Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Mashup (3/4/11)

  • We all know that Fix Noise is the epicenter of voter fraud allegations involving Democrats which just about always turn out to be baseless (as noted here – actually, I can’t recall a single instance when they’ve been right).

    Well, guess what? As reported in the New York Times here…

    Indiana’s top elections official, Secretary of State Charles P. White, was indicted Thursday on felony charges that he committed voter fraud.

    The indictment, announced by two special prosecutors, prompted immediate, bipartisan calls for Mr. White to resign. But Mr. White, a Republican who took office two months ago, said he would remain in the post as he contests the charges.
    And what do we hear from Fix Noise in response?

    Cue the sound of crickets (a Google search yielded nothing).

  • Next, I don’t know who else has noticed but yours truly, but The Orange One has been a veritable “laff riot” lately, with an allegation in particular here that “most Americans don’t have a clue” on the issue of entitlement reform (too funny...unlike you, at least we realize that Social Security has bupkes to do with the deficit).

    Well, fresh on the heels of that noxious instance of oral self-entitlement, Boehner is back with the following from here…

    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has privately assured President Obama that House Republicans will not attack him if he makes a proposal to reform entitlement spending, according to sources familiar with the offer.

    Moreover, Boehner has personally promised Obama that he will stand side by side with him to weather the strong political backlash expected from any proposal to cut entitlement costs.
    Please allow me to respond with the following well-reasoned observation:



    There are at least six reasons why Boehner should not be trusted in any way, shape or form (probably many more, but life is short)…

  • Here, Boehner blames Obama for the debt but ignores the stinking Repug tax cuts that are primarily responsible.

  • Here, Boehner said Obama “ignores American exceptionalism.”

  • Here from last December, he told Obama it was “time to govern” (you first, Orange Man).

  • Here Boehner said how dare Obama claim Repugs hate government, or words to that effect (truth hurts, doesn't it?).

  • Here, Boehner falsely claimed Obama allowed AIG bonuses in the “stim.”

  • Here, Boehner said to Obama: “Fire (your) economic team” (and we get more whining about “uncertainty”).
  • So basically, I hope Obama takes Boehner’s olive branch and stomps all over it. And if the House Speaker goes on another crying jag over it, Obama should just utter three words: So be it.

  • Update: And The Orange One plummets to new depths of both stupidity and insensitivity here (as well as having zero respect for history, to say nothing of our veterans).

  • Further, allow me to bring you the anatomy of a wingnut smear, beginning with the following from The Daily Tucker (here)…

    In her first appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee since the health-care law passed, Kathleen Sebelius responded to a line of questioning by Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois about whether $500 billion in Medicare cuts were used to sustain the program or pay for the law.

    “There is an issue here on the budget because your own actuary has said you can’t double-count,” said Shimkus. “You can’t count — they’re attacking Medicare on the CR when their bill, your law, cut $500 billion from Medicare.”

    He continued: “Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to what? Say your funding health care. Your own actuary says you can’t do both. […] What’s the $500 billion in cuts for? Preserving Medicare or funding the health-care law?

    Sebelius’ reply? “Both.”
    And as a result, Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page proclaimed the following headline: “HHS Secretary Sebelius Admits To Double-Counting Funds For Obamacare.”

    This is just sad, people – in response, I give you the following from last August (here)…

    Reporting from Washington — President Obama reached out Saturday to retired Americans, an important group of voters, touting a report that showed the healthcare overhaul had brightened prospects for the Medicare hospital trust fund.
    The whole “double-counting in the health care law” thing appears to be yet another right-wing zombie lie. Well, to begin, I give you the following from here...

    The long and short of it: the administration says that it estimates the effects of the law on the entire federal budget over a 10 year period. Under that scenario, the law increases the cash flow into the Medicare Trust Fund, but since that fund is part of the larger federal budget, some of the funds could be used on other legislative priorities. Klein quotes Jonathan Blum, the director of the Center for Medicare Management for CMS, as saying, “I think it’s been a historical, and longstanding budget convention that when you have less dollars paid to the Medicare program to pay for benefits, there are dollars that accrue to the overall federal treasury, that can be spent for other purposes. And this is an OMB, CBO budget convention.”
    OK, wonky stuff I know – more to the point, I give you the following from here…

    In a 2009 blog post, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote: "The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the (health care law) would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs.

    To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government's ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal position."
    Further, as noted here…

    This double-counting charge is a bit vague. (The health care law) reduces the deficit, and it reduces future Medicare spending. Is it double-counting to take credit for both things, when some of this reduction in future spending will be used outside of Medicare, for example to help finance insurance coverage for all Americans?

    One might dismiss this question as reflecting a sudden double-standard. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities rightly points out that the Obama Administration presents budget numbers in precisely the same manner that elected officials from both parties always have. There is nothing dishonest or unusual here.

    Oh, and by the way Tucker, please note that, though I wish you were correct in the pic above, Joe Pitts is, in fact, the U.S. House rep from PA’s 16th congressional district.

  • Finally, it’s time once more for The Murdoch Street Journal to “Get Christie Love” (here, in a column by Reagan cultist Peggy Noonan about those oh-so-baad public sector teachers)…

    Let's look for a second at one of the most famous battles, in New Jersey. A year ago Chris Christie was sworn in as the new governor. He immediately faced a $10.7 billion deficit and catastrophic debt projections. State and local taxes were already high, so that if he raised them he'd send people racing out of the state. So Mr. Christie came up with a plan. He asked the state's powerful teachers union for two things: a one-year pay freeze—not a cut—and a modest 1.5% contribution to their benefit packages.

    The teachers union went to war. They said, "Christie is trying to kill the unions," so they tried to kill him politically. They spent millions on ads trying to take him down.

    And it backfired. They didn't kill him, they made him. Chris Christie is a national figure now because the teachers union decided, in an epic political drama in which arithmetic is the predominant fact, to ignore the math. They also decided to play the wrong role in the drama. They decided to play the role of Johnny Friendly, on whom more in a moment.
    Uh, well, the following should be noted in response here (from last October)…

    NJ Gov. Chris Christie and his advisors are trying to sell him as a "principled" man who does the right thing no matter what, but a closer look reveals an egomaniacal political hack who is a lot more concerned about his image than anything else. Now he blames a good little wingnut soldier like Bret Schundler for his very expensive temper tantrums, and apparently his major decisions are being dictated by the local right-wing talk radio:

    Before rejecting a compromise with teachers that would have won New Jersey a $400 million federal education grant, Gov. Chris Christie’s main objection was that it would appear that he had given in to the teachers’ union, a former education commissioner testified on Thursday.

    The governor, who had battled the union all year, said “that he was not going through the fire with all of their attacks on him merely to cave in to the union,” the former commissioner, Bret D. Schundler, told a State Senate hearing investigating the loss of the federal grant. “And he said that emphatically and for a rather extended period of time.”

    Mr. Schundler recalled that in his conversation with the governor, in May, he had explained that it was the union that had given ground, and that the administration had won nearly everything it wanted. “When the governor came to understand that, his concern became more about how it would be perceived,” he said.

    [...] Mr. Christie fired Mr. Schundler, a fellow Republican, in August, after New Jersey finished 11th in a competition, called Race to the Top, that rewarded the top 10 states.

    A minor omission in New Jersey’s application was one reason the state lost the contest. The mistake cost the state 4.8 points, giving it a score of 437.8, just 3 points behind 10th-place Ohio.

    But New Jersey lost at least 14 points because the teachers’ union, the New Jersey Education Association, refused to endorse the application; the added points from the union’s endorsement would have put the state into fourth or fifth place.

    The union had agreed in late May to a draft agreement negotiated by Mr. Schundler, signing on to almost every change called for by the governor, including paying teachers based partly on their students’ performance. There was one major exception, Mr. Schundler said: The union would not endorse giving up the principle that when tenured teachers were laid off, it had to be in reverse order of seniority. Mr. Schundler said that that was not a major issue, because such layoffs were rare, and the governor could pursue the change whether or not it was included in the application.

    The news release announcing the deal with the union intentionally avoided claiming victory for the governor, Mr. Schundler testified, so that the union could more easily sell the plan to its members. But the next morning, he said, the governor called him, irate because a talk-radio host, Jim Gearhart on WKXW, “was saying he caved in to the union.”
    So Christie scuttled a perfectly good agreement brokered by Bret Schundler with the teachers union, and cost New Jersey $400 million in education funds, because of a fit of pique over comments from a talk radio host.

    And this from a guy who claimed, in essence, that he could win the 2012 presidential election here (the gall of this man truly takes your breath away).

    Incidentally, the “Johnny Friendly” reference pertains to the legendary Hollywood film “On The Waterfront,” made in 1954 and starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden and Rod Steiger (Brando won his first Oscar for the role of dockworker and washed-up fighter Terry Malloy). Basically, the author of the Journal piece is trying to compare the NJ teachers union to Friendly, the character played by Cobb, who indeed was a “selfish, bullying union chief.”

    Friendly, in the movie, was also behind the death of a would-be informant who was crushed by a case of whiskey in a dock “accident,” as well as the murder of Malloy’s brother, who was left to hang on a hook in a back alley as a message to Malloy about testifying against Friendly (which Terry eventually does).

    That’s the kind of association we’re supposed to make with teaching professionals according to the author, as people no better than murdering thugs.

    All class, Nooners.

    Anonymous said...

    I guess the "actuary" was being a right wing liar when he said you can't spend money twice. It didn't take to much of his higher math ability to figure that out.

    doomsy said...

    Perhaps, but I wouldn't trust anything coming out of Shimkus. I would expect sounder logic from my cat.