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The Morning Grumpy – 7/25/12

25 Jul

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. GOP2012: Obamacare is going to blow a huge hole in the federal budget! It’s a job-killing, deficit-creating bill which will march us into a sea of red ink and socialized healthcare! We must defeat the red menace!

Non-Partisan Congressional Budget Office: Um, no.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will shrink rather than increase the nation’s huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama’s contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.

About 3 million fewer uninsured people will gain health coverage because of last month’s Supreme Court ruling granting states more leeway, and that will cut the federal costs by $84 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in the biggest changes from earlier estimates.

Republicans have insisted that “Obamacare” will actually raise deficits — by “trillions,” according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that’s not so, the budget office said.

The office gave no updated estimate for total deficit reductions from the law, approved by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010. But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.

At the time it was approved in 2010, CBO estimated the law would reduce the deficit by $143 billion from 2010 to 2019. And CBO estimated that last year’s Republican repeal legislation would increase deficits by $210 billion from 2010 to 2021.

Not that any Republican who is already locked into their own reality will notice this news, but it’s worth posting anyway.

2. If you were to take a guess as to which demographic dislikes President Obama the most, you might guess it was rich white guys like David Koch or Mitt Romney, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Poor, white males without college degrees loathe him the most.

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among this group fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

Obama has struggled with this group since he announced his campaign for President in 2008. The question is why do they dislike him so much?

According to Ronald Brownstein at The National Journal, the answer is this:

Many [working-class whites] are culturally-conservative; more are deeply skeptical of government (including [Obama’s] health care plan); and most are struggling in the sustained economic downturn. Polls also consistently show many working-class whites are deeply uneasy about the propulsive racial and ethnic changes that Obama uniquely embodies.

So, these voters will vote for the rich white guy and hope that some of the economic crumbs fall to the floor.

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders, still awesome.  In front of a Senate panel today, he outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are leveraging the Citizens United court decision to buy elections.

Sanders explained how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision put the government up for sale,

“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.'”

His report names the donors and points out the following:

  • So far this year, 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And, that’s only what has been publicly disclosed.
  • This $61 million does not include about $100 million that Sheldon Adelson has said that he is willing to spend to defeat President Obama; or the $400 million that the Koch brothers have pledged to spend during the 2012 election season.
  • These 26 billionaires have a combined net worth of $195 billion, which is more than the bottom 43 percent of American households (equal to more than 50 million families in the United States).

Yeah, I’m not sure this is what the founders had in mind.

4. At the same Senate hearing, Professor Lawrence Lessig provided the following testimony regarding Citizens United and the damage it has and will do to our nation.

Lessig Testimony (2)

As he wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year:

We need to remember that on January 20, 2010 — the day before Citizens United was decided — our democracy was already broken. Already, Congress was dependent upon its funders, yet the funders were not “the People.” Already, the tiniest slice of the 1 percent exercised an extraordinary power over the government. Citizens United no doubt made things worse. But even if it shot the body of this democracy, that body was already cold.

Reversing Citizens United is thus a critical step. But that alone will not restore this democracy. To do that, we must strike at the root of this corruption: how campaigns are funded.

5. The anti-vaccine crowd, led by (noted nude model and reader of flawed science) Jenny McCarthy and a number of other bizarre organizations have lowered “herd immunity” to diseases medical science had nearly eliminated in America decades ago.

The “anti-vaxxers” have convinced a frighteningly high number of parents in Washington State to withhold vaccines from their children.  A story in The Seattle Times last year reported that:

“Washington [state] parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kindergartners at a rate higher than anywhere else in the country.”

And now we learn that the U.S. is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.  One of the most hard-hit states is Washington, which the CDC just announced (on 20 July) has suffered 2,520 cases so far this year, a 1300% increase over last year.  This is the highest number of cases reported in Washington since 1942. 

For chrissakes, get your medical advice from actual doctors and stop listening to quacks and Playboy models.

Fact Of The Day: Concrete is used more than any other man-made material in the world.

Quote Of The Day: “A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.” – Aldous Huxley

Video Of The Day: “The Scientific Power Of Naps”

Song Of The Day: “Arthur” – The Kinks

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