The Man of Commerce Map – Irreconcilable Differences, Democrats Are Adults, Republicans Are Brats

The Man of Commerce Map

“The Man of Commerce” is a detailed map that conflates human anatomy with the American transportation system. Published in 1889 by the Land & River Improvement Company of Superior, Wisconsin, the map promotes Superior as a transportation hub and shows the routes of 29 railroads across the United States. The outline map of North America is superimposed by a cutaway diagram of the human body. The map’s metaphor makes West Superior “the center of cardiac or heart circulation.” The railways become major arteries. New York is “the umbilicus through which this man of commerce was developed.” The explanatory notes conclude: “It is an interesting fact that in no other portion of the known world can any such analogy be found between the natural and artificial channels of commerce and circulatory and digestive apparatus of man.” Use of the human body as a cartographic metaphor dates back at least to the 16th century, to the anthropomorphic map of Europe as a queen in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography (1570). This map may be the earliest application of this metaphor to North America. The cartographer was A.F. McKay, who in 1889 briefly served as the editor of the Superior Sentinel newspaper. The map was engraved by Rand McNally. The American Geographical Society Library acquired the map in 2009, aided in part by the Map Society of Wisconsin. The only other known copy of this map is in a private collection.

Most of the time regionalism in the U.S. – a kind of localized nationalism – is between friends or business. People take pride in where they’re from and the advantages of living there. This map took regionalism to  extraordinary heights. Mckay had to really extend his imagination to make Superior THE U.S. hub of commerce. Below is the Sebastian Münster’s 1570 map done in a similar spirit for Europe. In 1570 there was tremendous trade competition between Europe and the two giants of commerce, India and China.

Anthropomorphic map of Europe as a queen in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography (1570)

As the presidential campaign heads into the summer I cannot help but wonder what people see when they look at Mitt Romney. As has been the frequently painful to watch spectacle of conservatives running for office on the morality ticket Romney can claim some traditional moral standards, like fidelity. Fidelity is a a moral issue, but more a personal one than political. If it is political certainly President Obama and the vast majority of Democratic officials can claim that moral ground as much as Mitt. Though these personal moral standards are not the only ones. According to one Gallop poll about morality there are only four issues that truly split the country, we all pretty much agree on everything else. There is a glaring omission from that poll: Obtaining money by nefarious means or outright stealing. To me that is a huge issue. If you’re at the median in income or below – half the country, if someone takes your laptop or smartphone, they are stealing work from you – the hours and labor you put in to make that purchase. That is in addition to the costs of the intangibles like personal information. When Mitt Romney and Bain raided corporations they always made sure they make money, lots and lots of money – sometimes taking government subsidies at tax payer expense and they made money whether the takeover resulted in the corporation surviving, making a profit after reorganization. This was all apparently legal, but was it moral. Was it right to lay off workers, outsource jobs and make still bill those companies for Bain’s “services”. Romney like to use the word freedom a lot in his speeches. Wonderful word freedom. yet in this Orwellian world we all know that words like freedom can be used by some malevolent characters to defend of egregious behavior. In that regard Romney is a typical Republican, use good words to mask deeply immoral actions. In terms of truthfulness and ethics, Romney may already have accomplished what would have seemed impossible just four years ago, surpassed George W. Bush in his magnitude of immoral behavior – and Mitt is not even president.

Ezra Klein write this editorial last year, Obama revealed: A moderate Republican

Take health-care reform. The individual mandate was developed by a group of conservative economists in the early ’90s. Mark Pauly, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, was one of them. “We were concerned about the specter of single-payer insurance,” he told me recently. The conservative Heritage Foundation soon had an individual-mandate plan of its own, and when President Bill Clinton endorsed an employer mandate in his health-care proposal, both major Republican alternatives centered on an individual mandate. By 1995, more than 20 Senate Republicans — including Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar and a few others still in office — had signed one individual mandate bill or another.

As we all know Obamacare is basically the same plan Romney signed into law in Massachusetts which was modeled on health care reform advocated by the far Right conservative Heritage Foundation. There are really only a couple of issues driving this election cycle. Most of them can be put under the general heading of the economy. The other is Right’s desire to destroy the health care reform plan that was modeled on their plan. There is a temptation to think that old canard about life being like high school is kind of funny, but not true. These men and women in Congress are serious people with good mature adult reasons for taking the positions they do, right? In regards Conservatives, life is like a high school where everyday is like playing king of the hill. That is why they are hell bent on repealing the ACA. President Obama and Democrats will get credit for doing something they did not have the political courage to do. Republicans support Obama’s health reforms — as long as his name isn’t on them

What’s particularly interesting about this poll is that solid majorities of Republicans favor most of the law’s main provisions, too.

I asked Ipsos to send over a partisan breakdown of the data. Key points:

* Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty-seven percent of Republicans support “providing subsidies on a sliding scale to aid individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.” That’s backed by 67 percent of independents.

* Fifty-four percent of Republicans favor “requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employers.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty two percent of Republicans favor “allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.” That’s backed by 69 percent of independents.

* Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” Those are backed by 82 percent of independents and 87 percent of independents.

* One provision that isn’t backed by a majority of Republicans: The one “expanding Medicaid to families with incomes less than $30,000 per year.”

“Most Republicans want to have good health coverage,” Ipsos research director Chris Jackson tells me. “They just don’t necessarily like what it is Obama is doing.”

I’d add that Republicans and independents favor regulation of the health insurance system in big numbers. But the law has become so defined by the individual mandate — not to mention Obama himself — that public sentiment on the reforms themselves has been entirely drowned out. It’s another sign of the conservative messaging triumph in this fight and the failure of Dems to make the case for the law.

Its like your mom and dad both made the exact same PB&J sandwich, but you liked mom’s best. There has been quite a bit of analysis written about how Democrats frame their messages. Time and again if you ask the public about a specific policy or piece of legislation without including labels, Democratic policies always win. On the issues the U.S. is left of center. So what kind of message do you formulate for adults who see the same two PB&J sandwiches and reject one because Democrats made it. Obama and Democrats did use mostly Conservative messages – health care reform will save the country money ( confirmed by the CBO). The mandate which the conservatives cited above championed, was the responsible thing to do. Yet Republicans are willing to increase the deficit – which they suddenly started caring about in 2009 – by $230 billion dollars. Romney, the guy running as a weirdly moral candidate promises to repeal the ACA, thus increase the deficit as part of his first 100 days as president. Moral Mittens will repeal legislation that Republicans support as long as it is known as Obama’s or Democrat’s legislation. We are not now or in the near future going to have one those mature serious and civil public debates about issues like health care reform, or the deficit or anything else because one of the participants in the debate is a diaper wearing, perpetually pouting brat.

That an ATF agent died, as well as hundreds of Mexicans makes Fast and Furious and its predecessor program tragic. Yet the political circus around it is ripe for satire. The Real Scandal of Fast and Furious

Actually, despite silly headlines like this, it’s not a complicated story at all. Operation Fast and Furious — hey, let’s give guns to bad guys, what could possibly go wrong? — was a bad idea, poorly done, and thus not unlike hundreds or thousands of other poorly conceived and executed government plans of recent memory. (Like the Iraq War, for example). The Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration before it, deserves no small measure of blame for thinking that such a dangerous, unwieldy sting could be completed, successfully, without a great deal of unintended pain and sorrow.

To the right, the story has been an election-year blessing, a roiling melange of: (1) gun righteousness; (2) antipathy toward Holder, and; (3) fear and loathing of Mexico and Mexicans. When Colbert mocks the vast “conspiracy” the right sees in all of this — what’s the matter, good old-fashioned bureaucratic incompetence isn’t good enough anymore? — it’s hilariously funny until you realize that tens of millions of people evidently believe the plot to be true. “If I lie in a lawsuit involving the fate of my neighbor’s cow, I can go to jail,” Walter Lippmann wrote in 1919:

But if I lie to a million readers in a matter involving war and peace, I can lie my head off, and, if I choose the right series of lies, be entirely irresponsible.

As I’ve followed the story — and so much of it has been told so well by my CBS News colleague Sharyl Attkisson — I keep thinking about the mission and the frustrations of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. The folks there are, unsurprisingly, apoplectic at the week’s events. A Republican-dominated Congress that has done nothing to stop gun trafficking on the Mexican border all of sudden is concerned enough about gun trafficking on the Mexican border to quickly hold contempt hearings and a floor vote?

This might be some kind of record, the first and last time conservatives suddenly cared about dead Mexicans. Its a brilliant game. Issa asks for documents – thus far Holder has handed over 140,000 which you know darn well Issa has not bothered to read. Every time Holder hands over more documents Issa, like a knee jerk reflex replies this is not enough, you’re hiding something. If Holder took Issa by the hand to the record archive at the DOJ and said here, go for it. Issa would claim Holder has buried what he wants in some secret hiding place. All of this egged on by the NRA who claims Holder is using F&F to pass some Draconian gun laws. The only obvious problem with that is that neither Congressional Democrats or the President has introduced even one new gun law. The Bush 41 gun laws against assault style rifles was allowed to expire without the slightest attempt to renew. We still have the gun show loophole or as some call it the loophole for terrorists courtesy the Bush 43 administration where any wacko r terrorist in a hurry can buy their gun without a background check. That is another issue on which Democrats get a thumps up from voters – they want background checks. Would Founders like James Madison really support selling a 9mm semi-automatic to a convicted rapist.

The Madness of Justice Antonin Scalia

For what seems like decades a conventional wisdom, built largely by a handful of Supreme Court correspondents, has held that Justice Antonin Scalia is the high court’s most brilliant, disciplined, albeit ideological, member. He is also, according to this conventional wisdom, deliciously witty.

[  ]….In a piece for Salon, Paul Campos, for instance, is not mincing words about the tottering justice. Scalia, Campos writes, “has in his old age become an increasingly intolerant and intolerable blowhard: a pompous celebrant of his own virtue and rectitude, a purveyor of intemperate jeremiads against the degeneracy of the age, and now an author of hysterical diatribes against foreign invaders, who threaten all that is holy.”

Campos was referring to Scalia’s concurring, dissenting opinion issued in Arizona v. U.S. where a majority of the justices invalidated three of provisions, and weakened a fourth, of Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law. In his opinion Scalia not only railed against alleged dangers undocumented persons pose to Arizona, but also ruminated about state sovereignty and took a shot at President Obama’s actions on immigration policy.

As Campos and others note, Scalia simply cannot contain his partisan leanings. Campos thinks the justice “no longer cares that he sounds increasingly like a right-wing talk radio host rather than a justice of the Supreme Court ….”  

In part, Scalia complained in his dissent that if Arizona does not have the power to secure its borders with unconstitutional laws, “we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state.”

During the ACS Supreme Court Review, former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger also challenged Scalia’s off-the-wall take on state sovereignty.

Calling it the most “striking question” asked this Term, Dellinger cited Scalia’s question to the federal government, during oral argument in Arizona v. U.S. “What does state sovereignty mean if it does not include the right to defend your borders,” Dellinger read Scalia’s question from the oral argument transcript.

Well that implies, Dellinger said, that New York could forbid people from New Jersey “from coming into the state.”

The states, however, are not sovereign in the sense Scalia sees them, Dellinger said.

For instance, he noted, “They can’t coin money, they can’t have an army, they can’t have a navy, they can’t engage in treaties, they can’t make a compact with another quasi-sovereign, without the express permission of Congress. Those are not attributes of an entity that has sovereignty. But the notion that a justice could think that controlling the borders of the state is an attribute of sovereignty that a state has, fundamentally transforms, I think, the nature of our Constitution.”

When it comes to state’s right  Scalia, like a lot of the wacky Right, seems to forget their version of sovereignty was rejected in a little confrontation called the Civil War and the Constitutionalists won, and the treasonous Confederates lost.

P.S. Over the years I got a couple of interviews with Nora Ephron and saw her movies of course. She seemed like such a warm, smart and funny woman. Writer and Filmmaker With a Genius for Humor.

Footprints in Desert Sand wallpaper – On second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act benefits of reform go unrecognized and faces flimsy legal challenges

Footprints in Desert Sand wallpaper

 

With the help SCOTUS rulings that bestow person-hood on corporations, conservatives at the state level have been trying – with some success to create a bizarre legal reality. One in which a clump of cells and corporations are persons with the same Constitutionally guaranteed rights as an individual citizen, yet make women three-fifths a person ( It’s fine if an individual carrying those cells wants to think of them as human, but that is different from imposing that legal view on everyone). How did we get to this point. making person-hood began at conception is bound for legal challenges. Many Democrats in Congress would like to see a bill that would once and for all spell out the fact that corporations are not people and such interpretations of the Constitution are an example of conservative judicial activism. In short the federal courts are important. When conservatives accuse non-conservative judges of being judicial activists who engage in overreach by bypassing the will of legislators, that is close to pure projection. Combined with call the ref. Conservatives decided decades ago to get out in front of these judicial versus legislation issues decades ago – mostly as a reaction to New Deal legislation. probably the most well-known piece of judicial activism coming out of the conservative Robert’s SCOTUS is Citizens United. On the other hand the Robert’s court is not immune to legal precedent as they showed in their ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld where the court found the Bush administration did not have authority to set up particular military commissions without congressional authorization, because they did not comply with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. So in trying to guess how the SCOTUS will rule on the Affordable care Act ( health care reform, ObamaRomneycare) is tricky. As the Citizens decision showed, the conservatives on the court can be blatantly political, It’s Not About the Law, Stupid Forget precedent. Ignore Scalia’s musings. Next week’s health care argument before the Supreme Court is all about optics, politics, and public opinion.

And the fact that the Obama administration rushed the case to the Supreme Court in an election year is all the evidence you need to understand that they remain confident in their prospects. The law is a completely valid exercise of Congress’ Commerce Clause power, and all the conservative longing for the good old days of the pre-New Deal courts won’t put us back in those days as if by magic. Nor does it amount to much of an argument.

So that brings us to the really interesting question: Will the Court’s five conservatives strike it down regardless? That’s what we’re really talking about next week and that has almost nothing to do with law and everything to do with optics, politics, and public opinion. That means that Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the Raich medicinal marijuana case, and Chief Justice John Roberts’ and Anthony Kennedy’s opinions in Comstock only get us so far. Despite the fact that reading the entrails of those opinions suggest that they’d contribute to an easy fifth, sixth, and seventh vote to uphold the individual mandate as a legitimate exercise of Congressional power, the real question isn’t whether those Justices will be bound by 70 years of precedent or their own prior writings on federal power. The only question is whether they will ignore it all to deprive the Obama of one of his signature accomplishments.

Professor Randy Barnett, the intellectual power behind the entire health care challenge, wrote recently that Justice Scalia could break from his previous opinions—freeing him to strike down the Affordable Care Act—“without breaking a sweat.” I suspect that’s right.

If that’s true, we should stop fussing about old precedents. These old milestones of jurisprudence aren’t what will give Scalia pause. What matters is whether the five conservative justices are so intent in striking down Obama’shealthcare law that they would risk a chilly and divisive 5-4 dip back into the waters of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.

[  ]…Given that line up of future cases, the five conservatives may want to keep their powder dry for now. I think they will. Poll released this week by the American Bar Association agrees, saying that most courtwatchers (85 percent) believe Obamacare will survive. And why is that? Not just the fact that—as I’ve said at the outset—the law is constitutional, well within the boundaries of Congress’ Commerce Clause authority. It’s because for the court to strike it down, the justices would have to pick a fight that wasn’t theirs in the first place.

One of the very specific reason that the ACA may get a pass from the SCOTUS that Dahlia Lithwick does not mention is Medicare. Sure it fine for Congressional conservatives to toss around gutting Medicare, making it into a kind of partial allowance for medical for 48 million Americans. The conservative base that thinks sharing your dessert is socialism hate Medicare. They droll over the graphs which show the growing costs of Medicare – when what we’re really talking about is the health care industry, which unlike most of the free market is resistant to cost containment. Do the conservatives on the court really want to undo Medicare? Because if they vote down the ACA they will have once again – as they did in Citizens – ignore legal precedent and wonder if they want to leave a conservative legal legacy which threw 48 million Americans into the financial and medical abyss. If Medicare Is OK, Obamacare Should Be Too

So why is the Affordable Care Act such an unconscionable infringement of liberty, while those two other, more revered programs are not? Some critics have suggested the Affordable Care Act is fundamentally unfair, because it effectively requires relatively healthy people to subsidize relatively unhealthy people. But that is true of Medicare and Social Security, too. The whole point of any social insurance is to ameliorate the impact of sheer chance on life—whether it’s being born with the wrong genes, growing up in the wrong neighborhood, or coming into contact with the wrong physical threats. Social insurance programs redistribute funds from the lucky to the unlucky, on the very sensible theory that any one of us could end up unlucky (and, at one point or another in our lives, probably will).(emphasis mine)

A truer distinction is that Medicare and Social Security are real government programs: The bureaucracies that run Medicare and Social Security actually distribute the benefits, in the form of checks or payments to health care providers. The Affordable Care Act is a more privatized system, in which private insurance companies are the direct financiers of benefits for many people. But even that distinction is blurrier than it might seem. Medicare has long offered beneficiaries the option of enrolling in private insurance plans, rather than the government-run program. And today about a quarter of all beneficiaries do just that. Those companies operate under close government supervision and regulation, it’s true. But so will the companies offering insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Probably will is an understatement. Unless you’re run over by a bus or some similar tragedy everyone will have to have health care eventually. Many liberals and progressives do not like mandates. I think their arguments tend to be more honest and hinge on the connection between individual civil liberties and government compulsion. That is a good point. Though in the real world, beyond political theory, none of us live in a bubble – as much as conservatives try to and libertarians dream. Our circumstances affect others and combined all those individuals with their need for health care affects society and the economy. While the riled up conservative base cheers at a Republicans debate for someone without health insurance to die, when millions of Americans start to die alone in their apartments or ally ways, when the lines to hospital emergency rooms stretch down the block. That will be picture on the poster defining what conservatism did to grandpa and those disabled children. Charities and private donations will pick up the slack? I’ve been hearing that looniness for years. Funny how American charitable organizations, corporations and private individuals have not managed to make much of a dent in our health care needs. Certainly nothing is stopping the Koch brothers or the parade of conservative sugar daddies and think tanks from starting a private tax-deductible organization that will – just for starters take care of those on Medicare. They could start even smaller and take care of the 20% gap in costs that Medicare recipients have to pay for out-of-pocket or buy supplemental insurance for.

Former James O’Keefe ‘Accomplice’ Reveals ‘Barn Incident’ And Harassment Complaint

Last week, we reported that Nadia Naffe, self-described “accomplice” to conservative activist James O’Keefe , had begun publishing a multi-part tell-all series of posts to her blog. Thursday morning, Naffe published the second part, which details her version of the events that led her to file a criminal harassment complaint against O’Keefe in November, and which includes documents related to a sexual harassment settlement between O’Keefe and “CNN Sex Boat Caper” whistleblower Izzy Santa. O’Keefe filed suit against Naffe on Wednesday to obtain an injunction against publication of those documents, and of emails that O’Keefe claims she stole from his computer.

Despite O’Keefe’s history he is part of the team/ crowd/ whatever, that still manages all the Breitbart Big sites. One of Brietbart’s legacy was to take the any lie is fine, any smear that is remotely plausible, any dirty trick culture of conservatism and add some steroids.

The Mittens Etch-a-Sketch Disaster is interesting, but let’s not forget about the deeply weird wing of conservatism that is keeping Santorum in the race. Rick Santorum: ‘The Issue In This Race Is Not The Economy’

“The issue in this race is not the economy,” he said.

His statement was part of a longer monologue about why Obama’s health care overhaul is a symbol of government overreach, and that Americans’ freedoms are eroding.

“The reason the economy is an issue in this race is because we have a government that is oppressing its people and taking away their freedom, and the economy is suffering as a result,” Santorum said.

Conservatives are always standing up for freedom – like the freedom to become financially ruined by bad health and health care costs. The freedom for your family to have no hope. The freedom to die and to paraphrase Scrooge, decrease the surplus population. The freedom for working class Americans to have the wealth they create redistributed to the top 10%. This is what Santorum thinks is a terrible injustice on the 2nd anniversary of Obamacare, Benefits of health care reform haven’t been fully recognized

While much of the important changes of the ACA — including the insurance exchange, premium assistance for individuals and Medicaid expansion — won’t go into effect until 2014, we now have two years of data to assess the impact of the parts of the reform that have already been implemented. Here is what we know today about the beneficial impact of the ACA.

Last year about 86 million Americans took advantage of the new law’s prevention benefits — no deductibles or co-payments — on procedures such as mammograms, bone mass measurements, PAP tests, pediatric visits, cancer screenings, immunizations and colonoscopies.

Approximately 3.6 million seniors on Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their medicine last year and premiums on Medicare Advantage policies have fallen by 7 percent this year.

Over 2.5 million more young adults up to 26 years of age are now covered under their parents’ health insurance thus reducing premiums and dramatically lowering the number of uninsured in this age bracket.

Approximately 7 million low-income children, whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase health insurance on their own, will continue to be eligible for the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through Sept. 30, 2019. CHIP provides these children with affordable, comprehensive, high-quality health coverage.

Tens of thousands of Americans who were previously uninsured because of medical conditions now have affordable health insurance through the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plans administrated by the states or federal government.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses with less than 25 employees have reduced their health care costs due to the small business health insurance tax credits.

Tens of thousands of Americans each year are not having their health insurance policies cancelled because they have reached previously allowed lifetime limits.

All these benefits of the Affordable Care Act were accomplished with little impact on health care cost. According to a recent report by Medicare actuaries, all health care spending increased by 3.9 percent in 2010 (latest data available) with only 0.1 percent a result of the ACA.

Yet a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 14 percent of Americans understand that they have benefited from the ACA while about 66 percent said that the law hasn’t affected them and 21 percent claimed that the ACA has had a negative effect on them.

Obviously there is a disconnect between how the ACA has benefited the public and perception. There are two explanations for this.

First, the ACA benefits are not being attributed to the law. There is no note accompanying the receiving of the benefits that gives credit to the ACA, something supporters should have required in the law.

Second, opponents of the ACA have been loud and relentless with misinformation and disparaging commenting. There is no other explanation for 21 percent believing that they have been harmed.

The ACA continues to roll out with a few bumps in the road. But in spite of the critics, the benefits of this historic and vital health care reform will continue to grow.

Frank Knapp is president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Sue Berkowitz is director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.

Conservatives think corporations are people. Conservatives think women are not people. Conservatives think that legislation which was long past due that has saved lives and money is tyranny. In other words there is not much difference between how conservatives see the world and a 17th century mythic with brain damage.

When Will Rep. Michele Bachmann Apologize To America

NBC apologizes to Bachmann over song

NBC has joined Jimmy Fallon in apologizing to Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, the network reported on its “TODAY” show Thursday.

Fallon had apologized on Twitter after Bachmann appeared Monday on his “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” show, walking on stage to the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone.

“I’m honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I’m so sorry about the intro mess. I really hope she comes back,” Fallon tweeted on Tuesday.

The candidate admitted being oblivious to the slight at the time, but insisted in an interview Wednesday on Fox News that the incident amounted to “sexism.”

Of course she has milked one of the world’s subtlest little pranks for all she could. Managing to work in some bunk about media bias and topped off with Hollywood “elite”. So to summarize a notable believer in the absurd and bizarre, a font of endless lies and disinformation and under the general impression her immorality should be the shackles with which every American is chained demands and gets an apology for a prank. It probably is a deserved apology. Yet let’s pause and check some history for a moment to see if someone else should not be making apologies, like to the American people. Bachmann has advocated gay conversion therapy, has said that Medicaid is for the lazy as her husband collected Medicaid for his “counseling” centers, has promised the price of gasoline will be $2 a gallon if elected prez, said she would rather see the economy crash again rather than rise debt ceiling, compared gay marriage to Mormon polygamy and “much worse”, dumped her old church before running for prez for fear she would be associated with its radical views, once predicted the world would end in 2006, ignoring her anti-union record claimed she was not anti-union, has never drafted a major piece of legislation yet claims to be a hard-working legislator, pledges she will ban all pornography in the U.S. – she would have to violate the Constitution to usurp the Supreme Court is such matters, proud of superstitious beliefs about how life evolved, has suggested that swine flu occurred because we had a Democratic president, has warned that the movie The Lion King was gay propaganda, said abolishing minimum wage would create jobs, said that visiting Iraq was like visiting the Mall of America, has said that CO2 is harmless, on hearing Melissa Etheridge had cancer said now would be a good time for her to repent being a lesbian, advocated people break the law and refuse to answer Census questions, said not to worry America – Glenn Beck would solve all the federal budget issues, has advocated not using HPV vaccine claiming it causes brain damage, has said that even more tax giveaways to large corporations will boost jobs, urged women to be submissive to their husbands, Bachmann thanked a man for saying he would vote for a serial killer before he would vote for Obama, has praised Bill O’Reilly as someone who speaks the truth, has advocated for dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, has said that those who cannot find work should not eat (no food stamps for the disabled among others), has said that the Congressional procedure called deem and pass is treason even though it has been used more by Republicans than Democrats. America waits for your apology Rep. Bachmann.

This is What Conservatives Think Capitalism is: The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of The Other 99 Percent

As Occupy Wall Street protestors continue to demonstrate across the country, congress’ fiscal super committee failed to craft a deficit reduction package due to Republican refusal to consider tax increases on the super wealthy. In fact, the only package that the GOP officially submitted to the committee included lowering the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, even as new research shows that the optimal top tax rate is closer to 70 percent.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who co-chaired the super committee, explained that the major sticking point during negotiations with the GOP was what to do with the Bush tax cuts. With that in mind, the National Priorities Project points out that those tax cuts this year will give the richest 1 percent of Americans a bigger tax cut than the other 99 percent will receive in average income:

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

“The super committee failed to grapple with the extraordinarily costly Bush tax cuts for the richest—tax policies that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cost more in added federal debt than they add in additional economic activity,” explained Jo Comerford, NPP’s Executive Director. Frank Knapp, vice chairman of the American Sustainable Business Council, added in a statement yesterday, “the high-end Bush tax cuts are a big part of the problem – not the solution…It’s obscene to keep slashing infrastructure and services for everybody on Main Street to keep up tax giveaways for millionaires and multinational corporations.”

Hard work and intellectual contributions to the economy should be rewarded. I’ve never heard of a mainstream Democrat or any big Democratic blog argue otherwise. Democrats regardless of the fifty years of straw man arguments to the contrary by far right-wing conservatives – believe in capitalism. Republicans, who just derailed a huge deficit deal based on not giving an inch on taxes for the extremely wealthy – proved they believe in supply-side voodoo, crony capitalism, elite plutocratic economics – not capitalism.

A lot of disinformation or willful ignorance (Fox News Viewers Uninformed, NPR Listeners Not, Poll Suggests) is likely responsible for some of this – Poll: Voters want court to kill Obama health care law – Overall, voters oppose the law by 48%-40%. I find it difficult to believe a rational person would want to repeal these changes which are already in effect –

Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

Brazen and Arrogant Republicans

Republicans have become so brazen about their determination to gut Medicare one has to wonder if they read polls or pay attention to election results anymore.

It doesn’t take much political savvy to note that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare-destroying budget plan hasn’t panned out all that well for the GOP. But a new poll out from advocates for the Democratic health care law shows that the Ryan budget fail goes even deeper than embarrassed presidential candidates and special election upsets.

During both the Regan and Bush 43 administrations conservatives drink enough of the kool-aid to start believing their own propaganda that debates with them usually ended up trapped in circular logic. Inventing reasons for invading Iraq were so ill defined the very same reasons could have been used to invade Canada. Who knows what Canada might do some day? It was the Karl Rove school of being in love with the sound of one’s own mendacity. It’s a conservative opinion so it must be right. If polls and studies show it is a bad idea that does not mean conservatives should pause to consider the substance of their goals. It simply means they have not wrapped their crap in a pretty enough package. Case in point, Rove recently took to the open arms of the WSJ to say there is nothing wrong with the Republican plan to destroy Medicare, they just need a bigger red bow on top,

Next year, Republicans must describe their Medicare reforms plainly, set the record straight vigorously when Democrats demagogue, and go on the attack. Congressional Republicans — especially in the House — need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare reform. They have to become as comfortable talking about Medicare in the coming year as they did in talking about health-care reform last year.

When Unka Karl is smoking his own ego does he use regular papers or banana flavored? The Right demagogued health care reform to the degree, part of  said demagoguery was the lie of the year. Health care reform, the ACA, will save people money and save lives. RyanCare will cost people money and lead to more bad health outcomes. Unka Karl was good enough to publish the playbook and now Republicans are moving according to plan,

House GOPer concedes Ryan plan could cost GOP the majority: A telling quote from GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey:

“To back away from this or to get skittish for fear of losing a few seats or even the majority would be pretty darn irresponsible,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) told The Hill.

Anyone want to send Gingrey a thank you note for epitomizing the right-wing mindset. They’ve created their Medicare bubble in the mold of their Iraq bubble, their deregulation bubble and their tax cut bubble and like the history of such hubristic bubbles, facts and the suffering they impose on others ain’t gonna change their minds no way no how.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan(R-WI) may not be around too much longer, Building a Race Against Ryan

Indeed, as Ryan’s national profile balloons, his 2012 re-election campaign in Wisconsin’s 1st district could be growing more difficult.

The seven-term Congressman is now the face of the GOP plan to transform Medicare, an issue largely blamed for an embarrassing Republican defeat in western New York’s special election last week. And recent polling suggests that Ryan’s popularity among independents and Democrats, a group he will need to hold his moderate district, is falling.

“The more he’s front and center on Medicare, the better chance I think I have,” Zerban ( businessman Rob Zerban) said.

Democrats certainly believe they have an opportunity to nationalize the Wisconsin House race, driving resources and energy from across the country into a swing district Ryan has held relatively comfortably since 1998. And they believe that fallout from New York’s GOP debacle will help.

Zerban created a federal campaign committee roughly six weeks ago but sent his first email fundraising solicitation only the day after the Empire State’s special election.

Trends in Wisconsin are currently favoring Democrats. With recently approved recall petitions Democrats are very likely to pick up a majority in the State Senate.

Rand Paul, Supposed Defender Of Civil Liberties, Calls For Jailing People Who Attend ‘Radical Political Speeches’. Which is kind of crazy since by Paul’s definition of what constitutes “radical”, Paul would have to arrest himself and throw himself in jail. Such thinking is pretty typical of Republitarians.

History it seems is ready to repeat itself. After a long and costly civil war that is eminent, and sure to be forced upon us, we are taking note of those who are responsible for the treason, and they will be held accountable. I advise the press to start getting it right from this moment on, and stop aiding and abetting un-American activities. Like the Tories of old, the worst shall be hung, most will be exiled, and I’m a contractor so I have a little bit of tar and feathers for those who are only partially guilty.

In closing, let me implore you to keep the torch of freedom burning bright, god bless the republic, death to the New World Order. We shall prevail.

It is actually treason to call for armed insurrection against the government of the U.S.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Gov. Christie arrives at son’s high school baseball game in State Police helicopter

The governor had no public events on his schedule, offering no insight to where he might have been traveling from. He had a private meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion, in Princeton. He is meeting with a group of Iowa donors who have publically expressed a desire to persuade him to run for president in 2012.

Christie was ferried to the field in a brand-new AugustaWestland helicopter, purchased at a cost to taxpayers of $12.5 million.

The State Police has received two of the five helicopters purchased so far, according to testimony from Attorney General Paula Dow during a May budget hearing. They were purchased to replace aging Sikorsky helicopters that the State Police have flown for about two decades.

The helicopters, which can reach nearly 200 miles per hour with its twin turbo-shaft engines, are designed for homeland security duties and transporting critically injured patients.

I would cut Christie some slack if the ballgame was between him and a distant appointment, but that was not the case. He used the helicopter because he had the power to use it.

Right-wingers really, really, really hoping Anthony Weiner story holds upAccusing the New York Democrat of impropriety without compelling evidence seems fair, if you totally hate him

Democrats would be all over this if it had happened to a Republican, and his proof is that the MSM was all over this when a Republican was actually convincingly proven to have done something like this:

I don’t think this is a colossal scandal, but the selective standards of the MSM drive me crazy. Recall that the NY-26 race we’ve just finished analyzing was a result of the fact that a sitting congressman had to resign because he sent a picture of himself without shirt to a woman on Craigslist. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi used Mark Foley’s scandal to help win back the Congress.

This makes sense only if you believe that it’s “fair” for Republicans to invent their own “Democrat sex scandal” as “payback” for Democrats capitalizing on what Chris Lee did to himself. Yes, Democrats jump all over it — or “sensationalize” it — when a Republican does something weird and scandalous. But… Chris Lee’s picture had his face in it, and the recipient of the picture confirmed the story. If you can’t understand why the MSM would treat these stories differently (hint: not “liberal bias”!) you are maybe guilty of substituting wishful thinking for analysis. (Also, Jonah, a Mr. Eric Massa would maybe like a word with you about how the MSM treats congressional Democrats accused of odd sexual behavior!)

Alex Pareene makes a good point about the general trend of scandals – Democrats do not have to make them up out of thin air – Foley(R-FL) really was making advances toward teenage pages. Ted haggard everyone knows about – well documented. Larry Graig the toe tapping restroom Senator and the list goes on. The reason they may have singled out Rep. Weiner is awfully coincidental to his calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from ruling on any challeges to the ACA. It also smacks of what Righties would consider payback for the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal ( one that I would agree got more attention than it deserved). Republicans scandals of all sorts far out pace those of Democrats maybe they were desperate enough to play catch-up that a another Breitbart hoax was the order of the day.

Ice Crystals on Glass wallpaper

Ice Crystals on Glass wallpaper

This is nothing to freak-out about and is a plus for the Affordable Care Act, Democrats and a more populist view of the Constitution in the long run – Federal Judge Rules That Health Law Violates Constitution

A second federal judge ruled on Monday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a health care law that required Americans to obtain commercial insurance, evening the score at 2 to 2 in the lower courts as conflicting opinions begin their path to the Supreme Court.

Vinson used almost word for word the tea smoker’s line that someone choosing not to participate, thus not buy insurance, does not fall under the legal precedents of the commerce clause. If we were taking about requiring people to buy tree insurance he might have a point. If a tree gets sick or injured it does not have to participate in our health care system. People, not being trees, will most assuredly participate in the health care system at some point. We all get sick or injured eventfully and when that time comes, if you do not have health insurance you are a  burden on the entire system. I’m not crazy about the mandate, but that isn’t the point. Vinson has out done himself on the judicial activism. Frank Pasquale at Balkinization has the best take down of Vinson’s legal reasoning,

5.  There is no coherent basis for declaring a purchase mandate to be constitutionally “improper,” and a categorical ban on regulating inactivity would contradict the implicit reasoning underlying several other established precedents — such as those upholding the draft and the Congressional subpoena power.   Also, federal eminent domain allows compelled transactions justified in part by the Necessary and Proper clause’s expansion of the commerce power, when applied, for instance, to citizen’s refusal to sell land for use in constructing highways, bridges, and canals.

9.  Counteracting imaginary slippery slope concerns about absurd hypothetical laws are the legitimate concerns about insurmountable barriers that a prohibition of purchase mandates would erect.  Forbidding Congress from any purchase mandate could cripple necessary efforts, for instance, to require preventive measures in the face of a massive pandemic that threatened tens of millions of lives.

The other points many of you may have already read in other articles, but they are all worth reading. I used these two because they illustrate a larger point about government compelling people to perform certain actions under certain conditions. If you buy a home the bank will force you to buy at least a basic fire policy( some loans also require flood and/or wind storm insurance). The federal government is not compelling the homeowner directly, but indirectly through the bank. If the home burns down the bank would be stuck with the loss of the loan without the insurance. Since the feds regulate the amount of assets the bank must have in relation to its loans they are indirectly and sometimes directly backing your loan. Some people call this government coercion and others call it government paternalism. Its forcing people to do the right thing for their own good. As Balkin notes the mandate in this context is not a slippery slope. State, local and the federal government require us to do a hand full of things related to insurance for cars, property, liability and so forth. Otherwise we could not run an advanced industrialized society. Most of us, politics aside, have an aversion to having too many of these mandates and for that reason there are relatively few and they are concentrated around insurance and bonding for liability. We know Wall St likes insurance because that is what derivatives are. Unlike the fairy tale capitalism that many still speak of as though it were real – the kind where you take risks and if things do not pan out you move to a cardboard box under a bridge, we have insurance that pays off if you take a risk and lose.

Republican Nut-jobs Reported To FBI By Planned Parenthood Turned Out To Be Hoaxers, Like Planned Parenthood Suspected

Last week, it was revealed that several Planned Parenthood offices had been visited by persons who willingly identified themselves as being the head of an “interstate sex trafficking ring that involves minors and illegal immigrants.” Those offices coordinated their information with Planned Parenthood’s national organization, who reported the activity to the FBI, despite the lingering notion that they were actually being set up for a James O’Keefe-style “sting.”

As it turns out, their instincts were right, right down to the identity of the hoaxers: Lila Rose’s Live Action, who on Tuesday posted their heavily-edited video encounter with a Planned Parenthood staffer.

And more here, Republican con-artist Lila Rose sounds like a female James O’Keefe because she is, Earned Her Video Sting Stripes With James O’Keefe At UCLA

Rose And O’Keefe “Received Criticism” For Their Deceptive Tactics, Which O’Keefe Called “Justified.” The Los Angeles Times reported:

O’Keefe, 24, said he and Rose have received criticism from some of their associates for using deception. “It’s a pretty complicated ethical issue,” he said, “but we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it’s justified.” Rose and O’Keefe visited their first clinic — UCLA’s Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center — in 2006. They videotaped an employee telling them “some pretty bad things,” said O’Keefe, including that the fetus is a collection of cells. “That’s what set us in motion.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/09]

Your average modern wing-nut conservatives honestly believes a lot of weird, i.e. Leading Neoconservative Frank Gaffney Argues Muslim Brotherhood Has ‘Infiltrated’ The U.S. Federal Government. On the other hand they project a lot of hyperbole into their beliefs. So much so they seem to take on an inner life of their own – a permanent political LSD trip. In this little fairyland they live in things like bearing false witness, sometimes murder, doctoring video tape, going on long deranged rants without a shred of truth is all justified for what their disturbed minds feel is the greater good. Let’s all be civil and have a nice high brow debate about the issues? That is never going to happen with most of the Right because it is the violent language, the violent imagery, the con-artist video tape, the wild accusations and the bizarro conspiracy theories that fuel the right-wing zeitgeist. Just after the Tucson murders some reasonably asked if the constant use of violent language and imagery might be a contributing factor. Many reasonable people thought is was worth seriously looking at how this language might not be best for the culture in general. Yes words like target, campaign and opponent are all part and parcel of politispeak, but maybe some folks could take it down just a notch. Right-wing conservative Don Surber replied, I do not want civil discourse

The left suddenly wants civil discourse.

Bite me.

The left wants to play games of semantics.

Bite me.

The left wants us to be civil — after being so uncivil for a decade.

Bite me.

Don’s clearly sado-masochistic fantasies about liberal doing things to him aside, he does us all a service by his honesty. I’ve been listening to, viewing and reading right-wing hate mongering since the early 90s. As much as I do not like to write anyone off as a loss cause it is a mistake, much like having a toxic relationship with an unrepentant alcoholic, to think after years of abuse of themselves and others that they are ever going to change despite your best efforts – they have to want to change. Want to get on a conservative’s last nerve in a debate on-line or in person, be relaxed and civil. They have always hated civility. Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are good examples. If they started being civil and truthful tomorrow they wouldn’t have any angry genuflecting followers. If Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin had everything they planned to say fact checked first they’d be reduced to a few grunts and rolling their eyes.

Two slightly different takes on the same WSJ article. Barry Ritholtz takes up for some of that high end compensation, Wall Street Pay Hits Record Highs (and . . . ?) and a different view at naked capitalism, Croesus Watch: Banker Pay Levitates to New Highs

Oh, I need a new round of black humor as a coping device to deal with the predictable but nevertheless disheartening news that banksters are getting record pay for 2010, after having gotten record pay for 2009…after having wrecked the global economy.

If this isn’t incentivizing destructive behavior, I’d like you to suggest how we could make this picture worse. A newspaper ad for the swaps salesman that tanked the most municipalities? Ticker tape parades for the deal structurer that was best at pulling most fees out of clients in ways they wouldn’t detect? (Oh wait, you’d have to include pretty much every derivative salesman) Honorable mention for the banker with the biggest expense account charges in the industry? (Oh wait, that’s not the right metric, we learned in Inside Job that the drugs and hookers get charged to research budgets. Damn).

One point I would like to make is that if Barack Obama, Harry Reid D-NV) and Democrats are turning the country into a Marxist paradise they are doing an absolutely suckass job at it. Wall St is back to the status quo and corporate profits are soaring. Conservatives will ignore this rational empirical evidence and continue to sling their monkey pooh without pause.

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?”

Republicans Are Lying About The CBO, Health Care Reform and the Deficit

The American Spectator, for those not old enough to remember, was one of the right-wing rags that was part of the vast right-wing conspiracy to go after the Clintons in the 90s with every kind of smear, unfounded gossip and bald-faced lies that could dream up. There is no reason any rational person should believe the rantings of an organization that deals exclusively in character assassination, wild baseless accusations and right-wing spin. They writes about repealing health care reform, BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion ( the link also gives one a look at the genuflecting right-wing bloggers who echo these assertions without doing the slightest bit of fact checking)

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

Whether the alleged e-mail is real or they have extracted parts of it without some important coveats is up for speculation. The CBO itself says no such thing and the CBO punishes it’s finding to the public on its own blog, Additional Information on CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have not yet developed a detailed estimate of the budgetary impact of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which would repeal the major health care legislation enacted in March 2010. Yesterday, we released a preliminary analysis of that legislation indicating that, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting H.R. 2 on the federal budget as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in deficits in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.

We have been asked to provide the revenue and direct spending components of that total. Extrapolating the estimated budgetary effects of the original health care legislation and accounting for the effects of subsequent legislation, CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections.

Republicans are have given their bill to repeal health care reform the inane name Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. As the CBO reports repeal of health care reform will result in a net increase to the deficit of  $230 billion. Republicans and blog trolls who respond to these numbers are pretty desperate to sound like they know better often citing – without any numbers or evidence, that these numbers are wrong. Without hard facts those claims are baseless lies. The opinions of armchair conservative clowns. The NYT also analyized the  numbers and the CBO report and found that the American Spectator and Boehner(R-OH) are lying. The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act would cost tax payers $145 billion from 2012 to 2019 and by $230 billion between 2012 and 2021. In addition the Republican bill would take away insurance from as many as 54 million American workers. The new Republican House of Representatives have been in power for three days and they are already breaking promises about openness and transparency (from the NYT link) –

At Mr. Boehner’s news conference, reporters peppered him with questions about repealing the law — including the cost analysis and a plan by Republicans not to allow amendments on the repeal measure even though the party had promised to maintain a more open legislative process.

“Well, listen, I promised a more open process,” Mr. Boehner said. “I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”

Mr. Boehner grew testy when a reporter noted that Democrats who controlled the Senate were unlikely to bring up the repeal measure, let alone support it, and that Mr. Obama could veto it.

“Don’t you think it’s a waste of time?” Mr. Boehner was asked.

“No, I do not,” he said, raising his voice. “I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we said we were going to do. And I think it’s pretty clear to the American people the best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain if we don’t act.”

Boehner and his mindless immoral Republican sycophants are in fact the death panel party. Repealing health care reform will condemn 45,000 Americans to death annually.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Debunking False Claims About Health Reform, Jobs, and the Deficit

Claims that health reform will destroy jobs by harming the economy are sharply at odds with the findings of leading non-partisan experts. [5]

* House Republicans have charged that the bill will destroy jobs by adding greatly to businesses’ costs.  In fact, health reform is unlikely to raise most businesses’ health insurance premiums.  CBO estimates that it will reduce premiums for employers with more than 50 workers — who account for 70 percent of the total insurance market — by up to 3 percent by 2016.  For small employers, the estimated change in premiums ranges from an increase of 1 percent to a reduction of 2 percent. [6]
* Similarly, Moody’s Analytics says that the Affordable Care Act’s “net long-run impact on the economy will be minor” and that any disincentives from higher Medicare payroll taxes “will hardly make a difference.” [7]  Moody’s also points out that “there is the potential for the new law to reduce ‘job lock,’ when workers stay in a particular job because they are afraid of losing their insurance. . . .  If the bill works as planned, Americans will be more able to switch jobs and open new businesses.”  The result would be a more productive economy.
* The health reform law may also have other positive impacts on the economy.  Expanding health coverage improves health outcomes by helping people obtain preventive and other health services and improving continuity of care. [8]  CBO has suggested that this could enhance the nation’s economic productivity.[9]

 

And a related article – ‘Job-killing’ regulation? ‘Job-killing’ spending? Let’s kill this GOP canard. And here – Harvard Economist Estimates Health Repeal Would Destroy Up To 400,000 Jobs Per Year Over Decade. CBPP also debunks the claims about costs and those baseless accounting gimmicks – ‘

Claim: The law uses a gimmick to make it appear fiscally responsible: its biggest spending increases don’t take effect for four years, so CBO’s cost estimate for the first decade (2010-2019) includes ten years of revenue increases but only six years of significant spending.  The unstated implication of this charge is that in subsequent decades, when ten years of revenue increases are accompanied by ten years of spending increases, the law will greatly increase deficits.

Fact: There is no gimmick here, and this charge is groundless.  CBO estimates that the law will reduce deficits not only over the 2010-2019 decade, but in the second decade and subsequent decades.  In fact, the law will reduce deficits by more in subsequent decades than in the first decade, because its most important cost-saving measures are phased in and produce larger savings over time.

And two separate reports: Health Reform Will Reduce the Deficit Charges of Budgetary Gimmickry Are Unfounded and No Evidence for House Republican Charge that Health Reform Is a “Job-Killer”. Republicans, who as exemplified during the Bush and Reagan years know how to kill jobs better than a an exterminator knows how to kill pests. Taking job creation advice from these guys is like taking nation building advice from Dick Cheney. Perrspectives also has an easy to read run down of the latest round of Pravdaish disinformation disseminated by the Pants on Fire Party, CBO: GOP Health Care Repeal Adds $230 Billion to Deficit. Honor and integrity have never been the Right’s strong suits. Those virtues seem to trip them up at every turn. It has been said we cannot have a strong and enlightened republic with an uniformed citizenry. That seems to be the Right’s major goal.

If Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) is evil socialism than why do so many Republicans want to participate in the version of Obamacare we have set up for members of Congress – Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Justifies His Government Health Insurance: ‘I’m Actually Lowering’ The Premiums For Older Congressmen

One of the first orders of business in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is a move to repeal the landmark health care reform law that was passed last March. However, following Rep. Andy Harris’s (R-MD) infamous rant about the delay in his congressional health care coverage, the media is beginning to question whether the GOP is hypocritical for decrying the specter of “government-run health care,” yet accepting government-sponsored health care plans for themselves.

For instance, yesterday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) justified accepting government-subsidized health care for himself because, “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.” In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) said that he supported congressmen receiving government-sponsored health coverage because “it’s not unreasonable to offer those benefits.” Seven Republican congressmen, however, are trying to remain consistent by opting out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

This week, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) to ask whether he would be joining his colleagues in rejecting government-sponsored health care for himself, given his push to repeal health care reform for the nation. Schock told us the “only” reason he would stay on the congressional health care plan because he was “a 27-year-old single male” who was “actually lowering” the premiums of his older colleagues. He also brushed off the notion that this was hypocritical on his part, calling them “completely separate issues,” despite the numerous similarities including taxpayer subsidies and a highly-regulated exchange:

SCHOCK: It is, yeah. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield when I came here as a 27-year-old single male. I paid about $80 a month. And now, because I’m in a risk pool with a bunch of older seniors, my health care costs me $170 a month now for the same Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys.

TP: I just know there are a lot of people who have made the hypocrisy charge, that there’s an average of $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies on these employee government health care plans, yet saying that the general public is not getting the same types of subsidies and help in buying health insurance for themselves.

SCHOCK: No, I get that argument. The only thing I would submit is because I’m an outlier in the group, I’m actually lowering the…(crosstalk)…When you’re under 30 in a body of…but, so.

TP2: Sir, you receive taxpayer subsidies even though you do have a lower rate. And you’re within a pool that’s highly regulated, as health reform does for the rest of the nation. Don’t you think it’s fair if you’re going to repeal health reform for everyone else, you should at least reject this subsidized, highly-regulated plan that members of Congress and their staff benefit from?

SCHOCK: No, I really actually think they’re completely separate issues.

TP2: Why’s that?

SCHOCK: Because I don’t think what we do with the health care bill has anything to do with what kind of health insurance programs members of Congress pay for.

TP2: No, it’s quite similar. There’s an exchange, there’s subsidies, just like you benefit from an exchange and subsidies, that are paid for by taxpayers.

SCHOCK: Well, I think the bill we voted on is completely different.

Schock cannot be specific about the differences because there are much in the way of differences. he pays for some of his insurance out-of-pocket and tax payers pick up the tab for the other part. Schock sees government as a way to benefit conservatives just as they see government as a way to fill the pockets of business via crony capitalism. Everyone else can get out their hat and try to catch some of the crumbs as they trickle down. If Schocks twisted pretzel logic was not enough – Some Republicans embrace their federal healthcare plans

At least two new GOP members of Congress said they’ll keep the plans some of their colleagues have shunned.

Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-Nev.) office and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said they’ll take advantage of the insurance coverage they’re eligible for through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program — the same health insurance available to other federal employees. The plan is not a single-payer system, but offers different private plans from which federal employees can choose.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told The New York Daily News. “It’s 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.”

But Grimm and Heck would gladly condemn millions of Americans to the emergency room health care plan. You wait until you are in agonizing pain or at death’s door then go to the ER. Everyone ends up paying those bills – being a burden” to the state.

Train Station Clock wallpaper

high speed train time

Train Station Clock wallpaper

Even though two others judges have otherwise – Federal judge in Va. strikes down part of health-care law. The judge ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. Claiming it exceeds Congressional authority even under the commerce clause. Let’s leave aside the giant unethical elephant in the room for the moment this judge (Judge Henry Hudson) should have recused himself since he had an ownership stake in a political consulting firm which advocated against health-care reform. The mandate has not been embraced liberals. Even if constitutional,it is a public relations nightmare. Additionally, according to the way the same mandate was imposed in Massachusetts and failed to deliver on bringing down costs, it might not be worth spending any political capital to save. Though the Obama administration is said to already declared it will appeal. The administration’s and supporters of the mandate do have legal precedent on their side. Since it is obvious enough that everyone has a stake in health care – as everyone needs some eventually. At that juncture, if they do not have insurance they become a burden on the health care system. While the Righties are drooling over their timid coco at the ruling it is important to note the ruling on the mandate – in the judge’s own words -did not spill over to the rest of the law. He declined to grant an injunction halting the government’s work to implement the rest of the law. The author Jamie Court of The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell/President Consumer Watchdog has this post up at HuffPo, White House and Progressives Should Be Cheering Virginia Ruling Striking Down Mandatory Health Insurance.

Conservatives have tried to repeal the mandate that everyone must buy health insurance as a way of taking out the full law in the court. Today’s ruling makes clear that the popular and progressive parts of health care reform could go forward without the big sop to health insurance companies — mandatory purchases without regulated premiums.

Why would a progressive like me support repeal of mandatory health insurance purchases?

70 percent of Americans consistently oppose mandatory health insurance purchases.

If the last two elections have taught Washington a lesson, it’s that we can do anything if 70 percent of Americans agree and do nothing if a majority cannot agree.

Most of the progressive parts of health care reform — subsidies to buy insurance for the poor and rules to make the marketplace fairer — enjoy 60 percent to 70 percent public support. Mandatory purchases, however, will consistently suffer the public’s wrath because of popular distrust of the insurance industry and the high cost of health insurance premiums. Congressional refusal to limit how much health insurance companies can charge will ensure Americans’ distaste only grows.

Both New York and Massachusetts have passed regulatory laws in regards to outrageous premium charges. That might be a more effective and progressive route to take to protect working class families and their ability to access affordable health care and insurance. Let’s not worry about the social-Darwinists on the Right checking off another imaginary victory if the mandate gets struck down. Dahlia Lithwick has a good write up at Slate – Dream a Little Dream.

This is the road to which pure spite and contempt for progress leads – Tea Party Gov.-Elect Walker Compels Business To Leave State After He Kills High Speed Rail In Wisconsin

Even before taking office, Republican Govs.-elect John Kasich (OH) and Scott Walker (WI) swiftly delivered on their “promises to kill America’s future” by rebuking a total of $1.2 billion in stimulus funding for high-speed rail projects in their states. Shunning the $810 million for the long-planned Wisconsin rail project, Walker promised to kill the Milwaukee-Madison link if President Obama tried “to force this down the throats of the taxpayers.”

I have old socks smarter than former Fox confabulater John Kasich. Ohio is an important swing state. Everyone one of these teatards missteps adds up to the record off anti-jobs/anti-progress they’ll be trying to defend to the electorate in two years. Even even the kool-aid addled Rick Scott – Governor elect of Florida – was not contrary enough to potentially lose 16,000 jobs. I do have a pro train prejudice, but what with TSA x-rays and pat downs I bet there are a quite a few Americans starting to think high-speed rail is sounding pretty good.

Republicans Declare We The People Are Here to Serve Banks and Wall St

Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the incoming chairman of the House banking committee, suggested Congress and federal regulators should play a subservient role with banks.

“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” Bachus told The Birmingham News in an interview.

The Republican leadership last week designated Bachus the next chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which is tasked with overseeing banks, financial markets, housing and consumer credit.

Democrats characterized the remark as a Freudian slip, nicknaming the Alabaman “Big Bank Bachus” and claiming the new Republican-controlled House will put the interests of financial institutions ahead of the American public.

“Congressman Spencer ‘Big Bank’ Bachus has given Americans a startlingly honest answer about the House Republican agenda – do whatever is good for the big banks and Wall Street special interests, rather than what’s good for hardworking Americans,” said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Bachus later told the Birmingham News he merely meant Congress shouldn’t micromanage banks.

The congressman from Alabama’s 6th district has throughout his 18-year House career raised millions from financial interests, including over $1 million from commercial banks alone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

He has received over $800,000 from the real estate industry, $700,000 from securities and investment firms, and $415,000 from credit companies — all of which he will have extraordinary influence over as banking committee chair.

Bachus was an important negotiator for the $700,000 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008 — often derided as the “bank bailout” — which angered the public but also prevented a widespread collapse of the financial system. It passed with wide bipartisan support.

Let’s put this in its proper perspective. It was largely Republicans who let Wall St run Washington during the Bush administration. They fought regulation and the Bush White House  was AWOL when it came to enforcement. Housing bubble and economic calamity ensues. Tea party movement starts. These are basically conservatives and right-wing libertarians who tried to convince America all that bad stuff was not their fault. Just because they voted for anti-regulation zealots did not make them enablers of the worse meltdown since 1929. The same tea nuts also declared that Wall St was evil and average folks like them should not have to pay for their mistakes. A lot of this was contradictory then as it is now. Wall St should not have financial institutions too big to fail and cause such damage, but Washington should not save the economy or do anything to prevent another collapse – because that would be interfering with the free market and its innate perfection. Now that they pulled a very clever con job in the midterms by convincing everyone to let the same bad actors back into power. We see the faux populist face peel away. The same old conservative lips are firmly glued to the asses of the very same special interests who played blind poker with the nation’s wealth.

To return to a recurring theme of the last week and the health care debate before that – just because someone thinks President Obama and Democrats might have made the best deal under the circumstances ( the current tax deal thankfully still in debate) does not mean those people are Obama apologists, or that Democrats are “spineless” or that Obama is weak. I have a personal theory as to why some people see victory where others see capitulation or weakness. I tend to think the ones who see – take the health care reform package without the public option as an example – as capitulation have never had responsibility for a large number of people in either private enterprise or government. Governing people is very similar to managing people only with fewer options. Getting a hundred employees to get with a change in policy and procedures is like herding turtles. Being president is herding turtles a hundred fold. Especially Democrats. Will Rogers once said that if all Democrats agreed all the time they’d be Republicans. We do seem to need to learn to disagree without trashing each other. If Democrats need trashing there are plenty of right-wing zealots at the ready to do so. To that end this column by Beth Broderick – Obama and the Age of Unreason

I cannot imagine a worse job than being President of these Untied States in these most trying of times. President Barack Obama has been under siege from every side for the entirety of his time in office. The poor guy just cannot do anything right. Passing health care legislation, wrestling 25 billion out of BP, turning around the auto industry and his many other accomplishments are simply ignored. The good is simply not good enough. In spite of his many courageous acts the common wisdom prevails that he is not tough, not all up in the Kool-Aid of the opposition. A notion complicated by the fact that those who oppose him are often on his home team.

Not tough enough? The guy is made of steel. Governing this wild kingdom of a nation is like a never ending episode of Survivor. Every week we send our leader into a shark tank with a bucket of bloody mackerel around his neck. Then when by some miracle he manages to come back alive with enough fish to feed the team we scream: “What? No tuna? No orange roughy?” “Is that the best you can do”? We moan, we wail, we shake our fists!! “Should a gave those sharks a what for!!” We cry. Then we bait him up again and send him back into the tank.

The recent hand wringing over the temporary tax cut deal is a true case in point. The president does not preside over only like minded citizens. He must govern for us all. I agree with Bernie Sanders on principle, but I applaud the president’s deft avoidance of a show down in crazy town. A whole lot of folks most pointedly do not agree with Mr. Sanders or with me for that matter as the last election made exceedingly clear. Obama saved the bacon of the unemployed, assured tax credits for children and college students and prevented the middle class from receiving a bill for 3,000.00 on January 1. We seem to think that he has some kind of magic wand that he is refusing to wave. There just simply is no such thing. He is the president not the King and God help him. Really I mean that, God … please help him.

The seeming horror of holding the highest office in the land makes me wonder what all this jealousy is about among the members of the Senate. Those little green men (and a few women) who are the true hobgoblins of our eternal gridlock. Poor John McCain has been so eaten up with jealousy that he has shrunk to near invisibility. If a Senator shouts in the woods … and no one hears him … is he still a Senator? Much of the argument about the issue should be taken up with Cantwell or Murray or Baucus those who clamor for permanent estate tax cuts. There were 12 Democrat Senators prepared to vote against you and me and our dear determined Bernie if the president had not made this deal. The ground shifts under that chamber so relentlessly that it is a wonder some of the older members have not taken a tumble down the aisle. Mr. Schumer is a smart smart guy, but he holds only one perspective while Obama must behold them all.

One of my biggest complaints (and there were so very many) about the Bush administration was that he seemed to care not a whit about those on the left side of the electorate. He did not seem to be my president. He did not hear my voice or care about my values and it hurt my damned feelings. It also demonstrably hurt the country.

I hear a constant refrain about Republicans. It is argued that they are pure and always get their way due to an admirable lock step in their party gait. The Republicans are finger pointers not problem solvers and I do not envy their approach to politics. The fact is they did not do much governing last time around. They did plenty of war starting and marriage defending, but, very little actual governing. There is a reason for that. Governing this nation is hard and truly thankless, but it needs doing. I most certainly do not want Democrats to start acting like Republicans. I absolutely never want to see Mr. Obama acting like Mr. Bush and if you do then I respectfully suggest that you go back on your meds.

As one might expect I do not agree with every word Beth says. I do agree with the spirit with which she is arguing.

Autumn in Kentucky wallpaper, Conservative: elitist sense of entitlement, creepy, idolatrists

fall colors

Autumn in Kentucky wallpaper

 

New GOP Legislator Incensed by Delay of His Government Health Care Coverage

A newly elected Maryland congressman startled other frosh at a congressional info session on Monday by growing indignant over the fact that his government-funded health care wouldn’t be active immediately, reports Politico. Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who triumphed over Democrat Frank Kratovil in his congressional race with promises to vanquish Obamacare, couldn’t believe that his policy would take a month to become active after his swearing in on Jan. 3. “He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer present at the benefits information session attended by 250 freshman, staff, and family members. “Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” said the staffer. Harris, a doctor turned legislator who works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, also told the audience: “This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed.” During his congressional campaign, Harris vowed to “fight to repeal health-care reform.” His spokeswoman said his statements at the meeting were merely intended to highlight the ineptitude of government health coverage.

The hypocrisy is full volume. Having two or usually more faces in diametric opposition to each other is part and parcel of being Republican. Writing a blog where one makes regular note of such glaring hypocrisy by conservatives may have worn me down a little since I can’t work up much in the way of outrage over that angle to the story. Though I would welcome Harris to his coming out party. He has ventured outside the mental, emotional and political bubble in which Republicans thoughts swirl in a self affirming bacteria ridden cauldron. Note the sense of entitlement. The outrage on finding in the real world many employees have a waiting period before health care coverage kicks in. Once Harris’ kicks in he will pay subsidized premiums courtesy the American public. Harris would never have the courage of his convictions and reject such socialistic fringe benefits. While many conservatives ( pundits excluded) are capable of physical courage, they have been lacking in moral courage for decades. Harris is what has already become the archetypical teatard. Rather than Obamacare he proposes,

On his campaign website, Harris explains, “[a]s a physician, I know that our health insurance system is in need of repair. However, the answer to the ever-rising cost of insurance is not the expansion of government-run or government-mandated insurance but, instead, common-sense market based solutions that ensure decisions are made by patients and their doctors.”

Let us all kneel and praise those “market based solutions”. Those would be the ones conservatives could have proposed during the health care debate in which President Obama and Democrats tried to work out a bipartisan plan. This diamond studded market based solution would have really embarrassed Democrats, and Republicans would have won the debate and had their vision enacted into law. Only that market based solution was just another truck load of unicorn crap. The health care reform we got was the Mitt Romney-Heritage Foundation plan – that was – dare I say it – very much market based. There were carbon copies of conservatives just as bone headed, out of touch and elitist as Harris in Congress. They took a pass on contributing anything – though the final bill included many concessions to Republicans. Which means the final bill had socialistic ideas in it which originated in the Republican party. Harris and many of the teatards thinks health care reform( the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) does away with choosing your doctor or losing your existing coverage. So Harris and other tea baggers were elected on the platform they would go to Washington and repeal laws or parts of health care reform law that, in fact, do not exist. Good luck to Dr. Harris and the other teatards on tilting at the windmills of their mind. Ten Myths About Health Care Reform

Conservatives have so much in common with radicalized Muslims – like pushing our culture back to the 19th century. From Another Black Conservative commenting on Sen. Lisa Murkowki(R-AK) opinion that Sarah Palin lacks “intellectual curiosity”, Lesser women knocking Palin, take #965 – An alternative title for this post could easily have been Sour Grapesfest 2010!

I have noticed something about many of Sarah Palin’s female critics, let’s see if you noticed it too.  Many of Palin’s female critics tend to be Sarah Palin’s lesser. These women tend to have lesser jobs, smaller families, lesser looks, you get the picture.  Yet here they are knocking Sarah Palin like they masters of the universe.

Did he write that post just before recess while he was picking his nose and pulling on the pigtails of girl sitting in  front of him. I’ve read more cogent sensitive analysis on the back of bus benches. Wait, maybe it’s a joke. Is there some kind of contest among conservative bloggers to see who can cram the most pedantic condescending crap into as few words as possible. Maybe AnotherBCon has been taking creepy Palin worship lessons from the National Review’s Rich Lowry, NR’s Rich Lowry: Palin “Sent Little Starbursts Through The Screen”

I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.

David Weigel on yet another bizarre conservative column in WaPo by pollster-pundits Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell. Doug and Pat thought it would be so koolicious to write about Obama doing the best by America by declaring himself a one term president – Listen to Me, Barack! – How to sell horrible counterintuitive column ideas and look smart doing it.

Ah, but no editor wants columns that make obvious points! This is the paradox of the opinion industry: If it sounds stupid, it leads. If it’s counterintuitive, it’s surely because the columnist has found a fresh angle on a mundane problem, and this angle will produce insights. Data is unexciting, especially if it’s the same data everyone else has. Discussions of fantasy scenarios that could prove your theories right? Exciting! So before anyone else tries, here are six ridiculous ideas for opinion columns on how Obama can rescue his presidency.

David is being generous. Schoen and Caddell’s concern trolling reminds me of a rat feeding on its own entrails. These weird fantasy diatribes, off the wall analogies ( Obama is just like Hitler) and stalkerish pleadings for Democrats to become appendages of right-wing kooks, for their own good of course, probably gives everyone else in the bunker the giggles, but not people who live in the real world. There was babble recently about Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly ( another case of false equivalency) being the death of journalism. The Op-ed editor at WaPo is certainly doing their part to contribute to that end.