virginia: high profile backer and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Scooter's reputation as a hero to the base to quite a ding in that campaign, as a last minute rally featuring Mr. Tea Party Hero drew a whopping 150 people. And the fail doesn't end there. According to John Nichols, "On the day Walker arrived in Virginia, an Emerson College poll had Cuccinelli within two points of union-backed Democrat Terry McAuliffe. But Walker didn’t close the gap. His campaigning for Cuccinelli fell short, as did the Virginia contender, who lost his race by more than 55,000 votes." Walker's stint as a Cuccinelli booster also earned him a powerful enemy, whose influence may come back to haunt him in his own gubernatorial campaign next year.

Finally, further endearing herself to progressives everywhere, Elizabeth Warren calls for filibuster reform.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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