Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Headlines - Wednesday June 28

Noted Libertarian and neck-stomp enthusiast Rand Paul loves him some small government.

He loves it so hard that he's running around trying to attach a "life begins at conception" amendment to a Flood Insurance bill.



But of course THEIR government subsidy is deserved, unlike all those "undeserving" recipients, right?
It seems that when Willard Rmoney appeared on Face the Nation last Sunday to rail against government spending, he did so against a backdrop of a farm that gets a nice fat chunk of federal farm subsidies. What makes this interesting is that the owners of the farm see no inconsistency between their own raking in of six figures of federal cash and their insistence that the government needs to "cut spending":
Jeff and Karen Zuck, who own the 160-acre, 117-head dairy farm that was Romney's chosen backdrop for the rare non-Fox interview, have collected $195,631 in federal subsidies since 1995. The $44,549 in grants they got in 2009, Barack Obama's first year in office, was almost twice their previous high in 2002, and was a consequence of the heightened subsidies the Obama administration rushed to deliver as milk prices plummeted in the recession. Only 20 farms in subsidy-rich Lebanon County, Penn., received more federal aid than the Zucks in 2009, and only 30 exceeded the Zuck subsidy over the prior decade and a half. But the farm didn't even appear on the top 50 list in George W. Bush's final year in office, when they received a measly $1,177 in subsidies, less than three percent of what Obama gave them the next year. Regardless, Karen Zuck told The Daily Beast that she and her husband back Romney. "I haven't liked Obama since before he was president," said Zuck, who had a hard time pinpointing exactly what she likes about Romney, other than her belief that he's "going to do more" about "keeping regulations down." Acknowledging that 2009 and 2010 were their "darkest years," Zuck admitted that "maybe we did get something from it," a reference to the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Program (DELAP) that Obama jump-started in 2009 ($10,243 for the Zucks), and the Milk Income Loss Contract Payment Program that Obama infused with new funding ($34,944 for the Zucks). "We get enough," said Zuck. "But we'd rather not," she added, insisting that she'd prefer to let milk prices rise on their own.
Yeah, right. Because these are just principled conservatives who are willing to sacrifice that nice fat check in the name of "cutting spending", right? Isn't that funny, then, that they went right ahead and cashed the checks.
To get a grasp of "Obamacare" premiums, let's take a family of four where the policyholder is age 35 and has an income of $40,000. How much would insurance cost them? According to this handy calculator from Kaiser, here's what that family would have to pay:
» Premium cost: $925
» Federal tax credit: $760
» Net cost of policy: $165

This is based on a "silver" policy, but you could opt for a gold or platinum policy and pay more, or you could pay less and get a bronze policy. Bronze policies don't provide great coverage, but they do provide the basics and they also cover health emergencies. It's a reasonable option for someone who just can't afford more. By my rough calculation, a bronze policy would cost about $125 less than a silver policy. This means that the net monthly premium for our family of four would be about $40.

$165 a month instead of the current $1-2,000? Could those against it please tell me why you would object to someone paying for their own health care - as opposed to paying for them to go to the ER or doctor when they have NO insurance?
This is why all privatization of prisons should be unconstitutional A 27-year-old man who was less than three months away from being released died in custody after a nurse employed by a private company contracted to provide medical services to inmates sent the ambulance away empty that a physician had called for the inmate to transport him to the hospital because he had already had three siezures that day. The nurse overrode the doctor, the patient died and she not only didn't face any sanction, she still has her job and is still, presumably, denying care to inmates for "cost control" reasons.
In fact, nothing to do with jails or prisons should be privatized. NOTHING. Because shit like this happens. A woman in Tampa, FL was arrested for failure to appear on a previous, unrelated charge after she reported a rape to the police on the advice of the rape-crisis center she visited after the attack. The arrest for a minor offesne after a violent attack was bad enough, but the next morning when she asked for the second "morning after" pill that had been given to her by the physician who performed the post-attack exam and collected the rape kit, the jailer (whe worked at the jail for a private company) refused to give it to her, stating that it violated her religious beliefs.
This is NOT ok...
When you hear some of the rhetoric from the past, it's fair to say there was some reason for concern with the potential new government. It shouldn't be difficult to do better than the last corrupt regime but as we've seen many times, it's easy to do worse.

But for now,
so far, so good though time will tell.
The Muslim Brotherhood is at pains to calm fears of what an Islamist president might mean for Egypt and the region at large. Appointing both a woman and a Coptic Christian is an attempt at a show of unity, and a rule by consensus.

Meanwhile, defeated presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik – Mubarak's last prime minister and Morsi's rival in the runoff election – flew to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday morning with his two daughters. His camp denied that he had fled as investigations begin into allegations of corruption against him while minister of civil aviation. He was in Abu Dhabi for "tourism" purposes, they said.

Essawy also said that Morsi had no objection to swearing the presidential oath in front of the supreme constitutional court (SCC), widely seen as a controversial move after the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-majority parliament by that very court a day before the run-off elections earlier this month. But, "that does not mean he [Morsi] acknowledges the dissolution of parliament", said Essawy, a member of Morsi's former party, Freedom and Justice (FJP).
Republican Party of Texas released its platform this month, calling on Congress to repeal the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. "We urge that the Voter [sic] Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized," the platform reads. Texas is one of nine states with a history of racial discrimination that must get clearance from the Department of Justice before altering its voting laws.
all the votes for you!
Good news everyone! Our benevolent corporate overlords are here to stay and it's full steam ahead for the New American Plutocracy! USA! USA! USA!

The Supreme Court on Monday turned away a plea to revisit its 2-year-old campaign finance decision in the Citizens United case and instead struck down a Montana law limiting corporate campaign spending.

Rather than hearing the case to rethink Citizens United, as Justice Ginsburg had predicted, the court decided that our public discourse was enriched immeasurably from commentary from Foster Freiss and as a result, we will have to hear from people like him possibly forever. Since the court is not at all a partisan body, the decision was 5 -4:




James Fallows believes the conservative members of the Supreme Court are engaged in a slow motion, long-term coup d'etat.

[W]hen you look at the sequence from Bush v. Gore, through Citizens United, to what seems to be coming on the health-care front; and you combine it with ongoing efforts in Florida and elsewhere to prevent voting from presumably Democratic blocs; and add that to the simply unprecedented abuse of the filibuster in the years since the Democrats won control of the Senate and then took the White House, you have what we'd identify as a kind of long-term coup if we saw it happening anywhere else.

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but what we know is this: while it has occasionally been political, the Supreme Court isn't supposed to be a political entity. Add politics to the mix and you get a quasi-legislative body that pursues vendettas and decides based on party loyalty. And this legislative body has the power to trump the other two branches of government in a way that's virtually irreversible. The Roberts Court is doing just that, while also trying to roll back decades of precedent.


Joe said some unkind things about Willard Romney and white people. Joe retweeted a joke about Ann Romney's maladroit quote about "unzipping" her husband. A ludicrous Tinker Toy news outlet stamped its tiny feet, and then the assembled mourners over at Andrew Breitbart's Mausoleum Of Unemployables got themselves outraged, and Politico folded like a cheap suit. This should be a caution to any real reporters who work there now, or who may be thinking about working there in the future. Your bosses can be frightened away by a preposterous political grocery flyer, and by a website run by a cargo cult that worships a deceased angry drunk. They do not have your back. -Charles Pierce on the suspension of Joe Williams

The "Tinker Toy news outlet" would be the Washington Free Beacon.

It shouldn't go unnoticed that Politico suspended African American reporter Joe Williams for saying Romney is more comfortable around white people, while Neil Munroe interrupted the president in the rose garden and is still proudly employed by The Daily Caller.

Munroe's rude interruption was hailed as a heroic act by the same Right Wing blogosphere that lit their hair on fire after Joe Williams dared to tell the obvious truth about Mitt Romney. And while Politico may claim they have "higher standards," those who cried the loudest, prompting the dismissal of Williams, have double standards.

It's okay if you're a Republican. And if you're white.


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