Grandma Moses Winter wallpaper

Grandma Moses Winter wallpaper

I hadn’t planned on posting today, but I thought I’d focus some attention on what conservatives or the Tea Bagger scum considers values, House Republicans Plan to Redefine Rape

Drugged, Raped, and Pregnant? Too bad — Republicans are Pushing to Limit Rape and Incest Cases Eligible for Government Abortion Funding

Republicans are pushing to limit rape and incest cases eligible for government abortion funding. Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, with another exemption covering pregnancies that could endanger the life of the mother.

But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to drastically limit the definition of rape and incest in these cases. The bill, with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors, has been dubbed a top priority in the new Congress by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible.

For example, if a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. Rep. Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.

Given that the bill would also forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents would also not be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

There used to be a quasi-truce between the pro and anti-choice forces on the issue of federal funding for abortion. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman.

So Republican tea scum are making the rights of rapists and a little mass of cells a priority over the rights of an actual human being. I should be shocked but these are the same people who sent over 4,000 Americans to their deaths based on lies about WMD. Some more commentary here, Republicans Want to Limit Women’s Freedom


Black and White Old Tree wallpaper

Black and White Old Tree wallpaper

The Telegraph is not the world’s best newspaper and so I’ll probably get burned for linking to to this, Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising

The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

The link The Telegraph has to th alleged Wilileaks document is not working and I cannot find it. Such a cable would certainly make relations with what might ultimately be victorious dissidents a lot stronger. The Right is falling all over itself offering lots of contradictory narratives. Former U.N. Ambassador and right-wing heart-throb John Bolton is warning  a successful revolution in Egypt will bring radicals to power – he refers to the Muslim Brotherhood ( as does Islamophobe bed wetter Pam Gellar). As both TProgress and TNR state such fears are probably unfounded, Five Things to Understand About the Egyptian Riots

The ‘Islamist Menace’ is overblown. Some American commentators have argued that Al Jazeera is somehow fanning Islamism and anti-Americanism with its coverage. But as Marc Lynch has pointed out, Egyptian citizens, like Tunisians before them, are so—justifiably—angry at their governments that it’s hard to imagine what new provocations the station could come up with. Similarly, concern about the relative strength of the Muslim Brotherhood, which espouses a fundamentalist strain of Islam and has championed and employed violence in the past, should be balanced against three other facts: (1) The Brotherhood has renounced violence and it has been active in Egyptian politics, transformed by an internal debate about whether and how to participate, for some time now; (2) Thus far, observers on the ground report that it is young, secular Egyptians who are leading this revolt; (3) The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition organization in Egypt, is a first-rank enemy of Al Qaeda, and has been for decades. (A chapter in the recent “Self-Inflicted Wounds” from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center lays out the feud, and how it has played out in Egypt, South Asia and elsewhere, in detail. Briefly, the Brotherhood’s goals have been more political and focused on individual governments—and thus less focused on what Bin Laden refers to as the “far enemy”—the United States homeland.) Meanwhile, it is reasonable to be concerned about the future role of radical extremists where other forces are weak, but this kind of scaremongering is actually quite ignorant; it’s also disheartening and potentially damaging to the true democrats—some of whom organize around Islam, and some of whom don’t—that are doing the struggling and dying right now. Americans, like others around the world, are instinctively cheering for them. They are right to do so.

I also agree with TNR it takes some arrogance to try to get out in front of this story as events unfold. It is a pretty reliable prediction that whatever negative happens will be blamed on President Obama. It was not long ago we had pushes  to spread democracy. Small d democracy, as students of political science know, is simply people voting for whatever is popular. What is popular is not always just. Thus one of the reasons the U.S. was founded as a democratic republic. Individual rights are respected, but we have the popular vote and some states have referendums. In a republic like ours you can vote for or against anything as long as it does not undermine the basic liberties outlined in the Constitution. Hopefully Egypt will embrace a democratic republic with a foundation of basic human rights. Bush and conservatives during the Bush era gave a lot of lip service to spreading democracy – a very good piece that looked at the Bush/Republican blatant hypocrisy on promoting democracy from 2006 by Glenn Greenwald – The fruits of democracy. The fact is that if some Middle-East authoritarians regimes opened the flood gates of popular elections tomorrow the people might well vote to install tyrannical theocrats. This fear has always been part of what guided America’s Egyptian policy. It was better the authoritarians you know than the authoritarians that might take their place. Times change and so should policy. It does not appear Egypt is headed in that direction, but revolutions, like war, do not always turn out the way one would like. If there is a power vacuum in Egypt where the police and well established institutions such as universities, the military and moderate religious leaders do not step in, other less desirable leaders could. Time to Rethink U.S.-Egyptian Relations

President Obama urged the government and protesters to avoid violence, and he called on President Hosni Mubarak to move forward with political and economic reforms. No matter what unfolds in the coming days and weeks, President Obama needs to develop a policy that follows up on those words. Otherwise America’s credibility and power to influence events in Egypt and region will continue to wane.

Much has been written about America’s declining power to shape and influence events in the Middle East and around the world. Part of this efficacy crisis is related to successive U.S. administrations making declarations that are subsequently not implemented into policy changes. The result: Stated goals are not achieved and America looks weaker.

Most recently in Egypt, the George W. Bush administration was notorious for elevating the rhetoric on freedom and then doing nothing when the Mubarak government took several steps backward into more repression. As Hisham Kassem, a prominent Egyptian publisher and democracy activist who won an award from the National Endowment for Democracy, told me in a 2007 interview for my book, “George Bush made the first serious U.S. attempt on democratization in Egypt. … now we’ve seen this U-turn take place—and believe me, this U-turn is very damaging—people who put their necks out on the line and risked their lives and reputation…the minute the United States backed off, Mubarak went back to take more power.”

As a result of that lack of follow through, America’s power and credibility in Egypt and the region suffered.

Bush 41 did the same thing with the Kurds and anti-Saddam dissidents back in the late 1980s. Thus not establishing the U.S. as having a great track record on living up to its promises. Push comes to shove our leaders have always chosen stability and cheap oil prices.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is Owned and Operated by Banking Interests. His Reward? Republicans Put Anti-Investor and Anti-Consumer Toomey On Banking Committee

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was one of the financial industry’s biggest apologists during November’s campaign, opposing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law while claiming that derivative deals were “non-risky,” even as they cost schools and cities all across the country (including many in Pennsylvania) millions of dollars. And Toomey has been totally unrepentant about his personal role in deregulating the financial industry.

In 2000, former Sen. Phil “mental recession” Gramm (R-TX) attached the Commodity Futures Modernization Act to an unrelated, 11,000 appropriations bill. The CFMA ensured that the growing market in over-the-counter derivatives, including credit default swaps, stayed entirely unregulated. Toomey — then a member of the House of Representatives — voted for that bill, and said that he would do it again, inaccurately claiming that the legislation “did absolutely nothing to cause the financial crisis.”

The culture of corruption is part of the Republican gene pool. Vote them into power and they cannot help themselves. If you’re against this kind of crony capitalism that rewards wealth and punishes working Americans you’re just a damn Marxist.  Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s 10 Major Findings

Over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this crisis...”
Speculating on devices like collateralized debt obligations fanned the flames, with everyone from farmers to corporations to investors betting on prices and loan defaults. When the housing bubble popped, these were at the center of the fallout.

“The failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction…”
But, the report found, those bets wouldn’t have been possible without the seal of approval from ratings agencies.

“This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies. Their ratings helped the market soar and their down- grades through 2007 and 2008 wreaked havoc across markets and firms,” the report reads.

The New Republican Majority Record Thus far

Republican wallpaper

The Republican Majority Record Thus Far


To review, Do As I Say, Not As I Do: 97% Of House GOP Still Holding On To Their Congressional Health Plans

This morning, as the House of Representatives begins debating H.R. 2 Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, the majority of Republicans in the House will still be receiving insurance through the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Plan — a federal exchange which offers subsidized coverage to federal government workers, including members of Congress. According to a ThinkProgress analysis, seven, or just three percent of all the Republicans in the House have agreed to give up their insurance while they vote to repeal coverage for some 32 million Americans.

[  ]….– REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R-NY): Freshman Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) rejected claims that it was hypocritical for him to receive health coverage that provided the same consumer protections he was trying to repeal for others. “What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Later, he said the reason to have coverage is “practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care and, God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.” [Hotline On Call, 1/6/11]

Indeed, by 2014, uninsured Americans will be able to enroll in “PRIVATE insurance” through a series of state-based exchanges that will attempt to attract younger and healthier enrollees — like Schock — who could bring down premiums for the entire risk pool. The mandate will require these individuals to purchase insurance so that they don’t “become a burden for the state” once they require medical attention.

Many if those Americans who would go without health insurance would not become a burden to the state. because there is such shame attached to asking for help many will wait until it is too late and simply die. The Republican Partay is a death panel.

As recently as two days ago Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), speaking as representative of the tea baggers, was complaining about government waste. That would be that same Bachmann who has been raking in earmarks for her district,

Just days after saying she had requested zero earmarks for her district, Rep. Michele Bachmann admitted to Fox News’ Brian Wilson that she had indeed requested millions in earmarks in 2008. But, she says, it’s not a big deal because her earmarks were less than the average earmarks for the rest of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.

…Bachmann secured $3,767,600 for her district in 2008. As Think Progress has pointed out, the average earmark for Minnesota’s delegation is $2.1 million…

It seems the new Teapublicans are just as blatant liars and hypocrites as the old Republicans.

Republicans read the Constitution out loud on the floor of the House. Probably the first time for most of them. It was a condescending bit of theatrics to remind the country that it had veered away from the original words and intentions – Republicans Read Constitution Pretending Slavery Never Happened. Just the omission of slavery alone made the attempt to magically return us to the glossy days of perfection of 1778 were redacted. What the Republicans did find was the commerce clause which allows Congress to regulate commerce. The commerce clause is greatly amplified by the necessary and proper clause. What Republicans did not find in the Constitution is equally important – they did not find the words “God” or “Corporation”. In should be common knowledge that James Madison had originally wanted to use the word conscience in the first Amendment where it says freedom of religion. That would have helped clarify the Founders’ intentions that every American was free to believe according to their conscience. Not free to coerce their fellow Americans to believe in certain dogma. There were corporation in early America and one would think if the Founders had wanted to give them person-hood and the rights which go with it, they would have done so. Republicans also discovered “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.” No wonder we have heard little about so-called conservative originalism since then.

One can be fairly certain that as the economy climbs out of the ditch conservatives drove it into they will take credit for the recovery. Only the fact based community knows otherwise,

The Republican argument, as explained by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, is that the election results combined with the tax cut deal injected a new sense of “certainty” into the economy, which immediately translated into job creation. How you evaluate that thesis depends in part on whether you think companies make their hiring plans according to their future expectation of what taxes will be like or on the much more pressing question of whether they need more workers to satisfy current demand. But a closer look at the numbers also undermines the GOP thesis. In 2010, new jobless claims benefits peaked in August, and then started a more or less steady decline, long before the election or any tax deal. A score of other economic indicators started flashing the green light around the same time. It all came too late to help Democrats in the midterm elections, but the change was there to see nonetheless.

If the U.S. Constitution is perfect one would think it would be the document – both the explicit and implicit laws expressed in that document – which Cons would defer in making their arguments. That has not been the case – Haley Barbour and the GOP Confederacy of Dunces

As the health care reform debate reached its climax in March, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia was among those longing for the days of the ante bellum South. Missing the irony that health care is worst in those reddest of Southern states where Republicans poll best, Broun took to the House floor to show that he was still fighting the Civil War:

“If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States — the Great War of Yankee Aggression.”

If you thought you had heard that outdated term of Dixie revisionist history recently, you did. In February 2009, Missouri Republican Bryan Stevenson took exception to President Obama’s support for the Freedom of Choice Act, legislation which would codify the reproductive rights protections of Roe v. Wade nationwide:

“What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression.”

Who continues to call the treason of the Confederacy “the war of northern aggression”. It is not Americans who believe our guiding document is the U.S. Constitution.

How far Right and unhinged can conservatism go? Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is a far right ideologue. He gets a conservative rating of 60 by the very right-wing Conservative Union. That he does not get a 90 or better like such extremists as Steve King (R-IA) or Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shows how far out of the mainstream the conservative movement has become. But Lugar at least recognizes that a political ideology must have at least a few cogent ideas and be able to articulate those ideas, GOP Sen. Dick Lugar Chides Tea Party Movement For Offering Only ‘Cliché’ And No ‘Specifics’

Lugar’s moderate stances and cooperation with the White House have earned him scorn from many conservatives, and tea party activists in Indiana are gearing up to field a primary challenger against Lugar in 2012. The senator has said he is ready for a challenge from his right, and this week, Lugar seemed to increase such a possibility by taking an opening shot at the tea party. As quoted by US News, Lugar said the conservative activists are “unhappy about life in America,” but traffic only in “cliché” and “are not able to articulate all the specifics”:

“I think there are a great number of Americans, not just in Indiana, who are genuinely angry about how things have turned out for them. Sometimes they are unemployed or they have family members who have been unemployed or they are in situations in which they feel a heavy governmental restriction of their activities. In essence, they are unhappy about life in America and they want to express themselves.”

Lugar says most just want to be heard, but really can’t focus on what’s bugging them. “We want this or that stopped or there is spending, big government—these are all, we would say, sort of large cliché titles, but they are not able to articulate all the specifics,” he says.

In other words a sentence constructed as a noun, a verb and its unconstitutional are not the makings of a movement or an answer to any issues of public policy. On the contrary such bizarre inconsistent behavior are  hallmarks of a mob ruled by craziness and hatred.


Ryan and Bachmann Lied Like Jackals and Medicare Actuary Contradicts Own Report

Build Something Architecture wallpaper

Rep. Paul Road Map Ryan((R-WI) delivered the conservative response to President Obama’s SOTU as did Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). First, let’s look at Ryan, who Republicans still refer to as their budget wunderkin, even though they largely ignored his radical economic road map. Ryan made a huge issue out of the deficits, but from 2001 to present he has supported the slash and burn tax and revenue policies of the Bush administration. Ryan ( Bush’s) economic policies have made the deficit about $3 trillion dollars than they would be if Ryan or a cadre of Washington conservatives really cared about fiscal responsibility. Ryan is also supposed to be one of conservatism’s young lions ( he has described himself as such), the future of the Republican Partay. The new Republicans have the same malignant disabilities of the old Republicans, they’d fall on their faces, be exposed as the morally and intellectually vacant husks they are with the Big Lies as a crutch. Fact Checking Rep. Ryan’s State Of The Union Response

RYAN: The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus. All of this new government spending was sold as ‘investment.’ Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.

“Failed Stimulus?” When President Obama Took Office The Economy Was Shedding Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs Per Month…

The Economy Shed Almost 8 Million Jobs Under Republican Policies Before The Recovery Act Could Affect The Economy.

[   ]….PolitiFact: Counting Stimulus Spending In 2010 Is “A Nifty Accounting Maneuver.” In a November 2010 fact check of Rep. Ryan’s “84 percent” claim, wrote:

Barely TrueOutside experts that PolitiFact Wisconsin spoke with quibble a bit about the annual budget figures Ryan uses, but the numbers are not really in dispute. And they do show a big jump — from $434 billion in 2008 to $537 billion in 2010.

But that’s a 24 percent increase, not the 84 percent claimed by Ryan and his colleagues.

Where would conservative critters like Ryan be without lying. Either looking for honest work or on the wing-nut welfare circuit spoon-feeding pabulum to the rubes. Despite reports just a couple of years ago that supply-side(voodoo) economics were dead, Ryan is a reminder that conservatives memes are like zombies. America’s economy crashes, largely due to conservative economic policies and it is all the fault of poor people and George Soros. Conservatism is not so much a political movement as a religious cult. Taxes, health care reform, jobs , the deficit… there was nothing in Ryan’s SOTU response that was not informed by incoherent fantasies.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) delivered her own response, ostensibly on behalf of the tea baggers. There was some objection to Bachmann delivering her own response. In her defense if she wanted to have a response and a network was willing to carry it than good for her. Too bad that the House’s own Progressive caucus did not take advantage and push CNN for time to reply to her speech. Anyway, Bachmann has never been known for her level of accuracy or honorable behavior. She is a blind ideologue and her fans love her for it. She has no compunctions about lying what so ever, Fact Checking Rep. Bachmann

BACHMANN: Unfortunately, the President’s strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money.[…] Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent. And sadly, it hasn’t been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs. Let me show you a chart. Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent. In 2008 it was at 6.6 percent. But, just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1 percent.

Rate of Job Growth - Bush/Republican Years Versus Obama

Not only devoid of any fact, but a blatant hypocrisy. Republicans cut taxes and spent like mad men for eight years. They put that debt on the Chinese credit card. V.P. Cheney famously said deficits don’t matter. Suddenly deficits, much of which are a result of policies Bachmann supported, are a threat. In addition to lying and the hypocrisy is the utter lack of any genuine core convictions. If we assume that Bachmann and Ryan honestly believe the bull they shovel out for mass consumption they don’t have mental acuity of a tree stump.

Right-wing conservative bloggers have seized on this news, Medicare official doubts health care law savings

Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare’s independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.

The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates.

Foster’s assessment came a day after Obama in his State of the Union message told lawmakers that he’s open to improvements in the law, but unwilling to rehash the health care debate of the past two years. Republicans want to repeal the landmark legislation that provides coverage to more than 30 million people now uninsured, but lack the votes.

Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true or false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.

On the costs issue, “I would say false, more so than true,” Foster responded.

As for people getting to keep their coverage, “not true in all cases.”

Writing at the Washington Post – a paper conservatives still claim is a ho bed of liberal bias – Jennifer Rubins cites this actuary’s testimony and Road map Ryan as the smoking gun that the entire Affordable Care Act is a shame. Jen, as is the habit of those afflicted with conservatism does not do details or research,

Rep. Paul Ryan 1, ObamaCare 0
By Jennifer Rubin

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) held an important hearing on ObamaCare, showing just how important is the process for educating the public, and thereby setting defenders of ObamaCare back on their heels.

Rubin also throws in some testimony from someone at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Which happens to be a right-wing front group who thinks Paul Ryan walks on water. Since Jen likes to keep score, lets add that up. Two right-wing conservatives testifying to a Committee chaired by right-wing ideologues, plus one actuary equals the Right 1, Obama O. Republicans cannot get even single digit arithmetic right without spinning it. The Medicare actuary may have some points to make about Medicare and cost containment, but as is usually the case it is not as simple as the Right would like everyone to believe. First, Foster ( the actuary) say that costs for some Medicare recipients will go up because we’re doing away with Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage was supplemental insurance the government was subsidizing. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Is it now the Ryan and Republican position that the government should rescue this costly government entitlement? We all know that it is not. So complaints about Medicare Advantage are solely for the sake of scoring political points and slices away a large part of Foster’s “concern” that medicare recipient benefits are going down. Those on Medicare who want supplemental insurance can still buy it in what Republicans should be passingly familiar with – the open market. Foster’s larger point about savings is debatable. Why would I say that. Because a report by his office in September of last year – well after the Affordable care Act was passed said so, The Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – National Health Expenditure Projections 2009-2019 (September 2010)(pdf)

Provisions of the Affordable Care Act are projected to result in a lower average annual Medicare spending growth rate for 2012 through 2019 (6.2 percent), 1.3 percentage points lower than pre-reform estimates. The relatively lower projected Medicare expenditure growth rate reflects reduced annual payment updates for most Medicare services, substantial reductions to managed care plan payments, and the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

I have not had time to study this entire report also put out by the Medicare actuary’s office, but it does contain this paragraph in the reading I’ve gotten to –2010 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF THE FEDERAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICAL INSURANCE TRUST FUNDS(pdf)

The financial projections shown for the Medicare program in this report represent a substantial, but very uncertain, improvement over those in recent years as a result of the far-reaching provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010). Compared to the projections in last year’s annual report, projected Medicare costs as a percentage of GDP are 12 percent lower in 2019, 20 percent lower in 2030, and 43 percent lower in 2080. The legislation postpones the estimated date of exhaustion for the HI trust fund from 2017 in last year’s report to 2029. At 0.66 percent of taxable payroll, the long-range actuarial deficit for HI is only one-sixth of its prior level. Projected long-range expenditures for SMI Part B are also substantially lower than before, while Part D expenditures are slightly lower.

It is important to note, however, that the substantially improved results for HI and SMI Part B depend in part on the long-range feasibility of lower increases in Medicare payment rates to most categories of health care providers, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Moreover, in the context of today’s health care system, these adjustments would probably not be viable indefinitely into the future.

WaPo’s right-wing columnist sees slam-dunk, ObamaCare will never work. Cooler heads might read this report and conclude there is likely some necessary tweaking ahead. That is kind of subtle thinking. Thinking not blinded by Obama Derangement Syndrome. No surprise that progressive thinkers took up this very issue almost two years ago. Lin Nichols makes the kind of obvious observation that flies over the head of the right-wing dogmatists. COSTS: The Price of Pessimism — What the CMS Actuaries Missed

Small growth in National Health Expenditures is a good deal.  The CMS actuaries estimate that after all is said and done, national health spending will claim 0.3 percent more of GDP in 2019 than under current baseline trajectories.  They come to this conclusion despite being pessimistic about behavioral responses to delivery system reforms and despite assuming we will be covering 34 million more Americans by that time.  In other words, even analysts who are pessimistic about savings assert that we can just about pay for covering most of the uninsured out of savings from elsewhere in the health system.  Even a little more success than they project (far less than the percentage they were wrong about the Medicare Drug Benefit) and we will be covering the uninsured at lower cost than we would have spent without reform.

In sum, there are some fine analysts at OACT, and Rick Foster and his team serve our nation well as actuaries of the Medicare program.  When it comes to knowledge of the delivery system and the under-65 population, however, they are perhaps less up to speed than McKinsey or CBO.  People should not get hung up on their judgments about the potential for delivery system change.  People should notice, however, that they estimate the savings provisions in the House legislation will generate $20 billion more over 10 years than CBO estimates.  This is their area of relative expertise.  Predicting behavioral responses, of hospital CEOs or of uninsured individuals, is not.

All future costs should be in the context of where we were headed without some kind of reform – something conservatives had plenty of opportunity to do during the Bush era and during the health care reform debate. As the generally conservative and often times overly cautious Kaiser Foundation noted,

Health care costs have been rising for several years. Expenditures in the United States on health care surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008, more than three times the $714 billion spent in 1990, and over eight times the $253 billion spent in 1980. Stemming this growth has become a major policy priority, as the government, employers, and consumers increasingly struggle to keep up with health care costs. [1]

In 2008, U.S. health care spending was about $7,681 per resident and accounted for 16.2% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); this is among the highest of all industrialized countries. Total health care expenditures grew at an annual rate of 4.4 percent in 2008, a slower rate than recent years, yet still outpacing inflation and the growth in national income. Absent reform, there is general agreement that health costs are likely to continue to rise in the foreseeable future.

What has been and continues to be the conservative answer to millions of uninsured Americans and spiraling health care costs, to act like Jennifer Rubin and throw peanuts from the gallery. They have no ideas and no solutions, so spin and hysteria is their standard response.

Black and White City from the Hill wallpaper

city skyline

Black and White City from the Hill wallpaper

Warm Tones Coffee wallpaper

Almost to the last day of the Bush 43 presidency everything that was wrong with the country was President Clinton’s fault – 9/11, the economy, education. Ann Coulter even claimed our culture was deteriorating because of The Big Dog. The Clinis has some mighty influence ( according to polls still one of our most popular presidents), but is hardly that powerful. As son as Bush left office everything wrong with the economy was President Obama’s fault. Judging solely by wing-nut conservative memes Bush’s presidency was irreverent. Republican control of three branches of government for six of Bush’s eight years measures so small on the political Richter scale, they never governed. How can conservatives claim credit for anything if everything is always someone else’s fault, even when they are in charge. Such obscene mental gymnastics are one of the fringe benefits of being a conservative. It ranks among one of their top recruiting tools. Like lying till your pants burst into flames? Be a Republican. Goodness knows the media, the broadcast media in particular, are not going to hold you accountable. NBC’s Brian Williams has a McMansion to pay for and a village he has to pacify. He’s not going to engage in any actual critical analysis which might endanger his elite lifestyle. The same is true of CBS and ABC. So it is no surprise a Republican Congress, in office all of three weeks are claiming credit for some positive economic indicators, even if they voted against all the programs which have edged the economy forward and certainly kept the ditch was being even deeper. GOP Takes Credit, Deflects Blame on Economy. Again.

Over the past year, the U.S. economy added 1.1 million new jobs overall, including 1.3 million in the private sector, which enjoyed 12 straight months of growth. By last June, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the Obama stimulus program had saved or created up to 3.3 million jobs, lowered the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8% and boosted GDP by 4.5%. A recent analysis of Census data by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) revealed that federal programs kept 4.5 million Americans out of poverty in 2009. For his part, former John McCain adviser Mark Zandi in August concluded that the combined federal interventions beginning in the fall of 2008 prevented the Great Recession from becoming Depression 2.0…

[  ]…Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, argued two weeks ago, for example, that the recent good news — private-sector job growth, big corporate profits, major gains in the major Wall Street indexes — that occurred throughout 2010 were the result of Republican tax policies. As Kyl sees it, business leaders in early 2010 predicted the tax policy agreement crafted in late 2010, and started growing the economy based on their future-predicting abilities.

On Fox News last week, House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) offered a related argument, insisting that indications of economic improvements are “in large part” because Republicans “won our majority and we’re pursuing pro-growth policies.”

“Pro-growth policies”? These pretentious serial liars have not enacted a single piece of economic legislation thus far. The last major economic/spending bill passed was the Obama tax cuts/stimulus package of the Democratic Congress of December 2010. A package of spending and tax cuts which would have been vetoed had Republicans some how passed the tax cuts alone. Those tax cuts, totaling $3.9 trillion in lost revenue would have been enough to pay for the unspecified $2.5 trillion Republicans would like to cut from the current budget. So once again the facts are on the side of the reality based community. So this Republican meme that they are responsible for any and all up turns in the economy will die the kind of miserable death all such lies should face. Not really. I’m surmising that the people who regularly visit this blog probably read some other blogs, plus some economists like Krugman or Brad Delong. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at HuffPo. In addition to some articles at web magazines – Salons’ Andrew Leonard for example, The best proof that the jobs market is improving? Republicans want to take credit for it

But a closer look at the numbers also undermines the GOP thesis. In 2010, new jobless claims benefits peaked in August, and then started a more or less steady decline, long before the election or any tax deal. A score of other economic indicators started flashing the green light around the same time. It all came too late to help Democrats in the midterm elections, but the change was there to see nonetheless.

However, objective truth means little in politics. The speed with which President Obama inherited responsibility for a disaster not remotely of his own making tells us all we need to know about who gets blame, or credit, for what’s happening in the economy. As the economy continues to improve, Republicans will claim more and more credit, and many people will believe them.

So informed readers will either laugh this off as just another incidence of Republican feculence. Others will be a little angry at the unmitigated arrogance and lack of honor. Many of your neighbors and associates will not. They’ll get home from work, catch a few minutes of Fox and presto, a new decades long meme becomes wedged in the public consciousness. Want to become a Democrat. There are certainly rewards for choosing to be a descent human being whose concept of democracy does not include creating an authoritarian plutocracy, but get used to spending your whole life fighting for the truth and against complacency.

Republicans took a giant dumb on the law? Who would believe the high potentates of values would do such a thing, Bush White House Broke Elections Law, Report Says

The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.

The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns.

The report, based on about 100,000 pages of documents and interviews with 80 Bush administration officials in an investigation of more than three years, documented how these political activities accelerated before the 2006 midterm elections.

Such antics are a violation of the Hatch Act. Not to worry about any public apologies from the rabid Right on yet an episode in their never-ending war on ethics in government – they’ll probably claim the Hatch Act is unconstitutional. In the summer of 2010 right-wing welfare queen and granite expert Michelle Malkin, after eight years of total silence on all the “czars’ in the Bush administration, complained,

Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decision-making. While past administrations dating back to the Nixon era have designated such “superaides,” none has exploited and extended the concept as widely as Obama has…

There is not a lack of consistency regarding ethics from the Right side of American politics, there simply is  a minuscule standard of ethics. Conservatives outrage is reserved for trumped up conspiratorial nonsense.

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776. Wikipedia has an entry on the Delaware Bay. There is a Delaware Bay ecology focused group on FaceBook called Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Speaking of FaceBook, Twitter and social media, thanks to those who are sharing my posts.

By way of The Sideshow this timely article on how the village nuts argue, The Rules, all of them (so far)

Rule #1: Deny, deny, deny.

Rule #2: Attack, attack, attack.

Rule #3: When facts are undeniable, change the subject. This can be done in various ways, for example:
– Introduce irrelevant details on a tangential point.
– Pluck out from what your opponent said an individual phrase you think you can attack, even if it’s one that was just tossed off quickly, and treat that as if it’s the focus of the entire discussion.
– More subtly, try to tie your opponent up in piles of minutia to the point where everyone, including your opponent, loses track of the thrust of their argument.
– Apply Rule #4.
Whenever possible, insist that your changed subject is the “real” one under discussion.

Rule #4: Issue a lengthy, ranting denunciation of “the left” of the form “What about…,” being sure to include the words “hypocrites” and/or “hypocrisy,” thereby arguing that the left can’t legitimately criticize the right, while by using this tactic insisting that the right can continue to criticize the left. (Note: Where possible, include the phrase “you liberals.”)

There are 13 more and they get better as you go down. The ones above are especially true in regards to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Where would they be in terms of the ongoing debate without their deep convictions that shouting a lie, a distortion or a half-truth over and over again magically makes it the new reality. #5 seems to have had a dog whistle effect – “Make the particular stand for the whole. Find something offensive or silly some liberal or leftist, somewhere, sometime, said or did and label it as identifying the entire left half of the American political spectrum. Demand that your opponent spend their time denouncing that example rather than discussing the original topic.” PowerLine’s Assrocket joins the on the Glenn Beck pile on. This may be news to many liberals but it turns out that when Woodrow Wilson is not shoving America into Stalinism from beyond the grave, an elderly professor named Frances Fox Piven is part of the all powerful cabal of radical leftists who secretly control everyone’s life, up to and including your taste in Popsicles.

Who is The Left?

The Left is someone in charge of how to discuss shootings in Tucson. Also the Left is in charge of where elected officials sit at the State of the Union address. Also the Left mixes metaphors to profit and is in charge of speech shutdowns.

Many in the center to liberal part of the political spectrum has have co-opted the term “left” to apply to liberalism. A political tradition and philosophy grounded in such classic political philosophers as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. The far Right likes to use it is a wide net to include everyone who works for a living, thought about joining a union, does not want their children to have to drink water with toxic waste it or thinks the police should be held accountable when they shoot an unarmed man. In other words it has never been easier to qualify as a leftist. AssRocket present this video as his smoking gun that Piven is pro violence so any death threats made by the Right must be justified. There are a few problems with that. In the video her frame of reference is the Civil Rights movement in which far more heads were busted by anti-protesters than civil rights activists. In the end Piven asks, in the way professors tend to do, if violence is something you want to be a part of in addressing social issues. AssRocket, a lawyer, seems to have conveniently forgotten what a rhetorical question is. Add this to the list of rules, not just for liberals, but left of center libertarians, independents and assorted unaffiliated Americans. When asked about any violence under any circumstances, you must always condemn it and advocate absolute pacifism. Any other answer will be twisted by the Right to be a gotcha. All that said I’m not particularly a fan of Piven, but she has hardly earned the designation of “Marxist Machiavelli” who hates the U.S. Constitution, Glenn Beck’s Attacks on Frances Fox Piven Trigger Death Threats

In fact, Piven has never encouraged or celebrated violence in any of her writings or speeches. She’s long been a proponent using the combined power of voting and grassroots protest to bring about change. In her writings, she examines the history of protest and documents how tactics such as pickets, rallies, strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and civil disobedience – the kind of activism that once catapulted a young Baptist minister in Montgomery to the national limelight, an icon whose birthday we just celebrated as a national holiday – often pressure powerful figures in business and government to pay attention to grievances they had previously ignored and level the political playing field.

As Piven explains in her books, articles, and speeches, protest can give powerless people a voice and lead to important reforms, like the eight-hour day, women’s right to vote, desegregation of public schools and universities, and increased funding for social programs like food stamps and welfare.

When protest turns violent, Piven has documented, it is typically because the police, the National Guard, or private militias and goon squads hired by business attack the protestors with billy clubs and guns.

But sometimes angry people do riot. Piven is hardly the first academic to note that when people are frustrated by the slow pace of change, or by an incident of police brutality, they occasionally resort to civil unrest. Langston Hughes, the celebrated African American writer, made the same observation in his famous poem, “Dream Deferred,” written in 1951. “What happens to a dream deferred?” Hughes asked. “Does it dry up, Like a raisin in the sun?…Or does it explode?”

Neither Hughes, nor Piven, nor the hundreds of other social observers who explored why angry people sometimes explode – southern lynch mobs, Old West vigilantes, and the urban poor – were condoning violence. They were simply explaining it as a persistent reality in American history.

But Piven has also been interested in the other side of that question – why, in the face of much suffering and injustice, do so many people, especially the poor, remain passive, as if they accept their lot in life as something immutable, or blame themselves, or “bad luck,” for their misfortune, rather than channel their frustrations and anger in political action, such as voting or participating in protest?

Hotair is the Right’s Daily Kos according to Alexia traffic figures, so not an out on the fringe place to grab quotes from. This is from a March 8, 2009 post by Ed Morrissey bragging about the tea bagger’s right to do what Piven advocates,

KFI’s John and Ken decided to put a little local star power behind the “tea party” tax protest movement in Southern California, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.  As many as 15,000 protesters descended onto sleepy Fullerton to noisily demand an end to tax hikes in California and the nation…

Bloody Arnold Schwarzenegger head on stick at tea bagger protest

Another episode of Conservative Jeopardy. When is it OK for thousands of protesters to “noisily demand” their agenda be fulfilled immediately. When right-wingers do it. What are they protesting? Taxes. Who had just advocated a tax cut for the middle-class ( one of his first of two)? That would be President Obama with the help of Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). So the Right not only thinks their civil disobedience is OK, they are not required to have protests based on real things to protest about.

Another right-wing rule. When you’ve lost the debate – facts have been presented which render the Conservative side of the argument false and irrelevant – wait a while and pretend like the facts never existed. Thus the meme which lives on like a Republican Zombie. Wing-nut Mike Stopa writing at the Boston Globe ( darn that liberal media) states, The reality of death panels – ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics

In December, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a regulation, since rescinded by the Obama administration, that would have allowed doctors to be reimbursed for “voluntary advanced care’’ planning. When the regulation was publicized, it resulted in a renewed outcry that such end-of-life planning provisions presage the inevitable death panels of ObamaCare.

Stopa admits such counseling is purely voluntary. His beef seems to be based on making such counseling available in any form. He wants to take away a patients right to voluntarily get end of life counseling. Having openly admitted he is wrong and tacitly admitting he wants to greatly deter the personal freedom of patients, he asserts one of the more bizarre and sick fantasies as fact as I’ve read,

Moreover, the suspicion that such programmed advance planning conceals ulterior motives is exacerbated by the fact that relatively few patients will ultimately benefit from it. It is mainly of value for those who do not die suddenly, who have no trustworthy relations to maintain their power of decision, and who lose their wits a potentially long time before their death.(bold mine)

Where did he get the “programmed advice’ from? As Stopa is basing his entire argument on pure speculation, we have license to speculate Mike pulled that out of some part of his anatomy through which doctors perform prostate examinations. So a few patients voluntarily request end of life counseling and a few patients benefit. What’s his point? Just because it benefits some people we should not make such counseling available under any circumstances. Stopa obviously flunked logic class. Other than finding that out he does not provide much in the way of  insight. Conservatives4palin( isn’t that clever using a 4) thought this essay was the best thing since Cheez Whiz on stale white bread – their intro and part of the excerpt they use, Mike Stopa: The Reality of Death Panels

In a piece at the Boston Globe, Mike Stopa explores Governor Palin’s metaphoric use of the term “death panels” and concludes that she was exactly right, given the rationing required in any socialized health care system. Stopa also describes how the price controls contained in Obamacare will necessarily stifle the innovation required to develop new, life-saving pharmaceuticals. Excerpts follow:

[  ]…To the extent that ObamaCare ultimately succeeds in imposing uniformity on basic health care, it will likely lead to the creation of secondary markets for providing insurance against various health eventualities and access to “heroic’’ procedures to extend life. Water runs downhill and it’s a good thing that it does. First, we need to have people buy the expensive medicines and experimental technologies. Europe has discovered this as its regulated system of medicine has driven its pharmaceutical industry farther and farther behind that of the United States. Capping costs kills innovation.

Lets say for a moment pretend that the Affordable Care Act (health care reform or Obamacare if you like) is a government program. That would kill medical innovation and the development of pharmaceuticals like what? The fifty year old Medicare program or veterans medical benefits guaranteed by the government starting in 1811 should have killed and buried medical innovation a hundred times over by now. If every dime of drug research money comes from drug companies someone needs to get a refund for the American public. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) taxpayer-funded scientists conducted 55 percent of the research projects that led to the discovery and development of the top five selling drugs in 1995. According to another study only 22% of the drugs drug companies brought to market during the 80s and 1990s were innovative drugs that represented important therapeutic gains over existing drugs. And thanks to tax breaks and subsides the drug industry realizes one of the lowest tax rates of any industry. It is no surprise that Palin acolytes would not bother with a little research in order to grab on to anyone willing to defend one of the originators of the death panel myth – voted Politifacts lie of the year in 2009. And a reminder that Republicans were for “death panels” before they were against them,

Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

Let’s go to the bill text, shall we? “The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary’s need for pain and symptom management, including the individual’s need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.”

Where are conservatives getting their advice on what is or is not Constitutional? Everyone knows the best place to start is to base one’s views on the same folks who remain steadfast in their allegiance to the treason of the Confederacy, Idaho Lawmakers Cite Founder Of Neo-Confederate Hate Group To Justify Plan To Nullify Health Reform

One of the worst examples of the right wing’s contempt for the Constitution is the bevy of unconstitutional proposals state lawmakers have introduced attempting to nullify the Affordable Care Act. The Constitution expressly states that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” so our founding document specifically denies the states a veto power over federal laws.

Nonetheless, a group of Idaho lawmakers are drawing inspiration for an unconstitutional nullification bill from an unusual source — a co-founder of a neo-Confederate hate group:

Though a 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirmed that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is promoting the nullification idea, too. In his January 10 State of the State speech, he told Idaho residents “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.”

Sen. Monty Pearce, an Idaho GOP lawmaker who plans to introduce a nullification bill early next week, wanted to be the first one to give Otter a recently published book on the subject, “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.”

But Otter beat him to the punch.

“I took that copy and tried to give it to the governor,” he said, pointing to a copy on his desk. “He already had a copy.” . . .

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., author of the 2010 book “Nullification” that Otter and Pearce have in their Idaho Capitol offices, argues states have the final say on issues as grave as when the government forces citizens to spend their hard-earned money.

Woods is, to say the least, a questionable source of counsel for a sitting state governor and state senator. One of the founders of the neo-Confederate League of the South, Woods once published an article declaring the Confederacy to be “Christendom’s Last Stand.” In it, he endorses the view that the Civil War was a battle between “atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other,” and he concludes that “[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.”

Glenn W. LaFantasie recently wrote about the Right’s love affair with secession, treason and revisionist’s history of the Confederacy and the Civil War, 150 years later, a campaign to deny that the South’s exodus from the union was a revolution is in full force

If by defeating the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Union did not prove conclusively that secession could not be legally sustained, the point was made emphatically clear in the 1869 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Texas v. White. In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (a Republican appointed by Lincoln), the court ruled that under the Articles of Confederation, adopted by the states during the American Revolution, “the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?”

Retro Blue Globe wallpaper

Retro Blue Globe wallpaper

The GOP’s war against the poor and sick. The new Republican plan to cut the deficit: Hit poverty-stricken Americans where it will hurt the most

The Republican Study Committee, aka “the caucus of House conservatives,” has released a list of proposed spending cuts that it says will add up to $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Dave Weigel has a tidy summary here. Although for the most part the line items add up to a list of cherished liberal priorities (no defense spending or homeland security cuts here, no indeed!), I’m guessing that the average person will glance at it and see some things that they don’t think the government should be funding. Mohair subsidies?

But it’s worth drilling down on the third biggest item on the list — weighing in at $16.1 billion — the “Repealing Medicaid FMAP increase,” because I can’t think of anything that better demonstrates the priorities of the current Republican Party.

As Leonard points out we do not have quite the problem with good old-fashioned pain, death and misery in the streets during the Great Recession as compared to the Great Depression because as the Obama administration took office, they authorized a big increase in Medicaid funding. That was part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, otherwise known as the stimulus bill. This special appropriation of funds was called FMAP — Federal Medical Assistance Percentage. Those appropriations saved a lot of public sector jobs. People who continued to buy stuff and keep the economy from getting even worse. Those funds are about depleted ( ending June 2011). Does it matter FMAP has a stimulus effect and provides health care for millions. Not if you’re a conservative. Even if you are a conservative with elderly or poor relatives. What’s important is cutting the deficit. It is the year of the born again deficit peacocks. House Conservatives Introduce Spending Cuts: $2.5 Trillion Over Ten Years

The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years — “repeal” of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid’ FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:

– Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.
– Killing the “fund for Obamacare administrative costs” for $900 million
– Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion
– Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion
– Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion
– Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC’s transit authority by $150 million.

Republicans are actually saying they will cut the deficit by $2.5 trillion. The problem is they can only come up with $330 billion in specific cuts. The rest are presumed waiting out there in the ether of the night to be tracked down at some future date by the same people who guaranteed us invading Iraq would pay for itself. One way Republicans think they can kill the Affordable Care Act is through the back door – not provide funding. The problem with blocking the implementation of ObamaCare is that it would increase the deficit over the years 2012-2019 by $290 billion. It would also have a devastating effect on the majority of American workers and small business,

1. 50 Million Uninsured
2. 25 Million More Underinsured
3. Rapid Deterioration of Employer-Based Coverage
4. 1 in 5 Americans Already Postponing Their Medical Care
5. Over 60% of Bankruptcies Due to Medical Bills
6. Family Premiums Would Double in 10 Years
7. Near-Monopoly Status in 94% of Insurance Markets
8. Dramatic Decline in Emergency Room Capacity
9. 45,000 Uninsured Americans Needlessly Dying Each Year
10. Continued Faiure for Red State Health Care

Republicans need to demonize health care reform with the death panels myths to distract from the fact they will kill more Americans with legislation than Jared Loughner could ever dream of.

Repeal Davis-Bacon? DB is a near century old act of congress which says contractors are required to pay prevailing local wages for government projects. Why would conservatives object to a worker being paid a fair wage. It goes back to their plantation philosophy of capitalism. If they have to pay wages, that’s ok, but lets not feel morally or even economically obligated to pay someone enough to live above poverty level.

Cutting the federal work force. Adding millions of people to the roles of the unemployed during a recession seems counter productive. Lets say the economy constitutes to pick up steam. Even than could the private sector make up for 15% of about 750, 000 civilian federal employees. This is a tricky figure to begin with since so much of what was formerly done by government agencies is now outsourced. In 2009 we paid $540 billion to government contractors. Much of this zeal for outsourcing was by way of conservatives – with some help from the usual conservative Democrats. Those contractors – Blackwater(Xe) and a 1000 others see the govmint as their cash cow – A hidden world, growing beyond control

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

There is no indication from this latest pandering to deficit peacock fever Republicans are willing to challenge much of the status quo on anything related to military spending. They have put foreign aid on the table but the two biggest recipients of that relative small amount of aid are Israel and Egypt. Conservatives say they will not go after Social Security and Medicare. As usual when it comes to those programs watch what they do not what they say. How much could conservatives have cut the deficit if they acted responsibly and advocated for most of the Bush tax cuts expire? About $3.9 trillion. Let’s imagine a few things. We had a time machine and Republicans were actually mature responsible adults. It is December 2010 and Republicans come up with a goal of reducing the deficit by $2.5 trillion. One easy, no gimmick way they could have done that is by keeping about $1.4 trillion of the old tax cuts – whatever income range that would have been, say everyone earning under $300k a year, and letting the rest expire. Now we’re nickel and diming our way to small reductions by way of cutting high-speed rail and making blue-collar workers get by on even less than they’re making now. Protect the wealthiest Americans at any cost and make those at the median income level and below pay for it. An obvious and egregious example of how blindly elitist the conservative movement continues to be.

Deficit With and Without Bush Tax Cuts

CCR Appeals to Fox News President for Help in Silencing Glenn Beck Misinformation Campaign Against Progressive Professor

Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued a written appeal to Fox News president Roger Ailes to help put a stop to the increasing threats against progressive Professor Frances Fox Piven, largely incited by Fox News host Glenn Beck.  In the letter, co-written by Legal Director Bill Quigley and Executive Director Vince Warren the CCR asks that Ailes distinguish between First Amendment rights, of which they are “vigorous defenders” and an “intentional repetition of provocative, incendiary, emotional misinformation and falsehoods [that place that person] in actual physical danger of a violent response.”

Beginning in September of 2010, Glenn Beck started branding Piven, a distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as an “enemy of the Constitution.”  Piven, well known for advocating for the organizational rights of the poor and encouraging voter registration, has since received threatening phone calls and letters, and has become the subject of many death threats left open to the public on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze.”

These conservative crackpots have been around since the Teddy Roosevelt administration, but Beck seems to have a special talent for bringing them out from under their rocks.

Morning Sun Forest wallpaper

Morning Sun Forest wallpaper

A couple different conservative views of the effort to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). One based on greed and one based on pure wingnuttery.  Bill Frist: Health Care Is ‘Law Of The Land,’ GOP Should Drop Repeal And Build On It. Did Frist have a sudden epiphany and become a responsible citizen and  humanitarian. That would be a leap for Doctor for Dollars,

This may be wishful thinking. As The Washington Examiner’s lobbying editor Tim Carney notes, Frist “is invested, literally, in the law.” He has made a fortune as a result of stock ownership from the family-founded Hospital Corporation of America, the for-profit hospital chain.

And than there is one of my favorite know nothings Rep. Steve King(R-IA). Steve King Claims Health Insurance Regulations Violate The Constitution. When a Democrat makes a sweeping statement like that they better be prepared to back it up. They better be prepared to be informed about the Constitution, the commerce clause in particular and the necessary and proper clause. Steve, who is always ready to live down to my low expectations, as is typically right-wing Republican, prefers the pull things out of his arse approach,

First of all [the Affordable Care Act] is unconstitutional. We can go through all of that component, Gordon, but, in the end, this trade off of giving up our personal decisions on what health insurance policy we choose to buy, what health insurance policy will be delivered to us because of market demands, and making decisions on doctors and tests and second opinions, as a whole list of things that are taken away from us under Obamacare. All of that, for what? So that we have a federal mandate that children must stay on our insurance until age 26? I want mine to grow up, as a matter of fact.

So few sentences. It looks like Stevie Boy would toss in an actual fact just to throw everyone off balance. Employers can choose whatever health care insurance they prefer to provide health care coverage. If an individual buys it on their own they will buy it from private carriers through the insurance exchange. The big spooky govmint ain’t going to come between you and your doctor. As Politifact noted, PPACA is a private sector solution – none of those pesky death panels. Canada has a single payer system and even in that evil Marxist scheme doctors and hospitals are private institutions who make their decisions based on the best results for the patient. Notice we do not hear horror stories from Canadians about being denied care or older relatives being put to death because of costs. The option for children to stay on their parents insurance has already become one of the most popular aspects of health care reform. Finally there are at least 100 legal scholars who not only disagree with Super Constitutional Steve, but actually took time to make their case in rational terms, Over 100 Law Professors Agree on Affordable Care Act’s Constitutionality(pdf)

We, the undersigned, write to explain why the “minimum coverage provision” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires most Americans who can afford it to have health insurance or pay a tax, rests on sound, long-established constitutional footing. The current challenges to the constitutionality of this legislation seek to jettison nearly two centuries of settled constitutional law.

Congress’s power to regulate the national healthcare market is unambiguous. Article I of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The national market in healthcare insurance and services, which Congress found amounts to over $2 trillion annually and consumes more than 17% of the annual gross domestic product, is unquestionably an important component of interstate commerce. One of the Framers’ primary goals was to give Congress the power to regulate matters of national economic significance because states individually could not effectively manage them on their own. The problems facing the modern healthcare system today are precisely the sort of problems beyond the reach of individual states that led the Framers to give Congress authority to regulate interstate commerce.

[   ]…In 2005, Justice Antonin Scalia explained that the necessary and proper clause gives Congress broad authority to ensure that its economic regulations work. In Justice Scalia’s words, “where Congress has authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective.” Just last term, a majority of the Supreme Court, in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, wrote that in “determining whether the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the legislative authority to enact a particular federal statute, we look to see whether the statute constitutes a means that is rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated power.”

A total of 13 pages of legal precedent and justification for the Constitutionality of the PPACA. More work and thinking than Steve has probably done in his lifetime. The people of Iowa are not getting their money’s worth. Even a chimp would have enough sense to step aside and let the adults do their job.

Good Q&A type article, Do Republican critiques of the healthcare law add up? As they campaign to repeal the law, they argue that it will hurt the job market and add to the federal budget deficit. Repealing reform will increase the deficit and will not be a job killer. It’s must be nice to be a modern-day Republican. No allegiance to the facts. No need for honor and honest debates. Just repeat the same lies over and over until they become the nationally accepted order from the czars of doublespeak.

Mid-terms were a downer, but the Right was a little a head of itself on all the triumphalism. The game changes fast and yesterdays bleak days for Democrats are already looking a little better, Bysiewicz Poll Shows Her Leading Lieberman

An internal poll conducted for the nascent campaign of former Conn. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) shows her narrowly ahead in Democratic primary matchups and three-way general election contests against incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) and the two GOP statewide nominees last year.

Try not to cry all over your keyboard, Joementum is retiring. Voluntarily, before he was trounced in 2012.

The vindication of Dick Cheney – By Glenn Greenwald

It overstates the case to say there are no differences.  There were some: Obama formally ended the “enhanced interrogation program” (the authorization for which had been withdrawn when he took office); banned CIA black sites (which were empty when he took office); and has not invoked the Article II lawbreaking theories of Bush’s first term (Bush largely abandoned them as well in his second term as Congress began legalizing his programs).  And there is a more conciliatory tone, and some greater technocratic efficiency, in some foreign policy pronouncements.  But the crux of Bush/Cheney radicalism — the mindset and policies that caused much of the controversy — continues and has even been strengthened.

Glenn asks why liberals are not making as much noise about this as they were a couple of years ago. I’m not sure exactly what Glenn wants. All the challenges to the excesses of the Bush – and now Obama national security policies have either played out in court, or as is usually the case they have been stopped in their tracks by the administration’s use of national security privilege to stop them in their tracks. I’m a back street blogger, but say The Nation, or Kos, or Rachel Maddow made regularly weekly rants about investigating the CIA and torture for example. Does Glenn really think that would make any difference. Even before the mid-terms we had a Congress that was very skittish about pushing such investigations. There is definitely no chance now for legislative branch inquires. So the courts have dead ended. The legislature is not going to do anything. That leaves bloggers shaking their fists. Not very effective in getting the executive branch and it’s Justice Department to take action. Glenn is frustrating sometimes, he has a list of grievances and no answers.

What will $6.5 billion buy? Two Girls Scale Border Fence In Under 20 Seconds (VIDEO)

Magnifying Glass and Old Map wallpaper

Magnifying Glass and Old Map wallpaper


Is there a contest underway to see who can be the biggest wing-nut dipstick. Gateway Pundit (Jim Hoft) seems to be ahead on points just judging from the last few days. The last we heard from Hoft he was scarfing up any web page he could find to prove Tucson murderer Jared Loughner was a liberal ( or a leftist. Hoft, like most right-wingers think they’re the same thing). In his desperation he posted a fake web page, Shameless: Jim Hoft Falls For Fake Facebook Profile In Attempt To Link Loughner To Obama. Hoft has since pulled that down, but MM has a screen shot. Which proved that conservative bloogers show the same standards for nutroots citizen journalism they display on the opinion page of the Wall St Journal. With the lesson in such recent memory most bloggers might have learned to take a breath and do a tiny bit of research before rushing to the latest smear. For that, one would have to have qualities like integrity and humility. These are not highly esteemed virtues among most conservatives, so true to form Hoft is back, Wingnut Blogger Jim Hoft Mistakes Closed Caption for Applause Prompt at Tucson Memorial ( screen shots at link). So the Right is trying to politicize the Tucson memorial the way they did with the Senator Paul Wellstone memorial service. L,G, and M has a good post on the Right’s latest freak out over how one should mourn, Who taught you how to mourn?

I can only imagine what critics of the memorial might do if they attended a Jewish one: “Why are these people screaming and ripping off their clothes?  Why is everyone pinning shreds of ripped cloth to their suits?  Who organized all these pins?”  If you actually have been close enough to someone of a different religion, race or class to attend a service for or with them and are still criticizing this execution of this one, you reveal the emptiness of your criticisms and the baseness of your convictions.

What did the queen of right-wing bed wetting take away from the memorial service? Obama is dying his hair and that is very ….something conservative folks with values like Jim Hofts find distasteful, Late Night: Obama’s DIE JOB!

The latest outrage is that the President of the United States may be dyeing his hair, which is wicked and conniving and wicked, for obvious reasons, these reasons being, well because. Anyone who dyes their hair is worse than Hitler, who didn’t dye his hair, but murdered millions of innocents.

Open Salon has a note from a closed captioner about the applause prompt – We Reject Your Reality and Substitute Our Own! It should go without saying that the same people who think President Obama is part of the greatest presidential hoax in history – his Hawaiian birth certificate – are not going to let some evidence change their lizard brains about an applause sign. They need urban myths like this the way an addict needs their crack. And MM has done a post on the closed captioning, No, Jim Hoft, The White House Did Not “Ask For” Applause On Jumbotron

President Reagan’s son Ron has stated in a new book that his dad’s Alzheimer’s may have come on as early as 1984 – Michael Reagan Rips Half-Brother Ron Over Book and Alzheimer’s Claim. Ron is a liberal as is his sister Patti Davis. There has been some speculation about the time frame in which Reagans’ Alzeimers started to appear. Such as Lesley Stahl of CBS News, in her 1999 book, Reporting Live. We may never know for sure. There are still mysteries and theories about Abraham Lincoln. Such are curses of being a public figure. According to the Reagan worship club this Alzheimers talk is going to reap great benefits for liberals. Conservative blogger Moe Lane, Trying to erase ‘tear down this wall.’( linked to as a great post by several other nutbars),

It is my first instinct to treat this report of Ronald Reagan Jr’s… commentary… by simply letting it pass by without a response.  For those not wishing to click through, the boy (use of term deliberate) is indulging elderly liberal fetishists everywhere by making the claim that his father was suffering from Alzheimer’s as far back as the 1984 debates*, as well as ‘details’ regarding a supposed operation in 1989 that had even the US News & World Report doing some fancy footwork in order to avoid having to declare it a lie.  It’s the Left; it’s pornography; it’s Left-porn.  Outside of that particular niche market, its utility is… low.

The problem with that simplistic analysis is that if Ronnie had been suffering from some kind of medically determined diminished mental capacity during his presidency than the Right can claim Reagan bears no responsibility for his disastrous administration. Reagan gave us Iran-Contra, the HUD scandals, the lobbying scandals, the EPA scandals and Reagan playing socialist( by conservative standards) with the Savings and Loans collapse and subsequent take-overs. The Reagan administration had more felony convictions than any presidential administration. Would diminished capacity also mean Reagan does not get credit for single handily bringing down the Soviet Union. Well, he didn’t and does not deserve credit anyway. That myth is a Conservative spit in the face to all the people who actually contributed, often in blood, to bringing down the Berlin Wall. Reagan was president at a time the Soviet Union was collapsing. An event predicted by economists and CIA analysts since the late 70s. Does he deserve credit for being at the right place at the right time, than stepping into the spot light to claim credit. He does deserve some credit, but in historical context. Imagine millions of people had been tearing down a great wall for fifty years. Reagan comes along and knocks over the stone. It is sad and ironic the Right wants to take credit for Reagan’s liberal legacy in regards to the Soviets, Tear Down That Myth

Though no evidence has turned up to corroborate the Rohrabacher account, the triumphal storyline has endured. What’s more, it has done so even though it runs counter to Mr. Reagan’s actual policies toward the Soviet Union at the time. From the autumn of 1986 through the end of his presidency in January 1989, Mr. Reagan was in fact moving steadily closer to a working accommodation with Mr. Gorbachev, conducting a series of summit meetings and signing a major arms control agreement — steps that were strongly opposed by the American right.

The opposing perspective on the Reagan speech is that it was nothing but a stunt. The adherents of this interpretation include not just Democrats or liberals but many veterans of the George H. W. Bush administration.

In a 1995 book about the end of the cold war, “Germany United and Europe Transformed,” two former officials of the first Bush administration, Condoleezza Rice and Philip Zelikow, minimized the significance of the Berlin Wall address and its role in the events leading up to the end of the cold war. They argued that after the speech was given there was no serious, practical follow-up. No one pursued any policy initiative with respect to the Berlin Wall. “American diplomats did not consider the matter part of the real policy agenda,” they wrote.

Others agreed. “I thought it was corny in the extreme,” Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to George H. W. Bush, told me. “It was irrelevant, that statement at that time.”

Even some of Mr. Reagan’s own senior foreign-policy officials seem to think the speech was not particularly noteworthy. In his 1,184-page memoir, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz does not mention the speech at all. Similarly, Jack C. Matlock, who served as Mr. Reagan’s Soviet adviser and then as United States ambassador to Moscow, does not discuss the speech in his own book about Mr. Reagan’s relations with the Soviets.

But those who dismiss the speech as insignificant miss the point, too. They fail to see its role in helping the president line up public support for his foreign policy.

Conservatives have been in search of a political messiah since the FDR administration. Historians still rate FDR and Lincoln ahead of Saint Ronnie. After Bush 43, who may go down as the worse president in the nation’s history, the Right seems even more determined to find a conservative savior. Ultimately Regan’s triumph’s were his liberal legacy of engagement with the Soviets and backing off the scorched earth conservative economic policies which he started in his first term. Bill Maher recently joked the Founders would have hated the tea baggers. As far Right as Reagan was there is no way Reagan would be elected today, in light of the far Right shift advocated by the likes of the tea baggers and Bush 43.