Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wall Street Journal Editoral Board Pretends To Care About The Non-Wealthy

Well, looks like we have yet another up is down, black is white, style article from some right-wing rag. This time, it's courtesy of the editorial board of the once reputable Wall Street Journal. See, the board seems to be sad because, despite Obama's continuous speeches on addressing inequality, he seems to only be making it worse.

The President summed up his economic priorities close to the top of his hour-long address. "This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong; it's bad economics," he told his Galesburg, Illinois audience. "When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country."

Then the heart of the matter: "That's why reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority."

Which is the problem. For four and a half years, Mr. Obama has focused his policies on reducing inequality rather than increasing growth. The predictable result has been more inequality and less growth. As even Mr. Obama conceded in his speech, the rich have done well in the last few years thanks to a rising stock market, but the middle class and poor have not. The President called his speech "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class," but no President has done worse by the middle class in modern times.

Yes, the same people that brought us this wonderful infographic are no doubt just terribly concerned about the the average wage slave. Please.

As I've documented many times before, this is nothing new, but it never ceases to be idiotic. The people who run the editorial board couldn't care less about the plight of anyone that's not in the 1%. The figures they cite may be correct, but to claim that because Obama presided over this, its his fault, makes about as much sense as blaming him for BP oil spill.

And speaking of Obama's socialist policies, the board even admits that the rich are doing better off than ever before. But I thought under Chairman ObaMAO, the wealthy would suffer the most? I mean, didn't every right-wing media outlet tell us incessantly that Obama's number one goal was to make the lives of the 1% absolutely miserable? I would think that would make Obama the worst socialist ever (as you may already have known) but I guess the WSJ is arguing that would make him the best socialist ever?

So, what's their solution for this inequality issue? Take a guess:

Mr. Obama would have done far better by the poor, the middle class and the wealthy if he had focused on growing the economy first. The difference between the Obama 2% recovery and the Reagan-Clinton 3%-4% growth rates is rising incomes for nearly everybody.

House Republicans have put a check on Mr. Obama's most destructive economic policies, but the President could do more to help growth if he crossed party lines to pass tax reform the way Reagan did in his second term, or to work out a budget deal as Bill Clinton did in his fifth year.
What else? More tax cuts for the rich. Cause clearly, the solution to the problem of rich people having too much money, is to give them more money. That should help reduce inequality because Reagan.

By the way, notice how they also referenced Clinton in there? I know that after the Kenyan was sworn into office, conservatives suddenly discovered a new found admiration for Clinton, but just to refresh everyone's memories, Clinton passed what was called "the biggest tax increase in American history". And unlike Obama, he did so at the beginning of his first term. This should have caused an economic downturn that would make us yearn for the days of the Great Depression, and yet somehow, we managed to do pretty decently.

Friday, July 26, 2013

GOP Decides To Become The Temper-Tantrum Party

Ever been inside a toy store or perhaps a Target and come across some unfortunate father or mother dealing with their child threatening to hold their breath blue until the parent buys them their game?  The parent knows the kid can't pull it off; anatomy has determined the child will always fail at it.  When that comes to pass, the kid will scream and cry and throw a giant temper-tantrum and embarrass the parents and you'll feel sorry for them.  And if the parent has discipline, the child will not get that toy that day and will go home empty handed.

Well, this has effectively became the relationship Obama has with the Republicans with regards to Obamacare.

In a few months, the ACA exchanges will go online and people will be able to sign up for health insurance through them.  Once January 1st comes around, The ACA will be almost fully implemented and more likely than not instilled as the norm going forward.  This scares the GOP to no end because...well, no one knows really why they oppose giving people easier access to health coverage.  But still, it scares them mightily.  Having lost the 2012 election and deciding to not help reform the law to perform better, the GOP has decided to take up a new tactic:  Demand A Repeal of the ACA or Shut Down The Gov't

Senate Republicans are gathering behind a new message that they would rather cut funds to the government—preventing it from running properly—than allow Obamacare to live another day. As Florida Sen. Marco Rubio put it earlier this month: “You want to delay implementation? Don’t fund it.”

Yes, the GOP is threatening to hit the debt ceiling and cease funding the gov't if Obamacare isn't repealed or defunded.  In other words, they're going to hold their breath til they turn blue until they get their toy! And why?  Because the American people will stand by a minority party refusing to enforce the laws on the books in which the President was just reelected on, right?

We all know how this will play out.  They will hold their breath til they can't.  Indeed, some Republicans are already breaking from this message including John McCain and Richard Burr.  They're no longer 6 years old and figured out holding their breath won't work.

John Boehner conceded after the 2012 election that Obamacare is "law of the land," and implied they wouldn't spend time repealing the whole thing.  And yet, here we are.

So when this tactic doesn't work, we can expect the GOP to go kicking and screaming and embarrassing everyone in Washington.  In fact, according to a Reuters report, we already see what shape this stage will look like:  trying to deceive people from buying into the exchanges.

Sadly, these are the children President Obama must deal with in the coming months and year.  If you're still not convinced, let me give you this tidbit from an interview Rubio conducted recently, reported by way of Greg Sargent's Plum Line

TANTAROSAre you, Senator Marco Rubio, willing to shut down the government over ObamaCare? Because when you talk about the budget, you know better than anyone, that means shut down, potentially.

 RUBIOI think the real question is: Is Barack Obama willing to shut down the government over ObamaCare? In essence, I think we should pay our military. I think we should fund the government. I just don’t think we should fund ObamaCare. And what the President is saying is we either fund ObamaCare or we don’t fund anything. And I think that’s an unreasonable position. And that’s the position he’s taken and the Democrats have taken.

You might need to take a breath and read that segment again because it's that ridiculous. If you're trying to figure out how to wrap your head around that proclamation, just think back to that time you were in the store and a kid was holding his breath and it will all make sense.

Retail Pharmacies Hate Erick Erickson

Well, this gave me a chuckle or two.

Recently, CVS Pharmacy announced that they'd be launching an effort to help promote Obamacare. Fox News contributor, and science aficionado, Erick Erickson, didn't take too kindly to the news, and took to the Twitters to express his displeasure, and declared that he'd be Walgreens exclusive from now on:

Unfortunately for Erick, it turns out that Walgreens announced that it would be doing the exact same thing.

The nation's largest drugstore chain is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield to promote ObamaCare before the new insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1.  
Walgreens and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) launched a website Wednesday and promised to distribute brochures about ObamaCare at Walgreens stores around the country.


Poor Erick. If only Chik-Fil-A had their own pharmacy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tea Party Challenger To Mitch McConnell Criticized Him For Supporting Big Government, But Took $100,000 In Grants From The State of Connecticut To Rebuild His Business

So the Tea Folk in Kentucky came to the realization that senator Mitch McConnell - who, back in 2009, said that it was his goal to make Obama a "one term president" - was in fact, a secret Obama ally all along. As a result, a Kentucky businessman named Matt Bevin will be taking on McConnell in a Republican primary.

Republican vs. Teapublican battles are always entertaining, and this one proves to be no exception. McConnell's campaign lambasted Bevin as "An East coast con man" for accepting a $100,000 grant from the state of Connecticut to rebuild his family's bell manufacturing, which burned down following a lightning strike. Bevin responded to the attack with the following:

"If Mitch McConnell had ever run a business or worked in the private sector, he would recognize what a commendable thing Matt did: He took a nearly bankrupt company, turned it around, saved American jobs and kept a historic bell manufacturing company in America," Durand, the Louisville Tea Party President continued. "Sadly, Mitch McConnell is so out of touch, he doesn’t even understand that saving American jobs is a good thing."

Yes, once again, we have another freedom loving right-winger sucking on the government teat, while simultaneously criticizing others for succumbing to liberal ideology. Remember, it's not welfare if you're a Tea Partier.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Top Tea Party Activist Accidentally Supports The Idea of Single Payer To Replace Obamacare

Well, this was amusing. Dean Clancy, vice president of public policy at Freedomworks (one of the major sewage collection facilities that birthed the Tea Party) went off script on C-SPAN the other day.

Someone called in to talk about TRICARE, the Department of Defense's health care program, and how the U.S. as a whole should adopt something similar to that. Here's how the conversation went:

CALLER: Good morning. I have looked at all the insurance companies all over the world and the governmental plans all over the world and it comes back to one item that sticks out that would work for everybody, employers, retired people, people who have a small business, people who have low insurance and high insurance. That is TRICARE. TRICARE is what would lower everything and increase everything as far as services and there is not a doctor who doesn’t know about TRICARE. [...]

CLANCY: TRICARE is an employer provided insurance for Pentagon employees and their families. I think it is fairly popular with them. It may have some problems, but in general it works better than Obamacare is likely to do. Employer provided insurance works pretty well, in fact Congress has the best employer provided insurance in the country, it’s the gold standard.

Well, I don't necessarily disagree with Clancy, but I'm pretty sure Clancy would disagree with Clancy. It somehow appears to have slipped his mind that TRICARE, is way more freedom killing than Obamacare. Pretty sure Lefties would love to have something like that implemented for everyone.

Later on, after seemingly realizing what he endorsed, Clancy tried to back peddle like crazy:

I was confused, misremembering Tricare as being like the popular and relatively market-based FEHBP, when in fact from your description Tricare is a bit like ObamaCare. 
There we go. Turns out TRICARE was garbage after all. I particularly like the next part:
I did a little refresher research after the show and discovered that Tricare is actually extremely unpopular with its members. (Try gooogling "I hate Tricare" for fun.) I should have remembered that, since one of my colleagues at FreedomWorks grew up in a military household and spits at the word, "Tricare."
Well, I guess that settles that. Sure, I suppose it would have been slightly more helpful to cite some, you know, surveys or studies that measured such things, but I guess getting the opinion of someone who already sides with you ideologically is good enough, I suppose. The other day I met someone who hated The Avengers, so looks like that's gonna bomb for sure now.

Also, his praise for the FEHB (the health care plan for federal employees) is quite baffling, because, as Think Progress points out, it's very similar to the way Obamacare operates:

Clancy also endorsed the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, which is a federally-run exchange of private insurers similar to the marketplaces that will open on October 1 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

He then finishes off with this:
My point, which I stand by, was that employer based health care is more efficient and popular than government-run health care is likely to be. True patient-centered care, if we can establish it, will be even better still.
So to summarize, he was originally trying to demean a government operated program (Obamacare) by praising an even more extreme government operated program (TRICARE) because he accidentally confused it with a different government operated program (FEHB) which turns out is nearly identical to the government operated program he was originally bitching about to begin with (Obamacare). 

Got that?

In any case, I suppose Clancy deserves some credit for at least acknowledging that the Dept. of Defense falls under the banner of "government", unlike a certain someone...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Conservative Author Says Unemployment Problem Can Be Solved By Having Unemployed People Start Their Own Businesses

Liberal radio host, Thom Hartmann invited a conservative author by the name of Daven Michaels on his show the other day. Michaels was there to plug his newly published, pro-outsourcing book, Outsource Smart: Be Your Own Boss....Without Letting Your Business Be The Boss of You.  Throughout the interview, Michaels said several questionable things, but the following exchange caused me to do a spit take:


Michaels: America is the most entrepreneurial place on the planet. It's time to start a business. More and more Americans are starting businesses everyday-

Hartmann: That's cause they're getting laid off by companies outsourcing their jobs!

Michaels: Well, you know what? That's great. So finally they're going to be in control of their own destiny by having their own business.

Hartmann: So...your solution to the American unemployment problem is to start your own business?

Michaels: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Hear that, all you jobless moochers? Your lack of employment is a blessing in disguise!

Does this mean Right-wingers will finally stop bitching about Obama not cleaning up the prior administration's mess fast enough, now that we've established being unemployed is a good thing after all?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pot, Kettle, Black

My man, Noel Shepard of ultra right-wing Newsbusters fame, is a regular here at RIFS, mainly due to the fact that he manages to be even more oblivious than your average right-winger (which is quite an accomplishment). The other day he wrote something that I thought deserves some kind of award in lack of self awareness:

Have you ever wondered if conspiracy theorists actually live in their own world with little contact with anything close to reality?

Take Alex Jones for example who on a recent radio broadcast actually said, "I will defeat Rush Limbaugh in the free market of ideas. People, people like this show more than his"

 Oh, lordy lord.

Sorry, Noel. Alex Jones may be a putz, but neither you nor anyone at this point who identifies with your side, has any right to mock others for being conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theories have pretty much been your bread and butter since Newt Gingrich waddled his way into power back in the 90s.

Whether it's thinking (and I use the term very loosely) that delaying approvals for Teabagger organizations was some brilliant plan hatched by Obama to win the election, or making the BLS cook the books with a completely average jobs bump for the same reason, or that there's a vast climatological industrial complex, or insisting that totalitarian regimes were identified by universal health, or that even the likes of Bill O'Reillly and Sean Hannity are in on the BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! coverup, you assholes have the loony bin market completely cornered.

If we go line by line and note the differences in Mr. Shepard's and Alex Jones' beliefs, I'm pretty sure we'll find very, very little disagreement on most areas. And every conspiracy theory I mentioned in the previous paragraph, is something I doubt  Mr. Shepard would disagree with as well.

David Brooks Accidentally Admits That Republicans Are Trying To Sabotage Obamacare

Everyone's favorite very serious Republican was on Meet The Press today to once again whine about how Obama's being unreasonable cause he refuses to gut his signature piece of legislation. The panel was discussing the administration's decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate in Obamacare. That led to this exchange between Brooks and Chuck Todd (skip to 4:55):

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Todd: You could argue that there are some Republicans that are trying to sabotage the law. That they're hoping to not get it off the ground and then they can suddenly make the case "See? We gotta get rid of it." and they've got some state governors that are openly trying to sabotage it. You've got - look at what McConnell and Cornyn did to the Sports League. That was a shake down. That was a threatening letter by the two leaders of the senate Republicans who essentially said -

*cross talk*

 Todd: - "If you help them try to enact this law of the land, be careful, there'll be political repercussions. "

Brooks: They would say, the Republicans would say "We're sabotaging a Rube Goldberg device that wouldn't work anyway."

Two things:

1. If it "wouldn't work anyway," why would there be a need for sabotaging to begin with?
2. The idea that Republicans are trying to sabotage anything and everything Obama does is in itself, not surprising to anyone who's been paying attention since January 2009. But like with other things, just because everyone knows what they're trying to do, it doesn't mean you should say it out loud. That would be unseemly. The proper protocol is to ignore such an inconvenience entirely as if it never happened and insist that the opposition is, regardless of all available evidence, trying to work in good faith.

Brooks has been doing this schtick long enough that I'm surprised he made such a rookie mistake.