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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, June 15, 2006


What's in a Name?

11,000 American soldiers will join Afghanistan forces in an effort to seek out and destroy Taliban fighters in the mountains.

That are calling the operation "Mountain Thrust".

Sounds a lot like "Mount and Thrust", doesn't it? How ironic is that? After all, that's what the Bush administration has been doing to us these last five-plus years.

-Noah Greenberg



Oops, Again

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
PETER WALLSTEN (LA Times Reporter ): I can take them off.
BUSH: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.
PETER WALLSTEN: All right, I'll keep it, then.
BUSH: For the viewers, there's no sun. (Laughter.)
PETER WALLSTEN: I guess it depends on your perspective. (Laughter.)
BUSH: Touche . (Laughter.)

In a separate conversation, President Bush had a "chat" with actress Mary Matlin which ended in, "What's the matter? You deaf or something?"

This is a president who doesn't pick a questioner unless he has written permission from Karl "The Traitor" Rove. We all know that any question the president might be asked is scripted as they see the way the question will be asked (unless, of course, it is asked by a male prostitute or a member of the Fox News Staff - then it's actually written by Rove). Is there any possible way that Bush wasn't advised that this particular reporter was legally blind? Did GW not pay attention when his advisors said "Oh, by the way, the guy with the glasses is blind,"? Maybe he "just plumb forgot".

 

Or maybe John Stewart was correct when he said that President Bush just doesn't give a (<s---> expletive).

"I needle you guys (the White House Press Corps) out of affection,"
"Next time I'll just use a different needle,"
-GW Bush, to, and according to
Wallsten

Is there any way that Bush could show a little less affection, please? You know, maybe he could show the White House Press Corps as much affection as he shows the American Middle Class. Well... maybe not THAT little.

As a funny (sort of ) side note, I decided to read what Reporter Wallsten wrote about the whole affair between he and the president. Believe it or not, the only article about the whole matter in the Los Angeles Times, Wallsten's employer, was by the Associated Press. That's like asking the guy at the baseball game about a home rum her saw when the player that hit it was standing right next to him. So much for the home "paper" advantage.

-Noah Greenberg



Outrage!

"It's a number,"
-White House press secretary Tony Snow, reacting to the new milestone of 2,500 combat deaths reached in Iraq today.

The three-year conflict, which began when a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, (has) quickly turned sour in the face of a brutal insurgency.

First, 1000 deaths was just a number, then 2000 deaths was just a number, now 2500 deaths is just a number. Will these GOP grim reapers ever be satisfied?

The best estimates is that it is over 100,000 Iraqi have been killed and over 10,000 US troops have been wounded.

The war has cost 400 billion dollars. Write that out with of the zeroes:

400,000,000,000

This is an astounding amount of debt for an unnecessary war. The blood and money spent is not worth "getting" Hussein and Zarqawi. It's time for the troops to come home.

-Robert Scardapane


Ooh... Donut (Hole)

"While acknowledging that there were problems at the beginning of the program, the administration has said in recent weeks that those issues have abated. But for Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike, concerns surrounding the benefit have special resonance heading into the midterm elections in November.

"Jose M. Flores, a Medicare beneficiary who lives outside McAllen, used the new drug benefit four times from January to April to purchase Byetta, an injectable medicine for diabetes. Each time he paid $40.

"So when he went to the pharmacy on May 25, he was dismayed to be told that he owed $167.56 for the next month's supply. Mr. Flores had reached the notorious gap in Medicare's drug coverage. He had to pay the full price of Byetta. His Medicare drug plan paid nothing.

"'It's almost useless,' said Mr. Flores, a 66-year-old school bus mechanic who was interviewed at his home in La Joya, Tex. 'I'm paying the premium, but not getting protection.'"

In coming months, millions of beneficiaries will have similar experiences, as the cost of their drugs reaches the initial coverage limit of $2,250. Like Mr. Flores, they will have to pay the full cost of each medicine until their out-of-pocket costs reach $3,600. At that point, Medicare coverage resumes, paying 95 percent of the cost of each prescription.
-Brad Doherty in The New York Times


Welcome to the "doughnut hole"! I seriously doubt that millions of people who signed up for Medicare Part D understood this. I think Repugs could be facing lots of angry senior citizens by November.

-Robert Scardapane


THE MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT PLAN
Or "How can George W. Bush help the pharmaceutical companies make more money off the American senior?"

Reprinted from Note from a Madman, May 4, 2005 (http://www.nationalview.org/newsletter/newsletter_050405.htm)

When is something not better than nothing? When it is George W. Bush's Prescription drug plan presumebly designed to help seniors. Although seniors make up only 12 percent of the population, they use one third of all prescription drugs sold in the United States.

Under President Bush's bill, seniors will have to pay a $35 a month premium, a $250 deductible and 25% of drug expenses until $2,250. At $2,250, seniors enter what is called the ‘donut hole’ where they will have to pay, out-of-pocket, for the next $2850 in drug expenses, until they reach $5100. After $5100, the senior will qualify for catastrophic coverage. Basically, seniors must pay for the first $4,020 of $5,100 in drug benefits. Then January rolls around and these lucky seniors get to pay all over again.

As an example, let's take a widowed senior citizen with an annual income of $24,000 ($11,300 is the magic number - the minimum a senior citizen earns to "qualify" for the Medicare drug benefit plan). Let's also assume she uses $500 per month in retail prescription drugs. If you took Governor George W. Bush at his word during the 2000 campaign, you might think that this senior would have to pay nothing out-of-pocket. This is NOT the case. This senior will end up paying $3,940.00 of the $6000 per year she uses on prescription drugs. That's almost 66% of the total drug cost! Starting in June and ending with October, she will be paying a whopping $510 per month on her prescription drugs. That's almost 75%!

"all seniors are covered under prescription drugs in my plan"

-Gov. George W. Bush stated during the 2000 presidential campaign

 

That is unless you looked at his plan. Only seniors that earned less than $11,300 per year qualify and seniors with $14,600 worth of annual income would have partial coverage. Others could receive 25 percent of the premium for a drug plan, but that didn't help those in the middle who might not be able to afford the other 75 percent. Governor Bush's statement was a lie then and President Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is a sham now.
 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual Totals
Monthly Retail Drug Cost $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $6,000.00
Monthly Income $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $2,000.00 $24,000.00
Monthly Premium ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($420.00)
Annual Deductible ($250.00)                       ($250.00)
co-pay or Donut Hole ($62.50) ($125.00) ($125.00) ($125.00) ($190.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($142.50) ($125.00) ($3,270.00)
total left for living $1,652.50 $1,840.00 $1,840.00 $1,840.00 $1,775.00 $1,490.00 $1,490.00 $1,490.00 $1,490.00 $1,490.00 $1,822.50 $1,840.00 $20,060.00
Total out-of-pocket expenxe ($347.50) ($160.00) ($160.00) ($160.00) ($225.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($177.50) ($160.00) ($3,940.00)
Percentage paid by Medicare 30.50% 68.00% 68.00% 68.00% 55.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% 64.50% 68.00%  
Annually paid by senior ($3,940.00)
Annually paid by the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan $2,060.00
Percentage of prescription drugs paid by the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan 34.33%
Percentage of prescription drugs paid by the the Individual Senior Citizen -65.67%

 

When we take those same numbers and assume the widow is earning that magical $14,600 number, the money she has left to love her life becomes a bad joke:

$10,660 left for living! That's Pitiful!

 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual Totals
Monthly Retail Drug Cost $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $500.00 $6,000.00
Monthly Income $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $1,216.67 $14,600.04
Monthly Premium ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($35.00) ($420.00)
Annual Deductible ($250.00)                       ($250.00)
co-pay or Donut Hole ($62.50) ($125.00) ($125.00) ($125.00) ($190.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($475.00) ($142.50) ($125.00) ($3,270.00)
total left for living $869.17 $1,056.67 $1,056.67 $1,056.67 $991.67 $706.67 $706.67 $706.67 $706.67 $706.67 $1,039.17 $1,056.67 $10,660.04
Total out-of-pocket expenxe ($347.50) ($160.00) ($160.00) ($160.00) ($225.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($510.00) ($177.50) ($160.00) ($3,940.00)
Percentage paid by Medicare 30.50% 68.00% 68.00% 68.00% 55.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% -2.00% 64.50% 68.00%  
Annually paid by senior ($3,940.00)
Annually paid by the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan $2,060.00
Percentage of prescription drugs paid by the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan 34.33%
Percentage of prescription drugs paid by the the Individual Senior Citizen -65.67%

 

-Noah Greenberg



Put Up or Shut Up

The GOOPERS say they want the troops to come home. Okay fine, put up or shut up! If the GOOPERS really are serious about bringing the troops home, they should commit to building no permanent bases in Iraq. I want to know why these hypocrites took the resolution to build no bases in Iraq out of the budget bill even though it was approved by both chambers of Congress.

-Robert Scardapane


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-Noah Greenberg