Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vermont Governor Gives Some Good Cheer To Democrats

++Governor Peter Shumlin sees the 2014 elections in another light. He thinks the Democrats are in better shape than the last few days have made people believe.

++Shumlin says the brightest spots for a pickup are Maine,Pennsylvania,and Florida. 

++He may be on something about Florida. Charlie Crist leads Scott 48 to 38 in the Quinnipiac poll. Rasmussen had Crist 45 to Scott at 39.

++The second-tier states are Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

++He is also optimistic about South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas and Arizona.

ADP Jobs Report

++ All the other indicators show the economy barely grew in the First Quarter. But the ADP jobs report shows 220,000 jobs were added in April. We still await the Federal Labor statistics.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Horror! The Horror!

++I amuse myself by taking the Buzzfeed quizzes. I have found I am barely white in the "How White Are You?" test,am a fan of terribly, awful films,and have seen more musicals than is good for me.

++Tonight was "How Many Fast Food Places Have You Eaten At?" 

++The final tally was I have eaten at 88 of the 230 places listed,making me a junk food expert. Take the test--you will be appalled by how many places you have had food.

Clinton Crushes GOP Nominees

++Fairleigh Dickinson has released a poll on the 2016 race.

++The Tale of the Tape:

Clinton 46 Christie 36
Clinton 48 Paul 37
Clinton 46 Ryan 38
Clinton 49 Bush 33
Clinton 49 Huckabee 36

Sterling Banned For LIfe and the Young Won't Vote

++It could be called Magic's Revenge. Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million, and will be forced to sell the Clippers--I wonder to whom.

++The ABC/Washington Post poll this morning spelled doom for the Democrats. The young won't vote like they did in 2012. Americans want Republicans in charge of Congress to check President Obama who is at his lowest approval rating at 41%.

++As a consolation prize, The Supreme Court gave the Administration a 6-2 victory,saying that the EPA can regulate cross-border pollution caused by coal burning plants. Scalia and Thomas dissented.

++David Niewert appeared on the Ring of Fire radio show to talk about the militias out at Bundy's ranch. Niewert has published great work on the extreme right in America. The residents in Bunkerville where the Bundy's live have called on local authorities to restrict the militiamen because they are mounting roadblocks and walking around town with their firearms. Yesterday, the Bundy people shooed the Oathkeepers off the land and claimed that Eric Holder has OK'd a drone attack on them. Cliven Bundy again appeared in the media to say he was like Rosa Parks.

++Meanwhile Capitol Police are investigating the threats against Harry Reid because he called Bundy and his crowd "terrorists".

++John Kerry got into trouble with his "apartheid " remark about Israel. Ted Cruz demanded he be fired. The ADL expressed his outrage. Kerry said he should have used another word--but it is used by Israeli officials about where the country is going.

++Senator Leahy is holding up aid to Egypt because of their outrageous human rights record. Bravo!

++The Smooching Congressman Vance McAllister will not run again but will serve out his term. 

++Rep. Michael Grimm stepped down from the Finance Committee but will run again in Staten Island. He was indicted on 20 counts for tax evasion,fraud,hiring illegal immigrants and obstruction of justice.

++The Treasury is paying off $78 billion of the US debt today. The previous estimate had been $40 billion. The payoff is the biggest since 2007.

++John Boehner's teabag challenger J.D.Wateregg lost his job at a Christian college because of his "elective dysfunction" ad.

++John Boehner who was "hellbent" in passing immigration, said it won't be until President Obama changes his attitude.

++Russ Limbaugh said yesterday that David Sterling was only in this trouble because he didn't donate enough to President Obama's campaign. Contrary to yesterday's right-wing meme, Sterling is a registered Republican.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rand Paul Romps In Maine

++During the 2012 presidential primary,one of the disputes in the GOP was over the allocation of Maine delegates because of the strong showing of Ron Paul. So it's no coincidence that Rand Paul won the Maine Republican straw poll this year.

++The results are intriguing:
Rand Paul--176 votes
Ted Cruz --   98
Scott Walker-70
Ben Carson-- 62
Chris Christie-60
Jeb Bush -----57
Paul Ryan---- 37

++Bob Schaeffer reports that Mitt "Willard" Romney will run again if Jeb Bush doesn't.

++State Island Republican Michael Grimm was indicted today for fraud--mostly stemming from his restaurant business.

++Ron Christie woke up today to discover racism in America and urged President Obama to take the lead in fighting it.

++Eugene Robinson writes an op-ed in the Washington Post on racism and be sure to read the comment section where racism lives.

++That didn't take long. Bill Kristol's group urged President to fire John Kerry for his remarks about Israel becoming an apartheid society.

Drips and Drabs

++The Donald says that Donald Sterling, owner of the Clippers, was set up by an awful "girlfriend".

++TMZ printed the photo that set off Sterling's racist rant. It was of his mistress with Magic Johnson, who sported his infectious smile. Why did Sterling's friends complain to him about Magic?

++Today Business Insider reports that Magic now wants to buy the Clippers. After all, he bought the Dodgers and brought Sandy Koufax back after Fox had smeared Sandy as "gay". Next we will have the Donald go on an anti-semitic rant.

++Egypt sentenced to death 683 dissidents, including the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, to death. And for all the promises of increased religious freedom,the New York Times yesterday found none under the military regime.

++The Obama Administration invoked new sanctions against Putin and his colleagues.

++E.G. Dionne has an excellent article in today's Post on the NRA and its current campaign of fear.

++Paul Krugman summarizes the lessons of Cliven Bundy, the High Plains Grifter.

++Howard Kurtz lambasts Fox News for ignoring Bundy's racism.

++A whopping 6% approve of Congress. 14% says Congress passes laws that improve their lives.

++It's official--Congress says it doesn't want to pass many laws this term.

++In a private meeting with the Trilateral Commission,John Kerry expressed frustration with the Mideast peace talks and said that Israel risked becoming an "apartheid" state and facing tremendous threats to their identity if the two-state solution doesn't materialize. Kerry threatened that if there is no more progress, he may leak his plan and say "take it or leave it".

Sunday, April 27, 2014

That Was Quick

++ Bibi Netanyahu went on the attack today during Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mahmoud Abbas' statements about the Holocaust were just PR. And Hamas was really planning another Holocaust. You would think Abbas' statements would have been welcomed. 

++Bibi again said that Iran's nuclear program was like the threat posed by Nazi Germany. Since Bibi earlier commanded Mossad to reveal all breeches in the agreement by Iran,all progress of the agreement seems moot. So when is Bibi going to declare war. His allies have tried for a year in the Senate to do such a thing without success.

++My favorite Israeli, Shimon Peres rightfully pointed out in detail the emerging problem in Eastern Europe of real anti-semiticism and not Bibi's imaginary kind.

++Is Donald Sterling against Israel? More tapes of him talking to his mistress reveals that he thinks blacks are treated worse in Israel than here. 

++Don't you think that Israel should take up Abbas' pledge that Palestine recognize Israel and commit itself to non-violence? It might be worth the gamble.

The Greatest News of the Last Week

++ Rolling Stone reported that President Obama already made up his mind on the Keystone Pipeline. He's a "No" according to two senior White House officials. The next day one such official tried to walk this back but who knows.

++April was the first month since humans that carbon emissions averaged 400ppm. That's higher emissions than it has been for a million years.

++Thom Hartmann has been the only television commentator who has systematically followed the climate change story and given it the severity it deserves.

++But even Thom can go wobbly on us. He had Guy McPherson from the University of Arizona on his show. Guy says flat out that we will be extinct in 15 to 20 years. Thom made sure that we knew that Michael Mann in "The Scientific American" wrote that we had 20 years to make the right policy decisions to strike a balance.

++Besides President Obama's "decision" on the Keystone XL Pipeline,the other good news is that the Mayan Apocalypse is scheduled for 2021. The scientists just didn't translate the hieroglyphs right.
That takes us into Guy McPherson's predictions.

++The ACLU released information this week about "Little Gitmo" where Muslim prisoners and environmentalists are being held in the Midwest. Their   emphasis were on Muslim Americans being held because of their connections in a "nexus" of terrorist groups. But the eye-catching quotes come from people who have been held as "eco-terrorists", which can mean a whole host of things.

++In my opinion, the whole NSA issue really pertains to the repression of environmental activists. There seems to be less protections for them than anyone. The killing of environmental activists in the United States has skyrocketed in the past decade. 

++ While solar energy has increased 400% since 2010, we should look at the backlash against alternative energy supplies. ALEC, the Koch-funded legislative arm,has ramped up actions against solar energy on the spurious claim that it will increase energy costs.

++In the senatorial race in North Carolina, none--I repeat--none of the GOP candidates believe climate change is man-made--let alone a real phenomenon.

++Virtually all of the House GOP and Senate do not believe climate change requires any policy remedies.

++It will be fascinating to see whether any GOP Presidential candidates for 2016 believe in climate change. As late as 2008,John McCain expressed his view on this matter making him the second to last Republican to believe in climate change--the last being Jon Huntsman.

++The House GOP want to change the government's research into climate change into research on severe weather. 

++If you have one major political party in denial,then policy changes necessary to avoid absolute disaster can not be made. 

++Rachel Maddow gets kudos for bringing an obscure fact to the fore on oil exploration. During the past two weeks, ExxonMobil has bragged that they have $12billion in exploration projects in Russia. Chevron bragged they would be in the forefront of oil exploration in the Arctic off Alaska, even though they blew it. All of this is interesting but as Rachel Maddow showed none of these guys have any plans on how to prevent Arctic oil spills or how such spills would operate. They are so ignorant that they will create small oil spills to study their effect. 

Not The Greatest Week For Racists

++Why did anyone ever believe that Cliven Bundy, a Sovereign citizen adherent won't be a raving racist? The whole rationale for their movement is that the 14th Amendment made the federal government illegitimate.

++Sean Hannity claimed his embrace of Cliven Bundy was a result of his history defending citizens from claims of eminent domain. Yesterday on the mall,the cowboy and Indian alliance protested the Keystone XL Pipeline largely on those grounds. Conservative reaction--crickets.

++Kudos to Rachel Maddow--probably egged on by Steve Benen--on her segment on the Christian Identity Movement,Posse Comitatus,the Sovereign Citizens movements to explain where Cliven Bundy came up with his ideas. The segment was based on a Washington Monthly article on the far right during the time when Benen was editor.

++Not to be outdone in wackoland was Wayne La Pierre's raving rant at the annual NRA convention. You must goggle it to understand this man is deranged. Of course, you should not leave your house unless you are armed. The ultimate plot for gun control is --not Barack Obama but the Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton.

++At the NRA confab, Sarah Palin said that during her administration she would have baptized terrorists by water boarding them.

++The best conspiracy theory on the whole Cliven Bundy situation was that Harry Reid wanted the ranch land to create a solar farm to be built by the Chinese. This was floated by none other than the Koch Brothers, who are waging a war against both Harry Reid and Solar energy. Today's New York Times has an editorial on how the Koch Brothers are getting Southwestern states to embrace a tax on solar panels.

++Republicans are trying to make a comeback after the Bundy disaster by claiming that Clippers' owner Donald Sterling is a Democrat. Sterling was caught on tape telling his African-American/Mexican mistress she could screw Blacks but don't bring them to his ball games. He gave campaign funds twice to Democrats in the 1990s--first to Bill Bradley's ill-fated Presidential campaign and for the recall campaign against Governor Davis. But in Los Angeles,his biggest crime was singling out Laker great Magic Johnson as someone he didn't want to see at his games. The NBA claims they will investigate. The NAACP withdrew their lifetime achievement award to Sterling.

++Meanwhile "Operation American Spring" revved up their PR in the aftermath of the Bundy fiasco. On May 16th,the group led by "militias" and elderly American vets call for 10 million people to march on Washington and another 2 million to stay behind until President Obama and all the elected leaders of Congress resign. They are to be tried by a tribunal manned by Former Congressman West,the head of the Heritage Foundation,Darryl Issa,Rand Paul and others. Today, a newspaper article in the Reno paper mocks the effort by saying people in Nevada were saying President Obama would resign by May 16th.

Things You Might Have Missed

++Mahmoud Abbas on Holocaust Day called the Holocaust the worst human rights violation of modern times and denounced it in strong terms for an Arab. That he commented at all was stunning.

++Abbas also announced that with the new Palestinian unity with Hamas that Palestine will recognize Israel. Palestinian elections will take place within two months.

++Bizarre AP headline: "Anti-semiticism on the rise,fewer attacks on Jews." The reference was to anti-semiticism on the rise in Europe.

++The New York Times editorial today summarizes the "meaningful progress" in the Iranian nuclear talks.  They are in fact ahead of schedule, despite the resistance in the U.S. Congress.

++Syria has transported over 85% of their chemical weapons out of the country.

++President Obama was the first President in 50 years to visit Malaysia. Previously,LBJ visited.

++President Obama signed a ten-year security agreement with the Philippines.

++33 Pacific states reached an agreement on how to monitor and de-fuse maritime disputes.

++President Obama reiterated American support for its security agreements with Japan.

++President Obama pledged further steps to isolate North Korea.

++Tomorrow the EU and the United States will toughen  sanctions on Russia for their actions against the Ukraine. The Primary target is Vladimir Putin's wealth.

++Domestically,it is likely that the House will only pass two bills this year. The First is a continuing resolution to keep the government funded beyond October 1. The second is iffier--replenish the Highway Trust Fund.

++There will be no raise in the minimum wage. There will be no extended unemployment insurance. There will be no immigration reform bill even though John Boehner said he was "hellbent" on passing one. 

++The most interesting factoid of the day is Elizabeth Warren telling George Stephanopolis that she was a Republican until the 1990s but left the party when he openly sided with Wall Street.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


++Let's start with the Gallup daily tracking poll of President Obama's approval rating as a barometer for the others. 46% approve,48% disapprove.

++The gubernatorial race in Florida.
Quinnipiac: Crist 46, Scott 38%.
Survey USA: Crist 46, Scott 41%.

++McClatchy-Marist generic congressional. Democrats 48%,GOP 42%.

++The New York Times-Kaiser polls of Senate races.
Arkansas: Pryor (D) 46--36 Cotton ®.
North Carolina: Hagan (D) 42--Tillis® 40.
Louisiana: Landrieu (D) 42--18 Cassidy ®.
Kentucky: McConnell ® 44-43 Grimes (D).

The Times analysis of the mid-terms shows that the independent is not as much a factor as getting out the base. Also,the traditional mid-term drop off doesn't affect African-Americans as previously thought.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The 2016 Democratic Ticket?

++Too rich to pass up. "Wrong way" Bill Kristol gazes into the Crystal Ball, not that one, and says it will be Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus. Not to be snarky but is this the Full Benghazi Ticket? Petraeus has been known as a "Rockfeller Republican" and was courted by the Romney camp for vice president.

Keystone XL Delayed

++Friday, the State Department announced that it was delaying the decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until the fall.

++While Washington believed it was solely political,there are some practical reasons for this. The Nebraska Supreme Court is not expected to hear an appeal on a ruling against the Pipeline until September or October. Which means--one part of the pipeline's route doesn't exist right now.

What We Left Behind In Iraq

++In a New Yorker piece by the same name, Dexter Filkins does an excellent job in describing the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Malaki and the upsurge in vicious sectarian sighting in Iraq. Filkins analyzes how the U.S. put Maliki in power and what they expected of him. Since his rise,his government has consolidated power in the ministries around his office and embarked on Iraqi-style corruption that one  American embassy personnel person told me was the worst he had seen in all the Middle East and he had served in some corrupt places.

++Filkins justly criticizes the Obama Administration for deliberately avoiding any criticism of Maliki's huge human rights violations and his stimulation of the sectarian violence.

++If you listen to David Brooks, President Obama has "a manhood problem" when it comes to the Middle East.

++Let's examine that statement. This gets to the white male authoritarian complex about acting psychotic to get your way. We see this with the rightwing on the Bundy rancher case. What do the David Brooks want Obama to do? While he wouldn't say,the answer is always "bomb someone." In the theater of acting tough,Vladimir Putin has emerged as the conservative's hero whether because the Right believe he has played Obama or because he cracks down on gays and dissent.

++While people like to talk tough, we might want to consider the consequences of our wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Harvard has estimated that the costs of booth wars will run $4-6 trillion as compared to $1.5 trillion for WWII, which we won. So far we have paid $260 billion.

++Today there are 1.56 million Vets receiving medical treatment. Of those over 50% are veterans of these wars and 1/3rd of those are suffering from mental illness.

++Not to mention that these wars introduced an America that engaged in torture and kidnapped people to be held in "dark sites". Only this past week,a retired C.I.A. psychologist admitted how he came to design the torture program and his excuse was that it had been approved at the highest level of government. 

++Maybe some other people than Obama have a manhood problem.

White Men Uprising

++After the Bundy rancher episode,the John Birch Society, which was let back into the conservative movement at CPAC during the Obama years, promises that there will be armed confrontations with the federal government.

++Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch wrote a scree on in World Nut Daily calling for the overthrow of President Obama because of the Bureau for Land Management moving against Bundy's cattle grazing on public land.

++Bundy seems to believe the constitutional doctrine of Skousen, the radical rightwing Mormon who J. Edgar Hoover believed was "too anti-Communist". He later left the FBI and became a professor in Utah writing books against FDR and the federal government.

++The Bundy episode brought out the Oathkeepers,the libertarian paramilitary group,the militias from other Western states, and money from the Tea Party Groups.

++With the support of Bundy from Fox News and Sean Hannity, you begin to wonder what happen to the rightwing who was for law and order and patriotism.

++The question I have is will the May 15th demonstration here in Washington abandon their policy of not urging their followers to bring guns when they demand the removal of the federal government?

++With the killings around the Jewish Center in Kansas by a former leader of the KKK,CNN asked the penetrating question of "Whether the KKK can re-brand themselves?" and naturally found the Grand Dragon who said that they can have segregation without violence.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's 8 million and Away for the ACA

++President Obama announced today that the ACA exchange numbers hit 8 million for the first enrollment session session, way above the initial and recalibrated predictions.

++35% of the enrollments overall were under the age of 30,which is slightly better than the first year of Romneycare in Massacusetts. The optimum was 40% but few expected that.

++The Society of Actuaries, working with the health insurance companies,cam,e out with their prediction of only about a 7% increase in premiums with the ACA. Under the last administration, premiums routinely increased by double digits every year.

++While Charles Gaba corrects the President by saying it's really 8.03 million and climbing,he notes that Gallup has a piece out that the percentage of uninsured by mid-Aoril plummeted to 12.9% overall. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Clinton Versus The Rest of the Field

McClatchey Papers conducted a poll of over 1,200 voters on their presidential preferences. Before the GWB scandal, Christie was the closest to Hillary Clinton. He slipped but has rebounded. Hillary wins over Christie 53 to 42.

Hillary wins over Jeb for the establishment sweepstakes 55 to 39.

The Best candidate for the GOP is Paul Ryan, whom Hillary beats by 51 to 43.

Hillary wins convincingly over the rest of the GOP field.

The Republican preferences are:

Huckabee and Jeb Bush at 13%.
Christie,Rand Paul and Paul Ryan at 12%.
Marco Rubio at 7%.
Scott Walker at 5%.
Cruz and Jindal at 4%.
Rick Santorum and Rick Perry at 3%.
Gov. Kasich at 1%.

Way to early to tell. Christie,Walker and Perry are under investigation. 

Brainwrap on April 15

++Estimates for April 15th, according to are 7.78 million through the exchanges and 26.1 million through the combined sources.

++Charles Gaba wonders whether the term woodworkers is perforative. This is a phrase referring to people who already qualified for Medicaid but didn't know until October 1 when Medicaid enrollment under the ACA began.

The World Didn't End

++Rev. Hagee said that the blood red moon meant the world was ending. It didn't.

++But the IPCC report said we may be getting close with global warming if we don't adopt policies for 20-24% alternative fuels within 15 years. The report was developed by 2,000 scientists in hover 110 nations, who reviewed over 9,000 academic studies. If the humans generate 1,000 gigatons of carbon that we are all toast. The planet will survive but we won't.

++The CBO's report on Obamacare is giving the GOP heartburn. Obamacare will cost $104.6 billion less than projected over a ten-year span, will increase,not decrease employer-based insurance by 7 million, lower premiums and healthcare costs. 

++But the GOP have found a new Obamacare issue. The Census bureau will be recalculating the number of uninsured. To the GOP, this means we will not know the true effects of Obamacare. It's Obama's fault.

++The CBO reports that the deficit will be $23 billion less than projected to $492 billion. This will be the lowest deficit since 2007 and represent 2.8% of the GDP. Since 1980,the deficit has averaged 3.2%.

++Mike Huckabee told the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire that the United States was less free than North Korea.

++In the same state, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said Democratic Senator Jeanne Sheehan was like another Senator from Massachusetts. Brown has lived in New Hampshire for 40 days and Sheehan in New Hampshire for 40 years. More worrisome to New Hampshites should be that Scott was born in Maine and not in New Hampshire as he claims.

++PPP-Move-on. org conducted polls in congressional districts and find that GOP incumbents are very vulnerable in 17 seats and with the right GOTV the Democrats could take back the House.

++John Boehner's primary opponents cut an ad accusing Boehner of electile dysfunction.

++Governor Sandoval of Nevada  became the first Republican governor to ask the House to extend the unemployment insurance for the long-term. The Nevada party also threw out its anti-abortion, anti-gay platform because they wanted to be inclusive ,not exclusive.

++Britt Hume and George Will accused President Obama and Eric Holder of "playing the race card". Hank Aaron,the baseball great, likened critics of President Obama to those racist who threatened him during his race to beat Babe Ruth's home run record. For that remark, he received buckets of racist mail. I guess race doesn't play into any of this.

++Rand Paul is being beat up for his remarks about Duck Cheney being for the war in Iraq because of his role as CEO in Halliburton. Bart Stephens in the Wall Street Journal attacks Paul and asserts that the GOP would lose in one of the largest landslides. Rick Lowry of the National Review has a more fun attack on Paul.

++Carville claims that the GOP will become extinct if Hillary Clinton runs for President.

++Willard "Mitt" Romney tweeted Harry Reid with a photo of him paying his taxes. I'm glad he did for the first time in a decade.

++Senator Pryor,the struggling Democrat in Arkansas,top Rep. Cotton in the fifth straight poll, prompting the Republican to challenge him to five debates.

++Sovereign Citizens' groups, the Oathkeepers, and militiamen rallied to the cause of rancher Bundy, who had neglected to pay taxes for 1993 and refuses to pay the BLM cattle raising fees. The classy groups put women and children in the front lines because they wanted to create another WACO and spark a revolution. The BLM stood down but is moving in legal directions against the tax evader. FOX news and the rightwing websites proclaimed the nutty spectacle a win for freedom

++John Brennan, the director of the CIA, was in the UKraine and tensions mount in the East.

++Bandar Bush, the old Saudi friend of the Republicans and Saudi spy chief, was resigned. His last assignment by the Saudi monarchy was to topple Assad in Syria.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Brainwrap Back from the Detroit Zoo

++Charles Gaba took a day off to visit the Detroit Zoo with his kids but is back in the saddle for the final numbers on Obamacare tomorrow.

++He has narrowed his final prediction to 7.75-7.85million for the exchanges,5.23-7.29 million for Medicaid-CHIPS expansion,1.6-3.1 for sub26ers, and another 7.15-9.78 million for the individual purchases. The Medicaid expanses will continue growing and use of the exchanges will continue for those is unique circumstances. That's a lot of numbers.

++There has been some back and forth over Kathleen Sebelius' resignation. She forthrightly said it wasn't feasible for her to stay longer than the first enrollment period.

++In New Hampshire,all the Republican leaders met to discuss this year's campaign. It was repeal Obamacare all the time--24-7. Otherwise, it was a meeting of people confident bucks will by them the elections.

++South Carolina Republican Senator Scott decided to get the first shot across the bow asking whether Sebelius' replacement would serve Obama or the American people.

++For the GOP's base,Obamacare is still a hot button but polling shows that the average Republican feels "meh" about it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday's Factoids

++Carnival Cruz wants to use the confirmation hearings for Kathleen Sebelius' replacement as a moment to repeal Obamacare. 

++Mitch McConnell agrees that Sebelius exist doesn't help and that Obamacare needs to be replaced. What is he going to tell the 400,000plus in his own state what they should do with their new healthcare insurance.

++Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball thinks the GOP will gain 1-3 governorships this year. Currently, the state of play is 29 GOP to 21 Dems. The lead prospects are Pennsylvania,Maine and Florida to go democratic.

++It looks like the budget deficit is down to $413 billion for the first half of the fiscal year. That's down $187billion from last year. Last month was the smallest deficit recorded since 2000. Over all,the deficit is supposed to equal 4.1 percent of GDP in 2014, down nearly 10% during the depths of the recession in 2009. The deficits in the next few years are expected to stay at 2 to 3 percent of the GDP. This is the fastest 4-year reduction in deficits since the demobilization after World War II. Today's New York Times.

++Unemployment claims have declined to a 7 year low. The 300,000 adjusted claims is the lowest level since May 2007. While unemployment is at a five year low,chief economists at investment firms believe unemployment rates will fall faster than the FED expects over the next year.

++Even still,the events in the Ukraine triggered another outcry that Obama is diminishing U.S.'s leadership in the world. Steve Benen at RachelMaddowblog says "Wait a Minute." Benen analyzes the Gallup US Leadership Project, which polled 130,000 people in 130 countries. It seems America's approval with the NSA scandal and all bounced up 5 points. It is the highest regarded country including Germany, China,the E.U and Russia. In Asia last year, America's approval rate topped anytime in either the Obama and Bush Administration. 

++So what is the tale of the tape. In 2008,US's approval rate tied its disapproval at 34-34. Now 46% approve and only 24% disapprove.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigns

++Former Kansas Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius submitted her resignation after five years in the job. The New York Times had a snarky article on this but the numbers for  Obamacare are now through the roof. Brainwarp is now looking at numbers in the 30 million with all the add-ons and off exchange buys. Even though this is Washington, could we admit she was a great success.I am sure we will hear about every problem with Obamacare and its rollout ad nauseum for the next few days. But she deserves a loud shout out. THANK YOU, Kathleen Sebelius!

Polls and Other Nonsense

++ Gallup has the approval rating of Congress at 13%.

++Google has the Democrats with a 7 pt lead in the congressional generic poll. But,39% are still unsure of how they are going to vote in 2014.

++Obamacare became more popular than Obama. 47% to 46%. The GOP hit 18%.

++PPP shows that nationwide Medicaid expansion has 75% support. In red states,significant majorities support its expansion. As a result, Charlie Crist has taken a seven point head over Gov. Scott in Florida.

++Obamacare officially reached 7.5 million and Charlie Gaba continues his streak.

++Obamacare was repealed again today and Medicare destroyed with the Ryan Budget. The Ryan budget passed the House 219-205.

++Steven Colbert was chosen to take over from David Letterman on the Late Night Show. Rush Limbaugh called it a direct attack on the American heartland.

++President Obama delivered a great speech at the LBJ Center today on LBJ's domestic achievements and called for more work to be done on civil rights. It was the proper counter-speech to Paul Ryan's vision of America.

++Rupert Murdoch said he was alright with Hillary Clinton becoming President.

++Watch the fallout from the House voting Lois Lerner of the IRS in contempt. In a big oops,the Republicans leaked the private session on Lerner and also leaked to the donors to Karl Rove's Crossroads America. Apparently, this whole hullabaloo didn't have to do with inspecting Tea Party groups but the IRS' concerted desire to investigate Rove's group since they were using a 501-C-4 to launder dirty money. Another note on Lerner, while she pled the Fifth, she also agreed to drop this and testify at a date later than Issa wanted but he ignored this. The House will send the file to DOJ to ask for prosecution. Maybe Eric Holder will say," Good luck with your asparagus."

++While the Koch Brothers have poured money into the mid-terms,one of their front groups has been revitalized to run bizarre ads against Udall in Colorado and Branley in Iowa. They accuse the two men of being pawns of the insurance companies because they voted for Obamacare.

++For those of us who eat Manischewitz matzos around Passover, it came as a shock to learn they are owned by Bain Capital.

++Maine's independent Angus Reid said he might caucus with Republicans next year if the GOP wins the Senate.

++So how does it look. Despite the D.C. punditry, not so bad. Scott Brown is off to a very rough start in New Hampshire with approval now in the mid-30s and he failed to designate his party on his application. He was also called out because he benefited from Obamacare with one of his kids on his insurance.

--Senator Pryor in Arkansas was supposed to be dead and buried against Rep. Cotton. But the Hendrix poll has Pryor at 45.5% against Cotton at 42.5% with only 8% undecided.

++Kay Hagan leads Tillis in North Carolina by 43-41.despite floods of Koch money pouring into the race against her.

++the Suffolk poll has Branley in Iowa with a 6-13% lead over his GOP competition. 

++In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu is behind 43.9% to Cassidy's 44.49%.

++PPP has Mark Warner at 49 and Gillespie at 35.

++In Kentucky, Alison Grimes has a oe point lead over Mitch McConnell--45 to 44.

++Let's look at the Governor's races. These mean a lot for Medicaid expansion and the 2016 race. 

++Charlie Crist has a 49 to 42 lead over Governor Scott, whom the Orlando Sun-Sentinel proclaimed the worse governor in Florida in modern times. But Scott has vowed to spend $100 million in the contest.

++In Georgia, PPP has Jason Carter with a 43 to 42 lead over embattled Nathan Deal. 

++In Kansas, Democrat Davis has a 45 to 41 lead over Brownback.

++In Pennsylvania, the generic Democrat has a 56 to 34 lead over Corbett.

++In Maine, Michaud has a 47-37 lead over tea bagger LePage and independent Cutler is at 14.

++The question I have is whether Moral Mondays in North Carolina, the Medicare protests in Georgia,Florida and Louisiana serve as the tea party for the Democrats? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jeb Bush Wins Landslide for GOP Nomination

++The twitter feeds are unanimous. After Bill Kristol bet everyone on Morning Joe that Bush would not be the GOP nominee,everyone knew that Jeb had won--given Kristol's amazing record of getting everything wrong. The Daily Beast has an article how Jeb is unacceptable to the Tea Party. But remember this,the GOP has not won a national election since the end of WWII or for that matter mid-way into the Korean War without a Nixon or Bush on the ticket.

++Chris Christie really is toast as Politico notes. The Bridgegate scandal has morphed into a full scale corruption investigation by the Federal Attorney for the Southern District and the work of the grand jury has proliferated.

++One of Bill Kristol's favorites, Gov. Scott Walker has said he wants to get his college degree. 

++The GOP claims they will unveil their alternative to Obamacare in their town hall meetings before Easter.Despite Democratic pundits, the GOP is going to run a full-throated campaign against Obamacare,despite its success. Even Ross Douhout of the Times claims this fight will last a generation.

++The Rand Corporation released a report that says Obamacare has aided 9.3 million people who were previously uninsured.

++The Senate really did pass the extended unemployment bill 59-38. Even though such a bill would actually add 250,000 jobs,John Boehner says it doesn't meet his criteria for creating jobs so forget about it coming on the floor of the House.

++John Boehner again said that the House will not vote for immigration reform because the members don't trust President Obama with implementing it properly. This is part of Obama as lawless theme. 

++Job openings have now hit 4.17 million.

++Eric Holder calls for the release of the Senate's Torture Report so that the American public could see what was done in their name and so another administration would not be tempted to resort to torture again. Dianne Feinstein called torture "a stain on our history". But Donald Rumsfeld said that all the torture memos came from the Department of Justice and were approved by the Attorney General so that's OK. 

++President Obama is on the road selling his more populist economic message of raising the minimum wage and providing equal pay for women. He signed an executive order on equal pay standards for federal contractors.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Have A Bridge To Sell You

++David Wildstein, who pleaded the fifth before the New Jersey Senate on Bridgegate but said he would talk if given immunity, is now going to talk to the Federal attorney investigating the case. The case is rapidly expounding as an additional 7 prosecutors were added to the team.

++The House GOP is tired out after 4 days work and now they want to go on a three week vacation.

++A new NSA Whistleblower says that the NSA spied on all congressional leaders,the intelligence committee, and wiretapped every member of the Supreme Court during the George W. Bush Administration. The man who oversaw this was Dick Cheney.

++The Supreme Court refused to hear a case on the constitutionality of NSA's Big Data-Mining.

++GOP whip Kevin McCarthy says that yes Paul Ryan's "stinkburger" budget does repeal Medicare and that he thinks ending Medicare will pass.

++Tan Man Boehner called Matt Drudge to try and persuade Drudge that the Doc fix and the little Obamacare adjustment was really a vote to repeal Obamacare.

++Gallup put out an analysis that the uninsured are at their lowest number since 2008. Of the 7.1 million signups, the LA Times shows that 5.4 million were previously uninsured.

++For the real numbers and getting into the weeds, check out where Charles Gaba tries to make sense of all the different signups for health insurance. He is trimming his estimate of signups on the exchange to 8.0 million.

++The Torture Gang is out in force:

 Liz Chaney had a go-around with Juan Williams saying Congress should spend less time investigating torture and more investigating Benghazi.

Dick Cheney again appeared on TV to defend the torture program.

Michael Hayden said that Dianne Feinstein was "too emotional" to investigate torture, even though it has already been done over several years.

Marc Theissen printed one piece in the Post defending torture and another today calling on John Brennen to defend the CIA from the report's release.

Morning Joe Scarborough invoked his version of the Nuremberg defense by saying the CIA people were "at risk" and did what they were told.

Jose Rodriquez of the Agency's Clandestine Service and the person who destroyed the torture tapes writes that torture worked. Except that the internal documents show it didn't.

The State Department is concerned that the report on the Dark Sites will have a negative impact on foreign policy.

President Obama has ordered a rapid declassification of the summary report, which the CIA will delay as long as possible.

Tentative reports by the Post say the torture was worse than previously reported and that the exposure will disgust the public.

Maine's independent Senator Angus King called for Dick Cheney to volunteer to be water boarded.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Writer and Environmentalist Peter Matthiessen Dead At 86

++Next Tuesday will be published Peter Matthiessen's last book-- about his experiences at Auschwitz. 

++One of my favorite writers,I re-read his Shadow Country, the trilogy about Mr. Watson and the Everglades, every year. His Far Tortuga is now a well-worn paperback I take over every overseas trip.From In The Fields of Our Lord to his classic The Snow Leopard, his prose reflected the idea of frontiers which now face degradation by man.

++He died after a lingering bout with leukemia at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island. The 86-year old author was born to wealth and helped found The Paris Review.

Pick A Number,Any Number

++The number of Americans that directly benefited from the ACA with signups is a staggering 19 to 26 million so far.

++Chris Weigant's talking points for Democrats is just say "and still counting". The initial phase of Obamacare has been more of a success than even the President boasts. Paul Krugman himself did his own victory lap saying that the Rube Goldberg mechanism of healthcare reform is alive and well and weirdly works.

++Blogger at Dailykos Mokurai has been tasked by Charles Gaba to keep readers posted. So let's see what the numbers look like. Brainwrap believes that the final numbers for March 31 signups will be 8.13 million,taking into account extensions. The actual final number for the day Obama announced over 7 million was 7.12 million, which exceeded the non-revised CBO projection. The Obama administration announced that 3 million were added to Medicaid.The actual number for Medicaid and CHIPS is now closer to 7 million. The sub-26s are 3.1 million but there is now dispute about this. 

++Now the unknown-unknows are off-exchange sign-ups ,where people went directly to the health insurance companies for Qualified Plans. The number right now is 9 million.

++So if you add up off-exchange,exchange,sub-26ers,Medicaid and Chips you run into the 20 million.

++There will be a lot of nitpicking as we head forward but the enormous success of Obamacare has shown the pent-up demand in the US for healthcare.

++Don't worry Paul Ryan says there is no problem with the GOP repealing it. And he says that,"Of course, health insurance companies should be able to deny customers with pre-existing conditions."

++The next real challenge will be the court fight over the subsidies to the federal exchange.

++Yes, President Obama was right, "The ACA is settled. It is here to stay." 

++Or as Joey Biden said, "This is even a bigger f**king deal."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Payrolls Increase 192,000

++The Labor Department released its March numbers. The economy added 192,000--roughly equivalent to the ADP numbers. The revised numbers for January and February added 37,000 jobs. But unemployment remained at 6.7%.

++The unemployment rates varied by groups. Whites at 5.8%,blacks 12.4%, Hispanics at 7.9%,Asians at 5.4% and teenagers at 20.9%. 

++The Federal government lost another 9,000 jobs but these were offset by state governments hiring 8,000. 

++This is the first recovery in history where government lost jobs--some 800,000 due to budget cuts and attrition.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

OOPS, California Covered Reports Massive Backlog

++The Obama Administration announced today that April 15th would be the final deadline for ACA signups.

++California announced that they have 500,000 people in the pipeline who have not finished the enrollment press, accord to Marketwatch. Insurers in California claim that younger Americans signed up in great numbers than anticipated and that they say insurance rates will probably go down in future years.

++So the next game is to guess the April 15th numbers for the whole nation.

Senate Panel Votes To Release Torture Report

++The Senate intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to release part of the Torture Report, which also goes into black sites. President Obama ordered the intelligence agencies to de-classify the report as rapidly as possible. Earlier this week,the United Nations found that the United States has violated the Convention against Torture by delaying the release of the full report.

++Rep. DeFazio from Oregon appeared on the Thoma Hartmann Show to talk about McCutcheon vs. FEC. He pointed out that Roberts great defense of the 1st Amendment in letting campaign limits end affects all of 12,000 people who bumped up against limits. DeFazio also pointed out that the deregulation of the media in the 1990s now allows individuals to own as many media outlets as they choose. Between the SCOTUS ruling and the Deregulation of The Telecoms,there is not much space left for anyone else.

++The Senate did pass the extension of the unemployment insurance which affects 2 million people. If it were law, it would create 200,000 jobs. The House says it can't get around to it as people face losing their homes and cars. A Harvard study shows that only about one-third of these Americans will ever be employed against, another one-third will have part-time jobs. One third will never be employable.

++Dwight Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System is in serious jeopardy. The United States, which used to be number 1 in the world in infrastructure, is now 26th and is competing with Zimbabwe in terms of GDP allotted to infrastructure spending. The Highway Trust Fund will be broke by October 1 of this year and that it will exist another 8-10 months to pay past bills. It now needs $5billion. 

++Paul Ryan's Highway Plan is that the Trust Fund should get no further funding and in fact be reduced by 50%. He argues that the states must raise the funds themselves to maintain the nation's highway system.

++House Republicans took another shot at Obamacare by redefining full-time work as 40-hrs to allow employers to get around the employer mandate. Little Ricky Cantor said that the House Republicans were against raising the minimum wage because Obama is hiding the job losses from Obamacare.

++On that hopeful note, Democratic pollster Greenberg said that despite this being the best week for Democrats in a long time Democrats are facing a mini-wave election by the Republicans.

++Marco Rubio has complained that the Hispanic media is totally behind Obamacare.

++Mitch McConnell claimed that Obamacare is a disaster and should be destroyed. His antagonism against healthcare has sunk his approval rating in Kentucky to the point pundits really believe this time he will lose. Alison Grimes has lead in the last two polls.

Jonathan Pollard Doesn't Want To Be Released From Jail

++In a bizarre twist to the Mideast Peace Talks,there was discussion the Obama Administration offered the release of Israeli spy, American Jonathan Pollard, so the talks can continue. Through an Israeli diplomat, Pollard denounced the deal.

++Things are not looking good for the talks being mediated by John Kerry. The Israelis refused to release the last batch of PLO prisoners and the Palestinians won't recognize Israel as a "Jewish State."

++The Palestinians look like there are abandoning any hope of the talks and have suggested publicly they will be going to the UN for recognition of the state of Palestine. Don't count this out since Israel won recognition as a state from the United Nations.

++Another Palestinian gambit is their offer to ratify raft of international conventions as the state of Palestine. 

++Observers of Israeli politics observe that Netanyahu has lost control of his coalition aren't couldn't bring the horse to water if he tried.

++If one version is that Israel has escaped the bullet by thwarting the peace process,then the warnings by John Kerry look real--further isolation and the divestment campaign will ramp up. 

++The U.S. Congress is engaging in rearguard actions by threatening to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if they move in the direction of the UN.

++The tragedy is that the West has never had a malleable leader as Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with. He in fact said so and warned in the future the there will be someone else--more militant.

Ryan's Bizarre Budget

++There is even more good news. This year's Ryan budget is his last before he goes onto the Ways and Means Committee. And it is the most bizarre of his budgets to date.

++The Budget repeals all of Obamacare. It repeals all Medicaid expansion. It turns the Medicare program into a voucher program. It advocates privatizing social security. It cuts education. It cuts all funding for the Consumer Protection Agency. It makes all food stamps into block grants to be administered by the states. It raises the Defense Budget by 5%. It cuts health-related expenditures by $5 trillion. 

++It also cuts the top tax rate to 25%. This would be  $5 trillion over 10 years. So if revenues are $500 billion less each year, what do you do? Easy close loopholes. Paul Ryan actually put an * to note this in his budget.

++Basically this is the aircraft carrier budget. The United States consists of its military and nothing else. 

++Like all Ryan budgets,there are no hard numbers. It is a "Vision" he says. I guess a Dystopian vision. 

++But it's not bad enough. Sarah Palin attacked it as a "liberal budget" and tea baggers denounced it out of hand.

Even With The SCOTUS DECISION,The is GOOD News

++Read the Breyer dissent from the SCOTUS decision ending campaign limits for the wealthy.

++Rinse Penis claimed it was a victory for the RNC.

++But Wait not so fast. The conservative billionaires are dying out. David Koch,who defended himself in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, is 74. Brother Charles,whom Bill Gates says is a great guy, is 79. The billionaires that complained they were being treated like in Nazi Germany are all in their late 70s. Shelton Adelman is 81 and looks like he won't make it to the next presidential election. On the democratic side, George Soros is 84.

++Last month, there were no American military deaths. This is the first time in ten years. 

++The Management Index went up to 53.7.

++The ADP payroll services reports that the economy added 191,000 jobs last month. 

++The Obama Administration announced it would explain to the public for the first time ever--how doctors do get paid under Medicare.

++The Obama Administration announced that Medicare is open to same sex couples.

++Brainwrap aka Charles Gaba thanks everyone who has chipped in to support his efforts at

++Kudos to Occupy Wall Street for their Strike Debt program. Through kickstarter they have raised $300,000 to wipe out $15 million in medical debt. 3,801 people have benefited.

++The Obama Administration turned down Israel's demands that Iran must confess to having covert plans to make nuclear weapons as a pre-condition to a final agreement. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Death Panels and Armeggedon Didn't Arrive

++President Obama took his victory lap at a press conference announcing that 7.1 million had signed up for ACA. With "Big F**cking" Deal" Joe Biden beside his side,he said,"There is no reason to go back."

++Saying History was not kind to those who stood in the way of progress, President Obama said that those who opposed the law should explain why people should go back to being uninsured, denied insurance for pre-existing conditions,or go bankrupt for health care. Good questions.

++He said that ACA was here to stay. He said he would be working on those states which deny their citizens health insurance, referring to the red states, which haven't allowed over 7 million people to take advantage of Medicaid expansion.

++Andrew Sullivan today on The Dish called this a generational change in the United States and quoted the CBO that by 2017 over 30 million people would be insured through the ACA.

++President Obama reverted to his campaign theme that change in hard and sometimes people will prefer the devil they know to those they don't. He credited the thousands of volunteers who went around the country getting people to sign up. "We didn't have billions of dollars for ads like the law's critics" with a zinger at the Koch-funded ads.

++He rattled off the positive of the ACA and noted that seniors had saved $10 billion on prescription drugs and that 100 million Americans had already benefited from preventive care.

++The victory lap has been preceded by HHS employees cracking open bottles of champagne in the morning when the first results were in.

++Bravo, President Obama, Well Done.

April Fool's--It Is Another Paul Ryan Budget

++After last night's Thrilla in Manila,the House GOP had an April Fool's treat for us--Paul Ryan's new budget. This one further cuts the social welfare net for the poor and the middle class, raises taxes on the middle class by $2,000, and ends Medicare after ten years with a voucher plan.

++The White House tally for Obamacare is now at 7.04 million. But John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both said today that they are going to repeal it again.
Charles Krauthammer told Fox News that 7 million wasn't enough and it wasn't worth it.

++Little Ricky Cantor said that the House GOP would issue their own healthcare plan that would address abuses by the IRS and "Benghazi"--yes,the number one killer of Americans.

++John Barrasso doubled down on his belief that the numbers don't mean anything. 

++Carnival Cruz put a poll up on his Facebook page asking whether you were better now or before Obamacare? The answer was a resounding yes at 75%.

++In Kentucky Obamacare has cut the uninsured rate by 40%. 

++Avil Roy, the conservative healthcare wonk warned the GOP about continuing their efforts to repeal Obamacare and said that no there was no "death spirals."