Republicans, a Rock, a Hard Place and Obamacare

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The Republican gambit of demonizing Obamacare is starting to backfire — as well it should. The strategy is based on a lie.

In 2009, Pres. Obama opted to use the individual mandate model as the basis of health-insurance reform — rather than the single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach his supporters preferred — in part because he hoped to strike a deal with Republicans. His quest for bipartisanship seems ridiculous now (as it did then to many people), but it was, in fact, grounded in reality.

Video: ‘Open Carry’ Is Apparently Only Legal When White People Do It
Officer forces African-American legally carrying an assault rifle to lie on the ground

Officer forces African-American legally carrying an assault rifle to lie on the ground

Two men — one white, one black — in jurisdictions where it’s legal to walk around with assault weapons, go out in public with rifles. A policeman questions the white guy and sends him on his way. With the black guy, it’s a different story.

Watch:

The Ten Senate Races Democrats Are Most Likely to Win in 2016

Feingold

Feingold

We’re not yet halfway through 2015 but the 2016 race for control of the U.S. Senate is starting to take shape. This week The Hill ranked the 10 most competitive races — and since then there has been a development in the race The Hill listed as likely to be the easiest pickup for Democrats.

Yesterday former Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democratic incumbent who was unseated by current Sen. Ron Johnson in 2010, announced he was entering the race. Johnson, a tea partyist, won by 5 percentage points in the tea party’s anti-Obamacare wave election after spending millions of his own money. The Hill quotes him as saying he won’t self-fund this year — which only means he’ll rely on his wealthy cronies to spend unlimited money anonymously to fund his campaign. The Hill cited a poll by PPP taken before Feingold’s announcement that found Feingold with 50 percent support against Johnson’s 41 percent. Wisconsin has voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential cycle since 1984.

Within hours after Feingold’s announcement, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts endorsed him, according to an email sent by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

The Hill’s other nine most-competitive races are:

Even the Tea Party Disagrees with Jeb That Invading Iraq Was Worth It

chart-support-for-iraq-invasion

Fox Calls ‘Clinton Cash’ Lie About Foundation’s Spending ‘Incredibly Misleading’

Eric Shawn

Eric Shawn

One of the more startling assertions about the Clinton Foundation made in “Clinton Cash,” the controversial book by former Sarah Palin adviser Peter Schweizer, is that just 10 percent of the billions donated to the foundation goes to charitable activities. The rest, Schweizer has suggested, is pocketed by the Clintons.

Not surprisingly, Schweizer’s assertion has been proved to false. In fact, the 10 percent figure is such a flagrant lie that it couldn’t even pass muster on Fox. On May 6, Fox viewers were exposed to a rare glimpse of the truth, when Eric Shawn, one of the fake news channel’s “real” reporters, appeared on the network’s flagship broadcast, “The O’Reilly Factor”:

‘Clinton Cash': The Same Old GOP Smoke and Mirrors

For a free download from The National Memo, click the image.

 To download a free ebook from The National Memo, click the image

By now you’ve probably heard that a right-wing partisan hack named Peter Schweizer has written a book about the Clinton Foundation titled “Clinton Cash” in which he suggests that Bill and Hillary have been operating their foundation as a giant slush fund, and that Bill has been whoring himself out to moneyed interests who pay him “speaking fees” in exchange for favors delivered by Hillary when she was secretary of state.

You’ve probably also heard about Schweizer’s deep ties to the extreme right. He is a former Bush speechwriter, foreign-affairs adviser to Sarah Palin and blogger for Breitbart.com, the legacy website of the late serial liar and notorious racist, Andrew Breitbart. His work is riddled with mistakes and falsehoods. Fact-checkers and legit reporters have used words like these to describe his work in the past: “incorrect,” “inaccurate,” “bogus,” “a fatal shortcoming in Journalism 101,” “the facts didn’t stand up,” “unfair and inaccurate,” “specious argument,” “there was nothing there,” “suspicious,” “the facts don’t fit,” facts “do not check out,” sources “do not exist or cannot be tracked down,” “confusion and contradiction,” “discrepancies,” “admitted a mistake,” “neither journalism nor history,” “a polemic so unchecked … that we can’t tell the fact from the fiction,” sources “have clearly used him,” and “tacitly conced[ed] he was wrong.”

Despite Schweizer’s shady background, however, “Clinton Cash” has been taken seriously by “liberal media” outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post and others, who have lent it legitimacy by using it as a source for their reporting.

So — where there’s smoke there’s fire. Right?

Expel Texas: Gov. Abbott Musters State Guard in Apparent Move to Confront U.S. Troops, Provoke War with United States
A more perfect union: No Texas

A more perfect union: No Texas

Last week, Texas’ new governor, Greg Abbott, announced what was arguably the most militaristic anti-government action taken by a U.S. governor since the Civil War. Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to muster in Bastrop County this summer to protect local residents while United States troops, including Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, conduct training exercises there. The governor’s orders instructed the Guard to ensure that Bastrop County residents’ “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.”

Republicans Run Amok in Florida
State Legislature Left in Shambles After State House Closes Up Early
FLHouse

Nobody home: Looks like a good place to hold a legislative session. Photo: Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel

When the going gets tough, what do the tough do? They get going. And that’s exactly what Florida state House members did. They walked out in a huff, with three days remaining in the state’s annual legislative session.

You had one job, Florida House Republicans — to approve a budget. And you didn’t even come close.

Technically, there is no lack of leadership, it’s that the leaders are mainly Republicans, and this is what Republicans do. Let’s all be clear on that.

Republicans in the Florida House disagree with Republicans in the Florida Senate over Medicaid expansion. And the Republican governor keeps changing his mind.

For states unlike Florida, not run by Republicans, this is a non-issue. What’s not to like about getting more Medicaid coverage for your poorest residents, with most of the bill footed by the federal government?

Test Your News IQ

PP_14.10.1_quiz
Pew Research has posted another of it periodic news quizzes that test your knowledge of current events, political issues and people in the news. At the end, it will tell you how you did against everybody else who took the quiz.

Of course, I skewed the curve for you by getting a perfect score. Well, me and 10 percent of the others who took the test.

Good luck!

Study: Google Searches for ‘N-Word’ Correlate to Black Mortality

journal.pone.0122963.g001In what can only be described as an act of exquisite irony, given the riots in Baltimore, the University of Maryland yesterday released a study that finds a correlation between the number of Google searches for the “N-word” and its variants, and the rate of mortality among African Americans in a given geographic area.

According to David Chae, author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology at University of Maryland:

“Racial disparities in health and disease represent a significant public health concern. Research suggests that racism is a major culprit that contributes to the gap in mortality between Blacks and Whites,” said Chae. “Our study points to the utility of an Internet-search based measure to monitor racism at the area-level and assess its impact on mortality.”

Enumerati

  • 14%

    Percentage by which the Army fell short of the recruits it needs to fill its ranks, “marking the first time in six years — and only the third in the last 20 — that it may fall short of its recruiting goal for the year,” USA Today reports.

  • 8 to 1

    Odds of winning the Republican presidential nomination the political betting markets give Donald Trump, behind only Jeb Bush (8-5), Marco Rubio (7-2) and Scott Walker (4-1).

  • $11 million

    Amount Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s super PAC has raised, Politico reports. “Kasich’s super PAC haul places him in the middle tier of candidates, behind Jeb Bush ($103 million), Ted Cruz ($37 million), Scott Walker ($20 million), Rick Perry ($16.8 million), and Marco Rubio ($16 million). Chris Christie’s super PAC has also reportedly raised around $11 million.”

  • 100,000

    Number of supporters Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) attracted to participate in a nationwide house party, the New York Times reports. “The national organizing day, which featured more than 3,500 events and house parties across the country, centered around a technological infrastructure that uses text-messaging sign-ups and a deep database of volunteers. Attendees at the house parties were asked to text a number to opt in and show interest.”

  • 26%

    Donald Trump’s lead in the the GOP poll in Florida, followed by Jeb Bush at 20%, Scott Walker at 12%, Marco Rubio at 10% and Ben Carson at 5%, a new St. Pete Polls survey finds.

Poetic Justice

The GOP contenders don’t want pollsters to ignore ’em,
So they can make the debate cut and get a national TV forum.
So their comments get outrageous
And insulting and shameless,
And the only thing that’s lacking is political decorum.

Verbatim

  • I would not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican president.

    — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), saying he “will not run for president as an Independent if he falls short in his bid to secure the Democratic 2016 nomination,” The Hill reports.

  • I think that I would be a great uniter. I think that I would have great diplomatic skills. I think that I would be able to get along with people very well. I’ve had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I were the leader of the United States.

    — Donald Trump, quoted by The Hill.

  • To what do we owe this bumper crop of candidates? There are three main reasons. 1. This year there is no obvious front-runner; it’s no one’s turn (in stark contrast with the Democratic primary). 2. The outside groups known as ‘super PACs’ make it easier to fund campaigns — and while they guarantee that more money is spent, they also make it easier to raise that money. 3. Republicans believe the next president may very well be a Republican and the nomination is worth winning. While being near the back of the pack in a large field might seem hopeless, strange things happen in politics, and the odds of being the next president are definitely worse if you don’t run.

    — Stuart Stevens, writing in the New York Times.

  • I think this is a temporary sort of loss of sanity, but we’re going to come back to our senses and look for someone serious to lead the country at some point.

    — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attributing GOP presidential rival Donald Trump’s rise in the polls to a momentary “loss of sanity,” The Hill reports.

  • What does worry me is that Trump really is a proven visionary. He’s brilliant at seeing the next ego-leveraging opportunity. He’s the first interloping network star to jolt a presidential race, but no way is he the last… What Trump is doing, and it’s a twisted kind of public service, is showing all of us how easy it is now to successfully manipulate a media in economic distress and a presidential process that caters, more and more, to an ever-dwindling bloc of extremists on either side.

    — Matt Bai, writing for Yahoo Politics.

PensitoWire

Infografix

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Libertarianism: The misguided belief that trading the yoke of big government for the yoke of big business will make the whip sting less.

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