Tuesday, July 31, 2012
This may be the best example I've seen of how diseased the R party in general and its flag-bearer in particular have become. In Israel, home of his BFF, The Rominee has gone all gushy over their health care system.
... according to The New York Times, Romney spoke favorably about the fact that health care makes up a much smaller amount of Israel’s gross domestic product compared to the United States:
“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” he said. “You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”
Israel spends less on health care because of a universal health system that requires everyone to have insurance. Every Israeli citizen has the obligation to purchase health care services through one of the country’s four HMOs since government officials approved the National Health Insurance Law in 1995. People pay for 40 percent of their HMO’s costs through income-related contributions collected through the tax system, and the state pays the remaining 60 percent. And by many standards, Israelis are getting better health care than U.S. citizens. The infant mortality rate is much lower, and its mortality rate due to heart disease is half the U.S. rate.
See? It's a universal health care system, with government controls and -- get this!! -- an individual mandate. The sort of stuff that, whereas it was once advocated by Republicans, has been evil incarnate since Ds, and especially that black guy, took up the cause.
As Knight follows Nike, Rs are aghast and outraged that some people didn't like what Mr Chick-Fil-A (how gay is a guy named Cathy?) said about gays.
Former Minnesota governor and top Romney surrogate Tim Pawlenty said he found statements made by public officials against Chick-Fil-A “chilling” and “jaw-dropping” at a roundtable with voters in Cary, North Carolina on Saturday,reports First Read. The chain has recently come under fire for president Dan Cathy’s anti-gay marriage comments, including from the mayor of Boston who wants to keep the fast-food chain from coming to Boston.
“Now you have the police power of government intimidating and threatening people, being used to intimidate and threaten people, based on their free speech rights and their religious views,” Pawlenty said in response to a question about the controversy. “I mean it’s chilling. I mean it’s stunning, it is jaw-dropping. And so I think strong people who see this need to stand up and say no we don’t do that in the United States.”
Monday, July 30, 2012
Not one to toot (my own horn, anyway), I nevertheless would like to point out that if you Google "Scalia is an ass" (with or with out suffixes), my blog pops up #1. Same with "ACA truth." Or thereabouts, anyway. There are a few other searches which land me on the first page of a million or so hits, too.
Here's an interesting -- if minor -- followup to a long-forgotten (except for being recently resurrected by Fox "news" commentator and perseverating Obama critic Chuckie K.) story about President Obama's horrible diplomacy screwups. (Good time to bring it up again, eh wot?) Remember the scandal surrounding sending a bust of Sir Winston back to the Brits as soon as Mr Obama took office? An in-your-face, uppity disgrace of an insult to our Anglo-Saxon friends if ever there was, right? Turns out -- and I know you'll be shocked -- it was a tempest in a pot of Earl Grey:
Says James Barbour, press secretary and head of communications for the British Embassy, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W. Bush administration from the U.K.’s government art collection, for the duration of the presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington D.C. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March.”
Well, paint me black and call me president! Those silly tricksters have done it again. Never missing an opportunity to rile the rabble, the Foxorovians will say anything, the less true the more attractive.
I'm pretty sure I read these results a while ago, but there's an opinion piece that just appeared in the NYT that's worth noting:
CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases...
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
In yet another multi-layered example of Romney's mendacity, his campaign is warning against the threat represented by "the Soviet Union." I wonder: do they not know there's no longer a Soviet Union, or do they figure their supporters don't? Absent any positive reason to cast a vote for their man, do they figure they can get people to vote for him out of fear of the Red Menace? (It's worked on at least one of my readers, after all.)
I'm not gonna take the time to look up the official definition of "pathological liar," but I'm pretty sure it's someone who can't stop doing it, and to whom the idea of lying isn't bothersome in the least. Whatever the definition, unless there's a term for a form of lying that's even worse, then Mitt Romney is the poster child. I think it's now at the point where it's safe to say you can't believe a single thing he says. Not one damn thing. The default assumption of any thoughtful person, regarding Mitt Romney, ought to be if he said it, it's a lie.
I refer to a revelation about his having claimed special friendship with Bibi Netanyahu. When he first said it, I was surprised, but, also, impressed. And a little worried. Partly because I think Bibi is way too militant and is doing harm to Israel; but mostly because The Rominee as much as admitted that, when it comes to Israel, he'd call his BFF and say, tell me what to do and I'll do it. Literally, pretty much. In one of the debates: ROMNEY: "I'd get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?'"
“Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend, he’s an old friend,” Mitt Romney, with whom Netanyahu worked at the Boston Consulting Group in the 1970s, told aipac in March. (Romney, Netanyahu suggests, may have overstated the tie. “I remember him for sure, but I don’t think we had any particular connections,” he tells me. “I knew him and he knew me, I suppose.”)
Which is sort of in conflict with an interview with The New York Times: ROMNEY: "We [Mitt & Netanyahu] can almost speak in shorthand. We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar."
Thursday, July 26, 2012
When I mentioned something about this recently, a commenter pointed out Ds control the Senate. Well, yeah. But it's Rs in the House that are the problem. Voting thirty one times to repeal Obamacare. Passing gratuitous stuff for political purposes that they know will be rejected by the Senate. And the Senatorial Rs have filibustered virtually every piece of actual legislation proposed by Ds, taking obstructionism to hitherto unseen levels, making sure Obama gets nothing, and the economy continues to struggle.
And, fully prepared to turn governing over to these people, no one on the right seems to care.
Well, sure, okay, it was an article in the Huffington Post, and the economists interviewed were presumably selected by them. But, knowing the narrowness and already-shown-to-be-ineffective-ness of the R view of job creation, is there reason to doubt the conclusions? The Republican "job-creation" plans are nearly worthless. It's a meaty article, worth reading in full. And the economists are from a broad background, with non-unanimous opinions:
"A lot of these things are laughable in terms of a jobs plan that would produce noticeable improvements ... in the next four or five years," said Gary Burtless, a senior economist at Brookings. "Even in the long run, if they have any effect all, it would be extremely marginal..."
Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, agreed that the bills would have almost no effect on job creation in the short term, though he was slightly more optimistic about their long-term prospects.
"These kind of changes will matter over a period of three to five years," Zandi said. "It takes that long before businesses can digest changes and respond to them."
He noted, though, that legislation as narrowly targeted as the Republican package is unlikely to do much for real job creation.
Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank, said some of the bills could create jobs, but that they would amount to more of an afterthought in terms of achieving broader policy goals.
"They are very narrowly targeted, and it gives the impression that maybe some of this is special interest really pursuing these, not really taking a macro view ..."
Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, warned that any potential job creation from environmental deregulation could be offset by health concerns.
"If you increase employment but you have a lot more sick people, you have to ask yourself, 'What's the trade-off?'" he said. ...
Indeed, environmental advocates argue that many of the GOP proposals are more likely to kill people than create jobs.
"It won't save them jobs, it won't even save them that much money, but it is going to cause illnesses, deaths ...,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That's why we have all these environmental laws.”
On the matter of cutting taxes on business, the article is fair and balanced:
Even one of the more popular bills in the mix -- a small business tax cut -- won't do much for job creation, some of the economists said. They argued that it's not that businesses need more money for hiring, but that they need a sufficient demand for their products. [Interjection from your host: It's not only obvious, but what I've been saying, over and over.]
"They know that if they hire people to produce more widgets, they won't be able to sell the widgets," Prakken said. "Giving them a tax break just increases their profits," but doesn't encourage hiring.
Riccadonna disagreed. He acknowledged that weak demand is the biggest problem facing businesses, but said the small business tax cut is still the most likely of all the GOP bills to create jobs.
.... "... anything that makes life or operating conditions a little bit easier for them, that I would certainly be in favor of. That will have a meaningful jobs impact."
On one point, there was unanimity:
Ultimately, each economist was clear on one point: The GOP package is far more political than practical.
[...]Boehner spokesman Michael Steel demurred when asked for a response. He reiterated that Senate Democrats are holding up their job-creation bills.
Of course they are, and well they should: plans that will gut environmental regulation but do nothing to create jobs ought never see the light of day. What's left of it, that is.
Voting rights. Not a Republican thing.
Sadly, it looks like we're far from that line, if it even exists. Their ginned-up hatred of Barack Hussein Obama is greater than their love of country. Or, rather, they've been trained to think love of country demands its destruction. Shades of Ben Tre.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
As The Rominee, smiley sleazebag that he's now showing himself to be, harps on the unAmerican "otherness" (subtle, huh?*) of Barack Obama, he and his also like to fall back on the "Chicago-style politics" trope.**
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.
One of the most memorable phrases from that era comes from a story often told by former White House Counsel Abner J. Mikva, who described attempting to volunteer on a local campaign in the late 1940s.
Turns out those teabagger-elected congressfolk, in their zeal to make a point by taking us to the brink in last year's debt-ceiling fight, cost the country (the love of which they profess, along with their commitment to fiscal sanity) about one-point-three trillion bucks, according to the GAO.
The extraordinary actions Treasury took during 2011 and January 2012 to manage federal debt when delays in raising the debt limit occurred were consistent with relevant authorizing legislation and regulations. However, delays in raising the debt limit can create uncertainty in the Treasury market and lead to higher borrowing costs. We estimated that delays in raising the debt limit in 2011 led to an increase in Treasury’s borrowing costs of about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011.
Honest to that guy in whom teabaggRs claim to believe, that "do unto others" guy, I can't see how any sane, rational, America-loving, thinking person could vote for these people. Or their anointed Rominee. They have no positive agenda, no ideas that are judged workable or which haven't already been shown to be unworkable. Tried and failed. As recently as three-plus years ago.
Which explains the nonstop effort by billionaire-backed PACs and propaganda networks poorly disguised as news organizations to create a false image of President Obama and Democrats. The only reason to vote for Rs -- and a recent commenter proved it -- is if you've been made to fear that mysterious Kenyan Muslim America-hating secret planner more than you fear the actual, real, not made-up consequences of the announced plans of Rs. Which is easy to do, since those plans have been obscured and obfuscated to perfection, by design, and with the overt cooperation of Fox "news" and the rest of the RWS™.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I came to a conclusion as I read this article about Rachel Maddow: reflective and introspective people -- ie, liberals -- look at the world and get depressed. Conservatives -- the current dominant American variety, anyway, who are anything but reflective or introspective -- look at the world and get angry and scared. The former -- and I suppose I could be personalizing a little too much -- leads to a point at which one is tempted to throw in the towel, while the latter leads to monomaniacal obsession, laced with a heavy dose of paranoia and conspiracy-theory formation, all aimed at eliminating that which causes the anger. Absent reflective ability and desire for insight, the focus is outward; as an act of perceived self-preservation (in the form of walling off all self-doubt) it becomes single-minded and unbound by any other ethos than survival at all costs.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Through the link-maze known as the intertubes, a guy who has a teabagger blog came across one of my posts, and proceeded to deconstruct it on his site.* Since then I've engaged in a couple of comment exchanges with him over there (seems he didn't much want to press his arguments here.) Anyhow, it revolved around the idea that I refuse to used the word "socialism" to describe the Affordable Care Act, and, in a tone less argumentative than what I often use here, I tried to explain why it's, in fact, nothing like socialism.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Gun control. Yada yada. Liberal bleeding hearts. Yada yada. They're coming for your guns. Yada yada. My cold dead hands. Yada yada. Only criminals will have guns. Yada yada. Assault on Judeo-christian values (the judeo part thrown in reluctantly), prayer in schools. Yada yada. He's a teabagger, he's a liberal, he's one of those overeducated elitists, he's a sign of ____
Friday, July 20, 2012
Remember when candidate John McCain said he knew how to end the war in Afghanistan but wasn't telling? Back then there were those, myself included, who suggested that, as a patriotic American and supporter of our troops, he damn well ought to get the information to George W as fast as his angry little legs would carry him. Well, he didn't; and after losing, it would seem he continued to keep it to himself. Oh well. Blood under the bridge. His to know, ours to find out, maybe, some day.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Here's an article about America's failing power grids, and the fact that we can't get our politics and politicians together to fix it. Public vs private money, evidently, is the argument. That and, I suppose, unwillingness to do any damn thing that's good for the country as long as Obama favors it. The usual, in other words. (Oh. And the "expert" -- perish the word! -- in this case seems to have a Muslim name.)
Since the early 1990s, according to data gathered by Massoud Amin, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, the number of power outages affecting more than 50,000 people a year has more than doubled, and blackouts now drain between $80 billion and $188 billion from the U.S. economy every year. The power grid is slipping backwards to a time when infrastructure was unreliable, and more and more people are talking about going “off the grid” with solar, batteries, and generators as a result. Will this doom the greater grid, and by extension the greater good?
It’s not easy to keep 450,000 miles of high voltage lines up and humming. But the situation has gotten worse over the years because the U.S. has increased the load on its lines while investing less in the system. ...Across the power and wonkish sectors, though, there’s a fair amount of agreement that the U.S. needs to make massive investments in the backbone of the grid, as well as in a self-healing grid that can better handle outages (and hackers), and in information technology to make the grid “smart.”...But in the political climate of the last decade, Americans have not gotten their act together. “We have wasted 10 years arguing about the role of the public and private sectors,” says Amin, “and our competitors have moved ahead of us.” He believes we need a leader who, like Kennedy, can pitch a big investment as a “moonshot,” but laments that “we’ve got gridlock on policy and uncertainty with investment.”
It's a concrete example of the future that will result if the Ryan/Rominee approach to taxes and spending is allowed to happen. But, hey, who cares, right? Long as we're protecting tax cuts, people can afford generators in their penthouses. Power their car elevators, feed their dressage horses. Shouldn't be a problem.
So never mind.
Rush Limbaugh sees no evidence that President Obama loves America. It's an interesting concept, isn't it? How does a person show his love for America? With bumper stickers? Flags flapping near their gun racks? Support-our-troops magnets? Doing oxycontin? Not, evidently, by willingness to pay taxes to support those troops, or pay for what America needs. Or to accept the fundamental concepts of democracy. Like voting rights. Providing for a well-informed electorate. Respecting minorities, leaving religion out of our politics. No, evidently just saying you love America is enough. Actions aren't. Except for the action where you say you love America.
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What a great negotiator. What great deals he'll make. Asshole.