Archive for December, 2011

Merits aside…

Dec 24, 2011 in Journamalism

If you want a straight shot of SIX OF ONE HALF DOZEN OF THE OTHER!!! conventional bullshit without a scrap of thought in it, this attempt by Politifact to further defend its decision to call Democrats liars for saying Republicans voted to end Medicare will stick the junk right in your veins.

Nowhere in it will you find an address of the merits of the case. I really mean it, because this is the only sentence the merits are touched upon:

We made no judgments on the merits of the Ryan plan; we just said that the characterization by the Democrats was false.

That’s correct, the only line that mentions the merits of the criticism specifically states that the merits were not considered. Thus it does not matter whether or not the Ryan plan would end Medicare in all but name. It doesn’t matter if it hands out each senior a magic healing stone with “Medicare” carved on it. The merits of the plan are not to be considered.

What was considered? As you can see in the article, the usual tropes about oh, what sad partisan times we live in, and excuses that the Washington Post did it too so it’s okay.

The facts were not allowed in a fact-check. And everybody else should just suck it in and take it except Politifact, apparently.

How quickly people rise from nowhere into vaunted infallible hubristic disrepair.

-hw

Hate for breakfast.

Dec 15, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Islam, Religion, Stupidity

I was always a Home Depot guy anyway. But Lowe’s shying away from controversy is one thing. The people slithering out of their dank neocon caves to support Lowe’s are just straight up hating.

You’ll have to turn to Jon Stewart for the ultimate smackdown though.

-hw

I will bet you ten thousand dollars.

Dec 11, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy, Politics

Ten grand, I say, that my chicken quiche won’t melt your heart. Let’s put another ten grand on whether or not I can do the Fox Trot! And why not? Let’s bet a fucking yacht that I can bowl over 200. I’m so frivolous I should run for president.

-hw

Republican Congress Even Less Popular Than Democratic One

Dec 09, 2011 in Politics

Say, doesn’t it seem like conservative blogs were really interested in public opinion about Congress just a couple years back?
-TT

Santorum needs a hug.

Dec 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

Gosh, won’t someone just give him a chance? He’s trying so hard, and he really really super conservative and he’s against anything Obama-ish or Democrat-esque, he is a mighty rightwing warrior waiting to take off! He’s very much against Obamacare, for instance. Check out this withering attack:

If you don’t have to have insurance until you’re sick, why buy insurance? … How much would insurance be if only people who needed insurance bought it? The whole point of insurance is: healthy people buy it, sick people buy it, and those who are healthy support those who are sick…. But if insurance is only sick people buy it, well guess what’s going to be the cost of insurance. That’s why there’s a preexisting-condition clause.

Whoops, Rick Santorum just explained why either one has a mandate or else insurance companies just get to weed out anybody unprofitable. But he doesn’t seem to be aware, much like the other Republican candidates, just what the ACA is or what it’s already done for him.

Recently, Santorum has been openly discussing his three-year-old daughter’s illness, a rare and very serious chromosomal condition called Trisomy 18. “I had insurance under my employer,” Santorum told the students. “And when I decided to run for president, I left my job, I lost my insurance, I had to go out and buy insurance on the open market. We have a child who has a preexisting condition. We went out and we said, we left this plan, and we want to join your plan. Fine, we have to pay more because she has a preexisting condition. We should pay more. She’s going to be very expensive to the insurance company. That cost, while not the whole cost, is passed along to us…. I’m OK with that.”

You know what else the Affordable Care Act does? It bars insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. Right now. Before the bill was signed into law last year, a parent in Santorum’s position could find his child denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. Is he OK with that too? Because if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, that’s precisely the situation parents like him — though mostly not former U.S. senators — would find themselves in.

I’m not sure how wealthy Santorum is, so perhaps he could have afforded any level of insurance, but the fact is that for 98% of Americans, having a little girl with Trisomy 18 could mean being denied healthcare under Republican rule.

Nearly everything about the Affordable Care Act is popular among voters, and the one snag that gave Republicans hope, the individual mandate, has steadily increased in popularity as people come to understand what no mandate means.

Weed out the sick, break the insurance companies, or have an individual mandate, what’s your choice? Although breaking the insurance companies could deliver us into the sanctuary of a single payer program, I don’t think many people would agree with such an outright attack on private insurance, so what’ll it be?

For Republicans, the answer is just keep hating Obama, but that won’t heal a sick child, will it?

-hw

Hat tip to Sullivan here.

The Republican trip on the Moebius strip.

Dec 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

All the way around to socialism, only redistributing wealth upwards instead of for the general welfare.

The whole “socialism” charge is usually an indication that somebody doesn’t understand what socialism is or that the USA is already a capitalist-socialist hybrid. But they had to think of something to say about Obama, and so policies that should have been largely uncontroversial suddenly became hot-button issues, and now Republicans are so swept up in their cries for unfettered lassez-faire capitalist destruction derby that they’re opposing absolutely anything Obama proposes for the middle class and even coming up with new attacks on social fortifications we thought untouchable (e.g. child labor laws). Their anti-Obama mania has resulted in a group of utterly self-interested Galtians completely useless to anybody else, especially most voters and anybody un- or underemployed.

-hw

The Drug War hurting us more than drugs, vol. 627274

Dec 08, 2011 in Drug War Insanity, Politics

Back on the subject of asset forfeiture, financial incentives for police departments to go after drug arrests, even casual pot smokers, are skewing justice (as money is wont to do, not being merely “speech”):

The drug war’s financial incentives appear to be having an effect. A drug offender is much more likely to be arrested in Chicago than he was 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. But kill someone in Chicago, and you’re only about half as likely to be caught as you were in the early 1990s.
Last July, more than a year after her attack, Shaver’s assailant “Sonny” was finally convicted. He was sentenced to six months of probation. Reflecting back on the last tumultuous two years, Shaver says, “It just doesn’t make sense. Repeat violent offenders get to walk while casual pot smokers get terrorized by SWAT teams. I’m pretty disappointed in the justice system.”

It would be nice if our police officers were out there actually enforcing justice fairly and equally. Instead, they’re morphing into highwaymen, out to collect booty. It’s not their fault, ultimately, but the fault of those who create the drug war incentives that are intrinsically corrupt via actually being a war on Americans. Police officers, like any other human beings, will pursue the monetary incentives placed before them in their line of work.

-hw

An expulsion of tabs, gas.

Dec 05, 2011 in Politics

1. Two Americas update: If you haven’t noticed, our criminal justice system is designed to inflict maximum punishment on the poor while giving the wealthy as many free passes as possible.

I seem to remember the moral dilemma question about what to charge the man who only steals food for his children. All this woman did was lie about her drug history, which renders her morally equivalent to most politicians.

2. This is kind of true if you mean that anybody who writes for television or movies dares to believe something outside the realm of acceptable opinion on Fox News. Apparently, regardless of what any of us think is right or wrong, we should only write and produce art that conforms to one overriding goal: not offending people who capitalize on being offended.

Climate change is only controversial within the balloon of Fox and the right in America. Making a movie that touches upon our fears of the future is hardly controversial itself. Fear is one of the best topics for a film, even if it’s a fear that apes will rule the world while battling psychic mutants.

3. Can we just accept that politicians who have to run from the press should be chased faster? Mitt, you’re not going to be able to tap into the rightwing distrust of all non-rightwing media when you take on the rightwing media. Going apeshit on journalists trying to get close to Romney only exonerates the media for its supposed sins.

4. The Newt Comedy Tour primer. But what interested me was item #13, which shows Newt Gingrich repeatedly supporting the individual mandate as a conservative alternative to horrible things like Medicare for all. Every day it becomes clear that Republicans really have few core principles that they won’t betray the second Obama supports them. Obama started with compromises, Republicans started with, “Go back to Kenya with your anti-colonialist atheist Muslim communistic destruction of all that makes America dear, Barry Soetero!” The mandate always was a non-issue, the issue is hating Barack Obama, and Newt’s candidacy is rising because Republicans believe him when he vocalizes that hatred.

If Republicans want to run Newt, I say good for everybody. Because you couldn’t ask for a better representative for who the Republican Party really is and has been since Newt became Speaker in 1994. Strip away the folksy dunces like Dubya and you get the prep school dullards like Newt who turn their rejection into political resentment. They’re generally unlikable, and confuse arrogance for confidence. And they’re easy to deflate in online debate;) Newt’s biggest weakness on the way to the nomination is the fact that he’s also said enough to make any Republican hate him. But who could be the anti-Newt? Are they finally looking at Huntsman?

5. The more Republicans blather about Reagan (and unflattering themselves by comparison), they make us look back to the actual record of Reagan’s presidency, and it wasn’t good. Reagan’s single greatest accomplishment, it seems, was to make Republicans feel good about themselves. His attempts to play chess in the carnage of South America are so applauded that no manner of law-breaking displeased the forever loyal GOP base. The clear evidence that Reagan was increasingly a minor player in his own administration gave Republicans the model of the spokesman president who winks at America while the realpolitikers operate underground. This culminated in the disastrous two terms of George W. Bush. Reagan’s belief system broke in September 2008, and we’re just seeing the scattered pieces on television.

6. Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes says some foreigners, but they need to shut their mouths because America rules!

7. A wealthy man questions his status as a “job creator.”

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Amazon.com Inc.

Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

This has become forgotten in the American collective, overwhelmed by Republicans chirping, “Job creators!” incessantly. Supply-side economics ends with low demand. People earning checks and spending their money on life’s basics with a few luxuries is the lifeblood of an economy. Giving money to billionaires competing for some damn list in a magazine for highest-stacked pile of cash isn’t quite as productive.

-hw

Love beats hate.

Dec 01, 2011 in teh gay

-hw