Industrial Gears wallpaper – Romney Makes Weird Sandwich to Medicare Comparison, Conservative Media Stumbles

Industrial Gears wallpaper


Conservatives do and say dumb things. It happens that dumb things are not that difficult to report yet some of the press is not able to put the latest Romney goofiness in perspective – MSNBC mischaracterizes(sic) Romney remarks

MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.

Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad — you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”

But in the MSNBC clip, which first aired on Andrea Mitchell Reports, Romney’s remarks begin with the WaWa anecdote and end at “It’s amazing,” an edit — first noted by conservative blogger Sooper Mexican — that makes it seem as though Romney was expressing amazement at the advent of touchtone screens.

The MSNBC clip feeds into the narrative, beloved by some on the left, that Romney is a 1950’s throwback. After the clip cut, Mitchell and MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza broke out into laughter — which is understandable, given that they both had been led to believe that Romney was wowed by a simple machine. In fact, what Romney found so “amazing” was the discord between private sector innovation and public sector bureaucracy.

Romney Medicare, subs and efficiency

This is simple. Romney made a bizarre apples to oranges comparison. Romney’s story – based on a totally unverified anecdote from one person reminds me of the Michele Bachmann(R-MN) statement about vaccines being dangerous. Why were vaccines dangerous according to Bachmann? Because a woman she meet at one of her rallies said so.

One, he could have changed his address on-line in a few minutes. One of the reasons it might take a little longer for a health care provider to change addresses is because Medicare has to take precautions against Medicare and Medicaid fraud. How in the world is that like using a debit card to buy a sub.

Romney plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid anyway so why does he care whether providers have to take a few minutes to file a change of address.

Romney’s little play acting was supposed to demonstrate how private sector efficiencies should be introduced into the public sector. There is just one little problem with that. Government efficiency is at its best in dispensing safety net benefits like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In a study of private sector versus government, they came out about even in satisfaction ratings: Government is Good. An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution 

In the public’s view, government agencies are not only wasteful, they are enormously wasteful. Surveys reveal that Americans believe that 48 cents of every tax dollar going to bureaucracies like the Social Security Administration are wasted.3 Yet investigations by the Government Accounting Office and various blue-ribbon commissions have found that waste amounts to only a small fraction of that figure. Al Gore’s National Performance Review, conducted when he was vice-president, examined the federal bureaucracy in great detail and discovered that waste consisted of less than two cents of every tax dollar.4 Of course we should be ever vigilant about waste and try to eliminate it wherever we can find it, but it seems clear that the extent of this problem is being highly exaggerated by conservative critics of government. As one set of scholars who examined a wide variety of the studies on government waste concluded: “There is … little evidence to support the widespread impression that government inefficiency squanders huge amounts of money.”5

full size chart.

The numbers indicate citations. Is there government waste. Certainly. One of the most infamous examples was the outsourcing of government services to Blackwater, which became XE and than became Academi, “The congressional investigation found that Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day for each private military operative – more than six times the wage of an equivalent soldier.” Is that the kind of private sector efficiencies Romney thinks are automatic as soon as we turn over government services to private contractors. Than there were those no-bid contracts to Halliburton( or its subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) – which squandered millions in tax dollars, sullied tainted drinking water to the troops, supplied shoddy wiring that electrocuted several soldiers. More here, Questionable Iraq Contracts May Exceed $10 Billion. Liberal media? If there were such a thing they would do their job and make Romney answer some tough questions about the drivel he passes off as keen insights. Another recent example: Experts Say Romney’s Defense Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Romney wants to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Should he and his Republican cult succeed in doing so they will also be repealing the cost efficiencies built into health care reform –   Quality Health Care Delivered Effectively and Efficiently.

Not all the the ACA has even been implemented yet and it has already saved tax payers $2.5 billion in Medicare fraud. Not bad considering that Medicare fraud has less than 2% fraud rate.

The media seems to buy into the Romney is now, since the primaries are over, a moderate. yet the sub sandwich story demonstrates that like the NYT resident conservative David Brooks, Mittens is just sneakier about selling deeply false, radical and weird points of view.

Conservatives do seem to have a loyal devotion to falsehoods. Sometimes they know better and are just being malevolent. Other times they appear to believe their own hogwash. The jack bootd poster at the Republican site Atlas Shrugged posted this fantasy, Obama Threatens Any Opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with the Withdrawal of All U.S. Aid

The Obama administration warned Egypt’s military leaders on Monday to speedily hand over power or risk losing billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic aid to the country.

It wasn’t enough that Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood to his submission speech in Cairo in June 2009, despite the fact that the group was banned at that time for obvious reasons: they wanted to install a Sharia government, and the draconian, barbaric code of Sharia in Egypt. It wasn’t enough that after he invited the Brotherhood to his speech, he had officials in his administration meeting with this Islamic supremacist group. It wasn’t enough that he abandoned the true freedom movement, when the women of Iran and the Persians, Zoroastrians rose up after 30 years of oppressive Sharia rule. He spit on them and left them to die.

The reality: President Obama warned the Egyptian military – who the CIA, Special Forces and Naval Air helped defeat – to respect the results of the democratically help elections: Obama administration warns Egypt’s military leaders to hand over power or risk losing US aid

As Egypt’s Islamist candidate claimed victory in a presidential run-off, Pentagon and State Department officials expressed concern with a last-minute decree by Egypt’s ruling military council giving itself sweeping authority to maintain its grip on power and subordinate the nominal head of state. The move followed last week’s dissolution of parliament by an Egyptian court.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the U.S. was troubled by the timing of the military leaders’ announcement, just as polls closed Sunday night for the presidential election. He said the U.S. would urge them “to relinquish power to civilian elected authorities and to respect the universal rights of the Egyptian people and the rule of law.”

The military council pledged Monday to hand over power to the new civilian authorities by the end of the month.

But the new military powers and the recent collapse of Egypt’s first freely and fairly elected parliament have Washington concerned about the perilous state of Egypt’s democratic transition. The Obama administration has sought to safeguard its interests while championing change in Egypt. Sunday’s election runoff were the second round of the first presidential elections after three decades of authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak, who made Cairo a bulwark of American influence in the Middle East before being pushed from power in February 2011.

So Atlas Shrugged is portraying the Egyptian military’s attempt to declare the democratic elections void as the same as support for Muslim radicals. She does know that the military is Muslim as well? The “He spit on them and left them to die” silliness is just delusional. It is a reference to the Iranian protests of 2011. What she wanted was for the U.S. to invade Iran just like we did Iraq. The Iranian people showed no signs they wanted an invasion that would have likely caused hundreds of thousands of causalities – and ended up being twice the nightmare of Iraq. I’m pretty darn sure that at no time did President Obama spit on those Iranian protesters. Conservatives are pushing for war with Iran. Which they hope to get with a Romney presidency. To his credit, thus far anyway, Romney has laid out a plan similar to President Obamas’. For those liberals who think there is only degrees of difference between conservatives and Democrats on foreign policy, be thankful for those few degrees of difference.

Senator Scott Brown(R-MA) is quite the little prima donna or just a wuss, I’ll only debate you if that widow shuts up

Furthermore, Brown says that he can only get asked about the Boston Red Sox and Celtics and how awesome they are.

And Elizabeth Warren has to wear an “I love Hitler” T-shirt.

Brown has agreed to two radio debates, including one being moderated by Dan Rea, a conservative-leaning talk show host, and another hosted by Margery Eagan, a Boston Herald columnist…

What, was Newsmax not available? The Herald, of course, is the city’s right-wing newspaper which has relentlessly flogged the “Warren is a fake Native American” non-story. Brown is desperately trying to stay on safe territory.

But hey, can you blame him? He’s woefully out-of-touch with his state’s electorate, so if he can hide the “debates” on wingnut radio, that would be a plus for him.

But telling a widow to shut the fuck up? That level of crassness you couldn’t make up.


Antique Map of Ireland 1598 – They Will Not Die, The Conservative Zombies

   Click here for larger image: A Modern Depiction of Ireland, One of the British Isles, 1598 CE

This map was the most modern and sophisticated of the period. It was made by Abraham Ortelius (1527-98),  a Flemish engraver and businessman.

“They won’t stay dead.”  Night of the Living Dead (1968). A movie about conservatives who keep trying to gut Medicare? It could have been. Part of conservative dogma is the worship of free market solutions for everything. There would be nothing especially wrong with that if free market solutions always worked perfectly. As we learned in 1929, 1960, 1982 and 2007 free markets are not always perfect. Not being human in and of themselves, they do not care about people. The people themselves have pretty darn reliable and resilient. That being the case programs like Medicare, a program by and for the people – using some free-market tools ( private physicians and hospitals) has proven to be very successful at providing the services promised regardless of what the market does or what party controls Congress. All while controlling costs better than the pure free market arrangement between business, employees and health care providers. You know the old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t leave it alone. Conservatives do not believe in that. because Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are heresy. That is what it boils down to. Not the facts. Not what works and what does not. Those who think that Medicare is a great if imperfect solution to health care for seniors and the disabled – you’re a heretic. Those the undead quality of conservative crusade against a program that works. ‘Mediscare,’ Republican style

If you’re thinking of answering this in the affirmative, you might want to pause long enough to learn what transpired on the third floor of the Capitol on Thursday. There, four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.

In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.

For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises.

[  ]….The end-Medicare sponsors are key figures: DeMint is the godfather of the Tea Party, and he was joined by Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), two conservative rising stars. Completing the foursome was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an influential thinker. Two other Republican senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, have introduced a somewhat related plan to deal with Medicare, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget would also privatize Medicare, though on a slower timetable.

They avoided the term “vouchers” this time – at least according to the article. Enrolling seniors and one assumes the disabled in a government subsidized program like members of Congress is the new way to gut Medicare. The part they would subsidize is a lot like how vouchers would work ( the squirrelly plan from Paul Ryan (R-WI) which would have plunged millions of seniors into poverty and/ or without health care). Why is shoe horning everyone into this subsidized program so much better? Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says so. This is all very urgent because, you know, Medicare is going broke in ten years, oh and Iraq has WMD. Medicare’s future has some issues in terms of costs, but those are not due to the program itself, they are due to spiraling health care costs. neither this new undead attack or Ryan’s old undead attack on Medicare has is a solution. On the contrary, they both say here is a little something, try to survive on it. That is not an answer. That is a complete lack of morals and economic justice.

Conservatives and Medicare

ObamaCare -The Affordable Care Act has provisions that will make Medicare more sustainable. Here is the irony. The ACA is a free market solution to health insurance for people under 65. The insurance exchanges are only a type of listing service with pricing. Conservatives want to dismantle a solution for those under 65 that resembles in many ways the program they are proposing for those over 65. So President Obama and Democrats have signed up for free markets solutions for the majority of the population – leaving us all to deal with that mine field – conservatives are opposed. President Obama and Democrats want to save Medicare. conservatives want to turn Medicare into something that looks in some ways like Obamacare or Romneycare. Like a lot of rigid dogma – which does not allow for reason and wisdom – the conservative take on Medicare and the ACA resembles the attacks of regressive zealots during The Age of Reason.

Firm Romney Founded Is Tied to Chinese Surveillance

In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.

[  ]…Mr. Romney has had no role in Bain’s operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China. But the fortunes of Bain and Mr. Romney are still closely tied.

The financial disclosure forms Mr. Romney filed last August show that a blind trust in the name of his wife, Ann Romney, held a relatively small stake of between $100,000 and $250,000 in the Bain Capital Asia fund that purchased Uniview.

I’m going to take up for Romney a little on this one.  Romney deserves a little heat just because he has tried to use China and trade as an issue against Obama. Mittens can’t have it both ways. Many American companies sell various kinds of security software and technology to nations with less than great human rights records. If you own mutual funds or your pension owns such investment tools, you probably – abet inadvertently support some not so nice people in China, Saudi Arabia or another twenty or so nations on Humans Rights Watch has listed as being authoritarian. Let’s say the Progressive Democratic Caucus tried to pass a bill tomorrow that stopped trade or imposed protectionist level trade sanctions against China or whoever until they cleaned up their act – there would be a collective cry of outrage from the Right and many not so bad American corporations ( Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, among hundreds of others). Just this past November the far Right editors at The National Review wrote,

The final goal of the United States should be a high-quality, pan-Asian free-trade agreement that includes Japan, and eventually China…

November 16, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Bring Free Trade to the Far East

They hedged with the bit about “high-quality”, that could be walked back to mean anything, but they were very high on an Asian wide free trade agreement.

It is not generally considered crazy to pray, to talk to one’s deity. On the other hand when someone thinks that deity is telling them what to do. Than there is the matter of conflicts when the same deity tells several people, hey you’re my favorite. Mark Twain would have a field day with this crowd, “God’s Will”?: Sarah Palin’s Secret Plot to Capture the White House in 2012

In her widely reported interview with CNN on Super Tuesday, she openly stated that she would consider accepting the nomination at a brokered GOP convention:

Anything is possible. I don’t close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so, no, I wouldn’t close that door. My plan is to be at that convention.

It’s a line she has uttered repeatedly ever since her ill-fated candidacy as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. To most casual observers of the American political process, even Republicans, this would seem to border on the delusional. Her favorability rating among the general populace is now staggeringly low. In many circles, she is a laughingstock or a punch line. She didn’t even bother to enter the primaries. Even Ann Coulter has now turned against her.

[  ]…At least one source close to the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska, has confirmed that Palin “still believes it is God’s will” that she serve as president, if not in 2012 then perhaps in 2016. Every move she has made in recent months — every attack on Romney and Obama, every push for an elongated primary, every speculation about an open convention — has been issued with this political calculation in mind.

In the aftermath of the devastating portrayal of Palin in HBO’s Game Change, Palin’s once-close political associate in Alaska, the good-government activist Andree McLeod, told me yesterday:

People can laugh all they want, but she ain’t done. She’s only developed a tougher skin through all ‘this’ and, out of desperation, has to inflict more damage for reasons only Sarah and her constantly-changing set of patrons knows. She has become even more dangerous and desperate.

Maybe there is some static on the heavenly line when Mittens, Santorum and Palin are listening since they all seem to think – you know who – wants them, and them alone to be president. Conservatives tend to have the values of a 12th century inquisitor so it is another bit of irony that they are all being a little heretical. Their respective followers tend to eat this divine providence stuff up as well, which does not speak well to their state of mind or moral compass.

The Case for Crazy: What the GOP Would Learn by Picking Rick Santorum

Giving a self-identified “full-spectrum conservative” theo-con like Santorum the nomination would mean we’d really have a “choice, not an echo” election in November. Republicans would be forced to confront the fact that talk about Satan attacking America, negative obsessions with homosexuality, contraception and opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest alienates far more people than they attract.

Our politics are looking more and more like a cult because of unprecedented polarization—any issue where there is deviation from accepted orthodoxy leads to an attempted purge. It is absurd that clownish conservative caricatures like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain were briefly elevated to the top of the polls while more sober-minded presidential candidates with executive experience like Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman Jr. failed to gain any traction. The result is the weakest Republican field in living memory.

John Avlon is pretty savvy guy when it comes to politics, but I disagree about this being a weak field now or the field the Right had six months ago. It is very representative of the conservative movement. He should check out the snipping between different camps of supporters in conservative blogs some time. Their attacks on each other do not make any more sense than their attacks on anyone left of center. It seems that whoever can get the angriest, get in the dirtiest insult, the most venal put-down, is the winner. Facts, the best public policy based on a study they read, basic decency and genuine morality – have nothing to do with who they support. The only thing missing is the actual pitchforks and bonfires.

The Debt Ceiling and How To Define Winning

We’re in spin phase. The spin of the House’s debt ceiling vote is almost as bad as the last few weeks of inventing the fake deficit and spending crisis. The moderate to liberal side of the spectrum should not be shocked or angry, and they should not be any more pessimistic than usual. The shoe was going to drop. It dropped and there is some good news and some bad news. I will grant that House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH) really believes what he says. Remember these words. They are the kind of canyon sized gaffes that break politicians and lose elections:

Pelley: You were unable to get your own caucus behind your bill a few days ago. Do you intend to remain Speaker of the House?

Boehner: I do. When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.


I wrote a post about the political Jiu-Jitsu in play with the budget talks and it worked out exactly that way. President Obama offered up $4 trillion in cuts. Boehner settled for half those cuts. He is happy with what he got. What did he get for the people of Ohio and the rest of the nation? He got an extension of the tax depreciation schedule for corporate jets. He got not reforming the tax code so there would be fewer loopholes. The Congressional Budget Office has the general outline:

What Are the Main Elements of the Legislation?

The legislation would:

Establish caps on discretionary spending through 2021;
Allow for certain amounts of additional spending for “program integrity” initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of improper benefit Payments;
Make changes to the Pell Grant and student loan programs;
Require that the House and the Senate vote on a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution;
Establish a procedure to increase the debt limit by $400 billion initially and procedures that would allow the limit to be raised further in two additional steps, for a cumulative increase of between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion;
Reinstate and modify certain budget process rules;
Create a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further deficit reductions, with a stated goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years; and
Establish automatic procedures for reducing spending by as much as $1.2 trillion if legislation originating with the new joint select committee does not achieve such savings.

Much of the spending is left up to Congress or this special committee. The creation of such a committe will suck down millions all on its own. The debt deal provides for adjustments to the caps in each fiscal year to account for funding designated for emergency requirements and disaster relief and to allow additional funding for “program integrity” initiatives. Program integrity is basically stepped up policing over payments. No one likes someone getting money they are not entitled but this by definition means more of the kind of auditing of individuals that conservatives say is the strong-arm of government. Just another hypocritical bump in the road.

The conservative Mr. Boehner(R-OH) and by and large House teahadists are happy with this deal. That’s good because it is their deal. It is a lot like the Reid plan and Vice president Biden’s plan in terms of dollars, the special committee is an expensive and absurd twist. The promise to put a balanced budget amendment up for a vote is the cheapest kind of window dressing. Such a bill is dead on arrival. Conservatives are happy with it and it is their bill, so that means they own the recession. Conservatives own the anemic growth we can expect and us Keynesian know will occur. Brad Delong is estimating ,”0.4% off of fiscal 2012 real GDP growth, with an unemployment rate in November 2012 0.2% above the baseline.” The original Recovery Act funds will be gone by the end of the year, as will extended unemployment benefits and the Obama payroll tax cut. I thought or rather hoped that Paul Krugman was at least exaggerating a little about the lost decade. The conservative who drove the economy into the ditch just extorted the country into that ditch for another five years ( that is unless Democrats take back the House in 2012 and pick up a few Senate seats – real possibilities as of today).  OK, taking into account that conservatives have intrinsically anti-American priorities they will be able to take credit for reducing the long-term debt, right? Not so much – Could This Deal Raise Budget Deficits?

In fact, this deal could manage to do the exact opposite of what it promises — raise the deficit.

If that happens, it will be because a major determinant of tax revenue is the health of the economy. Profits and growth bring revenues. This could damage the economy enough to send tax receipts down again. Although you never would have guessed it from the rhetoric, tax receipts are at the lowest level in years, as a percentage of gross domestic product. Get a healthy economy and tax revenues rise while a lot of spending, on such things as unemployment benefits, goes away.

As we have seen in Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey and other states with tea bag governors and at the federal level – austerity, the holy grail of deficit reduction – has resulted in more unemployment ( public sector payrolls can certainly be too big and there are times to cut them. This just is not one of those times). Expect more unemployment. With fewer employed expect fewer tax receipts. Less revenue equals higher deficits. Conservatives, in a mental head lock transfixed by deficit reduction – can only see business leaping on the debt ceiling deal as lifting the ominous cloud of uncertainty that was keeping them from hiring. That is what they said about the Bush tax cuts. We’ve had 6 quarters of renewed cuts and anemic growth in the economy and employment remains statistically unchanged from a year ago. Magic does not work no matter how much conservatives believe in it.

The Economist, not exactly friendly to liberal policies notes, Nuts and bolts

As for long-term fiscal consolidation, the deal also falls short. Total deficit reduction of $2.4 trillion is less than the $4 trillion that bipartisan groups and political leaders had more or less agreed was necessary to put the debt on a meaningful downward path relative to GDP. It’s also the number Standard & Poor’s, a credit rating agency, had suggested was necessary for America to avoid a downgrade to its AAA credit rating. And it’s worth noting that now that GDP has been revised to be smaller than we’d realised, debt is larger as a share of GDP.

The Senate still has to vote on this deal, but let’s assume it passes. The uber conservative Republicans have let the average American hostage go, but they crippled them. Some of that damage is going to haunt them as they struggle to justify why they cut less than the ransom Obama offered, they had to tinker unnecessarily with the details, the Bush tax cuts are still set to expire and the economy is still tanking, but no one can pass a jobs bill because part of the deal entails no new spending. The cherry on top is that the nation’s credit standing may have been damaged enough anyway to the degree that we’re paying more interest on the debt. Everyone knows that states must balance their budgets. Besides some accounting tricks one way they avoid draconian cuts is to go begging to the feds for funds. As of today good luck with that. Expect more cuts – i.e. firefighters, teachers etc to lose their jobs.

Who won this round of stage craft? Depends on how you define winning. We’ve seen what Boehner and House teahadists think is winning. Not much of a win when you add up the numbers. What Republicans and their lamestream media friends won was another round of Framing the Debate. Welcome to the Tea Party’s Austerity Recession

Propaganda Trumps Research

For almost a century, the prevailing economic paradigm has held that when the private sector is in recession, and people aren’t spending money, the public sector needs to step in and act as a “buyer of last resort,” running deficits to keep people working until the economy gets going again. While the fine details of “Keynesian” theory have been the subject of debate, in broad strokes, it remains the thinking shared by most economists across the political spectrum. But even as it remains the dominant economic paradigm, a network of deep-pocketed conservative donors has, to a large degree, successfully discredited that idea in the political realm, replacing it with the simplistic and ahistorical narrative that deficits “destroy jobs.”

As Think Progress reported, “Since the end of the Bush presidency, shadowy right-wing groups, many of them formed for this very purpose, have primed the public with a sophisticated public relations campaign to shift the national discourse to a focus on debt reduction.” That’s resulted in what Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent describes as a “deficit feedback loop,” in which “the relentless bipartisan focus on the deficit convinces voters to be worried about it, which in turn leads lawmakers to spend still more time talking about it and less time talking about the economy.” Sargent highlighted a study released in May by the National Journal confirming his thesis. It found, “a dramatically shifting landscape of coverage over the past two years, as the debate over how to fix the federal deficit has risen to prominence and the question of how to handle still-high unemployment has faded from the media’s consciousness.”


As noted in that article, president Obama also bought into the deficits outweigh jobs debate. Politically and publicly that might have been the best thing to do when you see the tide of concern shifting. Democrats have so little of the kind of communications infrastructure to fight the of right-wing disinformation campaigns, tactically it might be best for Democrats to buy into such arguments and try to shape them the best they can. This is something that I have shades of disagreement with some liberals about – the power of the presidential soapbox or bully pulpit. Democratic presidents – with no Rupert Murdoch communications empire behind them, no Koch brothers, no Coors family, no Chamber of Commerce – can only nudge messages a certain way. Too much presidential messaging from a Democrat can even backfire. Until Democrats have the kind and size of the noise machine the Right has they will always be at a great disadvantage in sustaining a message.

I’ll leave on some more semi-good news. About those”triggers” – Five Things for Liberals to Like in the Debt Ceiling Deal

The trigger: This is counterintuitive, but the trigger is actually pretty good for Democrats. For all that MoveOn thinks that it would force benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, it actually wouldn’t trigger benefit cuts to any entitlements. The only cuts it would force would be a 2% or more haircut for Medicare providers. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with most Democrats, has never opposed provider cuts. Not only that, most progressives actually want the Pentagon cuts. So if the committee deadlocks and the trigger is pulled, Democrats won’t be miserable.

The commission: Again, for all the liberal carping about a “Super Congress,” the commission of 12 members — three from each party in each chamber — set up to find the second phase of $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving is actually rigged to force some revenue increases. Yes, the Bush tax cuts are off the table. But there are plenty of loopholes, subsidies and other corporate welfare programs that are on the table. And with such a strong trigger, it’s hard to imagine at least one Republican not voting to kill corporate jet subsidies over slashing $500 billion from the defense budget – even if the revenues aren’t offset. The question is: who are Republicans more afraid of, Grover Norquist or the joint chiefs? Democrats’ money is on the joint chiefs.


OK, think of this as a P.S. One tea smoker put down her bong long enough to see that they didn’t get all the ransom they think they deserved. Ann Barnhardt writing at the right-wing American Thinker – We The Stupid

I stand here in abject stupefaction.  The so-called “right” or “Tea Party” in this republic is being so thoroughly rolled and defeated that I am struggling to come up with an adequate violent submission metaphor that does not involve prison rape . . . and they honesty think that they’re “winning.”  Really?  You call this winning?

She uses some very suspect numbers and suggests that Obama be “removed” from office, but she does get the general drift of some of the cuts, like “not spending” money on Afghanistan being counted as a spending cut.

City Bridge Night Skyline wallpaper – Michele Bachmann Voted to End Medicare Twice. Now Loves Liberal Single Payer Plan

City Bridge Night Skyline wallpaper

Rep. and conservative presidential candidate Michele Bachmann(R-MN) has voted for the wizbang Paul Ryan plan to gut Medicare twice. We all know how conservatives have a way of spinning their way out of trouble. Bachmann could have voted for the Ryan gutting plan once and just claimed she was tired and didn’t realize what she was doing. Fox News and Limbaugh would have covered for her. Having decided to shaft America’s seniors and children, and their families who would be stuck for the increased cost of RyanCare, Bachman, without the shame a descent moral human being should have Accuses Obama of Secret Medicare Plan

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the latest candidate to join the Republican presidential campaign, suggested Friday that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in the new national health care law.

“This hasn’t been talked about very much – the president’s plan for senior citizens is Obamacare,” Ms. Bachmann told party activists here. She added, “I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens.”

As  Mark Kleiman and   Jonathan Chait note if such a devious plot existed wouldn’t it be a conservative plot rather than vast conspiracy by our exasperatingly centrist president,

Medicare is a single-payer program — the kind liberals have always wanted for the non-elderly, but didn’t get. Turning Medicare into something like the Affordable Care Act would be to move them off single-payer health care and onto a regulated system of private insurance. That would be a conservative plot. I don’t think Obama is planning it, and if he were, it would prove he’s far more right wing than anybody imagined.

I’m trying to think where Bachmann dreamed up this notion. The essence of Tea Party ideology is that Medicare is virtuous and American as apple pie with Obamacare is a socialist plot. In that way, Bachmann’s fevered accusation makes sense.

That is the thing about conservative- tea smoker conspiracy theories. Just like ordinary falsehoods once you start a narrative based on nonsense, additions to the narrative become even more twisted. Chait nails it in the sense the tea smokers have backed themselves into a corner. They claim the ACA(ObamaCare) is a government take over of health care. That was named the lie of the year in 2010 by Politifact –  Lie of the Year: ‘A government takeover of health care’

But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.

It’s true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.

For those who live outside the mental bubble of conservatism know that a plan to move everyone on Medicare to private insurers would be a right-wing wet dream come true.

In a speech to the Republican Leadership Conference, Ms. Bachmann recounted how she attended a closed-door meeting at the White House and said the president was asked three times to produce his plan to address the financial burdens facing the Medicare program. She said the president’s “gift to senior citizens is to steal from them $500 billion out of Medicare.”

The anecdote, which Ms. Bachmann did not explain in detail or offer additional corroboration, was the latest example of a red-meat, crowd-pleasing declaration that has become a theme of her political rise – whether or not the statements withstand scrutiny. She drew enthusiastic applause as she pledged that her top priority – should she reach the White House – would be repealing the health care law.

Conservatives generally agree that Pawlenty blew an opportunity at last week’s debate to go after Romney because Obamacare is largely based on RomneyCare. Now Bachmann is attacking Obama from the liberal perspective. Claiming, without evidence of course, that Obama wants to undermine Medicare. Let’s take her at her word for a moment and assume she did ask for Obama’s plan to sure-up Medicare’s long-term financial structure. Again, she runs into the fact that she has voted for the RyanCare plan to end Medicare as we know it and Republican have offered up no plan of their own to make sure Medicare finances stay on track. Watching conservatives hide behind Obama because they lack solutions is, well has been, and continues to be tiresome.


The NYT’s Eric Lichtblau is usually not a bad reporter. We all have our bad days. He could blame the WSJ who is used as a source for this story, AARP Is Open to Cuts for Social Security Benefits

Mr. Rother said the group’s stance on possible cuts, which was first reported in The Wall Street Journal in Friday’s editions, should be seen less as a major change in position than as a reflection of the political and financial realities facing the Social Security system and the country as a whole.

“You have to look at all the tradeoffs,” Mr. Rother said, “and what we’re trying to do is engage the American public in that debate.”

He made clear that the group’s willingness to discuss cuts comes with conditions: Reductions in benefits should be “minimal,” they should not affect current recipients and instead should be directed “far off in the future,” and they should be offset by increases in tax-generated revenue.

Nonetheless, the group’s openness to the possibility of unspecified cuts was seen as a significant development by people on all sides of the Social Security question because of AARP’s influence on federal policies affecting older Americans, including Medicare, prescription drugs and many more.


AARP say that it does not favor cuts, AARP Has Not Changed Its Position on Social Security

“Let me be clear – AARP is as committed as we’ve ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthening it for future generations.  Contrary to the misleading characterization in a recent media story, AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.

“First, we are currently fighting some proposals in Washington to cut Social Security to reduce a deficit it did not cause.  Social Security should not be used as a piggy bank to solve the nation’s deficit.  Any changes to this lifeline program should happen in a separate, broader discussion and make retirement more secure for future generations, not less.

“Our focus has always been on the human impact of changes, not just the budget tables.  Which is why, as we have done numerous times over the last several decades, AARP is engaging our volunteer Board to evaluate any proposed changes to Social Security to determine how each might – individually or in different combinations – impact the lives of current and future retirees given the constantly changing economic realities they face.

“Second, we have maintained for years – to our members, the media and elected officials – that long term solvency is key to protecting and strengthening Social Security for all generations, and we have urged elected officials in Washington to address the program’s long-term challenges in a way that’s fair for all generations.

There is the possibility of reading into that statement that they might be open to some changes, but not the kind of ‘cuts’ the NYT or the WSJ seemed to imply.

Michelle Malkin’s HotAir would like to be taken seriously as a media outlet, just as Malkin would like to be taken seriously as a journalist. This is the USA and we’re all entitled to our dreams no matter how far fetched. Allahpundit writes this ever so clever piece,Video: Sign the petition to ban job-killing ATM machines

Three minutes of silly fun from MRC TV saluting The One’s goofiest soundbite of the week. Turns out goofiness plays pretty well politically these days:

We had a lot of people who thought it made sense to get rid of cash machines and for a variety of reasons.

Some didn’t like the usage fees and concluded that the best way to get rid of the hassle was to get rid of ATM’s altogether.

Other’s wanted to see America return to a simpler time when we all got our money from our friendly neighborhood banker who knew your name, smiled at you and gave little Billy a lollipop after which you could hop in your horse drawn carriage and return to your candle lit home.

One woman even said that ATM machines were bad for the environment.

Good point. The more ATMs we can eliminate, the more “green jobs” we can create by hiring bank tellers. I watched this with some trepidation, anxious and depressed by the possibility that they might not encounter a single person who sees this idiocy for the idiocy that it is. But no, fear not. There’s still some sense out there. Watch out for the older lady in the hat, in particular. “Do you know how that stupid that sounds?”

Conservatives just can’t do irony. The premise only works if you buy into the premise that President Obama ever said that ATM’s machines were one of the major causes of unemployment. Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Accurate Remarks On Business’ Investment In Automated Machines

OBAMA: Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of me being unable to convince them to hire more people. They’re making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies. A couple of things have happened. Look, we went through the worst crisis since the Great Depression. We are now in a process where the economy is growing again, and we’ve created 2 million jobs over the last 15 months. But it’s not as fast as it needs to be to make up for all the jobs that were lost.

The other thing that happened, though, and this goes to the point you were just making, is there are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate. So all these things have created changes in the economy, and what we have to do now — and that’s what this job council is all about — is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be; how do we make sure that there’s a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist; how do we make sure that capital is flowing into those places with the greatest opportunity. We are on the right track. The key is figuring out how do we accelerate it. [NBC, Today, 6/14/11]

So Obama the alleged ‘elitest’ uses examples of automation that we can all relate to. The Right goes wild. If you’re ever at some kind of gathering and get cornered by a conservative, just jingle yours keys in their face. They’re become transfixed by the sound and the way the light twinkles off them. Needless to say president Obama was correct. Part of the problem with unemployment is technology is doing the work a human used to do,

NFIB Economist: Shift To Automated Production “Displaces A Lot Of Workers At Once.” In a June 9 New York Times article, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) chief economist William Dunkelberg cited the mechanization of farming as an example of mass worker displacement by automated production.

Harvard Economist: “If You’re Doing Something That Can Be Written Down In A Programmatic, Algorithmic Manner, You’re Going To Be Substituted For Quickly.”

Barclays Economist: “Firms Are Just Responding To Incentives. … And Capital Has Gotten Much Cheaper Relative To Labor.” The Times further reported that chief United States economist at Barclays Capital Dean Maki stated, “Firms are just responding to incentives. … And capital has gotten much cheaper relative to labor.”

NY Times: MIT Economics Professor Said That “Jobs In The Middle Are Being Lost To Automation And Outsourcing, And Now Job Growth At The Top Is Slowing Because Of Automation.”

The Right goes spastic over ATM comments. As sad as that screen capture is, it goes on for several pages. The Right hates to be called dumb. Yet they go out of their way to give people cause to believe they are.

Glass City wallpaper – Republican Medicare Lies Continue

Glass City wallpaper

Republicans demand TV station yank ad claiming GOP plan would `end Medicare’

Attention, people, this is important: The battle over whether it’s true that the Republican plan would “end Medicare” is about to play out in a critical way in New Hampshire.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which oversees House races for the GOP, has written a sharply-worded letter demanding that a New Hampshire TV station yank an ad making that claim. Whether the ad gets taken down could help set a precedent for whether other stations will air Dem TV ads making this argument, which is expected to be a central message for Dems in the 2012 elections.

Here we are 7 months after the mid-term elections and Republicans, who made job creation a center of their platform, have yet to introduce a jobs bill. What they have done is voted twice to end Medicare.

Unfortunately as we mark the 150th day of Republican control of the House today, Republicans have yet to bring a jobs bill to the House floor. In fact, the only votes this Congress has taken to create jobs have been on Democratic bills, which were either voted down by Republicans or which Republicans voted against even considering:

An American jobs effort to end government contracts rewarding corporations that ship American jobs overseas. [Vote 19]

Build America Bonds to Create Jobs Now Act – leveraging public dollars to strengthen the private sector, growing our economy by rebuilding America’s schools, hospitals, and transit projects, supported by American businesses, the construction industry, mayors and governors. [Vote 38, Vote 30, Vote 189]

American Jobs Matter Act – to give preference in federal contracts to U.S. manufacturers that create jobs here at home. [Vote 257]

National Manufacturing Strategy Act, which calls on the President to lay out a plan to help ensure American manufacturers can compete, grow, and thrive. [Vote 279]

Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Technology Act to help ensure the cars of the future are built here in the U.S., by investing in a broad range of near-term and long-term vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, support domestic research and manufacturing, and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies and fuels. [Vote 310]

Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act to provide our government with effective tools to address unfair currency manipulation by countries like China, which could help create 1 million American manufacturing jobs by leveling the international playing field for American workers and businesses. [Vote 9, Vote 199]

Have Republicans stooped to new lows in parsing out the meaning of words. I wish that were true. They were just as bad when it came to lying about WMD and the economy during the Bush years. Imagine someone took the warhead and rockets boosters off an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Would we still call that a missile or just a very expensive metal shell that used to be a missile, What’s In A Name?

As Greg says, this is important — because if they can get away with this, it will amount to a serious infringement of free speech, preventing people from running truthful ads.

Because the fact is that Republicans are trying to end Medicare. The program we now call Medicare is one in which the government acts as your insurer, paying your major medical bills; coverage is guaranteed to all seniors. The program Republicans want gives you vouchers and tells you to go buy your own insurance, if you can. That’s not at all the same thing.

Oh, they’re also trying to stop anyone from calling it a voucher plan — but that’s what it is.

What about the claim that the Ryan plan actually does guarantee coverage, because it says that insurers can’t turn you down? That’s based on word games. What the plan says is that you can’t be turned down because of medical history — it imposes community rating. But it says nothing about requiring that insurers sell coverage at a price you can afford. And the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Ryan plan makes it clear that it would put insurance coverage beyond the financial reach of many seniors.

The shell that Republicans would leave is what they would like to call Medicare. Just like they call torture just “enhanced integration”. Just as Sean Hannity will never live up to his bet to be “interrogated”, we will never see seniors clambering to have a half empty shell of health care. yea but Ryancare/Wing-nutcare will not kick in for years so old folks have time to get their Canadian citizenship or some how gather the same guaranteed resources they will need down the road. Not true, Republican Medicare, Medicaid proposal would hurt current seniors, too

You know that whole schtick from the Republicans about how anybody over 55 won’t be affected at all by their draconian budget and Medicare elimination scheme? They’re lying about that two. That’s according to analysis by Tim Fernholz writing at the National Journal.

“The retirees are going to be taken care of; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” House Speaker John Boehner vowed in an interview with CBS last month. The plan’s architect, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said time and again that the changes wouldn’t affect anybody getting close to retirement. “We propose to not change the benefits for people above the age of 55,” Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted last week.

There’s only one problem with the strategy: It’s not true.

The policies in the House GOP budget, if enacted, would begin affecting millions of seniors almost immediately by increasing their costs for prescription drugs and probably long-term care. Further, Medicare costs could rise over time if healthier seniors choose to abandon the traditional benefit program.

[  ]…Some 9 million seniors qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and about two-thirds of all nursing-home residents are covered by Medicaid. The GOP budget proposes cutting some $744 billion from Medicaid over 10 years by turning the system into block grants that limit federal contributions and give states more choice in structuring benefits. No one knows exactly which Medicaid services states would choose to cut back, but senior citizens account for a disproportionate share of Medicaid outlays and would almost certainly bear some of the burden.

“We know that two-thirds of the dollars in Medicaid go to people who are disabled or over 65, so this is the big funder of long-term care in this country,” said David Certner, AARP’s legislative-policy director. “We also know this could have an impact on home- and community-based care, which is the kind of care individuals prefer the most [and] often the ones that will be cut first.”

Final piece of Orwellian doublespeak to deal with: Ryancare is just like ObamaCare. No it is not. This one is silly beyond words. If they are the same, why repeal one and try to replace it with the other. Children trying to get away with something make up better lies on the fly than the average Republican.

Democrats(see the above on jobs agenda) do seem to be trying to create jobs. Because they are the minority party in the House they cannot even get bills up for a vote. Just as the public saw that FDR could not solve the problems of the Great Depression in one term, Democrats and President Obama cannot fix the loss of $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth by Republicans in four years. Democrats need to get out the message they are the party that is trying and obviously the Republicans are the party of obstruction. For most readers that snip of bills that Republicans stopped is probably the first you have heard of those job creation bills. A suggested recipe for Democrats, A Path to Democratic Ascendancy on the Economy. I disagree with the recommendation to stop reminding people where the economic calamity started and why it is still with us. It is possible to look back and forward in the messaging. We have hard time learning or remembering lessons in this country. Supply-side economics and the insane contempt for regulation that protects workers, consumers and investors keeps failing and keeps coming back like a zombie.


Everyone has probably read these by now but just in case, CASE CLOSED! CONGRESSMAN WEINER WAS FRAMED!

The screencap of Congressman Weiner’s page — the one featuring the infamous “crotch shot” — lacks the URL. As far as I can tell, the only way to create that anomaly is when someone other than the account holder places an image on Yfrog, using the simple strategy outlined above.

[   ]…The only way to create a URL-free header is to have someone else send a pic to one’s Yfrog address. Milowent did just that. You can see the result: The header now has a blank space beneath Dowson’s name.

Why does Yfrog work that way? I don’t know. Ask their programmers.

The important point is this: The anomaly in the header indicates that the image was not sent by Weiner. It had to have been sent by someone else.

Not only that. Believe it or not, when an outsider sends a pic to someone else’s Yfrog account in this fashion, the action creates a message in the “twitterstream.” The message seems to originate with the Twitter account holder — but it doesn’t. It comes from somewhere else — from someone mailing a picture to the account holder.

This is a serious security flaw in the design of Yfrog and Twitter. It allows a malicious outsider to “spoof” a tweet that seems to come from someone else.

ABC reported on the exploit described by that blogger and have since closed that security hole. The full post gives you all the ins and outs of the technical aspects. it boils down to anyone with the knowledge of this exploit being able to post to someone’s Twitter account via e-mail. Someone did some forensics on the photo, New Forensic Details About Weinergate Photo

Farid confirmed that the photo known to have come from Weiner’s camera was “inconsistent” with the controversial photo. In fact, Farid says, the photo appears not to have come from a Blackberry at all. But here’s the even stranger part: The controversial photo does not match any camera in Farid’s database, which consists of about 15,000 kinds of cameras, phones, and tablets.

It is important to remember that Breitbart, all the right-wing conservative blogs and pundits have not produced a single shred of evidence that Congressman Weiner posted that photo. If you’re visiting a site that insists that Weiner still did something wrong, ask for proof. They will not produce any because there is none. The arguments seem to have boiled down to Rep. Weiner’s oddly worded denials or they just “know” it is true. That does not pass any legal or logical benchmarks. Andrew Breitbart is even backing off, throwing “Dan Wolfe’ under the bus and a Tommy Christopher is trying to claim that Breitbart had nothing to do with any of this. Which is just ridiculous as the screenshot taken after Weinergate broke shows, Big Government was all Weineragte all the time, Andrew Breitbart’s Employees Are All-Penis, All-The-Time. Besides the basic premise of this cooked up scandal be completely fabricated, Breitbart is afraid he has hooked up with a couple of right-wing perverts, The Dark Past Of The “Weinergate” Co-PilotTwitter avenger Mike Stack not your typical conservative agitator

The Twitter user who first floated the rumor that a lewd photo scandal was brewing for Representative Anthony Weiner is not your typical conservative avenger, an investigation by The Smoking Gun has determined.

Mike Stack, a 39-year-old New Jersey resident, is known as “goatsred” in the Twitterverse, where he has helped lead a months-long assault on the New York City politician. Stack was joined at the hip in this pursuit by “patriotusa76,” who gave his name as “Dan Wolfe” and was the online avenger who happened last Friday night to discover the notorious tweet emanating from Weiner’s account.

As TSG reported yesterday, “Dan Wolfe” has conveniently evaporated in the wake of “Weinergate.” In fact, today Wolfe’s entire Twitter page was deleted.

But Stack, the other Twitter Twin, remains online. An examination of his background has discovered:

* Stack, who aggressively pushed the story about Weiner’s underpants shot, has worked as a moderator on a pornography web site, and been a regular commenter on several other X-rated sites. Stack describes himself as a “Pervert” on one site, where his avatar, captioned “Antichrist,” is a drawing of President Barack Obama as Jesus Christ.

One of the family values centered activities of this bunch of conservative stalkers – Wolfe, Stack and apparently a few women – did was harass some of the teenage girls who were Rep. Weiner followers. We await the media to do a couple things it should have done in the first place: The MSM picked up the story as a he said she said kind of story without any inquiry into hard evidence that Congressman Weiner had done anything inappropriate. At this juncture the Congressman and the country should be getting an apology for the shoddy reportage they consider journalism. We also await the same media to use it’s considerable resources to work holding Wolfe, Stack, Breitbart and assorted accomplices to account.

William Jacobsen, or at least this one – So Now All These People Will Apologize to Sarah Palin About Paul Revere, Right? – believe it or not is a conservative law professor who works at Cornell. He post this as, one would assume, jury ready proof that Palin was correct,

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms ( Paul Revere)

Clearly that is Revere’s account of what happened after his famous ride. Here is what Palin said,

PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

There were no bells ringing or shots fired. At the time we were all British. He rode with two other men and they were all caught and either escaped or were released afterwards. The goal was to quietly deliver a warning to John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British Army was going to arrest them. Palin’s actual words are that Revere’s ride was to warn the British. Palin was incorrect.

In this undated letter, written at the request of Jeremy Belknap, corresponding secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Paul Revere summarizes his activities on 18-19 April 1775: he recounts how Dr. Joseph Warren urged him to ride to Lexington (to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of British troop movements); how he had previously arranged with some fellow Patriots to signal the direction of those movements by placing signal lanterns in the steeple of Old North Church; and how he left Boston from the “North part of the Town,” was rowed across the Charles River by two friends, and there borrowed a horse and began his ride.

The manuscript letter includes some interlineations, apparently in the hand of Jeremy Belknap. In printing the account in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1st series, vol. 5 (1798), Belknap assigned to it the date of 1 January 1798. At the end of the document, Revere signed his name but then, apparently choosing to remain anonymous, wrote above it “A Son of Liberty of the year 1775” and beside it “do not print my name.” Either he changed his mind or Belknap ignored his request, for the two phrases are crossed out in the original document, and the name is included in the printed version.

Revere fills most pages of his letter to Belknap (pages 2-6) with the description of his ride. He writes of avoiding British soldiers and reaching Lexington, where he conveyed information to Hancock and Adams and where he met up with William Dawes. After Revere and Dawes set off for Concord, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, who helped them “allarm all the Inhabitents.”

Borrowed a horse? Sounds like socialism. Why didn’t he make one by himself from weeds and tree bark the way Palin would have.

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.

Morning at the Park wallpaper – Breitbart’s Twitter Smear Against Anthony Weiner (D-NY) Just Another Hoax

Morning at the Park wallpaper

Right-wing bloggers are obsessing over some alleged(accused but not proven or convicted) Twitter photo sent byRep. Anthony Weiner(D). As of today there is zero proof that Rep. Weiner sent the photo. None, nada proof. Weiner and his office think his account may have been hacked. It is also possible that nothing was ever sent from the Congressman’s account. All we have is some screen shots from, who else, a wing-nut who has been following Weiner, Breitbart’s #TwitterHoax – How It Went Down (updated w/ smoking gun)

UPDATE – Had to copy this Smoking Gun to the top of the diary, tweeted TWO WEEKS ago by the amazingly prescient @usapatriot76, who, incredibly, seems to have been the only witness on the scene when the underpants photo was (allegedly) tweeted.

[  ]…UPDATE:  Colby Hall at Mediaite beat me to it, and has much more on the hapless @patriotusa76.

Who who is this Twitter user that appeared to luck out and sent the only unique RT of Weiner’s image? The Twitter profile claims that he is an individual named Dan Wolfe, and his bio reads: “Conservative Reagan Republican. No Obamacare, socialism, sharia. Proud of the USA & Proud to be an American with NO apologies. No elitists need apply.”

Its not an exaggeration to say that Wolfe is somewhat obsessed with Weiner; a simple search reveals that, since April, he has mentioned Rep. Weiner 287 times via twitter. Also, skeptics might see that Wolfe and his Twitter clique have been building a narrative about Rep. Weiner’s followers for months, perhaps best evidenced by this tweet to an underage high school girl, who requested a follow from Weiner and got it

The young lady, who seems to also become a victim of the Rights perverse little prank, says there have never been any inappropriate messages between her and the Congressman. I do not have a Twitter account, but just a few minutes of research shows that Twitter has been hacked and people have posted hacking exploits on the net. Fox News had this report from last year, Twitter Hack Activates Pop-Ups, Sends Some to Porn Sites

A piece of JavaScript code that can be embedded in messages on Twitter has the potential to retweet itself and redirect the reader’s browser to other sites — notably a hard-core pornography site.

Hackers exploited a security flaw on the popular micro-blogging site Twitter, retweeting malicious code, activating pop-ups, and even exposing users to an unwanted sight: hard-core pornography.

Tech Crunch is popular tech site and they ran this story in 2009, The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack

This post isn’t about the confidential information taken from Twitter. It’s about exactly how Hacker Croll was able to get such deep access to Twitter in the first place.

It’s clear that Twitter was completely unaware of how deeply they were affected as a company – when Williams said that most of the information wasn’t company related he believed it. It wasn’t until later that he realized just how much and what kind of information was taken. It included things like financial projections and executive meeting notes that contained highly confidential information.

We’ve already said a lot about all of this and the related “server password = password” story that was discovered by another individual last week.

I don’t recommend going to read this story, but this is how one older exploit could be done, Learn How To Hack Any Twitter Account Using A Web Based Exploit. This one may also work to some degree though it is said not to work as well as when it was first tried, How to Force Anyone to Follow You on Twitter. Again, I strongly advise against trying any of these or other exploits one might find on the web. hacking exploits such as these are Federal crimes. Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government seems to be twittergate smear central. Now that Rep. Weiner has made multiple denials and suggested he might have been hacked you can always rely on wing-nut sycophant Dan Riehl to do some ass covering if, you know, all the bull he and his comrades have been making up, blows up in their face – as in Rep. Weiner needs to get authorities involved as soon as possible because this is all a potential threat to the nation’s security. Obviously Dan is not familiar with the previous hacks on Twitter and could not be bothered to use that little search box on his browser.

Andrew Brietbart’s status as the Right’s Fraudster-in-Chief is a result of what is becoming an encyclopedia of modern right-wing hoaxs that make Nixon’s Watergate burglaries look like dilettantes. Breitbart was at the center of the fake ACORN scandal, the phony Planned Parenthood videos from Lila Rose, the Shirley Sherrod smears, his sites regularly featured birther conspiracies, Breitbart was part of the gang of right-wing Republicans who created the campaign to smear Department of Education staffer Kevin Jennings and also claimed some White House conspiracy in a dust-up between a couple of participants at one of those crazy health care reform town hall meetings.  This is the guy we’re all supposed to believe in what appears to be a manufactured scandal over an apparently doctored picture and without a shred of proof that Congressman Weiner was involved.

How the mighty have fallen. Don’t Blame America’s Debt Crisis on Social Security and Medicare (Especially on Memorial Day)

Amid all the nonsense and gobbledegook that has been written about banking industry and about the economic slump during the last four years of the global financial crisis, New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson has stood out both for the clarity of her analysis, and for her willingness to go after the guilty parties in the political and especially the banking system, naming names and calling it as she sees it.

So it was kind of disappointing–even shocking–to read her latest article reporting on a new “study” by Peterson Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow Joseph Gagnon, warning about the nation’s growing debt crisis.

The Peterson Institute, founded by Wall Street tycoon Peter Peterson, has long been gunning for the Social Security and Medicare systems, which he, and the rest of the Wall Street gang, see as unfairly competing with Wall Street for the assets of the public, and as destructive of the “free market.”

Peterson’s basic schtick is that the two critical support systems for the elderly and infirm are going to bankrupt the country as they pay out benefits that exceed what retirees paid into the system, and that the solution is to cut back on those benefits, increase the taxes collected, or better, to privatize both systems.

Peterson was once CEO of Lehman Brothers – he of the crazy derivatives and CDOs(Collateralized Debt Obligations) all these wild bets that were never backed by enough collateral to payoff, should something like the housing bubble happen. Peterson is one of the hundreds of Andrew Breitbarts of Wall St who screwed the United States of America out of trillions of dollars of wealth. Now he wants all us serfs to knell before the great all knowing Overlord and follow his prescription for saving Medicare and Social Security. Peterson, the typical head in bubble narcissist, learned nothing from the Great Recession.

After all, the country has been piling up this debt for several decades, and especially over the last decade, but during all this time, Social Security and Medicare have been paying out their benefits from current dedicated payroll taxes and by drawing on the trust funds that had built up because of the years that more was being collected than paid out in benefits.

Get the point? Nobody, including Gagnon, Morgenson or the Social Security and Medicare-hating members of Congress like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), will acknowledge the fact that not one dime of the huge US deficit has been caused by a benefit check paid by Social Security or Medicare.

We should be talking about rising revenue, creating jobs and shoring up Medicare and Social Security, not handing our thin safety net over to the pigs at the trough.

Sunset Railroad wallpaper – Republicans Vote to Cut Own Throats

Sunset Railroad wallpaper

The Ryan budget is now officially a catastrophe for the GOP. Was this the White House plan all along?

When a mainstream news outlet like Politico publishes a major news story quoting multiple (unnamed) Republicans asserting that the House GOP ignored internal criticism of Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare, we can be sure of at least one thing: The Ryan budget proposal has moved beyond dead-on-arrival status to pure political poison.

[  ]…When the Obama administration released its 2012 budget, critics immediately pounded on the White House for failing to include a plan to deal with long-term entitlement costs. At the time, some of us thought this was unfair, since the Affordable Care Act incorporated concrete steps to rein in rising healthcare costs, which, practically speaking, is significantly more than any other recent administration has achieved in terms of grappling with long-term entitlement spending trends. But our voices were drowned out by the deficit hawks, and the clamor grew even louder when Paul Ryan seemed to steal a march on Democrats by releasing his own, much more far-reaching budget.

Only then did Obama release a plan of his own, in his April speech on the deficit, while simultaneously landing some lethal blows on Ryan’s Medicare plan. Grumpy conservatives immediately labeled Obama’s speech as “hyperpartisan” and the House GOP rallied en masse to vote for the Ryan budget, but the GOP has only itself to blame for inviting such a harsh reaction — especially if the Politico reports on the negative internal polling numbers generated by the plan are true.

[   ]…It’s also tempting to compare the Republican misadventures on Medicare with the Democratic healthcare saga, which also generated town hall anger and a huge electoral backlash. But there’s one momentous difference. Obama got his healthcare bill passed into law. The Ryan budget is never even going to get a vote in the Senate. If you’re going to place your entire party in political jeopardy, you might want to make sure you’re getting something out of the bargain.

Andrew Leonard is right about Republican miscalculation and getting a lot of feedback from very upset constituents. A case of once again Republicans letting the most radical elements of their party ( the House tea bags in this case) guide their agenda. President Obama, an experienced debater has probably seen these rare moments before in the Senate and the Illinois legislature where you have all your talking points lined up to face the toughest of his opponents arguments. Than your opponents become so unhinged all you have to do to win the debate is repeat your opponents agenda. He should send Ryan and the tea bags a note thinking them for exposing the deep contempt for which they hold America’s seniors. And the current generation of workers too for that matter. Good news kids, if things do not go as planned – yet another recession, more unpaid for wars – and you work hard, do your best, the only safety net you’ll have waiting for you is this stingy little voucher from the rabid Right. Frequently what happens when conservatives lose is that they – at least with their base – capitalize on that loss. House Leader John Boehner(R-OH) would come out and say this was a big opportunity to strengthen Medicare or an opportunity to really do something about the deficit. Only the Ryan plan did neither. The Right-wing blogs and pundits still think Ryan walks on water, but the polls show that not even mom and pop Republicans on Main Str are buying it. That is also one of the problems everyone should be having with the Politico story that Leonard is commenting on. The debate has been somewhat hijacked. The media is talking about the Ryan plan as part of a spending slash budget crisis. It is not. It is the fact that Republicans are committed to unjustifiably low taxes for the top 5%. Which is the Siamese twin of their  willingness to gut Medicare and Medicaid, and by doing so are engaging in a full on back door assault on Social Security. Steve Bennen gets it,

It’s worth noting that the Politico article reports, simply as a matter of fact, that that the House Republican leaders intended to “boldly position their party as a beacon of fiscal responsibility.” What the article doesn’t note is that this is absurd—there’s nothing fiscally responsible about the House GOP plan. The numbers don’t add up; the finances are fraudulent; and even the Medicare “savings” would be applied to tax cuts, not deficit reduction. The media really needs to start understanding this.

We could do away with Medicare tomorrow and doing so would make a big dent in the deficit but we would still have one. The basic spending required to maintain our thread bare social program like Medicare, the military, education and infrastructure will, for the foreseeable future, outpace the current revenue structure. Republicans would gladly let the grandparents live out their last years in misery than increase, say the capital gains tax. That will never been a sign of being fiscally responsible, rather it is a sign of the worse kind of moral decadence.

“Let them eat their own Goodwill Store bootstraps!”

Republicans proposed cutting $832 million – or 12 percent – from this year’s budget for the federal nutrition program that provides food for low-income mothers and children…Two analysts from the liberal research and advocacy group Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Zoe Neuberger and Robert Greenstein, said Monday that the cuts could mean turning away as many as 475,000 people from the Women, Infants and Children program if food prices continue to rise.

Nope, there is no way that Republicans are engaged in any kind of class warfare what so ever. Just as tax cuts create jobs these cuts will motivate those babies to get off their lazy cribs and start looking for work. Conservatism has no historical base – the Magna Carta, Tom Paine’s Common Sense, the U.S. Constitution, the theories of John Maynard Keynes, the political theories of John Locke, the political philosophies of John Stuart Mill, Charles de Montesquieu, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Thomas Jefferson were all great minds and events of liberalism ( I’m not counting Edmund Burke as a conservative, even though conservatives frequently cite him as an influence. Because he was a kind of hybrid between liberalism and the kind of conservatism Northern Republicans practiced back in the 1960s). So without any foundation to be found throughout the progress of western civilization ( except maybe monarchies and authoritarian despots), conservatism just pulls wacky stuff out of its ass. With all the problems that need solving the only solutions Republicans can come up with is the Ryan boondoggle and taking food from the poor. So when conservative presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says this in between spinning like a top,

“Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people,” Pawlenty said at a rally in Des Moines. “Someone has to lead…. Leadership in a time of crisis isn’t about telling people what you think they want to hear; it’s about telling the truth.”

Americans who are tired of being conned know its time to get the shovel and the wheel barrel.

But even impartial observers of Pawlenty’s record as Minnesota governor say that he exaggerates his fiscal accomplishments and glosses over the $5 billion deficit he left his successor, one of the biggest shortfalls in the country.

And that is after he used Obama’s federal stimulus money to pay the state’s bills.

More Solid Proof That Obamacare Is Working

Recent data provided by the nation’s largest health insurance companies reveals that a provision of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – is bringing big numbers of the uninsured into the health care insurance system.

And they are precisely the uninsured that we want– the young people who tend not to get sick.

The provision of the law that permits young adults under 26, long the largest uninsured demographic in the country, to remain on their parents’ health insurance program resulted in at least 600,000 newly insured Americans during the first quarter of 2011.

More at the link. Easy prediction, ObamaCare will be as popular as Medicare in five years. A lot of the usual suspects did not like Medicare when it was first passed in the 1960s.

Figures, Glenn Beck Fails Bible Study.

Niall Ferguson and the brain-dead American right The British historian owes his celebrity here to the absence of authentic American conservative intellectuals

The right-wing British historian Niall Ferguson seems to have conquered America: pushing his latest perishable book, “Civilization,” this one based on the trendy and quickly dated conceit of the six (or is it seven?) “killer apps” of Western civilization; writing cover stories for Newsweek; debating foreign policy on TV with Zbigniew Brzezinski; and pouting and snarling his way through a debate about economics with Paul Krugman, Jeff Madrick and Bill Bradley. If you missed his Chicago lecture on the imminent decline of America, then at least on YouTube you can still catch him warning before the 2008 presidential election that “Islamic jihadists” and “Europeans” were hoping that John McCain would lose. Recently, it was announced that Henry Kissinger has made him his official biographer, perhaps in the hope that Ferguson, who thinks that the Kaiser should have been allowed to crush Europe, will be equally kind to Kissinger’s reputation. Time magazine in 2004 named Ferguson one of the 100 most influential people in the world, which might help to explain the condition of the world.

“The Elite Turns Against Obama,” screamed a recent headline in the Daily Beast.

According to former New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, the evidence that “the intelligentsia” was turning against Obama consisted of a panel at the Aspen Institute, where the right-wing New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman agreed with Ferguson that the Democrats are hurting America. Ferguson, described as a “dashing Brit” by gossip columnist Grove, praised Republican congressman Paul Ryan’s scheme for abolishing Social Security and Medicare, a plan so callous and unpopular that other Republicans have scrambled to distance themselves from it. The Dashing Brit then told the assembled plutocrats that unemployed Americans are lazy: “The curse of long term unemployment is that if you pay people to do nothing, they’ll find themselves doing nothing for long periods of time.” On an earlier occasion he created a stir when he compared Barack Obama to the lascivious cartoon character Fritz the Cat, because, he said, both are “black and lucky.”

Niall Ferguson is probably a pretty obscure figure to most Americans. It is one of those Brits the Right like to use on their web magazines and blogs to supposedly add some intellectual weight to their latest screed. That phenomenon itself is strange considering the Ferguson’s lazy approach to scholarly research and his racism. The latter would not seem to fit in with the Right’s attempt to cast itself as the new improved conservatism that will not indulge racism anymore. Ferguson has nothing but very selective memories of western colonialism. Since many US conservatives do as well, one can see part of the mutual attraction.

Key Largo Palms wallpaper – Medieval Republicans

Key Largo Palms wallpaper

The WaPo did a fact check of Ryan’s Medicare/Medicaid plans ( which we should start calling simply the House Republican Plan since they passed it. The plan is not going to become law because thankfully the Senate will not pass it). WaPo practically bends itself into a pretzel to give the Ryan/Republican plan a fair hearing and still finds they are being less than truthy, GOP lawmakers tout Medicare reform by stretching a comparison to the health benefits they receive

Ryan, in his quote, said the new Medicare would be “working like a system just like members of Congress and federal employees have.” But the comparison begins to break down once you consider the premium support payments. Ryan would peg the premium support to the consumer price index, a broad gauge that has been rising more slowly than have health care costs.

The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan arm of Congress, analyzed Ryan’s plan and estimated that by 2030, the government would pay just 32 percent of the health care costs, less than half of what the federal plan currently pays. The other 68 percent of the plan would have to be shouldered by the retiree. (The CBO estimated that if traditional Medicare stayed in place, the government would pay 70 to 75 percent of the costs.)

While we can all understand how Republicans think Ryan is an economic genius – the same people who put a couple of trillion-dollar wars on your grandchildren’s credit card, what about Ryan’s view of the American people. He is assuming the majority of Americans are not aware they health care costs have risen faster than the rate of inflation for every other segment of the economy. That fact was and is one of the driving factors behind health care reform – The Affordable Care Act. The CBPP and Congressional Budget Office also ran the Ryan/Republican numbers and came to the same conclusion, CBO Report: Plan Also Contains Deeper Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid Than Paul Ryan(R-WI) Revealed

For Medicare, the CBO report reveals that the Ryan plan would raise the age at which people become eligible from 65 to 67, even as it repeals the health reform law’s coverage provisions.  This means 65- and 66-year-olds would have neither Medicare nor access to health insurance exchanges in which they could buy coverage at an affordable price and receive subsidies to help them purchase coverage if their incomes are low.  This change, which is not mentioned in the 73-page booklet on his plan that Chairman Ryan released,[4] would put many more 65- and 66-year-olds who don’t have employer coverage and can’t afford insurance into the individual insurance market — where the premiums charged to people in this age group tend to be very high — leaving them uninsured.  People of limited means, such as those who are trying to get by on incomes as low as $12,000 a year in today’s dollars, would be affected most harshly because they wouldn’t be able to afford private coverage.

The CBO report also reveals that the vouchers, or “defined contribution amounts,” that Ryan would provide to seniors to buy coverage from private insurance companies in lieu of current Medicare coverage would be adjusted each year only by the general inflation rate.  For more than 30 years, health care costs per beneficiary in the United States have been rising about two percentage points per year faster than GDP growth per capita.

Ryan/Republican Plan would greatly increase out of pocket expenses for seniors

Drive to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder(R) clears first hurdle

The group said it was part of a grassroots effort and its members “believe that Snyder’s early performance proves he is not qualified to lead Michigan.”

In part, the group cited as reasons for the recall effort Snyder’s law that expands the powers of emergency managers named by the governor to rescue failing schools and cities. Those powers include the ability to break union contracts and remove locally elected officials.

More here on Snyder’s efforts to replace legally elected governance with corporate stooges,

Michigan’s law allows the state to appoint emergency managers to nullify contracts, including labor agreements – which is what has unions upset. But the scope and intention of the law is much deeper and wider than simply anti-union. The legislation allows emergency managers to nullify the powers and authority of local governments of all kinds. One of its supporters gave the game away when he spoke of the need to impose a kind of “financial martial law” in which all pretense of democracy would be abolished in targeted communities. The community the Republican politician had in mind was Detroit, the Black metropolis, where the public schools were promptly put under emergency state control. But there is nothing to stop the state from abolishing democratic governance in any of Michigan’s cities, if an emergency can be declared or created. On April 15, the mostly Black city of Benton Harbor, the poorest jurisdiction in the state, was placed under total financial martial law, its citizens suddenly made more powerless than Blacks in Selma, Alabama, prior to the civil rights movement.

While they only really seem to believe in it when there is a Democratic president or a Democratic majority in the House, Republican philosophy is supposedly centered on local control – Washington bad, local always good. That being the case why is big state government and its dictatorial powers better than a city or town’s elected governmental authority. A Democratic city mayor and city council in Michigan should pass the same kind of “emergency” laws and send their appointed managers to kick out Snyder. If governors like Snyder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker would to go fascist-lite on the locals, than they can cope with the mentality they created.

Governor says Obama leaving Texas in the dust. Texas Governor Rick Perry(R) has advocated secession, the rights of states to nullify federal law(both clearly unconstitutional) and begged Washington for stimulus funds, bragged about projects done with those funds – all while slinging cheap insults at Washington and the Recovery Act from which those funds came. Now Perry is whining about President Obama and the feds not declaring a state of emergency in Texas. Why does Mr. Secession want his state to be declared in a state of emergency? A federal major disaster declaration could reimburse Texas and local governments 75 percent of the cost of their response. The feds have supplied firefighters. The feds have given Perry 22 grants to help pay fire management – 16 of those just this month. Republicans still think Bush 43 was a basically good president with sound policies – he just had some bad luck in executing those policies. With the current crop of Republican governors we’re just seeing a state sized version of Bush in action. It does not seem to matter how deeply or often their policies fail they keep to the agenda and blame others for their failures.

Twisters Kill 337; 2nd Deadliest in U.S. History….and Republicans and the grand old philosophy of conservatism responds, GOP’s Continuing Resolution Cuts Funding for National Weather Service, FEMA

Nationally, reduced funding will mean upper air observations now made twice a day might be reduced to every other day, buoy and surface weather observations that provide data for warning systems could be temporarily or permanently discontinued and there could be delays in replacing satellites, according to the release.

But Republicans can always find an excuse for corporate tax cuts.