Sunday Roast: Veruca Salt Award-Jennifer Rubin

Washington Post Blogger Jennifer Rubin has earned herself the Veruca Salt Award. She is notoriously unable to deal with facts she hasn’t invented herself. So small wonder when someone contradicts her introducing such facts she channels Veruca Salt and asks for the person to be muted.

Congratulations Mrs Rubin, this is not really the Pulitzer, but as close to an award on your “journalistic” work you’ll ever get.

This is our Open Thread. Join in.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 26th, 2012: The Tortoise Turtle is Hare-Brained

Not to insult any tortoises, turtles, or hares who happen to be reading this; because, honestly, most tortoises, turtles and hares are more intelligent and have more integrity than the subject of this post, but…

MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY-TURTLEWAX) IS A MANIPULATIVE, DESPICABLE, LYING AND YES, TREASONOUS, UGLY BAG OF MOSTLY WATER. (As Wayne would say: ‘There, I said it, and I’m glad.’)

Yesterday’s “Quote of the Day” in the Washington Post:

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defending his decision to drop the threat of a filibuster on a proposal to preserve tax cuts soley[sic] for the middle class:

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here…”

The Washington Post article states:

“McConnell acknowledged the unusual nature of his decision — Democratic aides could not recall another occasion when McConnell permitted a simple majority vote on a contentious issue. McConnell said his goal was to force vulnerable Democrats to support a plan to raise taxes less than four months before the Nov. 6 ballot.”

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here,” McConnell said.

Moreover, McConnell said, the tax bill cannot advance because it is a Senate-originated tax measure. The Constitution requires all tax measures to originate in the House.

“The only reason we won’t block it today is that we know it doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law,” McConnell said. “What today’s votes are all about,” he said, is “showing the people who sent us here where we stand.”

Yes, Mitch, it shows the people who sent you there that you stand against them, as poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts for the extremely wealthy expire. Yeah, you show ’em, Mitch.

According to a ThinkProgress article posted after the 2011 debt ceiling hostage debacle, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed this fear [of Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage] when he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage in the future, saying this debate “set the template for the future”:

MCCONNELL: “It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion…”

“Discussion”? That was no “discussion”, Mitch, it was a deliberate act on the Republican’s part to undermine both President Obama and the American economy.

The same ThinkProgress 2011 post continued, “The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times in the past without controversy, including 19 times under President Bush alone. President Reagan increasing the debt ceiling by 199.5 percent during his eight years in office — more than any executive to date — while Presidents Bush, Jr. raised it 90.2 percent and Bush Sr. increased it by 48.0 percent.” Of course, as everyone knows, IOKIYAR.

According to DailyKos, the debt ceiling fight:

“…didn’t just hurt the economy or disrupt the economic recovery, halt job growth, and wreck consumer confidence. It also cost taxpayers $1.3 billion and counting, according to the Government Accountability Office [GAO].

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said Monday that the $1.3 billion in costs came as the result of increased borrowing costs for the Treasury Department.

Ezra Klein at The Washington Post provided a link to the GAO’s “Analysis of 2011-2012 Actions Taken and Effect of Delayed Increase of Borrowing Costs.”

As a reminder to us all, this October 2010 ThinkProgress article quotes McConnell:

MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell added, “Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful. …

Apparently nothing else matters to Republicans: if trashing the U.S. economy, rising unemployment (where are the jobs, Speaker Boehner?), and undermining the rights of citizens to vote will help “to give [their] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful”, well, if the Republicans spoke French (horrors!), they’d likely say, “c’est la vie” – or, more appropriately, c’est la guerre.”

This is our daily open thread — ladies and gentlemen, start your discussion!

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 9th, 2012: What’s Iraq Got That We Ain’t Got?

This past weekend, while catching up on a few websites, I ran across this link to a 2005 article in the Washington Post. A commenter at TP, Christopher Buttner, posted it on Friday, with the following comment, on the “5 Consequences of the GOP’s Bill to Repeal Obamacare“:

“Please share this – Republicans started the Iraq War to oust a dictator and install Democracy. Republicans wrote and approved the Iraq Constitution which includes Universal Health Care. Over 4300 AMERICAN MILITARY PERSONNEL WERE KILLED so that Republicans could give ALL Iraqi Citizens Health Care; but Republicans don’t believe that 30 million American Citizens deserve Health Care?
Article 31: “Every citizen has the right to health care. The state takes care of public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and medical institutions”

When I was reading the WaPo article, I noticed that a friend of TheZoo (under her real name) had also linked to the article, so I knew that I had to look into it further.

According to Wikipedia, the Iraq Constitution was drafted by the Iraq Constitution Drafting Committee, whose members were appointed by the Transitional National Assembly, and was adopted on October 15th, 2005, “in a referendum of the people.”

Although the WaPo piece highlights several different Articles in the Iraq Constitution (including several which I list below*, as taken from the full version here,) I picked out a few others that I thought would be good ideas here in the United States:

Article 8: Iraq shall observe the principles of good neighborliness, adhere to the principle of noninterference
in the internal affairs of other states, seek to settle disputes by peaceful means, establish relations on the basis of mutual interests and reciprocity, and respect its international obligations.

Article 9: B The formation of military militias outside the framework of the armed forces is prohibited.

Second: Economic, Social and Cultural Liberties
*Article 22:
First: Work is a right for all Iraqis in a way that guarantees a dignified life for them.
Second: The law shall regulate the relationship between employees and employers on economic bases and while observing the rules of social justice.
Third: The State shall guarantee the right to form and join unions and professional associations, and this shall be regulated by law.

Article 28: Second: Low income earners shall be exempted from taxes in a way that guarantees the preservation of the minimum income required for living. This shall be regulated by law.

Article 30:
First: The State shall guarantee to the individual and the family – especially children and women – social and health security, the basic requirements for living a free and decent life, and shall secure for them suitable income and appropriate housing.
Second: The State shall guarantee social and health security to Iraqis in cases of old age, sickness, employment disability, homelessness, orphanhood, or unemployment, shall work to protect them from ignorance, fear and poverty, and shall provide them housing and special programs of care and rehabilitation, and this shall be regulated by law.

*Article 31:
First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.

Article 32:
The State shall care for the handicapped and those with special needs, and shall ensure their rehabilitation in order to reintegrate them into society, and this shall be regulated by law.

Article 33:
First: Every individual has the right to live in safe environmental conditions.
Second: The State shall undertake the protection and preservation of the
environment and its biological diversity.

*Article 34:
First: Education is a fundamental factor for the progress of society and is a right guaranteed by the state. Primary education is mandatory and the state guarantees that it shall combat illiteracy.
Second: Free education in all its stages is a right for all Iraqis.
Third: The State shall encourage scientific research for peaceful purposes that serve humanity and shall support excellence, creativity, invention, and different aspects of ingenuity.
Fourth: Private and public education shall be guaranteed, and this shall be regulated by law.

Of course, the Preamble to the Iraq Constitution begins with “In the name of God, the Most merciful, the Most compassionate” (and doesn’t stray far from religion after that), and the first clause under “Fundamental Principles”, Article 2, states “Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of legislation”, but still…

…wouldn’t it be nice if the U.S. government guaranteed some of those rights to our citizens?

This is our daily open thread — what do YOU think?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 28th, 2012: Decisions, Decisions

On this, the day on which the Supreme Court is supposed to announce their decision regarding the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), I offer first a few articles from Wednesday’s Washington Post:

In the first article, John Boehner issues a typical lugubrious pronoucement, and Eric Cantor chimes in, too:

“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday morning. “‘Obamacare’ is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added that the health law “was a mistake. We would like to see the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, not bureaucrats here in Washington.”
[Yes, the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, like whether they should get that needed prescription, or buy food. Patients, not bureaucrats, can make their own decisions unless the patient is a pregnant woman.]

“As we know, this bill has also presented big problems for our employers,” Cantor added. “Small businessmen and women are having a difficult time keeping the lights on, much less hiring new people. ‘Obamacare’ just makes it more difficult because it makes it more expensive for these business people to create jobs.”

[Then what was keeping those business people from creating jobs in the Bush years, before “Obamacare”?]

As I commented on an excellent article at our local online newspaper, the Southeast-Brewster Patch, “And does Speaker Boehner not see that the two are connected? Does he have any explanation as to WHY healthcare costs continue to rise? Do the Republicans who want to repeal the PPACA – and yes, some say “repeal and replace” – have any concrete solutions to the rising healthcare costs?”

Perhaps some of my questions were answered by this paragraph in the same WP article:

“Beyond their general comments, neither Boehner nor Cantor provided specifics on their path forward, waiting until the court rules before spelling out any further plans. But Republican aides have said in recent weeks that the House is unlikely to vote on any significant health-care-related legislation before the November elections — other than efforts to repeal the entire law if the high court doesn’t — preferring instead to keep focused on more overt attempts to boost job creation, strip away federal regulations and renew various tax cuts.”

[De-regulation, and tax cuts for the corporations – yeah, how’d that work out for Bush? Sigh]

I’ll leave you with two more articles from WP, one infuriating, one informative.

Possibly by the time you finish reading this post, the SCROTUS/SCREWEDUS (thanks, RUC) will have announced their decision. Hopefully, we won’t have to see a repeat of this:

Justice Antonin Scalia

UPDATE: The SCOTUS has decided that the Individual Mandate is Constitutional, read the text of the decision here.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!

Rachel Maddow eviscerates Republicans for their disgusting and shameless hypocrisy

There are lies, damned liars, and then there are Republicans named Chuck Grassley, Lamar Alexander, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, and on and on and on…and oh yeah — the Washington Post.  Should we anticipate a correction?

At this point, you’re a guy on a loud speaker, scolding us to keep our voices down; you’re the speed-eating hotdog kid, telling us to go vegan; you’re a family-values, chastity-lecturing, lecher.  You’re hypocrites.  You are not making serious arguments, and you do not believe what you’re saying.  It’s dis-proven by your record.  In the case of Orrin Hatch, you are flat-out lying about the history of the tactic that Democrats are going to use to pass health reform.

For the Washington Post to print something like this is bizarre.  For these established, supposedly mainstream Senators to try to get away with this is an insult to everyone they’re addressing and to the media in particular.  And for us all to just let this slide and call it “politics,” is to surrender to cynicism profoundly.

SMACK!!!

Keep up the good work, Rachel!

Greenspan Disparages McCain’s Tax Plan

Greetings all! I’m pleased to announce my first post here at The Zoo. I appreciate the opportunity to make new friends and to bring my voice to a larger audience. I’m going to try to post here at least three times a week. If you ever need your “Big Blue fix,” drop on by my original blog, The Left Anchor.

Alan Greenspan, a nearly iconic figure to economists around the world, has come out forcefully against John McCain’s tax plan. From today’s AP:

Alan Greenspan says the country can’t afford tax cuts of the magnitude proposed by Republican presidential contender John McCain — at least not without a corresponding reduction in government spending.

“Unless we cut spending, no,” the former Federal Reserve chairman said Friday when asked McCain’s proposed tax cuts, pegged in some estimates at $3.3 trillion.

“I’m not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money,” Greenspan said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I always have tied tax cuts to spending.”

This is the greatest hypocrisy of Republican economic policy. They urge enormous tax cuts, but never bother to off-set them with spending cuts. Now, as a liberal, I wouldn’t agree with their policies even if they bothered to actually — you know — PAY FOR THEM, but that’s a moot point, because they never have and they never will. After more than thirty years in Washington, it’s hard to imagine McCain proposing any new plan to justify the reckless policies his party has pursued for more than a generation. In fact, the following passage could just as easily been written for the presidential campaign 20 years ago.

McCain has said that he would offset his proposed cuts — including reducing the corporate tax rate and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax that has plagued middle-class families — by ending congressional pork-barrel spending, unnecessary government programs and overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Yeah, good luck with that Johnny Boy. God knows how sick and tired Americans are of Social Security and Medicare. I’m sure slashing their benefits will go over like gangbusters. Even at its best, it wouldn’t cover the massive spending McCain intends to pursue through his new tax cuts. Actually, this brings me to a point that isn’t made often enough or clearly enough. Tax cuts are no different than any other government spending, and yet somehow, a politician can propose them, and the American voter doesn’t mind that their top candidates have just pledged to spend hundred of billions of dollars on corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the very social programs American’s love the most: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, etc.

So what’s the real difference between Obama and McCain; between the Democrats and the Republicans? It’s all summed up perfectly in this new chart put out by The Washington Post:

McCain and Obama's Tax Plans Compared

McCain seems to possess some fetish for the rich, while Barack Obama and the Democrats seem to be aware of the existence of those elusive “working Americans” we’re always hearing about. This is your choice in November. Use it wisely.

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Another meaningless poll

You know, if we’re crazy, so are the majority of Americans. As seen, for instance, in this recent Washington Post-ABC News poll:

Part of the displeasure with Congress stems from the stalemate between Democrats and the White House over Iraq policy. Most Americans do not believe Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war, with liberal Democrats especially critical of their party’s failure to force the president into a significant change in policy.

Overall, 55 percent of Americans want congressional Democrats to do more to challenge the president’s Iraq policies, while a third think the Democrats have gone too far. The level of agitation for more action in opposition to the war has not dissipated since August 2005, when Democrats were the minority party in Congress.

Why do the Democrats in Congress hate America?

~ Egreggious