Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sheriff Mack Hates Socialism, But Will Gladly Accept Social Security

Last week, Talking Points Memo posted this karma-tastic story of right-wing jackass, Sheriff Richard Mack, currently being overwhelmed by medical bills because he refuses to by health insurance on account of the President's cooties:

Former Arizona county sheriff Richard Mack, a fierce opponent of Obamacare and a leader in the "constitutional sheriff" movement, is struggling to pay his medical bills after he and his wife each faced serious illnesses. The former sheriff and his wife do not have health insurance and started a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations from family and friends to cover the costs of their medical care.

"Because they are self-employed, they have no medical insurance and are in desperate need of our assistance," reads a note on Mack's personal website.

Some of you may remember, the good sheriff was one of the few remaining patriots that stood by Cliven Bundy last year, supporting his constitutional right to kill any federal agent that decided to bother him for whatever reason. He came up with the ingenious idea to use women and children as human shields in attempt to make the government look bad should they have decided to open fire. Real swell fella, this one.

The idea of an anti-Obamacare dipshit being unable to pay for his own medical bills  provides a great helping of schadenfreude for liberals.


On Wednesday, Marc Lamont-Hill interviewed Mack on Huff Post Live. As you would expect, I, and many others, were no doubt interested to see if Mack had learned anything at all from his experience. Being a fanatical "constitutional" conservative for decades, however, it was a safe bet to assume the answer was "no":

"Socialized medicine, I don't believe was supposed to be part of the constitution of our country or its foundation.

...

We're not supposed to be a socialistic country.

I have bad news for the good sheriff. We've actually had socialized medicine (at least to some small degree) since the founding of the country.  So yes, we've been a socialistic country for a good while now.

But the best part of the interview was towards the end, when Lamont-Hill asks Mack how he feels about other socialistic programs like social security, medicare, and the VA:

"Social security is my money, and I want it back. But no, I don't support a federal government that believes it's there to take care of me from cradle to grave."
I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised Mack is willing to take back "his" money, despite the fact that it would be contaminated with government pathogens. I'd venture a guess that Mack would also be open to accepting help via medicare as well (which would be hilarious because both social security and medicare are WAAAAAAY more socialistic programs than Obamacare, but hey, who cares about minor details like that?).

I will give the Sheriff this much. At least when it comes to Obamacare, he does appear to be sticking to his principles by adamantly refusing to buy any form of health insurance.

But conservatives shouldn't celebrate Mack's courageous stand, just yet. There's another layer to this that needs to be pointed out.  See, conservatives like Mack love to mock and berate liberals for supposedly being moochers and leeches (as their most recent failed spokesman so eloquently stated). But now Mack himself is in the position of those he's despised.

But some may argue that, sure, Sheriff Mack may now an official member of the 47%, but he's only asking for voluntary donations. Thus, it's perfectly fine because thus nobody is being forced against their will to help him out.

Sorry, that argument won't fly. Whether you're begging for help from the government or begging for help from your "community", the fact of the matter is that you're still begging. Mack no doubt loves to think of himself as someone who solves his own problems, being a self-reliant, patriotic red-blooded American, but he's anything but at this point.

 "I don't want to be taken care of by Washington D.C. bureaucrats or politicians."

No, of course not. He wants to be taken care of by private citizens who feel sorry for him. That's how all real bootstrappers handle things, after all. And it seems he'll be relying on the kindness of friends and strangers for the next two years until he becomes eligible for (and accepts) that horrid socialized health care program we call medicare.

An almost identical situation happened with Caleb Howe, an editor for Redstate.com a couple of years ago, which I wrote about. And just like Sheriff Mack, he hated Obamacare with a passion, and wound up begging people to help out with his medical bills, and proceeded to not learn anything whatsoever with the ordeal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tennessee Republican Suggests The Creation of an NAAWP

Well, this is a fun story. Did you ever wonder why there seems to be no organizations dedicated to fighting for the plight of White people? Well good news.  A Republican state legislator by the name of (and I swear, I'm not making this up) Sheila Butt, was thinking the same thing. In response to an article by the civil rights group, CAIR, prompting Republican presidential candidates in 2016 to promote tolerance for Muslim Americans, Representative Butt posted the following:






Of course, it would appear that this was one of those unfortunate instances where an idea sounded great until you actually told other people about it. As such, it was subsequently removed, but followed up with remarks from Butt blaming everyone else for totally getting the wrong idea:


Butt, a tea party-leaning Republican from Columbia who was newly elected as floor leader, repeatedly refused to explain to Pith what she meant by the comment and the meaning of NAAWP. She said only that reading the acronym as the National Association for the Advancement of White people is “totally misinterpreted.”

“I think that’s funny because that isn’t even what that’s supposed to be. You’re making a story out of nothing,” said Butt, who then refused to explain what she meant by the comment. “Oh, I know exactly what it is, but it’s not what you say it is.”

“I’ll let people decide,” she said.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm struggling to think of many other words beginning with "W" that the Representative could have been referring to. Indeed, as Andrea Zelinski explains:
NAAWP has been used by various white-power organizations over the years. In 1980, David Duke announced that he was leaving the Ku Klux Klan to head an incarnation of the NAAWP. He used the organization to deny the Holocaust and promote racism.
But whatever that "W" word is that Butt was thinking of, it was clearly so obvious that Butt won't even bother explaining what it was supposed to be. Imagine that.

Once again, the party of Lincoln, ladies and gentlemen.



UPDATE:

In a separate report from the Columbia Daily Herald, Butt finally reveals what the magic "W" word was supposed to be:

Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Ohhh, it stands for "Western", not that other word. Well, considering that the "C" in NAACP stands for "Colored", and that the NAACP handles issues specifically regarding race, it would be difficult to give Butt the benefit of the doubt that her play on words was supposed to be devoid of race. Others happens to agree as well:

A Democratic state representative from Memphis said Butt’s comments were racist.  “There’s nothing else it could be,” Rep. Johnnie Turner told Nashville Scene. “It’s a sign of an underlying belief that whatever special privileges that are afforded to people who are white are now being taken away by people of other races, color, ethnicity, etc.  “It just reinforces my belief, and others who think like I do, that there is still a lot of do that we still have a lot to do, that there is still racism prevalent.”

 Not that it would be that much better if we accepted Butt's claim to begin with.


A Democratic state representative from Memphis said Butt’s comments were racist.
“There’s nothing else it could be,” Rep. Johnnie Turner told Nashville Scene. “It’s a sign of an underlying belief that whatever special privileges that are afforded to people who are white are now being taken away by people of other races, color, ethnicity, etc.
“It just reinforces my belief, and others who think like I do, that there is still a lot of do that we still have a lot to do, that there is still racism prevalent.”
- See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf
Butt said she intended NAAWP to mean “National Association of Advancement of Western Peoples,” not a racist twist on the name on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. - See more at: http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/rep-butt-critics-wrong-about-post#sthash.clLcp1Mo.dpuf

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Poll: Most Americans Support Tax Hikes On The Rich; Conversely, Republicans Support Tax Hike On The Poor

According to a recent AP-GfK poll, it appears the American people love themselves some class warfare:


The rich aren't taxed enough and the middle class is taxed too much. As for your taxes, you probably think they're too high as well.

Those are the results of an Associated Press-GfK poll that found that most people in the United States support President Barack Obama's proposal to raise investment taxes on high-income families.

...

According to the poll, 68 percent of those questioned said wealthy households pay too little in federal taxes; only 11 percent said the wealthy pay too much.

Also, 60 percent said middle-class households pay too much in federal taxes, while 7 percent said they paid too little.
As you would probably expect, Democrats were most open to tax hikes, while Republicans were least open to tax hikes. Well, most tax hikes anyway:

Republicans, in general, are more likely than Democrats to oppose higher taxes, except when it comes to low-income families.

Only 19 percent of respondents said low-income families pay too little in federal taxes, but there was a significant split between the political parties. Just 10 percent of Democrats said low-income families pay too little, while 33 percent of Republicans said they don't pay enough.
I'll never understand why people have the impression that Republicans hate poor people.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Obamacare Fails At Killing Corporate Profits

Once again, a new report from Bloomberg proves what I've been saying for years now: President Obama is the worst socialist tyrant ever.

The biggest entitlement legislation in a generation is causing barely a ripple in corporate America.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- otherwise known as Obamacare -- is putting such a small dent in the profits of U.S. companies that many refer to its impact as “not material” or “not significant,” according to a Bloomberg review of conference-call transcripts and interviews with major U.S. employers.
That’s even after a provision went into effect this year requiring companies with 50 or more full-time workers to provide coverage, and after more workers are choosing to enroll in existing company coverage because of another requirement that all Americans get insured. 

Tsk Tsk. A REAL socialist would have made sure every single company in the country filed for bankruptcy mere hours after the law took effect.


“It’s just part of doing business,” said Bob Shearer, chief financial officer of VF Corp., which owns the North Face and Vans apparel brands. “Obamacare has added costs, but not so much that we felt we had to talk about it specifically.”

The collective shrug from the nation’s biggest employers undermines the arguments of Republicans, who call the law a job-killer as they seek its repeal.
While U.S. health-care costs continued to rise faster than inflation in the five years since the law was passed, their rate of growth has slowed. Employers spent an average of $11,204 per worker for health benefits in 2014, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, according to Mercer LLC. That growth rate was 6.1 percent or more each year from 1998 to 2011. 
So despite a presidency that has enacted massive government spending, high taxation and overly burdensome regulations, it appears that the life blood of our economy, the private sector, is still somehow doing just fine. Seems the president really needs to go back to collectivist dictator school.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ted Cruz Still Doesn't Understand That Whole Net Neutrality Thing

Canadian-born U.S. senator, Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been a vocal opponent of net neutrality, even though he doesn't actually seem to understand what net neutrality is. Cruz was none too happy with the recent announcement by FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, about the FCC's plans to regulate internet providers as a utility, and decided to make a HILARIOUS video about it:



The video shows a pixelated Obama, with a fake Obama voice over, announcing that the FCC has "taken over the internet" and will now "set prices" for pretty much all internet related activities. It then ends with a dumb Healthcare.gov joke because why not.

Now while I'm sure some conservatives will no doubt enjoy Ted Cruz's attempt at EVISCERATING Obama, a few things should be pointed out.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Cruz has demonstrated in the past to have no idea what net neutrality actually is, and that appears to still be the case. To be very clear, the government isn't "taking over" the internet. Net Neutrality basically means that telecoms have to treat all data equally. This means that companies like Comcast and Time Warner would charge you the same amount of money whether you're streaming something off of Netflix or browsing this blog. In other words, the recent announcement by the FCC has the effect of keeping things as they always have been. It's just simply a different way of doing the same thing.

And that's one of the things that makes the debate on this subject really frustrating. Conservatives like Ted Cruz, would have you believe that this is some radical, world changing feature, when in fact, it's the exact opposite. Wheeler's proposal keeps the status quo. By eliminating Net Neutrality, Cruz and his ilk would be the ones radically changing the internet.

I'm sure Cruz knows that's a pretty unpopular position to take, so he's trying to muddle the issue by attributing his own awful position as Obama's and Wheeler's. This sort of reality warping is a favorite tactic of Republicans, but hopefully people are smart enough to not fall for it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rick Perry: Texans Like Being Uninsured Thank You Very Much

You would think that having the highest insurance rate in the country would be a bad thing, but according to Texas governor, Rick Perry, that's a feature, not a bug:

Perry proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he called “another example of one-size-fits-all coming out of Washington, D.C.” And he noted that Texas chose not to participate in Medicaid expansion.

“Texas has been criticized for having a large number of uninsured,” he said, “but that’s what Texans wanted. They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance.”

Actually, that's not really accurate. According to a poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune taken in 2013, it would seem that the governor is quite mistaken in his assessment:


 Most of the provisions in Obamacare get overwhelming support (at least 2/3s in all but one category), the medicaid expansion in particular being quite popular.

Of course, Perry may get off on a technicality because while people may love the provisions in Obamacare, they hate the idea of "Obamacare" with only a third viewing it favorably.

Still, the point is that the great state of Texas isn't as freedom-loving as Perry thinks it is.

Alabama Judge Compares Discriminating Gays To Ending Slavery

CNN's Chris Cuomo invited Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore to discuss Moore's continuation of blocking same sex marriage in his state, despite a federal judge telling him to knock it off. The interview is well worth watching in its entirety, but probably the most stunning moment was how Moore tried to justify his shenanigans (skip to 13:15):



Let me ask you this, Chris. Would you have followed the order in Dred Scott that black people were property? Or would you have followed the order in Plessy vs. Ferguson which said that "separate but equal" was the policy of the United States? Can you answer that please?

You really have to admire the ability of conservatives to construct the most twisted logical arguments. Lest there be any confusion, Moore is trying to argue that court decisions that made it okay to discriminate against certain people are exactly the same as court decisions made to prevent discrimination of certain people. And Moore, who is fighting for the right to discriminate against a minority group, sees himself as the same as the people who were fighting against discrimination of a minority group. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Someone should also remind Moore that the people who defied the federal government in the 1800s weren't the abolitionists. And they certainly weren't from the state Moore happens to be a chief justice in.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bobby Jindal: "Shrinking government was the goal, not an unfortunate side effect"

One of the ironclad, universal truths in conservative economics is that tax cuts always lead to more revenues. Unfortunately, in the world of reality, it doesn't always work out that way. And by "doesn't always" I mean "almost never". Tax cuts did not lead to increased revenue in what was formally the great state of Kansas, nor did it happen in other states such as Wisconsin, Maine and Louisiana.

The current financial situation of that last state in particular, was the subject of a New York Times piece over the weekend. It detailed how Louisiana's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, and his extreme right-wing legislature, helped put the state into the situation it's currently in.

“Since I’ve been in Louisiana I’ve never seen a budget cycle as desperate as this one,” said Robert Travis Scott, the president of the Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan group based in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana’s budget shortfall is projected to reach $1.6 billion next year and to remain in that ballpark for a while. The downturn in oil prices has undoubtedly worsened the problem, forcing midyear cuts to the current budget. But economists, policy experts and lawmakers of both parties, pointing out that next year’s projected shortfall was well over a billion dollars even when oil prices were riding high, turn to a different culprit: the fiscal policy pushed by the Jindal administration and backed by the State Legislature.

Class, can anyone guess what fiscal policies Jindal and his ilk tried to push?

Mr. Jindal’s first term began in 2008 with a heady surplus of around $1 billion, high oil prices and a stream of federal disaster recovery money after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. He threw his support behind the largest tax cut in the state’s history and, for a time, had reason to boast about an economy that outperformed the nation’s. But oil prices are fickle, and the recovery money dried up and the recession arrived, if late and in a milder strain than in other states. Since 2010, here as elsewhere, middling has been the new normal.
“The underlying economy has been weaker or more sluggishly growing than we might want to believe,” said Greg Albrecht, the chief economist for the Louisiana Legislature, ticking off a list of metrics that are not picking up steam, including total payroll employment growth and personal income tax receipts.

Well I never would have seen that coming.

As you would probably guess if you knew anything about the Republican Party by now, Jindal has refused to consider reversing his tax cuts and any other tax hikes, instead opting to plug the budget hole he helped create by cutting government services:

With revenues limited, Mr. Jindal has turned to privatization and cuts to balance the budget, commended by some policy experts as corrections to a bloated government and roundly condemned by others as shortsighted.'

Louisiana’s higher education budget, one of the few discretionary targets, has been slashed by more than just about any other state since 2008; there are a thousand fewer full-time college faculty members on the state payroll, and next year Louisiana State University, the state’s flagship institution, is facing a potential 40 percent cut in its operating budget. Possible cuts to health care for next year, when compounded by the loss of matching federal dollars, could approach $1 billion.

Now, none of this is really surprising in the least. But what was surprising was the following comments from Jindal:

In a telephone interview, Mr. Jindal defended his record, attributing “the vast majority” of the shortfall to the downturn in oil prices and insisting that a shrunken state government was the goal, not an unfortunate side effect.

“We made an explicit decision and commitment that we were going to cut the government, the public sector economy, as opposed to the private sector economy,” he said, adding that per capita income in the state is at its highest. “We made the intentional policy decision we think it’d be better to shrink government and cut taxes. That’s unusual for Louisiana.”

Well, isn't this interesting? Everyone knows Republicans want to shrink government, but there was always this weird disconnect where they also seemed to argue that there would never be a need to shrink government because supply-side fairy dust would result in more than enough revenue to pay for everything. And yet here's Jindal giving the game away.

This is someone who thinks he has a shot at becoming president, by the way.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Arthur Laffer Says Tax Cuts Will Make Kansas' Economy Soar...In 10 Years

Those of you who have been following this blog know that I've been keeping a close eye on the economic black hole that was formerly the great state of Kansas.

The Sunflower state is the most recent and best example of the disastrous results of trickle-down economics. Contrary to what was promised, cutting taxes didn't - shockingly enough - lead to more revenues, and job growth wasn't anything to brag about either.

Supply-side proponents are in somewhat of an uncomfortable position, and because of Kansas' blood red political make up, Republicans can't blame any of their troubles on any effeminate Democrats mucking things up. So what can they say?

Well, recently, Arthur Laffer, the father of supply-side economics, attempted to explain to everyone that everything was a-okay:

Celebrity economist Arthur Laffer told me in an interview last week that he was not surprised by the huge deficits Kansas is facing because of massive tax cuts. 
What? Really? He "was not surprised" that his stupid tax cuts would result in large deficits? Because neither he nor his ideological brethren ever seem to pose such a possibility before any tax cuts are enacted.

He told a reporter at the time that he had not produced an economic model on when Kansas will notice meaningful economic growth.
Why the hell not? Did he just figure that tax cuts would lead to massive economic growth because obviously tax cuts lead to massive economic growth?

In a 45-minute phone interview, Laffer said while he is “not surprised,” he didn’t know why the deficits have occurred. He still believes adamantly in his supply-side theory: If you reduce income taxes, you will raise more revenue, not less.
This is an amazing passage. Laffer's both not surprised and also confused by the failure of his policies. And despite the fact that they've clearly resulted in less revenue, he still feels that they'll lead to more revenue. Somehow.

Just when the revenue starts to rise is another matter.
 Ah there we go. So when can we expect the freedom fairy to pay a visit to the Kansas treasury department?

“You have to view this over 10 years,” Laffer said. “It will work in Kansas.”
Aaaand there we have it. Sam Brownback once said the tax cuts he signed into law would act like a “shot of adrenaline” to the state’s economy. And just like an actual shot of adrenaline, it clearly takes a whole decade to take effect.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ohio Governor Uses Made Up Lincoln Quote To Attack Obama's Free Community College Program

On Fox News Sunday, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) had this to say about President Obama's proposal to raise the capital gains tax to pay for his free community college program:

"You can’t build a little guy up by tearing the big guy down. Abraham Lincoln said it then, and he’s right."

 Sounds like a nice quote. Except one problem: Lincoln didn't actually say that. As Politifact explains:

The true author is Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, a minister-turned-public speaker, born in 1873, eight years after Lincoln was killed. After he left the pulpit, Boetcker, a political conservative, negotiated labor relations.

In 1916, Boetcker published the list of "10 Cannots," a collection of personal truisms largely centered around the benefits of laissez-faire capitalism. The axioms have been mistakenly attributed to Lincoln for decades.

Oops.

But what's also hilarious about Kasich's supposed invocation of Lincoln is that he is one of the worst examples one could use when arguing against taxing the wealthy. After all, it was the very first Republican president himself who signed into law the U.S.' very first progressive income tax. Taxing the job creators at a higher rate is how the Party of Lincoln used to operate before it turned into the Party of Reagan. Lincoln did the very thing that Kasich thinks he would never have done.

That's a pretty big fail all around, governor.

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