Tag Archives: Republicans

Help Us Obi-Wan Trumponi; You’re Our Only Hope!

31 Jan

Welcome to Buffalo, Mr. Trump!

I know you’ll enjoy your time at the Republican fundraiser at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens – its design sensibilities match your own. Not to mention there will be well-heeled Republican donors willing to shell out $100 – $500 to see and possibly meet you, as well as a ragtag group of not-so-well-heeled Republican activists demonstrating for your benefit outside in the parking lot. 

During the last few weeks, desperate New York Republicans have figuratively fellated you so sweetly and slowly, never breaking eye contact as they lovingly, sloppily caress your manhood. The official local party organ has given you a ton of sketchy massages with happy endings this week

It’s so wonderful to be so loved; to be feted and worshipped like a God. It’s like every western New York Republican is doing their best Princess Leia impression:  help us Obi-Wan Trumponi; you’re our only hope

I read with interest the local political reporter’s story about your 757 aircraft. I especially enjoyed the part where he transcribed a portion of the voice-over from a documentary about it. Reporting!

You are their God because you embody the ideal of Homo Republicanus. You’re wealthy beyond belief, and everything you do is done to excess. You’re on your second family, but at least you never kept it secret, unlike the last Republican to run for governor, who took to the radio this week to explain how much of a “family man” you are. How he arrived at that conclusion is a mystery. You detest Obama and gleefully call him an ineligible Communist. You can’t stand Andrew Cuomo and know you can defeat him, but you demand some sort of unity in the Republican Party as a prerequisite to running. This is clever, because a few county chairs and perhaps the state committee may oppose you, and this would give you an out. You’re a well-known brand, but because of your outspoken tea party politics, you’re not a particularly well-liked one. You hate the idea of people having access to affordable health insurance, your personal morality doesn’t match the party line, and you’re often combative and rude. 

But are we to believe that you’ll relinquish control of your companies to go to work in Albany, of all places? Let’s not forget that being governor isn’t some side gig you can do part of the day, and then traipse off to Manhattan to run an empire of tack. Politics is perfect for you, but if you win, you’d have to govern. The key to effective governing is compromise. Are you ready for that? I know you have experience cutting deals with business rivals, but can you translate that into policy? And what do you know of real people’s genuine problems? You don’t hear much from the 99% while ensconced in Trump Tower, or vacationing in Mar-a-Lago. Billionaire problems aren’t my problems, or most people’s. 

Also – that thing that Cuomo said about extremist right-wingers? You know that he was talking about right-wing politicians, not average people. You also know he was right about what extremist rightists believe; Paladino’s electoral outcome is something you might be able to surpass, but not enough to beat Andrew Cuomo. You are so far on the right-wing fringe with your politics that you’ll do great up here where the people aren’t. But downstate? Your politics suck and a great many people there already think you’re a bit of a nouveau-riche prat. 

Your visit to Buffalo tonight is the biggest speed dating event in WNY history. I think it’s great, because the disappointment will be so deep when you inevitably drop out because of work obligations, the fact that your lifestyle doesn’t need the headache of public scrutiny, or because you’ll have to disclose your financials and be expected to satisfy certain ethical obligations. 

Have fun at Salvatore’s! They have great steaks! 

Love, BP

Trump: An Exercise in Brand Destruction

18 Jan

Dear New York State ultra right-wing Republicans: 

Andrew Cuomo is right. 

The reason you’re so angry? You know he’s right. 

But I would say the state GOP is split into three distinct factions, not just two. 

In 2010, the Republican Party was divided between the wealthy, country clubby downstate moderate Republican hierarchy on the one hand, and a brash, obscene, bellicose, ultra right-winger who energized (and was energized by) the Palinist wing of the tea party.  The glibertarian Paulist wing of the tea party also backed Paladino, somewhat begrudgingly. What all this amounted to was a complete blow-out whereby Democrat Andrew Cuomo defeated Carl Paladino 61% – 34%. 

Paladino was largely self-funded, and could buy himself all the media attention he wanted. His only disadvantage was his own mouth. And the policies he espoused. New Yorkers rejected him convincingly. 

Now, the ultra-right Palinists are thisclose to recruiting Donald Trump to run for governor against Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is, I’m sure, not relishing the fight because Trump has many advantages over Carl Paladino; for instance, Trump has an international brand; Trump is reasonably well-liked by people, regardless of his weird politics; Trump knows how to make headlines, and do so positively for himself; Trump has been vetted in the media for decades; people know Trump for fun things that have nothing to do with politics; he is a known quantity downstate;  and, Trump has the New York Post in his pocket. 

Trump has some negatives, too, though; for instance, he has no filter between his brain and his mouth; he can be not just exceedingly rude and hostile, but downright vicious when dealing with people who offer him even mild criticism; Trump has been scrutinized as a tabloid celebrity, but not as a serious candidate for elected office; Trump does not play well with others, and is used to getting exactly what he wants (or can buy); Trump is likely to mirror Paladino’s bellicose attitude and alienate many voters; Trump’s utterly bizarre and inexplicably vocal birtherism will make Obama voters (62.6% of New Yorkers voted for Obama vs. 36% for Romney) reject Trump outright; and Trump has never, ever before paid a stitch of care or attention to anything west of the Hudson and/or north of Saratoga when it comes to New York State. 

If Republicans think that Trump can win (if he runs), they may be right – he has a chance. But it won’t remotely be the cakewalk they’re thinking it’ll be.  Cuomo isn’t warm and fuzzy, either, but he is a centrist Democrat. 

New York State is overwhelmingly populated by Democrats. The vast majority of New York voters are located within the New York City metropolitan area and media market. These people know Trump, and while upstate flirts with this pretty TV celebrity, he’s old hat downstate. Many of them are likely to not take him at all seriously. 

All of these hypotheticals are naturally based on the assumption that he’ll run. He won’t if there’s a primary, he says, and the country clubbers that run the New York GOP aren’t warming to Trump yet. I’m not so sure he’ll run – this is already a huge publicity stunt for him, and running is secondary. What a wonderful branding exercise. 

But is it? Is Trump ready to sacrifice his brand further by wading into hyperpartisan politics? As an Obama supporter, I’ve already resolved to avoid anything with Trump’s name on it like the plague; I see his relentless birtherism as thinly veiled racist xenophobia, and I see his rejection of irrefutable evidence as a huge character flaw that disqualifies him for public office, and the money I earn. If Donald Trump thinks that the President is a foreign national who is ineligible for the Presidency in the face of a certified long-form Hawaiian birth certificate, that calls his judgment and credibility into question. Now expand that aggressive ignorance into state politics, and he’ll alienate Democrats and moderate Republicans even more. 

Oh, and here’s a tip, tea partiers: stop calling Andrew Cuomo “il Duce”. He was duly elected, and you maintain a right to hate and criticize him. He is, therefore, not a fascist totalitarian dictator. But he is Italian. Your defamation of Cuomo with this false, childish, base slur will not ingratiate you or your candidates to New Yorkers of Italian descent. This bigotry is vile and beneath you; you might as well call him a mob boss or depict him as an organ-grinder as soon as you’d depict Obama as an African chieftain or with a watermelon

Because for all the bleating about the NY SAFE Act, this race will be decided in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. The rural areas will go for the Republican, the urban areas will go for the Democrat, and these key suburban swing counties could go either way. Right-leaning upstate counties simply don’t have a lot of people. 60% or so of New Yorkers are registered Democrats. 30% or so of New Yorkers are registered Republicans. The Conservative and Independence Parties are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, so add another 5% on the Republican side. That’s the gap that Trump would have to win, and Cuomo made the point that he’s too extreme. 

Here’s what Cuomo had to say in remarks that enraged many New York right-wingers: 

You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.

… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”

Republicans can take umbrage to that, but it’s a fundamentally true declaration. New York Republicans may enjoy the extreme hatenouncements of pretty billionaires and petty millionaires, but your average New Yorker is pretty middle-of-the-road. Pataki won because he wasn’t an extremist. Cuomo won because he wasn’t an extremist. It’s about the center in New York, and Trump may have had appeal there before the birtherism, but now he’s just Paladino with a cleaner outbox, a TV endorsement, and more money in the bank. 

Oh, by the way, the New York State Attorney General is suing Trump for defrauding students through a now-defunct “Trump University” which took money in exchange for nothing.  

So, my initial prediction is that Trump won’t win because (a) there would likely be a primary; and/or (b) he doesn’t need the headache. If I’m wrong and he does run, then I think he outperforms Paladino, but doesn’t defeat Cuomo. The reason why? Trump is being backed and promoted by a small minority of a small minority political party – a fraction of 35% of the state population. 

You guys are great at buying your own BS, and because you only credit right-leaning media and reject any sort of critical thought or debate, you think that you “surround us”. The problem is that the numbers are not in your favor, and the ease with which you descend into crass, ugly rhetoric doesn’t help. This is before we get to the actual policies you espouse, most of which would never fly in a cosmopolitan blue state like New York. 

So, good luck with this, but you might want to consider ways in which centrists and liberals might be attracted to Trump, rather than alienating them right from the start. Have a great weekend!

Love, BP

The Pre-Obamacare Trainwreck

20 Nov

Obamacare-symbolSome of my friends are conservatives. Shocking, I know. They occasionally post things to social media that are critical of people whom I support, and policies with which I agree. Occasionally, I will argue or even troll, but once in a blue moon, I will try to present a reasonable counterargument that is factual and not particularly argumentative. Rare, but it happens. 

On Tuesday, I saw a post linking to this article. My Facebook friend annotated his post by declaring that “progressives…really do all suck”.  I read the article, which detailed the travails of a single mom trying to buy insurance on the Washington State exchange, and having problems with bad advice and equally bad results. I feel horrible for her and anyone else similarly situated. The new insurance mandate, and the fact that the policies have to maintain a minimum standard of coverage means that some people are paying more, and the subsidy schemes are complicated. 

But it’s the “Affordable” Care Act. Not “inexpensive”, not “cheaper”, not “free” – affordable. But once you argue the semantics, you’ve lost. People’s perception is that everyone’s cost would go down, and whenever this proves not to be the case, it gets blown up into a scandal. 

So, let’s take a step back for a second. The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is not what I think is best or perfect for this country, but it’s 1,000x better than the utter trainwreck that preceded it. Here’s what I posted as a comment to my friend’s Facebook indictment of “progressives” in general and Obamacare in particular: 

At some point between 1990 – 2009, the Republican Party decided that universal health care coverage was no longer a societal goal, regardless of how it was to be implemented. When “HillaryCare” was proposed, conservatives pushed as an alternative the model now known as RomneyCare and ObamaCare – a regulated and partially subsidized marketplace of private insurance policies that you are (a) mandated to participate in if you have no employer-based coverage; and (b) meets some minimum standard of what qualifies as “insurance”. 

Now that we have Obamacare, which is a regulated individual marketplace of policies, different in each state, conservatives have not just refused to go along with it, but have actively and passively worked to sabotage it. 

Big laws that do big things aren’t going to be perfect in an imperfect world. Under normal circumstances, we would at least have consensus on “everyone should be insured” as a societal goal. We don’t even have that starting point, so everything else must fail. But even if, hypothetically, Republicans did agree that we should all have decent health coverage, under normal circumstances and in a responsive representative democracy, they would work to help fix problems that arise. This, too, we don’t have. That’s why things that have come up as problematic now have to be amended through regulation and executive rulemaking. 

If the right wanted to present an alternative to Obamacare – which is itself the alternative to HillaryCare – then they should have done so. They never, ever did. All they’ve done is try to block it, then sabotage it when they weren’t done repealing it. Oh, sure they bleat on about “tort reform” and the anti-federalist notion that policies should be one-size-fits-all across the country to enhance “competition”, just like the Telecom act of 1996 enhanced cable TV “competition” and the breakup of Ma Bell enhanced telephone “competition”. Just like the merger of Exxon and Mobil or United and Continental enhanced “competition”. 

In the end, government exists, in part, to fill in the holes that private industry can’t – or won’t – fill. Our private health insurance system in this country is unique in its user-dissatisfaction, physician time-sucking, inefficiency, and waste. It has proven to be almost completely unworkable in contemporary society, and its problems are underscored by the fact that no other country in the world sees fit to implement anything resembling it. 

By the same token, the German, Swiss, French, British, and Canadian models are also imperfect. They do, however, produce better results for far less money – and they do it in a way that satisfies the health care consumer. 

ObamaCare’s lack of situational perfection doesn’t take away from the fact that you no longer face lifetime policy maximums; you can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition; insurers can no longer arbitrarily drop you when you get sick and use your coverage; preventive care and immunizations will be free of charge with no co-pay or deductibles; females are treated equally now; myriad consumer protections are put in place to help people appeal adverse insurance decisions. All of these changes are significant – so much so that it’s disgusting that these sorts of things were not implemented before. 

But, you know, glitchy website. 

Yes, I’m disappointed that ObamaCare isn’t perfect. But that disappointment is tempered by my disgust with the pre-ObamaCare status quo. I would much prefer a hybrid NHS single payer system that had public care with private sur-care policies. This will not happen in this country in my lifetime unless it’s proposed by a nominal conservative. In the meantime, have fun pointing out the problems that 1/300,000,000th of the population has with an individual policy under a state-run scheme and not only indict the federal program, but anyone who supports it, as horrible.

The Suicide Caucus

8 Oct

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Public Sector Millionaires Wage Class Warfare on Poor

20 Sep

For your Friday watching pleasure, watch a Democratic Congresswoman explain the rank hypocrisy of her Republican colleagues who lead lifestyles of the rich and famous on a sub-$200k salary thanks to lobbyists, etc. As these public sector millionaires (like Chris Collins) work to cut food stamps and do further harm to America’s working poor, including eliminating SNAP benefits for veterans. (Brian Higgins voted against it.)

In my district, California 14, we have about 4,000 families who are on food stamps, but some of my colleagues have thousands and thousands more,” said Speier. “Yet, they somehow feel like crusaders, like heroes when they vote to cut food stamps. Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business. They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar. They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals.

Let me give you a few examples: One member was given $127.41 a day for food on his trip to Argentina. He probably had a fair amount of steak.

Another member was given $3,588 for food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. He probably drank a fair amount of vodka and probably even had some caviar. That particular member has 21,000 food stamp recipients in his district. One of those people who is on food stamps could live a year on what this congressman spent on food and lodging for six days.

Another 20 members made a trip to Dublin, Ireland. They got $166 a day for food.These members didn’t pay a dime. They received almost $200 for a single meal only for themselves. Yet, for them the idea of helping fellow Americans spend less than $5 a day makes their skin crawl. The families of veterans, of farmers, of the disabled, of the working poor are not visible to them, not even when they are their own constituents.

The Republican House of Representatives voted to literally take food away from working people. It now moves on to the Senate, where the bill will die a swift death. The balls on these guys. 

War on Poverty Pivots to War on Poor People (and other things)

18 Sep

1. Congressional Republicans aren’t just satisfied to vote 41+ times to prevent all Americans from having affordable, quality health care. They aren’t just satisfied devising tricky, procedural ways to prevent subsidies for America’s conservative, market-based health insurance scheme from being funded. They are now focusing laser-like on the real culprits in America’s continued slide into Somalian-style libertarianism: working poor people receiving food stamps

Can you imagine? We feed the needy! We used to link farm subsidies with food stamps, because (a) compromise; and (b) food stamps are an indirect farm subsidy themselves. Clearly, this is something that the new plutocracy cannot tolerate. All of society’s ills stem not from, e.g., bank bailouts and corporate welfare, but from the working poor having a little extra help from the government so they can not only pay for rent and supplement all the expenses cut from school budgets, but also eat food!

…the House GOP proposal largely targets a part of the food stamp program that often serves the elderly and the disabled, who would have to resort to seeking food from already overburdened charities if the cuts actually became law.

“The food pantries are already struggling, and that’s where people are going to go,” said Kelly Ann Kowalski, director of Food for All, a Buffalo nonprofit that aims to address hunger in the community, in part by helping people sign up for food stamps.

As for the work requirement in the House bill, other than the seniors and the disabled, “there are few people who call us who aren’t working,” Kowalski said.

Republicans, however, see things very differently.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, noted that the bill’s food stamp cuts are not aimed at the poorest of the poor. Instead, they’re aimed at parts of the food stamp program that allow people to qualify without an asset or income test.

“People are gaming the system,” he said. “People are saying that deserving, eligible people are going to get their food stamps cut. There’s no truth to that.”

Collins also noted that while the old farm bill is set to expire Sept. 30, the real deadline facing Congress is Dec. 31. That’s because farm programs are funded on a seasonal basis, meaning they’re already set for the rest of this year. In addition, he noted that food stamps are funded “on autopilot” and will continue even if the Sept. 30 deadline is breached.

What’s more, Collins said it’s important that the House pass the food stamp bill – which would be combined with a farm bill that it passed separately earlier in the summer – so that the House and Senate can move toward final negotiations on a new five-year farm bill.

Chris Collins, of course. He’s never met a poor he didn’t…. wait, he’s probably never met a poor, full stop.  (When was his last town hall meeting?) The Republicans hate everything except the very rich, now. 

2. Erie County’s Press Releasor-in-Chief Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw gets hit for taking dirty money from criminal Big Cancer, and the loss of staff – including the instigator of GarbageGate Teresa Fraas – leaves him not so much with “best and brightest” but with “nobody”

3. Season 2 finale of HBO’s the Newsroom, Will McAvoy is asked whether he is a Republican so he can maintain credibility when criticizing Republicans. He responds, 

No, I call myself a Republican because I am one.

I believe in market solutions and common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world and that’s about it.

The problem is now I have to be homophobic.  

I have to count the number to times people go to church.

I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con.

I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride.

And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect…in the 21st century.

But most of all, the biggest new requirement, really the only requirement is that I have to hate Democrats.

And I have to hate Chris Christie for not spitting on the president when he got off of Air Force One.

The two-party system is crucial to the whole operation.  There is honor in being the loyal opposition. And I’m a Republican for the same reasons you are.

I used to be a Republican, and I left the party in 2003, but it left me in 2000 when George W. Bush declared that his most influential political philosopher was “Jesus Christ”. So, when I criticize it relentlessly, it’s because watching its descent into a madness that has literally helped to destroy the middle class, I do so as if I’m watching a relative who’s become a schizophrenic, muttering nonsense to unheard voices, and refuses to get help. 

4. This is a great ad: 

Did You See the Mayoral Debate & Other Things (UPDATED)

15 Aug

1. Federal prosecutors may soon ask  to exhume a dead convicted drug dealer who died while awaiting sentencing. Well, there’s a death certificate, but the government has reason to believe the guy’s not dead. An ingenious getaway attempt, if true, to escape on paper. This would make a great script. 

2. I watched the last half of last night’s mayoral debate. Unfortunately, not one channel saw fit to broadcast it live on TV. I had to find a stream online (and thanks to the magic of Apple TV, we were able to Airplay it to the TV after all). The local media – Channels 2, 3, 4, and 7 and YNN all abrogated their responsibility as FCC licensees to inform and educate the population. It is unconscionable that Channel 4, who had one reporter acting as moderator and another on the panel, couldn’t see fit to preempt a couple of Merv Griffin game shows to get this debate to as wide an audience as possible. Absolutely disgusting. 

You can watch it here at WIVB.com. Mayor Brown seemed petty and defensive – his closing argument implored voters to pick him over a bunch of “novices”. Burn.

But when the sitting Mayor can’t accomplish simple, promised reforms in his seven years in office, why not consider the novices? I also think Tolbert’s work history is far more extensive and accomplished than Brown’s, and Rodriguez was a Marine. Denigrating their backgrounds and experience is hardly a winning strategy for someone who went from being a legislative staffer to the Common Council to the State Senate, and never stood out for bold initiatives or ideas, but relied instead on the power of the political machine. 

For their parts, Bernie Tolbert acquitted himself well, but Sergio Rodriguez was a standout. He was conversational – he didn’t sound like he was reading off a script or memorized group of talking points. He was answering questions in a way that really connected with an audience that was audibly hostile to the sitting Mayor. Tolbert’s substance was very similar to Rodriguez’s, and they pressed the Mayor relentlessly on crime, jobs, and education. 

The only advantages I think Brown has now is his massive, loyal-by-necessity machine, and his huge pile of cash. Well, they’re actually pretty huge advantages when you put it that way. But in terms of connecting with voters and really questioning the engagement and competency of a Brown Administration which is taking undue credit for progress with which it had nothing to do, Tolbert and Rodriguez have a real shot if they can get their messages out. You could hear, if not feel, the frustration and dissatisfaction rolling through the assembled crowd. 

When Rodriguez and Tolbert said they wanted to make the city more business-friendly by streamlining permitting, lowering fees, increasing predictability and uniformity, and setting up a “one-stop shop”, Brown said the city was working on it. 

Working on it?! You’ve BEEN THE MAYOR FOR SEVEN YEARS. YOU CONTROL – WITH ORWELLIAN EFFICIENCY – EVERY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN CITY HALL. SEVEN YEARS AND YOU’RE STILL “WORKING ON IT?” City Hall is – and has been – a fetid swamp of bureaucratic sloth and mendacity.

When describing Yugoslav communist self-preservation, corruption, and stasis, Milovan Djilas wrote that a “New Class” had been created, comprised of dictatorial bureaucrats. In Buffalo, we have the same phenomenon – marginally educated people hired and retained not for their merit, but for their politico-financial loyalty to the bureaucrat-di-tutti-bureaucrats, Byron Brown. Forget the “political class” of WNY – our larger problem is this new patronage class. They are neither working class nor transitioning into middle / upper middle class; they have instead carved out their own patronage class whereby your social mobility is founded on the political ties – and donations – you make, rather than your labor, smarts, or merit. It takes seven years to do simple things because the patronage class is united in its opposition to any reformation of the bureaucracy that guarantees it its oft-redundant jobs. 

Byron Brown cannot take on the patronage class because his entire political career is founded on their interdependency. 

The candidates can talk about downtown domed football stadiums until the cows come home, but there is a huge question mark hanging over the city of Buffalo that Mayor Brown hasn’t even seen – much less answered – in the 7 (SEVEN!1) years he’s been occupying the 2nd floor of City Hall. 

3. The Congressional Republicans’ descent into nihilistic brinksmanship continues apace. When your only philosophy and platform is to hate Obama and deny millions of people access to affordable health insurance, I guess that’s what you’re left with. 

Travel Warnings, The Aud, and Obamacare

31 Jul

1. The US State Department gives free advice to travelers going abroad, advising people about problems, issues, customs, and other matters. The UK’s Foreign Office does the same for Britons, including this

2. A movie is being shot in Buffalo right now, starring Matthew Broderick. The crews were right outside my office on Monday, and there was a “NY *hearts* Film” placard on each vehicle’s dashboard. So, I went to that website, which the state has set up to help convince motion pictures to shoot in New York. If you go to the Western section, you find this interesting potential location – “vacant arena, Buffalo”. 

The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium was demolished in late 2008 / early 2009 – about 4 years ago. 

3. The Republicans have spent millions of dollars, hours of time, and almost 40 votes to try and repeal Obamacare. You see, logic dictates that Obamacare is going to be such a “trainwreck” that instead of letting the law go into effect and fail on its own, they will try their darndest to repeal it because they care – they care so much that 50 million people continue to be uninsured, that families’ health insurance be capped, that our idiotic status quo – so broken that they did absolutely nothing to make meaningful changes to it at any point in recent history, but have attempted incessantly to block every Democratic effort to bring about reform – be maintained, that they will go down fighting against a national implementation of Romneycare.

Guys, you’ve done such a good job lowering people’s expectations to nil. Your scare tactics and horror stories have been somewhat effective, yet you’ve failed and refused to offer any reasonable alternative whatsoever. You pledge to keep the parts you like in Obamacare, ignoring the economics that make Obamacare work – the insurance mandate is the quid pro quo of the lower rates. When Obamacare doesn’t fail and people find that they have access to reasonably priced health insurance, you’re going to look like idiots. You used the same scare tactics when we passed Medicare and Medicaid in the 60s. Now, Medicare is one of the most popular government programs in existence. 

But to top it all off, Republicans will refuse to help their constituents – residents and businesses – navigate the law. A more petulant and childish thing I have never seen. We are run by 5th graders with behavioral issues. 

Standards

7 Jun

In an exercise in facile nonsense, local Republicans Nick Langworthy and Chris Grant criticized Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz today because Poloncarz took to Twitter and Facebook to criticize the fact that JPMorganChase is closing a call center in Albion (Orleans County), eliminating 400 jobs. The Republicans played a bit of “gotcha” with Poloncarz, who accepted campaign cash from JPMorganChase in past races, and demanded that he return it for some unstated, obtuse reason

It only makes sense if these Republicans agree with Poloncarz, that JPMorganChase is a bad corporate citizen for announcing these layoffs – otherwise they wouldn’t be demanding he return anything. 

Yet Collins, who has said nothing in public about the loss of jobs in his district, owns between $100,000 – $250,000 in JPMorganChase stock, according to OpenSecrets. Certainly, he will show solidarity with 400 of his constituents who are about to lose their jobs by divesting himself of these holdings. Right? Yet, oddly, there seems to be an eerie silence on this question. 

I think owning $100 – 250,000 worth of stock in a corporate bad actor is worse than taking $3,160 from them to win some elections. 

Republicans remain silent on the fact that Poloncarz not only accepted over $3,000 in campaign cash from JPMorganChase, yet still felt comfortable criticizing them harshly.  I guess it shows that Poloncarz’s opinions and positions are not necessarily stifled or silenced by campaign contributions.

Isn’t that a good thing

Personal, not Principle

6 May

The Republican Congress didn’t reject universal gun background checks on principle, but because

The magnitude, intensity, and obsession of rightist hatred of the president is unprecedented in the history of American politics because it has poisoned the ability of Republican leaders in Congress to work in good faith with a twice-elected American president.

This GOP leadership’s fear and sanction of rightist hatred towards the president foments a near total obstruction against anything the president and Democrats propose, creates a near total gridlock of government in Washington and demonstrates a contempt for long-held notions of American civic life that have traditionally been accepted by all major political parties.

That comes from that leftist rag the “Hill“.