Monday, July 20, 2015

Rush Limbaugh Says The Daily Show Stole Idea From Terrible Fox News Program

You might be familiar with Rush Limbaugh as an obnoxious, ignorant, right-wing gasbag radio host. But did you know he's also a time traveler?

RUSH: You all remember a comedy show that was produced by a friend of mine Joel Surnow that ran on the Fox News Channel. It was called The 1/2 Hour News Hour, and on the pilot episode of that show... It was a 30-minute satire news program that the liberals have copied and they've got their own version of it now on Comedy Central just like a lot of what is on Comedy Central is a rip-off of my television show. So has the left ripped off The 1/2 Hour News Hour, retitled it, and done it under the umbrella of liberalism.

Some context for those of you who might not be familiar with what Rush is referring to. Many years ago, Fox News began airing The 1/2 Hour News Hour a "satirical" "comedy" news program catered for right-wingers. The show got cancelled after one season due to poor ratings, no doubt due to all the liberal Fox News viewers refusing to give it a chance.

Rush claims that programs like The Daily Show stole the idea from The 1/2 Hour News Hour. But that would be a little difficult, given that the latter first aired in 2007, and the former has been on the air since 1996, eleven years prior. Furthermore it's difficult to think that TDS copied THHNH, given that the creator of THHNH himself, described the show as "'The Daily Show' for conservatives".

Rush is very horrible at many subjects, particularly history, so it's no surprise he would get the time line here completely, and utterly wrong.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Flashback: In 2011 Bill O'Reilly Threatened To Quit His Job If Obama Raised His Taxes

I was surfing the intertubes trying to search for some interesting political news when I serendipitously came across this amusing little blast from the past:




Back in 2011, the Bush tax cuts were scheduled to expire, but they were temporarily extended by President Obama and congress. But Bill O'Reilly didn't like that "temporary" part. He whined that he was already paying too much already, and if he had to pay any more, he may just take his ball and go home:


If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in!
...
My corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do so they can make a nice salary. If Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50%, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I like my job but there comes a point when taxation becomes oppressive. Is the country really entitled to half a person’s income?

Well guess what happened? At the end of 2012, President Obama was able to let some of the Bush tax cuts expire. The top federal income tax rate rose from 35% to 39.6% (as it was under Clinton) and the capital gains rate rose from 15% to 20% (also, the rate, well, partly, under Clinton). That's a total increase of almost 10 percentage points!

And yet, more two years later, Bill O's still on the air, still whining about Obama destroying America.

Of course, it's not surprising that O'Reilly decided to stick around. The man makes a good chunk of change bloviating on T.V.:

From 2009 to 2013 his salary with Fox increased to $15 Million per year. In 2013 and 2014, following his latest contract negotiation, O'Reilly made $18 million per year.

Assuming O'Reilly actually gets taxed by 50% (and let's be clear, it's not actually 50% of his entire total salary because progressive taxes don't work that way, but just for the sake of argument we'll pretend it does), that would mean his take home pay would be in $9 million per year. Not sure about you guys, but I personally wouldn't mind making "only" $9 million a year.

And this is what I find to be absolutely hilarious with O'Reilly's pathetic "threat". He, along with other right-wing blowhards constantly warn the people who tune into their programming, that if you tax the innocent little "job creators", that if you "punish success", people like them will just pack up their bags and flee to Somalia. Of course, that never happens. Just like how our millionaire and billionaire class didn't simply close up shop and take the first flight to the Soviet Union during the 1940s and 1950s when tax rates were a sky high 90%!

Even supposedly getting taxed at a 50% rate (which again, is not actually anywhere near that high because that's not how progressive taxes work and that's  not accounting for tax loopholes that people like O'Reilly can take advantage of), he's still doing better than literally 99% of the country, and most people would kill to get anywhere near what O'Reilly does.

No sentient human being should think even for a nanosecond that anyone would be stupid enough to prefer to make $0 instead of several million, just because they don't get to keep the other several million. It was just as idiotic when Sean Hannity was whining about how he was hurting with the government supposedly taking 60% of his income, and when Phil Mickelson claimed that he would quit being a millionaire professional golfer because his taxes were too high. Both of them, unsurprisingly enough, are still working despite these crushing taxes. Imagine that.

Now, is there a point where taxes would be so high that it would in fact end up being counterproductive and wind up with people actually quitting? Of course, and no liberal has ever denied that. What we argue is that we're nowhere near such potentially destructive rates, and we won't be for a good while. And so we need to be made aware that these pathetic "threats" by the likes of O'Reilly and his right-wing ilk are just used to scare the working class into voting against their own interests to make rich people even richer. Hilariously enough, O'Reilly's "warning" only ended up highlighting what a joke trickle-down economics really is.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Hate The Dentist

Okay, I know this might not be the most popular opinion, but I do not enjoy going to the dentist. Aside from the obvious fears about any pain being involved , it's also generally a very costly venture, even for a particularly mundane procedure. Sadly, the procedure I need is not mundane. In fact, I had to go to a specialist, who is recommending surgery, which aside from sounding very unpleasant, is also quite expensive (the potential to be up to five figures). As you might guess, this news has left me in a rather depressed state, hence the lack of posting (more so than usual, admittedly) . But I think I've finally reached the acceptance phase, so I will resume blogging.

Reforming the dental industry should be the next big frontier that Democrats pursue.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rick Perry On Texas' High Uninsured Rate: "That's Not How We Keep Score"

Yesterday, former Presidential candidate and current Presidential candidate, Rick Perry, went on Fox News Sunday, where the host, Chris Wallace,  asked him a question on the subject of health care. Specifically about the absolutely horrid uninsured rate in his state. Let's see how that went:


WALLACE: One more question about Main Street or looking out for the little guy. When you were governor of Texas, your state had the highest uninsured rate in the country. One in five, more than one in five Texans didn't have health coverage, and yet you refused to set up a state exchange under Obamacare. You refused to expand Medicaid. Is that looking out for the little guy when 21 percent of Texans didn't have health insurance?

PERRY: If how you keep score is how many people you force to buy insurance, then I would say that that's how you keep score. That's not how we --

WALLACE: But the flip side of it, how many people don't have health insurance.

PERRY: Let me explain what we do in Texas. This is a state by state decision. We make access to healthcare the real issue. We passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation. We got 35,000 more positions licensed to practice medicine in 2013 than we did a decade before that. This is an issue for me, it's about access to healthcare. And it's not about whether you force somebody to buy insurance. It's whether Texans have access to good healthcare.
I have to admit, I'm not sure what Perry's trying to say. He doesn't care about people having insurance, but rather, he cares about them having "access"? I'd figure insurance would fall under that umbrella. Is he trying to say that it's okay that so many people don't have insurance because they can still see a doctor? Who pays for that visit? The Freedom fairy? Or do most of the doctors down there treat all poor people for free?

Also, Perry's claim about massive surge in doctors rushing into Texas after he helped pass tort reform is, unsurprisingly, bunk:

And the bulk of that influx has come in larger cities where health care was already abundant, leaving large rural swaths of Texas still without doctors…. [M]edical records in Texas show that of the state’s 254 counties, only 106 have an obstetrician/gynecologist — just six more than in 2003. In Presidio County, which has 8,000 residents and is growing, some of Parsons’ patients move 240 miles away to live with relatives in Odessa or Midland when they become pregnant. […]
Medical rolls increased by 24 percent since 2003, while Texas’ population was soaring by 20 percent during the decade. Texas also saw rapid growth of physicians per capita before tort reform, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Furthermore, over 10,000 of those doctors were ones "“who sought licenses in Texas but took jobs elsewhere”. Oops.

And that leads me to my next question: if Rick Perry did such a great job in turning Texas in a free market utopia, why did/does it still have the highest uninsured rate in the country?  Under Perry's stewardship, taxes were cut, spending was cut, regulations were cut, tort reform was passed, the  medicaid expansion was turned down, etc. Don't conservatives constantly say these policies would somehow allow more people to be insured? In fact, Texas seems like a great example of what the rest of the country would be like if the Republican alternative to Obamacare was actually in place.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wisconsin Dead Last In New Business Start Up Activity

It's such a shame that President Obama keeps ruining Scott Walker's economy:

Wisconsin ranks last of all the states for new business start-up activity, according to a major survey released June 5.

Milwaukee fared little better, coming in 39th among the nation’s 40 largest metropolitan areas.
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship is the first and largest study tracking entrepreneurship across city, state and national levels for the United States. Produced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the index is one of the world’s most respected and cited entrepreneurship indicators in the nation.
When Walker became governor of Wisconsin in 2011, he presided over $2 billion in tax cuts, which, like all Republican politicians who endorse the magical effects of supply-side economics, he assured everyone, would lead to an explosion of economic growth. Sadly for Walker, things didn't pan out that way.

Back in 2010, Walker claimed that his freedom loving policies would create 250,000 jobs by the end of this first term. Turns out Walker fell short by 120,000.

Walker, like nearly all Republicans, believed tax cuts for the wealthy would result in increased revenues. Not only did said tax cuts not increase revenue, the state currently faces a $238 million shortfall.

And now, Walker's failed on yet another metric. Quite spectacularly, I might add. By being dead last in new start ups, that means that even high tax hellholes like California, Minnesota and New York (and really, every other Democratic state) are doing better, despite their job killing policies. How is such a thing even possible?

So Walker may have wrecked his state's economy, but on the plus side, he plans on making it harder for women to have abortions, so there's that, at least.

Monday, June 1, 2015

BREAKING: Job Creators Have Not Trickled Down Jobs In Kansas

Okay, so we all know by now how Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback's "experiment" with lowering taxes on the rich did not in fact, lead to more revenue. But hey, who cares about actually paying for government services? Afterall, our greatest founding father, Ronald Reagan, never wound up collecting more revenues with his policies, so why would we expect a lesser Republican like Brownback to do so?

However, where the Gipper was lacking in terms of collecting money, he made up for in job creation (well, not really that either, but just play along for a moment).

So how has Brownback fared so far on the job creation front?

The new national jobs report for April, released Wednesday, shows Kansas now trails 44 other states and the District of Columbia in total nonfarm job creation in the first four months of 2015.

That’s an extremely dismal record, especially given that Gov. Sam Brownback has pledged previously that the huge income tax cuts he pushed in 2012 would bring a resurgence of employment to the Sunflower State.

It’s not happening.

The new report shows Brownback is falling far short of keeping his promise on job creation in Kansas.
During his re-election campaign in 2015, the governor said he wanted to create 100,000 new private sector jobs in his second term. That works out to just over 2,000 added employees per month over that four-year period. Brownback said Kansas had to grow that quickly so it could gain more tax revenue to avoid budget shortfalls.

But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows Kansas now has actually lost a total of 300 nonfarm jobs in the first four months of Brownback’s second term, from January through April
That’s worse than 44 other states. Put another way, it’s better than only Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and West Virginia. All those states have lost jobs at slightly higher rates than Kansas has.

Okay, so things didn't exactly go according to plan. Brownback promised that he would turn Kansas into an economic powerhouse, but instead has turned it into the exact opposite. Stuff happens.

But the report wasn't all bad news. There was one positive stat buried in the article:

The nonfarm jobs report is the best overall measurement of total employment, including government jobs. If you strip those out, you’re left with the private-sector job figure that Brownback used. In that case, total private sector employment has gone up by only 700 in the first four months of the year.
Of course, I meant "positive" in the same way that a doctor informs you that a loved one is merely comatose as opposed to being dead after a car crash.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article22414056.html#storylink=cpy



Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article22414056.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article22414056.html#storylink=cpy

Maine Gov. Says He'll Veto Every Democratic Bill Until The State Income Tax Is Repealed

Apparently, Maine's Republican governor had a little temper tantrum last week:

AUGUSTA, Maine — During a fiery news conference that lasted nearly an hour, Gov. Paul LePage pledged Friday to veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat until his opposition relents and accepts his constitutional amendment to eliminate Maine’s income tax.

LePage this year has proposed a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state’s income tax by the year 2020. Republicans, who have shied away from the governor’s more comprehensive tax reform efforts, have rallied around the amendment.

Democrats have opposed it, sparking LePage’s trademark fury during a news conference at the Blaine House.

Like all Republican plans to eliminate the income tax, this would mean a huge boon to the wealthy, and a pretty significant hit to the middle and lower classes, as it more than likely means the income tax would be replaced with a higher sales tax, an idea the governor is very fond of.

It seems LePage thinks that by allowing more money to be concentrated at the top, it means more money will eventually be trickled-down to everyone else. The governor attempted to do just that back in 2011, lowering the top rate from 8.5% to 7.95%. How did that work out? About as well as anyone expects by this point:

Across the U.S., total state tax revenue reached pre-recession levels in mid 2013. But tax receipts in 30 states, including Maine, have not yet recovered. This chart, with data from the Pew Charitable Trusts, shows Maine’s tax revenue picture compared with the nation’s. In the third quarter of 2014, more than five years after the recession’s end, Maine was still collecting less than at its peak before or during the recession. Comparisons are based on Maine and the U.S.’s peak tax revenue level since 2006.
Well, clearly it seems that, as usual, revenues have only gone down cause we haven't cut taxes enough

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chris Christie: No, I Really Don't Know Anything About Jimmy Carter At All

A little late to this, but I did feel the need to comment on it. Last week, New Jersey governor, and former Sopranos extra, Chris Christie, was campaigning in New Hampshire, and gave a speech criticizing President Obama's supposed failed economic policies. Factcheck.org has a nice little round up of all the fun ways Christie mangled the economic data to reach his conclusions, but I wanted to focus on one specific line he said in his speech:

This weak growth is no coincidence. It is the direct result of the policies of this president, the worst economic president since Jimmy Carter.
I know Republicans have been nurtured since birth to despise and mock Jimmy Carter, but would  it really be too much trouble to have a modicum of knowledge about what actually happened under his administration?

Say what you will about Carter, but contrary to conservative legend, his economic record wasn't particularly terrible. Here are the total net jobs created under every president since Carter:


Carter: ~10 million
Reagan: ~16 million
Bush I: ~2.6 million
Clinton: ~ 23 million
Bush II: ~1.3 million
Obama: ~ 7.3 million


Well, aren't these some interesting numbers?

From 1977 to 1980, Carter presided over the creation of roughly 10 million jobs. Not too shabby! His successor, the greatest President since the founding of our country, Ronald Reagan, presided over roughly 16 million jobs. Of course, unlike Carter, Reagan's numbers were over the course of eight years as opposed to four. Yes, the rate of job growth was actually higher under the wretched Jimmy Carter than under Ronaldus Magnus!

But notice which president appeared to do the worst job at creating jobs in the past 40 years? Why that would be our most recent Republican president, whose brilliant supply-side powered economy created a pathetic 1.3 million jobs over the course of eight years. President Obama's numbers may not be the most impressive, historically speaking, but they absolutely obliterate ole' Dubya's performance.

If Christie needed to reference a president with a terrible economic track record to compare Obama to, he didn't have to go back too far in time to do so.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Welfare Recipient, Ben Carson, Says He Would Raise Taxes On Poor Because They Have Pride

This past Sunday, Fox News' Chris Wallace interviewed self proclaimed serious Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. Wallace asked the good doctor about the tax plan he would enact if he ever became leader of the free world:

Well, I like the idea of a proportional tax. That way you pay according to your ability. And I got that idea, quite frankly, from the Bible, tithing. You make $10 billion a year, you pay $1 billion. You make $10 a year, you pay $1. You get the same rights. That's pretty darn fair, if you ask me.

Now, some people say it's not fair because, you know, the poor people can't afford to pay that dollar. That's very condescending. You know, I grew up very poor. I experienced every economic level. And I can tell you poor people have pride, too. And they don't want to be just taken care of.

 Okay, there's two big problems I have with Carson's comments. The first is something I wrote about almost a year ago regarding Carson from a McClatchy report. Many people may not know that the esteemed former neurosurgeon himself grew up receiving much help from the government:

No doubt, Mother Carson deserves tremendous credit, but – in the words of a political sound bite from the last presidential election – she didn’t do it alone. Carson, in his book, tells how his grades improved tremendously when a government program provided him with free eyeglasses because he could barely see. Not only that, in “Gifted Hands” we read this nugget: “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.”
 No doubt Carson thinks his own mother was severely lacking in pride for allowing the government to offer her assistance. Or maybe not.

It’s hard not to see Carson’s own upbringing coming into view here. He grew up in meager surroundings in Detroit and Boston, in a family that made use of public assistance programs like food stamps. The culture was different then, Carson insists. “I think there was a time when people were not proud of taking handouts,” he said. “There were more people who did have that drive and determination. You do what you have to do."
As always, it's okay to receive government help if you're a Republican. If not, then you should have enough pride and self-respect to go hungry for a little while until your next paycheck arrives.

The second issue I have is, as Wallace explained later on,  that Carson's plan would provide a massive tax cut for the wealthy.

WALLACE: But, Doctor, here is a problem with flat tax in the real world -- according to the Tax Policy Center, to raise the same amount of revenue we do now, the tax rate would have to be in the low to mid 20 percent range.

...

WALLACE: Low and middle income families would get a big tax hike, while wealthy families would actually get a tax cut.

In Carson's world, we should think that poor people should be insulted for wanting the government to go easy on them, but for some reason, rich people don't seem to have that same level of dignity. Later on, Carson went to argue that his solution to poor people paying higher tax rates would be to increase offshore drilling. How that would said poor people with the tax hike Carson wants to impose on them is a bit of a mystery.

This is gonna be a fun election.

I know, I know..

I'm sure all of you have noticed that the posts on here have been rather infrequent to say the least. I've been preoccupied with a combination of real world distractions as well as sickness for the past few weeks. I know I say this all the time, but I will "try" to be a bit more diligent about blogging. I apologize to my adoring public in advance.

ads