Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Call For, Well, You Know

House Republicans have now passed a bill that adds a one year delay to the individual mandate on Obamacare, something that will of course make the Affordable Care Act  not work very well at all.  The Senate is in the process tonight of telling the House to go to hell as they stand firm.

The bigger problem is that the shutdown is now all but assured, and that several hundred thousand people are going to be out of work until further notice, putting a huge crimp the economy, not to mention all the government services that will now be denied to millions of Americans.

But it looks like any shutdown may be short lived as I predicted earlier today, as House Republicans are beginning to revolt.

New York representative Peter King is leading the charge, and his fellow New Yorker Michael Grimm is close behind him. The group told leadership on Saturday they have 25 members who are willing to bring down the rule. 
That number of defections would defeat the rule, which, like all such votes, is a party-line affair. “How many of them are going to follow up today with the pressure and everything else, I don’t know,” King told me in a phone interview. 
King wants to pass a clean continuing-resolution bill. “This is going nowhere,” he says about the standoff with Senate Democrats. “If Obamacare is as bad as we say it’s going to be, then we should pick up a lot of seats in the next election and we should win the presidency in 2016,” he says. “This idea of going through the side door to take something you lost through the front door — to me, it’s wrong.”

The vote did pass to begin debate on the rule change, but then the Tea Party amended it to add the one-year delay of the individual mandate.  The Senate is going to reject it, and the shutdown will begin at midnight unless something amazing happens.

Eventually though enough Republicans will jump ship to push a clean CR.  When that happens, the shutdown will end.

Orange Hell

What'll it be, John Boehner?  Hero or goat?

Despite his backroom pleas and carefully crafted strategies, Boehner — a veteran of the shutdown battles of the mid-1990s — was unable to convince a hard-line faction of House GOP lawmakers that they should save their legislative brawls for the debt ceiling fight, where Boehner thought he could drag President Barack Obama to the negotiating table. 
Unless there is a last-minute deal, the U.S. government will shut down Monday at midnight, immediately furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers. The vast majority of public and private polling shows that Boehner’s House Republicans will get blamed for the stalemate. Boehner and his top aides know it — after all, it was the speaker who privately warned his leadership team that this shutdown could cost him his majority. 
It’s a pivotal moment for Boehner, perhaps the biggest crisis of his speakership, and he’s heading into it with a weak hand. The best Boehner can hope for is a draw. At worst, he could be endangering his troubled 17-seat majority as well as his own hold on the speaker’s gavel.

Once again the fate of America depends on John Boehner's ability to not be the worst House Speaker in modern US history.  

Good luck with that.

Boehner’s options, however, are dictated — and significantly limited — by his conservative flank. Hard-line Republicans, like Reps. Tom Graves of Georgia and Jim Jordan of Ohio, are keeping their powder dry, saying they will decide how to proceed when the Senate reacts to the latest House funding measure. 
In public and private, many of these conservatives are spoiling for a fight. On conference calls and in conversations on the House floor, many conservatives say they need a shock to the political system to have a chance of extracting something from Obama. This isn’t a government shutdown, they say, but rather a slowdown. They are betting the American public won’t turn on House Republicans like they did in 1996, when the GOP lost nine seats, and President Bill Clinton won a second term in the White House.

The lunatic asylum expects Obama to cave, 100%.  So what happens when enough moderate Republicans come up to Boehner and say "With the Democrats, we have enough votes to tell the Tea Party to go to hell.  We have a deal. Will you bring it up for a vote?"

What will he do?

What do you think he'll do?  That he'll have the moral conviction to do the right thing and pay the piper for his own blunders?

When do Republicans ever do that?

We'll find out.  But don't hold your breath.

Meanwhile, Obamacare Marches On

So what about the states where Republicans have all but abandoned state insurance exchanges to rot and die, and thousands of Americans along with them?  The Obama administration is expected to announce new multi-state insurance plans available in 30 states tomorrow.

The administration plans to unveil the program on Monday, the official said, even as Congress fights over the future of President Obama’s health care law, intended to provide coverage to more than 25 million people within three years. 
Federal officials said they had signed a contract with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to offer health insurance next year in the marketplaces, or exchanges, of 30 states and the District of Columbia. In later years, the officials said, they hoped to see at least two multistate plans in every state, as Congress envisioned. 
Under its federal contract, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer different products in different states — a total of more than 150 products, including health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations, which give discounts for using selected health care providers. In many of the products, consumers will have access to a nationwide network of doctors and hospitals
The federal government negotiated the benefits and premiums for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield products, so this plan carries a federal seal of approval. 
In negotiating with insurers, the Office of Personnel Management leveraged more than 50 years of experience in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the nation’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program, covering more than eight million federal employees, retirees and dependents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are, by far, the most popular among federal employees, with more than 60 percent of the enrollment. 
Under the 2010 health care law, the federal government was supposed to sign contracts with at least two multistate plans. But the application from Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the only one approved. Five other companies expressed interest and may file applications in the future, federal officials said. By 2017, at least two multistate plans are supposed to be available in each state.

What the multistate options are is the beginning of national, single-payer public option health insurance plans for all Americans.  If you're wondering why the Republicans are threatening to destroy America to stop Obamacare, you now know why.

StupidiNews, Shutdown Eve Edition!

In non-shutdown news...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

While We're At It, War On Women Time!

Republicans have officially add more hostages to the government shutdown ransom gambit: America's women and their health.

House Republicans have added a measure aimed at limiting contraceptive coverage to the spending bill coming up for a vote Saturday night, a spokesman for Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, told CNN. 
A senior House leadership aide confirmed that development. 
The so-called “conscience clause” would allow employers and insurers to opt out of preventative care for women which they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. That prominently includes birth control, which most insurers are required to provide for free under current Obamacare rules
With this move, House Republican leaders would give any employer or group health plan the ability to opt out of contraception coverage for the next year. That time frame syncs up with the larger measure in which this is included: a one-year delay of Obamacare provisions not yet in effect. 
“This is a big deal for the congressman,” Huelskamp’s spokesman, Paul Nelson, told CNN. “He has been pushing for (the conscience clause) since he entered Congress.” 
Democrats say the measure is unnecessary because the administration has granted exemptions to contraceptive coverage to religious nonprofit institutions. But advocates, such as Huelskamp, insist that all institutions should be able to opt out of any preventative coverage for women that they find objectionable.

Three observations:  

One: this is a new demand added in the last 24 hours.  Republicans are not moving towards compromise, they are adding new demands.  Let's stop pretending there's any way to avoid a shutdown, and that it's anything but 100% the GOP's fault.

Two:  Republicans continue to try to punish groups that voted for Obama.  They want women, minorities, working poor, the unemployed, the elderly on fixed incomes, and students to suffer as much as possible so that they don't vote in 2014.

Three:  Republicans are misogynist bastards.  They honestly believe women should spend their lives pregnant and subservient.  A woman who wants birth control or an abortion is madness to them.  This isn't about saving money or preventing unwanted pregnancies, or even about lowering the number of abortions. This is about putting women "in their place", period.

As Zandardad told me this morning, Republicans fully expect Obama to cave.  They are going to be very, very surprised when he doesn't.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Last Call For Iran Us Into The Ground

John Hinderaker manages to evacuate the pus-filled cavity between his ears and brings forth this discharge:

This is really too easy: President Obama is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not with the House of Representatives. Commentators have been all over it, and I don’t really have much to add. Except to note that not only has Obama refused to negotiate with the House, he has also had his spokesman describe Republicans as suicide bombers. The irony is rich: those who are concerned about $17 trillion in debt “have bombs strapped to their chests,” while the world’s biggest sponsor of actual suicide bombers–you know, the ones who blow people up, as opposed to disagreeing with Democrats–are newly-discovered moderates.

Except for the fact that the stated goal of OBL and the 9/11 attackers was to damage the US economy to the point where it could no longer interfere in the Middle East.  Republicans in the last decade have done more for that goal than AQ's leadership, and now the House GOP is in fact about to do billions in damage to our economy with a shutdown and trillions with a debt ceiling default if their political demands are not met.

That is the very definition of economic terrorism, and yes, House Republicans are economic terrorists.  Period.  What's more, yes, Iran is more moderate than the American Taliban is right now.  The analogy is 100% fitting.

Dear America

I really hate President Obama to the point of obsession, so despite this week's excellent diplomatic news involving Syria, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians, I'm going to find some unnamed diplomats from allied countries and have them complain about why Obama hasn't bombed the crap out of Syria, Iran, and the Palestinians yet.  It's so depressing, I may not finish my fourth Cosmo of the day.

--Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

Bonus Verbatim Stupidity:

"In the past we have seen some America overreach," said the prime minister of a Western democracy, in a conversation. "Now I think we are seeing America underreach." He was referring not only to foreign policy but to economic policies, to the limits America has imposed on itself. He missed its old economic dynamism, its crazy, pioneering spirit toward wealth creation—the old belief that every American could invent something, get it to market, make a bundle, rise.

The world's Brahmans are disappointed.  They've never liked Obama as President.  I can't possibly imagine what makes his different from the other 43.

We're underreaching you know when we draw down from decade-long wars and refuse to start new ones.   We need new shiny wars, dammit.

Dinosaur Steve Evolves Into Obamacare Steve

No state has embraced Obamacare quite like Kentucky, a state that has for decades been in the bottom quintile in practically every health metric available.  You can thank Gov. Steve Beshear for that, and he's not running away from the program in any way.  Friday he took to the NY Times to explain to the country that Obamacare cannot come fast enough for those of us here in the Bluegrass State.

Sunday morning news programs identify Kentucky as the red state with two high-profile Republican senators who claim their rhetoric represents an electorate that gave President Obama only about a third of its presidential vote in 2012.
So why then is Kentucky — more quickly than almost any other state — moving to implement the Affordable Care Act?
Because there’s a huge disconnect between the rank partisanship of national politics and the outlook of governors whose job it is to help beleaguered families, strengthen work forces, attract companies and create a balanced budget
It’s no coincidence that numerous governors — not just Democrats like me but also Republicans like Jan Brewer of Arizona, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan — see the Affordable Care Act not as a referendum on President Obama but as a tool for historic change.

Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul know there's nothing they can do to stop KYnect, the state's health exchange.   Where other red state Republicans have tried everything imaginable to sabotage exchanges and Medicare expansion, in a state that's almost 90% white and where the median income is nearly 20% less than the national average, not to mention where one in six lack insurance, Republicans calling Obamacare a program for those people will not work.  Kentucky state lawmakers fell into line almost immediately when they realized the federal government was tripping over itself to pay for the expansion.   Kentucky jumped at the idea and ran with it since day one.

And the man behind that push has been Steve Beshear.  His message for Mitch and Rand?  You lost.

As for naysayers, I’m offended by their partisan gamesmanship, as they continue to pour time, money and energy into overturning or defunding the Affordable Care Act. It’s shameful that these critics haven’t invested that same level of energy into trying to improve the health of our citizens. 
They insist that the Affordable Care Act will never work — when in fact a similar approach put into effect in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor, is working. 
So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, “Get over it.” 
The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land. 
Get over it ... and get out of the way so I can help my people. Here in Kentucky, we cannot afford to waste another day or another life.

Never been more proud of this state or its governor in my life.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Last Call For Cruz Uncontrolled

Ted Cruz is about to seriously destroy the GOP, and the conservative "minds" at Weekly Standard are emitting delicious tears at waterfall levels of flow and may actually drown themselves in denial.

There’s no doubt Cruz made mistakes. On tactics, he and his allies chose the wrong objective (defunding, rather than delaying key parts) and perhaps the wrong vehicle (the continuing resolution rather than the debt ceiling). And more than once, he put House Republicans in an exceedingly difficult spot. Cruz misled his followers at times by creating the impression that stopping Obamacare was a matter of willpower rather than arithmetic (Republicans alone don’t have the votes). As John McCormack has noted, Cruz alienated many would-be allies with phony purity tests​—​claiming that conservatives who disagreed with his tactics were part of a “surrender caucus” and even likening them to appeasers of the Nazis. Many conservatives​—​both inside the Congress and out​—​have dedicated the better part of the last four years working first to fend off and then to derail Obamacare. Because they disagree with Cruz on a tactical issue, they’re now the surrender caucus? Nonsense. 
But Cruz and his allies have succeeded in one crucial respect: The debate is now focused on Obamacare and at precisely the moment when many Americans are beginning to understand just how flawed the law is. Despite the many missteps​—​sometimes by passive Republican leaders and sometimes by dogmatic defund enthusiasts​—​Republicans today are in a strong position to capitalize on what Cruz and his allies have done.

And then that "strong position" exploded Thursday as the Tea Party decided it will wreck the country and blame Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, everyone but themselves.

There's now an excellent possibility now that our economy will suffer massive damage over the next few weeks.  Keep in mind that the GOP is to blame.

Like A House Afire

With all indications that the GOP will shut down the government on Monday, House Republicans are moving forward to the bigger debt ceiling battle.  They don't want much in order to spare the country from a second recession and possibly a major economic depression, just pretty much everything Republicans have tried to pass since the Obama administration started.

As the nation moves dangerously close to a government shutdown on Oct. 1, House leaders are shifting their focus to the next big fiscal fight: raising the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit by one year before Oct. 17. On Wednesday night, Republicanscirculated an outline of demands, threatening to push the nation into default unless President Obama and the Democrats in the Senate agree to enact a wish list of Republican priorities. 
Though Obama has repeatedly insisted that he would not negotiate over the must-pass legislation, leadership is hoping to satisfy conservative members by including every “major piece of the Republican agenda” save a “ban on late-term abortions — and some lawmakers who oppose abortion were arguing to add that,” the Washington Post reports.

It gets better.  They want:

  • The Keystone XL pipeline.
  • A neutered Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • $120 billion in Medicare cuts and premium hikes.
  • To open up the entire US coast to offshore drilling.
  • Eliminate EPA greenhouse gas regulations.
  • Subject nearly all executive branch actions to a vote in Congress,
  • and a one year delay on Obamacare.

This is their starting position.  See, it's reasonable because it's not a repeal of Obamacare, and there's no federal ban on abortion.  They came down from those demands.

In a closed-door meeting, the leaders outlined to their members a proposal that would demand a laundry list of Republican priorities in exchange for a yearlong suspension of the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. The centerpiece of the plan is a one-year delay of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. 
But hours after the meeting, the party had yet to release the legislation formally, and conservatives complained that it lacked specific spending cuts and failed to tackle entitlement reform. 
“We still have some challenges,” said Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), an ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and member of the GOP whip team. “We’ve got an awful lot of support, but clearly at this point we don’t have a final product that’s attracting the number that we need. Hopefully that’ll change, and I think it could.” 
Cole said leaders were still tinkering with the plan, which senior Republicans earlier had said would go to the House Rules Committee on Thursday.

The Tea Party apparently wants even more cuts, and they're not happy about the year delay at all.  They're not going to vote for anything short of full repeal.

So now, odds are not only good that the government will shut down on Monday night and stay shut down for the foreseeable future, the debt ceiling bomb will kick in on top of that, and the American economy will pretty much collapse overnight.

I predicted that the Titans of Wall Street would never allow this to happen.  It may very well be that they can't prevent this from happening either.  The GOP will destroy the country in order to hurt Obama.  That's all that matters to them now.  They will leave a country of ashes and millions suffering in their wake.  If they can't run the country as a Christian fundamentalist Dominionist theocracy, they will raze America to the ground.

Sobering, but becoming more and more true daily.

How The West Was Fired

Apparently Allen West is apparently such a complete and total douchebag that he actually managed to get himself canned from the clown show blog/GOP propaganda mill at Pajamas Media.

Former Congressman Allen West is leaving his job at Pajamas Media after an altercation with a female staffer in which he allegedly called her a “Jewish American princess,” BuzzFeed learned on Thursday. 
“In order to focus on political interests, Allen West will transition from his full-time role as director of programming for Next Generation.TV to a twice-a-month contributor of written commentary on, effective October 1, 2013,” PJ Media financier Aubrey Chernick wrote to staff in an email from Sept. 16. “I wanted our staff and consultants to have this information first. However, PJ Media is not announcing this publicly for several weeks, so please do not share this news with anyone outside of the company until you see our public announcement.” 
In a message to staff, West wrote: “Shortly, I will be giving up my position as director of programming at Next Generation.TV to get back on the front lines to expand the message of constitutional conservatism across our country.” 
Two sources familiar with what happened told BuzzFeed that West had gotten into an argument with a female employee and called her a “Jewish American princess” while telling her to “shut up.” 

Reached by phone, West told BuzzFeed he was leaving his job voluntarily, though one source familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed he had been fired. He did not deny that an exchange with the employee had occurred, but said it hadn’t led to his leaving the company. 
“No, I didn’t get fired,” West said. “I’m leaving to pursue political aspirations. That’s it. There’ll be a statement that comes out and it’s effective in October.”

Sure, he didn't get fired, just like he didn't get fired by voters in the 2012 election.  He voluntarily chose to lose the election to pursue this opportunity, which he couldn't even hold for a year.  The guy has a completely awful employment record, you know.  I wouldn't hire him as a pizza delivery driver.

It's also pretty amazing that out of all the awful things Allen West has said since employed by PJ Media, the thing that actually gets him fired is "Jewish American princess."  That's pretty insulting, but c'mon, we're talking about a guy who thinks Orange Julius is covering up Benghazi for Obama.

Still employed at Fox.  I think.  Think about what that says for a moment.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last Call For The Party's Over

The Tea Party's over, that is.  Tea Party support among Republicans has plummeted from where it was in Gallup's numbers in November 2010.

The poll suggests that the partnership between the Tea Party and the Republican Party may be waning. Although some of the Tea Party's most visible representatives in politics today are associated with the Republican Party, and while rank-and-file Republicans are more likely to call themselves supporters than opponents of the Tea Party movement -- a far greater number identify as neither.
To be sure, this is much more positive than Democrats' views of the Tea Party, with a majority describing themselves as opponents of the political movement. However, it is also far less supportive than three years ago, when two-thirds of Republicans identified as Tea Party supporters.

Similarly, just as Republicans are mixed in their views of the Tea Party, Tea Party supporters themselves have mixed views about the Republican Party: 55% hold a favorable view of it and 43% an unfavorable view. This contrasts with the highly positive views toward the GOP expressed by Republicans, with 79% rating it favorably, and 19% unfavorably. Tea Party supporters and Republicans are aligned however, in their broadly unfavorable reaction to the Democratic Party.

The signs of a crack-up in the GOP are all there, and the outcome of the shutdown nonsense is shaping up to be a total disaster for the Republican brand.  The opportunity for the Democrats is huge if they play their cards right.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Miss Piggy is joining Kermit the Frog in the Smithsonian.

(Jacquelyn Martin/ Associated Press ) - A Miss Piggy muppet, that was used on “The Muppet Show,” is all dressed up during a ceremony to donate additional Jim Henson objects to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Miss Piggy is finally joining Kermit the Frog in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Bert and Ernie will have a place in history, too. Henson’s daughter, Cheryl Henson, is donating 20 more puppets and props to the National Museum of American History.

    I'm pretty much okay with this.

    Smithsonian magazine welcomed Miss Piggy, dressed in a silver evening gown and holding a red rose, with a photo shoot. The museum allowed her to pose with Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and wearing the real 45-carat Hope Diamond from the National Museum of Natural History. 
    “She was very well-behaved, considering she wanted to take it home with her,” said Bonnie Erickson, who created the Miss Piggy puppet with Henson and now is executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy foundation. 
    The gift was made on what would have been Henson’s 77th birthday and shortly after his wife, Jane Henson, died in April.

    And yes, Jim Henson's work absolutely belongs in America's most famous museum.

    Avik Roy Is At It Again

    The official numbers on Obamacare premiums are in and they are better than predicted:

    As for premiums, before tax credits kick in, they will average 16 percent below the Congressional Budget Office's original estimates for a silver-level plan (which covers 70 percent of costs). The number of insurers in a state is directly tied to how low premiums will be, Lambrew noted. Arizona, with an average of 106 plans to choose from, had the second-lowest average premiums for a 27-year-old adult: $166 a month. Wyoming, with an average of 16 plans, had the highest average premium at $342 a month. 
    But then the tax credits take effect. Those knock the premium for that 27-year-old, projected to earn $25,000, down to $145 in most states. For a family of four making $50,000, the credits take the premium price down from more than $1,000 in some states to $282.

    Forbes's official mouthpiece for the Republican party propaganda on Obamacare, Avik Roy, has taken the Health and Human Services report on Obamacare premiums and turned it into this massive pack of cherry picked lies:

    Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.

    HOLY CRAP MY INSURANCE IS GOING TO DOUBLE no it's not, people.  Once again, Roy singles out a small slice of the population, in this case young men buying pre-Obamacare, catastrophic-only coverage that no longer meets criteria for minimum coverage standards, and says OH NO PREMIUMS WILL DOUBLE FOR ALL MEN.

    It will not.  And the subsidies will make people who can't afford insurance have options.  Remember, Republicans did everything they could to ensure Red states didn't expand Medicaid coverage.  In these states, insurance premiums are higher than in Blue states that expanded Medicaid coverage.

    You can blame Republicans for higher premiums.


    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Last Call For The Cruz Con Game

    The Daily Beast's Patricia Murphy has Sen. Ted Cruz down cold:  his idiotic showboating and fake filibuster did nothing to stop Obamacare, but it sure helped him raise a lot of money from Obama-hating Tea Party suckers and lining the pockets of the one percenters using the movement to destroy what little wealth they don't already own.

    The biggest actors so far in Defund, Inc. have been Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, and the Senate Conservatives Fund, the leadership PAC that Jim DeMint launched as a senator and handed off to his former staff members to run as a conservative super PAC. While Cruz led the defund fight in the Senate this summer, the SCF led a huge parallel fight on the outside,setting up a website, running radio and television ads, robocalls and a direct mail campaign, all designed to raise money from still-hot conservative activists and urge them to sign a petition to tell Congress not to fund the health-care bill when they greenlight funding for the rest of the government.

    Starring in the ads, the robocalls, and the direct-mail campaign were Cruz and Lee, two former Supreme Court clerks turned underdog Senate candidates turned conservative Senate firebrands. As Cruz and Lee staged a filibuster-like marathon speech session Tuesday into Wednesday, the SCF streamed them on its website. But while Lee’s brand of fire is like a light you’d offer a friend looking for a smoke, Cruz’s heat has been pure napalm, much of it focused at his own Republican colleagues in the Senate. It’s made Cruz easily the most hated man in the Senate, but a figure quite beloved by Tea Party purists who want nothing more than to support a senator who is willing to mix it up in a scrum, even—or maybe especially—with his fellow Republicans.

    And he doesn't care, because he knows the game:  if America despises Congress, and Congress despises Ted Cruz, he's the ultimate Senate maverick.

    Fast forward one year and Cruz has become a superstar for the conservative movement that the Senate Conservatives Fund is looking to harness.  Thanks to Cruz’s star power, they’re doing it.  As Cruz and Lee’s multimedia campaign blanketed the country, the month of August, typically a snooze for D.C.-based fundraisers, yielded the SCF’s largest nonelection year fundraising month to date, at $1.5 million. 
    Most importantly, the SCF now has in its possession a massive email list of potential like-minded donors, thanks to the 1.5 million people who signed the defund petition on the Don’tFundObamaCare website.  While "a list" may just be a roster in some circles, in the parlance of power and politics, a list is nothing less than a warchest-in-waiting for the SCF to use on behalf of its allies and against its enemies in the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race.  It also makes the SCF the most relevant, and possibly the most powerful, conservative group in the country, including the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. 
    If anyone is still confused after the Obamacare funding fight (faux filibuster and all), Ted Cruz is now a 2016 contender and the SCF’s biggest ally. Its enemies are many of the men and women he shares a cloakroom with—any Republican senator who did not join in. 

    It's the ultimate pogrom to cleanse the GOP of anyone who isn't willing to destroy the 99% in the name of the Masters of the Universe.  These clowns are primarying their own Senators, anyone who might cooperate with Obama for any reason, in order to obliterate them from politics.  The GOP Senate isn't as insane as the GOP House, and they're looking to fix that.

    The con is on, and the con men are winning.

    Not Even I Buy This, Alison

    I'm not sure what Alison Lundergan Grimes is thinking in her lates line of attack against Mitch the Turtle, but not even I buy her argument that Obama administration EPA regulations are somehow McConnell's fault.

    Alison Lundergan Grimes has tried to blame U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for the Obama administration’s tough new environmental regulations on greenhouse gas emissions at new coal-fired power plants. 
    We are tired of Senator McConnell’s Washington, out-of-touch regulations,” Grimes told a group of Democrats in Owensboro last weekend, according to a video on Time-Warner’s CN2 cable channel website. 
    “On his watch, since 1985, we have lost more coal jobs than the industry can account for,” Grimes said.

    This is a nonsense attack coming from McConnell's right when his primary challenger Matt Bevin blames the guy for coal regs, but for Grimes to make the argument is not only disingenuous, it's stupid.  Running away from President Obama isn't going to make Democrats in the state vote for her.

    Whoever's running Team Grimes needs to get their head on straight.  Even environmentalists here are laughing at her claims.

    Environmental activists, who oppose McConnell on many environmental issues, say that Grimes has it wrong.
    “That’s a laughable accusation,” said Sarah Lynn Cunningham, an environmental engineer and activist in Louisville. Cunningham said she couldn’t think of one time when McConnell has sided with the environment over the coal industry.
    Furthermore, Cunningham said the courts have tied McConnell’s hands when it comes to restraining the EPA on the issue of climate change and greenhouse gases. 
    “I can’t believe that she doesn’t know the Supreme Court has twice issued major rulings saying the EPA should be regulating greenhouse gases per the (federal) Clean Air Act,” said Cunningham, a Democrat. “Mitch McConnell has one hell of a lot of power in Washington, but the Supreme Court, they’re the big boys.”

    Grimes better figure out a smarter position on coal regs in Kentucky than "They're Mitch's fault."  It's insultingly stupid to the people who would want to vote for her.

    Profiles In Courage, Marco Rubio Edition

    Sen. Marco Rubio, his immigration push and 2016 chances imploding in real time due to the GOP's Tea Party meltdown, has decided he'll do anything to appease the "We hate those people" crowd that now owns the Republican party, including revoking his support of a federal judge he signed off on ten months ago.

    The nomination of a gay black Miami judge to the federal bench will not move forward after Senator Marco Rubio announced he was withdrawing his support over concerns about the judge’s actions in two criminal cases.

    Without Mr. Rubio’s approval, Judge William Thomas’s nomination to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, is effectively blocked. Judge Thomas, who serves on the Miami-Dade Circuit, was nominated by President Obama, with Mr. Rubio’s backing, more than 10 months ago.

    Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, signed off on the nomination on July 24 after a background check raised no red flags. For a confirmation to proceed, nominees must secure the approval of both United States senators in their home state.

    So Judge Thomas's nomination is all but dead.  Rubio can't flip-flop again, or he's completely out of the 2016 picture.  Even the Times calls him out for such rank hypocrisy and cowardice.

    Supporters of Judge Thomas, who grew up on welfare in Pennsylvania in a family of 10 children, said Mr. Rubio’s opposition was rooted in politics, not court rulings. Mr. Rubio, a Republican, has seen his allure among conservatives tumble, a result of his aggressive push for immigration reform. In recent weeks, he has scarcely mentioned immigration, keeping his focus mostly on issues with broad conservative appeal like abortion and health care. 
    Had he been confirmed by the United States Senate, Judge Thomas would have become the first black openly gay man on the federal bench. 
    “As much as I would like to think that politics has nothing to do with this, it looks as if it does,” said Yolanda Strader, president of Miami’s largest association for black lawyers, who called Judge Thomas one of the hardest working on the bench. “It would be unfair to prevent a well-qualified judicial nominee from proceeding with the nomination process because he is an openly gay black male.”

    Which wasn't a problem until the Tea Party found out.  Then it became a problem.  That's what Republicans do, talk a good game about "inclusiveness" and "big tent politics" and when it comes to delivering, they turn into hateful, spiteful bigots.  Anyone who trusts a Republican to not be a bigot, well.

    Any questions about where the "savior" of the GOP's loyalties really lie?


    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Last Call For The Coup-Coup Birds

    Well Tea Party nutjobs, here's your chance to "overthrow" the government you hate so much.  Mark your calendar and get to it.

    The conservative attorney and birther who called for a coup against President Barack Obama earlier this month has scheduled what he's describing as a "day of reckoning."

    Larry Klayman wrote Monday in Renew America that he's established Nov. 19 as the date that Obama will be forced to answer for his "criminality" and "Muslim, socialist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-radical gay and lesbian agenda." 
    Klayman said he hopes his supporters will "descend on Washington, D.C., en masse, and demand that [Obama] leave town and resign from office if he does not want to face prison time."

    So here's your "American Spring" uprising, all set for you to attend, for all you Obama haters and SUPER PATRIOTS to stand up and throw the guy out.  

    Life is not easy. It requires risk and sacrifice. If as a nation we want to restore our freedom, and we are on the verge of being enslaved under Obama's socialist Muslim inclinations, we must take our fight to a new level. Tea partiers, bikers, construction workers, police officers, school teachers, farmers, truckers, clergy, housewives, husbands, students, doctors, lawyers and all elements of our society who see our nation slipping away into the abyss, must now stand tall and descend on the capital, much like the Egyptians recently did in ousting another radical Muslim, their then president Mohammed Morsi. If the Egyptians can seek to rid their country of the poison of the Muslim Brotherhood without any real history of democracy, then we Americans, who know what democracy is and have practiced it prior to the ascension of the great usurper, can and must succeed.

    So yeah, DC police I'm sure will be real happy to see you.  Sure, you'll probably get gassed or hosed or beaten or arrested, but since you're the "true descendants of the civil rights movement" and all, you should be willing to pay that price for your God-given freedom to not have a black President.

    Come on down to a city that's 70% black and stand around freezing your asses off in November, complaining how much you hate those people.  Make your voices heard, and maybe, just maybe your long nightmare since January 29, 2009 will finally end.  You've been oppressed for such a long, long time after all.

    If You Can Make It Here... can make it anywhere, "here" apparently being "a burn notice by the New York Times when running for NYC mayor."  Congrats, Bill de Blasio.  You're under the spotlight, and Wall Street is terrified of you.

    The scruffy young man who arrived in Nicaragua in 1988 stood out. 
    He was tall and sometimes goofy, known for his ability to mimic a goose’s honk. He spoke in long, meandering paragraphs, musing on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Karl Marx and Bob Marley. 
    He took painstaking notes on encounters with farmers, doctors and revolutionary fighters.
    Bill de Blasio, then 26, went to Nicaragua to help distribute food and medicine in the middle of a war between left and right. But he returned with something else entirely: a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government
    As he seeks to become the next mayor of New York City, Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has spoken only occasionally about his time as a fresh-faced idealist who opposed foreign wars, missile defense systems and apartheid in the late 1980s and early 1990s. References to his early activism have been omitted from his campaign Web site. 
    But a review of hundreds of pages of records and more than two dozen interviews suggest his time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known, and far more political than typical humanitarian work.

    And this is supposed to make Brooklyn hipsters not vote for the guy?

    By the way, if this undertone sounds familiar, it's the same "Obama is a leftist commie pinko socialist America hater" crap from 2007.  Somehow, I don't think it's going to hurt de Blasio's chances in November.

    Forbes Cannot Print The Truth About Obamacare

    Forbes writer Avik Roy has made a career of turning Obamacare stats into nifty 1200 word tracts of complete, easily debunked nonsense.  It must be a hard gig, because apparently he must be on vacation, as Forbes's Chris Conover is filling in on the "easily debunked Obamacare lies" department.  Igor Volsky has the honors:

    An article published by Forbes claiming that Obamacare will increase health care costs by$7,450 for a typical family of four is spreading like wildfire across the internet, but causing eye rolls from economists across the country. 
    The estimate by author Chris Conover, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, comes from a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report, which projects that national health care spending will increase once the uninsured begin enrolling in the law’s health care exchanges. 
    “By 2022, the ACA is projected to reduce the number of uninsured people by 30 million, add approximately 0.1 percentage-point to average annual health spending growth over the full projection period, and increase cumulative health spending by roughly $621 billion,” the report finds.

    So, $621 billion divided by 310 million Americans = $7,450 per household of four Americans.  MATH FOR THE WIN!

    Only, it's not.

    One economist interviewed by ThinkProgress, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul Van de Water, described this calculation as one of the stupidest things he’s read in a long time and likened it to arguing that college costs will increase for a “typical” family if the federal government adopts policies that help lower-income Americans afford college educations. Yes, the nation will spend more on education if more students enroll in colleges and universities, but the “typical” student already attending college won’t; she or he will continuing paying tuition at more or less the same rate, while the newly-enrolled student will presumably benefit from some sort of subsidized tuition rate. 
    The same is true here. The so-called “typical” family that Conover describes already receives health care insurance through their employer. The existence of 30 million newly-insured people — many of whom will receive tax credits if they purchase insurance in the law’s exchanges — won’t do much to move their premiums in one way or another. (Health advocates hope that the law will slow the rate of growth in health care spending, but that’s a long-term proposition.) 
    In fact, if anything, the CMS report that Conover links to shows that Obamacare is a good financial proposition. In 2022, total health care spending will increase by 1.5 percent, while the number of non-elderly adults with health care coverage will increase by 9 percent. That’s a pretty good deal any way you slice it.

    Most Americans get their insurance through either the government or an employer, which absorbs a lot of that cost.  Every dollar in higher costs (which happens in 30 million people get health insurance) does not equal a dollar higher premiums.  Systems as large as the American health insurance industry under the Affordable Care Act have methods of spreading that cost around.  

    That's like saying if the price of oil goes up a dollar, the price of gas goes up a dollar too.   By that math, gas in the US should be $100 a gallon, but not every single dollar in oil increases gets passed along to the gasoline consumer at a 1:1 ratio.

    But that's what Conover claims will happen with Obamacare.  And since we already know that Republicans pretty much don't believe in science or math (unless it somehow "proves" the Earth is 6,000 years old and that white people are genetically superior to everyone else) why are we surprised by this?


    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Last Call, Now Watch This Drive!

    When the going gets tough, Dubya reminds us, the tough go golfing.

    Former President George W. Bush said President Obama should not be criticized over his frequent golf outings.

    Bush, who himself was criticized for his golfing as president, called the rounds "important for the president." 
    "I see our president criticized for playing golf. I don't. I think he ought to play golf," Bush told "In Play with Jimmy Roberts." 
    Bush said he knew what it was like "to be in the bubble" and saw getting off the White House grounds as an important way for the president to clear his head. 
    "I know the pressures of the job," Bush said. "And to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. It does give you an outlet." 
    "I think it's good for the president to be out playing golf," he added.

    The difference between Presidents Obama and Bush are that the latter never required much to clear his head to begin with, it was mostly empty.

    Still, a nice reminder next time you see the Village or the Breitbrats waste bandwidth on This week's Lazy Black President Golfs While You Suffer story.

    Please Proceed, GOP

    Oh look, Americans think shutting down the government and/or defaulting on the debt, either of which would wreck the economy again, are terrible, terrible ideas.

    A solid majority of Americans oppose defunding the new health care law if it means shutting down the government and defaulting on debt.

    The CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 800 people across the country conducted by Hart-McInturff, finds that, in general, Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent.

    Opposition to defunding increases sharply when the issue of shutting down the government and defaulting is included. In that case, Americans oppose defunding 59 percent to 19 percent, with 18 percent of respondents unsure. The final 4 percent is a group of people who want to defund Obamacare, but become unsure when asked if they still hold that view if it means shutting down the government. 

    Keep it up, guys.  The Democrats actually gaining seats in 2014?  Won't that be awesome?

    Citizens United, The Sequel

    In the first major case of the 2013-2014 term, the US Supreme Court could all but eliminate individual limits on personal campaign donations, meaning the wealthiest Americans could then give millions of dollars directly to candidates, effectively buying elections.

    Three years ago, the current court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the Citizens United case that "independent" spending on election races was protected free speech and struck down long-standing bans on such spending by corporations and unions. 
    But until now, the court's conservatives have not joined together to strike down the Watergate-era limits on how much donors can give directly to candidates or party committees. 
    That has left the law in an odd posture. Wealthy people who want to influence campaign races can give millions of dollars to "super PACs" and other groups that pay for "independent" election ads, but they are barred by law from giving more than $48,600 total to all members of Congress or more than $74,600 to various party committees. 
    That may be about to change. On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court will take up an appeal from the Republican National Committee, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon, who say contributions should be treated as "core political speech." If they win, wealthy Republicans or Democrats could each give as much as $3.6 million total by giving the maximum amount to all of their party committees and candidates. This money could be funneled by party leaders into a close race or races, tipping the balance of power in Congress
    Defenders of the election laws have been sounding the alarm. "It would be terrible for our democracy … if one politician could directly solicit $3.6 million from a single donor," said Lawrence Norden, an election law expert with the Brennan Center, a liberal legal advocacy group in New York. "That is 70 times the median income for an American family. It would mean a tiny, tiny group of donors would wield unprecedented power and influence."

    I'm not surprised to find Mitch the Turtle in the thick of this.  He has long been the most corrupt Senator in Washington, enriching himself by millions of dollars since coming into office.  And here's the best part:  If Mitch gets his way 100%, not only could the super-rich buy candidates and races, but they could do so anonymously.

    This case could pretty much finish off our democracy heading into 2014 and especially 2016.  Being able to plunk down millions to give directly to a candidate would change the face of politics in America forever, ensuring the Golden Rule:  whoever has the most gold, makes the rules.

    If you thought Congress was massively corrupt now, wait until the 0.01% can say "I'll give you millions to vote against the poor and middle class, and once you get in I'll keep you there for life."  Oh...and remember, far more of these super donors lean towards the right, not the left.

    Just what we need, more Tea Party goons bought and paid for by the ultra-rich with the sole intent of destroying what's left of the 99%'s wealth.  America, America, God shed His grace on thee... 


    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Standoff In Nairobi

    Nearly 60 are dead and 175 injured as the deadly standoff between Al-Shabaab terrorists and Kenyan military at Nairobi's Westgate Mall continues, the dead apparently including the nephew of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his nephew's fiancee'.

    "We will punish the masterminds (of the attack) swiftly, and indeed very painfully," Kenyatta said. 
    Kenyan government and Western diplomatic sources said Al-Shabaab militants were holding about 30 hostages inside the shopping center. 
    By noon Sunday, as grim-faced Kenyan soldiers warily searched the five-story building -- and as Al-Shabaab maintained its defiant stance -- the siege was no closer to a resolution. 
    Officials believe 10 to 15 gunmen are involved, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said Sunday. 
    "We know that they were across the building," Esipisu told CNN's Zain Verjee. "We know that they are now isolated somewhere within the building." 
    More than 175 were injured in the attack, Kenyatta said. 
    It was the deadliest terror attack in the nation since al Qaeda blew up the U.S. Embassy in 1998, killing more than 200 people.

    Africa's growing modernity, especially in large cities like Nairobi, make tempting targets for AQ and its affiliates.  Still, going into a mall, executing non-Muslims, and taking dozens of hostages is brazen even for those willing to die to further their aims.  Here's hoping that no more hostages or Kenyan military are killed.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Last Call For Coming Clean On Chemical Weapons

    It looks like Syria is taking the first steps at following through on turning over control of their chemical weapons to the UN.

    Syria has handed over information about its chemical arsenal to a U.N.-backed weapons watchdog, meeting the first deadline of an ambitious disarmament operation that averted the threat of Western air strikes. 
    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Saturday it had "received the expected disclosure" from Damascus, 24 hours after saying it had been given a partial document from Syrian authorities. 
    It said it was reviewing the information, handed over after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in the wake of a sarin gas strike in Damascus's suburbs last month - the world's deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. 
    Washington blamed Assad's forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1,400 people. Assad blamed rebels battling to overthrow him, saying it made no sense for his forces to use chemical weapons when they were gaining the upper hand and while U.N. chemical inspectors were staying in central Damascus. 
    The timetable for disarmament was laid down by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a week ago in Geneva when they set aside sharp differences over Syria to address the chemical weapons issue. 
    Their plan set a Saturday deadline for Syria to give a full account of the weapons it possesses. Security experts say it has about 1,000 metric tons of mustard gas, VX and sarin - the nerve gas U.N. inspectors found had been used in the August 21 attack. 
    The U.S. State Department said on Friday, after the OPCW announced Syria's initial declaration, that it was studying the material. "An accurate list is vital to ensure the effective implementation," spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

    It's a first step only, and there's lots to go.  But it looks more and more like there's the real possibility of a breakthrough here, and again, we haven't had to fire a single cruise missile so far.

    Here's hoping Assad's regime continues to meet these deadlines.

    Well Shut(down) The Front Door

    As Steve M. points out, the government shutdown fight on the GOP side has gone so far off the rails that in order for GOP senators like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mitch The Turtle to keep from being destroyed by the Tea Party, they are now forced to filibuster the House GOP bill defunding Obamacare:

    What's going on in the GOP reminds me of the way a lot of people talk about gang violence. It's often said that in recent years it's been more common for kids in gangs to shoot other kids in gangs (and shoot innocent bystanders) because they just can't walk away from a dispute; if they've been disrespected, the fight inevitably escalates, until somebody gets shot.

    That's how the GOP seems right now. Look at the Obamacare fight. John Boehner was disrespected when he was accused of offering a fake vote on defunding of the health care law, and so he gave in to Senator Ted Cruz's demand for a House vote on a provision that would really defund Obamacare, after which Boehner and other House Republicans attacked Cruz for saying that he and his allies couldn't really block Obamacare in the Senate.

    People who looked at the likely course of the Obamacare-defunding proposal in the Senate agreed that, for complicated reasons, Cruz was correct and there was no real opportunity to stage a true filibuster of a bill with full funding of Obamacare. The only filibuster opportunity requires Cruz and his allies to block a bill that includes the defunding proposal they favor.

    And if they don't take that opportunity, the Tea Party will eliminate them.  Only total opposition to President Obama and the Democrats counts now for those who opted to ride on the back of the Tea Party tiger.  Unless they do everything in their power to destroy our country's economy and turn President Obama's second term into ashes (along with the rest of 90% of the country) then the Tea Party will replace them with someone who will.

    So this is where we are, weeks away from what could be the start of another economic disaster that will almost certainly put us into economic recession is not a full-blown depression (should the Tea Party cause the loss of America's credit rating) and the vast majority of Republicans are okay with that, because they think you will blame President Obama.

    Give in to their political demands or face guaranteed financial ruin.  That sounds like terrorism to me.  Why don't we call it what it is, folks?

    StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    Last Call For Messing With The Man

    President Obama's analysis of the GOP is not wrong here.

    With one vote on Friday, the Republican-led House launched the latest spending battle in Congress -- one that could bring a government shutdown in less than two weeks.

    By a 230-189 tally almost strictly on party lines, the House passed a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for Obamacare.

    The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is certain to reject the provision that defunds President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement of his first term.

    The best part is that Republicans think they are perfectly reasonable burning the country's economy down.

    "The American people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want Obamacare," the Ohio Republican said to applause and cheers. "The House has listened to the American people. Now it's time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well."
    In a display of the raw politics of the battle, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia called out Senate Democrats facing re-election next year by name, asking how Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagan of North Carolina will vote on the House proposal. 
    "It's up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility," Cantor said.

    The President laughed that nonsense off.

    Later Friday, Obama accused conservative Republicans of holding the nation hostage by trying to make passing a federal budget and increasing the debt ceiling contingent on defunding health care reforms. 
    "You don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way," Obama said in a campaign-style speech at a Ford plant in the Kansas City, Missouri area, adding that legislators in Washington were focused on politics and "trying to mess with me," rather than helping the middle class.

    Ding ding ding!  It does have to be said, folks:  this is about attacking the President.  That's all that the GOP cares about.  If they can't get rid of the President, they will make America so awful that they think we'll do it for them.  It's better to get rid of the Republicans, of course.  And even Republicans are starting to think this is a really bad idea.

    But please proceed, gentlemen.

    Un-Hammered And De-Slammered

    Former GOP House majority leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay has apparently won his appeal on his conviction in 2010 because Texas.

    A Texas appellate court has overturned the 2010 conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s (R-Texas) for money laundering.

    The court said it was acquitting Delay due to insufficient evidence.

    Since his conviction three years ago, Delay has remained a free man as an appellate court considered the case. 

    He was sentenced to three years in prison for his alleged role in a scheme to influence elections in Texas. 

    Delay was accused of laundering more than $100,000 and conspiring to commit money laundering for that amount or more during the 2002 election cycle. Those offenses would violate election laws. 

    The court, however, concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction

    It also concluded that he was a Republican and that since the state of Texas elects appellate court judges, laws don't really apply to him.  Nice work if you can get it, and as the story mentions, he never actually spent a day in prison either.

    Texas.  It's like a whole other country.  A third world one with really lousy legal systems and easily influenced judges.  Also, Shiner Bock.

    Pope On A Hope

    Pope Francis certainly talks a big game about social justice Catholicism, but actions speak louder than words.  Sad part is that still puts him miles ahead of the last batch of pontiffs.

    In one of the first lengthy interviews he has given since ascending to the papacy in March, Pope Francis said he believes the Catholic Church has grown too “obsessed” with social issues like abortion, birth control, and gay marriage. The pope’s statement is a sharp departure from many of the other leaders in the Church, who have recently been pressuring him to take a stronger stance on those issues.

    “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Pope Francis told an Italian outlet. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”

    U.S. Catholic Bishops have been criticized for focusing almost exclusively on social issues — like advocating against marriage equality and fighting against Obamacare’s birth control benefit — at the expense of the Church’s other teachings on social justice issues.

    But the leader of the Catholic Church said that the religion needs to “find a new balance” on the moral teachings that it prioritizes. “Otherwise, even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” the pope explained.

    On the other hand, this line of thought has basically got to be driving the rest of the hardliners insane, so I'm okay with this guy keeping up the pressure.  You do have to start somewhere to reform a church whose values long ago left a guy like me.  Or, well, anyone in the 20th century or after, for that matter.

    Good luck with that, Frank.


    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Last Call For Cruz Control

    GOP Sen. Ted Cruz tried to weasel out of responsibility for his role in taunting House Republicans over not being Tea Party enough to shut down the government over Obamacare.  The House GOP promptly called Cruz out, and now he's thumping his chest again in his dog and pony show.

    Dear America

    "Rich people are better than the rest of you worthless slobs.  It's time for America and Americans to recognize this fact and move forward with policies that celebrate the rich and keep them that way -- at the expense of the useless poor -- instead of rich people having to pretend they give a damn about 'community' and stuff."

    --Harry Binswanger, Forbes

    Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

    Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    God bless America, land of the Randian troll douchebag.

    Let's Play "Not My Job" With Chuck Todd

    If you thought the Village media's job was to clear up blatant, known falsehoods about Obamacare, Chuck Todd would like to remind you that you're not dealing with facts, you're dealing with hurt fee-fees of people on TV who are mad that Obama didn't give them the war they wanted.

    I said the Village would make President Obama pay for the Syrian peace deal.  Chuck Todd just plunked down the bill.

    MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don't expect members of the media to correct the record.

    During a segment on "Morning Joe," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans "have successfully messaged against it" but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that's President Barack Obama's job.

    "But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it," Todd told Rendell. "They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, 'Well, it's you folks' fault in the media.' No, it's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it."

    To recap, Republicans lie about Obamacare on TV news shows, it's not the news media's job to correct the liars, it's the President's job to counter-attack on every news show simultaneously, rather than try to govern the country.

    The latest Village meme, by the way?  President Obama has "lost his connection" with the American people, according to the Village.  That's nonsense, but the Village is now in the process of ignoring and marginalizing the President the best that they can, because they're petulant, oafish children.


    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Last Call For The No Taper Caper

    Helicopter Ben made everybody happy today when the Fed decided that with, you know, a government shutdown coming in a couple of weeks that now may not be the best time to roll back bond purchases.  The immediate short-term result?  A record high for the Dow Jones and S&P 500.

    Fed chair Ben Bernanke added fuel to Wednesday's stock rally during his press conference.

    Bernanke laid out plans to maintain the central bank's "highly accommodative monetary policy" for the foreseeable future, even if the Fed eventually chooses to taper.

    Bond yields, which have been rising lately, slid back as well as investors bought more bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.71% from 2.87% earlier in the day.

    The Fed's moves also pushed down the dollar and drove up commodities. Gold prices spiked more than 4% following the announcement. Oil prices rose more than 2%.

    Whoever does get the keys to Helicopter Ben's ride will be dropping billions in bond cash each month for a long, long time.   Our economy has become more and more dependent on it.  Stimulus by any means necessary when Republicans in Congress wants to end government assistance anyway...well, to everyone but the one percent.
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