Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Donald Trump Doesn't Know What Obamacare Is And Neither Does His Campaign Manager

Yesterday, Donald Trump went on Fox News to complain about, among other things, Obamacare. Like with many other topics, Trump once again demonstrated that he doesn't seem to understand the things he complains about:

“Well, I don’t use much Obamacare, I must be honest with you, because it is so bad for the people and they can’t afford it. And like, for instance, I’m at Trump National Doral in Miami, and we don’t even use Obamacare. We don’t want it. The people don’t want it and I spend more money on health coverage, but we don’t use it.”

So he doesn't "use much Obamacare", but also "spends more money on health coverage". Taken together, these are nonsensical statements.

While no one will ever mistake Donald Trump for being a policy wonk, it would appear that this misunderstanding of Obamacare extends to his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, as well:

"I would call those employees who do not have to suffer under Obamacare, the lucky ones, because they work for the Trump organization and they're insured fully."

What Trump, Conway and a lot of other conservatives don't seem to understand is that Obamacare is not a product. It's actually a framework of regulations for the private insurance market. One cannot call up the Department of Health and Human Services and ask to "buy" some Obamacare, because it's not a thing you can actually "buy". It would be like trying to go to the DMV and asking to buy some Interstate Highway System. If you have private insurance of any kind, you are technically using "Obamacare". So the "lucky" employees Conway is referring to, who are "insured fully" by Trump are in fact, using Obamacare.

During the interview, Conway also said that the campaign supports keeping the provision that allows patients with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance because "it already exists", somehow ignoring that the reason for its existence is because of the ACA.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

VP Debate Twitter Round Up

Reactions from the Twitters:


The most impressing thing of this night was that Pence didn't bring up Benghazi even once. Very bizarre since you'd think he'd mention it every fifteen seconds just due to oral muscle memory. Fortunately, his running mate/man he's never actually met,  tried to pick up the slack:

"Bengazi". Someone should tell Trump that Twitter has a spellcheck feature now.

And finally:

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Star of That NRA Benghazi Ad Flip Flopped On Blaming Hillary

You may have seen the following wretched anti-Hillary ad by the NRA:

The guy in that ad, is former marine, Mark "Oz" Geist, who served in Benghazi as a private military contractor. He also co-wrote the book, 13 Hours, on the events of that fateful night, which was then adapted into the Michael Bay directed film of the same name, released earlier this year.

As you can tell in the ad, Geist is not a fan of Hillary Clinton. Why? Because he holds her personally responsible for allowing Ambassador Stevens and three other brave Americans to die that day.

(Though, for some reason, the ad displays hundreds of graves even though just four people died that night. Maybe he and the NRA just decided it would be easier to round up).

This wouldn't have been that noteworthy if it wasn't for the fact that Geist had been far less critical of Hillary back when he had a book and movie to sell. Here he was on ABC News in January:

But while many of Clinton's enemies use Benghazi to hold her accountable, Geist has his own perspective.

“Do I hold her accountable? No. You know who I hold accountable is al-Sharia,” he said. “That’s who attacked them. That’s who killed the ambassador.”

Well, isn't that interesting? In fact, he's done plenty of interviews where he insisted that he has no beef with Hillary. Here's one where he's interviewed on Vegas Film Critic (skip to 2:42):

VFC: Now when this movie originally came out there was so much debate about where the politics lie in this movie, and I was glad to see there was no politics in this movie. It's just a story about heroes. Did you have many meetings to keep this movie neutral at all times?

Geist: You know it was pretty much never really discussed after the very beginning, and if you've read the book, anybody out there'll know it was never a political thing. It's about honoring four Americans that gave their lives and also honoring those that served this country.
"Never a political thing". Imagine that. Even when he was on Hannity, and the Fox News host tried to prod him to admitting that he thought Hillary orchestrated the whole thing, he was only able to muster some incredibly mild and mealy mouthed criticism (skip to 4:24):

Furthermore, I have to point out how Geist's accusations of Hillary also happen to fly in the face of what both the 13 Hours book and movie primarily blame on the failure to save Ambassador Stevens. That scapegoat isn't Hillary, but the callous bureaucrat that was the CIA station chief in Benghazi. The station chief is the one who gave Geist and his comrades the infamous "stand down" order, after all. I haven't read the book, but in the movie, there's no direct reference to either Hillary or Obama.

So why did he decide to hop on board the KILLARY train?

Simple. All the apolitical tact and decorum was before Bayghazi flopped in theaters. After that, it seems Geist realized there was no longer any incentive to remain on good behavior and decided to go full wing nut. Hence, his participation in the anti-Hillary ad in question.

Be prepared to see more of this grifter as he travels the wing nut welfare circuit in the coming months.

Republicans Release Anti-Climactic Report on BENGHAZI!

After two years involving dozens of hearings and millions of tax payer dollars, the House Select Committee on Hillary Clinton Benghazi has at last, released their long awaited (hopefully) final report regarding that fateful day. This was no doubt a report that many conservatives were eagerly anticipating and Hillary supporters dreading. So, is it finally curtains for the Butcher of Benghazi? Not quite:

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

That's right. Republican congressman, and Chairman of the committee, Trey Gowdy was specifically chosen because he supposedly had the skills to do what prior investigations failed to do: indict Hillary. Yet after all this time, not only did he not find anything incriminating (or interesting, for that matter), he actually wound up exonerating her.

Not that any of this is surprising. Republicans made the mistake of assuming that the problem here was that they needed an intelligent and competent prosecutor, instead of things like facts and actual evidence to build a case against Hillary. We already had eight investigations so far on the matter, and none of them turned up any damning info on Hillary whatsoever, and in fact, many have even absolved her of any wrongdoing. Gowdy, for however skilled he may have been as a prosecutor before entering congress, was destined to be heading into a brick wall.

It's like I always say: a flat-Earther with a PhD in geology, is still a flat-Earther.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Medicaid Expansion A Boon To Colorado's Economy

Who would have guessed that injecting billions of dollars would have any positive economic impact?

A new Colorado Health Foundation report says state expansion of the Medicaid program has created 31,074 new jobs and added $3.8 billion in economic activity.
The report concludes that "in the two years since implementation, expansion in the state has had a significant positive effect on the economy at no expense to the general fund" in the state budget.
Its findings:

• Medicaid expansion, largely funded by the federal government, is already affecting and will continue to affect the state economy positively.
• The number of jobs created by giving more people access to Medicaid will continue to grow. The report predicts a total of 43,018 jobs created in Colorado by the 2034 fiscal year.
• The state's economy is 1.14 percent larger because of Medicaid expansion. By fiscal year 2034, that will grow to 1.38 percent of the total economy, or an $8.5 billion increase.
• Average household earnings are $643 higher as a result of Medicaid expansion.
• The general fund will not incur any expenses associated with Medicaid expansion.

Unfortunately, one of the leading Republicans in the state senate is being a Gloomy Gus:

Kevin Lundberg, the Republican who chairs the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, laughed at the notion that Medicaid expansion is not costing the state anything.

He said, "What we've been doing is pulling down federal debt dollars" to bring more money into the state. But, he said, the $9.9 billion being spent on Medicaid "has an immediate, direct impact on the state budget as well."
The federal government would pay 100% of the costs for a medicaid expansion for the first several years, so I'm not sure exactly what Lundberg's talking about.

Regardless, at the very least, this is yet another example proving conservatives wrong about government spending killing jobs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

NRSC Sends Out Tweet Saying Veteran Democratic Congresswoman Has a "Sad Record of Not Standing Up For Our Veterans"

This was posted on the National Republican Senatorial Committee official Twitter page:

For those that aren't aware, Tammy Duckworth lost both her legs and severely damaged her right arm while fighting in Iraq. Republicans praise and respect our troops, but only the kind who have an "R" next to their name.

The original tweet was deleted, so someone realized they done messed up, at least. But the fact that anyone thought it was a good idea to post such a thing shows you how these people are truly like.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BREAKING: Trickle-Down Economics Still Doesn't Work After 30 Years!

It's been six years since Kansas governor, Sam Brownback enacted his brilliant tax cuts on the job creators, which, as every devout disciple of supply-side economics would tell you, promised to overwhelm the treasury with new revenue on account of all the job creation that would result from said tax cuts. Unfortunately, it would seem that six years is still not enough time for the magic of trickle-down economics to take effect:

Kansas tax receipts fell $53 million short of estimates in February, and Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday immediately announced a $17 million cut to the state’s university system. 
The latest revenue results are a dramatic blow to recent moves by the Legislature to shore up the state budget. 
Individual income tax revenue last month was about $27 million below projections, and sales tax receipts missed estimates by about $12 million, according to the state’s Department of Revenue. Corporate income taxes were $7.7 million below estimates.

Brownback and his allies have tried to offer excuses for why revenues keep coming in under projections:

Brownback said the state’s budget problems reflect economic woes, not tax policy problems. He said he would focus on managing spending, not on raising taxes. 
“Our tax policy has been instrumental in creating more than 80,000 jobs since we took office and has resulted in a record number of Kansans working,” Brownback said in a written statement. “These numbers reflect a declining national and regional economy.”

The problem with this excuse (aside from the fact that I'm not sure what exactly he means by the national economy "declining") is that this recent report isn't some weird, isolated incident. Revenues have constantly come in under projections since Brownback signed his tax cuts into law.

This isn't surprising because tax cuts almost always result in LESS revenue, not MORE. Even the mighty Ronald Reagan, who, as we all know, provided us the greatest economic growth in the history of civilization, wasn't able to achieve increased revenues when he enacted his tax cuts in the 80s. If even if the mighty Ronaldus Magnus couldn't achieve such a feat, what makes Brownback - or any other lowly conservative politician for that matter - think he could succeed?

Read more here:


Well, that was a short lived New Year's resolution, wasn't it? Well, at least this case I have a somewhat legitimate excuse. My last trip to the dentist didn't turn out very well and now I have a rather large dental bill that needs to be paid that I wasn't in any way expecting. As I already had a super expensive surgery done last year, I was not happy to hear this. So yeah, it's hard to blog when you're stressed out of your mind. 

I'm feeling a bit better now, so hopefully I can resume with things.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ted Cruz Doubles Down On His Stupid Obamacare Jobs Claim

At the most recent Republican debate, Ted Cruz made a whopper of a claim, even for him:

“It’s been a disaster,” the Texas senator said during the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses. “It is the biggest job-killer in this country, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work.”
Of course, the problem here is that it is not in any way true whatsoever. But a little thing like reality wasn't going to stop Cruz from repeating this insipid talking point. He went on Fox News Sunday to double down on the stupid:

WALLACE:  But, Senator, the fact checkers say you're wrong.  Since that law went into effect, the unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent to 5 percent, as 13 million new jobs were created and 16.3 million people who were previously uninsured now have coverage.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of problems with Obamacare.  But more people have jobs and health insurance than they did before Obamacare.

CRUZ:  Chris, the media fact checkers are not fair and impartial.  They are liberal, editorial journalists.  And they have made it their mission to defend Obamacare.

So right off the bat, Cruz brings out the old Republican standby: "BUBUBU THE LIBERAL MEDIA!". But this is not some vague, subjective issue like abortion or gun rights. Defending Obama's record on job creation requires nothing further than the ability to know how to count. You don't need left-wing media outlets like Media Matters (and Fox News, apparently) to find out if jobs were actually lost during Obama's tenure after he signed Obamacare into law (click to enlarge):

The table above is the monthly private sector job growth/loss for all of Obama's presidency up until last December, documented by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Obamacare was passed in March of 2010, and if you look at the numbers since then, you'll find that not only have we not had a SINGLE month where there were any private sector jobs lost whatsoever, but that we've added, as Chris Wallace said, 13 million jobs since.

To put that in perspective, the last Republican president we had, presided over a total positive job growth of 7.4 million.  President Bush achieved this number with pro- tax cuts for the rich, pro-deregulation, and pro-freedom policies. The same policies Cruz is supporting, and the same policies that are the anti-thesis of Obama's policies, which he insists are killing jobs at an incredible rate.

(Note: That 7.4 million number represents only positive job growth under Bush, and doesn't include the millions that were lost under his watch, which would bring the total down significantly)

And yet, as of this point, since Obamacare's passage, job creation under the job-killing legislation, is almost 6 million higher than it was for the entirety of Bush's presidency. Obama also has one year left, and so that job growth number could wind up being even higher.

How does Cruz explain this? He doesn't, as you'll see:

WALLACE:  There's certainly no question that more people have jobs and more people have health insurance coverage.

CRUZ:  Yes, there is question.  Number one, we have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977.  That's fact.  They focused on --

WALLACE:  But there are 13 million jobs created, sir.  That’s a fact.

CRUZ:  The fact is that from 2008 to today, we've seen economic growth of 1.2 percent on average.

CRUZ:  Chris, don't interrupt me.  I'll give an answer --

WALLACE:  That's changing the subject.

CRUZ:  No.

WALLACE:  Thirteen million new jobs have been created.

CRUZ:  And that is a historically slow rate of job creation if you look at what has occurred in any previous year.  You know, Obama is the first president ever to have a year of 3 percent economic growth.  Millions of people in this country are hurting.

One of the problems is you've got the elite, the Washington elite, the rich have gotten richer under Barack Obama.  The top one percent are in a higher share of our income than any year since 1928.  But working men and women are hurting.  
So you see what he did here? He shifted away from job creation to talking about GDP growth and income inequality. We can definitely argue about those particular details, but they are separate from job growth numbers, which Cruz is anxious to run away from. GDP growth is important, but it's not necessarily always related to job growth:

As you can see, GDP growth under Obama is nothing brag about. But although his predecessor did slightly better on that front, Obama has created millions of more jobs ( about 6 million since Obamacare was passed and roughly 7 million since the recession bottomed out). Sadly for Cruz, trying to divert to a different metric dose not hep argue the central thesis that Obamacare has been killing jobs.

But this is probably my favorite part of the interview:

And I'll tell you, you know, representing Texas, one of the things I do when I go home is I host small business roundtables.  And I bring together 20, 30 small business owners around the table and just ask them, share what’s on your heart.  Share what you're thinking about.  Share what you’re praying about.

I have never done a small business table where at least half the small business owners didn't list Obamacare as the single biggest obstacle they're facing.  Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and the people have been forced into part time work.  Or lost their health care or lost their doctors or seen their premiums skyrocket. 
In other words, Cruz has no use for liberal "fact checkers", the CBO, or the BLS,  but hearing the supposed complaints of a few dozen random small business owners is all the proof he needs that Obamacare is a nationwide job killing machine. Who needs actual empirical evidence when you have anecdotes?

There is nothing that encapsulates the modern day Republican party more than this.

The Snobcast: Oregon Standoff Aftermath PT1

Proud to announce the very first episode of the Snobcast! Hope y'all like it.