It feels like years since I linked to Steve Benen. (checks) Yeah, it has been years. Sorry Steve. You guys should read him all the time. Seriously. Add him to your
Google Reader Feedly or whatever. To see what I am talking about, take a look at his take yesterday on the problem of sabotage governance. He covers Affordable Care Act issues that we talk about here, links an important Greg Sargent piece on the same topic and then he adds extensive context that lazy bloggers like me usually leave out.
These repeal votes tell the public that the future of the law is still in doubt — a significant chunk of the country actually believes the Affordable Care Act has already been repealed — and discourages participation needed to make the law work.
Fourth, congressional Republicans have repeatedly denied the Obama administration funds needed for implementation. Fifth, GOP leaders have shamelessly discouraged private-sector partnerships with Washington on public-awareness campaigns, in the hopes that public ignorance might help undermine the efficacy of the system. Sixth, many Republicans at the state level are refusing to allow Medicaid expansion, no matter how much damage it does to their state. And seventh, these same GOP officials in the states are refusing to create exchanges, making it that much more difficult for federal officials to meet deadlines and fully implement the law on time.
I know, blah blah blah politics, but take a minute for this. People die or go bankrupt for no good reason except that some spiteful gomer made it harder to understand the options available to them. Leaders who hurt their own constituents for stupid politics need to feel ashamed of themselves. Those too dense to feel it naturally will need our help to make it happen.
It takes five minutes at most to phone your Congressperson or Senator. If you only have Democrats then find someone who lives in another district and put them on the job. A small effort can do a lot of good if you work together and pick your battles.
Here in PA, Pat Toomey’s office is sending people to healthcare.gov. This is not a bad response. HHS designed the site to be quite accessible and it provides the most current information for your particular needs. Call it a punt. This is the answer that I expect most offices to give. In fact we might not find a single office that really crosses the line, for a couple of reasons. One, screwing with individual constituents really is a rather serious taboo. And two, the prospect of being actively audited could put a non-trivial thumb on the scales when these guys decide which way to go.
Also, save the trolling and off-topic stuff to non action-oriented threads. If your irrelevant or non-helpful comment disappears then please feel free to write John and complain.
North Carolina Republicans Push Extreme Voter Suppression Measures
Ari Berman on July 23, 2013 – 9:35 AM ET
This week, the North Carolina legislature will almost certainly pass a strict new voter ID law that could disenfranchise 318,000 registered voters who don’t have the narrow forms of accepted state-issued ID. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the bill has since been amended by Republicans to include a slew of appalling voter suppression measures. They include cutting a week of early voting, ending same-day registration during the early voting period and making it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters. The bill is being debated this afternoon in the Senate Rules Committee. Here are the details, via North Carolina State Senator Josh Stein (D-Wake County):
If anyone had any doubt about the bill’s intent to suppress voters, all he/she has to do is read it. The bill now does the following:
*shortens early voting by 1 week,
*eliminates same day registration and provisional voting if at wrong precinct,
*prevents counties from offering voting on last Saturday before the election beyond 1 pm,
*prevents counties from extending poll hours by one hour on election day in extraordinary circumstances (like lengthy lines),
*eliminates state supported voter registration drives and preregistration for 16/17 year olds,
*repeals voter owned judicial elections and straight party voting,
*increases number of people who can challenge voters inside the precinct, and
*purges voter rolls more often.
Meanwhile, it floods the democratic process with more money. The bill makes it easier for outside groups to spend on electioneering and reduces disclosure of the sources. It also raises the contribution limits to $5k per person per election from $4k and indexes to amount to rise with inflation.
1. It actually is counterproductive to blame the voter for everything, not matter how good it makes you feel.
2. I don’t try to learn everything my doctor does because I don’t have the time. For the same reason, most people will generally trust their representatives until proven otherwise. It’s up to people like us to point out that the Republicans are lying scumbags. (And yes, some people will go along with them anyway.)
boy Steve really does a great summation there, all things we realize and simply let pass without verballizing.
Better to cut your losses and leave Shithole America.
Seriously. It’s your life on the line here. This country is over. Stick a fork in it, it’s done. Leave. Leave before the killing fields start up and the homegrown American stasi come for you in the middle of the night.
@mclaren: Where are you planning on moving to?
Davis X. Machina
Can’t shame the shameless. And those are just ordinary evil people.
The people who don’t think there’s anything wrong with breaking the law, blowing up the polity, or undermining social norms, because it brings the Revolution closer by a day, and come the Revolution — whether it delivers the Workers’ Paradise, or the New Jerusalem — we’ll thank them, those are the ones you really have to watch.
How exactly would I shame my Republican Representative (John Runyan, NJ-3)? He’s in a safe district, it was held by another Republican for 20+ years, until it flipped in 2008 and Runyan got it back in 2010.
He’s smart enough to keep quiet and not say anything stupid, so avoids bad press, but votes in lock step with the House GOP.
It’s naturally R+ enough district that he’ll win every election by 5% or so, unless he’s found with a few dead per-adolescent hookers (male or female, doesn’t matter) in the trunk of his car and a couple hundred pounds of crystal meth.
Nice work Tim F! You got Durf AND Special Timmeh trolling you!
@Belafon: See, I implied this yesterday and got ripped for it. No justice in this universe I swear.
EDIT: OH. MY.
OK, Cory Gardner is scum and useless to talk to. But, what I have been doing – I do the financials for 5 small businesses and I make sure to forward to them all the information on how ACA will work for them and let them know the financial implications.
I’ve also been talking to everyone I know, forwarding them the links for ACA (I’m heading out the door, so I can’t go find the great link that explains it all so well) and ask them to pass it on.
I think this is one of those times, at least in this purple district, that grassroots works pretty well. And I know a lot of people who don’t carry health insurance.
@TaMara (BHF): It will be HUGE to get a lot of the poorer folks on the Medicaid expansions…and then get more doctors to take it. There does seem to be a movement towards having medicine run out of hospitals where physicians are on salary and those hospitals then can take the lower Medicaid rate better than an individual doctor can. It should be interesting.
You should be linking to Steve Benen much more often.
I like you folks here a lot but Steve is the best.
I saw your statement yesterday, which is what made me ask again today.
You could yell “EAGLES SUCK!” and whip a battery at him.
Steve Benen has been my first stop every morning for years – nice cogent, thoughtful discussions every time.
Runyan is surely not a very good example of a Republican in a “safe seat”. His seat was held by a Democrat three years ago. And the reason Jim Saxton held the seat for 25 years was because he wasn’t a conservative lunatic and was genuinely relatively moderate. Runyan is exactly the kind of Republican who might sometimes be persuaded to buck his party to prevent that (as Saxton sometimes did)
@gene108: @TaMara (BHF): You both are missing the point. If your Rep has a safe seat then maybe he feels safe enough to bullshit his constituents. That is exactly what we need to know. Just spend those five minutes for the love of fuck.
@Tim F.: But, but, but I don’t want tooooo, (she whines).
I’ll try again. Or maybe I’ll have my old boss do it, he loves this stuff.
(p.s. I do appreciate these threads, really, I do).
@TaMara (BHF): BTW, passing on information like that does sound like a great thing to do, so thanks. Also think about sending a link to healthcare.gov. I found it to be informative, clear and quite easy to use. Thanks Sen. Toomey!
Villago Delenda Est
Warms my heart, taking action against the shitheads.
Obama’s still on his thin black ass in regards to the FEMA camps, though. Need to start shipping the dipshits off to them for reedumacation.
Tim, can I get some advice about how to proceed with this? I’ve got two wingnutty Senators and will call them both, but I feel like I’m lying if I say, “I need help understanding how the healthcare law works for me” because I’ve got employer-provided health insurance. I have been in a position to buy my own health insurance, but that was years ago and I know things have changed dramatically.
Any advice on how to fake it? What’s a good general question to start out with? Something that isn’t going to get me completely caught out when they say, “So what kind of insurance do you have now?”
I think this call-your-rep thing is a good idea, but I feel a bit at a loss as to how to proceed and what sort of questions would be best to gauge how well (or not) the reps are doing with constituent services.
I recently (couple months ago?) attended a meeting on implementation of the AHCA. It was sponsored (believe it or not) by our local Chamber of Commerce. Our local Chamber is an independent, and not caught up in the national politics, although we do have our share of conservatives and Republicans. Anyway, it was very informative, very well attended, and only a couple of people were there to complain about the politics of the act. Most of the questions were intelligent and went to the concerns business folks of all sizes have about the act. Contacting your local Chamber and asking them to sponsor (or co-sponsor with another group) might be a good way of exposing a lot of folks to the benefits of the AHCA.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Tim F.: Will do. Thanks for the reminder to read Benen; it’s less convenient for me at his new place somehow.
Ahem. How’s Max?
It was interesting to me that when I filed my taxes this year (using the on-line link through NY Dept. of Taxation to – I think- H&R Block for free state & fed filing) I was given, along with my tax print out, an assessment of what my situation might be under the ACA as regards qualifying for a subsidy. I wonder if any other tax services did this.
@gelfling545: It was information on your W-2 as well. There’s a new line (I forget which) that shows what both you and your employer paid in over the year. If those are zeroes or very minimal, then you have either the Medicaid or exchange option. I think it will get integrated into tax software over the next couple of years. It’s very nifty.
I DO read Steve Bennen all the time. He’s in my top three places to get accurate news. I wish everyone read him. I wish his message about sabatoge govenance was being shouted from every hilltop. We have a party that wants to destroy America and doesn’t give a rat’s pitootie about who it wipes out in the process. Both sides aren’t doing it.
@gbear: I get him through my FB feed so I read him constantly.
What was turnout in your district in 2010? If it wasn’t high, then you have no way of knowing how safe that seat actually is if you can increase turnout? High turnout almost always favors Democratic candidates.
Get busy. Show up. Do shit. Even if it doesn’t work in 2014, you’re laying groundwork for the future.
There is no quick and easy fix. Start today, and you’ll finish sooner than if you wait.
If you’re too weak or scared to fight, at least GOTW.
I’m not sure on turnout.
Good link on election results going back to 1992.
In 2012, due to census based redistricting a Democratic leaning town in Camden county got swapped for a Republican leaning town in Ocean county, so the district’s a bit more Republican in 2010, while Democrat Rob Andrews’ district is more Democratic because his district absorbed the town from Camden county.
I’ll do what I can, but unless there’s a sea change in the demographics of this area, the district isn’t going to flip anytime soon.
@Violet: Here s one way. This is a Politico link, but not everything they do is shit, just most.
Here in Houston, I will be working with Battleground Texas. I want to help student and working poor citizens get IDed, registered, and to the polls. Culbertson can ignore my letters, but he will not ignore the bodies I get to the voting booths.
I’ve been saying this for years now. The Rethugs have become nihilists. They’re actively out to destroy the federal government of the United States of America. I’m not a lawyer, but that seems from a naive, layman’s view to be the very definition of treason to me.
I liked it better when he had his own place.
@Keith G: Thanks for the link, but from reading through it, it sounds like a piece on OFA organizing people to go to town halls and other activism? Did I miss the part about calling the reps over healthcare.
I really would like to try this, but I feel like I’m lying if I try to ask them questions when I don’t need to purchase health insurance because I have mine via employer. I am not sure what to do. Make up someone I’m “calling for”?
Flying Squirrel Girl
I just contacted Rep. John Culberson’s office here in Houston to ask if I would qualify for coverage with a pre-existing condition when the state exchanges are set up. After getting an, “Uhhhh…I don’t know much about the legislation can I transfer you to the DC office?” reply, then getting, “You might get a better answer if you call your local office” reply from DC, they put me through to their “healthcare person.” She answered that yes, I would qualify. Not overly helpful, but not an outright lie or “I don’t know.” Color me pleasantly surprised (boy the bar is low here in TX).
@fuckwit: “I’m not a lawyer, but that seems from a naive, layman’s view to be the very definition of treason to me.”
Not to this non-lawyer it doesn’t. Treason (in my book) is acting against the US for the benefit of a foreign power. Does not really apply here. [The foreign power THEN was the CSA.]
@Violet: I’m having this same problem. Maybe we can come up with some sample questions people could ask?
I guess you could always say that you’ve just heard that you’re going to be getting laid off, or your kid/sibling/mentee is about to turn 27 and needs to know what to do now that they’re no longer on their parents’ insurance, or something like that.
@Violet: Maybe say you’ve seen an ad that says you won’t be able to choose your own doctor and ask if that’s true.
@Violet: 1. You can always call on behalf of a relative/friend you are trying to help. 2. The OFA angle is longer term. Networking with others near you to coordinate and intensify communications with your reps. Your call is important. Your call x 100 = more important. 3) Helping with new voters is a step to show that there are consequences for legislative actions.
@catclub: The link to the copy of the constitution I keep around uses this definition for treason:
Called John Kline’s office this morning. The answer was “the person who would know about those issues is out until next week.”
I pushed to try and get a website or something, and the person on the phone had not a clue.
I left my call back number.
@catclub:Sedition would be a better term
I LOVE Benen, but I HATE HATE HATE maddowblog. I read on a tablet and having to click a page two for most posts sucks. I know, it doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but it IS. Particularly when you do click and it’s one more sentence.
At Charlie Pierce’s site on Esquire, at least I can fully open a post, then click forward or backward through the posts.
I know this is not the place for this mini-rant, but I have complained on Maddowblog but no change…so I thought I’d bitch over here. (Balloon Juice and all, ya know) *smile*
@JoyousMN: I read Maddowblog via Netvibes, and I can see each post in full without having to click through.
Netvibes has a nice mobile site too.
Thank you! I’ll check it out now.
@Violet: You could stick to the sample script that I posted a few times: I cannot get individual market insurance due to a pre-existing condition. Can I get in October? This true often enough that it will help some real people if we can catch bad actors and correct them.
I explained that the mix of news reports is confusing and distressing, which is all true, and helped to explain why I called in the first place.
@Flying Squirrel Girl: @JoyousMN: That sounds like a couple of non-answers, with a BS run-around by Rep. Culberson. Thanks so much guys.
The Other Chuck
I think we should promote Rock the Vote. As in one person, one rock. If you’ve had your vote stripped away from you because you’re a student who legally registered in-state or because you couldn’t cast your vote after standing in line, or whatever reason, you get to throw one rock at the statehouse or its occupants. 318,000 is a lot of rocks, and that’s just the start.
Then we can talk about second amendment remedies.
Both of my Reps are for the PPACA. Rep. Pingree has been trying to help provide clarification re: the expansion of Medicaid. I will call the Senators offices tomorrow.
I’m not sure the Republicans in the House can sabotage the Affordable Care Act any more than Barack Obama did when he invited the drug companies and big insurance companies to turn the law into their personal wish list.
As much as the Republicans efforts to kill the bill are motivated only by ill will and bad faith, I’m surprised so many liberals still try to pretend that the ACA was a success or something to be proud of. The constant excuses every time another part of the bill (good parts) is thrown overboard or waived or delayed by the administration who seems unable to simply admit that they never thought far enough ahead to actually administer this law. Never figured out how to make it work. How to set up the exchanges. What the employer mandate would actually do. It’s like they put all their energy into getting something, anything passed and completely forgot that the passage of the bill was just the beginning.
We need health care reform really badly, but this ain’t it. And in a very few months, when everyone is expected to have health insurance and discovers how much it’s going to cost (at least in most states) and that they’re going to have to give their money to the big insurance companies that hate their guts, you’re going to start hearing complaints like you never heard before, from a whole new set of people who up to now have been quietly watching to see what’s coming.
Fuck all this.
For the first time ever, I applied for individual health coverage.
I am a healthy adult (knock on wood). It still took over an hour. For the one (non-chronic) illness I’ve had in the last five years, they wanted to know everything down to the goddamn dosage of my prescription. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people with chronic illnesses and pre-existing conditions.
I was terrified of making any mistakes that would allow them to reject me.
But I was relieved to remember that they (mostly) can’t do that shit anymore.
Please come tell me how ACA sucks balls and we should have held out for a better one.