Obviously there are people in the USA who can and do do this:
But is it legal to advertise these services and provide them commercially? Seems to be in Sweden.
Obviously there are people in the USA who can and do do this:
But is it legal to advertise these services and provide them commercially? Seems to be in Sweden.
Even though I have very little sympathy for their “Ahmadinejad won, get over it” theory of the Iranian presidential election, which has aged about as well as Joe Walsh, I think Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s op-ed raises some interesting and valid points in regard to possible outcomes of U.S.-Iran talks. But this bit is just stone nonsense:
Because President Obama assembled a national security team that, for the most part, did not share his early vision for American-Iranian rapprochement, his administration never built a strong public case for engagement. The prospect of engagement is still treated largely as a channel for “rewarding” positive Iranian actions and “punishing” problematic behavior — precisely what Mr. Obama, as a presidential candidate, criticized so eloquently about President George W. Bush’s approach.
What part of “without preconditions” do the Leveretts not understand? As a candidate, Obama promised to do this, and weathered a storm of criticism, only to see the idea find broad acceptance in the foreign policy community by the final days of the presidential campaign. The Obama administration is now preparing to sit down with the Iranians, having accepted — rightly, in my view — an Iranian counter-proposal that amounted to little more than an RSVP. All the while, Iran’s nuclear program has continued, as has its support for terrorism and incitement against Israel.
The Leveretts seem to be suggesting that the only way for the Obama administration to demonstrate good faith going into these negotiations is to avoid expressing any and all U.S. and international concerns about Iranian behavior. This is not going to happen, and, frankly, I think the Iranians are savvy enough not to expect it to happen.
As for this:
Unfortunately, the Obama administration was enticed by the prospect of regime-toppling instability in the aftermath of Iran’s presidential election this summer. But compared to past upheavals in the Islamic Republic’s 30-year history — the forced exile of a president, the assassination of another, the eight-year war with Iraq and the precipitous replacement of Ayatollah Khomeini’s first designated successor, Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, with Ayatollah Khamenei — the controversy over this year’s election was hardly a cataclysmic event.
I suppose it’s helpful in terms of balance to see someone making the reverse of Robert Kagan’s silly argument that President Obama was “siding with the Iranian regime” against the election demonstrators, but this is the first time I’ve read an analysis of the recent post-election controversy — which saw, among other things, a substantial portion of the Iranian clerical establishment break with the regime — as anything less than a pivotal moment for the Islamic Republic.
During this morning’s debate over Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) public plan amendment, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) challenged Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) claim that the public option would lead to single payer health care. The exchange flustered Grassley. He admitted that Medicare is part of the “social fabric” of America and praised the competition between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, but then said moments later that the government is a “predator.” “So you don’t want Medicare?” Schumer asked. Grassley concluded, “Medicare is part of the social fabric of America, and I think there’s a lot wrong with it.” Watch it:
According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Rockefeller’s amendment — which establishes a plan that reimburses providers at 5% above Medicare rates for the first two years — the public option would save the government an estimated $50 billion. Only eight million Americans would sign-up for the program, leaving the overwhelming majority of Americans to private coverage. Rockefeller’s amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 15-8.
A public option amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer, which would have allowed for negotiated reimbursement rates, failed by a 13-10 vote in the Senate Finance Committee moments ago. Sens. Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, and Blanche Lincoln voted with the Republicans to defeat the amendment. Today’s votes on the Schumer and Rockefeller amendments mean it is unlikely the Senate Finance version of the health care bill will contain a public option. The Senate HELP Committee and the House versions all include a public option, however.
During this morning’s debate over Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) public plan amendment, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) reminded senators that “if you go back and look at the debate on Medicare, the very same arguments were used, in the 60s. That we couldn’t have Medicare for seniors because it would destroy the private markets. It would destroy the private insurance system and that’s not what happened.” “Replay to today, same arguments again.”
Indeed, at one particularly contentious moment, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) challenged Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) claim that the public option would lead to single payer health care. The exchange flustered Grassley. He admitted that Medicare is part of the “social fabric” of America and praised the competition between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. He could not explain why younger Americans should be afforded the same choice of coverage. Watch it:
According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Rockefeller’s amendment — which establishes a plan that reimburses providers at 5% above Medicare rates for the first two years — the public option would save the government an estimated $50 billion. Only eight million Americans would sign-up for the program, leaving the overwhelming majority of Americans to private coverage.
For Grassley, choice is a one-way street: he wants Americans to move from public to private coverage, but would deny Americans in private coverage the right to choose a public plan. Grassley fought to preserve access to Medicare Advantage and argued that Medicaid recipients should be able to enroll in private coverage. A shift from private to public coverage, however, is unacceptable.
During the debate, several senators reminded Grassley that under Rockefeller’s amendment, the public option would be self-sustaining and charge competitive rates after the first two years. “What are we afraid of,” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) asked, “that Americans would like a plan that pays for itself and provides a good service?” As Schumer pointed out, Republicans are against government health care, but they have introduced numerous amendments to preserve Medicare. “That’s not fair, and it does not add up,” he said.
It’s probably worth emphasizing that a lot of the things that bien pensant types deplore—like this past summer of crazy rallies and political polarization more generally—are inextricably tied up with things that bien pensant types claim to want, namely an increased level of civic engagement. The politics of the late-19th century was incredibly vicious, polarized, and un-edifying. It was also an era of high turnout and booming newspapers.
Also interesting to note that Republicans, being older, wealthier, and maler also follow the news more closely:
I’m inclined to think that if the production of political news and commentary weren’t so dominated by the white dude demographic, that political news might get a larger audience among progressives. That, in turn, could help close some of the “enthusiasm gap” issues that frequently plague progressive activists.
Steve Benen observes a curious exchange at the Senate Finance Committee:
“Are you aware that if you take out gun accidents and auto accidents, that the United States actually is better than those other countries?” Ensign said. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) had been citing the health care systems of France, Germany, Japan and Canada as more effective, but with lower costs.
Conrad responded that one can bend statistics in all sorts of ways.
“But that doesn’t have anything to do with health care. Auto accidents don’t have anything to do with h–,” Ensign said, cutting himself off. “I mean we’re just a much more mobile society. … We drive our cars a lot more, they do public transportation. So you have to compare health care system with health care system.”
What Ensign is saying here—that gun accidents and car accidents fully account for the life expectancy gap between the US and other countries—isn’t true. But the more modest claim that lifestyle factors play a larger role than health care in determining health outcomes is true. That said, it seems like the reasonable thing to conclude from the charitable reading of Ensign’s argument is that we ought to reform American transportation policy to take advantage of the public health benefits of a more European-style approach. But Ensign doesn’t see it that way. He’s never done anything to help move the country to a less car-dependent way of life. Even though his estimate of the public health benefits of such a switch is much larger than my estimate!
It’s very strange. Unless you think Ensign has just dredged this argument up opportunistically for the sake of a one-off political fight and he neither knows anything about the subject nor cares at all.
Today in the Senate Finance Committee markup of health care legislation, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) tried to make the case that the U.S. system is the best in the world and bristled at data that the country lags in halting preventable deaths compared to other industrialized nations. Ensign argued that those comparisons are unfair because they include deaths from auto accidents and gun violence, which are unique “cultural factors”:
ENSIGN: When you take into account cultural factors — the fact that we drive cars a lot more than any other country; we are much more mobile.
If you take out accidental deaths due to car accidents, and you take out gun deaths — because we like our guns in the United States and there are a lot more gun deaths in the United States — you take out those two things, you adjust those, and we actually better in terms of survival rates.
Basically, Ensign is proud of U.S. “cultural factors” that, as he admits, kill thousands of Americans each year. Instead of trying to improve the health care system to better address injuries from cars and guns, Ensign would like to just wipe them off the books and ignore them because they’re so unique to America.
As Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) responded, anyone can “rack and stack” the figures all they want, but the bottom line is that “other countries that do have universal care and do a much better job of controlling costs than we do, on metric after metric, finish ahead of us.”
The United States health care system isn’t going to take care of everyone except gunshot and automobile collision victims, so it’s unfair to exclude such data. Comapred with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the United States ranks last in all dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The United States currently ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook.
Transcript: Read more
The Senate Finance Committee just voted 15-8 against an amendment offered by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), which would have established a self-financing robust public health insurance option. Democratic Sens. Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Bill Nelson, and Tom Carper voted with the Republicans to defeat the provision.
The Senators who voted for the public option: Sens. John Rockefeller, Jeff Bingaman, John Kerry, Maria Cantwell, Ron Wyden, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Debbie Stabenow.
,The Committee will vote on a public option amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer next. Sen. Bill Nelson has already said he will vote for that amendment.
Energy companies are abandoning the sinking ship of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in droves over its opposition to climate change action. The Chamber is aggressively opposing efforts by President Obama and the Congress to fight global warming pollution, saying federal regulation would “strangle the economy” and cap-and-trade legislation would be “economically disruptive of business and industry activities.” However, responding to the criticism of the companies who have left the Chamber, spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel claimed his organization respects the science of climate change:
We’ve never questioned the science behind global warming.
This is a blatant falsehood, by any definition. The Chamber has a long history of questioning the science of climate change. The Chamber’s present campaign against regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency questions the existence of global warming as well as the scientific evidence of its impacts on the public health and welfare. The Chamber promotes global warming denier books “to advance our thinking about issues of significance,” and has promoted the work of global warming denier Pat Michaels since at least 1992:
2009: Chamber SVP Kovacs Calls For ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ On The ‘Science Of Climate Change.’ “It would be evolution versus creationism. It would be the science of climate change on trial.” Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President William Kovacs explained that the Chamber was seeking a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” on global warming to prevent the EPA from declaring greenhouse gases a threat to the public welfare. [Los Angeles Times, 8/25/09]
2009: Chamber Claims No ‘Plausible Theory’ To Link ‘Climate Change With Extreme Weather Events And Disease In The United States,’ Disputes ‘Claims Of Ocean Acidification.’ In an official filing prepared by the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis for the comments on the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited blog posts by global warming deniers such as Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger to challenge a broad range of climate change science, including sea level rise and the “UN/IPCC forecasted temperature increases.” [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 8/25/09]
2009: National Chamber Foundation Promotes Global Warming Denier Book As ‘#1′ Top Book Of The Year. Promoting “Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Foundation writes: “Climatologists Patrick J. Michaels and Robert Balling Jr. explain that climate science is hardly unbiased,” and that the “pop-culture icons of climate change turns out to be short on facts and long on exaggeration.” On Twitter, the National Chamber Foundation ranked the book “#1″ in its “Top Books of ’09.” [National Chamber Foundation, 8/20/09]
2008: National Chamber Foundation Promotes Global Warming ‘Deniers’ Book Against ‘Global Warming Hysteria.’ The National Chamber Foundation selected “The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution and Fraud; And those who are too fearful to do so” by Lawrence Solomon to “help shape the debate on issues important to the business community.” [National Chamber Foundation, 2008]
2008: Chamber President Tom Donohue Says ‘Scientific Inquiry’ Into Climate Change ‘Should Continue’ Because Of ‘Cooling Trend.’ On March 4, 2008, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue revealed his true thoughts to the Chamber’s board, questioning the science of global warming: “As the scientific inquiry continues (and given the recent reports indicating a cooling trend over the last year, such inquiry should continue) the Chamber supports public and private sector action to control the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.” [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 3/4/08]
2003: Chamber Says ‘We Need To Have Better Science’ To Justify Climate Action. Following the defeat of the McCain-Lieberman cap-and-trade climate legislation in 2003, William Kovacs, the Chamber’s vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, told the Heartland Institute, “We need to have better science to support any efforts to restrict energy use before Americans can justify sacrificing their jobs, quality of life, and paying almost double for their utility bills.” [Heartland Institute, 11/21/03]
2003: Chamber Claims ‘Every Aspect Of The Environment’ Is ‘Getting Cleaner.’ Praising George W. Bush’s environmental record, William Kovacs dismissed the concept of global warming pollution. “The air, along with every other aspect of the environment, is getting cleaner. I think that has been a true statement for the last 30 years, and it will continue to be. I think Bush has been continuing along that path.” [New York Times, 2/23/2003]
2001: Chamber Claims Global Warming ‘About One Percent From Human Activity,’ Says ‘Things Just Change.’ Appearing on CNNFN, William Kovacs challenged the “link” between human activity and global warming and called for more research. “Let me address two issues. One is, the link. You know, let’s be realistic, 95 percent of all greenhouse gases, you know, really come from water vapor; and another 3 or 4 percent from natural causes, and we’re down to about one percent from human activity. So the Bush plan is really twofold. One is, we’re going to spend another 120-$130 million to see if we can get some of the tough issues, and make the links. Even EPA agrees. You know, yes, there is global warming, but you know, 20 years ago, we were worried about global cooling. Things just change, and before we sink the economy, we need to make sure we’ve got the right research done.” [CNNFN, 7/16/2001]
1992: Chamber Sponsors Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels To ‘Refute The Global Warming Warnings.’ “Bankrolled partly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Global Climate Coalition, a group of manufacturers fearful of new environmental regulations, Patrick Michaels and Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene M. Trisko have been traveling cross-country to refute the global warming warnings from environmentalists.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 5/13/1992]
U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member Don Blankenship, the president and CEO of coal giant Massey Energy who has argued “greeniacs are taking over the world,” told Forbes yesterday that global warming is a “hoax”:
I think it’s all a hoax and a Ponzi scheme. I can’t find any logic to the fact that the climate is actually changing any more because of man than it would without man.