Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Last Call

Want to know what's coming?  I won't link to Dan Riehl's tirade.  You can find it yourself if you're curious.  But I will let you know what the average winger is thinking right now about the continuing violence against Dems.
They have no right to feel outraged, these Democrats, after having spent weeks and months fueling outrage across America with the corrupt back room deals, their reconciliation plans and slippery bookkeeping, coupled with an absolute refusal to take the voice of the people into account in passing vile, un-American legislation America doesn't want. Shame on them. Shame!

And now, what? These malignant little tyrants want to play the victim? After victimizing America with their pathetic antics, their corrupt practices, all to push a destructive ideology America has long rejected? The Democrats are the real criminals here. They have torn the fabric of America with a repulsive world view they now hope to thrust upon the American people, whether we like it, or not.

And the American people are beginning to say Not! - which is their God given right their Constitution, not some low rent, half-baked excuse for a politician, ensures for them. You broke it, the public trust, among other things. And now you've bought it. So, own it for once you miserable little cretins. Resign your offices and crawl back under your rocks if you can't take the heat that you and no one else generated. And don't expect us to feel sorry for you, or respect you for the wrath you're now faced with confronting. That may be the only thing you actually deserve for the unjust and un-democratic way in which you've comported yourselves throughout this entire charade.

You can choke on it and rot in hell where you belong after wards for all I care. You behaved like tyrants and now some few are treating you like tyrants. Where in the hell is the big surprise in that? Because I can't find it. All I see is a bunch of miserable creatures unworthy of the offices they hold. And I can't wait to see your sorry asses thrown out of them come this fall.
Riehl is delusional.  His spittle-flecked invective is precisely what I mean by "Obama Derangement Syndrome."  Here's a man who feels so aggrieved, so violated, so victimized by a Democratic majority that was fairly elected by the people actually passing Democratic legislation, that he simply dismisses the threats and hatred, the vitriol and the anger, as something the Democrats deserve for daring to pass legislation in his country.

Passing legislation is a violation of the "public trust".  Democrats are "criminals" to him, "malignant little tyrants" to him, not even human, not even worthy of basic human decency.  Hell, they're not even worthy of the kindness you'd show an injured animal.  "Own it for once, you miserable little cretins."

"Rot in hell" is his advice to people he views as "miserable little creatures."  If you dehumanize your "enemy" then you feel no remorse when you commit acts of violence and anger against them.

All this...for passing a health care reform bill.

The projection here is sickening.  You thought they hated Obama before?  You have no idea.  He won, on Sunday.  He beat them.  And they so utterly despise him, that now the gloves are truly off.  The real violence, the real hatred, those are now going to be on full display.  The mask is broken.  And there are millions like Riehl out there.

The rough beast is no longer slouching.  It's running at full tilt.

A Lesson For Our Firebagger Friends

CNN's Wolf Blitzer accidentally tells fellow CNN anchor Rick Sanchez the truth about the opposition to health care reform.
But if you take a closer look at people who didn't like it, about 12% of those people who said they didn't like it they didn't like it because they didn't think it went far enough. They wanted a single payer option, they wanted the so-called public option, they didn't like not from the right, they didn't like it because it wasn't left or liberal enough.

That's how you got 50% of the American people who said, "we don't like this plan." But only about 40 or 38% were the ones who said it was too much government interference.
Holy crap, you'd think there's a story there.  You'd think the "overwhelming bipartisan opposition" lie they've been pushing could have been disproven months ago if anyone had bothered asking people why they opposed it. Digby:
All we've been hearing for months now is that the "American people" don't like the bill because it's a government takeover. The Republicans turned that into their entire rationale for opposition, claiming that the Democrats are going against "the will of the people" and somehow usurped the Democratic process. And here it turns out that it's only the Republicans and a few conservative "independents", 38% or so of the country, who think the bill is a government takeover.

That's quite a different story don't you think? One that might have been told before now by the news networks? It might have changed the whole damned debate, actually.

Blitzer admits that they just "assumed" that everyone in the country held this wingnut view. After all, the pictures showed a bunch of angry middle aged white people screaming about socialism, and they look like their perception of Real America, so why bother to drill down into the numbers any further?

This is a perfect example of the village advancing its narrative of a great conservative majority that doesn't exist. It's a pathology with these people.
Only now that the bill has passed anyway, and our Village Idiots are scrambling to see why the Dems actually developed spinal fortitude on this one (the Villagers have to have some sort of an answer or they lose credibility) when they looked, lo and behold, there's one in eight playing firebagger from the left.

This goes to show you two things:

One, the Village is lazy.  Poll analysis is serious bidness.

Two, the firebaggers shot themselves in their own foot and were played for fools, entirely used as opposition to ANY health care reform by the right (just as predicted.)  Despite their best efforts, they didn't manage to completely f'cking sink the bill.  They came perilously close to doing so.  And I wonder how much better the bill would have been if they had supported the effort all the way through instead of "principled opposition" that almost got us Not A Damn Thing.  If the Dems had seen the polls showing that people were behind this effort, they would have wanted to improve it more.  Instead, because the firebaggers showed up as opposition to the ENTIRE HEALTH CARE REFORM EFFORT, the Dems repeatedly scaled the bill BACK.

I've said for a while now we need a better Washington pundit class.  But damn, we need a better far left pundit class too.

You DO Know, Jack

With all the attention on the nation's various state Attorneys General and Obamacare, it's important to note that all the ones suing are Republicans, and many of them have notions of higher office.  Kentucky's AG also seeks higher office, in this case Jim Bunning's Senate seat.  But Kentucky AG Jack Conway is different in two respects:  one, he's a red state Democrat, and two, he's firmly on the side of not wasting Kentucky taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit.
KY AG Jack Conway (D) is wading into the health care debate, announcing Tuesday he will not file a lawsuit against the federal government in trying to refuse the legislation.

"I do not intend to use my authority as Kentucky Attorney General to sign our Commonwealth onto a health care lawsuit against the federal government, because I will not waste taxpayer dollars on a political stunt," Conway said in a statement provided to Hotline OnCall.

Earlier today, Sec/State Trey Grayson blasted Dems in Congress for passing health care, "despite overwhelming and bipartisan opposition."

Grayson continued, "Fortunately, there is still an opportunity to prevent this intrusion into our lives as more than a dozen states have declared their intent to challenge this law in court. Today I call on Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway to join in this effort and file suit against the federal government for the unconstitutional overreach of its authority with the passage of this health care legislation."

"Trey Grayson's gimmick may be good 'tea party' politics, but it's based on questionable legal principles," Conway said.
My observation is for Conway to win, he's going to have to run as a true progressive.  Health care gives him the wedge issue he needs to catch up to Lt. Dan in the polls.  It's an observation shared by my KY blogger collegues, that Conway trying to out-DINO Mongiardo will only end up being a disaster.

Conway, to his credit, sees an opening here to run to Lt. Dan's left.
Mongiardo has said he would have voted against the Senate bill but for the House bill that passed in November. He also is well-informed on the issue as a doctor, and he says frequently that if elected, he'd be the only Dem doctor in the Senate.

Conway needled him today: "I find it ironic that Daniel Mongiardo -- who would have voted against health care reform and believes we should 'stop and start over' -- would choose to align himself with Trey Grayson, Rand Paul and the right-wing extremists who are following Mitch McConnell's lead in opposing progress on health care. This is an historic moment, and as a Democrat, I am proud to stand up to those who prey on voters' fears, rather than appeal to their hopes."
More of this, Jack.  I mean, you're still doing it wrong to the point of EPIC FAIL but at least you have an issue now.  It came, oh, SIX MONTHS TOO LATE, but hey.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Government debt sales, not doing so hot.  Bond traders are blaming Obamacare.
Investors showed scant interest in the latest round of debt auctions: Depressed demand today in five-year note sales pushed Treasury yields up. The $42 billion sale drew a yield of 2.065 percent, full 10 basis points, or 0.10 percentage points—up from the where the five-year was trading when the results came out at 1 p.m.

Jefferies’ Chief Financial Economist Ward McCarthy agreed with his colleague and told CNBC, “There’s a lot of concern about what’s happening on a fiscal basis. We have enormous budget deficiencies, and Congress and the Administration really have done nothing to address that. In fact, the recent legislation on health care is going to increase our budget deficits by over a trillion dollars.” 
That's interesting.  CBO numbers paint a much different picture.  But hey, why bother with the truth when you can throw around scary numbers on CNBC and blame the President?

I mean, why should a Chief Financial Economist want to get his numbers right on TV?  Psssh.  Not in the Village.

Collateral Damage, Inc.

The level of hatred raised by some on the right is beginning to reach dangerous levels.  Eventually they are going to seriously hurt or kill someone involved in the HCR vote.  Today's latest example of violence:
Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party activists angry at the congressman’s vote for the health care bill.
POLITICO reported on Monday that Mike Troxel, an organizer for the Lynchburg Tea Party, posted on his blog what he thought was the congressman’s address, encouraging tea party activists to “drop by.”

The address has since been posted on websites of at least one other local tea party activist.
And what do you know, a propane gas line was cut at the address listed.  Wrong address, wrong Perriello, but somebody could have been seriously hurt.  If this was done on purpose, it's reprehensible.  if it was a complete coincidence or accident, it still demonstrates the level of rhetoric coming from some on the right is over the line.  Vandalism has been committed already in the name of revenge against this health care bill and the Dems who passed it before.  There are those who are out there approving of and encouraging this behavior.  This has to stop.

As John Aravosis concludes:
The first time a member of Congress or their family is physically harmed by a Teabagger, the GOP can kiss their aspirations for public office goodbye for the next century. 
Believe it.  The steadfast refusal of the right to completely disavow these nutjobs only makes them more influential and liable to cross that big, thick, bloody red line where somebody gets hurt or killed.  Now, I know that even if this was intentional, there's enough safety equipment designed into your average propane tank sold for residential use that cutting the line would not cause a problem by itself (unless the tank was tampered with as well.)  But there's no justifying this if it was intentional.  None at all.

It's time for the right to put an end to this nonsense.

Or, you know, do we have to wait until someone decides to "take aim" at these House members?

The Hoffman Effect Rolls On

How much of a disaster is Rand Paul turning out to be for Kentucky Republicans?  Even Dan Riehl thinks Paul is the wrong guy.
If Rand Paul hired, first a white supremacist, than an operative who can't follow a listserve's rules to stay on topic and not spam after multiple hints and a moderator warning, how good can Rand Paul's judgment really be in the end? As I've now grown genuinely concerned, may as well have a look at the Kentucky Senate race I've mostly ignored until now.

Obama was hammered for bad vetting rightly enough. No point in letting our side end up on the short end of the stick in Kentucky because we failed to do ours. So, let the vetting begin.
Good luck on that, Dan.  On on hand, dude just raised $200k with an online money bomb.  On the other hand, Dick Cheney just endorsed Trey Grayson.  Really?  You want Mr. 17% popularity endorsing you?  I think that helps Paul more.

This is starting to be a disaster that the Dems might actually win here.

Taking A Shot At Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour hasn't even been on her new job at ABC's This Week (I wonder what the Bobblehead guys are going to do without Joke Tapper?) and she's already getting attacked as biased.  Now, coming from CNN, I can see why the Village is upset.  But the attacks on Amanpour are pretty slimy.

Double G has the details.
To its credit, ABC News recently announced that Christiane Amanpour would replace George Stephanopoulos as host of its Sunday morning This Week program.  Today in The Washington Post, TV critic Tom Shales condemns this decision on several grounds, including the fact that she is viewed by Far Right media groups as suffering from a "liberal bias."  But as Eric Boehlert notes, the Right thinks that everyone who is not Rush Limbaugh is a biased shill for "the Liberal Media," and if that's the standard, then only Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck would be an acceptable choice for Shales.

But I want to focus on a far more pernicious and truly slimy aspect of Shales' attack on Amanpour.  In arguing why she's a "bad choice," Shales writes that "[s]upporters of Israel have more than once charged Amanpour with bias against that country and its policies," and adds:  "A Web site devoted to criticism of Amanpour is titled, with less than a modicum of subtlety, 'Christiane Amanpour's Outright Bias Against Israel Must Stop,' available via Facebook."  Are these "charges" valid?  Is this "Web site" credible?  Does she, in fact, exhibit anti-Israel bias?  Who knows?  Shales doesn't bother to say.  In fact, he doesn't even bother to cite a single specific accusation against her; apparently, the mere existence of these complaints, valid or not, should count against her.

Worse still is that, immediately after noting these charges of"anti-Israel" bias, Shales writes this:

Amanpour grew up in Great Britain and Iran. Her family fled Tehran in 1979 at the start of the Islamic revolution, when she was college age. She has steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity, telling Leslie Stahl last year relative to her coverage of Iran: "I am not part of the current crop of opinion journalists or commentary journalists or feelings journalists. I strongly believe that I have to remain in the realm of fact."
Without having the courage to do so explicitly, Shales links (and even bolsters) charges of her "anti-Israel" bias to the fact that her father is Iranian and she grew up in Iran.  He sandwiches that biographical information about Iran in between describing accusations against her of bias against Israel and her defensive insistence that she's capable of objectivity when reporting on the region.

So here we finally have a prominent journalist with a half-Persian background -- in an extremely homogenized media culture which steadfastly excludes from Middle Eastern coverage voices from that region -- and her national origin is immediately cited as a means of questioning her journalistic objectivity and even opposing her as a choice to host This Week (can someone from Iran with an Iranian father possibly be objective???).  Could the double standard here be any more obvious or unpleasant?
That may be the stupidest thing I've heard from the Village in, oh, hours.   Her father is Iranian.  Ergo, she's an instant anti-Semite.  In that case, doesn't that mean everyone in the Green Revolution the Wingers keep screaming about are the bad guys now?  Hey, they grew up in Iran too.

This is pretty idiotic, even for a media critic.

The Real Deal Appeal Of Repeal, Part 2

Republicans are always looking for anything they can do to regain power from the Dems, and the latest plan is from House GOP nutbar Luoie Gohmert, who wants to repeal not just health care, but the 17th Amendment as well.  You know, the one that allows direct election of Senators?  Dave Weigel:
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) — a judge in his prior career — comes out for repealing the 17th Amendment, to “restore the balance” between the federal government and the states by giving the right to appoint senators back to state legislatures.
Ever since the safeguard of State legislatures electing U.S. Senators was removed by the 17th Amendment in 1913, there has been no check or balance on the Federal power grab for the last 97 years. Article V requires a minimum of 34 states to request a Convention which in this case, would be an Amendment Convention for only ONE amendment.
For what it’s worth, Democrats currently control 27 state legislatures, so this would be a pretty bad deal for them at present, sending them back to 54 senators. Media Matters Action has video and points out how this conflicts with the “Massachusetts elected Scott Brown, thus health care reform should die” argument of a week ago.
Yeah, this whole "letting the people vote" and "having Senators in two different parties" thing is not working out, it allows Democrats to control things.   Can't have the people deciding representation.  Nope, time to edit the Constitution to favor one political party just because it's out of power.

Yes, Republicans think you are this stupid.  I can't wait to hear the arguments that direct elections of Senators is not the will of the people.

The Loan Arranger Is Retiring

It seems like such a simple prospect:  with the cost of college skyrocketing, the government was paying $70 billion a year to banks to make student loans (and profit from them) instead of using that money to make actual student loans.

One of the provisions in the House and Senate compromise reconciliation bill to improve HCR fixes that prospect, and the banks (and the GOP) are in mourning.
Banks and other private lenders are about to lose a $70 billion-a-year student loan business, part of a massive overhaul of college assistance programs that has received an unexpected boost from President Barack Obama's health care success.

Industry lobbyists have watched helplessly as Democrats and the Obama administration appear on the verge of shifting student lending from private banks to the federal government.

Under the measure, private banks would no longer get fees from the government for acting as middlemen in loans to low- and middle-income students. With those savings, the government would increase Pell Grants to needy students and make it easier for workers burdened by student loans to pay them back.
Well gosh, that seems like a win-win there, right?  Haven't we given the banks enough money?  

And just think, we couldn't have done this without Scott Brown.
In an unusual twist, the fate of the student loan overhaul went from certain death in the Senate to certain victory thanks to Republican Scott Brown's election in January in the race for the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Until then, the legislation was not moving in the Senate because it lacked 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. But after Brown's election, Democrats decided that their health care initiative could pass only if Congress approved a companion bill that resolved differences between the House and Senate. That expedited measure requires only a simple majority vote.

The companion bill became a home to the student lending proposal and gave it a new lease on life.
Thanks, Cosmo!  You're turning into a real winner here...for the Dems.  Keep it up!

Mitt-igating Circumstances in 2012

No matter what your own opinion of HCR is, I think we can all agree on one thing:  Mitt Romney's toast.  Josh Marshall:
Mitt Romney, April 11th, 2006: "Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian."

Like I said, I think Mitt's done. Unless Health Care Reform ends up having no part in the 2012 presidential election. And even if that's true, too much of the early spadework for the nomination will have to be done in the period where the GOP is the anti-Health Care Reform party. 
And while Josh is right, you have to just shake your head at how exceedingly simple it was to get the GOP to run as the party of no health care reform.  Already, the battle cry of "REPEAL!" is running into a serious problem in the GOP ranks.
In a brief chat with the Huffington Post on Tuesday, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (R-Tex.) implicitly acknowledged that Republicans are content with allowing some elements of Obama's reform into law. And they'd generally ignore those elements when taking the fight to their Democrat opponents as November approaches.

"There is non-controversial stuff here like the preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things," the Texas Republican said. "Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that is frankly a distraction." 
Wait, repeal only SOME of the provisions?  Gosh, you guys said this plan was 100% evil and you hated it.  Now you have Republicans admitting parts of it were a good idea?

That's not going to go over well.  Even Ross Douthat thinks that's a bad idea.
This is incoherent, of course, because the preexisting conditions exclusion is one of the things that could end up increasing premium costs for the already-insured. But to the extent that Cornyn’s vision coheres, what he seems to be proposing is a reform of the reform that keeps the goodies and takes away the spending cuts and tax increases that pay for them.

California, here we come …
Of course, that's how Republicans have been operating for some time now.  Not like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Bush tax cuts, and the Medicare prescription drug benefit were paid for.  The Democrats proposed a plan that...surprise!...included plans to pay for it!  The party of "fiscal responsibility" doesn't want to pay for it, and has no problem apparently wanting to run up the debt all of a sudden if it means they can try to get back into political power.

If even Ross can see this mess coming a mile away, I know the rest of the GOP can.  And that leads us back to Mittens.  Will he throw his own health care plan under the bus for a shot in 2012?

Doesn't he have to?


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