Mojo - September 2009

Corn on Hardball: Is the Public Option Dividing Liberals?

Mon Sep. 14, 2009 4:18 PM PDT

David Corn and Lynn Sweet joined Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball this evening to discuss whether the public option is dividing democrats and what, exactly, Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich talked about.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Beck Watch: Boycott Decimates Advertisers

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 3:19 PM PDT

Five hundred and sixty thousand dollars. That's what ColorofChange estimates Glenn Beck has cost Fox News since the beginning of the Beck boycott last month. Despite lackluster boycott publicity and the much-ballyhooed 9/12 march on Washington, 62 national advertisers appear to have dropped the show since August. 

Here's the list of who's still hangin' in there 

Lear Capital

Liberty Medical

ExtenZe

News Corp. (The Wall Street Journal)

Rosland Capital

LifeLock

Conservatives for Patient's Rights

Clarity Media Group (The Weekly Standard)

Roche Diagnostics (Accu-Chek Aviva)

Citrix (GoToMeeting)

Merit Financial

Goldline International, Inc

Carbonite

National Review

Rick Scott's Silly Ad

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 12:56 PM PDT

Rick Scott, the former hospital conglomerate executive otherwise known as Public Option Enemy Number 1, has a great blog post up over at the Conservatives for Patients' Rights blog. CPR, which Scott runs, has been buying television ads that he says "[chide] the President that neither his plan nor the plans of Congressional Democrats can guarantee Americans that:"

  • They can keep their current doctor
  • They won't wait longer for care
  • Their health care won't be rationed
  • They can keep the insurance plan they currently have

In Scott's blog post, he very cleverly notes that the White House has not "called out" the ad for misrepresenting the Democrats' health care plans. In his speech last week, President Obama promised to "call out" people who were misrepresenting the health care plan. Since the White House hasn't "called out" CPR, Scott argues, the ad must be accurate.

Here's the thing: the ad is accurate, in a way. "Guarantee" is the key word. Obama and the Democrats can't guarantee any of those things. But that doesn't actually mean anything. No one can guarantee those things. Scott's argument against reform would be true of any bill.

The F-22 Fights On

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 10:36 AM PDT

You've got to hand it to defense contractor Lockheed Martin and its F-22 Raptor fighter jet: The much maligned, headline-grabbing plane will not go away.

The latest news on the F-22 beat is that the Senate is trying to sidestep a decade-old law to allow Lockheed to develop and export a version of the F-22 to be sold outside the US. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to insert language in its 2010 defense spending bill allowing the DOD to "conduct or participate in studies, research, design and other activities to define and develop an export version of the F-22A." Earlier last week, the same committee agreed to end F-22 production for domestic use at 187 planes after a protracted battle between the Obama administration and lawmakers in Congress on whether to extend the production run of F-22s or not. Lockheed also lobbied hard for continuing F-22 production by citing the number of jobs the plane created nationwide.

The provision, however, will face opposition in the House Appropriations Committee. The committee’s chair, Rep. David Obey (D-WI), authored the ban on exporting F-22s in 1998 for security reasons. According to Congress Daily, countries like Japan, Australia, and Israel are likely buyers for the export version of the F-22, which would not feature secret, US-specific technologies. While the Senate Appropriations Committee vote on exporting F-22s doesn’t outright repeal the ban, the full Senate will consider the idea when it reviews the entire defense spending bill this month. The F-22, it seems, just will not go quietly into the night.

Should Bush Apologize for Torture?

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 10:32 AM PDT

Proving once again that, on the subject of torture, he is America's most important public intellectual (even though he's British), Andrew Sullivan asks former President Bush to atone for the abuses that occured during his presidency. The editors of The Atlantic, to their great credit, put Sullivan's "open letter" on the cover.

It seems obvious that only something of the magnitude of Bush himself publicly apologizing for torture can return torture to what it once was: a non-political issue that's not open for debate. It's surprising that no one's suggested it before. Like a lot of the ideas Sullivan has, it only seems obvious after he's explained it. Anyway, money quote:

The point of this letter, Mr. President, is to beg you to finally take responsibility for this stain on American honor and this burden on a war we must win. It is to plead with you to own what happened under your command, and to reject categorically the phony legalisms, criminal destruction of crucial evidence, and retrospective rationalizations used to pretend that none of this happened. It happened. You once said, "I'm worried about a culture that says … 'If you’ve got a problem blame somebody else.'" I am asking you to stop blaming others for the consequences of decisions you made.

Health Care Reform As Socialism Meme Dates To Roosevelt

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 8:42 AM PDT

If this weekend's big Tea Party rally in DC was any indication, a lot of Americans  believe that Democrats trying to reform health care are secretly plotting a socialist revolution. According to Bloomberg, though, this is nothing new. Health care reform opponents have been stoking fears of socialism during health care debates since at least Franklin Roosevelt's day. The story even digs up a 1961 quote from Ronald Reagan invoking the term—long before he went into politics.

"From here, it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism,” Reagan, then an actor, warned in a 1961 record sponsored by the American Medical Association after President John F. Kennedy created a commission that laid the foundation for Medicare.

There's a reason reform opponents like to throw around charges of socialism: it works. Bloomberg says:

Once the public associates the word “socialism” with a plan, it’s hard to change the impression... In 1945, when Truman addressed Congress about a national insurance plan, 75 percent of Americans supported the proposal. By 1949, after it was targeted by opponents, only 21 percent did, according to a book by former Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.”

Sadly, history seems to be repeating itself. According to a recent poll, since Republicans and others have been invoking socialism to defeat Democratic reform bills, 52 percent of Americans now disapprove of President Obama's handling of health care, up from 28 percent in April.  

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Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Proposals for Wall Street (Video)

| Mon Sep. 14, 2009 6:17 AM PDT

Did you know that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist senator from Vermont, has a weekly web video? Well, he does. Later today, President Barack Obama will be on Wall Street talking about the economy and his proposals for regulating the financial sector. The president's speech will be all over cable news; Bernie just gets YouTube. Here are his ideas:

Why all this today? Because today is the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Remember that?

Need To Read: September 14, 2009

Mon Sep. 14, 2009 4:14 AM PDT

Today's must-reads are in an Empire State of Mind:

  • The president is headed to Wall Street today to talk about the economy. What will he say? (WaPo)
  • What does the public really think about the public option? (MoJo)
  • Key GOP senator wants Obama to take public option "off the table." (NYT)
  • Related news from the department of Republicans wouldn't think twice: "Massachusetts Democrats wary of Kennedy law change." (Politico)
  • What's the deal with those "9/12" protests? (MoJo)
  • Trade war! China retaliates against US tire tariff. (NYT)
  • Things are really not going that well in Afghanistan. (WaPo)
  • Kanye West interrupts President Obama (YouTube)
  • Michael Kinsley: FREE JOE WILSON! (WaPo)
  • Leon Wieseltier reviews Norman Podhoretz's Why Are Jews Liberals? (NYT Book Review)
  • What does it mean to have a million Twitter followers? (Mediaite)

I post articles like these throughout the day on twitter. You should follow me, of course. David Corn, Mother Jones' DC bureau chief, also tweets. So do my colleagues Daniel Schulman and Rachel Morris and our editors-in-chief, Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein. Follow them, too! (The magazine's main account is @motherjones.)

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 14, 2009

Mon Sep. 14, 2009 3:55 AM PDT

U.S. Army Sgt. Nathan Schrock tries to keep warm after waking up on a cold morning in the mountains near Sar Howza in Paktika province, Afghanistan, Sept. 4, 2009. Schrock is assigned to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith.)