The Ledes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Guardian: "The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional. The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences.... The court's reversal on Wednesday came hours after a resolution by an Oklahoma House member to try to impeach some of its justices."

New York Times: "The latest accord between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization appeared more serious than past attempts, experts said, and came as hopes faded for a resolution to peace negotiations with Israel."

New York Times: "Russia continued Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the government in Kiev, warning that events in eastern Ukraine could prompt a military response and again accusing the United States of directing events there."

Not All Fish Are Created Equal. Time: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro."

Reuters: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter Simon Ostrovsky."

AP: "When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she resurfaced, expressing support once again for the pro-Russia insurgents — but possibly no longer as mayor."

AP: " A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from Canada's embassy in Moscow in retaliation for Canada expelling a Russia diplomat as tensions grow over the Ukraine, Canadian officials said Tuesday."

AP: "A Moscow judge on Tuesday left open the possibility of jailing President Vladimir Putin's main critic for years, a sign of Putin's increasingly hard-line rule against opponents. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was fined $8,400 on Tuesday for slandering a lawmaker. His second trial starts Thursday, and prosecutors who previously secured his house arrest are widely expected to ask for jail for him pending trial, with Tuesday's verdict making him a recidivist. If there's a guilty verdict at that trial, he could get a prison term."

AP: "A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "An Army soldier convicted of leaking classified military and diplomatic records persuaded a Kansas judge Wednesday to legally change her name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning."

Time: "President Barack Obama paid a visit to the small community of Oso, Wa., on Tuesday, exactly one month after a massive mudslide there claimed at least 41 lives. He promised survivors that the entire country will be on hand to help for 'as long as it takes'”:

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

AP: "In the most high-level visit of a U.S. official since crisis erupted in Ukraine, [Vice President] Biden told leaders from various political parties that he brings a message of support from President Barack Obama as they face a historic opportunity to usher in reforms." The Guardian story is here.

CNN: "The first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 crossed the finish line Monday, triumphant in a storied race that has become a national symbol of resiliency and determination. Meb Keflezighi, 38, won the men's division with an official time of 2:08:37, according to the Boston Marathon's Facebook page. With video.

AP: "Although [a] 15-year-old [airplane stowaway] apparently wanted nothing more than to run away, his success in slipping past layers of security early Sunday morning made it clear that a determined person can still get into a supposedly safe area and sneak onto a plane.... In San Jose, airport officials said they were reviewing how the boy slipped through security that includes video surveillance, German shepherds and Segway-riding police officers."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 23

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

Jon Stewart on the Cliven Bundy story:

... AND on Sean Hannity's support for Bundy:

... AND Hannity is pissed off. Apparently, it upsets him to hear his own blatant hypocrisy ridiculed.

New York Times: "David Letterman introduced his successor, Stephen Colbert, on his 'Late Show With David Letterman' Tuesday night on CBS with a monologue joke and some cordial conversation — but no measuring of the drapes":

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Paul Fahri of the Washington Post: The ratings for "Meet the Press" are so bad that NBC hired a psychologist to analyze Greggers. ...

     ... CW: Here's the rub. Fahri writes, "The impossible burden for Gregory, of course, has been to follow the beloved Russert. As one NBC colleague describes it, Russert is a 'ghost' who still haunts Gregory’s tenure at 'MTP' six years into his run." This is strictly VSP bull. Russert was a mediocre interviewer, who continually let politicians get away with evasive answers. He left big shoes to fill only because he had big feet.

MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

Josh Dickey of Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable." Via New York.

Lauren Moraski of CBS "News": "David Letterman announced Thursday that he's retiring from CBS' 'Late Show' sometime next year. He made that announcement during the taping of his program Thursday afternoon at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater."

No News, All the Time:

Igor Bobic of TPM: "In its wall-to-wall coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has raised the possibility of the supernatural, blackholes, and North Korea; it has interviewed a psychic, tried but failed to rent its own 777 jet, and finally settled on a flight simulator it is using to 'search' for the plane.On Tuesday the network finally turned its attention to garbage."

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Sunday
Jun242012

The Commentariat -- June 25, 2012

CW: Everybody is writing about health care in anticipation of the Supreme Court's ruling -- expected this week -- on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, so I guess I should share:

This is the year of the Supreme Court’s Obama smack down. -- Adam Winkler, law professor

... Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "The impending health care ruling by the Supreme Court has become this city's O. J. Simpson verdict crossed with a papal conclave -- polarizing, maddeningly unpredictable and shrouded in mysterious signaling. The ruling is expected to come this week, either shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday, the last scheduled day of the term, or on an extra day later in the week." ...

... Peter Wallsten of the Washington Post: "Some prominent legal scholars say a series of tactical decisions by President Obama's legal team may have hurt the chances of saving his landmark health-care legislation from being gutted by Supreme Court conservatives. The warnings are a preview of the finger-pointing certain to ensue if the law is overturned." ...

... Bob Drummond of Bloomberg News: "The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years. Only eight of them predicted the court would do so." ...

... Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "Death and taxes aren't the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too.... The Affordable Care Act won't help all [Americans].... But it will help an awful lot of them. In fact, it's already starting to make a difference.... A decision to strike down even part of the law would have grave consequences -- for the court's legitimacy and, perhaps, the norms that make our constitutional system function." ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York magazine on the moral issue: The Republican party "is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world" that holds that citizens should be deprived "of basic medical care" if they can't afford it. ...

... Chait on how badly the Court may "screw up Obamacare." Chait explains, BTW, what will happen this week: the Court is "announcing whether Anthony Kennedy hates health care reform a lot or only a little, because everybody assumes the other four Republican justices hate it so much they'll declare it unconstitutional," despite the fact that it is obviously constitutional. ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post writes about the Obama administration's poor showing in cases before the Court, but the administration's losses, as Barnes documents, are not all attributable to the conservative-liberal divide. ...

... AND E. J. Dionne gets to the heart of the matter: "if [the Court] throws out all or part of ... 'Obamacare,' we will need a fearless conversation about how a conservative majority of the court has become a cog in a larger right-wing project to make progressive political and legislative victories impossible." ...

... ** FINALLY. CW: Jim Fallows expresses exactly what I was getting at yesterday -- in fact, he traces the recent history in one sentence: "when you look at the sequence from Bush v. Gore, through Citizens United, to what seems to be coming on the health-care front; and you combine it with ongoing efforts in Florida and elsewhere to prevent voting from presumably Democratic blocs; and add that to the simply unprecedented abuse of the filibuster in the years since the Democrats won control of the Senate and then took the White House, you have what we'd identify as a kind of long-term coup if we saw it happening anywhere else."

Paul Krugman: "Why won't the Fed act [to stimulate job growth]? My guess is that it's intimidated by those Congressional Republicans, that's it's afraid to do anything that might be seen as providing political aid to President Obama, that is, anything that might help the economy. Maybe there';s some other explanation, but the fact is that the Fed, like the European Central Bank, like the U.S. Congress, like the government of Germany, has decided that avoiding economic disaster is somebody else's responsibility. None of this should be happening.... The fundamentals of the world economy aren't, in themselves, all that scary; it's the almost universal abdication of responsibility that fills me, and many other economists, with a growing sense of dread."

The Washington Post excerpts Little America, a book by Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who writes that "infighting and incompetence within the American government" -- i.e., the Obama administration -- characterized the Afghanistan war effort: "a war cabinet arrested by vicious bickering among top national security aides; diplomats and aid workers who failed to deliver on their grand promises; generals who dispatched troops to the wrong places; and headstrong military leaders who sought a far more expansive campaign than the White House wanted. Through their bungling and quarreling, they wound up squandering the first year of the surge." ...

... Anne Gearan of the AP: "As President Barack Obama considered adding as many as 40,000 U.S. forces to a backsliding war in Afghanistan in 2009, Vice President Joe Biden warned him that the military rationale for doing so was flawed, a new book about Obama's expansion of the conflict says. The book, 'Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan,' also says that in planning the drawdown of troops two years later, the White House intentionally sidelined the CIA. Obama purposely did not read a grim CIA assessment of Afghanistan that found little measurable benefit from the 30,000 'surge' forces Obama eventually approved...."

Washington Post Reporters: John "Boehner [R-Ohio] is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms. The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions ... in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15." Here are links to related content.

Josh Israel of Think Progress: "Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that the White House decision to invoke executive privilege to prevent the release of some documents related to the 'Fast and Furious' investigation indicated some sort of admission of a White House cover-up. Today, pressed by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) admitted that there is absolutely no evidence to back up Boehner's allegation." With video. ...

... BUT. Alexander Bolton of The Hill: "House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) predicted Sunday that Republicans and Democrats would vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this week." CW: yeah, and as we learned from Chris Hayes yesterday (see link in June 24 Commentariat), the Oracle Issa got a little help from the NRA, which is scoring votes on Holder.

Rachel Donadio of the New York Times has a good follow-up story on the Vatican's hiring of Fox "News" correspondent & Opus Dei member Greg Burke as a "message strategist." (See link in yesterday's Commentariat to the AP breaking story.)

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched a campaign calling on British Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition to the U.S. of U.K. student Richard O'Dwyer, who is facing alleged copyright offenses because he posted links to sites that allowed viewing or downloading of TV content usually not available outside the U.S. Wales' op-ed in the Guardian is here, with links to related content.

Presidential Race

** Ruthless Romney & the Junk Bond King. Michael Kranish & Beth Healy of the Boston Globe: "...at the height of the 1980s buyout boom ... Mitt Romney went in search of $300 million to finance one of the most lucrative deals he would ever manage. The man who would help provide the money was ... famed junk-bond king Michael Milken. What transpired would become not just one of the most profitable leveraged buyouts of the era, but also one of the most revealing stories of Romney's Bain Capital career.... It is one that Romney has rarely, if ever, mentioned in his two bids for the presidency, perhaps because the Houston-based department store chain that Bain assembled later went into bankruptcy.... At the time of the deal, it was widely known that Milken and his company were under federal investigation, yet Romney decided to go ahead.... He used junk-bond financing to turn a $10 million investment into a $175 million profit for himself, his partners, and his investors." CW: this is a 4-pager & worth reading.

     ... Via Margaret Hartmann of New York magazine.

Local News

Katharine Seelye of the New York Times: "Three years after voters in Maine rejected same-sex marriage, they will consider the matter again in November. This time, advocates say they have reason for optimism."

News Ledes

Boston Globe: "President Barack Obama, campaigning in Mitt Romney's backyard, criticized his Republican rival anew Monday for what his re-election campaign says is a record of shipping American jobs overseas." ...

... New York Times: "Elizabeth Warren opened for President Obama at his Boston fund-raiser on Monday, ripping into his rival, Mitt Romney ... using themes from her own campaign."

Montana campaign law "summarily reversed" 5-4. Update: the order is here (pdf). ...

** Per SCOTUSblog, Justice Kennedy announcing Arizona case. "Most of the key provisions of [Arizona] SB1070 (3 of 4) are invalidated. One provision is held not to be proved preempted; it must be construed.... The provision that the Court says is not yet preempted is the 'check your papers' provision that commands officers to check immigration status. Update: here's the opinion on Arizona v. U.S. "The upshot of the SB1070 ruling is that, for now, Arizona can apply the 'check your papers' provision. And the Court's opinion is a guide to the State on how to apply that provision without being invalidated.... The Court's decision on the 'show your papers' provision strongly suggests it will have to be read narrowly to survive.... On net, the #SB1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration. It got almost everything it wanted. Scalia would uphold Az. law in toto. CW characterization: Scalia, totally pissed off, is reading his 7-page dissent from the bench. ...

... The healthcare ruling will be Thursday at 10am. The SCOTUSblog liveblog will start at 9am at the latest.

... AP Item: "The Supreme Court has reaffirmed its two-year-old decision relaxing limits on corporate campaign spending [i.e., Citizens United]. The justices on Monday reversed a Montana court ruling upholding state restrictions.By a 5-4 vote, the court's conservative justices said the decision in the Citizens United case in 2010 applies to state campaign finance laws and guarantees corporate and labor union interests the right to spend freely to advocate for or against candidates for state and local offices." ...

... ** New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a split decision on Arizona's tough 2010 immigration law, upholding its most controversial provision but blocking the implementation of others." ...

... ** Washington Post: "The Supreme Court on Monday rejected much of Arizona's controversial immigration law, but upheld other provisions, giving a partial victory to the Obama administration."

New York Times: "As more high-ranking Syrian officers were reported on Monday to have defected to Turkey, the European Union urged the government in Ankara to show restraint in a crisis over the downing of one of its jet fighters by Syria, an episode that has heightened regional tensions over the 16-month crisis there." ...

... AP: "Dozens of members of Syria's military defected to Turkey overnight with their families, a Turkish official said Monday, at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish military plane. The state-run Anadolu news agency said 33 soldiers crossed into Turkey overnight and the group -- 224 people in all -- included a general and two colonels." ...

... AP: "Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman says his country has 'no hostility' toward Turkey as tensions soar between the former allies three days after Syria shot down a Turkish plane. Jihad Makdissi said on Monday that the Turkish plane violated Syrian air space. Turkey said the plane had unintentionally strayed into Syria's air space, but was inside international airspace when it was brought down."

New York Times: "Documents unsealed in a fraud case against Pfizer suggest that research officials were less than forthcoming about the safety of the arthritis drug Celebrex during an early trial study."

Guardian: "Lawyers acting for the convicted serial paedophile Jerry Sandusky have said that they tried to withdraw from the case at the beginning of proceedings because they had insufficient time to prepare a proper defence. The claim, from Sandusky's main defence lawyer Joe Amendola, lays down a possible line of argument should he decide, as expected, to appeal his sexual abuse conviction."

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    Response: mork
    REALITYCHEX.COM - Constant Comments - The Commentariat -- June 25, 2012

Reader Comments (9)

Greg Burke: "This is tough stuff." Right. Putting lipstick on a pig always is.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, around 4,000 years ago I think, we had something like a Supreme Court whose primary interest was justice or, failing that, law, including a respect for legal precedence and a looking out for what was best, legally speaking, for the country, as opposed to what was best for their political party and could be most supportive of victory for their personal ideology.
That all ended with the election of Trickus Dickus. Trickus Dickus, as you all know, spent a good portion—ah, hell—his entire career, climbing over the backs of people he had shivved. Deep in his heart of darkness, he sensed the power of the dark side and blazed the trail for future Republican politicians down that road paved with the reputations, hearts and souls of women and men far better than any of them. Dirty tricks, lies, surveillance of enemies, hidden slush funds, untraceable millions available for all manner of skullduggery, disdain for the constitution, for law, for morality. Hatred of all whom he opposed and who opposed him.

Sounds like the modern GOP? Sure does. But that’s because they all memorized the playbook and inhaled the Kool-Aid. The Apotheosis of the Dick.

Beginning with Nixon, Supreme Court nominees began to take a different shape and since then, of the 15 nominees put forward for elevation to the high court by Republicans, all but three been significantly more conservative—to the point of outright ideologues—than those they replaced. The three were David Souter (chosen by Poppy to demonstrate his bona fides as a non-ideologue), Anthony Kennedy (only marginally non-ideological, but chosen after troglodyte Robert Bork was given the thumbs down), and John Paul Stevens, selected by Ford who probably thought it was best not to rile the natives while the fires of Watergate still burned brightly among the rubble).

But the rest have been abysmally ideological not to say downright insulting. When Poppy sent up Clarence Thomas’ name he declared him the best candidate in the country. Maybe. But which country? Pixieland?

It’s curious to consider that two candidates sent up by President Dickus, both of which were laughed out of the chamber, would likely have made it to the big show in today’s world of celebrity journalism and ideology-first conservatism. Not only that, they would have been welcomed with open arms as brothers in the fight for ideological dominance by the Right. G. Harrold Carswell and Clement Haynesworth, both indefatigable battlers against civil rights, voting rights, and equal rights for women, would fit right in with the current GOP’s laundry list of things they need to destroy if they are to maintain their dominance well into this century. At the time however, even many Republicans knew they were shoddy seconds that had no business on the court. In the case of Carswell, a Republican senator from Nebraska opined that even though he was a mediocrity, that shouldn’t count against him because, hey, even mediocrities “…are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters, and Cardozos.”

Yikes! How sad then that a true mediocrity like Clarence Thomas makes Carswell look like fucking Oliver Wendell Holmes.

But now we await the decision by Little Johnny and the Dwarfs as to whether or not health care for most Americans outweighs their heart’s desire for a right-wing boot on the throats of those same citizens, the shredded remnants of the Constitution decorating its steel toe.

They will look, as they always do, for some cover in the tiniest minutiae of specious legal quibbling. Scalia has already sniffed that the Commerce Clause (the same one he cited as giving the state the right and ability to control small gardens of medical marijuana for personal use) does not allow the government the right to influence the distribution of medical care in this country, a small budget item that amounts to not much more than 20% of GDP. Small potatoes for Republicans.

After all, what’s 20% of anything? They want it all.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I wanted to say something about Kate Madison's recent complaint about the politicization of the media, at the very least through default, but likely with as much to do with some agency on their part.

She has pointed out that surveys of the MSM landscape indicate that they have heavily weighted the arguments surrounding the ACA on the side of the begrudgers, that their ledes favor a description of the battle as having a wealth of constitutional difficulties when, in fact, there are NO constitutional issues here. They're all manufactured by the right.

So how come the double talk and lies?

Two answers come to mind, one less evil but no less pernicious. First, laziness. Conflict and drama, especially if they can be summoned up with a minimum of effort--and if that drama not impinge on their corporate masters' ability to make money--are always to be desired by "pundits" and "writers". Why go to all the trouble to suss out and report fairly on the actual issues? Fuck that shit. Print the easy stuff. Besides it sounds so much better. "Democrats and Obama want to snuff your granny. Republicans strive to stop evil unconstitutional schemes against kindly insurance industry!!" Yeah, that's the ticket.

The other, much more disturbing answer, is that they've been warned off trying to support an idea out of favor with the Masters of the Universe.

Some combination of the two is likely what's happening.

It's funny how FCC regulations, when the Communications Act of 1934 was passed, made it clear that the airwaves belonged to the public, not to communications entities, and in order to be worthy of such largesse, those entities were required to present news and information with something along the lines of fairness.

Huh.

Reagan got rid of all that. He set the groundwork for the eradication of fairness. By the updated version of the Act, passed with glee and gusto in 1996, there was no mention of the public. Lip service was paid to the rights of the public, but fairness was right out. So were rules about cross ownership. After that, upstanding citizens like Rupert Murdoch could then own all the TV stations and newspapers in a single city. Oh wait. Did I say upstanding AND citizen? Sorry, he was neither. But he was still allowed to buy up everything he could and control the flow of information.

It's still that way.

This is what Republicans call a free and fair marketplace of ideas. They don't tell you that all the ideas are theirs. No others are considered except as cannon fodder for Fox "reporters". And that's one reason we have this nonsense spewed around about health care.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Regardless of where the Supremes go with this the Affordable Care Act will do nothing to make health care in America affordable. Today I had to deal with a problem where a pathologist has the right to collect money for the 'interpretation' of a test where the results are almost always negative. In other words we pay for an electronic scribble on a computer generated result which is no different than a blank piece of paper. That is a tiny amount but is truly reflective of the real problem. Medicine in America is all about making money.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

My brother who lives in Wisconsin who was once a reasonable person with a great voice has somehow through the years developed a conservative bent which has been tough going relationship wise. Ever since Obama was elected he sends me these horrid right-wingy emails depicting Obama as some kind of impostor who is trying to ruin our country. These are the kinds of slanderous screeds that many, many people tune into especially those that don't read and only watch Foxy type news. It seems they have a powerful impact. I would never be privy to these nasty tidbits if it wasn't for my brother whose email pals all seem to be leaning way over to the right. The latest one, which is mild compared to most is a large picture of Reagan standing in front of, what else, the AMERICAN FLAG; the caption below in large letters is: THIS MAN (on top) DID NOT SPEND HIS ENTIRE FIRST TERM BLAMING JIMMY CARTER.

I usually ignore, but sometimes, like this one, something grabs me by the lapels and directs me to respond–-see below:

That’s right cuz he spent a lot of time dyeing his hair to compliment his role of a lifetime. I am sick to death of people lionizing this man. The sad, shared secret of the Reagan White House was that no one in the presidential entourage had confidence in the judgment or capacities of the president. Often, they took advantage of Reagan’s niceness and naiveté to indulge competing concepts of the presidency and advance their own ambitions. Pragmatists and conservatives alike treated Reagan as if he were a child monarch in need of constant protection. They paid homage to him, but gave him no respect. Since few people read history these days they believe anything that backs up their agenda, giving us the crap known as information such as this stupid poster whose message is “unlike Obama who blames Bush for everything.” The facts belie this, but no matter, stupidity reigns these days unlike, of course, those eight wonder years of GW and especially those years with “This Man” whose “Morning in America” was the beginning of the end.

and since Akhilleus brought up our favorite dick I'll add his name to the list whose hijinks (cute name for dirty tricks) nearly brought the house down.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@ Marvin. I'm sure you're right. I spent most of the useful energy of my adult life working to a) get health services into the backwaters of Appalachia, b) establishing farm-worker clinics in the central valley of California, and c) trying to ameliorate the stupidity of Reagan privatization of California's medicaid program (Medi-Cal). The problems are systemic, and way beyond ACA's gloss.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@PD Pepe

I am so sorry that we seem to have the same brother. Mine used to live in Wisconsin, as did I, but abandoned that landscape for the riches of Atlanta, GA. If you have any advice on how to relate to an obnoxious right wing sibling (whom you love but do not like), please tell me. I am at the end of the line with my brother. And, sad to say, he is my twin. ):

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

The problems Foxy News has caused in families are legion, from demented grandmas to righter wing brothers. I know a disabled young man (well, 40 is young) who has to live at home but is being stressed to the danger point by his parents' Fox insanity. Instead of being able to pull together in the old age and bad health of the parents, the family home has become a battleground. This is no insignificant addition to the evils of Fox.

My brother, meanwhile, has added to the common burnt-out bitterness of a law-enforcement professional the hopelessness of doing anything at all to make a difference in the political climate. He is starting to become someone who thinks all politicians are crooks. Fox News is not in the equation--NBC is depressing enough. So far he is still voting Democratic; we won't lose him to the Republicans, but to indifference.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

Just thinking about the demented grandmas--one example, in the family of a close friend, reports that her well-educated, moderate Republican mother-in-law, watches Fox all day and has become terrified by what she hears. What an accomplishment, frightening elderly ladies. The last time I saw the woman, she mixed up the names of her sons but was unfailingly friendly and gracious. So sad.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston
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