Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
It’s one thing to blast Sarah Palin for her “rank ignorance,” callousness and flimsy grasp at history. Quite another to suggest that someone should shit in her mouth two girls, one cup style.
This is essentially what former MSNBC Martin Bashir did when he criticized Palin for comparing the national debt to slavery. He has subsequently apologized and resigned from his post.
Here is, in part, what he had to say in an email to Mediaite after the on-air segment:
I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.
Bashir’s comments highlight the problem with stations like MSNBC and FOX News. Pundits on these partisan stations — add left and right wing talk radio to the mix — spend the majority of their time lambasting the other side, and they ratchet up the rhetorical to such a high pitch that eventually they have nowhere else to go except to crude and personal attacks.
I disagree with 99.9 percent of the gibberish that comes out of Palin’s mouth, but dropping her, even metaphorically, in the 18th century to be stripped of her humanity and disciplined like a slave for her political views? Really? I mean, did one of Bashir’s producers not step in and say, “Hey man, this might be taking it too far?”
If you missed it, here’s the video:
In a case of Republicans wanting to have it both ways, after 36 states — many of them led by GOP governors — opted out of establishing their own health insurance exchanges, which ironically just defaulted to the federal government anyway, now various conservative groups have filed legal challenges claiming the tax credit provision of Obamacare doesn’t apply to the federal exchange, you know, the same federal marketplace in which Republican leaders wanted no part.
Mustering whatever strained, desperate and pedantic argument they could find, critics argue the law is bunk because it stipulates people can receive the tax credits “through an exchange established by the state,” and the law doesn’t specifically link the credits to the federal exchange.
Of course, conservative types are tripping over themselves to throw some modicum of legitimacy behind this argument and highlighting even the smallest “victory.” Judge Paul Friedman of the D.C. District Court recently rejected a claim by the U.S. Justice Department that one lawsuit should be dismissed, but denied the plaintiff’s request to suspend implementation of the law. Friedman was expected to hear arguments this afternoon.
An article from right-wing The Daily Caller couldn’t have been more jubilant that Friedman was at least going to hear the case.
According to a Daily Caller story from earlier today:
According to the text of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS may issue tax-credit subsidies for premium assistance only to an exchange “established by the state.”
Those filing the lawsuit contend that this wording doesn’t apply to those on the federal exchange that serves 36 states.
The Justice Department has claimed for months that not only are they empowered to authorize the subsidies, but that opposition groups don’t even have the standing to challenge them in court.
“All along, the IRS’ supporters have said, ‘We should do this and there’s nobody that can stop us, because nobody has standing to challenge us,’” Michael Cannon, the director of health policy at the Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “[Tuesday's] ruling is a defeat for the IRS, victory for the plaintiffs, taxpayers and democracy.”
Friedman’s decision not to dismiss the lawsuit per the Justice Department’s request solidifies individuals’ right to stand up to the IRS and strengthens a Virginia lawsuit also proceeding against Obamacare in a federal court in Richmond, Cannon told TheDCNF.
Simon Lazarus, an attorney with the left-ring Constitutional Accountability Center, dubbed the challenged “preposterous” because, according to a Los Angeles Times report, they ask judges to give the law a “nonsensical” interpretation.
No one, not even the Supreme Court justices, were under any delusions when they upheld the individual mandate that the Affordable Care Act was to be applied nationally to address a national concern. Even if the clause in question was amended to read, “through an exchange established by the state and federal government,” the federal exchange was designed as a catch-all for people living in states opting out of the federal marketplace. The tax credits at least implicitly — and I would argue explicitly — apply to the federal exchange for this reason.
Much to Cannon and the Cato Institute’s chagrin, no federal judge has actually ruled on the IRS’s determination that the tax credits apply to the federal exchange. Even if they ruled in the GOP’s favor, the matter would still have to be considered — again — by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court already upheld one of the more contentious parts of the legislation by a 5-4 vote. Is it really conceivable to think that the court would then reverse course on what appears to be less controversial and more or less about semantics?
How disingenuous can you get? Rolling Stone has compiled a list of 10 Republicans in Congress who tripped over themselves this past week to say something nice about Miles Scott, 5, who was recently granted a Make-A-Wish dream of being Batman. The entire town of San Francisco rallied to help fulfill Scott’s dream to be a super hero. It was a great story, and anything that raises publicity for Make-A-Wish is a good thing in my book.
Yet, these 10 Republicans, including Eric Cantor and Ted Cruz, were among the same ones who symbolically voted no less than 43 times against a health care law that would have ensured kids, like Scott with preexisting conditions, got the coverage they deserve. Apparently, for some folks in the GOP ranks, the word “shame” no longer holds any meaning whatsoever because if they truly felt it, they would have long since retreated into their more deserving obscurity.
I wonder what will happen with the Tea Party when Obama leaves office and none of the over the top alarmist warnings come to fruition about impending doom and an American socialist state.
Will they just latch on to some other wild conspiracies or will they disappear into oblivion? I hope for the latter but will bet on the former.
At least Mayor Rob Ford has finally decided to come clean about his apparently insatiable urge for narcotics, alcohol and adventure. How many public servants would confess to such a serious allegation?
Note: The beginning of this post originally read, “At least Mayor Rob Ford is honest about his …” activities. After a comment from a reader and even though this post was more or less tongue in cheek anyway, I realized that describing the man as “honest” in this case was too strong and too laudatory since he has spent the last several months denying claims that he, indeed, smoked crack cocaine in a drunken stupor. I maintain that most politicians would deny such a serious claim to the grave or just resign. I’m guessing Ford’s admission was a calculated political move, and say what you want about his character, it’ll probably pay off. Thanks to Fil Salustri for calling me on this one.
The rollout, especially the website, has been a boondoggle for sure, but people are being dropped from coverage because their old health insurance policies don’t measure up to the standards of Obamacare, which means the people that were dropped had bad policies to begin with, whether they realized it or not.
Obama should be embarrassed that he said time and again, “If you like your coverage you can keep it,” but the fact is, the folks who were dropped had shit policies from the start. America either joins the scores of nations (Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Switzerland) that have instituted some form of universal health care or we become satisfied with the status quo.
If this young lady is any sign, there’s hope for the New South after all.
This whole GOP-led debate about the evils of Obamacare reminds me of Christian apologists. Opponents are desperate to point to any possible deficiency in the law to support a repeal. When all of Christian believers’ stock arguments have long-since been debunked, apologists like Sye Ten Bruggencate, William Lane Craig and scores of others are just relegated to playing word games and rote sophism.
Similarly, the Obamacare legislation was passed by a democratically elected Congress, subsequently vetted and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. While the roll out of the health care bill’s website allowing people to register for the exchanges has been somewhat of a train wreck, people like Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., aren’t just satisfied in pointing out legitimate concerns about the site; they have to make up arguments too in order to continue railing against it.
Blackburn recently claimed that the website will jeopardize people’s medical record privacy, and thus, be in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This argument suffers from two unavoidable problems: First, the only health question on the form is, “Do you smoke?” The rest is just basic information that any insurance company would necessarily gather when signing up a new member. So, essentially, if Blackburn wants to take issue with the information the Obamacare website is gathering, she must also be prepared to take issue with the information nearly every insurance company in this nation requests from potential customers.
Second, and more importantly, HIPPA doesn’t even apply to insurance programs in which customers willingly enter their information. It only applies to health care providers and in some cases, business associates (human resource agents, etc.).
So, whatever personal information Blackburn is attempting to protect regarding the health care website might also apply to hundreds if not thousands of health insurance websites and, indeed, even retail sites across the nation.
Here is the full exchange from CNN, in which Blackburn could not name one question on the site that violates HIPPA:
Marco Rubio’s claim that he “never” supported the government shutdown falls flat, and is, I’m sure, what will be numerous examples of Republicans trying to back pedal on the shutdown and salvage what’s left of their political capital.
Look for this trend to gain momentum come election time — that is, unless the public has forgotten about GOP-led 2013 brinkmanship by that time, which is entirely possible. The GOP leadership is probably hoping beyond all hopes the American public comes under a severe case of amnesia by the next election, but really, that’s about every incumbent’s hope.
One hundred ninety-three or 195 or 200, give or take, and depending on who you ask: