This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Let's face it --- she's a racist fundamentalist and a moron. There's really nothing more to be said. If she wins it's because a majority of Nevadans would rather be represented by a racist, fundamentalist moron than Harry Reid:
"So that’s what we want is a secure and sovereign nation and, you know, I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know that. [Note: it's the Hispanic Student Union. The whole room is Hispanic teenagers.] What we know, what we know about ourselves is that we are a melting pot in this country. My grandchildren are evidence of that. I’m evidence of that. I’ve been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada State Assembly." That last comment, about her being called the first Asian legislator? I have no idea what she is talking about UPDATE: The Angle campaign says she made that remark about being the first Asian legislator because "a reporter thought she looked Asian." OK.
Seriously, this woman shouldn't be allowed to drive much less be allowed to serve in the US Senate. Keep in mind that besides the total idiocy of the comment itself, at the same event she claimed that her racist ad didn't necessarily feature Latinos:
Angle: I think that you’re misinterpreting those commercials. I’m not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial. What it is, is a fence and there are people coming across that fence. What we know is that our northern border is where the terrorists came through. That’s the most porous border that we have. We cannot allow terrorists; we cannot allow anyone to come across our border if we don’t know why they’re coming. So we have to secure all of our borders and that’s what that was about, is border security. Not just our southern border, but our coastal border and our northern border.
So maybe she was talking about Chinese Commies or Malaysian terrorists coming over the border from Canada? Either way you look at it, whether she can tell the difference or not, she's very, very worried about the non-white hordes taking over America.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Liars:
The billionaire Koch brothers have long claimed that they have no direct connection to the Tea Party, denying that their vast oil wealth is directly funding corporate front groups like Americans For Prosperity (AFP), the key organizers of the fake grassroots Tea Party movement. David Koch told New York Magazine earlier this year, "I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me." But the Guardian reports that footage has emerged showing David Koch at the podium during an AFP gala receiving direct and detailed reports from his astroturf AFP army on their efforts to organize tea parties around the nation. Watch the clip from the new documentary (Astro)Turf Wars: How Corporate America Faked a Grassroots Revolution
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Rand Paul used to write letters to the editor. Greg Sargent has them:
In a 1983 letter about the Equal Rights Amendment to The Lariat, the paper at Baylor University, Paul wondered whether government should pass any laws to combat discrimination:
Should we enact laws that say "Thou shall not be prejudiced in business transactions," and then hope that the courts interpret such laws in a rational manner? Or should moral questions such as discrimination remain with the individual? Should we preach in order to bring about change, or should we compel?
In that same letter, Paul also offered a rebuttal to a professor who had argued for equality of wages regardless of gender: Equality? Since when have any two people ever been equal?... Have you some magical equation to determine equality in work? The answer must of necessity be a resounding "no!" Equality is a thing of the mind, originated, conceived and promulgated on a subjective basis. However, Paul made it clear that he opposes discrimination in any form, arguing that "all must agree that bigoted discrimination is detrimental to the peaceful interaction of different sexes and races in the marketplace." And he held out hope for the advancement of women, but through "voluntary cooperation." "Women inhabit virtually every sphere of our economic lives without the ERA," Paul wrote. "Change comes slowly, but it does come."
Back in the day the bigots were always lugubriously lecturing everyone that "you can't legislate morality" so there's nothing new there. (When it comes to bedroom habits, you'll notice they have a slightly different standard.) Paul was clearly a very romantic young fellow, in love with idea of Supermen and the women who loved them, as many Rand fans were and are. But I haven't known very many libertarians or Randians who spent quite as much time worrying about civil rights as he has. They are usually a bit more abstract than this and certainly don't aim their commentary at this aspect of "government intrusion" as much as Paul has done for the past 25 years. It's fairly unusual. As for his generous prediction that "change comes slowly, but it does come" well -- only a man steeped in straight, male, white privilege would have the nerve to tell blacks, women, gays etc. that to their faces. Whose life are you condemning to second class citizen status until all of your pals decide it's time to "grant them" equal rights, Rand? (I'll give you Martin Luther King for a thousand, Alex.) I'm no fan of Atlas Shrugged philosophy, as regular readers of this blog surely know. But Rand is beyond Rand, I'm afraid. He may be attracted to the laissez-faire message for any number of reasons, but it's fairly clear that one of the reasons he likes it so much is because it gives him a way to excuse bigotry. Considering his father's history on this, it isn't surprising.
Indeed, this whole fight is over a facet of Rand Paul's ideology that is nearly identical to his father's. As Josh Marshall observes:
I fear though that that's not the whole story with Paul -- father or son. The truth is that there's a long and hard to explain history of both Pauls being associated with a lot of people who are avowed or crypto-racists. There's the well-known story of Ron Paul's early 1990s era newsletter which was rife with racist and homophobic commentary. Paul later distanced himself from the newsletter, claiming that items written under his name were penned by a ghost-writer and that he wasn't familiar with what had appeared there. And then there was the case back in December in which Rand's Senate campaign spokesman Chris Hightower had to resign because of racist posts on his Myspace page. Looked at in broad terms you've got a couple of guys who apparently aren't racist in any way but happen to stumble their way into close associations with racists with an astonishing frequency. It's almost like a painful race version of that classic Onion headline: "Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My ----." There is of course the fact that Ron Paul became the darling of numerous skinhead and white supremacist groups -- but that's in a very different category because you're not responsible for who supports you but what you yourself support.
Recall, if you will, the contents of those Ron Paul newsletters
Considering that both Papa Doc and Baby Doc are racists and hard-core forced pregnancy zealots, I've never understood how anyone bought the idea that they are libertarians.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. I guess they aren't electrocuting enough mentally ill people to death:
Five NYC police precincts are testing a new type of taser today after a the department's standard-issue taser failed to subdue a knife-wielding suspect and led to a fatal shooting Sunday morning. On Sunday, police responded to a 911 call from 24-year-old Emmanuel Paulino. Paulino had told the 911 operator he was "ready to kill some cops," so they, um, dispatched some cops to his home in the Bronx. Police tried to subdue the knife-wielding Paulino with a taser, but he managed to pull one of the weapon's prongs out of his body and wound up being shot down after he continued to approach the officers. The new taser model -- which NY1 says "can even penetrate two inches of clothing" -- is lighter and more powerful than the ones cops currently carry.
It's time for a heart to heart talk. If you are confronted by a police officer give yourself up immediately, do nothing at all to make him angry or believe that you are being uncooperative. Don't argue or fail in any way to follow his orders to the letter. They have permission to electrocute you for any reason and nobody will do anything about it. You have no rights in practice, only in theory, as long as this is true. And if these new tasers are more powerful than the old ones then there's no telling how many more people are going to die. You can't know ahead of time if you have an underlying heart condition or some other physical impairment that might led itself to "excited delirium" the medical excuse for killing with tasers. (And some people have no underlying condition at all --- just an adrenaline rush, which any of us might have in a situation in which we are being threatened with death.) Don't let yourself be one of the casualties. It's not worth it.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. So it turns out that after vociferously denying it, Rand Paul wants to charge seniors a $2,000 deductible for their Medicare after all. But he will only do it for people under 55, (even the ones who have lost their jobs and have little hope of becoming gainfully employed again, apparently.) They need to be "adults" and step up and solve the problem of high health care costs for sick and dying old people. (Far be it for Dr Paul to suggest that doctors might pitch in on that --- after all, they "deserve to make a comfortable living.")
"I'm not talking about changing the deductible for anyone who gets Medicare currently," Paul told Cavuto. "But I am saying younger people -- probably 55 and under." "We need people who will stand up like adults, admit to the problems, and try to fix these problems," Paul added. "Not on the backs of current senior citizens, but on the next generation that comes forward."
No word on where people who collect 12,000 a year and cannot work are supposed to get the money, but perhaps they can do some bake sales in the nursing homes. The idea that the problem with Medicare is irresponsibility on the part of elderly patients is absurd. The system is broken and I'm sure there is overuse and waste and ridiculous over-spending, but it is not the fault of the senior citizens who use it. They follow their doctors' advice and spend much of their lives battling their various illnesses and infirmities. It is ridiculous to say that they will make "smarter" choices if they have to pay more out of pocket. Unless they have a medical degree, people with the panoply of illnesses these people have are in no position to shop for the better health care bargain. To add to all that with more stress about how they are going to pay a large deductible every year is simple cruelty. But then cruelty toward the most vulnerable people in society is what old Rand is all about.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Think Progress reports:
In his book, Daschle reveals that after the Senate Finance Committee and the White House convinced hospitals to to accept $155 billion in payment reductions over ten years on July 8, the hospitals and Democrats operated under two “working assumptions.” “One was that the Senate would aim for health coverage of at least 94 percent of Americans,” Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.
I'm reminded of a White House conference call held right after they announced the hospital deal in which a reporter asked the official on the call why the hospitals would agree to all these sacrifices to their bottom line. The official replied, "because they're good Americans." As TP points out, the White House continued to insist all the way to the end that the public option was not off the table and that they backed it to the hilt. But of course, as was obvious at the time, this was merely a negotiating chip to hand to Lieberman and his ilk when he demanded something to gratuitously hit the loathed hippies over the head with to prove his "independence." And he did. None of this is really news, but it is revealing that Daschle put it in his book without giving a second thought to how it would be received. (He's now attempted to "clarify" and say that the president truly believed in the public option and fought for it, but whatever.) The best we can hope for at this point is that the hospitals and insurers who are now pouring money into Republican politics in the hope they can extract even more from the government for their benefit will crash upon the ideological incoherence within the GOP:
Many Republican leaders have enthusiastically embraced the call to revise the healthcare legislation, vowing to "repeal and replace" the law in the next congressional session. But that call to repeal poses a delicate issue for the budding GOP/insurance industry partnership. The Republican Party thinks it has a winning position in denouncing the unpopular mandate that will require Americans to get health insurance starting in 2014, while insurers and independent healthcare experts see the requirement as crucial to controlling costs for everyone by spreading the risk. The healthcare law will penalize Americans $95 in 2014 if they fail to get insurance. The penalty rises to $695 in 2016. "The one thing that insurance companies would love to see are penalties that are actually stronger," said Jeff Fusile, a partner at consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. The insurance industry, attracted by the prospect of millions of new customers as a result of the coverage mandate, initially backed President Obama's campaign to overhaul the healthcare system. And insurers scored a key victory when Democrats abandoned plans to create a government insurance plan, or "public option." But insurers are increasingly balking at the myriad new directives in the healthcare law. Among other things, the law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to sick children and canceling policies when customers become ill. The law bars insurers from placing lifetime caps on how much they will pay when their customers get sick. Many consumers will also get new rights to appeal denied claims and win access to preventive care without being asked for co-pays. "The health reform law did not deliver the uninsured in the way that insurers wanted," said veteran healthcare analyst Sheryl Skolnick, senior vice president at CRT Capital Group.
They love the mandate. Indeed, it was the part of the deal the insurers and hospitals loved the most. What they don't like is any requirements that they cover sick people or, if they are required to cover sick people, to restrict their ability to raise prices. That's what they are paying the GOP to take care of for them. But Republicans are running on the notion of repeal and replace, which can mean anything, but which the crazed ideologues who are coming into power now have fairly well defined as repeal of the mandate, replace with ... nothing. You can be sure that the new Medical Industry overlords are not going to allow that. They want that mandate. I would guess that the GOP strategists are hoping the courts will overturn it, but they shouldn't count on that. The right wing courts are also in the thrall of corporate power, so they could easily see it from the industry's point of view, which is that it's only right that all Americans be forced to purchase this necessary product, but that it's very, very wrong for the government to tell the insurers and hospitals what they can charge for it. That's the new American way. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. If I had to guess, I'd think that the Republicans will relentlessly chip away at the funding mechanisms for the big medicaid expansion wherever they can, even if it requires changing the law the first chance they get a Republican majority w/president again. I would think the mandate will stand but that the mechanisms requiring that they keep prices manageable will be tweaked in such a way that the insurance companies will have much more latitude for charging customers. And they will be relieved from having to create comprehensive policies and will be able to go back to the old expensive premiums for crappy coverage model they love so much. In other words, it will take a while, but they'll probably be able to go back to some version of the status quo, only with a mandate that all citizens buy shitty insurance. The proof will be in the pudding about a decade from now when the court cases all finish and whatever is left of the program is in place. At this point we are dealing with theoretical outcomes even if the plan is unchanged for the worse (and I am very skeptical that it will be.) Politically, this is not a winner for the Democrats or Obama because average people don't see any positive change and until full implementation it's likely they will continue to see their rates going up. But then, that was baked in the cake as well. It is what it is. And we can guarantee one thing: all the talk of "improving" the legislation will be a joke if the Republicans get the chance to gut it before it ever gets going. That long window to implementation is a land mine that was set when everyone was still singing Kumbaaya about the Permanent Democratic Majority. It doesn't look so smart right now.
If the world was sane, this would be the end of the Rand Paul campaign:
A new video today catches Rand Paul repeatedly supporting a $2,000 Medicare deductible on Kentucky seniors – despite his claims just last week that such a statement was a “lie.”
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Because it's important the elderly people with dozens of health problems be more responsible with their health care dollars. We certainly can't expect people like Dr Paul to take that role. After all, they "deserve to make a comfortable living" and can't be expected to ensure that these frail old people aren't overusing the system. These "greedy geezers" need to take more responsibility for themselves and maybe a little of that Paulite "tough love" will snap them into reality. By the way, the average social security check is $1,000 a month.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. NY magazine is featuring an unusually insightful article about the Foxification of our politics and makes a number of observations that add up to something quite frightening. Here's just one piece of it:
The game may be destroying American politics—but it’s the only game in town, and CNN, thus far, is out of it. “Being a passionate centrist is always a bit harder than a raving lunatic on each side,” Eliot Spitzer told me. “They do not recognize a reality that Fox and MSNBC recognize,” says a former senior CNN staffer. “You have to be real showmen and hook into America, which is blue collar and angry. The CNN culture is still very strange. You walk into that building, you think you’re the Jesuits and you’re protecting a certain legacy. They still look at Fox as a carnival—not Fox as a brilliant marketing entity. It’s weird. They’re decades into it, and they’ll protect it to the end.”
Stop and think about that for a moment. They are saying that America is and angry blue collar country which Fox has brilliantly market to with a collection of right wing demagogues feeding their anger. Is that true? I know it's true of a certain group of Americans. But "America"? Well, it wouldn't be the first time a journalist characterized "America" that way:
Most of us in what is called the communications field are not rooted in the great mass of ordinary Americans--in Middle America. And the results show up not merely in occasional episodes ... but more importantly in the systematic bias toward young people, minority groups, and the of presidential candidates who appeal to them. "To get a feel of this bias it is first necessary to understand the antagonism that divides the middle class of this country. On the one hand there are highly educated upper-income whites sure of and brimming with ideas for doing things differently. On the other hand, there is Middle America, the large majority of low-income whites, traditional in their values and on the defensive against innovation. "The most important organs of and television are, beyond much doubt, dominated by the outlook of the upper-income whites. "In these circumstances, it seems to me that those of us in the media need to make a special effort to understand Middle America. Equally it seems wise to exercise a certain caution, a prudent restraint, in pressing a claim for a plenary indulgence to be in all places at all times the agent of the sovereign public."
That was written in 1968. Plus ca change and all that rot. It is the essence of the Village, which has since shifted its perspective to incorporate the view that yes, America is composed of angry blue collar white people but the people who run the news businesses share the same worldview naturally and thus perfectly represent the masses. So you end up with a parade of millionaires from the late Tim Russert to Brian Williams to Rick Sanchez to Bill O'Reilly to Glenn Beck doing some variation of Howard Beale on television every night, keeping that segment of resentful, afraid white Americans all riled up, clutching their remote controls, screaming at the television. You can call this "journalism" if you want, but I think we all know that it is something else entirely.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. One thing I know about Barack Obama. He's a smart, careful politician. He and Gibbs and Biden aren't admonishing the base by accident. It's a strategy. And that means they assume that the base is already going to vote and they are trying to attract independent voters by making them see themselves as common sense adults in comparison to the self-indulgent and petulant liberals. Because unless they really believe that hectoring people into feeling guilty for not recognizing how great the administration has been (which seems remarkably undisciplined and immature for Obama) nothing else makes sense. I've said this before: you simply cannot browbeat people into loving you. And until voting becomes mandatory, you can't make them vote either. Getting out he vote requires that you either inspire them into loving you or scare them into fearing the other guy. Appeals to duty and guilt are for mommies and right wing preachers, not politicians. *Oh, and yes, they can blame the base for their losses in November, but that won't fly either. It's results that matter and people don't blame voters for not voting --- they blame the politicians for failing to get them to vote. Winners get credit and losers get blame. It's just how it works.
This post first appeared on Hullabaloo. Ok, this is getting ridiculous now:
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, based in Tucson, Ariz., advocates conservative and free-market solutions on health care and a variety of other political issues. But it also uses its medical journal and Website as forums for unorthodox medical views.
[...] Speaking to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons’ annual conference last October in Nashville, Paul said he has been a member of the group since at least 1990.“I use a lot of AAPS literature when I talk,” he told the group.
What kind of "literature" might that be?
Nichols said one of the AAPS’ most disconcerting positions is to question whether the human immunodeficiency virus is the cause of AIDS.More than two decades ago, in 1988, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences asserted that the evidence linking AIDS and HIV is “scientifically conclusive.” Other medical authorities have reached the same conclusion. But the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published an article in 2007 saying “both official reports and the peer-reviewed literature afford substantive grounds for doubting that HIV is the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS and that anti-retroviral treatment is unambiguously beneficial.”

(3 of 6)

The article doesn’t otherwise suggest what would cause AIDS. “They don’t understand science at all?” Nichols asked. “To deny that is to not be in touch with reality.”
How about this?
On its Website, the AAPS included an article in October 2008 titled, “Is Obama a Brilliant Orator … or a Hypnotist?” It cites an unsigned paper suggesting that Obama used hypnotic techniques and speech patterns in his 2008 campaign.The paper bases its finding on the work of a controversial psychologist, Milton Erickson, who died 30 years ago and pioneered the also-controversial field of neuro-linguistic programming, which purports to use voice patterns to subliminally influence people’s decisions. The paper claims to examine Obama’s speeches “word by word, hand gesture by hand gesture, tone, pauses, body language, and proves his use of covert hypnosis intended only for licensed therapists on consenting patients.” The paper goes on to say that Obama’s “mesmerized, cult-like, grade-school-crush-like worship by millions is not because ‘Obama is the greatest leader of a generation’ who simply hasn’t accomplished anything, who magically ‘inspires’ by giving speeches. Obama is committing perhaps the biggest fraud and deception in American history.” The AAPS article notes that the Obama campaign logo “might just be the letter ‘O,’ but it also resembles a crystal ball, a favorite of hypnotists.” And it suggests that hypnosis is the reason some Jewish people backed him. “It is also interesting that many Jews are supporting a candidate who is endorsed by Hamas, Farrakhan, Khalidi and Iran,” the article says.
Read the whole thing. Daddy belongs to this crackpot group too. At this point I'm not sure if it isn't safer to have this quack in the Senate than practicing medicine on unsuspecting patients. Update: Karoli at C&L has much more.