A huge overnight price increase for an important tuberculosis drug has been rescinded after the company that acquired the drug gave it back to its previous owner under pressure, it was announced on Monday.
However, outrage over a gigantic price increase for another drug spread into the political sphere on Monday, causing biotechnology stocks to fall broadly as investors worried about possible government action to control pharmaceutical prices. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell more than 4 percent.
“Price-gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” Hillary Rodham Clinton, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a tweet on Monday. She said she would announce a plan on Tuesday to deal with rising drug prices.
Ms. Clinton was referring to the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which last month acquired Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used to treat a serious parasitic infection, and raised its price to $750 per tablet, from $13.50.
Tuesday ReadsPosted: September 22, 2015 Filed under: 2014 elections, 2016 elections, Bobby Jindal, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics 26 Comments
Well, I really didn’t think I’d end up writing my next morning reads about Scott Walker although we’ve covered his reign of terror in Wisconsin quite a bit. It appears the Koch sponsored Governors are not doing very well this year. Walker’s coffers were full of funds but his campaign was as empty as bucket with a hole much like his rhetoric and ideology.
After a dramatic fall from the top tier of Republican presidential candidates over the last several weeks, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended his bid for the White House Monday.
“Today, I believe that I’m being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Walker announced at a press conference in Madison, Wisconsin on Monday. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”
“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front runner,” Walker went on to say, referring to current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Walker’s run started on July 13 and lasted 71 days.
The move comes just two months after polls showed Walker leadingTrump in the crucial, first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. Many pundits considered Walker to be a favorite for GOP nomination after his successful recall election in Wisconsin in 2012 and his establishment support.
But over the last several weeks, Walker has fallen dramatically in national polls, registering at less than 0.5 percent in the latest national CNN/ORC poll this weekend. In Iowa, where for much of the year Walker was considered the favorite to win the first in the nation caucuses, Walker slid from 19 percent to 5 percent in just six weeks of NBC News/Marist polling.
Walker first gained attention in Iowa for a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January. But after riding high in the polls in that state for over half the year, Walker was outpaced in the polls following a lackluster performance in the first televised Republican debate.
Walker, never having graduated college, pitched himself as an outsider to Washington and argued that the next president needed to be a governor.
Walker’s governorship was ideological from the get go. Anyone with a critical eye toward results can see the damage he’s done to Wisconsin. Kansas and Louisiana also stand out as failed states in the ALEC/Koch style. It’s not like any of these guys can run on a successful economy or stewardship of their state’s funds. Walker’s jihad against teachers and police officers and their unions took on a nasty tone. His actions spoke far louder than his words on the campaign trail. I found his debate manner insipid. Even one of his slighted former campaign aids said he tried to please every one and came off as having no real core ideals.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose early glow as a Republican presidential contender was snuffed out with the rise of anti-establishment rivals, announced Monday that he was quitting the race and urged some of his 15 rivals to do the same so the party could unite against the leading candidate, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Walker’s pointed rebuke of Mr. Trump gave powerful voice to the private fears of many Republicans that the party risked alienating large parts of the electorate — Hispanics, women, immigrants, veterans, and most recently, Muslims — if Mr. Trump continued vilifying or mocking them as part of his overtures to angry and disaffected voters.
Still, Mr. Walker’s exit was not a selfless sacrifice: He was running low on campaign cash, sliding sharply in opinion polls, losing potential donors to rivals and unnerving supporters with a stream of gaffes, like saying he would consider building a wall along the Canadian border.
Appearing ashen and drained at a brief news conference late Monday in Madison, Mr. Walker said the Republican presidential field was too focused on “how bad things are” rather than on “how we can make them better for everyone.” Without naming Mr. Trump, Mr. Walker issued a plea to fellow candidates to coalesce around a different Republican who could offer a more “optimistic” vision and guide the party to a victory next year that, he admitted with sadness in his voice, he could not achieve himself.
The Great Wall of Canada may have been the first whiff of how absolutely clueless the man was on the world outside. What was he planning on doing? Stopping Americans from getting cheap Canadian drugs?
His last speech was a rail against big labor. That’s hardly a zinger in a country where labor membership can’t get much lower.
Walker’s decision to quit followed two lackluster debate appearances, tepid fundraising and several statements that attracted a flurry of negative headlines, including those that followed the candidate’s assertion that building a wall along the Canadian border was a possibility that deserved further examination. It may have also been hurt by the fact that Walker is essentially a life-long politician in an election season in which Americans are so far embracing outsiders.
While Walker’s union-bashing record provided his ticket into the race, the narrative that brought him headlines and donors didn’t prove to be a white-hot issue. At a time when organized labor is already losing membership, reducing its clout hasn’t been a top national priority for most Republicans. In the first debate on Aug. 6, the word “union” was used just three times, and only once by Walker, in his closing statement.
“I took on the big-government union bosses, and we won,” said Walker, who saw his state and national poll numbers fall almost as soon as Trump entered the race. “They tried to recall me, and we won. They targeted us again, and we won.”
The references were to Walker’s 2011 fight with public-sector unions, as well as his 2012 recall and 2014 general election victories, both contests that included heavy union spending against him. His ability to remain “unintimidated” in those battles has become a central theme of Walker’s campaign.
On the campaign trail, however, Walker wasn’t that intimidating. In an often monotone Midwestern voice, his speeches virtually never changed and he wasn’t as quick on his feet in interviews or during debates as some of his opponents. While he worked extremely hard to stress his common-man credentials, seemingly making almost continuous references to his love of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, it also kept him from looking presidential.
He just couldn’t hold a candle to The Donald. Or, so he says and they say …
But Walker began the 2016 campaign season in a promising spot. He had a record of fighting for conservative priorities in Wisconsin in a way that impressed both the GOP’s base and its elites. Since he wasn’t so identified with pro-immigration policies as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, it seemed to some that he was well-positioned to unite the party’s disparate factions. And despite some early rockiness on policy issues, Walker took the lead in Iowa caucus polls in mid-February, and held it for the next five and a half months.
Then Hurricane Trump rolled in. The billionaire’s showmanship and disdain for what he called “political correctness” on the topic of unauthorized immigration excited the Republican right, and powered him to the front of polls nationally and in Iowa.
In comparison, Walker looked like a typical politician, had an unimpressive speaking style, and failed to stand out from the crowd in the two debates so far. In last week’s second debate, the Wisconsin governor spoke the least of any candidate, and twopost-debate surveys asking Republican voters who won this week’s debate found Walker in last place of the 11 primetime debaters. After the first debate, he plummeted in the polls both in Iowa and nationally. Currently, he’s in 11th place nationally and in 7th place in Iowa, according to RealClearPolitics’s poll averages.
There are some other candidates that are on the ropes but seem oblivious to their problems. Hillary was in Baton Rouge yesterday. Jindal challenged her to debate health care with him. Instead, she took the stage and left him to his less than 1% standing in the polls among Republican voters. She’s not backing down on the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Hillary Clinton defended President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, during a campaign stop in Baton Rouge on Monday and took aim at her Republican rivals who say they want to repeal “Obamacare.”“It’s not just a political issue, it’s a moral issue,” the Democratic presidential front-runner told a crowd of 1,200 cheering supporters and schoolchildren at the Louisiana Leadership Institute.
Attendees circulated volunteer sign-up sheets and texted their information to the campaign during the rally, which was the first of several stops on Clinton’s latest effort to campaign on the importance of the federal health care law and her plans to protect and build on it.
“I’m not going to let them tear up that law, kick 16 million people off their coverage and force the country to start the health care debate all over again,” she said as supporters waved bright blue “Hillary” signs.
Clinton won several bouts of applause from the friendly crowd, particularly as she took jabs at Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, both Republicans.
Jindal, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, has been a vocal opponent of Obamacare and has repeatedly called for its repeal. He also blocked the state from expanding its Medicaid program for the poor and uninsured through an optional piece of the federal health care law — a point that Clinton was quick to point out.
“He put ideology ahead of the well-being of the people and the families in this state,” Clinton said, noting that some 190,000 people in Louisiana would have been eligible for Medicaid if Jindal had supported expansion.
The ACA has faced near constant backlash from many Republicans since it was signed into law in 2010. Jindal, through his America Next policy group, released hisown proposal to repeal the law and replace it last year.
But Clinton said such a move would be too disruptive and vowed to fight any effort to repeal the law, if elected.
“I want to build on the progress we’ve made. I’ll do more,” she said.
Clinton said she would announce a plan this week to further address health care costs, including rising drug prices.
The equity markets are evidently betting on Hillary. The viral story of the day was of a dudebro hedge fund manager who bought a drug on the cheap and hiked its price to the stratosphere. Hillary demanded investigation in to price gouging and the entire industry felt the discipline of the market and the expectation she’d do it too. One company who’d gotten a patent from a non profit associate with Perdue for a Tuberculous drug wound up with the patent deal rescinded. The dudebro’s move still stands for the time being.
Mania-prone biotech stocks were in the market’s doghouse Monday, after a 21-word tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ripping a drug company’s pricing policy sparked a sharp selloff for the group.
Referencing a New York Times report on a steep price hike for a drug recently acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, Clinton lambasted the often-astronomical price tags for specialty drugs being developed by biotech and pharmaceutical companies and pledged to provide a plan to keep such therapeutic costs in check.
You can read more about both situations here.
It’s really interesting to watch the difference between a campaign on fire and one going doing in flames.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Friday Reads: An Immodest ProposalPosted: January 9, 2015 Filed under: 2014 elections, morning reads, U.S. Economy | Tags: Ghost States, Red State Welfare, the Buffalo Commons 37 Comments
One of the many things that continues to fascinate me these days is that the number of people voting for Democrats and indicating more faith in that party than the Republican one begins to grow. Yet, the results of the recent election show that it hardly matters. States with more cows than people get an equal say in the U.S. Senate and that is a problem. In fact, “Senate Democrats got 20 million more votes than Senate Republicans. Which means basically nothing.”
Here’s another: Democratic candidates in all of the races won by Republicans or Democrats got about 98.7 million votes. Republican candidates in those same races got 94.1 million.
The 20 million figure, in other words, is cherry-picked to accentuate the gap. Vox’s analysis comes from a researcher at FairVote, which advocates for reforms to how members of Congress are elected.
Interestingly, Republicans got as many votes when losing to Democrats (about 47 million) as they did when beating Democrats. Democratic losers, though, got only about 31.3 million votes in losing. In other words: Democrats won their races by 20.3 million votes combined — Republicans won theirs by 15.7 million.
Trende points out a key reason for this: Most of the Republicans won in lower-turnout elections. It’s true that there were smaller states up for grabs this year: If you total the population from every state with an election this year — including Oklahoma and South Carolina twice — and divide by the number of races, you get about 48.7 million, compared to 72.7 million on average in 2012. But Republicans won 46 of their 54 seats in 2010 and 2014, compared to the Democrats, who won 23 of their 44 in 2012. In 2010, total turnout was about 90 million. Two years later, thanks to the presidential election, it was 40 million votes higher.
Another interesting tidbit is that these states cost the country a lot more than they are literally worth. They are a huge drain on the country’s finances and require a vast number of subsidies while decrying the use of subsidies by people.
Many “red states” beat their chest as being fiscally conservative. Proud of their low income tax, business friendly environment, and self-reliance rhetoric.
But is it fair?
California, a “blue state,” gets just $.80 back for every $1 they put in. New York, even worse. They get less than $.75 on their dollar.
Whose going to start calling out the hypocrisy of some of the red states who point fingers at states like California and New York as the problem? These states want self-reliance? On what? California and New York’s goodwill?
This isn’t something Democrats should be proud of. They’re leaders are the one’s sitting there while their citizens get the short end of the stick.
Not something Republicans should be proud of either. Kinda hard to be the fiscal conservative when you ask Uncle Sam to pay your bills.
A lot of these states were brought in as territories via the Louisiana Purchase or at the close of the Mexican American War. Most of these states have a vast amount of land–a lot of it actually owned and managed by the Federal Government–and they were probably brought in at a time when a lot of folks thought the middle of the country would eventually fill up with people or at least become a place with a viable economy. Many Native American nations were literally rolled over to create vast wastelands of ranches and natural resource extraction outposts. Does it really makes sense to continue to support the way these outback states were carved out and is there any legal way to consolidate them now?
Yes, this would decrease the number of Senators in the Senate. But, it would mean each Senator would be slightly more powerful. It actually might improve the odds of an outback state’s House delegation having more power. I mean, really, Nebraska has 3 Congressmen. Who ever listens to even one of them? They’re a basic flyover state in terms of the presidential election too. They usually get a hit and run by a vice president or vice presidential candidate. If they were part of a larger state with similar topography and concerns, they’d be part of state with a larger congressional block even though they’d fold into one or more states and thereby share a Senator with more people and antelope.
So, why can’t we look at Outback States like Idaho, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, etc. and just consolidate them? Why shouldn’t Nebraska and the Dakotas become one state? Or say, why not fold Idaho, Montana and Wyoming into Washington? Why should every one in the country suffer from the leadership these outback states send to the Senate while having to pay so much for them even to exist? Is there some way to redo these old territories into larger, consolidated states with a more economically viable level of population to support the vast areas of nothing but nature that basically define their states? Could we do it?
A long time ago, I remember a proposal called The Buffalo Commons made by Frank and Deborah Popper. It was a suggestion to turn a large part of the middle of the country into a huge National Park that would be left to the wild. I bet it would still be controversial today and more impossible given that setting up more National Parks is likely to be more unpopular today than it was 40 years ago. But, many of the same problems the concept worked to solve still exist, and now we have even bigger issues since our outback states are high maintenance and tend to send representatives with a coup mentality to Congress. Why can’t we just consolidate a few of them and try to at least make them less costly to the rest of us? It’s even more important from a resource protection standpoint as indicated by the stupidity surrounding the Keystone Pipeline. This is a boondoggle which benefits the special interests of a few politicians and is likely to create risk to the many including the folks living in these states. Wouldn’t it be nice for them to have a lot more say in the future of how federal lands and federal co-option of private land operates?
In 1987, Drs. Frank and Deborah Popper developed their bold new idea for a Buffalo Commons, (Popper and Popper, “The Great Plains: From Dust to Dust, PLANNING, 1987). Their continuing research showed that hundreds of counties in the American West still have less than a sparse 6 persons per square mile — the density standard Frederick Jackson Turner used to declare the American Frontier closed in 1893. Many have less than 2 persons per square mile.
The frontier never came close to disappearing, and in fact has expanded in the Plains in recent years. The 1980 Census showed 388 frontier counties west of the Mississippi. The 1990 Census shows 397 counties in frontier status, and the 2000 Census showed 402. Most of this frontier expansion is in the Great Plains. Kansas actually has more land in frontier status than it did in 1890.
Great Plains Restoration Council mounted a Plains-wide mapping project at the county level, using a series of economic and social indicators, to show exactly where the frontier is and how much further it has expanded. GPRC than did more sophisticated mapping that scrutinized these and other factors down to the Census Block level, allowing for a much more rigorous and exact understanding of ecological, biological, geographical, topographical, demographic and political conditions. Since then, we have specifically honed our focus onto a few, key target ecological areas while developing a new model of youth education.
There once were over 400 million acres of wild prairie grasslands in the central part of North America. The backbone of the Buffalo Commons movement is the work — over a period of decades — to re-establish and re-connect prairie wildland reserves and ecological corridors large enough for bison and all other native prairie wildlife to survive and roam freely, over great, connected distances, while simultaneously restoring the health and sustainability of our communities wherever possible so that both land and people may prosper for a very long time. Future generations may choose to expand these reserves and corridors, as the new culture of caring and belonging we have started today becomes an integral, ingrained part of life in the world of tomorrow, especially as extensive grasslands become needed to help absorb carbon from the atmosphere. (Highly biodiverse native prairies are excellent carbon sequesters.)
So, I’m not a legal expert, but it seems if a state can be made out of a territory then several states can be merged into something more viable for the modern country. I’d love to hear if anyone thinks this is way to bring more democratic representation to the country. Frankly, I think this could be a win win situation if some of these people would give up their provincial loyalties.
Again, the consolidation would bring a larger delegation to the House for a combined state, and it might make them feel more relevant to the Presidential election process. Right now, everyone ignores nearly every state but Colorado on the way across the Mississippi to hear about California. I’ve actually lived in states that I think would make good candidates to consolidate with other states so I do have some knowledge of what it’s like to live in the Great American Outback. I certainly believe it makes a lot of sense to look to see if those territories would’ve been dealt a better situation had they be carved out into different looking states. This is especially true since so many of them really don’t have all that many people in them and most of them are have been losing population for some time. What exactly constitutes a ghost state?
Here’s a few other things you can think on today.
Here are two studies on the Affordable Healthcare Act. One is by the Rand Corporation and the other by the Brookings Institute. It’s especially relevant to look at the link between the law and the tax credits since this is the next challenge to the law to come before SCOTUS. The last was the idea that states could opt out of the Medicaid Expansion which created a horrible situation for those of us in states ruled by Red State Crazies. First some points from the Brookings Institute.
In “The Early Impact of the Affordable Care Act State-by-State,” Brookings nonresident fellow in Economic Studies and Yale University Economics Department faculty member Amanda Kowalski finds that national enrollment trends obscure significant variation across states, as a result of the types of people who opted in and how insurers set premiums. Across all states, from before the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first half of 2014, enrollment-weighted average per-person premiums in the individual health insurance market rose by 24.4% beyond what they would have had they simply followed state-level seasonally-adjusted trends. This large increase stands in contrast to the experience in Massachusetts, which saw premium decreases after its 2006 reform, as documented by Kowalski in previous joint research. Massachusetts also saw decreases in markups (premiums minus costs), which have been rare in other states in 2014.
Kowalski focuses on the individual insurance market using data through the second quarter of 2014 after the open enrollment period ended. She characterizes states into five groups, based on their involvement in the implementation of the ACA. On one extreme were the 5 “direct enforcement” states that ceded all enforcement of the ACA to the federal government (Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming). On the other extreme were 8 states (Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) that took the implementation of the ACA into their own hands by implementing the Medicaid expansion and setting up their own exchanges. Another group of 5 of these states also set up their own exchanges and expanded Medicaid, but experienced severe technology glitches (Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Oregon), so she examines them as a distinct group. The two groups in the middle of the implementation spectrum include a set of 11 states that adopted the Medicaid expansion but did not set up their own exchanges (Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and West Virginia) and a set of 19 “passive” states that did not fit into any of the other four groups (Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin) – they took some role in implementing the ACA, but did not implement the Medicaid expansion, and they used the federal exchange. All comparisons exclude California and New Jersey because their data are not complete, and they also exclude Massachusetts, because Massachusetts implemented its own reform in 2006.
She finds that individuals in “direct enforcement” states – those states that that ceded all enforcement of the ACA to the federal government (Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming) – are worse off by approximately $245 per participant on an annualized basis, relative to participants in states that were passive implementers of the ACA.
Kowalski also finds, not surprisingly, that the 5 states that had severe glitches with their exchanges (Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Oregon) are worse off than other states with well-functioning state exchanges (Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), by a large magnitude – approximately $750 per participant on an annualized basis. On the other hand, participants in states that set up well-functioning exchanges were better off than they would have been had their states been passive by approximately $420 per enrollee.
Reviewing data on the 27 states that adopted the Medicaid expansion, she finds that those that expanded were better off than all other states, although the amount is not statistically significant.
Kowalski also divides states based on whether they allowed renewal of non-grandfathered plans in response to the backlash that if people “liked their plan they could keep it” (27 did, but DC and the remaining 23 did not). She finds that participants in states that allowed renewal of non-grandfathered plans are worse off by around $220 annually than participants in other states who did not allow grandfathered non-compliant plans – likely because the people who remained in non-grandfathered plans were healthier than other people in the individual health insurance market.
Using the most recent data collected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and compiled by SNL Financial, which includes individual health insurance enrollment outside of the exchanges, Kowalski takes a broader view than the widely-cited report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), which reported 8 million exchange enrollees in May. By taking a broader view, Kowalski is able to observe trends in the individual health insurance market from before the exchanges opened for business. Taking these trends into account, at least 4.2 million enrollees are newly-covered in this market (many were likely previously uninsured, but some may have switched from other types of coverage).
Looking at the states individually, she finds that the law benefitted enrollees in at least 13 states (Alaska, Connecticut, DC, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont), with Maine enrollees gaining the most at around $1500 per market participant annually, whereas Oregon (a state with severe glitches on its website and roll-out) experienced the greatest loss – around $850 annually per participant.
The Rand Study has these findings.
In this research report, RAND Corporation researchers assess the expected change in enrollment and premiums in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)–compliant individual market in federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) states if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to eliminate subsidies in FFM states. The analysis used the Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE) microsimulation model, an economic model developed by RAND researchers, to assess the impact of proposed health reforms. The authors found that enrollment in the ACA–compliant individual market, including plans sold in the marketplaces and those sold outside of the marketplaces that comply with ACA regulations, would decline by 9.6 million, or 70 percent, in FFM states if subsidies were eliminated. They also found that unsubsidized premiums in the ACA–compliant individual market would increase 47 percent in FFM states. This corresponds to a $1,610 annual increase for a 40-year-old nonsmoker purchasing a silver plan.
Enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)–Compliant Individual Market Would Decline Significantly in Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) States
- Individual-market enrollment would decline by an estimated 70 percent, or 9.6 million people.
- This decline includes plans sold in the marketplaces and those sold outside of the marketplaces that comply with ACA regulations.
Unsubsidized Premiums in the ACA-Compliant Individual Market Would Increase 47 Percent in FFM States
- This corresponds to a $1,610 annual increase for a 40-year-old nonsmoker purchasing a silver plan.
As you can see, eliminating Federal Subsidies would basically make health insurance unaffordable for many many people again.
So, I’ve been a little radical today. What’s on you reading and blogging list today?
Tuesday Reads: Evil is as Evil DoesPosted: December 16, 2014 Filed under: 2014 elections, Federal Budget, Federal Government Shutdown, just because, torture, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights 37 Comments
I really don’t want this to turn into a mini version of my mom’s rants on “people are no damn good” that I grew up hearing as frequently as some kids hear bed and supper time prayers. However, it seems that some of the things I’m reading these days just cry out for mom’s mantra on the nature of humanity. The last few days have seen a constant stream of evil on parade.
On Sunday, David Koch tried to convince ABC viewers that he wasn’t real “evil” because he actually was socially liberal. Yeah, lot of good that does us when every National Park is timber and animal free, fresh water has been fracked into nonexistence, and every school in America never turns out another scientist. Doesn’t this guy have enough money yet that he can just quit destroying the planet like some cartoon villain?
“I’m basically a libertarian and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch responded.
Walters then asked Koch why he uses his wealth to elect socially conservative candidates if he supports gay rights and a woman’s right to choose.
“Well, that’s their problem. I do have those views,” he said.
“What I want these candidates to do is to support a balanced budget,” he added. “I’m very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly.”
Asked whether he thought it was fair that he’s able to influence elections because of his vast wealth, Koch said that he obeys federal limits on how much he can contribute to individual candidates.
But Koch and his brother, Charles, also donate large sums to support the arts and other philanthropic causes. Walters asked why, then, Koch has developed a reputation as an “evil billionaire.”
“Well, I don’t understand that,” he said.
Yeah, he sure has his priorities straight. Fuck People. Fuck the Planet. Fuck the Economy. Just don’t fuck with my right to exploit every resource every where possible.
PolitiFact has named it’s Lie of the Year, 2014. Yup, it’s the damned hyped-up exaggerations on Ebola just ready made to prime the outrage pump of dumb red state Americans. Notice we heard nothing more about it once Fox News turned out its idiot viewership to let lose the plague of congressional republican locusts on the nation?
Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy.
The claims — all wrong — distorted the debate about a serious public health issue. Together, they earn our Lie of the Year for 2014.
PolitiFact editors choose the Lie of the Year, in part, based on how broadly a myth or falsehood infiltrates conventional thinking. In 2013, it was the promise made by President Barack Obama and other Democrats that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” While no singular line about Ebola matched last year’s empty rhetoric about health care, the statements together produced a dangerous and incorrect narrative.
PolitiFact and PunditFact rated 16 separate claims about Ebola as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire on our Truth-O-Meter in 2014. Ten of those claims came in October, as Duncan’s case came to the fore and as voters went to the polls to select a new Congress.
The Northern White Rhino will likely go extinct in a few years because a lot of Chinese Men are worried about Dick Performance. There are only five left now and they are all elderly and in Zoos and Reserves. This just makes me want to cry and hate people.
A northern white rhino has died at a San Diego zoo, leaving only five worldwide and bringing the species closer to extinction.
Angalifu, 44, died of old age Sunday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that Angalifu, one of six remaining northern white rhinos in the world, died Sunday. Credit: San Diego Zoo/Helene Hoffman
“With Angalifu’s passing, only five northern white rhinos are left on the planet, including Nola, our elderly female,” the zoo said in a statement.
He was one of a handful of northern white rhinos left worldwide, including a few at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya. There are no known northern white rhinos left in the wild.
Northern white rhinos and southern white rhinos are different subspecies genetically.
Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the northern white rhino as “teetering on the brink of extinction.”
Rhinos are killed by poachers almost exclusively for their horns, which sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Experts say that rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs. The demand is driven primarily by buyers in East Asia, who believe it cures a series of ailments.
Meanwhile, pregnant women are being victimized by state laws and health officials that can’t seem to keep their religious views to themselves. A woman was placed in jail because of Wisconsin’s personhood law. The woman’s not a person, but the 14 week old fetus evidently is now and can be protected on the word of any religious hysteric that happens to be a nurse. Here’s a story where the state put lives at risk out of the concern of religious zealots that believe that women can’t be trusted to be pregnant. Here’s a story that violates every citizen’s right to privacy and every health care giver’s oath to do no harm.
Tamara Loerstcher was suffering from an untreated thyroid condition and depression and had begun to self medicate with drugs when, in late July 2014, she suspected she might also be pregnant. Loerstcher, uninsured at the time, went to an Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hospital for medical treatment and to confirm her pregnancy.
After submitting to a urinalysis, Loerstcher disclosed her past drug use to hospital workers. But instead of caring for Loerstcher, who as it turns out was 14 weeks pregnant, hospital workers had her jailed.
Those are the allegations in a soon-to-be-filed federal civil rights lawsuit by attorneys from National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at New York University School of Law, and the Perkins Coie law firm.
Loerstcher and her attorneys, in a call with reporters, detailed her experience, including her alleged mistreatment by Wisconsin officials and the ongoing deprivation of Loerstcher’s constitutional rights under a Wisconsin law that grants authorities the power to involuntarily detain and confine a pregnant woman for substance use if she “habitually lacks self-control” and her substance use poses a “substantial risk” to the health of an egg, embryo, or fetus.
The Wisconsin policy is similar in nature to radical “personhood” laws pushed in state legislatures controlled by anti-choice lawmakers. “Personhood” amendments, which would outlaw abortion at any stage of pregnancy, were roundly rejected by voters in several states on Election Day.
According to Loertscher and her attorneys, unbeknownst to her, as hospital workers were preparing a prescription to treat Loertscher’s thyroid condition, they were also initiating unborn child protection proceedings on behalf of Loertscher’s then 14-week-old fetus.
Loertscher and her attorneys claim that within days of Loertscher seeking care, hospital workers had already turned over Loerstcher’s hospital records to the state without Loerstcher’s knowledge or consent. They also claim that with those records in hand, state officials filed a petition accusing Loerstcher of abuse of an unborn child and held a hearing in which the state had appointed an attorney, known as a guardian ad litem, for the 14-week-old fetus, but granted Loerstcher no meaningful representation.
At the hearing, Loertscher and her attorneys allege she was ordered by the court into in-patient treatment even though she had not used drugs recently and voluntarily sought medical care. When Loerstcher refused to go to in-patient treatment, she was held in contempt of court and sent to jail, where she was held for 17 days without prenatal care and subject to abuse and harassment.
“This was my first pregnancy, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Loerstcher told reporters. “I was having lots of cramping and a lot of stress from everything and they [jail officials] wouldn’t allow me to see the doctor. They told me I would have to see a jail-appointed doctor who told me she wanted me to take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy even though that’s why I was in jail, because I was pregnant. They knew that’s why I was there.”
Loerstcher claims she refused the pregnancy test, and in response, correction officials put her in solitary confinement and threatened to use a taser on her. “The jail doctor told me if I chose to miscarry, there wasn’t anything they could do about it anyways,” Loertscher said through tears.
About a week after Loerstcher’s release, she says she got a notice in the mail from the state stating they had found she had engaged in child abuse.
“It was really devastating to get that letter,” said Loerstcher. Unless it’s overturned on appeal, Loerstcher’s name will appear on the state’s child abuse registry for life. That would mean Loerstcher, who is a certified nurse’s aid, would be unable to work in her field, noted her attorney, and that she would be barred from ever volunteering at her son’s school after he is born in January. “This has very serious ramifications for her life and economic stability long term,” said Sara Ainsworth, director of legal advocacy at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and counsel for Loerstcher.
In order to be released from jail, Loertscher had to sign a consent decree agreeing to additional drug tests, so she remains under state custody to some extent, her lawyer said.
More evidence that Republicans can’t be trusted to govern as written by Steve Benen. No idiot media seeking continual bipartisanship, there simply is no Bipartisanship Santa. A vote for a Republican is a vote for a destroyed economy, a destroyed ecosystem, a destroyed school system, and a lot of disenfranchised Americans who will have their rights stripped away quickly.
Just one month later, there’s already ample evidence that those assumptions about Republican maturity were completely wrong.Republican Tom Price, the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, said his party could demand steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling next year, the most provocative comments by a senior GOP member to date on how negotiations could play out. I think the only ones to benefit from this are the best credit repair companies and banks.The Georgia congressman, during an hour-long briefing with reporters Friday, said the expected mid-2015 debate over whether to raise or suspend the debt ceiling offered Republicans an opportunity to make a sizable imprint on government policy.The far-right Georgian added that he wants to see Republicans bring back the so-called “Boehner rule” – an arbitrary policy that demands a dollar in cuts for every dollar increase in the debt limit – that even Republicans recognized as ridiculous a couple of years ago.“I prefer to think about it as opportunities and pinch points,” Price said, apparently using “pinch points” as a euphemism for “causing deliberate national harm.”It’s worth emphasizing that Price isn’t some random, fringe figure, shouting from the sidelines – the Georgia Republican next month will fill Paul Ryan’s shoes as chairman of the House Budget Committee.In other words, it matters that Price envisions a strategy in which Republicans threaten to hurt Americans on purpose unless Democrats meet the GOP’s demands.That said, Price would be wise to start lowering expectations – his intention to create a deliberate crisis will almost certainly fail.The gist of the plan is effectively identical to the scheme hated by House Republicans in 2011. Next year, the Treasury Department will alert Congress to the fact that it’s time to borrow the funds necessary to pay for the things Congress has already bought. As Price sees it, the GOP-led Congress will tell the Obama administration, “We’ll cooperate, but only if you slash public investments. If not, we’ll default on our debts, crash the economy, and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States.”Why Price or anyone else would want to slash public investments right now – hurting the economy, just as the recovery gains steam – is a bit of a mystery.
No conversation on evil can forget Dick Cheney. I’m not sure how close you’ve been following the Dick Cheney Torture-rama Press tour, but it’s pretty disgusting. I’m usually not up for Conor Friedersdorf, but even he thinks Cheney’s an Evil Dickhead. Cheney’s interview with Chuck Todd on Sunday was like watching one of those mad scientist movies.
That exchange leaves no room for mistaking former vice-president Cheney’s position: better to chain a man to the wall of a cell, douse him in cold water, and leave him there to freeze to death, even if he later turns out to be innocent, than to release that same man and risk not that he detonates a nuclear bomb in Manhattan, but that he ends up “on the battlefield,” where there’s a chance he could harm Americans. What if fully one-in-four prisoners tortured by the CIA were innocent?
Cheney is still unmoved:
Is that too high? You’re okay with that margin for error?
I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.
The ends justify the means.
There is no clearer illustration of the morally corrosive nature of torture than the once unthinkable position that Dick Cheney is unashamedly espousing on television. The position is even less defensible than the conceit that the Office of Legal Counsel defines what torture is. It is so indefensible that Cheney himself can scarcely maintain it.
You have to wonder where you measure on the vast barometer of human sewage if Conor Friedersorf won’t defend your evil ass as a former Republican ‘Conservative” Vice President.
Jon Stewart for the win, however. “Puppet Master Cheney’s mind” is “the scariest fucking place in the universe.”
“George W. Bush, thank you for not dying while you were in office,” Stewart said to the former president.
When pressed by Todd to explain his definition of torture following the release of a Senate report criticizing the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” procedures, Cheney continually defined torture as the events of the 9/11 attacks.
“I see — that’s just what meets the definition of torture in his mind,” Stewart said. “His mind, I assume, being the scariest f*cking place in the universe.”
Stewart then tried to get a peek inside the “presidential puppet master’s” mind, only to find a scene out of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
“Never took him for a brony,” Stewart observed.
What set Cheney apart, Stewart explained, was his ability to set the “moral bar” for the U.S. at anything just shy of the worst thing that had been done to the country, as well as his confidence.
“He’s impervious to doubt,” Stewart said. “It never enters his mind that the confident, plain-spoken pronouncements of truth are often times complete bullsh*t.”
There, name that republican presidential candidate for 2016 over in that line up. Whichever one gets on the ballot, there will be a Koch entering his backside. My guess is that he’ll have Dick Cheney on the campaign trail for him too.
And, yes, David Koch is Evil. Amanda Marcotte gets it right.
Here’s the thing about men like David Koch: Making money is basically just a video game to them. For the rest of us, making money is about being able to pay for things we need and want, such as rent and food and actual video games. But David Koch has made so much money that he literally cannot spend it all. There is nothing he would want to buy he cannot already afford. The only purpose at this point in making more money is for the pleasure of beating your high score. In other words, it really is just a very consuming video game. But unlike when you kill people in Call of Duty or crush candies in Candy Crush, the game David Koch is playing is very real. Millions of people will suffer and die because he wants to “win” his video game by manipulating the public to avoid taking action on global warming. That is evil and hateful and selfish on a level that puts the word “selfish” to shame.
And no, being pro-choice and pro-gay doesn’t make up for it. That’s like having a hobby of strangling kittens and then saying it’s all good because you donate clothes to Goodwill once in awhile. Worse, actually, because David Koch isn’t actually pro-choice in any meaningful sense, because he gives money to anti-choice activists, as documented by Adele Stan at RH Reality Check. The Koch brothers give money to right wing umbrella groups, who then give it to anti-choicers. Why is fairly obvious. This is about manipulating misogynist, anti-sex hysteria in order to elect politicians who are on board with the anti-environmentalist agenda. A manipulation that is, in itself, evil on a couple of levels, both because you’re manipulating people and because you’re engaging bad people who have bad motivations to hurt and control others. It’s terrible, hateful behavior all the way down.
With that, I’ll leave you to grade papers. I’m pretty sick of humanity at the moment and I do not understand how any one with a will to survive could vote Republican anymore.
Anyway, I dare y’all to find good news today. Please!!!
Monday Reads: No Joy in MudvillePosted: December 8, 2014 Filed under: 2014 elections, morning reads, racism, religious extremists 38 Comments
Well, the Southern Strategy is alive and well and still working in the South where Republicans have officially run a campaign for a know nothing and do nothing crook based on absolutely nothing but racist dog whistles. The whistles were really loud and clear. They worked too.
All you have to do is ask a Cassidy voter what said congressman voted for or against, or what he stands for or against, or anything based on issues or record. They go silent. Ask them about the fact he is now under investigation for bilking Louisiana taxpayers out of money and ignoring the details of his outside work agreement granted by Congress and they scream “they are all crooks”. This is just a new one. The only other thing they say is that “Miss Piggy” is with Obama and Obama is bad and then they add something about not being racist and trying to be politically correct but Obama has run the country into the ground. Then, they ignore any and all contrary facts and accuse you of dissing their valid opinions because you are a libtard and a sore loser.
They cannot tell you not one thing about him other than he’s not a white woman in the party that brought you a black president. I am clearly appalled by the audacity of it all.
Many African-Americans saw Cassidy’s TV ads as a primer in race-baiting. The spots evoked the primal myth of the Old South in which white womanhood must be defended. In ads that ran around the clock, viewers saw Landrieu’s face pictured cheek-to-jowl with the black president like uneasy lovers in a Valentine.
“They’re pandering to the lowest common denominator,” bristled Stanley Taylor, a retired African-American member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, speaking by cell phone as he canvassed voters before the election. “Those spots are racist and totally dismissive of people’s ability to figure out their own self-interest.”
The blowback of racial politics marks the end of an era that began in 1970 when the senator’s father, Moon Landrieu, as the newly-elected mayor of New Orleans ushered African-Americans into local government, while guiding an era of dramatic urban growth. New Orleans had a white voting majority at the time; today it is about 60% African-American.
“Rather than suggest some policy objectives, it’s been easier for the Cassidy campaign to enflame racial fear to motivate Republican voters,” brooded community organizer Jacques Morial, whose father Dutch was the first African-American mayor of New Orleans, succeeding Moon in 1978. His brother Marc later served two terms as mayor and is today president of the Urban League.
Landrieu’s loss showed yet again that the great power in American politics is to make people believe that something false is true. Cassidy’s campaign recast the three-term senator as a projection of the black president largely reviled by the majority of white voters here, as in the rest of the South.
I’ve found a bevy of ways that white folks can say they’re not racist while saying racist things. One of my major clues is when they start any sentence “I’m not racist”. I’ve been astonished at the number of racist things people say shortly after they couch it with “I’m not racist but …” There was a Face the Nation conversation on Racism on Sunday about an interview that the President has given BET that basically states that “Racism is deeply rooted in our Nation”. This conversation surrounds the recent spate of police murder of unarmed black citizens where threat wasn’t really present. The central pale question was why hasn’t President Obama has made everything all better when it comes to race relations. I can give you my take. Many people are so deeply racist that they don’t even see it and refuse to see it. Others are unabashedly racist and think they’re justified for whatever reason. Many people seem to just be willfully ignorant which makes me wonder if they will ever learn. No one black man can overcome years steeped in white privilege just as one woman serving in a public office can’t overcome years of shoving women into subservient roles based on outdated notions. It’s not their fault. The faults lie within us.
In a special segment, “BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama,” the president will help find meaningful solutions to unrest after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner sparked nationwide protests.
“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview to air Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
The interview, hosted by BET host and TV journalist Jeff Johnson, marks the president’s first network discussion outlining his strategy to investigate the incidents and ways the country can unify during this time.
“This is something that’s deeply rooted in our society, deeply rooted in our history. But the two things that will allow us to solve it: Number one: Is the understanding that we have made progress and so it’s important to recognize that as painful as these instances are, we can’t equate what’s happening now with what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better,”
Speaking to youth on the music-variety series targeting African Americans, Obama also cited “progress” as the second most critical step.
Charles Blow was one of the speaker’s on the Face of Nation segment which debated the progress made or unmade in race relations since the President was elected 6 years ago. So was David Ignatius. How is it that so many people can completely miss the institutional differences in the way people are treated simply based on surface differences. Folks in hoodies are thugs and deserve it. Folks that don’ make the police feel safe must be themselves scary, threatening individuals whose life history must be slandered to protect the guilty. Our white male straight christian culture looks for ways to make every body that’s not them a culpable party. We’re all deserving of pain and violence simply by not being them. Hoodie wearers deserve to be shot. Slinky Dress wearers deserve to be raped. Loving any one outside a sanctioned straight marriage deserves to be bullied and turned away from your business.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Charles, let me — I want to get back to this — this first finding here, that relational — race relations are worse under a Black president than they were under a white president.
>hat — what do you make of that?
CHARLES BLOW, “NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, I mean they…
SCHIEFFER: Or at least they’re saying that’s what people say — are saying.
BLOW: Right. So — but you have to figure — ask yourself, is it a causal relationship, right?
Is it because of him and something that he has done or is it a reaction to him actually being the president, which is — which is not really about him, but about us, right?
And — and I think that is the bigger question, that is a bigger philosophical question as to how do we respond to people who do not look like us?
Do we believe that they have our interests at heart?
Do we believe that we can — we can identify and — and empathize with that person?
And — and if we cannot, then there’s — we kind of exacerbate something that may already exist in terms of bias, in terms of how we see race relations in this country.
And I think that’s a real question that we have to ask ourselves about who we are and whether or not things were, in fact, better before this president and — and just were kind of underneath the — kind of under the surface.
SCHIEFFER: David, what do you — and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s Barack Obama’s fault.
SCHIEFFER: But I mean I found that stunning, that this would be the finding that a lot of people say that things are worse now than they were.
DAVID IGNATIUS, “WASHINGTON POST”: Sociologists sometimes talk about a revolution of rising expectations, where because of changes, the election of the first African-American president, having Eric Holder, an African-American as our — as our attorney general, people expect things are changing.
And then when they see evidence in these cases where young unarmed black men are being shot and they’re — they’re not — the people who shoot them are not being indicted, there’s a special anger because people thought things were getting better. They thought with this African-American president that it would be different six years on.
And I think that’s part of what’s behind it, is a sense of disappointment. You know, America has had race issues. This is our original sin. And it’s a continuum in our national story.
But I wonder if the explosion of anger now doesn’t have something to do with people saying it should have been better because of the changes we thought the country had made in electing Barack Obama.
SCHIEFFER: And — and it’s not.
IGNATIUS: And it’s not…
IGNATIUS: Here’s this problem that — I mean how many years have we heard about driving while black as an experience that African- Americans have?
You know, white people hear this, but do we really react?
I’ve been experiencing all kinds of deja vu all over again in all kinds of things relating to civil rights issues. Here’s another clueless white male–David Lowry–on why forcing a woman to return your kiss isn’t a form of sexual assault. But, but isn’t it cute that I want to invade her body space and physically do things to her she doesn’t want. She’s not saying no! She is just being coy so I won’think here a slut!!! Coy deserves to be force kissed!!!
National Review editor Rich Lowry on Sunday argued that “attempted forced kissing” doesn’t count as sexual assault.
During a discussion about the Rolling Stone story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, Lowry suggested that the magazine “had an agenda.”
“Rolling Stone didn’t do basic fact-checking here, I believe because they had an agenda to portray UVA as the bastion of white male privilege, where basically rapists rule the social life,” he said.
CNN’s Van Jones then referenced the statistic that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college.
Lowry shot back that the statistic was “bogus” and complained that the survey used “includes attempted forced kissing as sexual assault.”
The ABC panelists then berated Lowry for his claim.
“It’s not a crime that the police are going to be involved in and prosecute,” he insisted.
Here’s another cluess white male with his christian privilege showing. Everybody’s beliefs are made up and not real except his. Other people’s religions deserve to be ignored.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson argued over the weekend that a Satanist holiday display should be banned from the Florida state Capitol where a Christian nativity had been erected because they did not practice a “legitimate religion.”
Last week, the Satanic Temple won the right to place a display of an angel burning in hell alongside other holiday displays in the Florida Capitol building after officials initially rejected it, saying the Satanic message was “grossly offensive during the holiday season.”
“I’m assuming that there aren’t a ton of Satanists in Tallahassee,” Carlson told Bible Based Church Pastor Darrick McGhee on Saturday. “I’m assuming there really aren’t any at all, and this is purely an attempt to stick a finger in the eye of Christians in Florida.”
“So the rationale here is that Satanism is legitimate religion,” the Fox News host complained.
McGhee explained that the Satanic Temple had met the guidelines set by Florida’s Department of Management Services.
“They must be pretty stupid guidelines,” Carlson quipped, later adding that Satanist should have chosen any of the “51 other weeks in the year.”
“Just to be totally clear, you would not have an objection if a Jewish group or a Muslim group or a Baha’i group or something legitimate other religion wanted a display in the state capitol, would you?” Carlson wondered.
“No objection whatsoever,” McGhee agreed.
“I mean, this is just an inability to draw reasonable distinctions between reality and what is a pretty offensive prank,” Carlson concluded.
And more of this crap from states trying to put white male privilege into law. Michigan wants to enact a religious right to discriminate. In other words, if it offends white male christians, they can do whatever they want to the rest of us.
The Michigan House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jase Bolger (photo, above, left, with Gov. Rick Snyder,) just passed a bill that would allow discrimination to become sanction by the state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, akin to one that made nationwide headlines in Arizona but was vetoed, appears to merely force the government to step aside if a person’s “deeply-held religious beliefs” mandate they act, or not act, in a certain manner.
Supporters of these bills claim they allow people of faith to exercise their religion without government interference, but in reality, they are trojan horses, allowing rampant discrimination under the guise of religious observance.
For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.
Michigan Speaker Bolger fast-tracked the bill, which passed on partisan lines, 59-50. It now heads to the Michigan Senate, and if successful, to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. It is not known if Gov. Snyder would sign it.
“I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said today. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”
MLive reports that Michigan’s RFRA is “modeled after a federal version that the Supreme Court has said should not apply to states.”
I’m just having a real difficult time handling all of this. Sometimes I believe that things will never get better.
How do you fight back? These folks have media outlets spewing continual hatred and crap. They’re obviously not beneath running complete nonsense and obvious fear mongering ads and TV programs. They’re not ashamed to lie or slander. They also know exactly what to say and do to keep the angry sheep in line. I’ve got very few answers these days to anything
So, want to play a little Spot the Africa to pass some time?
Have a great day! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Friday Reads: Farewell to Senate DignityPosted: November 14, 2014 Filed under: 2014 elections, morning reads 37 Comments
The senate leadership meetings and results are good examples of what’s wrong with each party. The Republicans just did it. They walked out the door. Nobody spoke to the press. All that hoopla about a Ted Cruz revolution turned out to be just that. On the Democratic side, Reid took a public bruising and there were some obvious changes made.
I’ve never been fond of Harry Reid for a variety of reasons. He keeps giving me more reasons every day to find him unsuited for his job. Most of them come under a big question of how this man even became a Democrat, let alone a leader?
Mitch McConnell is more like a political operative than a Senator of these United States. I’ve never seen anyone that appears to take so much joy in tanking his own country and creating memes about things instead of doing things befitting of someone who’s sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
In that vein, here we go with today’s reads. Mitch McConnell continues to be the concern troll of the right wing instead of acting like a U.S. Senator.
In another sign that the country is in for a tough two years of battles between the White House and Congress, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared Thursday that he was “very disturbed” by President Barack Obama’s recent attempts to exercise his executive powers.
Those include moving ahead on dealing with undocumented immigrants, cutting a deal with China on climate change and suggesting that the Internet should be regulated like a utility under so-called net neutrality rules.
“I’ve been very disturbed about the way the president has proceeded in the wake of the election,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill soon after his caucus voted to keep him as its leader when Republicans take control of the Senate in January.
With Congress gridlocked on many of the president’s agenda items, including immigration, Obama announced in January that he had a “pen and a phone” that he would use to move forward on his own, including signingexecutive orders. Among other things, he raised the wages of government contractors, strengthened protections for gay and transgender workers, and expanded the military actions in Iraq. And he had already angered Republicans by stalling deportations of children and delaying parts of Obamacare.
McConnell argued that the recent elections that expanded the House GOP majority and gave Republicans control of the Senate should have chastened Obama.
“I had maybe naively hoped the president wold look at the results of the election and decide to come to the political center and do some business with us,” McConnell said. “I still hope he does at some point, but the early signs are not good.”
He added that Obama should look to some of his predecessors, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, for examples of dealing with a Congress ruled by the opposing party.
“They understood that the American people had elected divided government,” McConnell said. “We’d like for the president to recognize the reality that he has the government that he has, not the one that he wishes he had, and work with us.”
Asked what the GOP would do if Obama insists on pursuing his own agenda, McConnell declined to tip his hand.
So, how many executive orders were used by Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan as compared to President Obama? Reagan used a total of 381. In his first term, he used 213. Clinton used a total of 364 with 200 of them coming in his first term. President Obama has used 193 to date with 147 of them coming from his first term. Where was McConnell when Dick Cheney was discussing his “robust view” of executive power? (Yousefzadeh 2012). Yes, I’m quoting an academic paper.
This Book Review discusses Cheney’s conception of executive power. It reflects on the fact that despite Cheney’s Nixon Administration experience with agencies whose missions and activities went against his small-government instincts, Cheney did not become a skeptic of executive power. On the contrary, even as a member of Congress, he sought to safeguard executive power against what he—and others around him—saw as encroachment by Congress.
You can go to the article to read a number of Cheney quotes and examples of policy areas where Cheney clearly thought the Presidency was quite imperial. That was until a black man got elected president by some odd will of the people. Now, the little would be dictator is a pearl clutching concern troll with the rest of those who have pivoted positions.
Sitting for an interview to promote wife Lynne Cheney’s new book on James Madison, the former second-in-command said that, though he’s a “big advocate of the strong executive office,” he believes Obama has taken things too far.
“I really feel as though Barack Obama is ignoring the law in many cases, and going far beyond what was ever intended,” he said. “I mean he, all by himself, sort of routinely changes the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, if it suits his will.”
Cheney added that he believes the president teeters the line of unconstitutional behavior.
“I think much of what’s been done does in fact skate up to the edge of violating the constitution in terms of the way he’s interpreted his executive power,” Cheney said.
Only one day earlier, the former vice president was calling Obama “weak” over his his approach to the crisis in Ukraine and confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He’s demonstrated repeatedly, I think, that he in fact can be pushed around, if you will, by Putin,” Cheney said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
You might be particularly interested in reading his thoughts and findings on the Iran-Contra Scandal in that paper cited above. I’ve kept the sources of the footnotes so that you know the exact reports.
Thus, Cheney’s belief that Iran-Contra was “ill-conceived” did little to lessen his belief in the need for a strong Executive Branch. To be sure, the observation in the joint committee minority report that “[n]o president can ignore Congress and be successful over the long term”44 represents a healthy respect for congressional prerogatives. But it is quite notable that in the midst of a scandal involving the failure to properly notify Congress of executive activities, Cheney wanted to make sure that the powers of the Executive Branch would not be circumscribed.
Reflecting on the allegations that Cheney—and others around him—sought to cut out members of Congress from the ability to fully participate in continuity-of-government exercises, it is important to emphasize that whatever one’s view about the possibility of the Speaker of the House or the President pro tem of the Senate succeeding to the presidency if the President and the Vice President are incapacitated or killed, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 calls for exactly that line of succession to be observed in such a circumstance.45 Pursuant to the dictates of the Act, the rest of the government would expect the Speaker, and the President pro tem to succeed to the presidency. To the
extent that some kind of “secret executive order” was put in place to bypass the stipulated line of succession—and it should be noted anew that these claims appear to be rather thinly sourced—then the “secret executive order” in question would take by nasty surprise the rest of the United States government, which would expect the line of succession to the presidency to unfold as the Presidential Succession Act mandated that it should. As such, in any situation in which the Act were invoked, if the implemented line of succession were to differ from what the Act mandates, the result would be greater chaos and disorganization in what would undoubtedly be an already chaotic situation. If Cheney did indeed countenance the bypassing of the Act in secret, then his decision should surely be held irresponsible.
43. Id. at 147 (quoting Minority Report, S. REP. NO. 100-216, H.R. REP. NO. 100-433,
at 438 (1987)).
44. Minority Report, S. REP. NO. 100-216, H.R. REP. NO. 100-433, at 438 (1987).
45. 3 U.S.C. § 19(a)(1), (b) (2006). No. 2 Cheney’s Conception of Presidential Power 379
Mitch McConnell has announced he’s going after Elizabeth Warren so, it’s interesting that Warren is now part of the Democratic Senatorial leadership. Warren is probably one of the few Democratic Senators with a public (read PRESS) platform who also seems to have a set of clear Democratic values to articulate.
The same corporate interests who have taken over control of Congress are now gaining control of U.S. courts, warned Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Warren told a gathering Sunday at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California that too many federal judges have been drawn in recent years from the ranks of corporate lawyers and federal prosecutors.
“For the courts to be a level playing field it’s critical that the judges presiding over these playing fields have the kind of knowledge and experience that helps them understand the full range of the issues they will confront,” Warren said. “They need to be the best and brightest practitioners of law in this country, drawn from every corner of the profession.”
“But if that’s the goal, we are in real trouble,” she continued. “Look closely at the composition of the federal bench today, and you’ll see a striking lack of professional diversity among the lawyers who currently serve as federal judges.”
She said President Barack Obama had nominated just 11 judges with a background in working with indigent clients, but she said his nominees had not been diverse enough.
“(Even after the filibuster rules change) nearly ¾ of president’s nominees have been lawyers who have had significant corporate law practice in the private sector, spending years representing those whose voices are already plenty loud and already heard in government,” Warren said.
“Our courts cannot provide a level playing field without judges who know what it’s like to represent a family about to lose a home because someone sold them a mortgage that was designed to explode,” she said, “or represented a teenager accused of a crime because he was walking down the wrong street on the wrong night or represented an employee tossed out of a job for saying that employees should unionize or represented a customer that got ripped off by a big company and can’t afford the cost or a court fight.”
Warren urged the civil rights activists to pressure the president and Congress to find “highly qualified judges whose professional experience extends beyond big firms, federal prosecution, and white-collar defense.”
“That’s our best hope for preventing the corporate capture of our federal courts,” she said.
Good luck with that Senator Warren! The Republicans have spent 40 years stacking the courts in their favor. It’s a little late for the Democratic Party to finally stop playing into that deck of cards. Basically, if you control the Senate, you control the courts. We better see some better maneuverings than the ones that got us stuck with Uncle Thomas and Fat Tony.
Because a majority of senators can block a nomination, control of the Senate becomes critical. If the Democrats retain their majority, they can continue to confirm President Obama’s nominees. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate, however, they will be able to block his nominees—and there is little doubt that they will do so with a vengeance.
Most people pay attention to this only in regards the Supreme Court, but the lower courts are also critically important.
Since taking office, Obama has had approximately 280 federal judicial nominees confirmed. This represents roughly one-third of the federal judiciary. This has had a profound impact on our legal system in at least two very important respects.
First, Obama’s appointments have added substantial diversity to the federal bench. Forty-two percent of Obama’s judicial appointments have been women, as compared to only 22 percent of President George W. Bush’s nominees. Thirty-six percent of Obama’s judicial appointments have been minorities, as compared to only 18 percent of Bush’s judicial appointees.
The nation must care deeply about a president’s federal judicial appointments, because they will shape the meaning of federal law for decades to come.
Second, although Obama has generally been much less ideological in his judicial nominations than Bush, there is no doubt he has appointed much more liberal judges than his predecessor, and the addition of almost 280 Obama-appointed judges has had a dramatic effect on the overall ideological disposition of the federal judiciary.
Indeed, for the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents now substantially outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents. These judges now hold a majority of seats of nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals. In 2008, Republican-appointed judges held a majority on 12 of the 13 Courts of Appeals. The shift is dramatic, and it is important.
Across a broad range of issues, such as the rights of persons accused of crime, abortion, the environment, immigration, affirmative action, gun control, religious liberty, campaign finance, women’s rights, the rights of corporations, and the right to vote, judges appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents tend to take very different positions.
Thus, who controls the Senate will determine the fate of as many as 90 federal judicial appointments that are likely to arise in the final two years of Obama’s presidency. If the Democrats control the Senate, the Republicans, no longer able to invoke the filibuster, will have only limited ability to block the President’s nominees. If the Republicans control the Senate, you can be sure that many fewer Obama nominees will be confirmed, and that those who do win confirmation will be much less progressive than the judges this White House has managed to appoint in its first six years. This will have a lasting and important impact on the federal judiciary for decades to come.
Despite a lot of venting both publicly and privately about Harry, he’s back. Claire McCaskill and Mary Landrieu publicly admitted to not voting for the Nevada Democrat.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Thursday that she will not vote for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to remain as leader.
“Yesterday I met with Harry Reid and told him I would not be supporting him for Minority Leader,” McCaskill said in a statement to The Kansas City Star.
“I heard the voters of Missouri loud and clear. They want change in Washington. Common sense tells me that begins with changes in leadership,” she added.
Democrats are holding leadership elections on Thursday morning after a midterm drubbing that saw Republicans capture the upper chamber.
There is no known challenger to Reid, currently the majority leader, for minority leader in the next Congress. But Democrats are still frustrated after their heavy losses in the election.
“We have to do some serious soul-searching to ask why so many of our colleagues lost races,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told The Hill. “They were not bad public servants. They weren’t bad candidates. We have to ask why they lost.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declined to commit to Reid when asked by Bloomberg on Wednesday.
“I’m interested in hearing the discussion,” he said.
Lets just mention this one little bitty thing. The number of voters voting for President Obama in 2012 were 65,915,796. Estimates right now are that a total of 22,524,388 votes were cast for Republican Senatorial candidates last week. That’s hardly what I’d call a mandate. It’s more a reflection of the lowest voter turnout for possibly of all US history. The weird thing is that more votes were actually cast for Democrats running for Senate in total than Republicans. Just remember, a podunk state like Nebraska or Wyoming sends senators to the Hill who capture fewer votes in an election than a mayor of any major urban area. Tiny states send their senators based on a really tiny voting base. We basically were screwed over by the few and the driven.
Turnout was low last week. Not “midterm low,” or “unusually low,” but “historically low.” As we noted on Monday, it was probably the lowest since World War II. But it was possibly also one of the four lowest-turnout elections since the election of Thomas Jefferson. You know, before there was such a thing as “Alabama.”
The U.S. Election Project, run by Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, compiles data on voter turnout over time. It’s tricky to estimate voter turnout in the 1700s and 1800s, and McDonald explains on his site how the numbers are calculated. So comparing 2014 to 1804 (the Jefferson example) should be considered a rough comparison at best.
So, that’s one thing to hold on to as we head towards two years of hell. We may have gotten a lot of crazies, but those crazies generally got in the back door via states that are so small they hardly contribute to GDP let alone national dialogue.
So, any way that’s my two cents for today! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?