Saturday, April 19, 2014

Last Call For Repeal-O-Rama

Paul Krugman on the 8 million Obamacare signups:

How did enrollment manage to surge so impressively despite the initial debacle of Obviously they fixed the website; but the broader issue, as Sarah Kliff rightly points out, is that being uninsured is truly terrible. Uninsured Americans really, really wanted coverage, and they weren’t ready to give up.

Kliff doesn’t make this point too explicitly, but this diagnosis has another crucial implication: the benefits of Obamacare, for all its imperfections, are immense. Millions of people who lived extremely anxious lives now have far more security than before. Compared with those benefits, the complaints of some already insured people that they have less choice of doctors than before, or that they’re no longer allowed to retain minimalist plans, look like whining. (And of course not one of the more serious-sounding stories about soaring premiums and all that has held up under scrutiny.)

And speaking of whining, the GOP response seems to be to make every possible insinuation to the effect that the numbers are somehow fraudulent. I actually don’t think there’s a game plan here; their whole position was premised on the inevitable collapse of health reform, and they have no plan B.

The Republican position on Obamacare is this:

  1. The law is failing and that the numbers and the good news are all lies that will be exposed when the law falls apart before the elections.
  2. Best case for the GOP, millions have lost their insurance and all of them have seen their plans replaced with far more expensive Obamacare plans that they can't afford.  Worst case is only diehard Democratic voters have benefited from the law.
  3. The insurance companies will soon have no choice but to pass massive premium increases along to all their customers right before the November elections.
  4. This will create a critical mass of people who will demand repeal and usher in a new near-permanent era of GOP control as Obama limps out of office in 2016 or is somehow forced to resign.
  5. Republicans take total control of the country at the federal and state level in 2016, reducing the Democrats to a regional New England/West Coast party, and remake America.

By "Republican position" I of course mean "magical thinking-powered delusion."  What people will demand is that the GOP get out of the way and allow improvements to the law.  The insurance giants, medical device industry, big pharma, hospital chains, and doctors' groups will lobby hard for this, as will business groups and the tech industry (benefiting from electronic medical records.)  The law will be expanded and improved upon.

You'll see Republicans jump on board, or be replaced by Republicans who will.

Home Home On Deranged

At the NY Times, Timothy Egan deftly handles the Cliven Bundy situation and explains it for what it is:  the government gave Bundy more than 20 years to make good, and they finally tried doing something about it.

Imagine a vendor on the National Mall, selling burgers and dogs, who hasn’t paid his rent in 20 years. He refuses to recognize his landlord, the National Park Service, as a legitimate authority. Every court has ruled against him, and fines have piled up. What’s more, the effluents from his food cart are having a detrimental effect on the spring grass in the capital.

Would an armed posse come to his defense, aiming their guns at the park police? Would the lawbreaker get prime airtime on Fox News, breathless updates in the Drudge Report, a sympathetic ear from Tea Party Republicans? No, of course not.

So what’s the difference between the fictional loser and Cliven Bundy, the rancher in Nevada who owes the government about $1 million and has been grazing his cattle on public land for more than 20 years? Near as I can tell, one wears a cowboy hat. Easterners, especially clueless ones in politics and the press, have always had a soft spot for a defiant white dude in a Stetson.
This phony event has brought out the worst of the gun-waving far right, and the national politicians who are barely one degree of separation from them. Hundreds of heavily armed, camouflaged supporters of the scofflaw turned out Saturday in Nevada, training their rifles on public employees who were trying to do their job. The outsiders looked like snipers ready to shoot the police. If you changed that picture to Black Panthers surrounding a lawful eviction in the inner city, do you think right-wing media would be there cheering the outlaws?

And as I've said before, if Bundy wasn't white, if he was Latino or black, the same people defending him would be the first to demand that the government take everything he had and then put him in prison.

Or worse, they'd put a bullet in him themselves.

The Bundy situation in Nevada is one of the most amazing examples of privilege in this country.   If you are white and stand up to government law enforcement, you are a patriot.  If you are not white, you are a criminal, a cop killer, or worse.


The Re-Education Of Chris Hayes

After getting rolled by Koch Industries operative Jennifer Stefano on his show last month, I'm glad to see Chris Hayes finally do a segment on the Perpetual Right Wing Outrage Machine as he connected the dots from the Bundy Ranch standoff to the GOP party's incessant need for greater and greater quantities of red meat in order to be fed.  Thursday's open:

It's a good segment, and it means that Hayes is at least aware that conservatives are not his friends, and they are not looking for meaningful debate.  They are looking for outrage to stoke the resentment of the base, always.  That goes for Hayes, Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, and the other young guns on the left:  you will never be more than the "Juice Box Mafia" to the right, so stop treating them like they're your pals.

Sadly, Chris's learning curve is a flatline as when Friday came around and he decided to interview Nevada State Assemblywoman (and complete Tea Party nutjob) Michele Fiore, he was bullied, badgered, and steamrolled again.

Fiore was rude, awful, and disrespectful.  Chris flopped around like the punching bag he is.  Fiore referred to undocumented immigrants as "terrorists", called the attempt by BLM to get Cliven Bundy to obey the law "suspicious" and cut Hayes off several times, eventually justifying the militia threats of violence by saying "Don’t come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back."

 His response later Friday evening?

The woman makes Michele Bachmann look like Steven Hawking, and Chris Hayes thought the interview was "one of his favorite ever".  It was embarrassing and stupid and Chris Hayes walked into the jet intake again.

Jesus wept.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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