Friday, December 31, 2010

In the Mid-Term, Seniors voted for a Party that would Increase Prescription Drug Prices for Themselves. They actually thought Republicans Would Protect them.

Remember when we found out that a big majority of seniors voted for Republicans in the midterms?

Good luck guys…  

Wispolitics: Representative Kelda Helen Roys warned that the appointment of Dennis Smith, a former top Bush Administration member, as Walker’s Department of Health Secretary, signaled an upcoming legislative fight over Wisconsin's successful SeniorCare program. 

“Dennis Smith was part of the Bush team that 4 years ago tried to end Wisconsin’s popular and successful SeniorCare program.” 
SeniorCare is the successful Wisconsin program that lowers prescription drug costs for 93% of Wisconsin seniors. 

“To appoint Dennis Smith to be the Secretary of the Department of Health Services would be as outrageous as putting a Fox in charge of a henhouse.” 

Dennis Smith presided over State Operations at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under then Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. In these roles, Leavitt and Smith denied Wisconsin necessary Waivers to continue SeniorCare, until Sen. Herb Kohl authored a provision in the Senate to continue SeniorCare, thus saving the beloved program. Today, Smith continues to work for Leavitt at Leavitt Partners, a high powered consulting firm. 

Government Traffic Jam? Climate Change Weather Forecast? Sam Seder's got it.

Sam Seder does his "economic traffic" eye in the sky report, along with another look at his climate change forecast. He's good.

Profit Seeking Philanthropists, education Deformers, pushing Charter and Voucher Schools.

Next time you hear someone talking about charter and voucher schools, keep in mind the discussions talking points had to come from somewhere, and the below abbreviated article lays it out clearly:
The Cuckingstool: Just below the surface of every aspect of education discourse lies the education deform movement. It’s not like the creation of the school choice movement by conservative philanthropies in the 1980s is any secret. People For The American Way (Norman Lear's outfit) had reported extensively on the movement in its 1995 report Buying A Movement (full pdf):
The Bradley Foundation’s involvement in the issue of school vouchers is a useful illustration of a single foundation’s comprehensive funding strategy around the development of a single political issue. As noted earlier, the Bradley Foundation maintains a keen interest in pushing voucher programs around the nation, and particularly in its home state of Wisconsin. Over the past six years, Bradley money has funded groups that have laid the intellectual foundation for school vouchers, provided vouchers to parents, and litigated to defend them from challenge.
In fact many of the current topics of educational discourse didn't even exist until they were made up by the Bradley Foundation and its funded people and entities. Neither was there any scholarship to support the notion that the proposed market-based reforms would improve educational achievement. There is none today. Belief in the efficacy of privatization and commercialization of public education back then was literally an act of faith. Today it is an exercise in denial.  
So that is the back-story on education discourse: Decades of reform derived from market-based ideas from plutocrats that have failed repeatedly are pushed onto the public with ever more vigor, yet the source of the advocacy is almost never revealed. The deformers have captured education discourse by investing billions of dollars in advocacy, "research" and funding of alternatives to regular public schools. The reformers have nothing to show for their efforts except a bifurcation of our education system, destruction of community schools, and a societal-wide attitude that slanders and devalues those who give the most for education: the teachers themselves. Remember that when you hear in the coming months about efforts to install "teacher accountability," "alternative licensure," and judging teachers by so-called "value-added" measures.

Republican Coronation day Coming!!!

Opulence personified. As the NY Times article sets it up:
The nation’s 26 new governors have had to wrestle with a symbolically rich decision that could set the tone for their time in office: how big a party to give for themselves … Penny-pinching can convey pessimism and impotence. Lavish celebrations may telegraph triumphalism and insensitivity in these budget-crunched times.
And how did that wrestling match go between triumphalism and penny pinching with Republican governor elects?
To warm up the Florida crowds for his inauguration as governor, Rick Scott has been flying around the state this week on a seven-city “appreciation” tour. For the main event on Tuesday, he will lead a parade featuring 26 marching bands, followed by a black-tie dinner for 2,100 people, with oysters Rockefeller and fried calamari served in mini-martini glasses. “Real classy,” said Christy Noftz, who is overseeing the catering.
In Nevada, Brian Sandoval, a Republican, will host back-to-back $1,000-a-head V.I.P. receptions, one of them at the Wynn Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
In Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, also a Republican, has organized two “preinaugural balls,” not to be confused with the inaugural ball itself, which will be held later at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Now let’s see how the liberal elite plan to celebrate their inaugurations:
In New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, is having a small preinauguration dinner for close friends at the governor’s mansion, and has parceled out so few invitations to his no-frills swearing-in ceremony that even some top aides have not made the cut.
Jerry Brown of California has issued guidelines: no paid entertainment (a school choir will sing) and a rent-free evening reception (in a state-owned building). To highlight his thrift, Mr. Brown, a Democrat, plans to stop at a cookout after he takes the oath to snack on hot dogs and chips.
Mark Dayton, the Democratic governor-elect in Minnesota, said he considered canceling his party, which is scheduled for Jan. 8. Instead, he has authorized a “Blue Jeans to Black Tie” ball with a loose dress code and a flexible ticket price. He plans to show up in jeans and an old hockey jersey.
Borrrringggg! But let’s get back to Scott:
Then there is Mr. Scott in Florida, whose multiday, multicity inauguration has become known wryly in political circles here as the “coronation.”
Eyebrows rose anew when Mr. Scott, relying on the donated use of private planes, took his inauguration on the road … treated a largely Cuban-American crowd to giant platters of roasted pig, brown rice and boiled yucca … procession of local politicians introduced and reintroduced Mr. Scott, extolling his financial acumen and management skills … On Tuesday, for his official inauguration, Scott will hold a two-hour prayer breakfast with no fewer than 10 speakers; an afternoon concert featuring the country singers Lee Greenwood and Rockie Lynne; and a parade befitting Disney World’s home state … aides published the packed schedule on what amounted to almost 10 single-spaced pages on his Web site … a rendering of the stage being built for Mr. Scott’s inaugural ball.
This part of the Times article pretty much summed up the rage I feel right now:
Mr. Scott, after all, campaigned on a platform of fiscal restraint and small government. Businessmen like himself, he declared shortly after the election, “accept austerity as the price for dramatic turnarounds.”
Pressed about the scale of the festivities, Mr. Scott said: “It absolutely is fitting for these times. We need to celebrate how we are going to change this state.”

Demand Health Care Opponents Drop Their Taxpayer supported Government Plans Now!!!

What infuriates me most is the light hearted, "we gotcha" suggestion that Republican opponents of health care reform, drop their government paid for plans. This isn't a ploy, a joke or a side issue.

We mean it. Walk the walk. If government involvement means the "best health care in the world" we be destroyed, then our elected officials should try and save it, by dropping coverage. Shop for it. Find the cheapest doctors and hospitals as a way of encouraging competition.

It's not a joke!! It's not a "gotcha." It's what they believe. Now they can show us!!! MSNBC:

Here's more from Chris Matthews on Mike Huckabee's silly argument and warning about the horrors of health care availability for all (this still boggles the mind):

The Party that warned of Single Party Rule now Looking to take Permanent Political Control of State and Federal Government. Lame Duck Big Target.

Is the "Lame Duck" nearing extinction?

It appears when Republicans win elections, their rein begins immediately. This surreal electoral power grab, recently attempted in Wisconsin, mirrored a nationwide effort by Republicans to take power once elected. Not in two months, but NOW!! Their hope; stop Democrats cold. For example:

WSJ: In a letter to Department of Administration Secretary Daniel Schooff, Walker urged the current administration to freeze implementation of the federal health care law and suspend contract negotiations with state employees. He also requested it stop making any permanent hires, transform Charter Street Power Plant into a natural gas boiler (instead of the planned biofuel boiler) and delay any new administrative rules until after he takes office on Jan. 3.

On a national level, House Republicans hope to do away with the lame duck session, a moment that saw so many fellow conservatives help pass an historical number of Democratic bills. MSNBC:

Wisconsin DNR handed over to the Foxes. CCR’s “Green River” about to include our lakes, and be named our state tourism song.

There’s nothing like putting a critic in charge of the state DNR to take it down a peg or two.
WSJ: Cathy Stepp, a former Republican state senator and out spoken critic of the state Department of Natural Resources, was named Thursday to head the agency by Gov.-elect Scott Walker.
“I wanted someone with a chamber-of-commerce mentality,” Walker said.
And that’s just what Republicans do when they’re in power; put the fox in charge of the chicken coop.
Walker said he chose Stepp because her experience as both a business owner and a former member of the Natural Resources Board will allow her to balance environmental protection with economic development.
How could it not be balanced? Stepp isn’t the only fox in charge:
Joining Stepp at the DNR as deputy secretary will be Matt Moroney, an attorney and former executive director of the Metropolitan Builders of Greater Milwaukee.
What kind of fox will Stepp be, guarding the DNR chicken coop?
In a post on a conservative blog last year, Stepp said the people who work at the DNR tend to be “anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc.” In the same post, she called agency employees “unelected bureaucrats” who tend to “come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.”
After which Cathy “the fox” Stepp said with a gleeful glint in her crafty eyes:
Her past criticisms of the DNR should not affect morale at the agency. “I think it is going to be helpful,” Stepp said.
What a morale booster!! In this land of lakes and streams, where tourism and quality of life mean everything, Walker wonders if maybe the price of preserving clean water in Wisconsin could survive a “cost-benefit analysis:”
 Walker expects more review of environmental regulations and rules … cited rules recently passed to regulate the discharge of phosphorus, a pollutant that spurs growth of weeds and algae in lakes and streams. Walker said the phosphorus rules could hurt local governments that have to pay for new treatment systems.
“Without a doubt, we’ll be doing a cost-benefit analysis of every rule,” Walker said.
Like any successful business, hiring knowledgeable professionals is a no brainer…or is it? Don’t say we weren’t warned:
George Meyer, who served as DNR secretary while Stepp was on the Natural Resources Board, said his biggest concern is that none of those named to take leadership roles at the DNR have a professional back ground in natural resource management.
What Meyer meant to say is; “The foxes are now in charge of the chicken coop.” When it comes to "going green," Republicans can now point to the color of our lakes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Republicans Secret Budget Resolution will get No Debate or see the Light of Day, just the Opposite Promised in Pledge to America.

Everyone seems to be onto Rep. Paul Ryan's dictatorial rise, except maybe some elements of the fawning press. This interesting note from Think Progress makes you wonder how long conservatives sit up thinking of ways to destroy the country we all knew once. A lot of it is gone already, thanks to bankrupting the world economy, and then blaming social programs for the problem. Well, after Ryan is through with his spending plans, we won't have any money left for anything. And that means more discretionary spending cuts. See how that works. 

As National Journal reported today, “a little-noticed detail in the new rules proposed by House GOP leaders would greatly increase the power of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee.” Indeed, under the proposed rules, if the House and Senate do not agree on a budget resolution (a distinct possibility with a divided Congress), Ryan will be able to unilaterally set spending levels that are binding on the House, and any attempt to lessen the impact of these cuts can be ruled out of order.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called the proposed change “stunning and unprecedented“:
This rule change has immediate, far-reaching implications. It means that by voting to adopt the proposed new rules on January 5, a vote on which party discipline will be strictly enforced, the House could effectively be adopting a budget resolution and limits for appropriations bills that it has never even seen, much less debated and had an opportunity to amend. (There is no requirement for Representative Ryan to make his proposed spending and revenue limits available to Members or the public before the vote on the new rules.)…Once Rep. Ryan places in the Congressional Record discretionary funding limits set at the [2008] level, they will become binding on the House, and any attempt to provide funding levels that allow for less severe cuts will be out of order.
Ryan, of course, has gained notoriety for his radical “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which purports to balance the budget by essentially privatizing both Social Security and Medicare, while the House GOP’s much-ballyhooed “Pledge to America” includes a promise to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to the 2008 level. If adopted, an across-the-board cut to 2008 levels would entail severe reductions in important and popular programs like Pell Grants and federal highway funding.
The proposed change also seems to fly in the face of the GOP’s promise to end backroom deals and increase transparency, as with one vote, the GOP House may yoke itself to a budget that has never been made public.

Republicans Demanded Democrats compromise and include their ideas. Now Republicans say they don’t need to listen and will be uncompromising. Surprised?

Using the same litmus test Republicans used on Democrats, the following issues should be on our radar, including the often shouted phrase, “your not listening to us.”
(AP) — Wisconsin Assembly Democrats want Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker to listen to them when he convenes a special legislative session on the economy next week.
Once concealed carry advocates sought safe and a knowledgeable gun owners by requiring training and continuing education and practice. Now, paranoid, immature anti-establishment gun nuts want to give the public guns and forego experience for… “risk.” Despite republicans taking control of Wisconsin’s legislature in the Nov. 2 mid-term elections, no commitment on Constitutional Carry (concealed carry with no permit system) has been forthcoming as of press time from either Governor-elect Scott Walker (R) or Wisconsin NRA lobbyist Jordan Austin.
The newly-elected republican legislature … has breathed new life into growing momentum in Wisconsin to by-pass a “Shall-Issue” concealed carry law … meaning anyone who may legally purchase a firearm may legally carry it … on the cusp of rolling back permit-to-carry requirements.
Now for the really stupid: Remember all the Republican attacks on Obama for appointing “Czars?” Well, maybe he could have avoided all that (big chance) by calling them “trustees.”
Jsonline: Governor-elect Scott Walker has yet to name a secretary to the Department of Natural Resources or, as he indicated during his campaign, a "deer trustee,"
Despite all the gun references, the noose signs, and general threats used by conservatives when talking about Obama, and their claims they meant nothing serious by them, watch what happens when a simple bumper sticker design “threatens the life” of our incoming Republican governor:  
Freedomeden: This is the version of the Dems' sticker that was shown last night on FOX 6 News.
There's a world of difference between a depiction of the train slamming into Walker's head with what appears to be bloody results and an image of the train shooting out of Walker's head. the version depicting what looks like blood spurting out of Walker's head as the train hits his temple is a violent, gory, and highly inappropriate image for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to be hawking. More Leftist extremism exposed. 
Kudos to FOX 6 for showing the sticker that actually prompted the outrage 

Phony outrage? I see a train crashing into a brick wall (and 3 color budget printing too). Only blood thirsty, gun toting, death sentence loving, no health care killing, war mongering conservatives would think this is violent and gory.

Haley Barbour's Taxpayer Funded Elitist Lifestyle Part of Conservative Ideology of Chosen Authority Figures.

What I like about the exchange below, between talk host's Joe Madison and Scott Hennen, is Madison's point blank frankness about the maddening conservative topic avoidance techniques used when caught in another hypocritical situation.

Gov. Governor Haley Barbour's elitist $500,000 personal jet travel over the last 3 years on the taxpayer dime doesn't exactly feel the publics economic pain or demonstrate government belt tightening, yet is allowed by conservatives, who are afraid to show fallibility or give liberals a political win.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jobs other countries. Thanks GOP!!!

The Economic Policy Institute offered up these shocking job numbers, mostly created out of country. Is this what Republicans were promising? MSNBC:

How's Wall Street taking the economic news?

Seder's Climate Change Weather Forecast.

Former Air America host Sam Seder took off on the conservative climate change conspiracy theory fear mongering on Fox News, after the recent east coast snow storm. Here's his special weather forecast:

Why are Conservatives Paranoid Fear Mongers? Now we know.

Love this new research, which answers the question I've been asking for years on this blog, and backs up my concept that conservatives are controlled by an fear and paranoia:
A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals … responsible for fear and other "primitive" emotions … conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism. If the study is confirmed, it could give us the first medical explanation for why conservatives tend to be more receptive to threats of terrorism, for example, than liberals. And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks.
Geraint Rees, the neurologist who heads up UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, was originally asked half-jokingly to study the differences between liberal and conservative brains for an episode of BBC 4's Today show that was hosted by actor Colin Firth. But, after studying 90 UCL students and two British parliamentarians, the neurologist was shocked to discover a clear correlation between the size of certain brain parts and political views.
In a study published in October, researchers at Harvard and UC-San Diego found that a variant of the DRD4 gene predisposes people to being liberal, but only if they had active social lives as adolescents. The "liberal gene" has also been linked to a desire to try new things, and other "personality traits related to political liberalism."

Ayn Rand Revealed, via Paul Ryan: American helping American, Collectivism, the Enemy

I written about Randian politics before, now it's time to get a few other opinions: 

Jonathan Chait wrote:
Another part of Christopher Beam's piece on libertarianism that caught my interest was this bit about Paul Ryan and his deep affinity for Ayn Rand:
Representative Paul Ryan, also of Wisconsin, requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged, describes Obama’s economic policies as “something right out of an Ayn Rand novel,” and calls Rand “the reason I got involved in public service.” 
Earlier this year I wrote about Ryan and his deep devotion to the philosophy of Rand, particularly her inverted Marxist economic-political worldview:
Ryan would retain some bare-bones subsidies for the poorest, but the overwhelming thrust in every way is to liberate the lucky and successful to enjoy their good fortune without burdening them with any responsibility for the welfare of their fellow citizens. This is the core of Ryan's moral philosophy:
"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." ...
At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand's writings when he told his audience that, "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill ... is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict--individualism versus collectivism."
The core of the Randian worldview, as absorbed by the modern GOP, is a belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers.
The best summation of Randian values ever, from New York Magazine:
Consider the social side of Libertopia. It’s no coincidence that most libertarians discover the philosophy as teenagers. At best, libertarianism means pursuing your own self-interest, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. At worst, as in Ayn Rand’s teachings, it’s an explicit celebration of narcissism. “Man’s first duty is to himself,” says the young architect Howard Roark in his climactic speech in The Fountainhead. “His moral obligation is to do what he wishes.” Roark utters these words after dynamiting his own project, since his vision for the structure had been altered without his permission. The message: Never compromise. If you don’t get your way, blow things up. And there’s the problem. If everyone refused to compromise his vision, there would be no cooperation. There would be no collective responsibility. The result wouldn’t be a city on a hill. It would be a port town in Somalia. In a world of scarce resources, everyone pursuing their own self-interest would yield not Atlas Shrugged butLord of the Flies. And even if you did somehow achieve Libertopia, you’d be surrounded by assholes.
To a Libertarian, nothing is worth sacrificing principle for—least of all political power. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Republican Blueprint to a Dystopian Future. Don't just blame them, the Voters have spoken!!!

From Alternet: Conservatives have a legislative agenda for 2011 that will hurt your ability to get or keep a job, your neighborhood's ability to recover from the recession and this country's ability to regain its footing in the global economy. To keep conservatives from enacting policies that will kill a nascent economic recovery, progressives will have to organize against these top 10 economy killers.

1. Repeal of Health-Care Reform: Republicans have placed "repealing Obamacare" at the top of their legislative agenda for 2011. If they succeed, the economy is going to come down with multiple serious illnesses—at least 24, according to a report released this month by Rep. Peter Stark of the House Ways and Means Committee. Among them: a $143 billion increase in the deficit by losing the savings the reforms created, an increase the number of uninsured by 30 million people…

2. Diminish the Federal Government's Ability to Support Job-Creation: Since the right can't complain about inflation—there is none—the enemy is "quantitative easing," the Fed's bid to pour liquidity into the economy in hopes that fuels investment and jobs. Take away quantitative easing and there's literally nothing left in the economic policy playbook to keep the economy from slipping back into recession.

3. Slash Federal Infrastructure Spending: while countries such as China race ahead on infrastructure investment, conservative governors are being heralded as heroes for rejecting high-speed rail money and killing a rail tunnel on the nation's busiest rail corridor leading into New York City. Conservative ideologues are once again proposing to end most federal transportation spending.

4. Dismantle Medicare (and Give Seniors "Vouchers"): Ryan's voucherization of Medicare, however, would control costs not by restraining insurance companies or health-care corporations but by keeping the value of the voucher below the increase in health care costs, thus shifting increasing out-of-pocket costs onto seniors themselves. Conservatives say this means government won't be rationing care to seniors. With vouchers, seniors will forced to ration care on their own.

5. Undo Financial Reform, and Let the Predators Run

6. Support Big Oil and Kill Green Jobs: The right's mantra is that the EPA regulations will increase utility bills and kill jobs. The truth is that the regulations will create new jobs in clean-energy industries and, most importantly, save the planet. Just as Rep. Spencer Bachus thinks government should "serve the banks," conservatives would seem to be fine with EPA serving the polluters.

7. Don't Just Cut Government Waste; Cripple Government: From the beginning of the Reagan Revolution the plan was to create deficits to cripple government, not to cut “waste.” Reagan said the idea was to “cut the government’s allowance.” George W. Bush said turning Clinton’s surpluses into huge deficits was "incredibly positive news" because it would put government in "a fiscal straitjacket."

8. Amp up the Insecurity in Social Security: Conservatives have wanted to kill the New Deal for a long time. Now they have a historic window of opportunity. Unless the President and other Democrats stand up for Social Security, it’s going to be needlessly gutted in the name of “deficit reduction”—even though it doesn’t contribute to the deficit.

9. Starve Public Education: Here is an easy way to keep the rich rich and the less well-off part of the permanent underclass: continue the decades-long conservative-led assault on public education.

10. Don't Ask the Rich to Help Reduce the Deficit; Ask Low-Income Americans Instead Republicans want to make their "cutgo" scheme the law of Congress, in which new spending authorized by Congress must be offset by cuts elsewhere but cannot be offset by tax increases or fees on anyone. But new tax cuts would not have to be offset by spending reductions. That should finish off any molecule of credibility they had left on their feigned concern about the deficit.

Majority of Utah Citizens who Rejected Republican Voucher Law are about to see New Voucher Law by Republicans. Are they listening?

Even after the Republicans made the point that health care reform had been “rammed down our throats,” and the Democrats weren’t listening to the protesting American public, they still want to ram school vouchers down the throats of the same voters who voted down the idea in 2007. A bit authoritarian?
ABC 4 News has learned Utah is headed for another potentially bruising debate over school vouchers.
A key republican state legislator is now drafting a new bill which would create a voucher program for some Utah students.

In early 2007, the Utah legislature approved a school voucher program.
But later that same year, voters rejected it.

Now, however, the school voucher debate is back. Rep. Carl Wimmer, the bill’s sponsor says, “There are students who are simply falling through the cracks. Probably more than we actually care to mention."
Yes, PROBABLY more kids are falling through the cracks…we can only assume it’s worse than the actual facts.

Are Republican legislators listening? It doesn't matter when you know what's best for the parents of school age kids. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Freeloading poor should be taxed!!! That'll turn them against Social Security and Medicare.

The poor apparently don’t have enough skin in the game when it comes to our nation’s future. If they don’t pay something in, they’re just freeloading. 

You know, kinda like mandating everyone have health care coverage, so no one free loads of those who already have health care. Conservatives will consider this  to be a bad analogy, even though they’re the ones who originated the concept in the 90's, well before “Obamacare” became law.

But check this opinion out from George Will, who seems to make perfect sense of taxing the poor, while ignoring the ironic contradiction:
Washington Post: Indignant children, holding in trembling hands their first paychecks, demand to know what FICA is and why it is feasting on their pay.
FICA (the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax) is government compassion, expressed numerically: It is the welfare state; it funds Social Security and Medicare. Sometimes it makes young people into conservatives.
Dave Camp … about to begin his 11th term in Congress, will chair the House Ways and Means Committee, where he will try to implement the implications of his complaint that "the tax code is 10 times longer than the Bible, without the good news."
Many conservatives, including Camp, believe that although most Americans should be paying lower taxes, more Americans should be paying taxes. The fact that 46.7 million earners pay no income tax creates moral hazard - incentives for perverse behavior: Free-riding people have scant incentive to restrain the growth of government they are not paying for with income taxes.
"I believe," Camp says, "you've got to have some responsibility for the government you have." People have co-payments under Medicare, and everyone should similarly have some "skin in the game" under the income tax system.
But they shouldn’t have any skin in the game when it comes to not having health care insurance.
I get it. We could call “convenient confusion.”  

Despite middle class Voters not knowing they received the biggest tax cut ever, press warns Obama not to brag about accomplishments.

Democrats have always had a problem getting their message out. They’re really bad at marketing their ideas, and worse, selling them over and over to gain support.

Enter Dana Milbank.
Washington Post: It took President Obama fewer than 50 days to go from shellacking to swashbuckling.
Seven weeks earlier to the day, the president faced harsh questions about his leadership as he took responsibility for Democrats' loss of the House in the previous day's election. But the man who faced reporters Tuesday afternoon in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was treated by his questioners as a conquering colossus - and Obama didn't mind wearing those shoes.
He bestowed superlatives on his accomplishments:
"The most productive post-election period we've had in decades."
"The most productive two years that we've had in generations."
"The most significant arms-control agreement in nearly two decades."
Careful, Mr. President. What got Obama in trouble in the first place were the extraordinarily high expectations that the nation had for his administration … But now Obama's return to messianic status risks unlearning the valuable lesson in humility … for your own safety and that of your passengers, please park the celebration. 
Obama is in danger of telling the public too much about his and the congresses accomplishments. After all, he's just coping the Republicans, and that just won't be tolerated.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fraudster and Gov. Elect Rick Scott about to dismantle Florida Health Care Accountability.

Remember when we socialized risk by bailing out Wall Street, all the while privatizing profits. Nice plan…for business.

So is it any surprise to see ousted corporate CEO Rick Scott, who was just elected governor of Florida, propose that same formula for malpractice reform?  
Miamiharold: As governor-elect Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature consider giving doctors immunity against lawsuits in return for treating Medicaid patients, a new report warns that such an arrangement could cost taxpayers at least $69 million a year. Alan Levine, who headed Scott's transition team overseeing Medicaid policy, is urging Scott to shield doctors from liability by capping the damages against them, not by giving them sovereign immunity that would cost tax dollars.
State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who lost to Scott in November, commissioned the actuarial report … The report concludes that if legislators give state immunity to doctors and hospitals, ``the state basically takes the place of a doctor who commits a negligent act.'' When a patient sues, taxpayers would pick up the tab of any medical malpractice claim up to $300,000. The cost of defending and investigating an estimated 551 claims a year would cost Florida $69 million a year, the report claims.
The report concludes that if legislators give state immunity to doctors and hospitals, ``the state basically takes the place of a doctor who commits a negligent act.'' When a patient sues, taxpayers would pick up the tab of any medical malpractice claim up to $300,000. The cost of defending and investigating an estimated 551 claims a year would cost Florida $69 million a year, the report claims.
Sink questions the assumption that doctors will be more willing to accept patients if they are shielded from malpractice claims. ``No research has been done that supports that rationale,'' the report states, and notes that Florida would be the first state in the country to offer that protection.
You'll like this: Time/CNN: Scott, after all, had to resign in disgrace in 1997 as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital corporation, the world's biggest private health care facility operator (today called just HCA), after it was slapped with $1.7 billion in federal fines for Medicare fraud, the largest such case in U.S. history. Scott himself was never charged with a crime — but the scandal is a big reason people get a tad nervous now whenever the Governor-elect, who refused to talk with any Florida newspaper editorial board during his campaign, ducks out of sight to huddle with executives.
I love this fact that seems to dispute the Supreme Court logic that money will corrupt elections;
Scott supporters insist that was the mandate of the voters … But even after spending an eye-popping $73 million of his own money on his campaign — a layout that prompted even some Republican leaders to complain that he was buying the statehouse — Scott scored less than 50% of the vote and defeated a fairly weak Democratic candidate, Florida CFO Alex Sink, by just a percentage point.

Here an interesting caveat about Scott’s former gubernatorial opponent:
Orlando Sentinel: Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink finally won something this fall — but it’s not recognition she’ll be bragging about. MSNBC co-hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie gave her their “Worst Candidate of 2010″ award this morning.
“You lost to a guy who defrauded Medicare,” Todd said, pausing for emphasis. “In Florida! Okay? More people on Medicare in Florida than maybe any other state.”

Liberal Dream Come True, Florida Gov. and Crook to Dismantle Education (in general)!!!

I’ve said it before; I want a right wing ideologically controlled state to live their dream, where regulation is a thing of the past, educational choice is statewide and tax cuts rule. Please let it happen!

It’s about too, in Florida:
Journalonline: Vouchers for all students. Merit pay for teachers, but no tenure for new hires … a few of the wide-ranging recommendations for reforming Florida's education system released this week by an 18-member panel advising Gov.-elect Rick Scott.
First thing it would do is take a huge chunk of money, 85 percent-$5,800 from public education, set up “education savings accounts” that private schools would then exceed with higher tuitions, and force parents to pick up the balance.  

And since this market based, “Parents would be encouraged to "shop for high-quality, low-cost education alternatives so they can save for their child's college, while also saving the state money," according to the report.” That’s just what parents were looking for, cheap educational alternatives for their kids. Anyone think the best schools will fill-up fast leaving angry parents with low quality alternatives? Oh, and one more important thing…
Both state Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, and Volusia School Board member Candace Lankford questioned how those who receive it ($5800) would be held accountable for its use. "It may sound wonderful on paper, but you talk about a government giveaway with no accountability," said Lankford, who's also president of the Florida School Boards Association.
Volusia Teachers Organization President Andrew Spar accused the transition team of "trying to set things up so we can dismantle public education." "They're trying to do education on the cheap and our children are too important to do it on the cheap," he said.
Here’s hoping Florida, and the Gov-elect who plead the fifth 75 times in one of the biggest Medicare faud settlements ever, go for it. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Did Voters elect Republicans to put business interests over their own? Yes, say GOP winners.

The following article makes it clear just who really won the election in November. Business.

You’ll also notice that the Republican plan for economic recovery doesn’t really improve the demand side of the equation, or encourage job creation. For freedom loving conservatives, take notice, you’ll soon see how limited your freedom will be in the unaccountable free market.   
AP-Republicans (are) preparing to take over statehouses around the country are proposing to cut corporate taxes, weaken union clout and rewrite laws on discrimination, whistle-blowers and injured workers to the benefit of employers. In short, they intend to push through a business lobbyist's wish list. 
"It's going to be a good year for businesses," said Missouri Sen. Brad Lager, the commerce committee chairman … Republicans will hold a majority of governorships and their greatest number of state legislative seats since 1928
But those pro-business policies are in some cases theories - not yet clearly proven to create jobs. And if they do work … each new business tax break enacted could add to what the National Conference of State Legislatures forecasts to be an $83 billion shortfall for the upcoming budget year in about two-thirds of the states.
One of the first places to test the new pro-business push will be Wisconsin, where Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker … wants to lower taxes on businesses with fewer than 50 employees (and) impose new business-friendly limits on liability lawsuits In Michigan, voters elected the former chief operating officer of Gateway Inc. … Republican Gov.-elect Rick Snyder wants to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, which generates about $2.2 billion annually, and replace it with a lower corporate income tax projected to produce about $700 million for the state. 
The theory behind cutting corporate tax rates is that businesses will be more likely to locate or expand in a state if they can keep more of their profits. But the Congressional Budget Office has cast doubt … A January 2008 report said "increasing the after-tax income of businesses typically does not create an incentive for them to spend more on labor or to produce more," because decisions on whether to increase production depends on their ability to sell the product.
Such cuts haven't helped yet in California, where … Schwarzenegger forced Democrats two years ago to accept corporate tax cuts that cost the state an estimated $2.5 billion a year in revenue. So far, there is little evidence the cuts created jobs - unemployment has remained a steady 12 percent since the summer of 2009 - or boosted revenue.
The new “goverbusiness model” will also include a few “race to the bottom” changes as well:
The pro-business efforts extend beyond policies that will affect a state's budget. In Oklahoma, where incoming leaders such as Gov.-elect Mary Fallin want to lower workers' compensation costs for businesses and overhaul the civil justice system to reduce liability insurance costs for doctors and businesses.
Little did we know the idea of preserving this nation’s freedom and liberty only applied to business, and conversely limited an individual’s rights and freedoms?

That’s called Dickensian. 

Lucky GOP? They didn’t have to help get us out of the Recession, and then take power again during signs of the recovery!!

Before the Republican voter mandate of fiscal austerity, in the House of Representatives only by the way, let’s not forget what the Republicans are inheriting from the last two years of Democratic rule:
NY Times: Eighteen months after the recession officially ended, the government’s latest measures to bolster the economy have led many forecasters and policy makers to express new optimism that the recovery will gain substantial momentum in 2011. Economists in universities and on Wall Street have raised their growth projections for next year. Retail sales, industrial production and factory orders are on the upswing, and new claims for unemployment benefits are trending downward.
Despite persistently high unemployment, consumer confidence is improving. Large corporations are reporting healthy profits, and the Dow Jones industrial average reached a two-year high this week … economists are increasingly upbeat about the outlook, saying that while the economy in 2011 will not be strong enough to drive unemployment down significantly, it should put the United States on its soundest footing since the financial crisis started an economic tailspin three years ago.
Phillip L. Swagel, who was the Treasury Department’s chief economist during the administration of George W. Bush said, “The recovery in 2011 will be strong enough for us to see sustained job creation that will finally give Americans a tangible sense of an improving economy.”
Of course just knowing a Republican was anywhere near-by boosted consumer confidence and helped in the nation’s recovery, even before the GOP takes control of the House.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, said he believed his party’s gains in the midterm elections had bolstered consumer and business confidence, arguing that Republicans have advocated fiscal discipline and opposed onerous regulations and tax increases.
You remember how well Republican advocacy of fiscal discipline and onerous regulations worked leading up to the 2008 Great Recession don’t you? Especially the de-regulation part of the Wall Street crash. You don’t remember? Well I guess it’s time to put the Republicans back in charge then.  

Keep in mind what one Republican in Wisconsin said recently when asked what will happen if all the proposed tax cuts didn’t work. Will they admit the policy was wrong and reverse the cuts?

Without hesitating, the conservative lawmaker had an answer; cut spending even more. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

He hasn't even taken office yet, and the Scott Walker bandwagon of arrogance has racked up these stories to watch!!!

After bankrupting Milwaukee County, Scott Walker is about to be given the keys to the governors office, offering up a political philosophy that promotes risk, self centered individualism and immediate satisfaction. The first order of business isn't job creation, but securing the Republican majority by passing voter ID. Despite a lack of voter fraud, the scare tactic has shifted public attention away from ELECTION FRAUD, which most people are completely unaware of...until now. I hope:
Jsonline: In a widening probe, Milwaukee County prosecutors are pushing forward with their two-prong criminal investigation into campaign activity by county staffers for Governor-elect Scott Walker and questionable donations by a Walker supporter.
Sources say the case has gotten to the point that the Walker campaign recently brought in former U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, now withMichael Best & Friedrich.
"As (convicted former alderman) Michael McGee said, this is a big amoeba," said one person familiar with the case. "It keeps growing." News about the investigation comes at an awkward time for Walker's team.
The Wauwatosa Republican is gearing up for his Jan. 3 inauguration. Walker also is struggling to fill his new administration, not having named a single cabinet secretary in the seven weeks since he was elected.
Jill Bader, spokeswoman for Walker's campaign, confirmed that Biskupic's firm was working for Walker's shop.
Milwaukee prosecutors also are conducting a criminal investigation of a railroad official who has conceded using company cash to underwrite his employees' campaign donations, something not permitted under state law.
I think Uppitywis put it best: The wonder of all of this is that as Republicans continue to complain about the possibility of vote fraud (which is extremely rare) they don't seem to be at all bothered by their own campaign fraud, which looks more and more real every day.

While state employees are taking the heat by the incoming Republican majority, and the private sectors sheds workers and  permanently downsizes due to lack of demand, our new "leaders" are allowed to wallow in privileged.
Isthmus: Campaigning to become Wisconsin's next governor, Scott Walker promised to usher in a new era of austerity in state government. But one of his first decisions suggests his determination to make the "haves" in state government more like the "have-nots" elsewhere stops at his own door — his own car door, to be precise. Isthmus has learned that Walker plans to spend significantly more than his predecessor, Gov. Jim Doyle, on his personal state vehicle.
According to Emily Winecke, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Division of Administration, "This vehicle was selected by the governor-elect's security detail so that all members of [his] family could travel together in one vehicle." In other words, Walker's ride will cost at least $19,158 a year to lease, should the agreement be renewed for that long.
And finally, if past behavior is any indicator of future events, Walker is about to overstep his authority, over and over;
WTAQ - A state appeals court said Governor-elect Scott Walker overstepped his authority as Milwaukee County executive, when he imposed a 35-hour work week.
It was never implemented, and instead Walker ordered unpaid furlough days to reduce labor costs and cover a county budget shortfall.

Fading McCain just another angry, out of touch conservative.

I guess looking ugly isn't embarrassing for Republicans anymore, like Sen. John McCain in the clip below, when even being pathetically out of step is no big deal to conservative Americans.

Here, Chris Matthews covers the bases, including a great summation by Time Magazine's Joe Klein.

Kicking Foreclosed Homeowners when they're down. In this Dickensian age, anything for money.

Chris Hayes shines a bright light on the current insane loan modification law. This time, Arizona's AG is on the right side, out to protect Americans from predatory foreclosure scam.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dean Baker: Republicans will be boldly taking us in the wrong direction!!!

Dean Baker, from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, simply states there isn't enough demand to get the economy going again, and austerity is just the opposite direction the country should be going. Tell that to the new House Republican majority. Watch and learn why the conservative solution will only make things worse. Of course, making things worse only feeds into the Republican meme that the deficit is too big, and social safety nets and spending are holding us back.

Republicans Forcing Bad Government on Americans when it comes to Health Care.

It's easy to make government look bad. The alternative is so much more responsible, accountable and just plain hard work. That's why Republicans have it ideologically made, since all they have to do screw things up in Congress enough to get their point across, and look like anti-government geniuses in front of their low information base.

Ezra Klein makes that point here, with the Nation's Chris Hayes, describing just how it will be done when it comes to health care reform.

Here's a shortened version, getting right to the point:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Can the Republicans really say, without consequences, they can't afford to help the heroes of 9/11? Are they real Patriots?

Shit is hitting the fan, finally. How asleep are those "great Americans" out there to allow their politicians to kick 9/11 responders while they're down. Newsy sums it up here:

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

Take a look at Sen. Tom Coburn's stall tactic to get the Democrats to remove a tax on offshore companies. Isn't it really about the money?

The U.S. gasoline prices at the mercy of developing countries, not supply and demand here.

While we continue to see high gas prices largely caused by speculation, the public has dramatically reduced their consumption of gas. I know personally how much my family has cut back, so I guess I'm not so surprised, even while I've learned supply and demand don't mean a damn thing. What a scam.
In an interesting twist on conventional wisdom, Associated Press energy writer Jonathan Fahey reports today that America's demand for gasoline has declined four years in a row and will not reach the 2006 level again, even when the economy fully recovers.
Further, Fahey quotes one energy expert as predicting that by 2030, America will use just 5.4 million barrels a day, the same as in 1969.

The reason:
·         Higher fuel economy standards for U.S. cars, beginning with the 2012 model.
·         A steady dropoff in commuting distances plus less driving from aging baby boomers.
·         The shift toward more cars running partially or entirely on electricity.
·         Higher gasoline prices as developing countries in Asia and the Middle East begin to use more oil.
·         The increased use of biofuels in gasoline.
·         A shift from SUVs beginning in 2004 that has saved America $15 billion on gasoline this year.
Drivers typically cut back during recessions, then hit the road again when the economy picks up. Indeed, the Great Recession was the chief reason demand fell sharply in 2008.