This is the worst fucking idea I have heard regarding this stupid god damned fiscal cliff, which, lest we forget, is a Republican created crisis:
Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age.
I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it's a VSP fantasy about how we're going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.
First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven't noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss.
This would be the nadir of bad politics meeting bad policy, and would give Republicans a reward for their hostage taking. Going off the cliff would be far more preferable. Not to mention, it wouldn't help the budget, because it would just shrink the pool of "more healthy" in Medicare (in quotes, because everyone 65 or over has a pre-existing condition, as we've discussed before. That pre-existing condition is being 65. But statistically, 65 year olds are healthier than 67 year olds. Period.).
This story is sad in a number of ways:
Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.
Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.
Marijuana use in both states continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. One option is to sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law. Should the Justice Department prevail, it would raise the possibility of striking down the entire initiatives on the theory that voters would not have approved legalizing the drug without tight regulations and licensing similar to controls on hard alcohol.
Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response. But such a response would raise political complications for President Obama because marijuana legalization is popular among liberal Democrats who just turned out to re-elect him.
"It's a sticky wicket for Obama," said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as "a slap in the face to his base right after they've just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams."
First, a heavy-handed response from the Administration would just infuriate me. But what makes me even angrier is this news story, which serves as yet another sign of our failed media experiment. If you look at the part of the snippet I have bolded, you'll see that they have even managed to turn this issue into a political horse-race story. It's all about the politics and the optics.
Noticeably absent from the discussion is the morality of locking up millions of Americans for using a harmless weed. No mention of the overcrowding in prisons or the wasted lives our laws have created. Also conspicuously absent is any discussion of the billions we have wasted on the drug war while having ZERO success stopping people from using drugs. Also missing, any analysis of the positive effects of marijuana use for certain medical conditions. No mention of the millions of people who spoke at the ballot box. No discussion of how criminalization of marijuana is the root cause in the rise of violence associated with drug gangs.
Good grief, our war on the harmless weed has failed so spectacularly that D.A.R.E., the most propagandistic organization this side of Fox News, has decided to stop preaching the evils of the sweet leaf to school kids. It turns out that when you lie your ass off to a bunch of kids that if they take one toke of pot they will jump out of windows and go into a pcp-induced mania, it piques their curiosity and then takes exactly one kid getting high and telling his friends you are full of shit. Hoocoodanode?
It has been a month since the Presidential election exposed the rotting flesh of Dick Morris' underbelly, and he won't stand by idly while people call him a fool! Morris has just released a super in-depth analysis of why Mitt Romney lost on his ultra snappy website, and it's not that same old "he got less votes than the other guy" line you've heard from pundits who aren't as good at swimming in their own bullshit. It also isn't because minorities have increased their share of the vote – no, rest easy good citizens; Dick assures us whites are still important as ever if they'd just GET OUT AND VOTE. (Dick Morris is wrong.) But it is possible — we're just asking — that Dick Morris's real purpose in the election wasn't polling or punditing or whatever it was he thought he was doing, but rather was fleecing people who read Newsmax? People who read Newsmax … like you??? READ MORE »
Eric Cantor and his compatriots in the GOP Cavalry will block the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act until one clause is removed: Native Americans would be able to prosecute white men for domestic abuse on tribal lands. Native American women are more likely than any other group to be killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and Amnesty International says 86% of domestic violence cases involving Indian women are beatings at the hands of white men. But Eric Cantor is cool with that because he's a compassionate conservative.
This is why privileged, white Christian men can't have anything nice.
This is the sort of thing that cable news shows should be doing more often.
We shouldn't have to hit rock bottom for CNN to start actually doing its job. But at least we've found a level of insanity that will actually prompt some legitimate journalism.
Republicans are trying a new scam to rig the 2016 presidential election
We know about voter ID and restricting voting hours and booths in Democratic precincts — moves by Republicans to keep Democrats from voting. Now they're trying to rig the next election via the electoral college:
Mother Jones says Republicans are proposing changes to several state's election rules — allocating electoral votes by congressional district instead of statewide — that could tilt the next presidential election their way.
The states? Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.
Yes, this is the only way they can win. By cheating.
According to census data, the number of immigrants living in the U.S. has dropped for the first time in a decade. Additionally, immigrants from Asia outnumbered Hispanic immigrants in 2011.
This illustrates the shortsightedness of knee-jerk Republican attempts to defund family planning services perhaps better than anything.
From The New York Times
When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics. [...]
The latest Health and Human Services Commission projections being circulated among Texas lawmakers indicate that during the 2014-15 biennium, poor women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have, as a result of their reduced access to state-subsidized birth control. The additional cost to taxpayers is expected to be as much as $273 million — $103 million to $108 million to the state's general revenue budget alone — and the bulk of it is the cost of caring for those infants under Medicaid.
Texas cut $73 million from family planning services, but the resulting increase in unwanted pregnancy and unplanned parenthood will cost the state as much as $273 million, bringing the net cost of assailing the state's family support groups to $200 million.
Are they getting their money's worth? Politically, do the ends justify the means?
With Texas refusing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, the state cannot afford this kind of unnecessary cost.