Sunday, June 30, 2013

Obama Is the Worst Socialist Ever: Part 87

To continue my ongoing series, Obama is the Worst Socialist Ever, we have a new entry from Newsbusters columnist, Tom Blumer.  Mr. Blumer cited a report from the AP (a media outlet that's, as  Blumer consistently points out, is one of the Obama Admin's most loyal underlings...whose phone records were seized by his justice department) that shows just how much of an evil socialist Obama really is:

On Sunday, in a report which I contend would surely have been published on a weekday -- and more importantly, published with far greater clarity -- if a Republican or conservative were in the White House, the Associated Press's Paul Wiseman essentially explored the following question: "Why aren't people spending more if they're so much richer?"

The answer he found, which should surprise no one in touch with reality, is that quite a few of us aren't richer. We're poorer. But Wiseman also cryptically revealed some of the dollar amounts involved and enough other information to enable one to back into an estimate of the shocking degree of wealth redistribution which has taken place during the recession and the first term of the Obama administration -- and it's not in the direction you might think.


Barack Obama said he wanted to "spread the wealth around" to Joe the Plumber in 2008. He just worked to spread it to the top half of households. Meanwhile, largely because of housing policies which have kept values low and the new-home market in the doldrums, the bottom half has seriously suffered. This is of course not only the opposite of what his supporters expected, but also the opposite of what his supporters believe has happened.

As some of you may know, this sort of thing happens from time to time. Certain conservatives seem to realize that advocating things like cutting food stamps for children in order to allow people like Donald Trump to buy more gold plated toilet seats, isn't really the most popular position to take (sad as it may seem). So some conservatives have decided that the obvious solution to this little problem is to try and express a little bit of empathy for the plight of the poor, while still advocating the aforementioned unpopular policy.

For the past five years, every right-wing outlet couldn't let ten seconds go by without complaining about Obama's animosity towards the most unfortunate among us: the people at the highest echelons of society. Ever since Obama first read A Communist Manifesto in college (which also was around the same time he started reading the Koran), he's dreamed of extracting every single penny from the nation's most productive people and redistributing it to the filthy masses. Oh, and probably kill them shortly afterwards too.

Ah, but wait! Here's Tom Blumer telling us that the the spiritual successor to Stalin, has in fact wound up redistributing wealth in the opposite direction of which he claimed he would! Has he no shame?! Why does he lack sympathy for the poor, HUH? Always going around and helping lining his rich buddies pockets instead of decapitating them and placing their heads on pikes on the White House lawn like he promised on the campaign!

Obama could, of course, solve this problem by enacting more tax cuts for the rich, but clearly he hates the poor too much to do so.

Ralph Reed Has No Problem With States Forcing Women To Have Transvaginal Ultrasounds

So Teavangelical lowlife, Ralph Reed, graced the set of Meet The Press today to discuss, among other things, one of the most popular topics around the water cooler: abortion. He was joined by fellow Teavangelical, former senator Jim DeMint, and marriage destroyer extraordinaire, Rachel Maddow on the panel.

DeMint said that the anti-abortion bills he supports, such as those that mandate transvaginal ultrasounds are just fine and dandy with the womenfolk because he figures that they would want an "informed choice". Ms. Maddow kindly pointed out to the former senator that the words "mandate" and "choice" don't exactly get along. It was at this point that Reed stepped in to assist DeMint, and this exchange followed:

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Maddow: Do you think women should be forced to have an ultrasound if they don't want one?

Reed: I think that should be litigated at the state level.

Well, I suppose we should give Reed credit for being compassionate enough to allow doctors to jam some medical rod up a woman's vagina only at a state level.

Later on, during a discussion on gay marriage, Reed bragged that the recent SC decision will help mobilize Evangelicals as it did in 2012 on the local, state and federal level. Maddow once again was kind enough to point out that despite that, they lost every single one of those battles.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Erick Erickson Wants To Base Policies On Perceptions Instead Of Reality

Today, Politico's Dylan Byers posted the back and forth between Red State's Erick Erickson and economist Paul Krugman.  You see, Erickson recently stated that regular folk (by that I assume he means conservatives) are concerned about the price of milk and bread inflating despite claims by Fed Chairman Ben Bernake of low inflation.  Well, Krugman decided to respond with that evil treachery known as "data."

As you can see, the price of milk has dropped since the Great Recession and bread has held fairly stable:

Confronted with hard data, Erickson's response was, well, bizarre.
Paul uses a chart to try to disprove the reality that Americans with small kids actually experience at the grocery store. His problem is he thinks I'm attacking the Democrats and wants to defend them, when the criticism is broader and bipartisan. And if he hung around moms and dads with kids more often he'd hear a lot more real world complaining about bread, milk, and other grocery item prices going up while paychecks are staying the same. Not everything is academic or chartable and sometimes the accuracy of the chart isn't as real to people as the perception they have that their grocery store bills are getting more expensive though their shopping habits haven't changed.
Seriously, Paul's point is correct, but it is an issue of perception of people versus the reality of his chart.  He can certainly go tell people milk prices haven't gone up, but good luck getting them to believe him.

So, he concedes that Krugman is correct but that people won't believe him.  People are complaining about the prices of bread and milk going up even if they aren't actually going up.  Okay, that might be true, but then what is the point here?

Is Erickson asserting that our government should be basing policy not on what is actually true but what people instead believe even when that belief is incorrect?  People wrongly believe we have inflation, therefore the Fed should do policies to combat inflation.  Gee, what could go wrong!?

This is made all the more hilarious when you realize it's coming from a promoter of the party which claims its problem in national elections is rooted in messaging and perceptions and has since continued making inflammatory statements about immigrants, rape victims, and women in general.

So let's call a spade a spade here.  Erickson made an incorrect statement about the prices of bread and milk, got called out on it by someone who actually knows what he's talking about, and then tried to pass it off as something else.  The unfortunate aspect is once these ideas get planted, they're tough to crack.

When confronted with the real price of milk, Tom Anderson (who directs a conservative think tank called National Legal And Policy Center) told Bloomberg's Josh Barro that he doesn't buy store-brand milk as if somehow switching from choice cut steaks to prime cut steaks would implicate inflation.

I guess store-brand milk is for snobs...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Maybe Republican Governors Should Let The Federal Government Tread On Them Just a Little...

On Saturday's episode of Up With Steve Kornacki (that still sounds weird), Matt Yglesias made a very interesting point about governors rejecting the medicaid expansion:

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"When the democrats were writing the Obamacare bill, they knew some states are more conservative than others. They knew that Republicans wouldn't be enthusiastic about this, so they made the terms of medicaid expansion extremely generous. I mean, it's all federal money, and your state, you know, the people that live in Arizona, or Michigan or wherever I mean, they're paying taxes to the federal government one way or the other. Not expanding medicaid doesn't save anyone any money. It just costs your local health care providers and your local citizens a bundle.

The bolded is an extremely important detail. Generally, when we're detailing the negative aspects of states rejecting the medicaid expansion, we tend to focus on the most obvious result: poor people once again get screwed. But as Yglesias pointed out, there's another layer to this.

As conservatives will no doubt love to remind everyone, Obamacare comes with quite a few taxes. These taxes will be paid by people in every state to fund, among other things, the medicaid expansion. But by refusing to accept the medicaid expansion, Red state citizens will be shelling out money to the federal government, but won't necessarily be receiving the benefits that come with it. The money will most likely be diverted to states that will expand medicaid (You know, Blue states).

In other words, every Republican governor and/or Republican legislature who thinks they're socking it to Obama, will in fact only be screwing over their own taxpayers, by essentially subsidizing health care for states like California, Massachusetts and New York! We've seen a similar case before when Florida Govenor, Rick Scott rejected funding for high speed rail.

This presents an interesting conundrum for our friends on the Right. Do they reject expanding medicaid and support the moocher class in Blue states, or do they accept the expansion to support the moocher class in their own states?

Either way, it's a lose-lose situation for Republicans.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Much Collateral Damage Are Republicans Willing To Inflict In Order To Destroy Obamacare?

Well, this should be interesting. It seems Republicans have somewhat of a conundrum. They hate Obamacare, but they're pretty buddy-buddy with religious institutions (the non-blasphemous ones, of course). So what happens when trying to do whatever it takes to destroy Obamacare means directly hurting one of your own constituencies? Ed Kilgore and Anne Kim explain the problem:

How much do congressional Republicans hate Obamacare? How determined are they to see it fail?
We may soon find out. For the first time, a constituency group to whom the GOP normally pays close attention—religious institutions—is asking for a legislative “fix” of the Affordable Care Act to make it work as intended. If the recent past is any indication, conservatives will resist any such effort on grounds that Obamacare must be repealed root and branch, not repaired or reformed.
Months of outreach to Republican Senate offices by religious leaders have yielded no official GOP support to an appeal from a broad coalition of religious denominations to ensure that church-sponsored health plans can participate in the ACA’s health insurance exchanges. Worse yet, from a partisan Republican point of view, two Democratic senators, Mark Pryor and Chris Coons, were the first responders to this call, introducing legislation late last week. Pryor is widely viewed as the GOP’s number one senatorial target in 2014.

Without the requested “fix,” as many as one million clergy members and church employees now enrolled in church-sponsored health plans could soon face the choice of leaving these plans (designed to meet their unique needs, such as the frequent reassignment of clergy across state lines) or losing access to the tax subsidies provided by the ACA to help lower-to-middle income Americans purchase insurance. 


Without the “fix,” he said, clergy would be “forced out” of church plans to access the tax credits they would otherwise be entitled to receive under the law. And that in turn could threaten the viability of the plans themselves. Among the supporters of the Pryor-Coons effort are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian Church. The legislation also enjoys the backing of the Church Alliance, a coalition of religious organizations represented by the firm K&L Gates.

It's gonna be pretty hard to tell which way this'll go. Republicans are generally pretty shameless when it comes to rewarding their constituencies with the very same government handouts that they desire to obliterate. And yet, the very same crop of Republicans have also proven time and time again that destroying Obama is worth the price of any collateral damage.

All I know is that this is gonna require a lot of praying.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Looks Like The Unskewed Polls Mentality Is Here To Stay

And here I thought Republicans actually learned* something from that whole 2012 Election thing:

A Republican pollster is claiming that the US Senate race in Massachusetts is tied. McLaughlin & Associates reports that Rep. Ed Markey (D) and Gabriel Gomez (R) are within 1% of each other, a statistical tie. The firm brags that Gomez has “stolen the momentum” in the race.

Other, more independent pollsters including New England College and Emerson College have reported recent polls showing Markey with a 12% lead over the pro-gun Republican.

The poll is being promoted by conservative websites like The Weekly Standard and The Drudge Report.
Back in 2012, McLaughlin & Associates also provided hope to Republicans. Their polls claimed that Mitt Romney had a 3% lead in Florida, where President Obama eventually won by 0.9%. They claimed Romney was ahead by 4% in Colorado, Obama won by almost 5%. In the battleground state of Virginia, McLaughlin & Associates insisted that Romney had a 7% lead, but Obama won Virginia with a comfortable 3% margin.

In October of 2012, McLaughlin & Associates embraced the conspiracy theory that polls had been skewed in order to favor the Democratic party. Jim McLaughlin, partner and namesake of the firm, released a memo that insisted, “the voter samples that the media pollsters will call are already stacked to favor Democrats over Republicans.”

Dunno about the rest of you, but I for one have ZERO problems with Republicans continuing to believe they're winning the polls, even if they're not. It'll make the reactions to eventual election day results all the more entertaining.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bryan Fischer Comes To Erick Erickson's Rescue

Bryan Fischer, the Christian Fundamentalist head of the American Family Association, was on Thom Hartmann's show the other day to discuss the little brouhaha Erick Erickson created when he lamented the fact that the womenfolk just don't know their place.

Fischer spent most of the interview denying that he was advocating the idea that women are inferior to men, before finally admitting that he was in fact arguing that very thing:


Hartmann: Some of the women I know actually would like men to treat them like equals and stop treating them like objects and stop treating them like subordinates.

Fischer: Absolutely. And Christianity teaches them to treat wives with honor...

Hartmann: Well, I'm not talking about honor like "oh gee, you poor thing", I'm talking about "you are my equal".

Fischer: Absolutely. Equal in value, and worth different in role.

Hartmann: And that role is a subordinate role?

Fischer: That role is to nurture life.

Hartmann: You're, you're - the explicit in the teachings that you're promoting is that the husband is the husband is head of the household and the woman is subordinate to him.

Fischer: Well, that's what the owner's manual says, Thom.

Well, there you have it, ladies. Bryan Fischer might appear like a misogynistic asshat, but he's only following the Bible. It's not like the Good Book's ever been wrong about anything, right?