Monday Morning Quad Shot
I have been on a bit of a tear in the days since ObamaCares was upheld, and I'm not inclined to play nice with the jerks. I watched an argument unfold last night between @Karoli and some dipshit conservative douchebag who was whining about having to pay for healthcare for the "poor, sick, lame and lazy." He called it "forced charity."
I didn't bother engaging him, Karoli was handling it well enough on her own and I don't have the patience for assholes like that, anyway. I did say my piece, though, posting the following on my Facebook wall and a burst of tweets in a final spleen-venting before closing the book on the weekend:
I am really fucking sick of hearing asshole conservatives whine about having to pay for healthcare for "the poor, the sick, the lame and the lazy" -- guess what, asshole? I have to pay for the death penalty and private prisons and even faith-based charities that get federal dollars. And don't get me started on the defense budget, my head might [explode].
My point is that we all pay for things that we may personally disagree with, or even find offensive or morally objectionable, but most of us suck it up and pony over the dough because we're grownups and that's just how it is. So grow the fuck up. [/end rant]
I am not playing nice with these assholes any more, and when I hear people say stupid shit at the bus stop or on the bus or in line at the grocery store or any other place, I am not just going to roll my eyes in my husbands direction and go on. I am going to challenge them. I may not get through to them, but at least they'll know that there is another side and they aren't going to get their way just by sheer volume. We've ignored them and they didn't go away, so screw it. Face full of claws, comin' your way, Bitches. Deal with it or shut up like you seem to think **I** should.
* Barack Obama needs to send Eric Fehrnstrom a fruit basket. Rmoney's top campaign adviser just stepped all over the GOP messaging spin that they have invested four days in catapulting when he told Chuckles Todd that Romney disagrees with the Supreme Court and doesn't think the individual mandate is a "tax," even though that is precisely what he called the same mechanism when he was Governor of Massachussetts and signed the prototype legislation that ObamaCare is based of. But it's **Obama** who needs to "reconcile his positions" because they're contrary. Or something.
** I call Bullshit I don't believe for one second that Chief Justice John Roberts caved to pressure and changed his vote. I don't have the same numbers on speeddial that the well-connected conservative reporter Jan Crawford has, but I'm not a gullible sap, either. And I have never, not once in my life, heard of a leak out of the Supreme Court. If there is a leak, it's on the conservative side, and it will come to full flower next session, and we'll deal with it then. But musing about the ACA ruling is just so much mental masturbation aimed at salving the perceived wounds of republicans who feel betrayed by the "republican court" (that has actually been said, out loud and on the teevee machine) that upheld the black-Kenyan-Moooooslim-Sicialist-Nazi-Commie who got healthcare reform done.
*** This is what the election is about and if you don't bust your ass to make sure Democrats win, you deserve what will happen to you. Republicans want to kill healthcare reform. Orange Julius wants to "rip it out by the roots" and the party in general sees the November elections as their last chance to kill it. And they are right -- because by the 2014 midterms, the law will be fully implemented and people will see clearly what it is doing for them, and they will be well on the road to realizing that the GOP flat-out lied to them for five years, and they won't reward that fealty to the medical-industrial complex.
**** All the big controversial things have to be done in a second term and I would like to see Bush and his cronies frogmarched to the Hague. But I will settle for a cease fire in the drug war. Because it's just stupid and it ruins lives for no good reason.
That's probably it for me today. I have a routine medical procedure scheduled for early this afternoon and while the procedure is minor, the meds administered before and after might make me feel strange and disconnected from reality for a while, but I'll be able to shake it in time for the newswrap, I promise. :)
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So just when Republicans had decided their new argument against Obamacare is that it's a tax ... the Mitt Romney campaign steps up to the plate and ... disagrees?
CHUCK TODD (MSNBC): What you just said is that Governor Romney agrees that it's not a tax. But you guys call it a penalty.Oops. Thanks for the assist, Eric.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM (TOP ROMNEY AIDE): The governor disagreed with the court. He agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax.
TODD: So ... I think we're talking around each other. The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax, that's what you're saying?
FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the court's ruling that the mandate was a tax.
TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not, that you shouldn't call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?
FEHRNSTROM: That's correct.
Really, this is a stupid debate, though. Using the government's taxing power to impose a tax penalty on a small number of people isn't the same thing as raising income taxes for everybody, and Republicans know it. Trying to claim otherwise is moronic. To be fair, however, it's not as moronic as nominating the father of Obamacare if your party's central message is that Obamacare must be repealed.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has explicitly rejected the Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, threatening the coverage of 951,622 low-income Floridians.[...]
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The IRS is taking a hard look at political 'charities' like Crossroads GPS. [...]
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“That is not the issue,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “The question is how to go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world.” – Huffington Post
SPEAKING FOR THE 1%, Sen. Mitch McConnell reveals what matters to the right and the Republican elite. As long as the U.S. has “the finest health care system in the world,” it hardly matters if tens of millions of middle class and poor Americans have access.
Let them use band-aids.
The GOP “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality spoken in a way no one can misunderstand or misconstrue.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. The writer Masaccio ? a former state securities commissioner, mind you ? has a nice post that reminds us of this:The actual Constitution of any country is not (yes, not) the written Constitution. It's the written Constitution as practiced. That's not snark, but fact. The British Constitution is almost a thousand years of documents and practices,...
enlargeNo one is the boss of FL Gov. Rick Scott!
This is good news for Florida, since Gov. Alien Eyes would probably set it up to make his buddies rich, not to help state residents. So having the feds set it up is a boon for poor Floridians:
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is saying Florida will do nothing to comply with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Scott recently said he would follow the law if it were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. But he went on national television on Friday night and said Florida will not take any steps to help carry out the overhaul.
Sunday we spoke to Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and Congressman John Mica, R-Winter Park.
Senator Nelson and Congressman Mica expressed opposing views on Governor Rick Scott not complying with the Affordable Care Act.
"Florida does have a lot of folks that are uninsured," said Congressman John Mica. "I think what we need to do is repeal Obamacare and I think that will probably be on the first orders of business of the next Congress and hopefully a new President."
Mica went on to say, "We can put in place some measures that do provide access to affordable care and also address some of the needs that we have."
Nelson said, regardless of Governor Rick Scott's input, the Affordable Care Act is about lowering health care costs and the law will be implemented with or without Scott's help.
"The healthcare exchanges are going into effect under the law of this land in 2014. It clearly says if a state won't participate, then the federal goverment will come in and set up the health exchange and that's so you bring the rates down," explained Nelson.
Nelson said that most Americans would rather improve the law than get rid of it.
"Should I repeal it, or should I fix it? The Supreme County said it's constitutional, now let's go on about the process of making it work," Nelson concluded.
The University of Texas, Austin, has agreed to open an inquiry into the flawed parenting study conducted by one of its professors, Mark Regnerus. The study appears to have been politically calculated, using funding from right-wing foundations to produce skewed results portraying gay parenting in a negative light. Over 200 professors and therapists have critiqued the study’s analysis and publication. The UT “Scientific Misconduct” investigation will examine whether the study lacks scientific integrity and whether Regnerus engaged in improper relationships with his funders or others connected to the study.
Mitt Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the governor disagrees with Republicans’ claim that the individual mandate is a “tax,” contradicting the party message since the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had authority to mandate people purchase insurance under the taxing power.
“The governor disagreed with the ruling of the Court,” Fehrnstrom said, “he agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax”:
TODD: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax — that’s what you’re saying?
FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax. [...]
TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not — and he believes that you should not call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?
FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct. But the president also needs to be held accountable for his contradictory statements. He has described it variously as a penalty and as a tax. He needs to reconcile those two very different statements.
Republicans have seized on the Supreme Court’s decision to claim that the mandate is a ?massive tax hike? on the middle class, labeling it the ?largest tax increase in history.? But Romney — who instituted a similar requirement in Massachusetts — insisted as governor that the penalty is a way to discourage free-riders and is not a new tax on families.
by Joe Smyth
As Shell’s rigs head toward the Arctic to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil, the company took a small step this weekend in clarifying what would happen in an oil spill during the company?s planned Arctic drilling operations this summer.
Despite the oil industry’s spin, experts know it is impossible to recover more than a small fraction of a major marine oil spill, as retired Coast Guard Admiral Roger Rufe told NPR: “But once oil is in the water, it’s a mess. And we’ve never proven anywhere in the world ? let alone in the ice ? that we’re very good at picking up more than 3 or 5 or 10 percent of the oil once it’s in the water.”
So how is it possible, according to the New York Times, that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “said he believed the company?s claims that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled in the event of a well blowout.” These sorts of claims have raised eyebrows among advocates and scientists who study offshore oil drilling — they aren’t just unbelievable, they’re laughably, outrageously impossible. NPR’s Richard Harris cuts through Shell’s spin, and explains what these numbers really mean:
“They have a miniscule number of boats compared to what was available in the Gulf of Mexico,” [Peter Van Tuyn, and environmental lawyer in Anchorage] says, and in the Gulf, “they didn’t have to deal with the extreme weather conditions that we’ve got in the Arctic.” High winds are the norm, and sea ice is always a possible hazard, “and yet they [Shell] claim they can collect as much as 95 percent.”
Merrell says the company has made no such claim. Instead, he says, the oil company’s plan is to confront 95 percent of the oil out in the open water, before it comes ashore. That doesn’t mean responders can collect what they encounter.
“Because the on-scene conditions can be so variable, it would be rather ridiculous of us to make any kind of performance guarantee,” Merrell says.
While discussing the same issue with the Associated Press, Shell PR folks take another word out for a spin, and even try to blame “opposition groups” for this confusion:
Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said opposition groups are purposely mischaracterizing Shell?s oil spill response plan. The plan does not claim Shell can clean up 90 percent of an oil spill, he said.
?We say in our plan we expect to ?encounter? 90 percent of any discharge on site ? very close to the drilling rig,? he said. ?We expect to encounter 5 percent near-shore between the drilling rig and the coast. And we expect to encounter another 5 percent on shore. We never make claims about the percent we could actually recover, because conditions vary, of course.?
Where Shell plans to drill in the Arctic, those conditions include 20 foot swells, hurricane force winds, sea ice, and months of total darkness, and all without deep water ports or other infrastructure needed to mount a major oil spill response. But let’s put that aside for a moment, to make sure we’re not mischaracterizing here: Shell expects to “encounter” or “confront” 90% of the spilled oil and another 5% the company plans to — rendezvous? — with elsewhere in the ocean, while the remaining 5% Shell might — happen upon? — on shore. How much of that oil might be recovered, collected, or, you know, removed from the environment? Well, Shell says conditions vary, so making a performance guarantee would be rather ridiculous.
In the relatively calm conditions of the Gulf of Mexico, with thousands of response vessels, only a small fraction was recovered from the BP oil disaster. Despite shameful efforts to spin its announcement, a government report found that 4% of the oil was skimmed, and another 6% was burned. And as oil spill expert Rick Steiner observes, even those estimates might be too high, and burning oil isn’t really removing it from the environment: “It either went into the air as atmospheric emissions, and some of that is pretty toxic stuff, or there’s a residue from burning crude that sinks to the ocean floor, sometimes in big thick mats.”
And the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound? Steiner explains in “Exxon Valdez Oil Spill a Cautionary Tale for Arctic Ocean Drilling:
And today, 23 years later, most of the fish and wildlife populations and habitats injured by the spill have yet to fully recover, and there is still residual, toxic oil in beach sediments. It is becoming evident that the injured Alaska coastal ecosystem may never fully recover from the Exxon Valdez spill.”
What of the promised “state-of-the-art spill response”? Despite a three-year, $2 billion effort by Exxon, the response was a spectacular failure, recovering less than 7 percent of the spilled oil.
Oil that Exxon might have “encountered” decades ago, still remains today, as do the impacts to the ecosystem and the wildlife and communities that depend upon it.
Joe Smyth is a Media Officer with Greenpeace.