Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Obamacare and Republican Lieperbole

Full transcript from my Radio Show of 9/28-9/29 2014. You can also listen to it here--> http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lesersense/2014/09/28/news-about-obamacare-the-republican-lieperbole-supply-side-failures-more

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I get into the specifics of the good news regarding Obamacare I think it makes sense to talk about a couple of things and work up to Obamacare. You see at some point in the future historians will look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama and I think they are going to find it one of the most interesting Presidencies to analyze for a number of reasons. At the top of that list of reasons is going to be the ways in which Republicans concocted their opposition to him.
In articles, I’ve said from pretty early on in Obama’s Presidency, from Spring and Summer of 2009 that the Republicans had two ways to go and their choice was clear. They were faced with this guy who had tremendous popularity, a mandate for change, the first black President all of that and they could either try to ride the wave and work with him and in so doing try to get as many of their ideas incorporated in what was to come as possible, or they could oppose him 100% and try to tear him down and in so doing take themselves down as well and potentially take down the country.
We could tell in March of 2009 with the beginnings of the tea party nonsense that Republicans had chosen the second option.
I say that this option is going to take them down as well because it radicalized the Republican party. There are pretty much no moderate Republicans left. The only appeal that Republicans have to moderate Americans is that after Obama’s policies have been demonized as much as they have been, Republican’s appeal is that they aren’t Obama and oppose his policies. If they score victories in election 2014 that, and low turnout by Democrats will be the only reasons why.
Moderate Americans are not in favor of any part of the current Republican agenda, not the economic, social or foreign policy agenda of Republicans. That is part of the damage that Republicans have done to themselves these last six years and it will make winning the 2016 Presidential election virtually impossible for them.
One of the ways Republicans opposed the President was to make dire and in some cases wild predictions about his policies, predictions that his policies would fail and cause various catastrophies.
The edition of the tea party movement that began in February and March of 2009 was started to oppose the President’s stimulus bill that he put forth to stop the economic collapse that was occurring at that time. The country was losing 800,000 jobs a month when President Obama was inaugurated. That’s the economy he was handed by outgoing President Bush.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the Tea Party and the Republican Party that embraced it said that the stimulus and the rest of President Obama’s policies would not help the economy. Looking back now that seems completely wrong and preposterous. The President’s policies have completely turned the economy around. I mentioned last week how Forbes rates President Obama’s economic turnaround the best and highest job creating since the Second World War. But Republicans said it would fail and make the economy worse. Not only have record numbers of jobs been created, there have been increases in manufacturing, the real estate market has recovered, businesses are doing extremely well and the equity markets are doing well. The President’s policies have brought about both a deep and broad based economic recovery.
And, Republicans have not suffered any consequences for that incorrect prediction on the most basic thing that matters to all Americans, as the saying goes, it’s the economy stupid. One would think that the American people would no longer trust Republicans on the economy after being so badly wrong about whether President Obama’s economic policies would work and would throw Republicans out of office in large numbers but that isn’t happening. Why? Well, as they have with all of their wildly wrong predictions, Republicans are banking on enough time passing between their incorrect predictions and the actual results so that the American people forget what they said.
I apologize for the lengthy preamble but I think it will become meaningful in a moment as we get to Obamacare.
There were so many crazy predictions by Republicans about Obamacare that I can’t get to them all in this piece but I want to focus on two or three that were in the news recently.
One of them that you saw a lot just 6-10 months ago was that not enough young people were going to sign up causing premiums to double or triple in 2015 and thus Obamacare would fail because everyone would then pull out.
First of all we learned early on in 2014 that over 25% of eligible folks under 30 had signed up for Obamacare and that exceeded what was necessary for the plan to be viable. But its one thing to say that, it’s another to see the premiums.
Well the stats have begun to come out about what premiums will be in 2015. The Kaiser family did a study and it found that not only will premiums not go up in the Obamacare policies and exchanges in 2015, they will decrease slightly.
So Republicans were very wrong about that. Are they going to receive any punishment from the voters from throwing ridiculous predictions out there about Obamacare premiums? It doesn’t seem so.
This week, there were two important news stories about Obamacare. One was that new insurance companies are flocking to the exchanges to offer policies for 2015. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced during a speech this past Tuesday at the Brookings institution that the number of companies offering plans on the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchange marketplaces for 2015 will jump to 248, a 25 percent increase over this year, in the 44 states where the numbers are available. So consumers will have additional choices when they choose their policies this year. That’s an interesting situation considering that in various ways, Republicans have been claiming that the economics of Obamacare don’t add up. Well, the free market has spoken, and private insurance companies want to offer their services on the exchange. Apparently the economics do add up. Additionally, stats have shown that for every new insurance option added on a state’s exchange, consumers see a 4% reduction in premium prices. So these additional insurance options will put further downward pressure on premium prices.
The other piece of news that came out this week was very important. Republicans have been claiming that Obamacare will not reduce costs and has been a failure at reducing costs.
Once again, at the Tuesday meeting at the Brookings Institute, Secretary Burwell announced that expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act will save U.S. hospitals $5.7 billion this year on the cost of caring for uninsured Americans.
Diving into the report shows that nearly three-quarters of the savings, $4.2 billion, will occur in states that have opted to expand the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor as part of Obamacare. So those hospitals in red states with Republican governors who refused to expand their Medicaid can thank those governors for the losses they incurred treating uninsured patients.
But more to the point, Obamacare is creating massive amounts of savings. And this savings will again be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums. We probably won’t start seeing that savings until 2016, but it will be there. Of course, I expect hospitals and insurance companies to take some of that in profits, but a fair amount will be passed on to policy holders as well all across the health spectrum. Even folks who have nothing to do with Obamacare, employer health insurance plans will see decreases in premium prices as a result.
Again, will Republicans be penalized by the voters for being so wrong? I doubt it.
I think we have to coin a new phrase for this strategy by Republicans. They are clearly doing it deliberately. When I thought of this strategy, in my mind I called it Preemptive Orwelian doublespeak. But I have a better term for it, the Lieperbole.
They used the Lieperbole against the stimulus, they used it against Obamacare, even the so called scandals, fast and furious, IRS, and Benghazi were I think examples of the Republican use of lieperbole.
Again, the dynamics of the lieperbole are that you attack the administration’s policies or initiatives or handling of an issue and claim all of these bad things were done or will happen with the goal of driving down the administration’s approval level and creating dissatisfaction with the policy. By the time the truth comes out many months or years later, the truth no longer matters. The public continues to feel negatively about the administration’s policy or handling of the event no matter what evidence comes out later or how successful the policy turns out to be.
You can see how successful it has been. I talked last week about how successful the administration has been with the economy. President Obama’s approval levels should be 60-70% for that reason alone. But Republicans talked for years about how his policies weren’t working. It turns out he did a better and faster job getting out of this recession than Reagan did in the 80’s. Does he get credit for it, no, because of Republican lieperboles.
We will continue to see evidence of Republican lieperboles on healthcare reform as we get closer to 2015. Obamacare has been successful and evidence of that will increase, but the public still has a negative opinion on Obamacare. Why? Why at this point when it is so clear that the policy has succeeded do people have a negative opinion of it?
This cynical tactic by the Republicans works and will continue to work until we all call it out and force them to stop using it by making sure it no longer works.
We’ll be right back.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Republicans keep showing how classless they are

Share this pic with hashtag #stayclassygop

VA woman discovered a stack of anti-Hillary "Lewinsky" bumper stickers at a local GOP office, despite denials from the state party


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Steve Leser vs Eric Bolling re: IRS Scandal on Fox News The O'Reilly Factor

IRS Documents show that Progressive groups were also targeted


In an apparent contradiction with earlier comments made by House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa, new documents obtained through a FOIA request by ThinkProgress show that yes, the IRS targeted both conservative and liberal groups for extra scrutiny. According to ThinkProgress's analysis of the heavily redacted "be on the lookout" lists, the IRS may have targeted a higher number of progressive groups than conservative groups overall. 

Basically, the documents support a long-held counterargument to Issa's theory of the IRS scandal. While Issa has often emphasized that he believes the IRS exclusively targeted Tea Party groups "because of their political beliefs," that argument relies heavily on the fact that the latest version of the so-called BOLO lists primarily contained conservative-sounding groups. In fact, the IRS also kept and circulated historical versions of that list for continued scrutiny, which were filled with progressive keywords, including medical marijuana groups and keywords designed to flag groups descended from the now-defunct ACORN. And just to be clear: everybody agrees that the IRS should not have targeted political groups for extra scrutiny in this way. What's at issue are claims that the IRS uniquely treated conservative and Tea Party groups on the basis of political motivations. 
Arguably, ThinkProgress's report implies, the IRS focused on giving extra scrutiny to groups on the left longer than it did to groups on the right,  Issa's colleagues across the aisle on the Oversight Committee have long noted that Issa has yet to produce evidence supporting his repeated claims that the IRS was acting as part of an anti-GOP political conspiracy. These documents, which ThinkProgress notes were also produced for "investigating congressional committees," are certainly not that evidence.  Here's a list of some of the groups that show up on the full BOLO watch lists (viewable here): 
  • “Progressive” groups, especially those with words like "blue" in the name
  •  “Tea Party" groups
  • Not exclusively educational  “medical marijuana” groups 
  • Groups believed to be "successors to ACORN" 
  • "Open source software" organizations 
  • "Green energy" organizations 
  • "Occupied territory" advocacy organizations
See more at above link
By the way, this has been known for a long time as this CNN article from 2013 makes clear http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/18/politics/irs-scandal/

Washington (CNN) -- The inspector general who reported Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups said Thursday that he didn't have information until last week that the word "progressive" also was on a list of criteria for extra scrutiny of tax-exempt applications.
At a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said the information that liberal groups also were probably targeted only came to him July 9.
His audit, released in May, cited criteria including "tea party" and other conservative-themed words or labels that were used to decide whether applicants for tax-exempt status should come under further review. Since then, an investigation by the panel turned up documents that showed IRS workers also were told to look for the liberal-themed label.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Frmr Georgia Congressman Ben Jones who was "Cooter" on Dukes of Hazzard is on my Radio show this week


Click above to listen to my radio show of this week featuring former Congressman Ben Jones who was also "Cooter" on the Dukes of Hazzard. He discusses his role in the stunning primary defeat of Eric Cantor.

Our special opening and closing music is the new dance hit "Tonight's Your Night" produced by Frank Lamboy and sung by my friend Jenn Cuneta!

The show will also air Monday at 2pm Pacific time on KCAA 1050am in the Los Angeles Basin

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Edward Snowden Fails to Justify his Actions in NBC Interview with Brian Williams

Transcript of this segment from my Radio show of June 1-2 2014. You can hear the segment as I delivered it by clicking http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lesersense/2014/06/02/analyzing-snowden-interview-russia-ukraine-china-bullying-and-more and fast forwarding to 37:55

I watched a replay of the Edward Snowden interview with NBC's Brian Williams this past week. I'm struck by how he provided inadequate or demonstrably untrue answers to the two central issues around his actions.
The two central questions are
#1 - Did NSA Surveillance programs amount to lawbreaking or wrongdoing and if so are they bad enough to justify taking the massive steps he took.
#2 - Did Snowden do enough to try to address whatever was concerning him through appropriate channels.
We can talk about other issues but everything else, in my opinion, is window-dressing compared to those two central questions.
The problem with Snowden's actions with regard to my first question, did the surveillance programs amount to wrongdoing, is that Snowden had no legal training and thus did not have the background to answer those questions, nor did he apparently consult someone who did before acting.
The NSA Surveillance programs, at least from what we have been told from the documents Snowden and Greenwald presented us, and we don't really have confirmation if that information is accurate, but from what we've gathered from the documents they are the subject of a lot of debate between fourth amendment experts. There is no consensus about whether they are Constitutional or not. I've previously covered on this show the evolution in fourth amendment court cases with regards to surveillance.
The important two things to know are that prior to the FISA Law of 1978, the appellate Courts repeatedly ruled that the President has the inherent right to conduct surveillance for national security purposes and that this constitutes an exception to the fourth amendment. an example of one of these rulings is US v Duggan in 1984. FISA passed in 1978 basically stated that to conduct national security surveillance in the US the President had to go through a FISA court to get a warrant. And President Obama has been going to a FISA court to get warrants. So its understandable that people are making the argument that what he is doing is constitutional. Obviously there are additional details there but the law basically is as I've laid out.
Some critics say the FISA court is almost a rubber stamp. That's right, because the FISA court is acting on prior Appellate Court precedents that say, as I just mentioned that the President has the inherent right to conduct national security surveillance.
The FISA court is not there to prevent surveillance per se, but to ensure there is oversight and a paper trail to ensure that if congress wants to come back and investigate why the President spied on someone and take action, they have the ability to do so.
Snowden was repeatedly asked by Brian Williams last week to detail the wrongdoing by the NSA and he mentioned the Constitution 22 times and he talked about a few issues but the question is did those things violate the fourth amendment. Were they illegal or Constitutional. Of course, Snowden can't answer that, he doesn't have the background. Nor can we take his word for a number of things including, did this surveillance help the fight against terrorism. The folks who really know the answer to that question are prevented from answering because the information is classified. But we don't need to ask that question to show Snowden's claims to be invalid.
The question is did he have a reasonable basis to conclude that the government was doing something illegal or Unconstitutional or generally wrong, and the answer is no. He could have gotten that information. He could have retained an attorney that was an expert in fourth amendment appelate cases and asked that attorney to go over what he found. He didn't do that.
That in my opinion is a critical problem with his actions. A late 20's guy with no legal experience or training made a very grave decision whose basis is a legal one that he was not qualified to make.
Now lets look at problem #2. Did Snowden take all possible actions within regular channels to get his concerns addressed. The answer to that is easily answered. No. He was asked this directly by Brian Williams and his answer was:
"I actually did go through channels, and that is documented. The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their office of general counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA's interpretations of it -- legal authorities. Now, I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email -- to these offices and -- and these individuals, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. I did it in Fort Meade. I did it in Hawaii.
Now folks, on its face you can see how ridiculous this is. This guy is about to take an extraordinary action, violate the oath he took to safeguard and not disseminate classified information to unauthorized people, he's going to flee the country, and he asserts as adequate attempts to address his concerns properly that he sent a few emails to his supervisors and the NSA's office of general counsel.
In fairness, I agree that this what Snowden describes are among the first steps you might take, yes, but not the last or even second to last or third to last. Before I took the radical step that he took, I would be knocking on the doors of every congressman or senator on Capitol Hill in particular all of the leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. I would have gone to see the Inspector General of the Office of the Intelligence Community in person. I would have tried to see as many people in the administration as possible. I would have sent emails and letters to the President that I worked for the CIA and NSA and Booz Allen and needed to see him regarding an urgent national security issue. He probably wouldnt have gotten in to see the President but he might have gotten as far as a deputy Chief of staff or maybe even the Chief of staff.
And the President was clearly interested in having a discussion about this. The President gave a speech in May of 2012 indicating a desire to have a dialogue on the appropriateness of a number of programs including drones and NSA Surveillance. That's two weeks or so before Snowden's first documents were leaked to the public.
But even giving Snowden credit for emailing the NSA Office of General Counsel with his concerns is giving him too much Credit.
Get this folks, when asked about it, the NSA initially denied that Snowden ever emailed the general counsel expressing concerns.
Do you know why? Well, let me explain it this way. After Snowden kept trying to assert he had sent such an email, the NSA went back and looked for any correspondance between Snowden and the general counsel and they found one, but it had very little to do with raising security concerns. The NSA has published the full email correspondance online.
 The upshot is, its Snowden asking about a training class where an Executive order was discussed as carrying the same weight as federal law. The general counsel replied, yes they have the same power. If you would like to discuss, call me.
 Thats it. I am not omitting anything relevant. That is Snowdens claim to trying to get this addressed through official channels. 
After the NSA posted that email online, Snowden started backing up and claimed that the emails that really expressed his concern was sent to the NSA Signals Intelligence folks. If that's true, why didn't he mention that instead of mentioning the Office of General Counsel email during his interview with Brian Williams?
Those two problems with his actions, the failure to have an expert look over what his concerns were to determine the legality of them and totally inadequate attempts to address his concerns through legal means take what he did out of the realm of whistleblower and hero and put them squarely in the position of criminal and betrayer of his countries trust and secrets. There is no amount of spin that will make those two issues go away. They are the central issues in what Snowden did and he should be judged on his failure to act responsibly in both cases.
For other odd statements by Snowden, an article by Bob Cesca titled "The 13 Most Bizarre Things from Edward Snowden’s NBC News Interview" is a good place to get that information, and includes such mentions as:
Snowden claimed he has auote “no relationship” with the Russian government and that he’s quote “not supported” by it but that’s odd, given how the Russian government has twice offered him asylum and one of his lawyers, Anatoly Kucherena, is an attorney with the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB (formerly known as the KGB).
Early on after the documents he took were first leaked, Snowden was adamant about saying he is not a spy.” But this past week on tv with Brian Williams he not only confessed to being “trained as a spy.” and taking on assignments as a spy, he pumped up his spying credentials.
When you examine all of this, I think that anyone who still finds Snowden credible needs to have their heads examined.

Edward Snowden wins the award for worst and most shameful nonsense of the week.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maher , Joy Reid Clash With Glenn Greenwald Over Benghazi Obama's Suppos...

Only people who hate Obama and view him as the enemy suggest that Benghazi involves wrongdoing

In that context, I understand why Republicans are all about Benghazi. There is a reason, they are politically motivated and think it will help get their candidates elected.

What reason does a journalist supposedly interested in the truth have for pushing that lie?