Friday, June 29, 2012

Will It Be a Neo-Republi-CON Party-Line Vote?

UPDATE XI:  After the case that "could never be cited as precedent," did Chief Justice Roberts decide for the sake of the Court's public legitimacy and historic legacy, not to play politics with the decision?  Read the Washington Post, John Roberts, umpire and The New York Times, John Roberts’s Political Decision

UPDATE X:  Did the Supreme Court split the difference, by rejecting the Commerce Clause reasoning, but find the mandate is a tax?  This possibility was suggested before the ruling was announced.  Read the Washington Post, Four ways the Supreme Court could split the difference on health care.

UPDATE IX:  If the Supreme Court does overturn the health care law in the face of decades of precedent,would it be yet another case showing the "today's Supreme Court is moving toward the confederationist framework of protecting corporate interests. From its decision authorizing corporations to spend unlimited political money in the Citizens United case to its assaults on equal pay for women and job security for older workers, the Court's five conservatives have left no doubt about their willingness to obviate the commerce and general-welfare clauses of the Constitution to protect powerful corporate interests"  Read The Atlantic, The Real Affordable Care Act Battle: Constitutionalists vs. Confederates, which notes:

"[T]hat, throughout the last century, when the corporatist strand has conflicted with the state's-rights position -- from Lochner (in which the Court infamously overturned New York's public health regulations in 1905) to the current Court's reversal just this week of Montana's anti-corruption campaign-finance law -- the corporatist side has won.

Respected conservative constitutionalists have all but begged the Supreme Court to stay loyal to the document. Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, warned that the case against the Affordable Care Act has no basis "in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent." Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a runner-up for the Supreme Court nomination that eventually went to Chief Justice John Roberts, warned that striking down health reform "is a prescription for economic chaos that the framers, in a simpler time, had the good sense to head off."

During his confirmation hearing, Chief Justice Roberts claimed the mantle of these conservative constitutionalists, as an umpire calling balls and strikes. But if he and the other four conservative justices overturn the Affordable Care Act, they will effectively be taking the umpire off the field. In historical context, this amounts not to a reinterpretation of the Constitution but rather its rejection. If the law is upheld, the real victory is not for President Obama but for that most durable of governing documents, the U.S. Constitution."

UPDATE VIII: If the Supreme Court does overturn the health care law in the face of decades of precedent, will it be because:

"The post-New Deal consensus about the scope of federal power has broken down amid national, and global, concern over the welfare state’s cost and intrusiveness — a sea change of which the tea party is but one manifestation" or 

The 2000 presidential election was 'decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms. Then the beneficiary of that decision appoint[ed] the next two members of the court, who present[ed] themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology. Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess[ed] and re-d[id] existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them. Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse[d] procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts. And, when a major piece of legislation g[ot] through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepare[d] to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.' 

Read the Washington Post, Redefining American government through Obamacare and The Atlantic, SCOTUS Update: La Loi, C'est Moi.

UPDATE VII:  Republi-con only hate Obamacare because he passed it.  Read the Washington Post, Poll: Republicans hate ‘Obamacare,’ but like most of what it does.

UPDATE VI:  If it does overturn the health care law in the face of decades of Supreme Court precedent, then how to explain the change.  By creating a 'permission structure.'   Read the Washington Post, How Republicans made it possible for the Supreme Court to rule against the mandate.
UPDATE V:  "Bloomberg surveyed 21 top constitutional scholars and found that, while 19 think the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act ought to be upheld on the basis of legal precedent, just eight think the Supreme Court will actually do so ."  Read the Washington Post, Poll: Legal scholars think the mandate is valid, will fall anyway.

UPDATE IV:  Citing The New Yorker article below, a writer asks what is going on in Washington.  He concludes, " — based both on [his] experience as a reporter in Washington and on an increasingly voluminous psychological literature about how partisans form opinions — is that human beings are very good at convincing themselves of whatever their self-interest would have them believe, and that Washington has become an increasingly sophisticated machine for encouraging and accelerating this sort of 'motivated reasoning.' That is to say, strategic incentives do drive shifts in opinion, but the new opinions are sincerely held.

This distinction is, I think, crucial to make, because there’s a real difference between bargaining with a political party that has fixed policies it would like to achieve but shifting strategic incentives and a party that has shifting policy and strategic incentives. In the former case, the fixed policy preferences give you something to hold onto, something you can use to fight against the shifting strategic incentives. In the latter case, there’s nothing to hold onto, and in a political system where elections are zero-sum and so compromise is rarely in the minority party’s strategic interest, it’s very difficult to see how many major compromises can be reached. This model, I think, does a much better job explaining the previous few years."

Read the Washington Post, The individual mandate: What happened?

And what is the Republi-con's interest, as noted in February 2009, Republi-cons hope Obama will fail.

UPDATE III:  Another Republi-con flip-flop, "the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- better known as the DREAM Act ."  Read the Washington Post, DREAMing of bipartisanship

UPDATE II:  Of course, the flip-flop is a tried-and-true Republi-con tactic,  Read the Washington Post,  A GOP bait-and-switch on disclosure. 

UPDATE:  So why did the Republi-cons propose a mandate?  Because "[i]t became pretty clear that, if you want a market to work, you need a mandate."  Read the Washington Post, Health reform without a mandate: Lessons from Washington state.

I say neo, the ancient Greek prefix meaning new or young, because Republi-cons were for the individual mandate for two decades, before they were against it.  To understand why they changed their minds, read The New Yorker, Unpopular Mandate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Republi-CON Fear, Anger and Hatred At Work Before the Election

"It was a blood-boiler of a story, a menacing tale of government gone too far: The Environmental Protection Agency was spying on Midwestern farmers with the same aerial 'drones' used to kill terrorists overseas.

This month, the idea has been repeated in TV segments, on multiple blogs and by at least four congressmen. The only trouble is, it isn’t true."

Read the Washington Post, Reining in the rumor about EPA 'drones'.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Is God a Bacteria?

I ask because Genesis 1:27 (KJV) states that "God created man in his own image."  Read The New York Times, In Good Health? Thank Your 100 Trillion Bacteria

Friday, June 8, 2012

Republi-CON Solyndra Half Truths

UPDATE IV:  Ricj Perry and Ron Paul weren't the only Republi-cons that were for government subsidies of clean energy, before they were against them.  Read the Washington Post, Romney’s conflicting remarks on Solyndra-like investments.

UPDATE III: "House Democrats on Wednesday called for Congress to expand its investigation into federal loan programs to include a Bush-era loan to the bankrupt broadband Internet firm Open Range.

Open Range went bankrupt earlier this month after receiving the federal government’s biggest broadband loan totaling $267 million. Its collapse has put in jeopardy $74 million in money doled out to the firm."

Read the Washington Post, Democrats call for investigation into bankrupt Open Range federal loans.

Another example of what goes around comes around.

UPDATE II: More Republi-con hypocrisy, shocking, NOT.

Two Republican presidential candidates who have spoken out against federal subsidies for energy projects tried to obtain such benefits three years ago. Read the Washington Post, Rick Perry, Ron Paul have mixed record on energy subsidies.

UPDATE: "Today, the Republican-led Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating Solyndra, forcing its executives to take the Fifth Amendment, and releasing embarrassing White House e-mails. I looked it up: every single Republican on that committee who was in office in 2005 voted for the loan guarantee program that they are now so gleefully condemning." Read The New York Times, Hooray for Federal Loans!

Did you know "that Solyndra was cleared to participate in this loan-guarantee program by President George W. Bush’s administration [and] that the legislation creating the loan-guarantee program, approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005, received yes votes from — wait for it — DeMint, Hatch and McConnell. . .

Bush’s Energy Department apparently adjusted its regulations to make sure that Solyndra would be eligible for the guarantees. It hadn’t originally contemplated including the photovoltaic-panel manufacturing that Solyndra did but changed the regulation before it was finalized. The only project that benefited was Solyndra’s."

Read the Washington Post, The birthing of Solyndra, which notes that the Obama "administration gave the company the loan guarantee, deserves the black eye that Republicans have given him over the half a billion dollars squandered on the company. But the Republican paternity of the program that birthed Solyndra suggests some skepticism is in order when many of those same Republicans use Solyndra as an example of all that is wrong with Obama’s governance."

Local Republi-CON Voted Twice for FL Septic Tank Inspections Before He Voted Against Them

"A campaign ad for Sen. Don Gaetz touches on jobs, education and septic tanks.

Florida’s next Senate president is telling voters in a new campaign ad that he fought to overturn a "fast one" pulled by Tallahassee lawmakers.

"When Tallahassee pulled a fast one on septic tanks, Gaetz fought back," a TV advertisement says.

That’s partially true.

But Sen. Don Gaetz, a loquacious Republican from the Panhandle, is leaving something out when he discusses a never-enforced and now largely repealed measure requiring septic tank inspections every five years.

He voted for the inspections. Twice."

Read In TV ad, PolitiFact Florida, Don Gaetz distorts debate over septic tank inspections.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All That Talk About the Federal Deficit and Debt Is Just a Republi-CON CON Game

UPDATE V:  Congresses action regarding the looming taxmageddon will be prof that all that hysteria about the federal defisit and debt is just a Republi-con con game. 

"Taxmageddon is the popular nickname given to a series of policies set to lapse or take effect in January, immediately slicing more than $500 billion out of next year’s federal budget deficit. While it includes about $100 billion in spending cuts, most of the changes involve higher taxes for every American taxpayer, primarily from the expiration of President Obama’s payroll tax holiday and broad tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush."

Read the Washington Post, CBO: Taxmageddon would bring tax pain but debt relief and The budget outlook in one graphic, with this graph:


The article notes:

"Remember: The 'extended baseline scenario' means we let the Bush tax cuts expire, the spending sequester take effect, etc. The 'alternative' scenario means we extend everything.

In the 'extended baseline scenario,' which is the one currently written into law, we don’t have a debt problem, but we have much higher taxes and, in the short-term, a likely recession. In the 'alternative' scenario, we’ve got a huge debt problem, but lower taxes and less short-term austerity. "

UPDATE IV:  Even Obamney recently admitted that balancing the federal budget would throw the U.S. "into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course."  Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney, Keynesian, which references this comment by Jon Chait: "'Romney says this as if it’s completely obvious that reducing the deficit in the short term would throw the economy back into recession, even though he and his party have been arguing the opposite case with hysterical fervor.'"

Even Republi-cons don't believe their own lies about the myth of expansionary austerity

UPDATE III: More proof that the Republi-cons are all talk when it comes to the deficit, they're all hiding from Paul Ryan's latest budget plan.

Read the Washington Post, Paul Ryan’s budget is bad politics. Just ask Republicans.

UPDATE II: Republi-cons have never been concerned with merits of thier proposals, only the 'political possibilities.' As a result, "the budget deficit rose to 6 percent of gross domestic product in 1983 from 2.7 percent in 1980" under Reagan. Since he won re-election in 1984, Republi-cons have never been concerned about deficits, "only tax cuts mattered for political success." Read The New York Times, The Origin of Modern Republican Fiscal Policy.

UPDATE: "[A]s Republicans yell about Obama’s deficits and cry that we’re turning into Greece, Greece I tell you, all of them, all of them, propose making the deficit bigger.

And for what? For reverse Robin-Hoodism, taking from the poor and the middle class to lavish huge tax cuts on the rich.

And I believe that all of them know this, too. It’s pure hypocrisy – and it’s all in the service of class warfare waged on behalf of the top 0.1 or 0.01 percent of the income distribution."

Read The New York Times, Four Fiscal Phonies, which includes this graph showing "debt as a percentage of GDP in 2021 (using the OMB numbers (pdf) for Obama and CRFB for the others):"

"The national debt is likely to balloon under tax policies championed by three of the four major Republican candidates for president, according to an independent analysis of tax and spending proposals so far offered by the candidates.

The lone exception is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who would pair a big reduction in tax rates with even bigger cuts in government services, slicing about $2 trillion from future borrowing.

According to the report — set for release Thursday by U.S. Budget Watch, a project of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget — former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich would do the most damage to the nation’s finances, offering tax and spending policies likely to require trillions of dollars in fresh borrowing.

Both men have proposed to sharply cut taxes but have not identified spending cuts sufficient to make up for the lost cash, the report said. By 2021, the debt would rise by about $4.5 trillion under Santorum’s policies and by about $7 trillion under those advocated by Gingrich, pushing the portion of the debt held by outside investors to well over 100 percent of the nation’s economy."

Read the Washington Post, Debt will swell under top GOP hopefuls’ tax plans.

As I've said for years now, the Republi-CONs conned the tea party, there will be no balanced budget, there won't even be a $100 billion budget cut as promised in 2010. So let's admit the obvious, the Republi-CONs are not serious about deficits.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Republi-CON Continue to Try to Tank the Economy

UPDATE II:  "The aversion to government spending, and government activity generally, which animates many Americans isn’t actually based on economics, or logic: it is an emotionally driven belief system, founded upon a cockeyed view of American history and buttressed by a variety of right-wing shibboleths.

In the real world that rarely intrudes upon conservative economists and voters, both parties (and all Presidents) are Keynesians. Whenever the economy falters and private-sector spending declines, they use the tax-and-spending system to inject more demand into the economy. In 1981, Ronald Reagan did precisely this, slashing taxes and increasing defense spending. Between 2001 and 2003, George W. Bush followed the same script, introducing three sets of tax cuts and starting two wars. In February, 2009, Barack Obama introduced his stimulus. The real policy debate isn’t about Keynesianism versus the free market, it is about magnitudes and techniques: How much stimulus is necessary? And how should it be divided between government spending and tax cuts?
On both questions, Obama took the middle ground. His $800 billion stimulus program was smaller than many Keynesians, such as Christine Romer and Paul Krugman, wanted. (Romer reportedly pushed first for a $1.8 trillion package, then for $1.2 trillion.) Concentrated over a three-year period, it amounted to 1.1 per cent of G.D.P. in 2009, 2.4 per cent of G.D.P. in 2010, and 1.2 per cent of G.D.P. in 2011. So far, some $750 billion in stimulus money has been paid out: about $300 billion went to tax breaks for individuals and firms; roughly $235 billion was dispersed in the form of government contracts, grants, and loans; and another $225 billion was spent on entitlements—unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, and so on.

And what impact did the stimulus have? Without rehashing the entire debate—we’ve got another five months for that—here are three things to keep in mind.

1. It gave a much-needed boost to spending and growth. . .

2. The rise in federal spending under Obama was pretty modest. . .

3. Paul Krugman is right. To some extent, we already have a Republican economy. With the flow of stimulus money having all but dried up, and with continuing budget cutbacks at the state and local levels, government spending on many goods and services—the government spending that directly impacts G.D.P.—is falling.

You don’t believe it? Take a look at Table 1 in the Commerce Department’s latest report on G.D.P., and focus upon the section labelled “Government consumption expenditures and gross investment.” In 2011, you will notice, these expenditures declined at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent. In the first three months of this year, the rate of decline accelerated—to 3.9 per cent. The cutbacks have extended to all the major areas of government. Federal non-defense spending fell at an annual rate of 0.8 per cent in the first quarter; federal defense spending declined at an annual rate of 8.3 per cent, a shocking figure; state and local spending fell at a rate of 2.5 per cent.

It is a central tenet of Keynesian economics that when the government sector cuts back its expenditures in an economy with slack resources, worried households, and cautious business enterprises, output and growth will stall. That, of course, is precisely what has happened. In a saner world, we would be talking about what should be done right now, rather than after November, to rectify the situation."

Read The New Yorker, Reagan, Bush, and Obama: We Are All Still Keynesians.  

Read also, The Myth of Expansionary Austerity.  

UPDATE:  "[T]he best argument against Republicans’ claims that they can fix the economy. The fact is that we have already seen the Republican economic future — and it doesn’t work."  Read The New York Times, This Republican Economy.  

Republi-cons well know that any good news for the economy is bad news for their election hopes.

Their attacks on the Federal Reserve are "an effort to bully the Fed into doing exactly the wrong thing. The attackers want the Fed to slam on the brakes when it should be stepping on the gas; they want the Fed to choke off recovery when it should be doing much more to accelerate recovery. Fundamentally, the right wants the Fed to obsess over inflation, when the truth is that we’d be better off if the Fed paid less attention to inflation and more attention to unemployment. Indeed, a bit more inflation would be a good thing, not a bad thing."

Read The New York Times, Not Enough Inflation.

Since Obama was elected, Republi-cons have shown their willingness to sacrifice workers to appease their imaginary inflation god.

But there is not need to fear 'the invisible Republi-CON bond vigilantes'.

Monday, June 4, 2012

SoS Donald Trump and the Gullible Obanmey

If Obanmey is elected president, Donald Trump expects to be Secretary of State.  Read the Washington Post, Romney plays his Trump card, which goes on to note, and I quote at length:

"Romney thinks that Trump actually has the Romney campaign’s best interests in mind? Really? If so, one has to wonder whether Romney is too gullible to be president.

The idea that Trump cares about anything bigger than Trump is absurd. In his mind, from all evidence, there is nothing bigger than Trump.

If Trump really wanted Romney to win, he wouldn’t have done an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that deserves a prominent place in the annals of lunacy. Trump begins by slamming a taped introduction as 'totally inappropriate' and 'actually very dishonest' because it focused on the birther nonsense. He goes on to tell Blitzer that Obama 'uses reverse psychology' and pretends nonchalance about discussions of his origins when actually 'it’s not an issue that he likes talking about.'

I should interject that, back here on Planet Earth, the Obama campaign did all it could this week to focus attention on Trump and birtherism. The mood of top advisers seemed to approach unrestrained glee.

Poor Blitzer notes that Hawaii has formally certified Obama’s birth certificate. Trump contends that 'many people' do not believe the document is authentic.

'Like who?' Blitzer asks.

'There are many people,' says Trump.

'Give me a name of somebody,' demands Blitzer.

'There are many people,' says Trump. 'I don’t give names.'

Indeed, Trump refuses to violate the Super-Secret Birther Code of Silence by naming a single person who doubts the facts of Obama’s birth. He does pin himself down, however, when Blitzer asks whether 'the conspiracy' is supposed to have begun in 1961, when announcements of Obama’s birth were published in two Honolulu newspapers.

'That’s right,' Trump says.  'And many people put those announcements in because they wanted to get the benefit of being so-called born in this country. Many people did it. It was something that was done by many people, even if they weren’t born in the country. You know it, and so do I, and so do a lot of your viewers.'

This is transparently crazy — and also stupid. It is a bald-faced lie that 'many people' — or any people, far as I can tell — ever published fake birth announcements in hopes of establishing citizenship.

Moreover, Obama has to be a U.S. citizen, even if he were born on the moon, because of his mother’s citizenship. Trump needs to hire some writers to come up with better material.

As for Romney, he needs to decide whether Trump is the sort of person on whom he wants to rely for support and advice — if he’s one of the 'good people' Romney would be proud to have at his side if he becomes president.

Oh, sorry. Looks as if that choice has already been made."

Friday, June 1, 2012

SUA, SUA! Are You a Ronmey Amercian?

"Mitt Romney’s digital team debuted 'With Mitt,' an app that lets supporters share their support for the Republican presidential hopeful, on Tuesday. At first, the app received little fanfare.

By Tuesday night, however, the app’s users had drawn attention to one glaring mistake: one of the 14 text overlays available within the app stated that Romney is for 'A Better Amercia.' Yes, you read that right: 'Amercia.'"

Read Mashable, Amercia the Meme: Why Romney’s Gaffe Won’t Die

You too can join Amercia is with Mitt!

And of course, as Colbert noted, the "innovative iPhone app doubles his presidential odds" and "There's definitely no proof Obama was born in 'Amercia'.  Watch the Colbert Report, starting at the 3:36 mark: