Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The Republicans seem to have decided to do nothing but lie until the election: over three two months. We're going to be crazy and sick with disgust by the end of it. Charles P. Pierce, on fire at the RNC:
It was an entire evening based on a demonstrable lie. It was an entire evening based on demonstrable lies told in service to the overriding demonstrable lie. And there was only one real story for actual journalists to tell at the end of it.
The Republicans simply don't care.

They don't care that they lie. They don't care that their lies are obvious. They don't care that their lies wouldn't fool an underpaid substitute Social Studies teacher in a public middle school, who would then probably go out one night and get yelled at by Chris Christie. ("They believe in teacher's unions. They believe in teachers," he said in his speech. Yeah, you just don't believe in paying them.) They don't care that their history is a lie and that, by spreading it, they devalue the actual history of the country, which is something that belongs to us.
They've pulled out all the stops.  They think this election will be their victory, and there will be no-one to call them to account at the end of it.

And they may be right.  They own a whole television network and have a huge staff of net propagandists to spread their lies.  The "vote fraud" lies are widely believed.  The "Obama has removed the work requirements for welfare" lies seem to be taking hold.

This must have been what the run-up to fascism was like in the 1930s, with mass media  pumping out lies and the media-induced madness setting a population against itself.  Well…it isn't the 1930s. There is some hope. But what are we hoping for? A still-bad political situation which can be salvaged? Hell of a thing to have to hope for.


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Executions Will Continue Until Morale Improves

In the wake of three mass shootings in as many weeks, I am realizing that I wrote about this, almost exactly three years ago. I was originally writing about the hatred whipped up against health care reform, but the radical right has kept whipping up the hatred. And now…this. My original article:

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

I think I know the bottom line: someone is going to die. Too much crazy has been unleashed, too much negativity. Mobs at town halls. Death threats. And they're going to keep stirring the pot, until some dramatic act of violence happens, until the House caves, or until the House is back in session.

"For, without a cement of blood (it must be human, it must be innocent) no secular wall will safely stand."--WH Auden, Horae Canonicae, "Vespers."


It seems the leadership of the far right is encouraging domestic terrorism in the United States.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Virginia v Sibelius: Another Such Victory and We Are Undone

A collection of notes, instead of a long piece.


Health insurance companies!!!!

Yes, everyone's favorite insurance companies will make out like bandits. In exchange for a modest reduction in gross profits (to 15-20% per insured), this weakly-regulated oligopoly will get the entire country as customers, mandated by the federal government.

Pharmaceutical and medical equipment suppliers

And these firms will make out like bandits, because they'll be getting millions of new customers and are weakly-regulated.

I think I detect a pattern here.


His signature bill survived.

John Roberts

He gets to write a largely conservative decision and saves the prestige of his institution.


People in red states, especially the poor and the brown-skinned

The working poor will get slammed because the red states are planning not to implement the Medicaid expansion. There will be people who are not covered by either Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act and this group will be disproportionately brown; for an analysis, see David Dayen, link. The same states are planning not to create the insurance exchanges that the ACA mandates, despite the law. And, finally, when those states do implement the ACA, their weak insurance regulators will be the ones overseeing its implementation. In such places, the low end insurance mandated by the ACA is likely to be insurance that can't be used at prices that can't be paid.

The Economy?

No-one I have seen has done any modeling to the end of predicting the macroeconomic impact of the ACA. The ACA mandates an expansion of health care, which might be stimulative, but it is also, in effect, a tax, which might be regressive. If the effect is regressive, full implementation could make the on-going depression worse. If the depression continues, it will also fall disproportionately on the young, who will be required to spend scarce money on insurance.

The Law

The decision is exceptionally incoherent. Future cases regarding Federal power will be hard to decide. It is likely the decisions will be arbitrary, based on politics, rather than a consistent legal or ethical basis.


Every new Federal spending program will be subject to the incoherence of this decision, the question of how will the Court rule on it.


The didn't get their cruel decision, and the 1930s and 1940s Commerce Clause decisions stand, albeit in weakened form.

And then there's that third thing

That is, people who are both winners and losers.

The middle class and working poor

Why are these people listed last? But in fact Because they are last; Congress and the President put the insurance companies's profits before the majority of the public. Some of this group will, at long last, get needed health care. Others will get costly inadequate insurance.

Young people

Who will have to pay into this system, though their incomes are low and they are the lightest users of health care. For a minority of young people, however, the mandated insurance will be a literal lifesaver.


The ACA requires that a range of women's preventative care be covered without a co-pay. This is a huge thing. On the other hand, the ACA cuts insurance coverage for abortion. Again, this will probably hit hardest in red states, but in all states it is potentially a killer.


Thanks, guys! We really needed this mess. Why, oh why, could Congress not have seen the way clear to Medicare for All?