The U.S. military handed over control of the Victory Base Complex to the Iraqi government today...
This has been done quietly, and largely without incident...There will be no Fall of Saigon moment. We will not be forced out with our tails between our legs. Nothing can absolve us of our national guilt for building a false casus belli for war, nor for outrages like Abu Ghraib. The war with Iraq is a stain on our nation's character. But the president did not cause that stain, and he's done an excellent and largely unheralded job of righting the ship and steering us out of the conflict...
This was the biggest promise Obama made to me, and he kept that promise. For that, I will be forever grateful.
From Steve Benen:
With one month remaining this year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.67 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2006.
From Nick Hanauer:
I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software...
Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate...
When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.
Wherein I agree with George Will:
Now you can associate many things with Mr. Gingrich, but wisdom isn’t one of them.
And finally my favorite...from Neil Steinberg:
The national debate — to the extent that it can be considered a debate and not merely each side firing up their supporters and damning their opponents — is about the same question that “A Christmas Carol” hinges on: Do we live for ourselves alone, for our own greed and profit, or do we try to help the poor boy huddled in the doorway?
Republicans will no doubt say: “Aha, but Scrooge is an individual! We encourage people such as himself to bear the entire burden of helping the less fortunate, while the government is reserved for creating an environment where the Scrooges of the world can earn the biggest fortune possible to spend — or withhold — as they please.”
That, basically, was the status quo in Scrooge’s time, when debtors went to jail, children were executed for theft, and society was built along lines that would have brought joy to Ron Paul’s anthracite heart...
What those who want to strip millions of Americans of the hope of health care, to abandon the elderly, and bury the idea that government should police the excesses of commerce overlook is that we’ve already tried all that, back in the 19th century, and every law, regulation and agency today was created, over years, by a society aghast at the result — though not too aghast. Aghast eventually.
UPDATE (hat/tip to rootless_e at The People's View for this one)
WOW! From Rick Ungar:
That would be the provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers’ premium dollars they collect—85% for large group insurers—on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care.
This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time...
Why? Because there is absolutely no way for-profit health insurers are going to be able to learn how to get by and still make a profit while being forced to spend at least 80 percent of their receipts providing their customers with the coverage for which they paid. If they could, we likely would never have seen the extraordinary efforts made by these companies to avoid paying benefits to their customers at the very moment they need it the most.
Today, that bomb goes off...
Whether you are a believer in the benefits of single-payer health coverage or an opponent, mark this day down on your calendar because this is the day seismic shifts in our health care system finally get under way.
If you thought that the Obama Administration chickened out on pushing the nation in the direction of universal health care for everyone, today is the day you begin to understand that the reality is quite the contrary.