Saturday, July 7, 2012

Must Reads

Sovereign Voice, Addicting Info: Paul Ryan: ACA Law Should Be Repealed Because Only God Can Grant Rights

Paul Campos: Roberts wrote both Obamacare opinions

John T. Harvey: The Terrifying Texas GOP Platform

Jason Easley: Michele Bachmann Uses Info From a Chain Email to Lie about ObamaCare Home Sale Tax

Ron Howard: What I learned from Andy Griffith

Howard Gleckman: There Is No Obamacare Tax On Most Home Sales. Really.

Wall Street Journal Editorial: Romney's Tax Confusion

Philip Rucker: Romney to bolster communications team amid conservative tempest

JM Ashby: Nobody Could Have Predicted

Ben Cohen: Mitt Romney’s Healthcare Flip Flops a Lesson in Modern Marketing

The Rude Pundit: What Mitt Romney May as Well Have Said at Today's "News" Conference

Carol Hartsell: Chris Rock 'White People's Day' July 4th Tweet Sparks Controversy

President Obama's Weekly Address - July 7, 2012

Pushing Congress to Create Jobs, Keep College in Reach for Middle Class

Friday, July 6, 2012

Governor Tony Soprano

I'm really getting tired of the Chris Christie good fella-slant nose-goombah shit. Here's the Intrepid* governor addressing one of his constituents when said voter dared to question the Emperor on his education agenda.

While on vacation with his family in Seaside Heights, N.J. on Thursday, the Republican governor lashed out at a passerby who, according to TMZ, made a derisive comment about his education policies. 
"You're a real big shot," Christie fired back at his heckler. "You're a real big shot shooting your mouth off." 
The man responded: "Just take care of the teachers." 
Christie approached the man, yelling at him to "keep walkin' away ... keep walkin'." A man accompanying Christie then put his hand on the governor's shoulder and walked with him in the opposite direction.
Remember, this is the same Governor whose administration blew a $400 million federal education grant at Christie's insistence. The reason: he wasn't satisfied with the deal that was made with the Teachers' Union and made his education staff reapply for the grant at the last second, causing confusion and ultimately leading to accidental omission of information and a loss of the federal grant money.

And for God's sake, put the ice cream down, Governor. Hot day? Try some water... or maybe a lemonade.

(*Intrepid as in the size of an aircraft carrier, not the actual definition of the word.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mitt Admits Mandate a Good Thing

Long, long ago, in a fantasy world far, far away (2010), a man named Mitt was trying twisted logic on questions regarding the health care law, insisting that there are differences between Romneycare and Obamacare, but admitting there are similarities and that the mandate is a good thing.

(Via Under the Mountain Bunker)


ROMNEY: "The similarities are that we have an incentive to become insured. And the incentive works - we have 98% of our citizens in Massachusetts that are insured, so that's working. Another similarity is you can't be denied insurance coverage because you have a preexisting condition, or if you change jobs you don't need to worry about losing your insurance, so our insurance is entirely portable. Those are perhaps the most important or well known similarities. 
We also have in place an exchange which allows individuals to purchase insurance at very low rates because you have the entire state as a pool of citizens. Everybody's in the insurance pool, as a result the rates are much lower than they otherwise would be."

Okay, let's stop there for a minute.

What's Romneycare's incentive to become insured? The individual mandate, that's what. Logic would dictate that a larger pool of arguably healthier people, whether it be across a state or across the country, would also result in lower rates across the board.

As far as the exchanges that are similar in the plan, it would be nice if Republican governors across the country would actually put them in place as is the law, and not ignore it, thereby ignoring their respective constituents' health care needs. Now, as for the differences...

ROMNEY: "The differences: One is, our plan was a state plan. I believe in Federalism. I believe the 10th Amendment gives to the states the right to create their own health insurance programs rather than have the federal government intrude on the rights of states. That's number one.

Number Two - Ours didn't raise taxes. The President's raises taxes by about a half a trillion dollars. 
Number Three - We didn't cut Medicare. His cuts Medicare by about a half a trillion dollars. 
And one more difference that is a problem from my standpoint is the price controls he puts in place. The government pricing insurance is, in my view, a recipe for difficulty and will end up encouraging the government to get in the insurance business. I think that's a mistake."

Let's go over the "differences" one at a time, shall we?

One: Yes, one the differences is that Mitt's is a state plan. That's the difference between state and federal. As far as the 10th Amendment? "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," though I'm not a Constitutional scholar or a lawyer, it seems to me that Article I, Section 8 supersedes  the 10th Amendment: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and GENERAL WELFARE of the United States..."

Two: Mitt claims his plan didn't raise taxes only because he didn't call his mandate a tax. They called it a penalty. And a quick look at verified Wikipedia information actually calls it a "tax penalty."
"[Romneycare] included tax penalties on residents for failing to obtain an insurance plan and tax penalties on employers for failing to offer an insurance plan to employees. In 2007 Massachusetts tax filers who failed to enroll in a health insurance plan which was deemed affordable for them lost the $219 personal exemption on their income tax. Beginning in 2008, the penalty became pegged to 50% of the lowest monthly premium for insurance available from [the state's insurance exchange clearinghouse.]"
Three: Medicare was not cut by half a trillion dollars. The savings to Medicare comes from the Medicare Advantage or  Part C overpayments due to their being tied to private insurance carriers.
There is considerable confusion about what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA) of 2010 did with respect to Medicare Advantage. As part of a broad set of reforms aimed to control the cost of Medicare, the ACA eliminated subsidies which the federal government first used to establish the Medicare Advantage program...  As of 2008, the federal government spent 12 percent more on Medicare Advantage than it did for comparable care under traditional Medicare. These subsidies (which added an additional $14 billion to the Medicare program last year alone) will gradually be reduced until payments to Medicare Advantage are in line with the cost of traditional Medicare.
Traditional Medicare will now cover what Part C did, something that should have happened when it was first implemented.

In any event, Obamacare does not cut Medicare benefits, but you won't hear that from the opposition. They'll just tell you that ACA cuts Medicare by $500 billion as a scare tactic, and not that it saves the government $500 billion in Medicare costs. And these finger pointers are the same people who want Medicare dead in the first place - or have seniors left to their own devices by putting a voucher program in place that wouldn't cover their insurance costs.

Also, Mitt, you didn't cut Medicare because you CAN'T cut Medicare. It's one of those "intrusive federal government programs" you were yapping about when you were going on with the 10th Amendment drivel. But go ahead and ask your state's and the country's seniors how they like that intrusion of their lives.

And finally there's this price control nonsense. I don't understand exactly what he was talking about because it was probably some talking point he spouted out, but my only guess it the ACA's provision that health insurance companies use at least 80% of your premiums on health care costs instead of overhead, advertising and profits. $1.1 billion in insurance rebates are headed our way because of Obamacare. I'll take it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cartoon of the Day

It's a Tax, It's a Penalty, It's Both!

Here's Mitt Romney during the 2008 Presidential Primary debates explaining that the mandate in Romneycare for Massachusetts is a good thing.

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Fast forward four years and one Affordable Healthcare Act constitutionally upheld by the Supreme Court and here's Mitt Romney's Senior Campaign Advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, outraged at Obama's "tax" and that Romneycare's mandate was a "penalty," not a tax, and twisting himself into a pretzel to describe... I don't know, you tell me.

Here's Mitt Romney 48 hours later, after realizing his message was going against the entire party, which thought beating the "it's a tax" message like a baby seal was good thing, telling us it's a tax.

Sorry Mitt, I know you don't want to stand on anything that you can be called on until after November, but eventually the lies and tangled webs are going to catch up to you.

Happy Independence Day

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Credit Where Credit Is Due?

Not likely.

Republicans were o so quick to blame President Obama when prices were soaring and drivers were paying $4 per gallon on average to fill their tanks. Sen. John Barasso (R-Wy.) held the President "fully responsible" for the price of gas. Florida wingnut Allen West bitched about having to pay $70 to fill his Hummer. Yes, a fucking HUMMER. And don't we all remember then GOP primary candidate Newt "The Sky Is Falling" Gingrich predicting gas prices at $10 per gallon? Ah, the halcyon days.

But then just a few days ago, when it was noticed that gas prices have been steadily going down for a few months, the same intrepid politicians who were blaming the President and his policies for high gas prices, were a little less enthusiastic to give him credit for the price drop.

Barasso: “People are still feeling pain at the pump and pain at the plug, and it’s a result of the administration policies...”

West: “If you’re the chief executive officer of the United States of America, you should take responsibility for anything that’s occurring in this country, and you should not want to seek to get praise,” even though I don't remember President Obama looking for praise on falling gas prices. It was just a question from a reporter, Allen. And no, said reporter is not a communist.

Now, logic would dictate that if it was President Obama's policies that were causing the price of gas to increase, then those very same policies which are in place and haven't changed, are what's causing the price of gas to decrease. But hey, since when does the current Republican Party have anything to do with logic?

Granted, the rest of us in the real world understand that no administration or its policies really make an impact on the price of gasoline, a global commodity. The continuing debate and decisions on the XL Keystone Pipeline have nothing to do with what we pay at the pump, considering the fact that the oil isn't actually ours and it's put out on the global market just like the oil that's pumped out of Texas or Alaska, or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

So what are we to decipher when Donald "I have investigators in Hawaii" Trump (still waiting for the results of the investigation, by the way) makes the following statement?
...I think Saudi Arabia is doing Obama a big fat favor. I think he asked for the favor and prices are coming down, but also the economy's going bad so maybe it won't help that much. but as soon as -- assuming if Obama got elected, you're going to see something with oil like you've never seen before, it will go through the roof. The favor will be repaid many times over.
Wait, what? Is Donald Trump swimming against the Republican tide and actually giving President Obama credit for lower gas prices? Well, no, he's actually insinuating that the President is in cahoots with a Mooslim leader (you know, the same one that was kissing up to George W. Bush) but you get my point.

The Republicans and their wingnut supporters will do or say anything, ANTHING, to disparage, demean and discredit the President in order to push their twisted agenda.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Yawn of the Day

Huffington Post: Anderson Cooper has, at long last, publicly said he is gay. 
Cooper made the announcement in an email to writer Andrew Sullivan. 
"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud," he wrote.
1 - We sorta figured it out a long time ago.

2 - Glad he made it public, but really, who cares?