Ginsberg is the oldest member of the Court; do you want MR to choose her replacement?

September 9, 2012

Sorry to say that this blog hasn’t worked. It is my fault for rushing into it without sufficient knowledge or training in blogging. I would rather stop than do it badly. It will remain accessible, but not updated.

It has also been pointed out to me that several of the posts are long and not many have that much free time. (If they do they probably have their own blog.) Again, my fault. I tried to provide multiple sources and got carried away.

I am glad I tried and hope that even one of the occasional readers will find something useful buried in the tons of verbiage or even suggest it to a friend.

Remember, there are 2 pages, in addition to the posts, for which I hope you’ll find time. Links to them on the right side of the blog.

Thanks to the few, the proud, and those who care about the truth.

Romney, like Ryan, finds the truth elusive so he lies.

August 31, 2012

It is time for the mass media to call a lie for what it is–a lie. No matter which campaign lies it needs to be pointed out. Hopefully this will be the only battle the GOP wins!

The article below can be seen in its entirety at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/us/politics/ryans-speech-contained-a-litany-of-falsehoods.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig

Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches

Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating — which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.

And Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, asserted that President Obama’s policies had “not helped create jobs” and that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” for America. He also warned that the president’s Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors,” claims that have already been labeled false or misleading.

The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside.

In recent weeks, the Romney campaign has broadcast television advertisements leveling the widely debunked assertion that Mr. Obama had gutted the work requirements for welfare recipients. The Obama campaign, for its part, ran a deceptive ad saying that Mitt Romney had “backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest,” although he currently supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

The growing number of misrepresentations appear to reflect a calculation in both parties that shame is overrated, and that no independent arbiters command the stature or the platform to hold the campaigns to account in the increasingly polarized and balkanized media firmament. Any unmasking of the lies or distortions, the thinking goes, rarely seeps into the public consciousness.

But an interesting question unfolding is whether there is a tipping point at which a candidate becomes so associated with falsehoods that it becomes part of his public persona — which hampered Vice President Al Gore during his run for president in 2000, when his misstatements on the campaign trail were used to stoke the perception that he could not be trusted in general.

In the case of Mr. Ryan’s speech, the jury is still out. It was received rapturously by the Republican Party faithful, but his many questionable assertions ensured that much of the analysis on Thursday focused on his accuracy more than his acumen.

The Obama campaign fanned the flames with a Web video mocking Mr. Ryan, showing anchors from CNN and Fox News questioning some of his statements. And Stephanie Cutter, the president’s deputy campaign manager, was blunt. “There’s no delicate way to say this: last night Paul Ryan lied, repeatedly, knowingly and brazenly,” she said.

Here are some of the misleading section of their convention speeches:

Deficit Commission

One of Mr. Ryan’s most pointed attacks on Mr. Obama was on the deficit. “He created a new bipartisan debt commission,” Mr. Ryan noted. “They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way and then did exactly nothing.”

Left unsaid: Mr. Ryan served on that commission himself, and his opposition to its final proposals helped seal its fate. The panel, known as the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, made a number of recommendations that Mr. Ryan ultimately opposed on the grounds that they would have raised some taxes while failing to cut enough from health programs. His dismissal of the plan was seen as a significant blow to its chances of success, since it soured other House Republicans on it.

Credit Rating

In his attack on the president’s time in office, Mr. Ryan said: “It began with a perfect AAA credit rating for the United States. It ends with the downgraded America.”

When Standard & Poor’s lowered the nation’s credit rating, it was in large part because of the standoff last year over the debt ceiling — which needed to be raised so the government could borrow money to pay for spending that Congress had already approved. The White House had asked Congress to simply raise the debt ceiling; Mr. Ryan and House Republicans balked at doing so without reaching a deal on significant spending cuts. The ensuing standoff took the nation to the brink of default.

In its statement explaining the downgrade, Standard & Poor’s wrote that “the political brinkmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policy making becoming less stable, less effective and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”

Medicare

Mr. Ryan spoke out forcefully against the “$716 billion funneled out of Medicare by President Obama,” without noting that his own past budget plans had counted on the same savings. And he pledged to protect Medicare without explaining how the Romney-Ryan plan would change it. Mr. Romney said that the Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors.” In fact, the savings would come not from trimming benefits for current recipients, but from cutting the projected growth in reimbursements to hospitals and insurers over the next decade. The Medicare debate is shaping up as central to the election: Democrats say that the Romney-Ryan plan to reshape Medicare would force future beneficiaries to pay more for their health care, while Republicans fault Mr. Obama for cutting $716 billion in its projected growth.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have proposed limiting the government’s open-ended financial commitment to Medicare. Under their plan, the government would contribute a fixed amount on behalf of each beneficiary, and future beneficiaries could use that money to buy private insurance or to help pay for coverage under the traditional Medicare program. It would apply only to people currently under 55.

Mr. Ryan’s earlier plans called for capping the rate at which Medicare spending would grow — which analysts from groups including the Kaiser Family Foundation found would lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for future beneficiaries. The Romney campaign now says that their plan would work differently from Mr. Ryan’s original proposal, and would have the flexibility to raise the proposed cap on spending if it does not keep up with costs.

The $716 billion cut to Medicare that Mr. Obama made will reduce payments to health maintenance organizations and hospitals and other health care providers. Mr. Ryan initially counted on the same savings in his budget plans.

G.M.’s Janesville Plant

Mr. Ryan appeared to criticize Mr. Obama for the closing of a General Motors plant in Mr. Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. — a decision made before the president was elected and before his bailout of the auto industry, which was credited with saving a number of other factories. He noted that Mr. Obama had visited the plant in 2008 and said, “I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

“Well, as it turned out,” Mr. Ryan said, “that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”

As a candidate, Mr. Obama did give an economic policy speech at the Janesville plant in February 2008. The decision to close the plant was made several months later — as can be seen by a June 2008 letter from Mr. Ryan urging G.M. to reconsider.

It took some time for the plant to shut down, and some work continued there after Mr. Obama was sworn in as president.

The Ryan campaign said Thursday that the issue was not when the plant stopped production, but the fact that it has not reopened — and pointed to accounts of an Obama campaign statement from the fall of 2008 in which he said, “I will lead an effort to retool plants like the G.M. facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”

While Mr. Obama bailed out the auto industry, saving jobs, and included money in the stimulus for “green” energy jobs, the Janesville plant did not benefit from his moves.

The Apology Tour

In his floor speech, Mr. Romney repeated his widely debunked charge that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” on America’s behalf — an accusation he feels so strongly about that he laid out his own worldview in a 2010 book he titled “No Apology.”

But independent fact checkers have called the accusation a distortion, and it is hard to find evidence that Mr. Obama ever said he was sorry for the United States. Even in his speeches after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Obama offered a strong defense of American policies, including the war in Afghanistan, which was growing increasingly unpopular in the rest of the world.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 31, 2012, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Facts Take a Beating In Acceptance Speeches.

Another excellent and honest appraisal can be found at:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/30/164386/at-gop-convention-in-tampa-full.html

Ryan doesn’t let the truth get in the way: even Fox says he lies!

August 30, 2012

Special Thursday post for Friday. Friday there will be a post for Saturday since it is hard to believe that MR won’t provide us with plenty to correct. I am afraid the GOP convention seems to call for additional posts.
Nothing here comes from me. Everything is directly from readily available sources. I am just trying to put a few of the articles in one place.
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But, first a quote from Mike Huckabee about MR:

Mike Huckabee, in an interview before his speech, compared Mitt to a nasty doctor. “If you’ve just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you honestly don’t care if your neurosurgeon is a jerk,” he told Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast.
(This was a few days before the convention.)
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For a Republican National Convention that began with the unveiling of a ceremonial debt clock, Paul Ryan’s charge was a doozy.

During his acceptance speech, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee pinned blame squarely on President Barack Obama for the unraveling of a presidentially appointed deficit commission chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson.
“He created a bipartisan debt commission,” Ryan continued, “They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.”

Ryan’s comments, though, had a striking omission: He voted against the commission’s proposal.

Read the rest of the article By Louis Jacobson, J.B. Wogan
Published on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/aug/30/ryan-and-simpson-bowles-commission-full-story/
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Incredibly I am inserting an entire piece from a Fox correspondent!

Ryan convention speech
1. Dazzling
At least a quarter of Americans still don’t know who Paul Ryan is, and only about half who know and have an opinion of him view him favorably.
So, Ryan’s primary job tonight was to introduce himself and make himself seem likeable, and he did that well. The personal parts of the speech were very personally delivered, especially the touching parts where Ryan talked about his father and mother and their roles in his life. And at the end of the speech, when Ryan cheered the crowd to its feet, he showed an energy and enthusiasm that’s what voters want in leaders and what Republicans have been desperately lacking in this campaign.
To anyone watching Ryan’s speech who hasn’t been paying much attention to the ins and outs and accusations of the campaign, I suspect Ryan came across as a smart, passionate and all-around nice guy — the sort of guy you can imagine having a friendly chat with while watching your kids play soccer together. And for a lot of voters, what matters isn’t what candidates have done or what they promise to do —it’s personality. On this measure, Mitt Romney has been catastrophically struggling and with his speech, Ryan humanized himself and presumably by extension, the top of the ticket.
2. Deceiving
On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.
Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.
Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shutdown of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush . Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.
Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period.
Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan .
Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.
3. Distracting
And then there’s what Ryan didn’t talk about.
Ryan didn’t mention his extremist stance on banning all abortions with no exception for rape or incest, a stance that is out of touch with 75% of American voters.
Ryan didn’t mention his previous plan to hand over Social Security to Wall Street.
Ryan didn’t mention his numerous votes to raise spending and balloon the deficit when George W. Bush was president.
Ryan didn’t mention how his budget would eviscerate programs that help the poor and raise taxes on 95% of Americans in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even further and increase — yes, increase —the deficit.
These aspects of Ryan’s resume and ideology are sticky to say the least. He would have been wise to tackle them head on and try and explain them away in his first real introduction to voters. But instead of Ryan airing his own dirty laundry, Democrats will get the chance.
At the end of his speech, Ryan quoted his dad, who used to say to him, “”Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.”
Ryan may have helped solve some of the likeability problems facing Romney, but ultimately by trying to deceive voters about basic facts and trying to distract voters from his own record, Ryan’s speech caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate.
Sally Kohn is a writer and Fox News contributor. You can find her online at http://sallykohn.com or on Twitter@sallykohn.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/30/paul-ryans-speech-in-three-words/#ixzz254TZpYnl
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By William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers
TAMPA, Fla. Beyond the hoopla, politics and glitz, the Republican National Convention has been marked by speeches filled with half-truths, misleading statements, obfuscations and downright falsehoods.
From economic issues to welfare to Medicare to President Barack Obama’s work history, the convention’s headlining speakers often stretched the truth – to the point of breaking, in some cases.

Here’s a look at some of what was said:
Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech Wednesday was chock-full of inaccuracies and misleading statements. The Wisconsin House of Representatives member said the Obama administration had “funneled out of Medicare” $716 billion to pay for the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
“You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money” to pay for the law, the vice-presidential candidate said. “So they just took it away from Medicare.”
Not so. Obama didn’t gut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for the health care law. Instead, the administration instituted changes in Medicare to lower health care costs in the future, according to PolitiFact, a fact-checking website run by the Tampa Bay Times. The changes amount to a projected savings of $716 billion over 10 years, an amount calculated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The changes the administration made primarily affect insurance companies and hospitals, and not Medicare recipients directly.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/30/164386/at-gop-convention-in-tampa-full.html#storylink=cpy
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By James Rainey
Thu Aug 30 2012 9:55 AM

TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan mostly got raves for the “optics” of his speech Wednesday night before the Republican National Convention, winning the image battle on the biggest night of his young political life. But by the time the reviews came piling in after midnight, the Republican vice presidential nominee had taken a serious beating for straying repeatedly from the facts.
The GOP’s newly minted Boy Wonder, just 42, bent or ignored the record on issues ranging from Medicare, to President Obama’s debt-reduction commission, to the closing of a GM plant in his Wisconsin hometown, to the beneficiaries of federal stimulus spending — according to a couple of fact-check organizations and news outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.
The news organizations responded to specific claims in the speech, but it’s doubtless President Obama and the Democrats will make a case about broader inconsistencies — such as the Republican record of fulminating about budget deficits while voting for tax cuts for the wealthy and a massive Medicare drug expansion that helped balloon the amount America owes.

Those wider themes are for another day — one when Obama and his party also will have to answer for problems, particularly the lack of adequate progress in job creation since he took office in 2009. But, in the aftermath of his Wednesday speech, Ryan took the brunt.
FactCheck.org, the respected veracity project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, had a succinct roundup of most of Ryan’s most significant “false claims and misleading statements.”
The congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee accused Obama of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” The website noted that Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances. It also noted that Ryan’s own budget had “embraced the same savings.”
It was a nice rhetorical twist when Ryan called the Medicare plan “the biggest, coldest power play of all.” He didn’t leave any national TV time for whether his own plan, which eventually would try to move many Americans onto a system of vouchers, would avoid reducing health benefits, as many analysts believe it inevitably would.
Ryan also accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” when his own bipartisan debt reduction commission came forward with recommendations. What most of the audience couldn’t have known, until the fact checkers set to work, was that Ryan voted against the commission’s plan and encouraged his fellow Republicans to do the same.
Multiple news outlets were particularly dismissive of Ryan’s attempt to hold Obama accountable for the closure of the Janesville, Wisc., auto plant — which he had hoped during the last campaign would remain open for another 100 years. Politifact.org was among the many to rate Ryan’s barb “false,” since the plant closed a month before the Democrat took office.

There were other misdirection plays, like when Ryan made it sound like Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. debt solely because of the president, when the agency actually cited the inability of the two political parties to work together — something Ryan played at least some role in as a GOP leader. The new veep candidate also made it sound like not a dollar of stimulus spending had gone back to any taxpayer, when FactCheck.org pointed out that “more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.”
More long-term inconsistencies — matching current words to past actions — will crop up for Ryan in the coming days. Already on Wednesday, NBC host David Gregory accused the VP pick of “ideological amnesia” for not expressing nearly the same level of deficit concern when President George W. Bush was prosecuting two wars (among other things) at the time of major tax cuts.
Former anchor Tom Brokaw added that there was a time when the same Ryan seemed to have no problem with stimulus spending and expanded government. He voted for both the auto industry bailout and the TARP legislation to bail out financial institutions.
The question is whether the public even accepts the findings of these truth squads anymore. Too many in the audience simply shuck off findings they don’t like — and troll for a corner of the Web that suits their fancy.
Recent days have already seen umpteen outlets knock down a Romney falsehood — that Obama would end work requirements that came with welfare reform. But the GOP ticket and its surrogates have just kept on flogging the claim.

Over at the Columbia Journalism Review’s Swing States Project, writer Brendan Nyhan urged the Fourth Estate to shake off fact-check fatigue.
“When someone who could be the next president or vice president of the United States makes a false claim,” Nyhan wrote, “it is always a newsworthy act.”

http://mobile.latimes.com/p.p?m=b&a=rp&id=2641992&postId=2641992&postUserId=7&sessionToken=
&catId=5217&curAbsIndex=2&resultsUrl=DID%3D6%26DFCL%3D1000%26D
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Convention-al lies continue in Tampa

August 28, 2012

Wednesday’s post requires additional comments due to the Republican night of lies on Tuesday. Everything in this “special” additional post comes from: http://www.politifact.com
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“Our solution to preserve, protect and save Medicare does not affect your benefits,” Ryan, Romney’s vice presidential pick, said during an Aug. 18, 2012, stop at The Villages. “Let me repeat that — our plan does not affect the benefits for people who are in or near retirement.”
Really? The truth is not as clear as Ryan makes it appear.
We know Ryan and Romney are pushing for Medicare reforms that would spare beneficiaries 55 and over. Their proposals would create voucher-like credits for future retirees to shop for their own plans, either traditional Medicare or a private plan, starting in 2023. If Ryan were talking only about this part of the plan, he’d be correct.
But Romney and Ryan have also pledged to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, which Ryan attacked several times during his comments. The health law included several new benefits for Medicare.
Here’s an overview of what Obama’s health law offers Medicare beneficiaries:
Preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. Everyone on Medicare is now eligible for free preventive care as a result of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Seniors’ annual wellness visits would be covered, as well as flu shots and a number of screenings for cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, HIV, and cholesterol… These services would not require co-pays.
The ‘doughnut hole.’ The law gradually closes the so-called “doughnut hole” for seniors on the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program over 10 years. Before the law, seniors whose annual drug costs exceeded $2,830 shouldered the entire payment without government assistance until they hit an out of pocket limit of $4,550. Once “catastrophic coverage” is triggered, the government paid 95 percent of costs.
The health care law gives beneficiaries who reach the doughnut hole a $250 tax-free rebate. Federal subsidies will kick in, gradually reducing the patient’s share of the payment from 100 percent to 25 percent by 2020.
Plus, seniors in the doughnut hole receive a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs.
Restoring $716 billion in Medicare cost savings. Romney has said he will replenish $716 billion in Medicare spending reductions in the health care law over the next decade.
Some analysts say reinstating the savings will drive up premiums for Medicare Part B beneficiaries, reported the New York Times on Aug. 21, 2012. Premiums are pegged to Medicare’s overall costs, so when costs go up, premiums go up.

Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, used official data to compute how out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries might increase. We reached Moon, and she reviewed her methodology with us.
She calculated that restoring the Medicare spending would raise co-payments and premiums by by $342 a year on average over the next 10 years. By 2022, the annual increase would rise to $577.
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“Household income in America has gone down for families an average of $4,000 in the last four years,” Ryan said in Janesville, Wis., on Aug. 27, 2012. “When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, unemployment went down and household incomes went up $5,000.”
Applying the same inflation-adjusted methodology that Ryan chose to show the $4,000 household income drop under Obama, median incomes actually fell $589 under Romney during his earlier stint as governor.
Ryan also affixes too much blame or credit on the pair for the trends.
We rate this statement False.
http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2012/aug/24/jim-renacci/jim-renacci-says-betty-sutton-democrats-gutted-med/
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PolitiFact checked a Romney campaign ad’s claim that Obama ended welfare work requirements earlier this month, rating it Pants On Fire. In reality, the Obama administration has said it will consider proposals from states that are aimed at finding better ways of getting welfare recipients into jobs. FactCheck.org and the Washington Post Fact Checker have also said the claim is false.
But the claim lives on. The Romney campaign has released two more ads repeating the line that work requirements were “gutted” line and it’s become a regular talking point for Romney campaign surrogates.
“Our most effective ad is our welfare ad,” strategist Ashley O’Connor said at an RNC forum on Tuesday. “It’s new information.”
“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” added Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. (My emphasis)

Santorum (speaking at the GOP convention) falsely claims that Obama has waived welfare’s work requirement entirely. The remark is inaccurate and it inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance.
Rated: Pants on Fire!
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/28/rick-santorum/Santorum-Romney-claim-Obama-ending-welfare-work/

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Affordable Care Act-Medicare-Medicaid: A primer

August 28, 2012

Wednesday’s Post
Please also check the new page added. (See the right hand column under, “The real “Death Panels”?

I am going to start this VERY long post with my own thoughts before getting into the smarter references assembled below.

Remember that Medicaid is also in their gun sites. Medicaid currently covers about 17% of the US population. The Ryan/Romney-Romney/Ryan plan also calls for “block grants” to states. These would significantly reduce the Federal share of current spending (by about 25%) and might allow the states to use the money in ways other the health care for the aged, indigent and infirm who have no other insurance. This, of course, would increase the use of emergency room treatment and therefore an increase in everyone’s insurance premiums. Gee, why didn’t Obama think of that? Maybe because the idea stinks to high heaven(s).

This fits nicely with eliminating “Obama care” which will then eliminate insurance for millions, do away with preventive care and send those in need of health care back to the emergency rooms. There go insurance rates again, because everyone with insurance pays at least and extra $1,000 (probably a great deal more) to make up for the costs of the ER which the hospitals recover by charging more for doctor admitted patients. Think about those millions getting early and less costly care from a physician and not having to wait until there is a crisis and going to the far more expensive ER.

Everyone needs to understand that the $700B-ish in Medicare savings from the “Obama care” program comes mainly from the hospitals and insurance companies who negotiated with the administration AND AGREED TO THE REDUCTIONS IN ADVANCE! Their thinking is understandable; they will have 30 million potential more customers. The R&R plan also has the same $ “savings” but with no reductions to the hospitals and insurance companies but inevitably a cut in individual benefits and higher profits for the insurance folks who can put on yearly and lifetime caps, refuse those with pre-existing conditions and on and on.

One final point is in order. The “voucher” concept for those 55 and under is really, really stupid unless you own an insurance company. The Dems argue that the vouchers will not be enough and therefore upwards of $6,000/year in out of pocket costs will hit each person. Let’s assume it is true. Now, who really believes that when this huge group of under 55ers hits retirement age they will put up with those additional costs? Who really believes that congress will face down angry voters and won’t increase the size of the vouchers so they can be re-elected? Come on. No chance. No, I am wrong. There IS a chance if the GOP can continue to restrict who votes through their voter suppression laws. They might be eventually be able to do their ultra-rich masters work in buying the government and creating the most powerful oligarchy in the world. Ironically, it is probably the Tea Party that will be the next group, or the one after, to find they can no longer meet the new, more stringent voter eligibility laws.

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Romney praised Israel’s health care system by noting that, while costs are “completely out of control” in the United States, Israel only spends “eight percent of [gross domestic product] on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation.”

Normally, pointing out these facts wouldn’t be any sort of “gaffe” at all. Unfortunately for Romney, complimenting a country that has had universal health care since its founding in 1948 undercuts his own party’s message of “Let him die!”

Romney has had trouble on the domestic front as well. Last week The Tax Policy Center released a study showing that, even if one assumes the most favorable conditions for Romney, it is literally impossible for his tax plan to achieve its stated goals.

Romney dismissed the report by accusing the non-partisan group that wrote the report of liberal bias. That bias is apparently a recent development; when the Romney campaign cited a report by the Tax Policy Center in November, it referred to the Center as an “objective third-party.

(From “nationalmemo.com”)

____________________________________

By TIM MAK | 6/6/12 12:52 PM EDT

A report that Mitt Romney pushed more forcefully than previously known for an individual health care mandate while governor of Massachusetts brought progressive bloggers to their feet for a “gotcha!” moment ahead of an upcoming landmark Supreme Court decision on the provision’s constitutionality.

Through a public-records request, the Wall Street Journal obtained internal emails from when Romney was in office, which show, among other things, that the governor personally drafted an op-ed defending the individual mandate.

“At the time, it turns out, Democrats weren’t on board with an individual mandate, but Romney and his aides championed the provision,” wrote Steve Benen at the Rachel Maddow Blog.  “Romney did not just consider an individual mandate useful to Massachusetts, he considered it essential to a functional health care law — precisely what the Supreme Court is now debating,” added Annie-Rose Strasser at ThinkProgress.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77122.html#ixzz24tS3SJK6

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A must read by Bob Shrum

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/22/why-believe-romney-now-after-his-lies-on-medicare-bain-taxes.html

This superb article chronicles the litany of lies from Romney, Ryan, the GOP and their secret big donors. Please take the time to read it.

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WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats are being equally nasty in their campaign rhetoric, but they’re not being equally truthful. To cite one example, much of what the GOP is saying about Medicare simply isn’t supported by the facts.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, one of Mitt Romney’s more pugnacious surrogates, almost had a conniption fit Tuesday when CNN’s Soledad O’Brien pressed him on his assertion President Barack Obama “gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it.” As Sununu knows, but refused to acknowledge, this is not true.

The claim is part of an attempt to shore up a vulnerability Romney created by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate. The budget Ryan authored, and convinced House Republicans to pass, would eventually change Medicare into a voucher program: Seniors would be given a certain amount of money each year to buy health insurance.

If that amount isn’t enough to pay for the kind of coverage you want or need — under Ryan’s latest plan, you could buy a policy from a private insurer or buy Medicare from the government — you pay the difference out of pocket. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average Medicare recipient would pay an extra $6,500 a year.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the political problem this causes for Romney, especially in states where older voters are a key voting bloc. The Romney campaign decided to deal with the anticipated Democratic onslaught by striking first with the claim it is Obama, not Romney, who wants to take away your Medicare.

Like many lies, this one uses a grain of truth as raw material. The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, slows the rate of growth of payments to Medicare service providers by more than $700 billion over a decade. But no impact is felt by seniors themselves, whose benefits and costs remain the same.

When O’Brien reminded Sununu of these facts, he barked she should “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead.” But the claim Obama had “gutted Medicare” remained false, and O’Brien told Sununu: “You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.”

http://poststar.com/news/opinion/columns/eugene_robinson/column-republicans-offer-medicare-fibs/article_7df78484-e9a0-11e1-b7cd-001a4bcf887a.html

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It seems that they can just repeat the big lie. Please read the following in depth article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/us/politics/costs-seen-in-romneys-medicare-savings-plan.html?_r=1&ref=us&pagewanted=all

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Paul Krugman gives a concise and devastating comment about the R&R plan and lies on his blog.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/understanding-medicare-cuts/

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Medicare vs. Non-Government (Private) Health Insurance

Comparison of Administrative Costs

To   help determine whether or not the federal government’s Medicare program is   more cost efficient than non-government (private) health insurance, we’ve   compared the administrative costs for both according to five different   studies. The results are presented in summary chart form (I. below) and graph form (II. below) with links to the full studies themselves.
Some organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, argue that calculating   administrative costs as a % of total expenses misleads people into thinking   that Medicare is more efficient than non-government (private) health   insurance. They believe that comparing the administrative costs per   beneficiary (III. below) more accurately reflects the greater   efficiency of private health insurance. Others point out that Medicare treats   the elderly exclusively, and since they typically have more health problems   than the general population, comparing costs per beneficiary is misleading   and therefore percentage comparisons are more reliable.
An international comparison of the US and five other industrialized countries   (IV. below) shows that the US spends at least twice as   much administrating its health care system as countries with universal health   coverage such as Germany and Canada.
Administrative costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office (V. below), “refer to any expenses insurers incur   that are not payments for health care services, including the profits   retained by private insurers and the taxes paid on those profits.”
This   is an excerpt from an amazingly researched article about the costs of   different approaches to insurance. It is full of charts and really is worth   looking at. If I copied all of it here it would double the size of a   monstrously long post.

http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004083

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DCCC please use this ad, or a varient

August 26, 2012

Since I want to get to bed at a proper hour, I am publishing Monday’s post on Sunday evening.

 

An ad I would like to see the Democrats run in every House election where the incumbent GOP Representative voted against The Affordable Health Care Act and in the last 2 years has vote X times to repeal it.  (Probably about 30+times.)

Congressman or Congresswoman X has voted X times AGAINST YOU  by voting AGAINST the following:

  • Insuring millions more of our citizens thereby eliminating a major portion of the costs of non-insured visits to emergency room.  These costs cause, at the present, over $1,000 in increases in insurance premiums
  • Prohibiting lifetime monetary and annual caps on insurance coverage
  • Free mammograms
  • Prohibiting insurance plans from excluding coverage for children with preexisting conditions.
  • Prohibiting insurance plans from cancelling (rescinding) coverage, except in cases of fraud.
  • Establishing state based rate reviews for “unreasonable” insurance premium increases.
  • Establishing an office of health insurance consumer assistance or an ombudsman

             program.

  • Establishing the share of premiums dedicated to medical services by forcing the insurance companies to return a portion of premiums if their “overhead and administrative” cost exceed 20%
  • Closing the “doughnut hole” in Prescription Drugs Benefits (Part D of Medicare) meaning seniors would have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more of their drug costs.
  • Allowing students 26 and under to remain on their parents’ policy
  • Prohibiting most insurance plans from excluding people for preexisting conditions
  • Forbidding discrimination based on health status
  • Guaranteeing issuing new policies  and renewal of policies
  • Mental health and substance abuse parity
  • Premium rating rules
  • Nondiscrimination in benefits

Is this really the way you want your Congressperson (name) to represent you?

Today: How to spell “hypocracy”: R Y A N plus some Miscellaneous.

August 23, 2012

Uploaded Thursday night for Friday

Monday: Medicare/Medicaid; Wednesday: An ad the Dems should run

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(If you missed this you won’t believe your ears and eyes. A Lubbock, Texas (where else?) judge is talking about a revolution complete with Lexington and Concord if Obama is re-elected. He backs a tax increase which will help train additional troops to fight off the United Nations troops Obama will send to quell the rioting and start of the revolution.)

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/texas-judge-warns-possible-civil-war-president-obama-230545603.html

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Ryan on the stimulus (or stimuli) package (or packages).

“What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” Ryan said, in comments unearthed by MSNBC‘s “Up with Chris Hayes” and provided to HuffPost. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they’ve passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work.”

(Ryan when voting in favor of the George Bush stimulus package.)

“No, I’m not gonna vote [against] something, then write letters to the government to send us money,” Ryan said at the time. “I did not request any stimulus money.” (On a Boston radio station in 2010)

“No, I never asked for stimulus,” Ryan said in a local TV interview in Cincinnati Thursday.

 

 “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,” Ryan said. “This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.”

(Later after proof of several requests in the millions of dollars of stimulus money. From a Washington Post blog)

 

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan once objected to “the discredited economic playbook of borrow and spend Keynesian policies.” He then went on to oppose President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus.

But unknown to many, Ryan supported a $715 billion rival Republican stimulus plan in 2009. And later, after he publicly opposed Obama’s stimulus, Ryan secretly advocated for some money for his district — on the grounds that it would create jobs. Then he denied he did it. Then his office acknowledged it did, in fact, ask for the money. (Apparently he believed it would only create jobs in his district!)

(Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/08/paul-ryans-stimulus-problems-on-video.html#storylink=cpy)

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Politico reported that Romney “told a private group of potential supporters and business and media elites, including Rupert Murdoch, that he was treading carefully around the issue of immigration to avoid looking like a ‘flip-flopper.” (Too late, he already has flip-flop and etch-a-sketch franchises all sewn up.

(Speaking of flip-flops, check out the site below (sorry about the commercial with the video) showing how two faced he is)

http://mittromneysflipflops.com (You make have to cut and paste.)

(Another not to miss read. Lengthy, but full of important comments. Notice the first article on the middle class and especially the second on the Akin-Ryan link!)

http://www.politicalruminations.com/2012/08/new-obama-ad-and-paul-ryan-must-be-viewed-as-a-threat.html

“Education is the investment our generation makes in the future.” (He has indicated, as has Ryan, that the Department of Education should be severely cut or eliminated.)

“I feel very deeply about the need to respect and tolerate people of different social – or sexual orientation. But at the same time, I believe marriage should be preserved as an institution for one man and one woman. “(Sure, tolerate but separate from society and the laws about equal justice.)
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mitt_romney.html#gWoywsV0wQvhMOXp.99.

The GOP’s war on women plus Romney taxes

August 22, 2012

Part one:  War on women continues.

(Sunday, August 19)

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors (pregnancy from rape) is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”

Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/story/ent/manhattan_diary/todd-aiken-legitimate-rape-and-the-romney-ryan-war-on-women-166745696.html#ixzz248HSp6cK

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” the Romney campaign said in statement.

(Monday, August 20)

(Later after being criticized for a mild response)

“He should understand that his words with regards to rape are words that I can’t defend, that we can’t defend, and we can’t defend him,” Romney told WMUR.

(It is hypocritical of Romney and Ryan to distance themselves from Akin because his stance on women’s rights is their stance. Ryan has stood shoulder to shoulder with Akin in the House attempts at redefining rape, defunding Planned Parenthood, and giving a zygote the same rights as every living breathing American citizen, accept [sic] women.  http://www.politicalruminations.com/  Ryan was a co-sponsor with Akin, and other Republicans, of the “Personhood Amendment”, a concept rejected by even by the people of Mississippi in a referendum.  He also sponsored, again with Akin, an attempt to insert the word “forcible” before “rape” in a bill in the House.)

(Tuesday, August 21

The Republican Platform committee, meeting in Tampa, adopted an election plank with no allowance for an abortion in the case of rape.)

_____________________________________________________________________

Part 2:  MR’s taxes, or lack thereof.

(I am not going to go on and on with this. Everyone knows the story about the Swiss accounts, the Caribbean Island accounts and how he transferred major assets to his wife just before announcing his candidacy. Just a few quotes-and comments will show his true side.)

“The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” George Will, ultra conservative columnist and talking head on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

“… the fascination with taxes I’ve paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face. But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent…. and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”

(Wow, 13%. Check what you paid, bet you wish it was 13%. Oh, and a little info for the candidate, charitable contributions reduce your tax bill and don’t give you the right to add them to your taxes! His own father released more than 10 years when he ran saying, “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.”)

I’m not a business. We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency, which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns.” (explore more at http://www.politicalruminations.com/mitt-romney-quotes/)

(He supposedly gave Mc Cain more than 10 years of tax returns and then Palin was the choice. Hmmm. Also, several of the “vetees” for his running mate indicated that they were asked for several years of taxes. However, the American people are not entitled to more than 1 and a partial, which apparently does not show his foreign account info in detail, from a candidate for President.)

(“Between April 2002 through June 2002, Mitt Romney, knowingly, willingly and with forethought intentionally lied to the People of Massachusetts regarding his 1999-2001 Tax Returns when he falsely claimed to the MA People that he had listed Massachusetts as his residency on his 1999-2001 Federal and State Tax Returns.”   See full story at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/17/1121206/-Ex-Fox-s-Major-Garrett-Never-Knew-Romney-Caught-Lying-On-1999-2001-Tax-Returns. Daily Kos is one of the best sources around.)

Who really created the debt? A slight diversion from the blog title.

August 20, 2012

MR has said, “…don’t tax the job creators…”.   So, as others have asked, “where are the jobs”.  Now that he has added Ryan to the ticket I decided to provide a little info you can use to rebuke, with facts, (gasp) those who misunderstand or outright lie!

Thanks to the mess he inherited, Obama’s numbers will eventually look bad, too, unless the Republicans stop their policy of setting up road blocks to everything.  To hell with the country, it is getting back the presidency that is the only item of import.

Here we have the undeniable truth.  Starting with Reagan,  I believe the GOP has intentionally increased the debt, mainly by tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations with a war thrown in.  Why?  We are seeing the answer right now.  It was a philosophy that aimed to “starve the baby” by creating a dangerous debt and trying to force severe cuts in the programs they hate, viz. Medicare, Medicaid, and various programs that help those less fortunate than the top 10%.  (These charts are all from the internet.  If they infringe on copyrights please let the administrator know and they will be removed.)

The Individual Mandate/Would you like a flip-flop franchise?

August 18, 2012

GIBSON: But Governor Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis.
ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.
FRED THOMPSON: I beg your pardon? I didn’t know you were going to admit that. You like mandates.
ROMNEY: Let me — let me — oh, absolutely. Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this. If it weren’t…
THOMPSON: The ones you come up with.

Later: I would not mandate at the federal level that every state do what we do. But what I would say at the federal level is, ‘We’ll keep giving you these special payments we make if you adopt plans that get everybody insured.’ I want to get everybody insured. (Jan. 2008 Republican Presidential debate)

(2009 in a Wall Street Journal op-ed urging Obama to adopt an individual mandate. After all, it was a conservative idea first proposed in 1993 by Republicans to beat back Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.)

On the campaign trail now, Mitt Romney says the individual mandate is appropriate for Massachusetts, but not the nation. Repeatedly in debates, Romney has said he opposes a national individual mandate.
But back in 2009, as Barack Obama was formulating his healthcare vision for the country, Mitt Romney encouraged him publicly to use an individual mandate. In his op-ed, Governor Romney suggested that the federal government learn from Massachusetts how to make healthcare available for all. One of those things was “Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.”
“Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian,” the published op-ed stated. In a line that didn’t make the edited version, Mr. Romney added: “An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible — and inhumane.”

(2009 in a Wall Street Journal op-ed urging Obama to adopt an individual mandate. After all, it was a conservative idea first proposed in 1993 by Republicans to beat back Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. The e-mails referred to came from a hard drive that somehow slipped through MR’s program of having all his subordinates “buy” their state owned hard drives so there would be no record of e-mails during his term as Governor. A similar situation happened after the SLC Olympics, but not ordered by Romney, rather by his successor who just happened to be an old associate from Bain!)

In July 2009, Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed in USA Today urging Barack Obama to use an individual mandate at the national level to control healthcare costs.

Secondly, with regards to the, uh… the mandate, the individual responsibility program, which I proposed, I was very pleased to see that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility principle. That is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone, and getting everybody the health insurance they, uh… deserve and need. (Gov. Romney during his fight for the health care fight in Mass.)
Mitt Romney defends the health care plan he signed into law as Massachusetts governor.

“What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts,” he said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning. “It is fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care.”

Need I mention that he has sworn many times that he will repeal “Obama care” the first day in office. If he checks the Constitution he may discover he can’t do it alone nor is it likely it can been done on his first day in office.

Important reads:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77122.html
http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/98965

No new posts on Sunday. It is my day for the NYT crossword and lowering my blood pressure at the thought of Obama losing.
Thanks for reading and, hopefully, telling your friends to do the same.


THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

THE GAY SIDE OF LIFE

a gay wiew of everyday situation

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