Tuesday, November 30, 2010

McCain on Feingold, John's one last honorable moment.

Wisconsin State Journal: So it was altogether fitting Tuesday that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to deliver a touching farewell to outgoing Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

"Without intending it as a commentary on his successor, I have to confess I think the Senate will be a much poorer place without Russ Feingold in it," McCain said. "I know that in my next term I will experience fewer occasions of inspiration because of the departure of Russ Feingold, a man whose courage and dedication to the principles that guided his Senate service often inspired me."
In a long, and at times emotional, speech, McCain said Feingold's friendship and wisdom would be "irreplaceable."

"In his time in the Senate, Russ Feingold, every day and in every way, had the courage of his convictions," McCain said. "And though I am quite a few years older than Russ, and have served in this body longer than he has, I confess I have always felt he was my superior in that cardinal virtue."

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Republicans Dire Predictions about Doing away with the Expensive Medicare Advantage program not Happening.

The party that won over the electorate with confident sounding rhetoric is wrong again.

We’re in for a rocky two years if history tells us anything about how wrong Republicans have been about their ability to handle fiscal issues. Take health care reforms effects on Medicare:

Washington Post: One of the most significant savings envisioned in the new health- care law - limiting payments to the private health plans, Medicare Advantage, that cover 11 million older Americans under Medicare - is, so far, bringing little of the turbulence that the insurance industry and many Republicans predicted.

The savings is forecast to amount to $145 billion by the end of the decade.

Democrats argued successfully that the private plans were being overpaid and could withstand the changes. Republicans warned that such plans would raise prices, lower benefits or cause defections from the program, stranding the elderly people who rely on them.

Early clues to the actual effects have now materialized and the warnings of swift, serious damage to the program are not borne out. Fewer health plans are available for the coming year, but the decrease is largely for reasons unrelated to the new law. Premiums have not jumped substantially, and benefits have not tended to erode. Insurers' premiums for Medicare customers are, on average, rising by a smaller amount for 2011 than for this year and in 2009, according to Kaiser. And
widespread reductions in medical benefits have not occurred, federal health officials said.

Ooops! Reality is a bitch.
Obama's health-care aides say Medicare has become a large, entrenched enough share of many insurers' business they are unlikely to penalize elderly customers or drop out.
And while reform will save nearly $150 billion, the upside down/inside out Republicans want to do away with the savings and make that amount up by cutting spending someplace else. Huh???
One GOP House committee aide said Republicans would like to restore some or all of the cuts and has asked for budget estimates on ways to offset them - but acknowledged that the $145 billion in expected savings "is a lot of money" in a climate of large federal deficits. Still, the aide said, "however we can get to the point of where every senior, no matter where they live in the country, will have a choice, that's what we will work toward giving them."

The issue of not having enough choices is also not true:
Even after some plans left for 2011, people on Medicare still have, on average, a choice of two dozen plans in their community, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy and research organization.

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American Voters Elected Republicans to Govern Alternate Reality GOP Created in Media!!

I thought this editorial piece by Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times, backed up what I've been saying all along, and that is the Republican midterm win was illegitimate. They won based on pure fiction. Lies! It looks like we're about to see what happens when the lying scoundrels are put back in power and have to govern in reality.
Check out the upside down perceptions of the voting public:

That many Americans don’t pay attention when they decide how to vote is being borne out by the post Nov. 2 polling and interviews with voters.

For instance, a Bloomberg poll found that two-thirds of voters believe that their taxes had gone up under Obama and the Democrats, that the economy has shrunk and all that TARP money to bail out the banks is lost, never to be recovered. Further, most believe that the new health care law will increase the deficit and that illegal immigration is multiplying.

The truth, of course, is that 95 percent of Americans have had their taxes cut by about $400 a year under Obama’s stimulus program. The economy has been growing for five straight quarters and the banks have repaid most of the TARP funds they received. The government will actually wind up with a small profit. Even the beleaguered auto industry is paying its money back. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the health care law will actually lower the deficit within a few years and, if anyone bothered to check, the number of illegal immigrants this year is about a million fewer than in previous years.

A majority of senior citizens voted for Republicans even though it’s the party with the agenda to privatize Social Security and drastically alter Medicare.

What’s obvious is that the Republicans … did a fantastic job of convincing Americans that up was down and down was up. Meanwhile, the Democrats did a miserable job of telling the real story.

That master of propaganda, Nazi Joseph Goebbels, would have been proud.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Walker Set to Blame Past Labor Contract for Draconian Cuts in Next Republican Biennial Budget

Remember how Republicans made fun of the Democrats for blaming Bush?

Get ready for an onslaught of blame being set up right now by Gov.-elect Walker and the Republican legislature in January. In an unusual attempt to blame Gov. Doyle and the Democrats later on for draconian cuts to our social safety nets, Walker is trying to lay the ground work to fault negotiated labor contracts ending in July that cover the last biennium. These are contracts that will be all over by July, and will have nothing to do with the next budget under Walker’s watch.

WUWM: Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker is again calling for work in Madison to stop until he takes office in January. Walker wants lawmakers to put aside labor contracts for more than 30,000 state employees. He says newly elected leaders need maximum flexibility to deal with budget deficits.

Bryan Kennedy is president of AFT-Wisconsin, which represents 10,000 state employees says he's not sure what Walker's trying to accomplish, because the new union contracts would not impact the budget Walker will propose in February. Kennedy says the move sends a signal that the new state administration isn't willing to engage in good-faith bargaining.

Kennedy isn’t saying it, and he should, but Walker wants to shift blame and the budget problems off onto the unions. Plain and simple.

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Who's first to attack and weaken the First Amendment guarantee of a Free Press? Republicans and ConservaDems.

Attacking the press, the lame stream media, is hot right now. So much so, Republicans smell blood in the water to take on the Constitution's guarantee of a free press. Jonathan Turley:

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for WikiLeaks to be officially designated as a terrorist organization. This would, of course, allow the same designation for The New York Times and other organizations to be declared terrorists for publishing leaked stories on torture, secret prisons, or the Pentagon Papers.

With Democrats like Claire McCaskill calling for prosecutions, we could be entering a very dangerous period for press freedom in our country. Democrats are still smarting over the leaking of embarrassing stories showing that their leadership knew about the torture program and other abuses during the Bush Administration. As noted by Sen. Rockefeller, many members long for the period when the public had less coverage and were not so critical of their conduct in office.

As the incoming Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, one cannot dismiss these statements are coming from the fringe of American politics despite King’s past controversial statements.

Remember, centrist Democrats are well right of todays political "center." To compare them to actual Democrats and liberals is a waste of time.
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"Black Children are in Danger" Billboards Race Baiting Campaign by Pro-Life Wisconsin.

You would think that "choice" would mean just that, the choice of women to continue a pregnancy or not. Any disparities in the number of black and white abortions is based on choice, and not on any policy Planned Parenthood has in place. But you would never see that same common sense and logic applied to policies coming from of Pro-Life Wisconsin, as their billboard campaign reveals.

CapitalTimes: Pro-Life Wisconsin has teamed up with a national anti-abortion campaign to place 13 billboards in the city of Milwaukee blaming the high numbers of African American abortions in our state on what the groups claim is "Planned Parenthood's history of racism and the continuing eugenics movement in Wisconsin."

"Wisconsin is the eighth lowest state nationally in the number of abortions, but the racial disparity in its numbers far exceeds the national trends," said the communications director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. There are two different billboards.

The first billboard states "Black Children are in Danger: Too Many Aborted," in enormous letters on a black field; the second states "Black and Beautiful: Too Many Aborted."

These are sick crazy people on the fringe of society.

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They're Not Listening to us. We want gays in the military. Military's own study confirms public sentiment.

They're not listening to the American public again, and we won't forget who they are. If they don't carry out the will of the people, they will be replaced by those that will.

(CNN) - A national poll released Monday indicates that a
majority of Americans say they favor allowing gays to serve openly in the armed

According to the poll, 58 percent of the public approves of
allowing homosexuals to serve openly, with 27 percent saying they are opposed.
Republican obstructionists in the Senate have decided not to listen to us:

Newser – The military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays isn't going away anytime soon, predicts South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. "There is no groundswell of opposition coming from our military. I don’t think there’s anywhere near the votes to repeal DADT on the Republican side,” said Graham, who backs the law barring gays from serving openly in the military. “I think in the lame-duck session DADT isn’t going anywhere.”

At last. Republicans Weak on National Security Confirmed!!! Sen. Kyl Cedes Power to Russians, Iran to Snub Obama.

Eviscerating the Obama presidency for strictly political reasons should normally appall most Americans. But the Republican campaign had proven itself to be so successful during the midterm elections, that there was no way their winning formula was about to be abandoned anytime soon. Especially when they could simply endanger American interests, and then later, come to the rescue with the passage of a similar plan.

Sen. Jon Kyl came right out and said it on Meet the Press:

Politco: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), is signaling the START treaty is dead … “It’s more a view of reality, rather than policy," Kyl said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Are they going to deal with the funding of the government for the remainder of the fiscal year? They’ve got to do that … If we do those things, and then potentially deal with some of the other political issues … there would not be time.”

When host David Gregory asked Kyl if his behavior was "anything other than trying to snub the president," Kyl responded: "Of course."

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shot back: "There is no excuse to ignore this responsibility."
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Buffett wants higher taxes on himself. Is that so bad? Ayn Randian Selfishness a Virtue?

Why don't we listen to the wealthy when they plead for higher taxes?

It doesn't fit the Republican narrative. Hell, they're still considered the party of fiscal responsibility. This exemplifies the extreme hopelessness of the main stream media's inability to break away from the image marketed by conservative think tanks.

"This Week" with Christiane Amanpour tells the story:

On the other end, Ayn Randian believers are still trying so hard to make selfishness a virtue, an impossible task when you consider how inhumane and morally bankrupt it is to be cruel. Fox News goes strait to the source of Dickensian scumbags:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Concealed Carry Killers. And these are only the ones we know about.

Wisconsin will soon become the 49th state to endanger unarmed citizens with a gun crazy concealed carry law. While normal Wisconsinites prefer having no guns around as a way of ensuring a safe secure society, immature thugs and their guns will soon get their way via the party of bullying, the GOP. Click the picture to enlarge.

While these paranoid wing nuts insist there’s nothing safer than a load gun in the hands of an angry anti-government whiner, the public has no choice but to fight back. Raise your voice, contact the police or business owner and tell them you feel threatened for you and your family.

Check out the “safe” concealed carry owners below, in new numbers compiled by the Violence Policy Center, who are only scratching the surface since many states don’t want you to know how many CC owners commit crime.

Connecticut beer truck driver Omar Thornton, who in August shot to death eight co-workers before taking his own life, was a concealed handgun permit holder according to new information obtained under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) for the October update to Concealed Carry Killers. In his permit application, Thornton listed “job” as the reason for his requiring the permit.

Concealed Carry Killers is an on-line VPC resource that tallies news reports of killings by concealed handgun permit holders that have not been determined to be legitimate self defense. According to the October update, concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 213 individuals since May 2007--including 17 mass shootings claiming a total of 73 lives.

“It is now commonplace for mass shooters to be licensed to carry concealed handguns. It is clear that the licensing systems are completely ineffective at weeding out applicants who are likely to kill in anger rather than self-defense.

Of the 125 incidents in 28 states that resulted in the 213 deaths, in more than half (71 incidents) the concealed handgun permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide after the incident, or was killed in the incident. Of the 54 cases still pending, the vast majority (44) of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and six incidents are still under investigation.

A summary of each of the 125 incidents is available at http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm, clicking on each category leads to a state-by-state breakout for the incidents with current known status.

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Little has Changed, Medical Mistakes still Kill 98,000 and Injure 1 Million Each Year!! Prevention best Tort Reform.

While Republicans try to penalize victims of medical mistakes with "tort reform," the smart bet is on preventing those mistakes in the first place, which in the end cut down on malpractice lawsuits. Every interview with a conservative advocate of tort reform should be asked, "what will you tell the families of the 98,000 who died, and over one million injured by medical mistakes a year when you ask them to sacrifice compensation instead of preventing the mistakes before they happen?" Here are the shocking numbers:

NY Times: Efforts to make hospitals safer for patients are falling short, researchers report in the first large study in a decade to analyze harm from medical care and to track it over time. The study, conducted from 2002 to 2007 in 10 North Carolina hospitals, found that harm to patients was common and that the number of incidents did not decrease over time. “It is unlikely that other regions of the country have fared better,” said. The study is being published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

It is one of the most rigorous efforts to collect data about patient safety since a landmark report, by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 found that medical mistakes caused as many as 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries a year in the United States.

Dr. Christopher P. Landrigan, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, focused on North Carolina because its hospitals have been more involved in programs to improve patient safety. But instead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems … 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable. Most of the problems were temporary and treatable, but some were serious, and a few — 2.4 percent — caused or contributed to a patient’s death.

Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections from devices like urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries. The researchers found 588 instances in which a patient was harmed by medical care, or 25.1 injuries per 100 admissions.

A recent government report found similar results, saying that in October 2008, 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries — 134,000 patients — experienced “adverse events” … extra treatment required as a result of the injuries could cost Medicare several billion dollars a year. And in 1.5 percent of the patients — 15,000 in the month studied — medical mistakes contributed to their deaths. That report (was) issued this month by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

For the most part, the reporting of medical errors or harm to patients is voluntary, and that “vastly underestimates the frequency of errors and injuries that occur,” Dr. Landrigan said. “We need a monitoring system that is mandatory,” he said. “There has to be some mechanism for federal-level reporting, where hospitals across the country are held to it.”

Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president of the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, said “it’s not a problem we’re going to get rid of in six months or a year.”

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Auto Industry Back, no Thanks to Republicans.

Rachel Maddow talks to Ron Bloom, who is on the presidents task force for the auto industry. Was the industry bailout so bad? Only if you think like a conservative.

Kokomo, Indiana was dying, now it's not. Thanks to the stimulus and auto bailout of Chrysler. Keith Olbermann has the story, with input from David Corn, who has something worthwhile to say for once. Watch the Republicans wish for the death of GM and Chrysler, and as usual, see how wildly WRONG they are again about business and money management.

And of course Rush had another drug addled moment on the subject of Motor Trends car of the year. Ed Schultz brings it into perspective:

Health care mandate removal could be bad, and employer deduction removal costly for Americans

For a while now I’ve wondered how losing the health care mandate will effect reform, and now I have the answer, in this NY Times article. It’s pretty profound, and will be abused most by conservative whiners who have objected to the mandate, because they will eventually buy insurance only when they need it. Their excuse for gaming the new system? It’s legal. Forget about the moral, ethical and humane reasons most people would find their response repugnant.

Obama officials are bracing for the possibility that federal judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond in Virginia will soon reject its central provision as unconstitutional and, in the worst case for the White House, halt its enforcement until higher courts can rule. So far, there has been only one ruling on the merits among nearly two dozen legal challenges to the health care act. Last month, a federal district judge in Michigan upheld the law. But another judge, Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensacola, Fla., has joined Judge Hudson. Because the Supreme Court has said the commerce clause of the Constitution allows Congress to regulate “activities that substantially affect interstate commerce,” the judges must decide whether the failure to obtain insurance can be defined as an“activity.”

Any district court judge who rules against the law would have to decide whether to block enforcement of one or more of its provisions … the plaintiffs in the Florida case, have emphasized that Congressional bill writers did not include a “severability clause” that would explicitly protect other parts of the sprawling law if certain provisions were struck down … An earlier version passed the House last November (and) included severability language. But not the Senate version, which ultimately became law. Without such language, the Supreme Court, through its prior rulings, essentially requires judges to try to determine whether Congress would have enacted the rest of a law without the unconstitutional provisions.

The Justice Department acknowledges that several of the law’s central provisions, like the requirement that insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions, cannot work unless both the healthy and the unhealthy are mandated to have insurance. Otherwise, consumers could simply buy coverage when they needed treatment, causing the insurance market to “implode,” the federal government asserts. The administration argues that other key provisions do not depend on the insurance mandate … establishing health insurance exchanges, subsidizing premiums through tax credits and expanding Medicaid eligibility, nor would (it) undermine certain insurance regulations, like the requirement that insurers cover children younger than 26 on their parents’ policies.

Lawyers for Virginia note that the health law explicitly refers to the insurance requirement as “an essential part” of the act’s regulatory scheme, and that Justice Department lawyers —If it is so essential, Virginia’s lawyers have asked, why should a judge believe that Congress intended for the rest of the act to stand without it?

Another big move will effect consumers even more than reform itself, maybe even garner support for Obamacare:
AP: Job-based health care benefits could wind up on the chopping block … Budget proposals from leaders in
both parties have urged shrinking or eliminating tax breaks that help make employer health insurancethe leading source of coverage in the nation and a middle-class mainstay.
The key negative effect on consumers that will cause them to rise up screaming for single payer health care:

The idea isn't to just raise revenue, economists say, but finally to turn Americans into frugal health care consumers by having them face the full costs of their medical decisions. Tampering with health care tax breaks is "a terrible step in the wrong direction," said Mary Kay Henry, the new president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents many hospital workers. "

We want the middle class stabilized, not destabilized." Employer-provided health insurance is part of a worker's compensation. Unlike wages, it isn't subject to income and payroll taxes.

Having been in the private market for a decade and more, when Americans see how the system is gamed against them, advocates for total privatization will be hung in effigy. Maybe this will be the shock consumers needed to wake them up.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Before Health Care Reform, Employers Shedding Employee Coverage, Leaving Government with the Tab.

The title says it all, and here’s the proof:

Wall Street Journal: The proportion of New Yorkers with health insurance provided by their employers has plummeted, according to a new study. At the same time, government-subsidized care is taking on a record load, slowing the state's economic recovery and likely leaving more families uncovered for at least months.

The rising cost of Medicaid-paid health care is a major driver of state government's rising deficits, which are forcing cuts in education and other services and prompting layoffs that further slow the economy.

Meanwhile, the private sector is sagging under the cost of providing health care, with 66 percent of companies saying they are struggling a great deal to maintain coverage for employees.

So is it uncertainty about a marginal rise in taxes for the wealthy keeping employers from hiring? By a huge number, NO!

One in 5 companies avoided hiring because of health care costs, according to the study's survey, and 1 in 4 companies either reduced or froze wages to pay for health care.

The report from the New York State Health Foundation said just 58 percent of New Yorkers are now covered by employer-sponsored health care. That's down from 69 percent in 2001 after decades of gains. "Employer-sponsored health insurance is an eroding pillar of our coverage system," said James R. Knickman, president and CEO of private foundation NYS Health. The group sought the study by the independent research National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

Fewer employees are eligible for the coverage, more costs have been shifted to workers often faced with fewer choices of care, and fewer employees are choosing to buy into coverage that's available.

The study also found that in 2009 health insurance premiums increased 7.3 percent in New York state and that 66 percent of companies in the state stated they were struggling to afford health insurance to their workers.

Now there are 4.7 million receiving Medicaid-paid services … includes people who lost their employer-sponsored coverage and needed to continue coverage until they could land another job and qualify for benefits.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If you campaigned on Health Care Reform Repeal, Don't take Government Run Benefit in Congress!!

Think Progress put this nice presentation together:

Last week, responding to Rep.-elect Andy Harris’ (R-MD) hypocritical demand for government-sponsored benefits, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) began circulating a letter among his Democratic colleagues calling on Harris and other members of Congress who want to repeal the new health care law to forgo their own government health care plans. So far just two incoming Republican freshmen have agreed. But a new Public Policy Polling survey has found that most Americans “think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they’re in office.” Republicans and independents- who put these folks in office in the first place- strongly think they should refuse their government provided health care. GOP voters hold that sentiment by a 58/28 margin and indys do 56/27.:
Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion. Democrats are actually the most supportive of anti-health care Congressmen taking their health care, with 40% saying they should accept it to 46% who think they should decline. Republicans could save the federal government $2.4 million if they forgo health care for a year.
The Wonk Room has more on why not opting out would be a betrayal of Republican candidates’ pledges to “listen to the people who sent us,” and on the scheme of Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), a reform proponent, to make the GOP lawmakers put up or shut up on repeal

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State Republican Legislators Plans to Drop Medicaid may be a Bad Idea...but so what?

Check out this article, "Opting out of Medicaid Not Just “Unthinkable,” but Unwise and Unnecessary."

Here's just a sample:

A few states have begun discussing “a once-unthinkable scenario” — dropping out of the federal-state Medicaid program — in an attempt to save money, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Under one proposal, instead of expanding its Medicaid program in 2014 as the health reform law requires, a state would eliminate the program and give up federal Medicaid funding on the assumption that it could shift most beneficiaries into the new health insurance exchanges that the law will create, where they would get federally funded tax credits to buy health coverage. The state would then cover the rest of the former Medicaid beneficiaries entirely with state funds and somehow come out financially ahead.

This proposal, however, relies on flawed assumptions and would be a terrible deal for a state:

■ Most Medicaid beneficiaries — including those who cost the most to cover — actually can’t be shifted into the exchanges because they won’t be eligible for the federal tax credits. Only people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line will qualify for the credits, which means no poor Medicaid beneficiaries (except for some legal immigrants) will qualify.

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AiIes on NPR: "They are of course, Nazis!"

The actual head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, pulled out his conservative card the other day, that gives him the right to call others Nazi. It's a privilege we liberals don't have.

Republicans are now selling this con: Tough Questions are now "Hostile" Gotcha Questions.

Newt Gingrich won't let liberals interview him.

Will voters buy into to this new scheme. Is this just another way of making sure the public never really questions authority, our know-it-all politicians, as they glide to easy platformless victories?

That's what New Gingrich is saying in the clip below. He basically can't take the heat. Not only was there never a time Olbermann and Matthews hosted an event Newt is refering too, but Ed Schultz points out how Democrats, like Obama, are expected to face tough questioning. Take that outrageous Fox News Bret Baier/Obama interview:

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Cities Brace up, as Republican Congress won't help them recover from Recession.

Fox News reporter Claudia Cowan makes the hyperbolic claim that some cities could "virtually disappear." Sheppard Smith tried to walk the claim back but Cowan's fearful prediction is just what Fox News viewers eat for lunch, so that wasn't about to happen.

Let's be honest. The new Republican House will not bailout local and state governments this time around. Republican governors should be complaining, but aren't, because the financial statewide crisis plays into their hands. It just means more government cuts.

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Disgusting Obama Appeasement....

Obama is lost, sadly, and hopelessly failing. Chris Matthews and New York Magazine's John Heilemann explain:

Bachmann calls Obama and Democratic Party Platform Anti-American on British Television.

Michele Bachmann tells British interviewer President Obama is anti-American, and that's okay!!

Conservative crazy Scott Hennen agrees with Bachmann, pointing to every problem his party foisted off onto the American public, as if Obama created them. Revisionist history at its absolute worst, and just another page from the actual anti-American conservative playbook.

Ed Schultz squeezes the crazy juice from Hennen:

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Palin Playing Race Card proves She's Running for President. Limbaugh is the Master!

In a brutal flip flop, Sarah Palin criticizes first lady Michelle Obama using race baiting tactic, attacking "off limits" family member.

I wonder where Palin got the idea racism works?

Arizona Republicans Warn Against Health Care Reform Rationing, While Rationing Health Care Statewide!!!

What really are the Republican spending priorities? Save a few lives or fix a stadium roof? The party of opposites are already rationing health care in Arizona through new governmnet regulations, while on the national stage, warn against "possible" Democratic socialist rationing.

Keith Olbermann explains how the GOP is having it both ways, along with Chris Hayes:

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Odd Moments in Animation: Batman's Feminine Side and Shake Your Booty Dance, Bizarre!!

The clip below is part of a Batman: Brave and the Bold ad, and not a clip from an actual show:

The following booty dance shocked me enough to add it here, especially after watching my sons ogle this T&A showstopper:

After an Avanche of 19 Voter Fraud Charges since 2008, Voter ID, not Jobs is first on Republicans List.

Despite the known fact that election fraud is not problem, nor do we know whether those who have been charged are conservative or not, the state GOP's job creation plan includes passing voter ID.

While the public and media watch the phony "voter fraud" sideshow, the Republicans will continue to work behind the scenes to perfect ELECTION fraud, a much more difficult problem to investigate and is still under the radar for most Americans.

The way Democratic State Rep. Tamara Grigsby dismantles Rep. Jeff Stone's argument on the issue should be a lesson for other party members on how to deal with these lying political con men. She does not let up, while Stone calmly glosses over the actual facts.

Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-shay):

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

With a name like "Right to work," you have to know it means just the opposite coming from the GOP.

Right-to-Work!!! Get familiar with the term, it's about to become law in Wisconsin if the Republican majority has anything to do with. Below is a great summary of what we can look forward to in yet another complete "free market" lie.

The Daily Page: Making it harder for unions to recruit new members is likely a part of the state Republican legislative agenda. Although Republicans, including Scott Walker, avoided the term "right-to-work" during the campaign, Democrats fear the emboldened GOP majorities will make it a part of their pro-business platform in the coming months.

Under right-to-work statutes, employers are forbidden from entering "closed shop" agreements with employees, which make membership in a union a requirement for all employees. With union membership at all-time lows, I am guessing the public would likely support the change, although I have not seen any polls to prove it.

Interestingly, as many libertarians will tell you, right-to-work is an inherently anti-free market policy, which hinders the right of workers and management to negotiate contracts. However, it has effectively been messaged as a free market mechanism.

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Uh Oh! Pope Supports Condoms, throwing religious right under bus to Heaven.

Now what will the religious fear mongering birth control and disease prevention opponents do?

After decades of fierce opposition to the use of all contraception, the pontiff will end the Catholic Church's absolute ban on the use of condoms.

While he will restate the Catholic Church's staunch objections to contraception because it believes it interferes with the creation of life, he will argue that using a condom to preserve life and avoid death can be a responsible act – even outside marriage.
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Energy Bills through the roof even without Cap and Trade? Are the Republicans Wrong again? Does a Grizzly Bear...?

I don’t believe there will ever come a time when Republicans could imagine "their" America making the switch to green energy. The business climate is never ready to make the move. The economy is never strong enough to invest in the future. And most of all, consumers can’t take another increase in their energy bills. It would kill consumer spending and then jobs. We’re just stuck at this point, forever, according to conservatives.

So imagine my surprise when this shocking and never mentioned report came out that dashed the Republican claims green energy will cost too much. The price of COAL went through the roof!!!

Jsonline: The simple truth is this: we don’t produce energy products like natural gas and coal, so that leaves us at the mercy of the marketplace and high prices. Republicans have opposed alternative energy options because their costs will result in higher bills for consumers. They claim the abundance of coal and natural gas will help consumer with lower energy bills during this devastating recession.

Wrong again.

The price of electricity has shot up faster in Wisconsin than in all but five other states since 2000, which could pose a threat to the state's economic competitiveness, a new analysis by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says … Wisconsin businesses and homeowners are paying more than most surrounding states, as the state continues to pay for power plant upgrades … coupled with rising natural gas and coal prices, has pushed rates up.

Kyle Christianson, policy research analyst at the nonpartisan Taxpayers Alliance said the price of coal has doubled since 2000, "We need to recognize that energy prices really do have an effect on the competitiveness of the state," said Christianson. "We're talking about trying to attract employers and adding new jobs, and particularly in a manufacturing-intensive economy like Wisconsin, energy prices are a major cost of doing business."

Here’s the part that not only stuns the mind, but makes all your home energy saving efforts worthless:
The recession has exacerbated the rate pressure on Wisconsin because utilities have had to respond to slowing sales with rate hikes to cover their fixed costs.
Got that? Since you didn’t use enough energy, and the utilities lost manufacturing business income, they had to increase their rates to make up the difference. No, really.

Charlie Higley, executive director of the Wisconsin Citizens' Utility Board, is concerned that rate increases will continue for residential customers. "Our households are paying a high price for electricity, and it's hurting their ability to make ends meet," Higley said. "It underlies our calls for moving toward cleaner energy solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency, which don't have fuel costs."

Wisconsin now has a power glut that prompted the state Public Service Commission to launch an investigation into whether some of the state's older power plants should be mothballed or shut down.

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Older Workers More Disabled, and Employers Don't want them. Raising Soc. Sec. Age Bad Idea.

The truth about private sector jobs is that elected politicians don't know anything about them, or they wouldn't be trying to do what they say must be done to save Social Security.

Why is raising the retirement age completely unconnected to the real world? In the real world, employers don't hire older workers because they often require higher pay and benefits, something first time unskilled workers are rarely provided.
Now the GAO has added one more reason why politicians should stop chipping away at the our social safety nets and instead, add to them.

AP: Raising the retirement age for Social Security would disproportionately hurt low-income workers and minorities, and increase disability claims by older people unable to work, government auditors told Congress.

The projected spike in disability claims could harm Social Security's finances because disability benefits typically are higher than early retirement payments, the Government Accountability Office concluded.

"There's more to consider than simply how much money the program would save by raising the retirement age," said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The commissions professional politicians "tough love" stance toward senior citizens is a solution devoid of private sector realities. The deficit commission's leaders (would gradually) "increase the full retirement age to 69 in about 2075 ... early retirement age would go to 64 ... the new thresholds wouldn't be fully phased in until today's 4-year-olds are ready to retire."

The GAO demonstrates the how upside down the commissions logic is:

"For many workers, reducing early retirement payments or delaying eligibility would provide an incentive to put off retiring, resulting in more earnings and potentially more savings for later in life, according to the watchdog agency's report." But it "could create a financial hardship for those who cannot continue to work because of poor health or demanding workplace conditions," the report said.

"Some people just can't continue to work beyond age 62 for either health reasons or they're just not able to find jobs," said David Certner, legislative policy director for
AARP. About one-fourth of workers age 60 and 61 — just under the early retirement age — reported a health condition that limited their ability to work. "Just because we tell people they should work longer doesn't mean that there are employers out there willing to hire people."

If just a few points needs to be argued by Democrats to save and support Social Security, it would be the following:
Workers older than 55 are less likely than younger workers to lose their jobs, the report said. But when older workers get laid off, they are less likely to find other employment. The GAO report says raising the age when workers can get early benefits would hurt the program's finances because of the expected increase in disability claims.

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For Four Years We Endured Claims of "Reckless Earmark" spending by Democrats. Now GOP says "Nevermind?"

May the best Universal Health Care Win.

With health care reform comes...ideas. Loved this progress report from Ezra Klein.

Miami Herald: This week, Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., introduced the Empowering States to Innovate Act. The bill would let states develop healthcare reform proposals to preempt the federal government's effort. If a state can come up with a way to comprehensively cover as many people as the federal plan, without adding to the deficit, the state can get the money it would have gotten from Uncle Sam for healthcare reform but be exempt from the individual mandate, the exchanges, the insurance requirements, the subsidy scheme and pretty much everything else.

Wyden, with the help of Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., was able to build a version of this exemption into the original healthcare reform law, but for various reasons, was forced to accept a starting date of 2017 … The Wyden-Brown legislation would allow states to propose their alternatives now and start implementing them in 2014, rather than wasting time and money setting up a federal structure that they don't plan to use.

A government-run system like single-payer, of course, is even more objectionable to conservatives than the existing healthcare law. But that's the beauty of this option: It allows liberal states to go their way, conservative states to go their way, and then lets the country judge the results.

Conservatives, however, don't believe that will happen. They think that a consumer-directed system will offer higher-quality healthcare at a lower price, and with more choice. If Tennessee takes that route and outperforms Vermont, it'll be their system that spreads across the land.

The funny thing about the healthcare reform debate is that for all the arguing, everyone says they're in favor of it. The problem is that no one seems able to agree on what real reform is. The beauty of Wyden and Brown's approach is that the country doesn't have to choose. ``Real reform,'' in their world, is whatever works best to cover everyone at the lowest cost. Utah and California can go their separate ways, and the other states can judge the victor based on results, not ideology.

Liberal Democrats may shiver at the thought of conservative reform plans, while conservative Democrats may worry about the possibilities of a public option or single-payer system. Republicans may fear that attempts to reform the healthcare law will read to their base as if they're making peace with it rather than working to repeal it. And the various industries will fear -- and likely fight -- the prospect of reforms they can't anticipate, and may not benefit from.

But those who hide from this proposal are fundamentally signaling a lack of faith in their own ideas. What Wyden and Brown are offering is the chance for the various sides to prove that they're right. If industry players make the system work better, then the states that prize their involvement will prosper.

If conservative solutions are more efficient, that will be clear when their beneficiaries save money. If liberal ideas really work better, it's time we found out. Forget repeal and replace, or even reform and replace. How about compete and succeed?

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Friday, November 19, 2010

“I’m tired” Conservative email trash, unoriginal collection of talking point cliches’. When will Republicans start listening to hard working Americans

My conservative friend sent me this sickening self-indulgent email campaign that should make your stomach turn. It portrays a world where fellow Americans are taking, by force, other people’s hard earned money. It’s a world where family values are measured by monetary success and health. If any American fails at either one of these measures, they’re lazy, and cast out of the conservative group think mentality of winners and losers. Here’s just a sample of this sick “self-worth” test making the rounds:
"I'm 63 and I'm Tired" by Robert A. Hall:

I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked hard since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic.

I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought Mc Mansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

My answer to this obnoxious, mentally twisted vision of the world:

I’m tired of the same old lie that the government is taking what I earned by force and giving it to lazy people. I’m tired of that same old lie that less fortunate Americns are lazy, no matter how many times you try to convince us that it’s true. I’m tired of seeing you lie to yourself.

I’m tired of conservatives repeating this clap trap, expecting compassionate Americans to believe that such gut wrenchingly sick ruthlessness toward their neighbor’s is founding father approved patriotism.

Apparently whoever wrote this is not listening to hard working blue collar families that believe the American dream isn’t dictated to us by those who proclaim they know better than the rest of us.

Here’s the rest of this nationalistic authoritarian, self indulgent world view:

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela .

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls.

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but thinks that Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"?

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close.

I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the " Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years.

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm #@*% tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

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