Monday, October 21, 2013

You Expected a Website to Work? You're Kidding!

So the Affordable Health Care website isn't working?

Has anyone tried to use Yahoo email lately?

Or tried shopping on Macy's website?

Or even tried shopping Amazon on one of its off-days when it's stuck in a closed loop?

Have you tried to get your television service through Comcast cable for an entire evening without it breaking down and losing the signal ?

Get a new refrigerator that doesn't freeze everything when set at "Normal Cold"?

Get a $2400 hearing aid that amplifies without constant fiddling to remove feedback?

Use a $5000+ bi-pap sleep apnea machine by Respironics that has a built-in water heater that's supposed to work?

Get an on-line Amtrak ticket that has the right date on it?

Get your local bank's telephone information system to give you an update on your checking account?

Get someone on the phone at your phone service provider to explain why you have received a computer-generated letter telling you that some other unnamed person has been added to your account?

Like many of you I spend a lot of time just trying to get American businesses to function adequately.  How do these companies make any money?  How much do they owe me for all the trouble they cause me and the time they steal from me.

Last month Comcast's cable TV was down so much they had to credit me $100.  I could get rich being a Comcast customer.

So why the surprise that the Obama administration's computer contractors screwed up the health insurance website?  Especially when  the GOP in the House refused adequate funding for the startup.  Take the low bidder and get less.  That's how it works.  Why is that a surprise?

I was married to two different men over the course of 50 years.  Two men but one industry:  the electronics industry.  I saw computers go from punched cards and room-size machines to little itsy bitsy things that you can't really see.  The first micro-processors sat on my husband's chest of drawers while he and Bob Noyes tried to figure out what to do with them.  One thread has been constant for 50 years.  The stuff doesn't work.  Whether manufacturing overseas or not, the industry is of a get-it-out-the-door mentality that has carried over from the hardware to the software of the computer industry.

Selling the product and shoving it out the door has always taken priority over testing and making sure things work.  Get the beat on the other company!   Remember the hand-held electronic devices a few years ago which were getting hot and catching fire?  Not such a great idea in a hand-held device, right?

So why didn't someone tell Obama that "we need more time"?  Because no one in the electronics or programming industries is able to say those words.

And you wanna know why?  It's very simple.  They have been programmed not to!

And, kiddo, that's a program that's always worked!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

He's "No Blink" Obama For Sure!

Just a bit of chortling.  Okay?

The GOP caved and crept away tonight, it's tail you know where.

They had thought Obama would blink and give them what they wanted under threat of defaulting on the nation's debt and ruining the world economy.  But he had said he would not negotiate under extortion.  And he didn't.

They didn't understand that Obama means what he says.  When he says he means it, he really means it. He said he would kill Bin Laden and he did.  He said he would rid Syria of chemical weapons and he is.  In fact, the Tea Party GOP should have paid close attention to how Obama manipulated the Syria situation, luring Putin in and giving Putin the hook to hang his hat on that let Putin take responsibility for getting rid of the chemicals.  Instead they thought  Obama was being "weak" about Syria and that Putin couldn't be trusted to do the job. Ha!  Putin has more to fear from those weapons than we do!

So they have misread Obama and the moves of the other real politicans, his cohorts Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and even Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.  They never realized that Republicans and Democrats can fight each other ferociously over policy matters and maybe not even like each other personally, but when they are threatened by a common enemy like the Tea Party, they can play off of one another for the mutual goal of squashing the threat.  The Tea Partyers know nothing of real politics.
Consequently they have just been had.

Blinded by their racial hatred, they also failed to notice that our President Obama is one very smart, very cool, and very determined man.  And it was his determination that set set the stage for their "leader" John Boehner to lead them right into oblivion, as I've suggested in my last few blogs.  It's been quite a show.

The great news is  -  if I've analyzed it right  -  that we are now free of the destructive and disgusting intransigence of the Tea Party contingent in Congress.  Sure, they can still make noise.  But they have shot their wad; they have no big threats left.  When next the debt ceiling needs raising and they threaten again to put us into default, everyone will laugh.  Because we now know two things.  Obama won't move and Boehner won't let there be a default.  He said two weeks ago that he hadn't come to Washington to let there be a default.  And like, Obama, he meant what he said.  He will again put the debt ceiling bill on the floor for the Democrats and some Republicans to pass.  And that's that.

Meantime he will pray.  Pray that someday, somehow the GOP can repair the terrible damage the Tea Party has done to the Republican Party.

And as for Obama?  Good humorist that he is, he's just said that he wants to now get on with passing immigration reform.  What a super fun way to rub some salt in the GOP wounds, reminding the nation of the hateful narrow-minded prejudice of the GOP that opposes justice for the immigrants here who work so hard in our fields and hotels and construction.  

To me that GOP hatred is an even more disgusting attribute than almost destroying our economy.   But no matter how you look at today's GOP it's not a very pleasant sight.

Thus the GOP's twenty-four percent approval rating in the polls.

That says it all.  Chortle. Chortle.


The "Crisis" Resolved as Predicted Here! And Tea Party is Now Noodles!

So then the grown-ups joined forces and put the bad brats back in their playpen and took the dynamite away from them. The grown-ups then walked out and closed the door.

That's how the story ends.  The story of an ignorant and inexperienced bunch of Tea Party crazies over-reaching in the House, egged on by Senator Ted Cruz.  Thus ends the story of their shutting down the government and threatening a default on the nation's debt and a worldwide economic cataclysm.

In prior blog postings I described the steps that the grown-ups would take  -  in cooperation  -  to get the Tea Party House members knocked down to size.  They followed the steps almost exactly.  Obama, Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner  worked together beautifully to turn the Tea Party into nothing more frightening than wet noodles.  The five leaders have used the "crisis" to defang one of the scariest power blocs this country has ever spawned.  We have passed now from a looming end to our form of government into a time when government may function once again.  In short, the Tea Party no longer controls the House.  It is discredited and powerless, having blown its leverage once and for all.

After all, what can they threaten with any more?  Eating worms?

We have passed out from under the cloud of extortion being used to gain things one side wants but the majority of Americans don't.  We have restored power to the actual majority of Republicans in the House, i.e. there are substantially fewer Tea Party representatives in the House than there are more moderate Republicans members.  In all likelihood these more moderate Republicans will keep Boehner in his speakership.

After all, the Tea Party's recent commotion has dragged the GOP approval number down to 24%.  For the GOP House members from moderate districts that number is very bad news.  Thus they are not inclined to heed their Tea Party cohorts on anything any more.   By all rights, therefore, Boehner is safe in the speakership.

And that's okay.  He may be orange but that's okay.  He may be way off on policy but that's okay.  What he needs to be is an actual leader of the House, capable of delivering on the deals he cuts in the future with Obama.  The test of that comes as the two sides now move to budget negotiations.  Can he use the power of the speakership that he now has reclaimed from the Tea Party?

Please can our government now function again?  Can we please have politics again as it should be practiced, not by ignorant amateurs but by people who know how to govern?

After the past two weeks of watching the political pros manage the defanging of the Tea Party, I think there is reason to hope they can work on other things together.

And now please reopen the Grand Canyon!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Over: Tea Party Is Safely in Boehner's Trap

There is still more wringing of hands to get through, and a bit more shouting, but the actual "crisis" over the debt ceiling and the government shutdown has been over for some time.  As Senator John McCain said yesterday, "The Republicans have to accept that we have lost."

Now we just have to wait while Republican House Speaker John Boehner finishes luring the Tea Partyers through the very last steps to their demise.

And it's going just fine. The Tea Party is still doing exactly what Boehner wants them to by throwing yet another tantrum.

Today they predictably hung tough against the compromise the Senate worked out yesterday and then screamingly rejected a "plan" Speaker Boehner came up with this afternoon.  Neither of these legislative vehicles proposed any real harm to Obamacare, and this of course  enraged the Tea Partyers in the House.

Their seniors in their own party, such as Senator John McCain, have been telling them for weeks they weren't going to get repeal of Obamacare or its delay, and John Boehner never intended they should.  For a couple of weeks he seemed to support their "my way or the highway" stance as they shouted,   "Defund Obamacare or we'll shut down the government and put the nation in default on its debt."  But he was only encouraging them to shoot their wad and then die away.

As I've suggested all along,  Boehner wanted them to do just what they have done: humiliate themselves, threaten the economy, and terrify the moneyed interests that had been backing them.  Frightened by the looming default on our debt,  the moneyed interests last week turned the tables and  threatened they may "primary" the Tea Partyers, i.e. run more moderate candidates against them in their primaries.  This threat serves Beohner well.  He wants the upstart and obnoxious and unruly Tea Partyers off his back and docile so he can run the House Republican caucus, not they.  He wants his power back.  And he likely is getting it.  Moderation and compromise may therefore return to D.C.

Since the House Tea Partyers have today rejected both the Senate compromise plan and the plan Boehner was offering, all the time has run out.  On Thursday the default arrives.  Under this gun   Boehner can now turn to the House Republicans and say, "Sorry, boys and girls, I have to no choice   but to put the Senate proposal to a vote on the House floor because I could not get the House Republicans to agree on an alternative."

Thus the House Democrats and seventeen of Boehner's less-crazy fellow House Republicans  can -  at the last moment of the last hour  -  save the country from default on our debt, rid us all of the illusion that Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz really exist, and finally, finally reopen the Grand Canyon.

The Tea Party bet its wad on forcing the defunding of  Obamacare.  Remember?  That's what this was all supposed to be about.  They not only bet their wad but also shot their wad, threatening the ultimate terror of a default on our debt.  Their extortion didn't work.  They have lost all credibility.   Their wads are but spitballs now.

Thanks to President Obama for holding firm on Obamacare and protecting the principle that our democracy is not up for grabs by extortion.  Thanks to Speaker Boehmer  for pretending to be on the Tea Party side and luring them to jump off a cliff.  Thanks to the often selfish moneybags who saw their money threatened and for once did something good for the country.  Thanks to Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid for playing at being spitting cats until just the right moment, thus producing a "compromise" when it was too late for the non-Tea-Party House GOP to do anything but accept it.

We the people are going to be okay now and so is the Affordable Health Care Act.

The carnival nonsense of a splinter of a party has been neutered by skilled political grownups working across both parties to out-maneuver the brats.

Louis Armstrong was right:  It is a wonderful world!

And a beautiful autumn.  Enjoy!


Friday, October 11, 2013

An Apology (Sort Of) to My Readers

The post I did on "Tea Party Is Dead... etc" on October 10 is long.  But it is about the inside workings of politics.  And actual politics is complex.  That's why so much of the media doesn't get it and why so much of the public is confused.  We are just emerging from a very scary and complicated episode in American political history.  It's one of the most important in our history.  Huge things were at stake.

So read that blog!  Long or not, read it.  You can hang out in the pool hall or watch the wash dry another time.

The one I just posted about "How Boehner Killed the Tea Party" is shorter.      

How Boehner Has Killed the Tea Party

Speaker of the House John Boehner is apparently a clever fellow.  I don't like him personally.  But we all owe him big-time for his part in just killing off the Tea Party.

If you doubt the Tea Party is dead, take a look at today's Wall Street Journal/NBC poll numbers.  These results are all over the media so I won't repeat them here. Just let's say the GOP is in the tank. Terribly in the tank. Its favorable rating is the lowest ever in the entire history of the universe.  Only 24%.  The rest of the numbers are equally dire for the Grand Old Party, which now looks to be more of a morning-after hangover than a party.  The GOP could even lose the House next year!  Almost 3/4 of Americans HATE the shutdown and default threat and blame the GOP for them.  In fact they blame the GOP by 20% more than they blame the president.

Well, so much for the media's bland stupidity that "both sides are at fault" for everything.  Oh, no, my friends, the American people aren't buying into that any more.  Like another president used to say, "You can fool some of the people...."  But you know how the rest goes.  We've now reached the point that the Republicans can no longer fool any people any of the time.

The Tea Party inflicted this woeful wounding on the GOP.  They insisted on the shutdown and debt default as threats to win an ending of Obamacare.  Faced with this extortion, President Obama said, "Fuhgeddaboudit". (That's an East Coast accent coupled with a Chicago politician's killer resolve.)  He dug his heels in.  No extortion.  No bargaining.  And not a smidge off the Affordable Health Care Act.  He thus set up the cliff for Boehner to lure the Tea Party over.

Which Boehner promptly did.  He seemingly stopped being the reasonable, moderate, old Missourian, the orange-faced and dull Boehner, and seemed to become as daft as the Tea Partyers.  He encouraged them to be bad! He claimed that he'd more or less thought it over with the gang and decided that, yeah, they were going to strangle the Affordable Health Care Act in its cradle after all.  And, yeah, he could see them shutting the government down and putting the nation into default.  He'd previously disavowed such naughties with vehemence and conviction.  Previously he'd even promised the Wall Street Republicans that he wouldn't let the default happen.

And when he had previously said that he hadn't come to D.C. to do the bad things the Tea Party wanted, I believed him.  So did Wall Street.  Therefore the markets held steady (except for one brief moment) because the markets knew Boehner didn't mean what  he was now saying about  "let's do what the Tea Party wants".

But the Tea Party believed him.  Oh, boy, did they ever!  "Golly, whiz,  guys!  Boehner's going to let us have the death of Obamacare, an economic armageddon and a government shutdown! What happy days! Let's dance in the aisles!"

They hadn't noticed Boehner's face and body language and that he was stammering around on TV worse than usual.  When he told the lies the Tea Party wanted to hear, even his orange color faded.  I'm not kidding you. The man went white. But the Tea Partyers never noticed anything.  They believed what they wanted to hear.  And they babbled their nonsense ever louder and crazier.  "Hey," one Tea Party House guy said, "a default would be good for the economy. It would help stabilize it!"

Stabilize it?!  Hearing that, all the rest of us blanched white.

Boehner had invited them to strut their ignorance and flaunt their scary power, and they sure as hell were doing it!

Jump ahead a tad. Today a commentator or two is saying that Boehner embraced the Tea Party hard-lining because he wanted to get in good with them.  No!  It's not that at all.  He didn't accept their hard-line, and he doesn't need them closer.  He needs them out of his hair, off his back, and gone from the House.  He needs them politically dead. Short of being out of the House, he wants them docile. To get them there he had to lure them to such extremely stupid and frightening antics -  like embracing a default  -  that the powerful money forces that have fed them and put them in office will now cut off their sustenance.

And it worked.  On Tuesday the Koch brothers, who had financed the six-month organizing of the Tea Party extortion effort, wrote a letter made public, stating they hadn't wanted to shut down anything or threaten a default on the debt.  Oh, no! Not them!  It was some other brother, Ma!

Next the major business groups  -  I mean the really big ones  -  told the Tea Partyers that they'd better stop being a_ _ _ _ s or the money guys would not only cease funding their elections but would finance moderate candidates against them in Republican primaries next year.  That's wonderful!

And they will get rid of them.  They have to.  More than any one else, the people with a lot of money  -  like the Koch brothers and the really big big business groups  -  stood to lose a lot of money if this nation had defaulted on its debts.  As for their losses in the shutdown?  Not so much.  Not unless it goes on long enough that the weapons-makers and other government contractors began to lose some real money.

Because, my chums, there's one thing the ideologically drunk Tea Partyers forgot.  The guys with lots of money who buy and sell Republican Congress members don't care s_ _t about political ideas and Ayn Rand theories when these threaten their money.

I love it.  For once, the ugly, selfish moneybags got to do a patriotic service for their country.  They are reining in the monsters they dumped on us.  It's beautiful.  It's Greek drama.  It's enough to make one believe that, yes,Virginia, there is a Tooth Fairy.

Mostly I love what has unfolded because it shows that politics can still work toward a positive outcome and that party leaders can still cooperate in defanging the worst elements despite the acrimony in the ranks and in the electorate.  Which is what President Obama and John Boehner did.  Quietly.  Beyond the ability of news people to fathom. They worked together to disempower the Tea Party.  I'm not saying they met in a dank cellar room of the White House and plotted the demise of the Tea Partyers.  They didn't have to.  Skilled politicians  -  and politics done right is a highly skilled craft  -  don't have to spell things out for each other.  They can read each other, and  they know the rules of politics and follow them.  Those who don't understand politics or don't respect it are the likes of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party. Or Sarah Palin. They flame up through demagoguery, trip on the door sill, and soon become irrelevant.

Because there is no real room for them in the serious business of politics and governing.  It's not a funny business for clowns.  Nor is it a revival tent for yelling one's creed.  It's the marble buildings where we the people meet to work out what needs to be done.  It's serious business requiring enormous attention, skill, and thought.  Most of us haven't the time for it so we choose others to do it for us.  Most of these are serious and intelligent people.  They are mostly grown-ups.

Thank heavens the grown-ups have sent the raucous kids to bed.  The kids will still yell and scream and occasionally bounce out of their rooms for a drink of water or because they "gotta go potty".  But they are no longer in a position to burn the house down.  Or the House either.

I just wish Boehner was as good an actor as Obama.  Obama did his part with so much more aplomb.  And I'll bet Obama's good again with the comedy at the next White House Press dinner.  Maybe the day's not far off when everybody can lighten up a bit and Obama can even sing to us again.

That would be mighty nice.

(What is an "aplomb" anyway?)



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tea Party Is Dead! And Fight Ends Over Shutdown and Debt Ceiling!

Ding! Dong! The Wicked Tea Party is dead!  And so is defaulting on the debt!  And the government is going to reopen!  Thanksgiving has come early this year!

It's not the headline in the media yet but the economic crisis is over. Beginning October 6 this blog has described the steps by which the GOP was signaling it was giving in.  Obama and the nation and democracy have now won.  (And  -  shh! it's a secret  -  so has John Boehner!)  As of yesterday the GOP gave up on extortion and agreed to raise the debt ceiling. There's some foot-dragging on reopening the government but it too will happen soon.  And there's not a whisper any more of defunding Obamacare.  All along this blog has been ahead of the media in analyzing what's going on, showing that this is where we were headed.

How do we know the GOP has now completed its cave- in?  Rep. Paul Ryan took over Speaker Boehner's place on stage and proposed in the Wall Street Journal that the House now raise the debt ceiling for six weeks so that the Democrats and Republicans can have time to talk about budget issues. The GOP House leadership has announced it embraces the proposal.

That's part of what Obama has insisted on all along. He's still firm: no negotiating until there's an end to both the government being shut down and to the threat of debt default.  He has successfully called the House GOP bluff on the more scary aspect of their extortion, i.e. threat of debt default.  And of course they've already shot their wad of threatening to shut down the government, for which yesterday's polls say the majority of the public blames the GOP while a whopping 72% disapprove of their tactics. There'll be a bit of this and that still to come, particularly as regards the shutdown, but it's just a clean-up battle in a war that has ended.  It's the fighting in Tennessee after Appomattox.

The result of all this is that our principle of democracy survives, i.e. majority rule, and our economy and the world's economy also survive.  That ain't small potatoes.  But there's yet another big payoff.

This equally important result is that we can kiss the Tea Party goodbye as a genuine threat in American politics and thus a threat to the whole world. At the height of their power and with their most frightening weapons in hand, the Tea Partyers in the House made their big play and didn't achieve their signature goal of destroying Obamacare.  Instead Obama has used their intransigence to destroy them.   And oddly enough  -  yea, with great mastery -   so has Boehner.  Two men in powerful positions and from the two opposing parties have not only taken the Tea Party bad boys to the woodshed.  They have finished them off, with a lot of suicidal help from the Tea Partyers themselves.  

So how was this done?

                                       Here Beginneth the Obituary of the Tea Party 

The Tea Party Republicans in the House made four fatal mistakes.

First, they grossly underestimated President Obama. They really thought he would give up the most fundamental principle of a democracy:  governance by the majority.  Thus their demand for ending the Affordable Health Care Act.

By any measure the Tea Party supporters had every opportunity to oppose the Act during its passage.  They were even allowed to bring guns to public meetings!  They even went as far as spitting on House members who were entering the Capitol to vote. They also had two elections in which to change the makeup of the majority of Congress, and in 2010 they took over the House but not the Senate.  But even if they had taken both houses, they would not have had sufficient margin to override Obama's veto of any bill ending Obamacare.  And in 2012 people reaffirmed him as president and thereby reaffirmed Obamacare.

Further, a majority of all the people have explicitly told pollsters that they don't want Obamacare repealed.  The Tea Party therefore does not represent a majority of the people on this issue.  The Tea Partyers can't get this through their heads, but President Obama never forgets it.  And as a constitutional law professor he is certainly not going to give in to the Tea Party nor establish a precedent that would end our democracy.  He is not going to open the door for future splinter groups to hold the country hostage.

The Tea Party people have not just underestimated Obama.  They have put the lie to their own hate-filled characterization of him as being weak.  This "weak" label has been part of the racist GOP effort to paint him as an incompetent and dithering black man unfit to be president.  As of now, however, the Tea Party intransigence has actually elevated him, showing him to be neither weak nor incompetent.  They gave him the opportunity to be everything they said he wasn't.

LESSON ONE: Don't ever underestimate Obama.  Just ask Hilary, whom he beat for the nomination.  And Bin Laden.  And Assad and Putin.

The second huge mistake the Tea Party made was picking a fight they could not win.  Sometimes one has to fight an uphill battle just for the sake of moral principle.  This was not one of those times.  Whatever they didn't like about Obamacare they could have worked to fix by amendment, letting time prove them right.  But they have never wanted it to work.  They want no more programs to help people.  They even want to end existing government help.  It contravenes their Ayn Rand principle of "only the strong survive" and it makes Democrats popular.  A fight to end government help for our American people is a fight the Tea Party cannot win. The New Deal is now 70 years old.  It ain't going away.  Nor is Medical nor Medicaid.  These programs and Social Security are now fundamentals of American life.  Obamacare will be too.  And, babe, that's just how it is. Thank heaven!

Thus LESSON TWO is:  Stay in touch with reality.

Their third mistake was a whopper.  In their hubris of over-reaching they turned off their own most powerful buddies and may be deserted money-wise.  What do I mean, you ask?  THEY'VE LOST THE KOCH BROTHERS!  

And they have done an even worse bad. Other of their wealthy and powerful allies are now their avowed enemies, threatening to finance conservative non-crazy candidates in next year's GOP primaries so as to unseat the present Tea Party House members.  Did you get that?   

But this third mistake is such a big deal, it has to wait for the next posting.

So does gloating over their fourth mistake:  They didn't realize that Speaker John Boehmer was leading them on to their own destruction.

Meantime, smile!  In fact, smile a lot!  Let the bells ring out! This is truly a great day.  We have been reprieved not just from a financial crisis but a constitutional crisis and a splinter party veering into nazism.  Obama has saved the day, bless him.  And the bells that ring for our reprieve are simultaneuosly ringing the death knell of the Tea Party.

They've gone where the goblins go.  Below, below.  So set 'em up, Joe.  Wait!  That's not how the song goes ....  Oh, what the hey, set 'em up anyway, Joe.  And have one yourself.

The drinks are on me!



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2016 GOP Presidential Hopefuls To End Shutdown?

You've all heard that the House GOP doesn't care about national political victories.  Its 80+/- Tea types are supposedly so secure in their gerrymandered districts that they don't care about disgracing their party in the eyes of the nation by shutting down the government or putting us into default on the debt.  The "national GOP brand" means nothing to them.

Not entirely true.  There are some far-right conservatives in the House and Senate who do care just dreadfully about the national brand.  I'm talking about those who want to be president.

First and foremost is Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who didn't make it as the GOP VP candidate in 2012.  Every day and every night since the election he tells himself, "Without Romney, I would have won."  (They all do that.)  He's undoubtedly going to go for top spot next time.  Meantime he's considered the arch-budget guy in the House.  As is typical of the GOP, his budget numbers don't actually add up, as you may recall from the 2012 campaign.  But what the hey, facts and numbers don't stand in the way of the GOP these days.

So here comes ol' Paul yesterday, leaping right past the supposed heads of the House GOP, i.e. John Boehner and Eric Cantor. With cool chutzpah, Paul put out his own manifesto as to what the Democrats have to do to get the government open and the debt ceiling raised.

There was nothing about Obamacare in his demands.

Nor had Boehner mentioned it on TV Sunday or yesterday when he certainly had the chance.

The Tea Party's Number One demand had suddenly disappeared like money does out of my purse.

At first one might have concluded that Boehner had simply forgotten what had been the central demand of the House GOP.  After all, he can't seem to remember what he says or what he does most of the time.  But coming from Paul Ryan, this change of topic is significant.

It marks the end of the impasse.

As I noted in an earlier posting, there had to be some Republicans in the House who understood that President Obama would never destroy his Affordable Health Care Act to meet an extortion demand from the GOP.  The Act had its beginnings when he was a boy and watched his mother on the phone arguing with the health insurance company while dying of cancer.  This scene might have been his chief motive in running for president.  He knows other people are dying because of the insurance companies' abuses. Too many of us have lost a family member this way or a close friend this way.

What Boehner signaled on Sunday and Monday and Ryan confirmed yesterday is twofold:  (1) the House GOP leadership will settle for just having some talks about the usual budget things and the entitlements and won't try to scuttle the Health Care Act,  and (2) the more grown-up of the House GOP are taking back control of the situation.  

Obama has already said he'll "even spring again for dinner" to get talks going.  But he too made two things clear yesterday:  (1) no talks, no nothing, no way while the GOP continues to "hold a gun" on the American people with the shutdown and threatened default, and (2) the GOP may not get what it wants from the talks.  He's still holding the line where he has to.  

Next comes the part where the government gets funded for a limited time and the debt ceiling gets raised for a limited time while the two sides have that "conversation" John Boehner wants so badly.  

Then he and Ryan will go back to the Tea Party people and say, "We've all tried everything to end Obamacare.  You put up a good fight. We even shut down the government.  But Obama is not going to budge and we can't let you destroy the American economy and the Republican party.  It's over, boys and girls.  Now let's have a recess. "

At least we can hope this is what's happening, right?    


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Truckers Run Amuck? Greg Otto Makes Us Smile!

You gotta love this whacky country!  Sure, maybe we're headed for a suicidal and unnecessary default on the national debt that will have effects worldwide and probably end life upon this planet as we know it.  But meantime a guy named Greg Otto has made me smile, and a bunch of whacky truckers have made me laugh out loud.

Let's start with the truckers.  On Monday or Tuesday (nobody seems sure when) some one or ten or maybe a hundred of them announced they were so angry at Obama about something or other  that "all truckers" are going to drive to Washington D.C. on Thursday in their big rigs and entirely block the Beltway and arrest Congressmen.

Yes, they are mad at Obama but intent on arresting Congressmen.  Remember, it's their story, not mine.  (My cousin was a long-haul trucker, a great guy, and he never made any sense either.)   I'm also not responsible for the vagueness of the whole thing. The only requisite who, what, where, when of their announcement that was specific was Thursday.

USA Today, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, The Washington Post, and MSNBC's Ed Schultz jumped all over this story.  Very strange bedfellows!

But by late this afternoon three things had happened.  Someone among the angry truckers sobered up and said it wasn't true.  The national truckers association disavowed any connection with the shindig.  And a lovely man named Greg Otto at the Washington Business Journal published a piece that said the whole thing was "a fantasy" because even if it wasn't a hoax, as suspected elsewhere, it sure was logistically impossible.

Now get this.  Greg had been a busy guy with paper and pencil and his calculator.  He had figured out that it would take 6983 big rigs.  To do this he'd figured out the average length of a rig, even gone out into the field to do what reporters seldom now do, i.e. check the facts.  He'd then calculated miles per gallon and determined the astronomical cost of gas for this fleet of behemoths circling D. C. on the Beltway at 55 mph and how long it would take them.  He had it all down to the last mile and the last penny.  His conclusion:  it can't be done.

What a guy!  You all know I love figures and arithmetic, that I adored that guru of calculation: Nate Silver, the one analyst who called the 2012 election right on the bean.  (Except for North Carolina, but who cares.)  But Nate has abandoned us political fans for sports stats on ESPN.  If it weren't so sad to be abandoned by Nate, I'd be hooting about his switch from politics to sports as also being an indicator of what a wild and crazy country this is.

I love you, Greg Otto.  In the face of wacky and enraged threats you just sat down and worked the numbers.  And all the air goes out of the tires of this awful menace.  You are so cool.  Could you do something like that about John Boehner and the Tea Party threats in Congress, just reduce them to what they really are:  blithering idiots who know not whereof they speak and couldn't grasp a number if it bit them on the thumb.  Could you just take the real measure of their rig?

Somebody has got to deflate these Tea Party nut jobs to what they are.  And what they are makes the truckers look like Einstein.

Another thought:  Where is Burt Reynolds when we need him?    

Lifeline Thrown to Boehner ... and the Rest Of Us?

The last posting promised to discuss how the Tea Partyers in the House don't understand the funding of the Affordable Care Act, how they mistakenly thought that refusing to enact the federal budget would shut down the Act. But what's to discuss, other than point out what they didn't know, i.e. that the Act is self-funded. Yes, they are so uniformed they didn't realize this basic fact about a law they have been obsessed with. Even in the absence of a budget provision, Obamacare goes right along on its own funds.

An interesting question  to mull in the night is whether Speaker John Boehner bothered to try to tell them.  Or didn't he know?

So how does one do business with such ignorant and incompetent people who are pretending to be members of Congress?

No matter.  Forget Obamacare.  The GOP has.  As of today Boehner and the GOP have abandoned fighting Obamacare at least for now.  Boehner has changed the price of ending the shutdown and avoiding default on October 17.  He says that all he wants now is a "conversation" with the President about .... Well, that's not clear.  In a press conference today, as on a Sunday talk show, he never mentioned a word about Obamacare.  He just groaned on vaguely about debt and deficit stuff, maybe wanting another shot at some sort of grand bargain.

Meantime, an hour earlier, President Obama had thrown him a lifeline. Obama said be very glad to talk about anything with Boehner, provided the government is reopened and the debt ceiling raised.

 But get this! He would do such talking even if the two measures were just for a short period.  That's new!

Wow!  There's your victory, Boehner!  Grab it and dance in the end zone!  Go back to your TPs and hand out cigars and yell, "We won!  Obama has caved! He's willing to talk in exchange for just a short opening of the government and a short postponement of armageddon."

But no.  Boehner ignored this chance to save his country and the world's economic system.  Instead he went on TV and said that Obama wants "only our surrender."

Oh, boy. Those are really not the words to be using at this time. They'll just inflame to further stubbornness in all those testosterone Tea Party guys.

The first rule is:  NEVER overtly make it about winning and losing.  And NEVER mention "surrender".  The second rule is: give the other guy a hook to hang his hat on.

Obama gave Boehner a way out of this confrontation, just as he let Kerry's supposed "stumble" give Putin a way to take over the Syrian chemicals.  You gotta help the other guy find his way to where you want him.

But Boehner batted away his chance to save his face and our you-know-what.  He just spat on the life line Obama threw him and thereby denied rescue to the rest of us who will drown in his stupidity.  All over the world there will be great economic suffering if Boehner doesn't get off this steroid-driven, win-lose thing.

Nine days to go.  You better have a plan of your own, John Boehner, because Obama may not try again.

And next time you and the TPartyers pull a stunt about the Affordable Health Care Act or any other law that annoys you, please first read the law you're attacking to see if you have a hen's chance in hell of winning through your tactics.  Because all that you've done these weeks was wasted and stupidly destructive.



Monday, October 7, 2013

"Help!", Cries GOP Leader Who Is Blind and Has No Fingers

He's a pathetic figure, a man who is blind and also cannot count.  And now he's getting scared.

Pathetic as he is, yet he controls one-third of our government and virtually all of its funding.  On his own he has shut down the government of the most important country in the world by not exerting his power to stop the shutdown.  On his own he could end the shutdown in a few minutes.  Further  -  and even more frightening  -  on his own he can put the nation into default on October 17 by failing to act to get the debt ceiling raised.  Because this default would virtually destroy the world's economy, he is the world's most powerful man, with a weapon at his disposal as powerful as a nuclear arsenal.  And, like I said, he's scared.  He knows who will get the blame.  

This blind leader who has lost all his fingers and cannot count is, of course, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, who seems also to have lost the ability to think or to remember.  On the surface it even looks likes he's lost his mind.  But don't be fooled.

Yesterday he claimed on a Sunday talk show that there are not enough Republican votes in the House to join with the Democrats and pass a budget bill that will reopen the government without extorting holes in Obamacare.  He says the same regarding a vote to raise the debt ceiling and thus avoid the default that would be financial armageddon for the world.

That's nuts.  Is Boehner nuts?

Do the counting. The Democrats are only 17 votes shy of a majority in the House.  There are a at least that number of Republican representatives wondering about next year's election or  -  we have to believe  -   worrying about the future of this country and the economy of the world.  Thus no one can convince me that there are not 17 Republicans willing to end the shutdown even without extracting a big hole in Obamacare.  There are certainly that many, and maybe a couple dozen more, who know Obama won't give up the major health care law which was probably his main reason for running for president.  As a child, he had seen his mother arguing on the phone with an insurance company as she lay dying of cancer.  You really think he's going to turn his back on that and let Obamacare be destroyed?

Do you really believe there aren't at least 17 Republicans who recognize Obama is not going to give in to the extortionary demands of the Tea Party Republicans?  Who don't recognize that the GOP  is currently on a suicide mission and could lose control of the House next year because of public disgust with their nonsense?

Rep. Peter King, Republican of New York, all but calls Boehner a liar:  "I'm positive that a clean CR (the budget bill) would pass," he said Sunday.  If Peter King says he's "positive" about such a matter in the context of defying his party leader, you can bet the farm that he is indeed positive.  And at the price of a very bad pun, let me note that King is an old Congressional hand who still has his fingers to count on even if Boehmer doesn't.  King says the votes are there, thus they are there.

Obama also knows Boehner is dissembling. Today he challenged Boehner to put the budget to a vote, saying that he is convinced the Republican votes are there.  Obama is a poker player of repute.  (Remember how he just played Putin and Assad?)  He's "calling" Boehner because he knows Boehner  is just bluffing.

Please note also that Speaker Boehner changed the focus on Sunday of what he is seemingly concerned about.  He's gone from pretending to be ideological in this matter and is now saying that he is stuck where he is because of logistics.  "It's not my fault!  I don't have the votes!"

It may be that Boehner has thus found a way out of being single-handedly responsible for denying us our government and subsequently destroying the world economy.  Maybe he is saying something so patently untrue as a signal to those GOP who would vote for the measure.  Is he cueing them to step up and join King in identifying themselves and making a show of "assuring" the Speaker that the votes he needs are there?  It's a charade, of course, that  he doesn't already know who they are.  But if it's a cover that gets him out of the corner, that's okay.

This scramble on his part to say "it isn't going to be my fault" comes now as commentators are beginning to say what I said here almost three weeks ago. (See "GOP To Launch Another 9/11?") Today's NY Times front page speaks of worldwide economic collapse following a USA default.  Yeah?  And check our Maureen Dowd's hysteria today. Hey, where you Times guys been?  

Whatever works, John.  Just get it done before October 17.

And in what way is Boehner blind, you ask?  He and his TP cohort didn't read the funding provisions of Obamacare.  Shutting down the government could not stop the funding flow to the health care act, as at least some of them seemingly thought. They simply didn't know what they were doing.  But more of that next time.  Just let it be said that one would expect those who propose to make laws have the good sense and ability to read the ones that already exist.  Including the one that they are obsessed with.      

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Surprise? Both the Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crises Are Over ?


It's all over but the shouting.

As of today (Saturday) it looks like both the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling battle are resolved.  Not officially but in actuality.  All the pieces are now in place indicating that the Republicans in due course are going to pack up  and creep off the field of battle without a damn thing to show for all their carrying on.

Here's how it seems to be unfolding now and will likely unfold over the next two weeks:

Step One:  As reported a couple of days ago in the major media, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has assured business-type Republicans that he will not let the nation go into default.  He won't let the House refuse to raise the debt ceiling on October 17.

Step Two:  Just yesterday Speaker Boehner said very quietly and to a precious few, "It's better to get shot with one bullet than with two".  Although he indeed said this very quietly and to just a precious few, you can be certain he knew one of those few would blab what he'd said.  And of course the two bullets he mentioned are the shutdown and the threatened refusal of the House to raise the debt ceiling.

Step Three:  Putting Steps One and Two together we can see that Boehner is going to do unto the shutdown what he's going to do to the debt ceiling threat.  Kill them both, and take the fall for both at once.  (If you can kill bullets.  His metaphors and mine don't mix very well.)

Step Four:  Turning two bullets into one, as Boehner wisely intends, means he has to wrap the two together so that ending the shutdown also completely wipes out the debt ceiling threat.  Exactly how he is going to do this isn't clear yet.  In fact, maybe it's not clear yet to Boehner.  But where there's a will, there's a way.  The end move is easy.  All he has to do is put each matter in turn on the floor for a vote, which will pass with the combined votes of the Democrats and of the less-cuckoo of the Republicans.  How he gets to this point with a shred of dignity is his problem, but that's where he's now going.  It will be fun to watch.

Because of the foregoing, President Obama was able to say with confidence this weekend that everything is going to be okay.  He's right.  Boehner and his unruly crowd have to cave.  At least Boehner does.

And why is this true?  Just before Boehner "leaked" the two-bullets slogan, the press announced that 72% of Americans  -  yeah, man, that's 72%!  -  oppose the shutdown for the purpose of defunding Obamacare.  And the day before that story broke, the NY Times and other media finally said what I  said a week earlier:  the media had been misreadng a prior poll and been wrongly reporting that most Americans oppose Obamacare when this is definitely not what the poll showed.  And the next news item?  Almost 10% more Americans blame the GOP in Congress for the shutdown than blame the Democrats.

Those three whacking great blows resulted in Boehner being handed his head on a platter and realizing it.

But you ain't heard nothin' yet.  As a capper this week, the press reported Americans approval of the  GOP in Congress has dropped to an all-time low of 10%!  That became the parsley in Boehner's mouth as his head reposed on the platter.

Yup, Boehner has got to fix the situation.  He's only 17 seats away from losing his majority in 2014 and thus losing his speakership.

Step Five:  So, you ask, when will Boehner actually allow the budget to go to the House floor to permit the Democrats and the somewhat  sane GOP members to end the shutdown?  Probably somewhat closer to October 17.  Oddly enough, it's better for the country if the shutdown goes on a while longer  -  though decidedly more unpleasant and even cruel for some of our citizens.  Remember that worse than the shutdown is the default that would happen if the debt ceiling isn't raised by October 17.   Boehner has got to be sure that when he ends the shutdown he has in effect also ensured the debt ceiling will be raised on time.  It's got to be a dual deal.  This means in part that he has to be sure the demon Teapotters don't have a chance to rally from the ashes of the failed shutdown with enough time to block the debt ceiling.

Therefore, the shutdown may grind on for another week, give or take a couple of days.  Of course, the longer it goes on, the more damage to the GOP.  And that is just.  The GOP deserves to pay for all the hardship the Tea Partyers have caused.  And for the arrogance of their position!  Depriving infants of food!  Closing down the Grand Canyon.

But, it's over now, you GOP boys. And girls. ( Let us not forget Michele Bachmann, much as we would like to.)  You GOP Tea folks forced Boehner to drive to the edge of the cliff and start throwing over the babies and veterans and sweet, innocent park rangers.  But you are not going to get him to go over the cliff.  Not ol' John Boehner!  Because he's in that car and so is the debt ceiling and the world economy and  -  above all else -  his majority and his speakership.

President Obama's hard stance has brought the House GOP to a deadend. Quite correctly he will not "negotiate" when the Teapotters are actually engaged in extortion, i .e. not trying to swap this for that but saying it will only do what it should do anyway if you will let it have its way.  Bosh!  That's not negotiation.

Boehner and his bunch are like mobsters selling "protection".  Remember Monty Python: "You wouldn't want something to happen to those nice tanks of yours, would you, Colonel?"  The Colonel shouldn't have to pay for his tanks being safe from mobsters, and we shouldn't have to give up Obamacare just to keep the government running that we are entitled to anyway.

If Obama had given in on one teensy thing so far, Boehner would not now be headless on the Washington Mall.  And we would still face the specter of a debt ceiling crisis because Obama would have let the Tea P's extortion succeed.  But he didn't.  Good for you, Obama!  Let's hope you can keep it up.

Does the media and the public get what's going on?  Apparently not.  Most commentators and a lot of the public blame not just the GOP but Obama or Reid or "the Democrats" or "both sides" for "not negotiating".  They just don't understand anything, do they?

And by the way, how exactly does anyone "shut down" the Grand Canyon?  It's an awfully big hole.          


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Sad Ballad of Headless Howard and How Rahm Emanuel Shut Down the Government !

Let's act like grown-ups, okay?  Let's put the blame where it belongs.

Certainly the current debacle in D.C. is largely the GOP being bad guys, but that's not all of it.  Nor is it the Democrats being stubborn. That's none of it.  Let's admit that the whole story  -  the sequester, the present shut-down, and the looming default on the debt  -   all began in 2010.    

In 2010 a lot of Democrats sat home and didn't vote.  So the blame is partly on them. They not only failed to vote and thus allowed the GOP to grab the House of Representatives but also allowed the Republicans to capture one state government after another, even in so traditionally a Democratic state as Wisconsin.

The result?  Since state legislatures do redistricting, the GOP in all those state capitals used the 2010 census to redistrict a Democratic House out of existence for the next decade.  Further, it constructed the GOP districts so that any wild-eyed conservative GOP candidate can beat any more moderate Republican.  Thus it gave a lock on 80 seats to Tea Party candidates, enough to hold the House captive to the kooks and to terrify Speaker John Boehner into wet noodleness.

Therefore it isn't a "growing divisiveness in American society" that has us in today's deadlock, as some so-called experts claim.  Nor does it really have anything to do with the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United or the Koch brothers dumping money into GOP campaigns, much as Democrats love to blame these for all their woes.

The responsibility for today's mess rests somewhat on the lazy Democrats who didn't vote but mainly on the shoulders of one man:  Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago but until 2011 Obama's big guy in the White House.  When Obama picked Rahm to be his chief of staff, Rahm demanded one thing:  the head of Howard Dean on a plate.

In case you've forgotten Howard Dean (and you shouldn't have), let me joyfully remind you of what you may never have realized:  Dean was largely responsible for the Democrats' magnificent Congressional wins in 2006 and the setting of the stage for Obama's win in 2008.  As head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), he organized the hell out of the Democratic party state-by-state, a first in the long-time memory of this ancient writer.  Then he went candidate-hunting himself instead of leaving that job to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is an inept and wasteful piece of Democratic baggage.  He also gave support to Democratic candidates in districts that had never before received national party help.

But - oh,oh!  Rahm Emanuel was chair of the DCCC.  Rahm did not like it that Howard Dean of the DNC was messing on his DCCC preserve.  Like it says in "The Cat In The Hat": he did not like it, not one little bit.  So he took Dean to lunch, dumped a salad on Dean's head, and inquired a la Chicago, "You *!#+^,  don't you know the difference between DCCC and DNC?  Wassa matter with you?  I got three times as many Cs in my group's name.  The word Congress starts with a C.  Get it, dummy!?  I control the Democratic campaigning for the House!  Not you!  Keep your hands off!"

Quietly picking lettuce out of his hair, like a good Vermonter Dean went back to doing exactly as he had been doing.  He did it well. Better than Emanuel or anyone else had ever done it. The result in 2006 was a crowning victory for Dean, replacing the lettuce on his head with a ring of glory.  But he had signed his own death warrant.  No one crosses Rahm and lives.  That's Chicago politics.  I know.  I grew up in it.  It was the family business.

Once in the White House, Rahm took his revenge on Dean. With Headless Howard gone from the DNC, a pudding of a person named Tim Kaine was named the head (no punning here) of DNC by Obama, still in thrall to Rahm. At the same time the Democratic Party in the House, i.e. Nancy Pelosi, slipped back into the slipshod, don't give-a-damn ineffective "campaigning" that resulted in the 2010 failure of the Democrats to hold the House and the loss of so many state governments.  (In fairness, I note that Obama's campaign apparatus was likewise missing in action in 2010.)

The weird part of all this is that the redistricting after the 2010 should have been a Democratic lark in the park.  The census would have shown the terrific increase in Latino voters, a wonderful possibility of increased numbers of Democratic voters and more Democratic districts.  But because no one had organized the Democrats to get registered and vote in 2010, the lark in the park became a walk in the rain.

Why, you ask, do Democratic voters need some pushy organization to make them register and vote?

Oh, honey, why is a frog a frog?  It's just how things are and always have been.  And I'll explain that one another time.  I mean the Democrats, not the frogs.  No one can explain frogs.

Meantime, don't you think Rahm Emanuel looks a lot like the Cat In The Hat?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Media Shut Down the Government !

Remember Karl Rove running around on election night last year, refusing to accept Fox giving Obama a win in Ohio?  That was fun, wasn't it?

But the same thing that caused Rove's election night nutsiness is causing the current government shutdown. It's the GOP's stubborn ignorance of polls. And this GOP ignorance is largely created and stoked by the media's even deeper ignorance of polls.  And that's a root cause of our government being shut down.

I'll not get into the weeds about the polling for 2012 except to say that Pew Research had it right and pollsters like Rasmussen and Gallup had it wrong.  Nate Silver of the NY Times had it right in his famed analysis because he did what any news organization and the GOP could have done:  First figure out which pollsters do a good job, such as adjusting for the cellphone age (Gallup, etc. didn't), and then principally rely on the competent pollsters, the best being Pew Research.

Alternatively, the media and GOP could have been really lazy and just relied on Nate Silver.  He's so good at analyzing data that major league baseball bought into his findings about which stats actually indicate a player's monetary value.

But neither the GOP nor the media even tried to be correct in 2012.  (See below for two notable  exceptions.)  Instead they believed what they wanted to believe.  That's also what's going on now.

The media wanted to believe 2012 was a "close" race because a seemingly tight race would build viewer/reader interest.  The GOP wanted to believe it was winning because it had to be winning, didn't it?  It had spent tons more money than the Democrats.  The economy was still very squishy.  The GOP are the anointed of God (so they believe).  Obama is an African American and America is a racist country.  As it turned out none of the foregoing determined the outcome.  But throughout the election campaign, the media and the GOP studiously ignored what was really going on.

They are doing the same thing now.  Armored by the belief that "a majority" of Americans want Obamacare repealed, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and their merry band of maniacs, are shutting down the fed government as a way of getting Obamacare killed.  They genuinely believe that Americans are with them in hating Obamacare and wanting it dead.  They are therefore willing to risk that the shutdown will kill their own party's prospects for taking the Senate in 2014 and keeping control of the House.  "We know we are right," says House Speaker John Boehner.

Well, they are not right.  Nor is the press, which has been reporting heavily for a couple of weeks that a majority of Americans don't like the new health care act.  During these crucial weeks the press has, however, been telling a half-lie.  Yes, a majority "aren't happy" with the new law.  That part of the media reporting may be true.  But within that majority are the 16% of the people who are unhappy because they don't think the law goes far enough.  They don't want it dead, Senator Cruz!  They actually want more of it !  They want more government involvement!

The rest is arithmetic.  Take away the 16% from the supposed majority and the number wanting to kill the health care act drops to 35%.  But the media and Senator Cruz and Michele Bachmann didn't notice that though at least one major media outlet mentioned the 16% in the poll's findings.

Only now in fact  -  the first morning of the shutdown  -  do Politico,  Forbes, Huff Post and others confirm what I have just asserted, with their top stories being that only one-third of Americans want to abolish the health care act.  Why the switcharoo on the part of the media? Because a new poll just came out yesterday that had rephrased the question.  Instead of asking "Are you happy with the new health care act?",  it asked "Do you want the new health care act repealed?"  Only one-third said yes.

Ask the right question if you want a meaningful answer.

But we can't entirely blame the earlier pollster who asked the wrong question.  After all, that pollster did acknowledge that 16% were unhappy because they wanted more government involvement.  It's really the media that's to blame.  With the exception of Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word", the media paid no attention to the 16% part of the poll.  Thus the GOP was free to believe its nonsense about "the majority" and run around yelling about it so the press could publish the GOP's false claim and amplify the error.

Maybe the media planned it this way.  Misrepresent the polling by not fully disclosing the results, thereby encourage the GOP in being stupid, thereby get a shutdown  of government, thereby have a "good story" and more viewers and more readers.

But no.  The media couldn't plan its way out of a paper bag.  It has only one planning mode:  make up a scenario and stay with it.  E.g. Obama can't beat "the Clinton machine" for the '08 Democratic nomination.  Obama can't win because of the "Bradley effect" of people lying to pollsters to appear open-minded and then secretly voting their racism.  On and on until this latest fiction: the majority want to end the new health law. The media spends more time manufacturing blue smoke than it would take to get out there and find some truth.


Accept that fact, you stupid and stubborn right-wingers and lazy media!

As Fats Waller would say, "One do get weary."

And the two commentators who really tried to be accurate in the 2012 election and relied on Pew Research and Nate Silver?  Well, that's your old pals, me and Lawrence O'Donnell.   The result was that we were the only two commentators who said unequivocally that Obama was going to win.

That and $1.50 will get you a great cup of coffee here in my new little Oregon hometown.